Many decades of uncontrolled migration of Haitians going to reside and work in other countries in the neighborhood have contributed to a noteworthy population in the Dominican Republic. These individuals are susceptible to extensive discrimination in addition to human rights abuse.
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Consecutive governments by three major political parties have not been successful in the duty of establishing a legal structure that is attuned to the international standards. These governments have as well failed to act in response to the ill-famed and well-known abuses of immigration executives, the military, and the Central Electoral Board (CEB) coupled with health and education providers.
The CEB denotes the authority accountable for issuing birth certificates and identity records to the individuals born in the country. Big groups, which also include the private sector, possess a vested concern in sustaining an uncontrolled stream of cheap and submissive workforce in agriculture, building and construction, and resort hotels sectors.
The setback is made difficult by the deep-seated and ever-present injustices in the Dominican Republic, particularly amongst the oligarchy (Ferguson 296-297). The concept is that Dominican individuality is European and in particular Hispanic, despite the reality that Dominicans possess significant African origins.
The aforementioned approaches toward Haiti and Haitian migrants have their origins in the ancient times when the Dominican Republic detached itself from Haiti following 22 years of occupancy by the latter.
The Dominican xenophobia stood out conspicuously in 1937 when the tyranny of Rafael Trujillo commanded the armed forces to execute carnage of Haitian subjects in addition to Dominico-Haitians in the neighboring provinces. In this massacre, an estimated six thousand individuals were murdered.
The trend of statelessness remains a severe and ever-increasing problem in Dominican Republic. Scores of stateless people constitute the almost unconsidered but the most susceptible populace across the globe. The stateless individuals are not identified by the government of whichever country as citizens and are thus coerced into operating at the peripheries of the community (Howard et al. 350).
Devoid of citizenship, individuals usually possess no efficient legal defense, no capacity to ballot and minimal availability of education, jobs, medical attention, and birth and marriage certification. This research paper discusses the causes and general effects of statelessness and discrimination of Haitians in the Dominican Republic.
Additionally, it digs into the history and effect of the methodical, unfair denial of citizenship for residents with Haitian origin by the government of the Dominican Republic and more so with regard to the 2005 Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR) ruling.
The situation of statelessness and discrimination exerted by the Dominican Republic over individuals with Haitian origin reveals a clear brutal act and violation of human rights.
Statelessness and expatriation of Haitians from Dominican Republic
The condition of statelessness does not denote a purely definite occurrence; instead, stateless individuals are found all over the world in addition to socioeconomic borders. In a universal expression, a stateless person signifies any individual that is not identified as a citizen by all countries through their citizenship certification and constitution.
The reasons behind statelessness are complicated and multifarious and comprise country progression, discrimination, contradictory laws between countries, internal adjustments of citizenship laws and decolonization.
Statelessness messes up the capacity of a person to carry out duties as a member of a community, both internally and globally, and its effects are harshly felt mentally in socioeconomic and socio-cultural perspectives.
Whereas particular conditions differ between nations, every stateless individual ultimately encounters devastating problems of living without an approved nationality. In fact, legal identification credentials are vital to attaining a broad selection of rights (Ferguson, 298-299). For grown-ups, statelessness poses noteworthy obstructions to fundamental rights like marriage, possession of land, jobs and balloting, just to mention a few.
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The general effect of statelessness on kids is in particular upsetting. For kids, a lack of citizenship normally brings about the lack of access to sufficient education, medical care, and security and constitutional rights provided by a nation. Thru none of their mistake, stateless kids forcefully become heirs to a hard reality in addition to a vague future.
The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) lays out the global criterion for the certification of birth of children. In accordance with UNCRC, children should be registered instantly after being born and must have the right to obtain citizenship, and as much as achievable the right to have and enjoy parental care.
Different from the standards set by the international law, stateless kids and grown-ups face the denial of globally identified human rights and security because of their lack of nationality. As a result, they are not capable of traveling freely or obtaining fairness when needed (Ferguson 300-301). Moreover, lack of proper credentials and evidence of identity makes a person migration limbo, susceptible to expatriation.
