Protecting Haitians in the Dominican

Dominican RepublicImmigration


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Protecting Dominicans of Haitian Descent from Unlawful Expulsion from Their Home Country Due to Discriminatory Citizenship Policies

Even before the watershed September 23, 2013, ruling that denationalized hundreds of thousands of Dominicans of Haitian descent, the Dominican government pursued a series of policies that aimed to restrict the Dominican citizenship of people born to parents who had immigrated from the neighboring state of Haiti.

On June 10, 2013, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) granted precautionary measures for Luisa Fransua, Rafael Toussaint, and another 48 Dominican adults of Haitian descent and their 32 children. These individuals were at risk of imminent deportation due to being denied birth records, identity cards, and voter IDs, that proved their Dominican citizenship or having their documents invalidated. The Dominican state also blocked their access to basic services and impeded their rights to health and education.

Why is This a Key Case?

The right to nationality guarantees individuals the right to their state’s protection and, consequently, the right to exercise many of their other fundamental rights. The precautionary measures demonstrate the ever-present threat to the lives of victims of the anti-Haitian citizenship policies in the Dominican Republic, which leave the potential for hundreds of thousands of people—even those with Dominican-issued birth certificates—to be expelled from their own country and cut off from basic services that many take for granted The lack of a legal solution means that children often inherit their parents’ lack of legal status, creating new generations of individuals who are constantly at risk.

How is RFK Human Rights Supporting This Case?

Along with local organization MOSCTHA, the organization filed a request asking the IACHR to grant precautionary measures to Luisa Fransua, Rafael Toussaint, and the other 48 individuals and their 32 children. The measures are intended to keep them from being deported and to ensure they have access to identification documents that guarantee them access to basic services such as education and health.

What is the Status of the Case?

Active precautionary measures are currently in place and being monitored by MOSCTHA and RFK Human Rights.