In the Dominican Republic statelessness still exists

Four years have passed since the Constitutional Court of the Dominican Republic enacted the ill-fated Judgment 168/13, which rendered Dominicans born of foreign parents from 1929-2007 stateless. 

Many speak of the decision as a “Civil Death”, but the deceased – when buried – carry a tombstone with their name.  

Their remains at least are recognized and left in peace, out of respect. 

Not so for the many Dominican-born people of Haitian descent, who – by virtue of Jus Solis (citizenship by birthright) should have their Dominican nationality recognized. But they continue to live without a legal identity.  

Law 169/14 Came Up Short 

On May 23, 2014, President Danilo Medina issued Law 169/14 in an attempt to resolve the situation of statelessness created a year earlier, by Judgment 168/13. However, the law has not had the intended effect, as the rights of the population targeted by the legislation have not been fully restored. Statelessness continues to affect thousands of Dominicans of Haitian descent. Despite all efforts by civil society to promote its implementation, Law 169/14 just came up short for us. 

Dual Identities 

Many believe that the Central Electoral Board has resolved the issue by reducing the number of stateless people. But they are unaware that most of the children of Haitian immigrants included on civil registries up until 2007 (known as “Group A”), have had their identities changed in the “transcription” process to new registration books. All this done in silence, without their knowledge, and affecting thousands.  

In a country where your birth certificate is used for everything: from registering for college to requesting a passport and seeking employment, people without it are left marginalized, segregated, reduced, and effectively invisible. 

False Expectations 

Law 169/14 was offered as a viable solution. We knew it was not, but we had hoped everything would work out, at least for the people who weren’t enrolled in the civil registry, known as “Group B”.  

However, those few that registered under the law do not yet have a defined identity. They cannot make use of their rights to health, employment, higher education, marriage, or to even declare their children as their own. The problem has only gotten worse. Law 169/14 has come up short for us Dominico-Hatians. It has not been effective. 

Learn about Mosctha´s work 

Learn about Race and Equality´s work in the Dominican Republic. 


About The Author

María Bizenny Martínez is a human rights defender at MOSCTHA. Her focus is on Dominicans of Haitian descent and afrodescendants.

Stay Informed. Follow Our Blog!

Start the discussion

0 0 vote
Article Rating
Subscribe
Notify of
0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Latest News

Clément Voule – UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights to Peaceful Assembly and of Association: “I call on the government of Nicaragua to guarantee the right to peaceful assembly during the electoral process.”
Clément Voule – UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights to Peaceful Assembly and of Association: “I call on the government of Nicaragua to guarantee the right to peaceful assembly during the electoral process.”
April 21, 2021
Washington, D.C., April 21, 2021 – Since the societal eruptions began in April 2018, the government of Nicaragua has restricted the rights to freedom of assembly and peaceful protest in a ma
Antonia Urrejola – President of the IACHR: “We will continue to tirelessly promote human rights in Nicaragua. Impunity and injustice will not perpetuate themselves.”
Antonia Urrejola – President of the IACHR: “We will continue to tirelessly promote human rights in Nicaragua. Impunity and injustice will not perpetuate themselves.”
April 20, 2021
Washington D.C., April 20, 2021 – To commemorate three years of the grave sociopolitical and human rights crisis in Nicaragua, the International Institute of Race, Equality, and Human Rights
Civil society organizations in Nicaragua suffer from persecution and grave violations to fundamental freedoms
Civil society organizations in Nicaragua suffer from persecution and grave violations to fundamental freedoms
April 19, 2021
Three years following the outbreak of the sociopolitical and human rights crisis in Nicaragua, repression persists against the victims of human rights violations and their family members; hu...