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  HOME | Peru

Peru Struggling to Cope with Haitian Refugees

LIMA – Authorities in the southeastern Peruvian town of Iñapari said Monday they will ask President Ollanta Humala to resolve the immigration status of 274 Haitians stranded in the area since last month.

Jose Luis Aguirre, governor of the Madre de Dios region where Iñapari is located, told Efe on Monday that local residents are in no condition to keep hosting the Haitians, who are still there because they can’t move on to neighboring Brazil.

“We can’t help the Haitians any longer, we have our own problems, we need them to relocate...and let their legal status be decided, whether they go back to their own country or our Foreign Ministry and the Brazilian government see to it they are the last to come here,” Aguirre said.

The Haitians arrived in Peru following the route they considered the most economical way with the least red tape for getting into Brazil, but were blocked at the country’s border after the Brazilian government ordered its embassy in Port-au-Prince to grant a maximum of 100 work visas a month for the immigrants.

Since their arrival at Iñapari, the Haitians have lived on Brazilian donations that have stopped coming over the last few days because of the flooding of the Acre and Yaverija Rivers.

After the flooding that forced more than 2,500 local residents from their homes, the Haitians were evacuated from Iñapari parish, where they had been living since their arrival, to a school located on higher ground.

“The town of Iñapari has been very generous in accepting them, living together with them and helping the Haitians, but that was at a time when there were no problems,” Aguirre said.

Sources at the president’s office told Efe on Monday that Humala planned to visit Iñapari this Monday but postponed his trip because of the weather.

Last year Brazil granted work visas to some 1,600 of the roughly 4,000 Haitians who went to that country after the 2010 earthquake, according to the Brazilian Justice Ministry. EFE
 

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