Day of Action Marks One Month Anniversary of Dominican Republic Constitutional Court Decision

On October 23, 2013, Dominican-born persons of Haitian descent protested outside of the Constitutional Court on the one month anniversary of Judgment 0168-13 which revoked citizenship of the children of unauthorized migrants born in the Dominican Republic since 1929.

They were joined by thousands of demonstrators internationally, including at the Dominican Embassy in New York City, where former Haitian Ambassador to the United States Raymond Joseph stated that he would have been among those affected by the ruling as the result of his birth in the Dominican Republic in 1931.

Jesuit Refugee Service/USA (JRS) convened a Day of Action Against Statelessness in the Dominican Republic in collaboration with the Dominican-based Jesuit organization Centro Bonó. Along with other human rights advocates, Jesuit Refugee Service/USA delivered a letter to the Dominican Embassy in Washington, DC expressing discontent with the ruling’s violations of international law. Among these violations, JRS cites the right to a name and nationality; the principle of non-retroactivity of the law; the principle of equality and fairness before the law; and the guarantee of due process. JRS also disseminated a petition organized by reconoci.do, a civil society group of Dominicans of Haitian descent, which calls for the suspension of denationalization and has garnered over 5,500 signatures.

Judgment 0168-13 strips nationality of an estimated 500,000 people who were recognized as citizens under the Dominican Constitution and laws in effect between 1929 and 2010. According to Centro Bonó, Dominicans without a nationality face intractable barriers to attending school, participating in the formal labor market, accessing financial and medical services, obtaining and renewing a passport, authenticating civil marriage and registering their children’s births.

More information about actions responding to the judgment is available at Dominican@s por Derecho.