Coalition Calls For Action Against Dominican Republic Denationalization Policy

Coalition Calls For Action Against Dominican Republic Denationalization Policy.

s rising numbers of Dominican citizens of Haitian descent in the Dominican Republic are having their nationality revoked by the Dominican government, an international coalition has announced plans to examine the legality of those actions and the impacts on people who have lost their nationality rights.

In a one-day conference in Washington, D.C., and a surrounding week of dialogue with Dominican advocates, U.S. administration, Congress and other policymakers will meet to discuss the Dominican government action. The dialogue will focus on the Dominican Republic’s retroactive denationalization policy that is stripping  thousands of Dominicans of Haitian descent of their previously established citizenship, denying them access to their existing identity documents, and “effectively rendering their children and future generations stateless.”

According to Melanie Teff, Senior Advocate, Refugees International, “The retroactive application of this new Dominican law is forbidden by the American Convention on Human Rights, to which the government of the Dominican Republic is a party.”

In a joint statement, the U.S.-based coalition said, “The coalition is urging the Government of the Dominican Republic to recognize all people born in their territory prior to the change of their constitution in January 2010 as Dominican citizens. It further calls on the Dominican Government to ensure that no children born after the change in the constitution are left effectively stateless.”

The statement continued: “As a rising modern, democratic country, the Dominican Republic gained international admiration for its humanitarian compassion and assistance to Haiti following the devastating 2010 earthquake. We are confident that the Dominican government wishes to continue building on that reputation by complying with human rights conventions affecting a very vulnerable group of citizens.”

David Robinson, Acting Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration, U.S. Department of State, will keynote the October 26 Conference on Statelessness and the Right to Nationality in the Dominican Republic, which will be held at the Georgetown University Law Center’s Human Rights Institute, Washington.

The coalition will also join visiting members of Dominican civil society groups in a public thematic hearing for discussions with the Dominican government and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, the Washington based human rights branch of the Organization of American States.

Organizers of the October 26 conference and October 24-28 advocacy events are the Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL), Church World Service, Christian Aid, the Episcopal Church, Jesuit Refugee Service USA, Refugees International, and The Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights (RFK Center).

The October 26 Washington conference and advocacy efforts on behalf of denationalized Dominicans of Haitian descent follow the 50th anniversary (August 30) of the United Nations 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness and the launch of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees’ new campaign on statelessness. To date, the Dominican Republic has signed the 1961 Convention but has yet to ratify it.

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Dominican Republic: Defamation of human rights defender Ms Sonia Pierre following statements by public officials

Public officials have insulted and defamed human rights defender, Ms Sonia Pierre, as a result of a complaint that was submitted before the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights (IACHR), an autonomous organ of the Organisation of American States (OAS).

Further Information

Sonia Pierre is the Executive Director of the Movimiento de Mujeres Dominico-Haitianas – MUDHA (the Dominican Haitian Women's Movement), an organisation working on promoting the human rights of the minority group comprised of Dominican nationals of Haitian descent residing in the Dominican Republic, and particularly the rights of women pertaining to that group.

In recent days, a spate of newspaper articles have published comments from public officials insulting and defaming Sonia Pierre as a result of a complaint that was brought before the IACHR by national and international organisations concerning the absence of effective judicial response in cases of arbitrary denial of nationality, in relation to descendants of undocumented Haitians born in the Dominican Republic. The hearing on the situation relating to the the arbitrary denial of nationality of Dominicans of Haitian descent will take place on 24 October 2011, during the next IACHR session.

Various media outlets have reported that Sonia Pierre is responsible for the complaint and Mr Enrique Santelises, Executive President of the Grupo Consultor Jurídico - GSV (Legal Counsel Group - GSV) and member of the Fuerza Nacional Progresista - FNP (National Progressive Force), accused the human rights defender of threatening the health and image of the Dominican State before the international community. On 6 October 2011 Reinaldo Pared Pérez, President of the Senate accused Sonia Pierre of abusing the hospitality of the state with false complaints against it. One newspaper report published on the 1st of October accused Sonia Pierre of being a “cáncer terminal para el País” (a terminal cancer for the country). At least one of these reports was published on the front page of a newspaper, which meant that it was then used in public posters advertising the publication around the city of Santo Domingo.

On 12 March 2007 Sonia Pierre was amongst 100 prominent women recognised by the company MercaSID for their contribution to society, in a photographic exhibition called “Women”, in Santo Domingo. In 2006 Sonia Pierre was the recipient of the Robert F Kennedy Human Rights Award for her contribution to human rights. The Foreign Minister of the Dominican Republic, Mr Carlos Morales Troncoso, as well as other public officials, questioned at that time whether she was a worthy recipient and accused her of running a campaign against the State and of receiving millions of dollars backing for this campaign.

Front Line is concerned for the physical and psychological integrity of Sonia Pierre, her family and other human rights defenders working to promote and protect human rights in the Dominican Republic, in particular the human rights of the minority group comprised of Dominican nationals of Haitian descent residing in the Dominican Republic. Front Line further believes that media campaigns accusing Sonia Pierre of instigating complaints before the IACHR may place her at risk of persecution or further campaigns of intimidation and harassment. Source:


About the photo: Sonia Pierre (C) with Hillary Clinton and Michelle Obama, 2010 International Women of Courage Awards at the US Department of State, March 3, 2010



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This must have been the most embarrassing day for President Leonel Fernandez, 12 years and no results!!


Dominican Watchdog Note: Well, it's about time the message got out and a more balanced picture presented to the outside world. For too many years DR has been the brunt of ill-balanced notions of terrible crimes against Haitians and yet few have troubled themselves to understand the complicated affairs that have driven the issue to its current stage of chaos. There is no doubt about the wrong doings of the Domincian Republic, they too lazy to do the hard work themselves and on the other side they don't want the Haitians in their country! This is the result of a completely useless President the past 8 years.

Go back | Date: 18 Oct 2011
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