Father Pedro Ruquoy, age 52, human rights defender, Belgian national & permanent member of the Dominican Republic. Has been criticized by governmental officials for his work defending the rights of Haitian migrant workers and Dominican peasants. Along with another priest, Father Ruquoy has also been accused by the director of the Dominican government’s National Institute of Sugar, of trying to “destroy the sugar [industry’s] infrastructure,” as a result of submitting reports on the poor conditions within which Haitian migrants are working. He has submitted these reports to the UN Commission for Human Rights and the WTO, in hopes of initiating government imposed sanctions on the sugar industry.
Due to his work on behalf of Dominican peasants & Haitian migrant workers, the head of security at the sugar plantation, an army colonel, threatened to murder Father Ruquoy on or around August 24th, 2005, at a meeting of the Barahoma sugar cane plantation’s. While the colonel is no longer working for the plantation, the threat remains real and credible.
In August 2000, Father Ruquoy’s testimony to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights regarding the treatment of Haitians in the Dominican Republic was misrepresented in the press as an attack on the Dominican government. As a result, he has been subject to intimidation. He was also threatened at knife point, for which he received police protection, but two months later. In November 2004, Father Ruquoy was attacked, lost consciousness and was taken to the hospital, while distributing food to a crowd at his home.
Letter by Morris A. Chochla was sent on October 18, 2005