US urged not to deport Haitians

March 7th, 2009 - 3:04 am ICT by IANS  

New York, March 7 (DPA) A UN human rights expert Friday called on the US not to deport undocumented Haitians as their country still hadn’t recovered from the destruction caused by last year’s hurricanes.
Michel Forst, an independent human rights expert, said the US Department of Homeland Security should not deport “tens of thousands” of Haitians living illegally in the US.

Forst said other countries hit by natural disasters had been granted Temporary Protected Status (TPS) by Washington, which allowed them to receive US assistance. But Haiti was not given that status, he claimed, even though consecutive hurricanes devastated the country and impacted an estimated 800,000 people.

“It would therefore be normal to continue to provide support and assistance to all undocumented Haitian migrants living in the US until the situation has improved in their homeland,” Forst said in his appeal to the US.

Human rights experts say TPS is the least expensive and most immediate form of humanitarian assistance the US could give Haiti.

The UN mission in Haiti said last year’s hurricanes destroyed houses, large swathes of agricultural land and the country’s infrastructure, amounting to at least 15 percent of gross domestic product.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and former US president Bill Clinton are scheduled to visit Haiti Monday to discuss further assistance and economic recovery. A UN Security Council delegation will also visit the country from Wednesday.

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