Dominican Republic: CARICOM condemns anti-immigrant ruling

The Guyana-based Secretariat of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), an organization of 15 Caribbean countries, issued a statement on Oct. 17 criticizing a ruling by the Dominican Republic’s Constitutional Tribunal (TC) that denied citizenship to people born in the country to undocumented immigrant parents. Immigrant rights activists say the TC’s Sept. 23 ruling affects more than 200,000 Dominicans, mostly the descendants of Haitian immigrants, and includes people born as early as 1929 who have been recognized as Dominican citizens for more than a half century. The ruling makes people “stateless in violation of international human rights obligations,” the CARICOM statement charged; the Secretariat called on the Dominican government to protect the rights of “those made vulnerable by this ruling and its grievous effects.” Haiti is a CARICOM member; the Dominican government has indicated that it plans to join. (New York Times, Oct. 17, from AP)

The ruling has sparked demonstrations in Haiti and at least two protests in New York City, which has large Dominican and Haitian communities. A group called the Haitian Diaspora for Civic and Human Rights (HDCHR) held a protest on Oct. 17 in front of the Dominican consulate in New York. “Stop racism,” “End apartheid,” “No ethnic cleansing” and “There’s genocide in the Dominican Republic” were among the slogans on protesters’ signs. A number of Dominican community organizations endorsed the action, including La Aurora Community Action, the Association of Progressive Women and the Dominican Woman’s Center. About a dozen Dominican activists had held a separate protest earlier in the month in front of Boricua College in Northern Manhattan and announced plans for further demonstrations. (Diario Horizonte, Santo Domingo, Oct. 4; Diario Libre, Santo Domingo, Oct. 14; AlterPresse, Haiti, Oct. 17)
From Weekly News Update on the Americas, October 20.