Our Voices

Dominican Republic: for 10 years now, thousands of people are still deprived of their nationality

Santo Domingo, Washington D.C.: September 25, 2023.

In the face of the largest deprivation of nationality in the history of Latin America and the Caribbean, the undersigned organizations demand that the Dominican government respect, promote, and protect the human rights of Dominicans of Haitian descent affected by Ruling TC-169-13 of the Constitutional Court of the Dominican Republic, and take the necessary measures to guarantee their right to nationality and non-discrimination.

A decade ago, the Constitutional Court stripped thousands of Dominicans of Haitian descent born in the Dominican Republic between 1929 and 2010 of their Dominican nationality. Subsequent measures adopted by the State, mainly through Law 169-14 which sought to provide a path to regularization and nationality for the affected persons, have not been effective.

Throughout this decade, racism and racial discrimination persist and those affected continue to suffer the negative effects of denationalization, and the mechanisms adopted by the State to help remedy the effects of the Ruling have not been properly implemented.

In 2022 alone, numerous arbitrary detentions and mass deportations were carried out without due process. Between January and November 2022, more than 136,000 people were expelled to Haiti, including 1,800 unaccompanied children and 300 pregnant women. Throughout the past decade, local and international civil society, as well as various international human rights organizations have condemned the Dominican State’s racist practice of denying the right to nationality to people of Haitian descent.

Over the years, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, the Committee on the Rights of the Child, the Working Group of Experts on Afro-descendants, the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, and several UN Special Rapporteurs have denounced the multiple human rights violations that the Dominican Republic has committed by racially discriminating, arbitrarily detaining, preventing access to health care, and expelling Dominicans of Haitian descent. Likewise, various civil society networks and organizations have not ceased to denounce these acts, despite the risks they face.

On the tenth anniversary of Ruling TC-168-13, we reiterate our call to the Dominican State to eliminate the systematic practice of racism and racial discrimination, cease arbitrary detentions and expulsions of Dominicans of Haitian descent, and instead implement an accessible and effective process to regain nationality, and guarantee the full enjoyment of human rights.

  • Centro por la Justicia y el Derecho Internacional (CEJIL)
  • Dominican@s por Derecho
  • Movimiento Sociocultural para los Trabajadores Haitianos (MOSCTHA)
  • Red Jacques Víau
  • Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights

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