In a press briefing by Amnesty International in 2007, it was reported that there existed instances of inhabitants of Haiti expatriated from the Dominican Republic devoid of a due progression. The government systems had thrown out, as per the human rights group, more than 25,000 Haitians every year.
This expatriation encompassed even the ones that resembled Haitians regardless of if they had officially authorized citizenship or not. More than 500,000 Haitians were at that time having their occupations in the Dominican Republic. From the place of work to the streets, Haitian immigrants residing in the Dominican Republic take their rank at the lowest position of the social hierarchy (Ferguson 302).
These immigrants together with their offspring born in the Dominican Republic encounter denial of the utmost fundamental rights in front of the very eyes of Dominican state and community. Taking into consideration the ones working in the building and agricultural industries, without referring to the ones working in the tourism sector, workers of Haitian origin constitute the biggest and most susceptible minority population.
The mass expatriation done in the nonexistence of judicial supervision takes place together with the denial of Dominican nationality to a vast number of children born in the Dominican Republic but having parents of Haitian origin.
The aforesaid progressions go hand in hand with what is ordered by the first philosophy of Dominican antihaitianismo. This philosophy covers the actual nature of socioeconomic disparity in Dominican community by bending Haitians into scapegoats and the collective others who have the citizenship of the Dominican Republic.
On the Day of independence, President Joaquin raised the concern of backing collaboration, but not the union with Haiti (Ferguson 303-304). The president stated categorically that the citizens of Haiti fit into a different ethnicity.
All through this history, the philosophy of the antihaitianismo has worked to justify a continuing agenda to lessen the existence of Haitians in Dominican community, and in particular to eradicate bodies of the ones recognized as Haitians from the terrains of Dominican Republic.
In the after-effects of the earthquake that occurred in Haiti in 2010, this strategy has remained as it were, although the Dominican Republic turned out to be the first respondent to assist the Haitians following the calamity and allowed patients from Haiti to get services at their hospitals.
In spite of development in dealings indicated through this aid coupled with the deferment of expatriation in the period after the earthquake, the systems in the Dominican Republic restarted their illegal operations on migrants early 2011. Masses of Haitians were expatriated in this tangle that entailed checkpoints erected in different places around the nation (Howard et al. 351-353).
For instance, the highways in the outskirts towards the city contained some of the checkpoints and individuals that lacked appropriate documents were coerced into vehicles that drove them near the border.
Executives in the Dominican Republic affirmed in validation of this feat that unauthorized immigrants had escalated from the time of the earthquake as well as the risk of cholera that accompanied it. Officials at the Immigration Department stated that they were only working fortify their immigration checks in a bid to protect the people of Haiti and residents from other countries from people unlawfully getting into their territory.
In stressing this point, they affirmed that they had in no way infringed the human rights of any person. The capacity by which the Dominican Republic is capable of eliminating Haitian bodies past its borders is simplified by inhabited isolation, for instance, found in impecunious residential places.
Inhabited isolation permits the police force as well as military in the Dominican Republic an instant oversight of a high population of Haitian origin (Morgan et al. 22). De facto isolation like that discourages the absorption of the individuals of Haitian origin into the Dominican Republic and thus propagating the ‘us’ against ‘them’ way of thinking that lies deep inside the antihaitianismo.
The reality that immigrants from Haiti lack passports, proper identity documents from the government of Dominican Republic, work permits and travel permits and have a tendency of fleeing mass evictions illustrates that even the ones that with lawful credentials allowing their residing in the nation cannot intermingle with the Dominican community.
In accordance with the Jesuit Refugee Services, the individuals that are expatriated normally comprise of the ones born in the Dominican Republic, who are additionally kept isolated from the communal mainstream. Shockingly, the Jesuit-supported group has criticized the expatriation as infringement of the country’s immigration laws (Ferguson 305).
In accordance with the way of comprehending repatriation systems that were concurred upon by the two nations in 1999, the expatriation of undocumented inhabitants is to be reverential of human rights. It was as well agreed that expatriation was to take place within suitable daytime hours, and must offer deportees the chance to retain their credentials.
