The Dominican Republic has a unique ethnic and racial context, given that it is the only country in the region with a dense Afro-descendant population that is unaware of its Afro-descendant ancestry, and openly discriminates against other Afro-descendant populations, especially the Haitian and Dominican Haitian migrant populations.
Dominican Haitians, in particular, have been victims of stripping of their nationality and immigration raids that expel them from their own country (Dominican Republic) to Haiti. Likewise, both Dominican Haitian and Haitian people in the country face illegal arrests and lack of access to education, employment, decent housing and health, among other violations of their human rights; however, racial discrimination extends to all people who are phenotypically obscure or identified by the Dominican State as black or Afro-descendant. This context of discrimination is further exacerbated when it comes to Afro-LGBTI persons.
These serious human rights violations are largely promoted by national laws and sentences, such as Sentence 168 of 2013, which enabled the Dominican State to deny Dominican citizenship to a large percentage of the population, leaving more than 200,000 Dominicans of Haitian descent effectively stateless. The Law 169 of 2014 left many without the option of acquiring nationality and others at risk of losing it. Most recently, Law 04 of 2023 has effectively denied these populations the possibility of acquiring Dominican nationality.
The repression against people of Haitian and Dominican Haitian descent has further intensified with the Army, the National Police and the City Councils now involved in deportation processes as of 2022.
Our work in the Dominican Republic
Given the context of exacerbated discrimination in the Dominican Republic, Race and Equality works with local partners, such as the Socio-Cultural Movement of Haitian Workers (MOSCTHA) and the Jacques Viau Meeting Network to strengthen the capacity of Afro-descendant and Dominican-Haitian organizations and promote racial justice through training, documentation and strengthening the racial litigation work of the lawyers.
Additionally, Race and Equality works with the LGBTI organization TRANSSA (Trans Siempre Amigas), providing training on human rights. With our technical support, TRANSSA has prepared reports on the situation of Afro-LGBTI+ people in the Dominican Republic.
- Our partners have participated in spaces for regional debate, such as the General Assembly of the Organization of American States (OAS), and the Summit of the Americas, and have participated in thematic hearings of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR).
- Likewise, Race and Equality has supported the documentation process of our partners to raise their voices and effectively advocate before the Universal Human Rights System.
- We supported our partners in the process of Afro-descendant self-recognition during the 2022 National Population and Housing Census by developing social media materials that sought to break with racial and ethnic stereotypes during the 2022 Census.