US Congressional Black Caucus 'deeply concerned' about Dominican Republic tribunal ruling

WASHINGTON, USA — Members of the US Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) have released the following statement regarding ruling TC/0168/13 by the Dominican Constitutional Tribunal. As a result of the ruling, more than 200,000 Dominican-born people of Haitian descent will be stripped of their Dominican citizenship:

The Congressional Black Caucus is deeply concerned about the Dominican Republic’s Constitutional Tribunal’s recent ruling, no.168-13, and its human rights impact. This ruling threatens the citizenship and residency status of over 200,000 Dominican-born people of Haitian descent who face statelessness if retroactively stripped of or denied the right to nationality.

The situation in the Dominican Republic is exacerbated by clear evidence that the recent ruling and past policies have had a racially disparate impact. The CBC urges the Dominican Republic and the international community to immediately address the potential crisis. Should this ruling be carried out, three generations will lose whatever tenuous protections they have had in the Dominican Republic.

If implemented retroactively, the Dominican Republic’s Tribunal Constitutional ruling would be a violation of the country’s human rights obligations. The Dominican Republic has the sovereign right to its laws and judicial processes, but rendering a group of people born within its borders stateless and without recourse to certify nationality is an act that contravenes international norms and principles. Any continuation of the longstanding statelessness and struggle for legal recognition of Dominican’s of Haitian parentage must be considered a threat to regional progress and stability.

The CBC has a long history of engagement with the Caribbean Diaspora and the nations of the region that includes strong support for the interests of the Dominican Republic. The CBC stands ready to support the Dominican Republic and the international community in any effort to adequately and promptly address the crisis of statelessness in accordance with international norms and human rights obligations.

The CBC acknowledges the positive remarks made by President Danilo Medina recognizing that, “this issue is human in nature and needs to be resolved.” Steps outlined by the National Council on Migration, combined with the Government’s stated commitment to entitling persons at risk to protective status, must be followed by a just and humanitarian remedy for those who only know the Dominican Republic as their homeland.

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