Instances of this accord not being followed, nevertheless, are both usual and awful. In early 2007, an organization by the name Amnesty International pointed the instance of a girl of Haitian origin aged 8 years who was detained in 2004 by authorities in Dominican Republic on the supposition that she belonged to Haiti and was kept in custody for one night as an unpredictable immigrant with no means of contacting her parents.
The cruel treatment the poor girl faced included two instances of being slapped hard that caused her mouth to bleed uncontrollably (Howard et al. 354-356). A Dominican human rights group stopped her expatriation by tabling watertight evidence that the girl in question was a citizen of the Dominican Republic by birth and therefore had all the right to reside there.
Moreover, recently the Dominican government commanded all the inhabitants to carry their identification document at all times. The identification document regarded as proper is the cedula. In one instance, an adult person that had 42 years of age was a Dominican by birth and with parents of Haitian origin did not have a certificate of birth.
His four kids that were citizens of the Dominican Republic by birth were not in a position to obtain cedulas also owing to monetary constraints to obtaining the required identification documents. The request alone for a certificate of birth, with no assurance of getting it, required one to pay a total of 147 dollars, a figure that is way above the monthly income of many residents (Howard et al. 357).
People of Dominican citizenship by birth but having a Haitian origin and that did not have certificates of birth are denied access to the required public, cultural, societal and financial services to assist in making them independent, successful members of the community.
Moreover, their education is inhibited by forbiddance against their continuing past the primary school state. Their public and political worth is thwarted by bans against their acquiring the proper identification documents that could permit them to cast a vote or even obtain employment opportunity in the formal sector.
In early 2007, the government of the Dominican Republic was forced to adhere to international forces in providing recompense to two ladies with a Haitian parentage to whom it had left without residency. One of these ladies was to obtain a recompense of 8,000 dollars with an extra 6,000 dollars for legal charges.
The conformity to the judgment given by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR) in 2005 shocked everyone as the then president of Dominican Republic had publicly stated that his government was not going to offer the recompense (Ferguson 306).
Nonetheless, the cause provided for the aforementioned denial was that the parents of these girls had not fulfilled the obligation for registration behind schedule. This reason demonstrated the fortitude of the strenuous attempts to deny citizenship to the kids born in the Dominican Republic in the same condition.
In this regard, in a bid to guarantee that bowing to the judgment of the IACHR did not develop a standard for permitting citizenship or providing recompense to individuals in similar conditions, the government of Dominican Republic amended some sections in its constitution.
This was with the intention of allowing people with Haitian origin residing in the Dominican Republic to be regarded as residing in the nation in transit and thus incapable of having their offspring as applicants for nationality.
An effect of this act, certainly, was to guarantee the continued expatriation of people of Haitian origin and thereby preventing them from incorporation into the Dominican community (Howard et al. 358-360).
In recent times, the United Nations Commission on Human Rights urged the government of the Dominican Republic to provide one-year numerous entry permits to Haitians that had to make trips in and out of Dominican Republic and Haiti countries with the intention of paying visits to friends whose earthquake-associated medical conditions were worse enough to necessitate health care in hospitals within the Dominican Republic.
Nevertheless, by early 2010, just six of such travel permits had been given. It now remains unclear if the government of the Dominican Republic will provide more numerous-entry travel permits to Haitians with friends and relatives having health and additional humanitarian requirements or not.
Further, then protesting strongly against the probable unlawful retroactive exertion of any constitutional amendment, civil group activists should keep on prioritizing the requirement for a uniform playing-ground.
Contrary to the United States or the majority of nations in Latin America that have obtained noteworthy levels of migrants, the Dominican Republic has never had a regulation plan for illegal long-term inhabitant despite being an influential campaigner for the rights of Dominican emigrants and their children overseas.
Nevertheless, maybe the greatest hindrance to combating the paring down of the decree of law is not essentially based on law but culture. Whereas the local legal philosophy is paramount and indispensable, strengthened civic edification to make sure that a country is answerable to basic rights of its inhabitants is more important (Howard et al. 361-364).
