Open Letter to Dominican President Medina on Anniversary of Judgment 168-13

Santo Domingo, September 23, 2017

The Honorable Danilo Medina Sánchez

President of the Republic
Hand Delivered/ Palacio Nacional

Distinguished President Medina:

The organizations that comprise the Dominican@s por Derecho platform write to communicate our sadness and a clear message to which we have beared witness: Law 169-14 has not resolved the problems created by Judgment 168/13 of the Constitutional Tribunal.

It has been three and a half years since promulgation of said law and civil society organizations that work with the affected population have continued our work on the ground (accompanying, guiding, and supporting the thousands of people whose right to identity was violated) and we are witness to the fact that the impact of the legislation has been less comprehensive than was hoped for.

Of the 133,770 people that are stateless or at risk of statelessness, only 13,495 have managed to receive their nationality documents, according to official figures. That is to say, Mr. President, that at this point, on the fourth anniversary of the judgment, the problems of more than 90 percent of the population born in the Dominican Republic who were affected by the Constitutional Tribunal’s Judgment 168/13 remain unresolved.

The platform Dominican@s por Derecho recognize the good intention of the Law, but we understand there is a lack of proper application. The arbitrary administration and the lack of clarity in the bureaucratic processes have been the main obstacles for those affected to be able to overcome this problem, which has deferred the dreams and lives of many Dominicans.

Mr. President, you know as well as we do that the effects of the Constitutional Tribunal’s judgment have left our country in the midst of a statelessness situation that is unprecedented in the region. The current situation gives rise to violations of human rights and to the lack of rule of law in the Dominican Republic, which constitutes a problem for every son and daughter of this nation and not just for those who experience this problem firsthand, as national identity is a matter of public security and social protection.

Dominican children who are stateless or are at risk of statelessness face great difficulties in receiving the early education that the Government has declared as a priority of the educational sector. Dominican youth who are stateless or are at risk of statelessness cannot go to university or enter the public sector and, as a result, they cannot be part of the social development that would help with the administration. Dominicans who are stateless or are at risk of statelessness do not live under the protection of the rule of law. They exist, but in a legal limbo.

We recognize that, since the promulgation of Law 169-14, the organizations that comprise the platform Dominican@s por Derecho, without putting aside the role of those who accompany and defend the Dominican population of Haitian descent affected by Judgment 168/13, we were hoping for a restoration of nationality, as this was the solution promised by this legislation. But the inefficacy of the law and the present context obliges us to redouble our efforts to guarantee the human and civil rights of persons born in the country prior to 2010.

Our international reputation leaves much to be desired, Mr. President. The caring and hospitable image of the country is suffering because of, among other things, the problems related to human and civil rights of Dominicans of Haitian descent.

For this reason, Mr. President, Dominican@s por Derecho reiterates its disposition to sit down with you and have a dialogue to put an end, once and for all, to the denationalization of thousands of sons and daughters of our country. The organizations of this platform understand that if we work together with conviction, responsibility, and political will we can move forward to find a lasting solution to this problem.

Dominican@s por Derecho will pursue a more just and democratic society, and this will only be achieved when every last one of the Dominicans who are stateless or at risk of statelessness emerges from this dramatic situation and is able to resume their life with the human rights and citizenship they deserve.

With all due courtesy, Mr. President, goodbye.