Last Updated: Friday, 16 February 2018, 15:01 GMT

U.S. Committee for Refugees World Refugee Survey 2003 - Haiti

Publisher United States Committee for Refugees and Immigrants
Publication Date 1 June 2003
Cite as United States Committee for Refugees and Immigrants, U.S. Committee for Refugees World Refugee Survey 2003 - Haiti , 1 June 2003, available at: [accessed 18 February 2018]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Some 33,200 Haitians were refugees or asylum seekers at the end of 2002, most of whom (29,200) were awaiting the outcome of pending asylum claims in the United States. During the year, 10,600 Haitians sought asylum: including about 8,400 in the United States (approximately 1,400 fewer than in 2001, based on revised calculations), 1,900 in France, 260 in Canada, and 120 in the Dominican Republic. Nearly 1,600 Haitians were granted asylum in the United States during the year. The approval rate of Haitian cases before U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service asylum officers was 36 percent, the same as last year; however, the approval rate for those cases before immigration judges went up from about 12 percent to about 17 percent.

The U.S. Coast Guard interdicted 1,500 Haitians at sea in fiscal year 2002, up slightly from the year before, and summarily repatriated virtually all of them. Thousands more fled to the Dominican Republic and the Bahamas. Dominican and Bahamian authorities subjected thousands of Haitians to collective, mass expulsions with little opportunity to apply for protection. Hundreds more were lost at sea. Haitian authorities detained failed asylum seekers along with repatriated criminal deportees from the United States and extorted money from them for their release.

According to the National Coalition for Haitian Rights, nearly 6,200 Haitians were internally displaced by threats and repression during the year.

Political Violence

Much of the displacement was due to human rights violations and political instability which wracked Haiti in 2002, including more than 150 political murders, suspicious disappearances, and quasi-political gangland slayings. In August, control of the fourth largest city, Gonaïves, passed into the hands of politicized mobs led by two rival prison escapees, one formerly associated with the ruling Lavalas party, the other, with Haiti's former military. The last two months of the year were particularly tumultuous as tens of thousands demonstrated against the Lavalas government, which responded with a violent crackdown on dissent.

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