Racial discrimination and unfairness in Dominican Republic
The colonization account of the area has brought about persistent racial discrimination in the Dominican Republic. While there lacks any certified government strategy of discrimination in the Dominican Republic, there is nonetheless a weighty and established problem of racial discrimination and unfairness.
This arises against the people of Haiti, residents of the Dominican Republic who are of Haitian origin and commonly blacks living in the Dominican Republic (Ferguson 307).
Even though none of the Dominican legislation is discriminatory as they appear, regulations concerning immigration, civil position and the provision of Dominican nationality to individuals of Haitian origin have an influence in the community in a way that could be classified as discriminatory.
Following a far-reaching interview that was carried out in a bid to comprehend the discrimination that black people of Haitian and Dominican origin encounter, it was found out that blacks characteristically reside in worse situations.
Additionally, they are hired in manual and poor paying jobs and suffer a great extent of injustice (Howard et al. 365-367). Upsetting references are directed to the black people like being uninformed, dirty or pig feed and many black people declared their everyday encounters of racial discrimination by government officers working in registration sectors, on buses, trains and other means of transport in addition to other places.
The majority of blacks stated that owing to their skin color or their Haitian origin; it was not possible to acquire registration permits and therefore is left susceptible to expatriation or extradition to Haiti, which comprised of Dominican residents that had no link at all with that nation (Haiti).
Consequent to this discovery, the United Nations professionals strongly proposed that the global community make sure that the Dominican Republic adapts to the responsibilities stipulated in the international human rights law, comprising the eradication of any kind of racism. It was not rare for the citizenship of different individuals to be openly in conflict, uncertain, and faced with disagreements.
It was frequent for people believed to be Haitians being kept in custody by the police and expatriated to Haiti, regardless of registration documents they had. Haitians are as well suddenly discriminated in the culture of Dominican Republic thru their appearances, references and terms.
Additionally, many residents of the Dominican Republic, with the inclusion of the government, employ the dyslogistic term ‘Haitinization’ when referring to the depressing impacts that they attribute to the presence of poor Haitians living in the nation.
Partly, this animosity could be attributed to the reality that the Dominican Republic is an underprivileged country, with 30% of its populace existing below the poverty line (Howard et al. 368-370). With inadequate resources, the negative reactions concerning Haitians are propagated not just by the historic attempts for island supremacy but as well by a continued existence state of mind.
Even though has at no time drew a similar intensity of concern like other sectors that are key to global human rights legal framework, it is currently a segment of the official strategy discussion at the United Nations. For over 20 years, campaigners have established affirmations that completely connect statelessness to the difficulties of offering personal protection and enhancing dignity, therefore taking it into the human rights establishment.
For instance, the Declaration on the Right to Development (DRD) identified the global autonomy to take part in, chip in to and have the pleasure in economic, political, cultural and social advancements, where all human rights are entirely attained.
More lately, nevertheless, the perception of statelessness has been clearly connected with movements to regularize immigration, citizenship and individuality in addition to strategies of fairness (Ferguson 308).
The difficulty of stopping statelessness has as well emerged in the concern of climate change program, in the detection that mounting sea levels could imply the end to the survival of several low-lying countries.
Projection for Change
Since the matter is anchored in the complex account of the two countries sharing an island, the solution to the situation of statelessness present in the Dominican Republic will necessitate more than undemanding lawmaking or constitutional amendments. Intellectuals, as well as campaigners of human rights, have recognized racism in access to citizenship as an international problem (Howard et al. 371).
The judgment by IACHR is deemed a vital resolution for its participation in international law on non-discrimination in addition to global human right to citizenship. From 1950, there have been campaigns by the United Nations (UN) that countries take action in identifying stateless individuals and prevent the establishment of statelessness as a whole.
The United Nations Economic and Social Council (UNESC) advice nations to considerately assess requests for naturalization made by stateless individuals usually inhabitants in their terrain and, if need be, to re-assess their laws on citizenship.
This is in a bid to decrease as much as achievable the level of statelessness initiated by action of laws like those. To make this possible, the government of the Dominican Republic should completely adhere to ruling by IACHR and consider the advice given.
