Press release 222/2013
(17 October 2013
Statement on the ruling of the Dominican Republic Constitutinal Court on Nationality
(CARICOM Secretariat, Turkeyen, Greater Georgetown, Guyana)
The Caribbean Community is deeply concerned by the ruling of 23 September 2013, of the Constitutional Court of the Dominican Republic on nationality which modifies retroactively legislation which bestowed citizenship on persons born in the Dominican Republic during the period 1929-2010.
As a result of the ruling, which considers migrants entering the Dominican Republic since 1929 and their children born in the country as “in transit” and requires them to obtain nationality, a large number of persons who are part of the very fabric of Dominican society would be stripped of Dominican citizenship. It is estimated that some 210,000 Dominican-born people of Haitian descent who were legally considered Dominican and contributed, as citizens of the Dominican Republic, to the growth and development of their society, economy and politics, would be affected, rendering them stateless in violation of international human rights obligations.
The Caribbean Community notes with regret that the decision goes against pronouncements of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (ICHR) which has repeatedly called on the Dominican Republic to adopt measures to guarantee the right to nationality in the country and to adapt its immigration laws and practices in accordance with the provisions of the American Convention on Human Rights.
The Caribbean Community is particularly concerned about the humanitarian implications of the judgment. The implications of tens of thousands of persons being plunged into a constitutional, legal and administrative vacuum by the ruling are a source of deep distress to those affected and one of significant disquiet for our Community.
The Caribbean Community calls on the Dominican Republic to adopt measures to protect the human rights and interests of those made vulnerable by this ruling and its grievous effects.