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Caribbean Contradictions: Dominican Republic’s Citizenship Policy and its Effect on People of Haitian Descent

The ambassador of the Dominican Republic to the Organization of American States (OAS) has defended his government’s immigraton policy in a recent letter to The Economist magazine. But the Ambassador betrays himself in the second paragraph of his letter by (focusing on) “persons born within Dominican territory of Haitian parents”….

Peter Jordens
Tuesday, January 3, 2012

The Dominican Republic has recently received some attention in the press (see several news items at the end of this comment). The Ambassador of the DR to the OAS has defended his government’s policy in a recent letter to The Economist magazine: http://www.economist.com/blogs/newsbook/2011/12/our-blog-post-haitian-dominicans. But the Ambassador betrays himself in the second paragraph of his letter by first talking about “children of illegal immigrants, whatever their origin” and then going on to talk specifically and only about “persons born within Dominican territory of Haitian parents”. The DR is clearly only concerned about those of Haitian heritage.

He also claims that the DR’s policy is about “correcting Civil Registry irregularities.” Please! Couching the policy in today’s dominant discourse of immigration, security, law and order, and good governance cannot hide the fact that it is specifically targeted at and discriminatory against people of Haitian descent in the DR. Anyone who knows anything about the history of DR-Haitian relations knows what’s really going on here.

The DR’s citizenship policy has been condemned by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR).I suppose the DR is making itself known to the world as a country that on one hand allows dual citizenship for people of DR descent born and residing abroad, yet on the other hand pushes people born and residing on its own soil into zero citizenship. This is contradictory, ridiculous, and obvious.


Stateless: When is a Dominican not one? (December 31, 2011), http://www.economist.com/node/21542182

Stripping Dominicans of Haitian descent of their citizenship is unjust (December 26, 2011), http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/opinions/editorials/stripping-dominicans-of-haitian-descent-of-their-citizenship-is-unjust/article2282499

In Dominican Republic, Haitians grapple with ‘stateless’ limbo (December 17, 2011), http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/international/july-dec10/haiti_12-17.html

Stateless in Santo Domingo (December 16, 2011), http://www.economist.com/blogs/americasview/2011/12/dominican-haitian-relations 

Love thy neighbour? Not when it comes to the Dominican Republic and Haiti (October 3, 2011), http://www.guardian.co.uk/global-development/poverty-matters/2011/oct/03/haiti-dominican-republic-citizenship-law 

Dominican Republic: Where citizenship is a game of chance (September 27, 2011), http://www.refugeesinternational.org/blog/dominican-republic-where-citizenship-game-chance

Source: Norman Girvan: Caribbean Political Economy: http://www.normangirvan.info/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/jordens-dominican-republic-immigration-policy.htm

Photo: Stateless in the Dominican Republic, banner (Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication)


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Latin America and Caribbean Communication Agency (ALC)
Information and analysis about the social-ecclesial reality, development and human rights in Latin America and other regions of the world
English edition: Casilla 17-16-95 - Quito - Ecuador
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