The Dominican Republic and Haiti must both create and execute non-discriminatory nationality strategies. In particular, strategies on registration, identification of nationality, and immigration that hinder statelessness and function toward improving the state of the ones presently distressed.
The government of the Dominican Republic should completely adhere to the IACHR judgment of 2005 and express to the global society that they strictly hold the international standards.
In realistic expressions, the government of Dominican Republic has to establish and execute a registration technique in a bid to grant certificates of birth to every child born in the Dominican Republic, regardless of the migration position, ethnic group and race of the parents.
Possibly even more significantly, the government must strive to make sure that the suitable practice of the law is adhered to in instances where the citizenship of a person is taken to task (Howard 65-68).
Several proposals and policies for a suitable reaction by the government of the Dominican Republic have been considered by the global society. A number of countries have advised the Dominican government to respect the United Nations Convention Relating to the Status of Stateless People (UNCRSSP).
Several nations have as well affirmed that the UNHCR, being the United Nations organization with the authority in aid of stateless individuals, develop a dynamic, lasting existence in the Dominican Republic.
Moreover, venture and contribution in the establishment of a local reaction to the intricate concern of statelessness and immigration founded on human rights have as well been recommended as a way dealing with the present condition (Howard 69-71).
International organizations like the World Bank have forwarded proposals for deliberation with the intention of helping the government of the Dominican Republic with the provision of registration and birth legal documents.
Nevertheless, Proposals like the ones forwarded by the World Bank have faced significant opposition, from Non-governmental Organizations (NGO) that consider that these plans could propagate the systematic discrimination of residents of the Dominican Republic having a Haitian origin.
On the other hand, intellectuals and legal professionals on Haitian concerns have made strides towards dealing with the problem of statelessness and discrimination. These scholars concluded that it was necessary to make amendments in the Haitian constitution in a bid to provide nationality rights to Haitians in Diaspora, taking no consideration of the nationality position in their accepted nation.
Moreover, the scholars affirmed that such human rights must as well be granted to kids of Haitian refugees in the Dominican Republic (Howard 72-75). This recommendation will only assist individuals that both desire and are capable of going back to Haiti. The majority of stateless individuals that were born in the Dominican Republic bears no strong connections to Haiti and prefers living in the Dominican Republic.
In spite of the anticipation of the international esteem and adherence to the international standards and obligations for citizenship, currently, the level of statelessness keeps on rising with minimal action being put in place to better the situation.
There prevails a growing international attention, with regard to the conditions in the Dominican Republic, that the laws, government strategies, and processes pose discrimination against residents in the country who have a Haitian origin with respect to their right to nationality. This element exists in infringement of the responsibilities to its residents and standards of international law (Morgan et al. 32).
Ultimately, Haiti and the Dominican Republic, with the aid of the international community, will find it necessary to establish strategies that would satisfy the anticipations of the international law, guarantee the rights of stateless individuals, and strive toward a decrease in the level of statelessness in coming years.
The governments must encounter the hard task of traversing the false impression of history that the individuals in the two countries exist in detached worlds. In a bid to curb the effects of statelessness on people, an incorporated teamwork is required and it should involve governments, international NGOs, and organizations of the UN, with a bigger responsibility to be carried out by the UNHCR.
Finally, the Dominican Republic bears the chance to come up with standards for tackling the intricate concerns presented by the trouble of statelessness, but it is still unclear whether it will make this step with or without extra force from the international community.
Ferguson, James. “Migration in the Caribbean: Haiti the Dominican Republic and beyond, London: Minority Groups International, 2003. Print.
Howard, David. Coloring the nation: Race and ethnicity in the Dominican Republic, Colorado, Lynne Rienner Pub., 2001. Print.
Howard, David, Julie Gazmararian, and Ruth Parker. “The impact of low health literacy on the medical costs of Medicare managed care enrollees.” The American journal of medicine 118.4 (2005): 350-371. Print.
Morgan, Jana, Jonathan Hartlyn, and Rosario Espinal. “Dominican Party System Continuity amid Regional Transformations: Economic Policy, Clientelism, and Migration Flows.” Latin American Politics and Society 53.1 (2011): 1-32. Print.