Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti

Protests opposing Dominican citizenship policy reignite after public lynching

After a recent public lynching of a Haitian man in the Dominican Republic, Dominicans of Haitian descent reignited protests opposing the current citizenship policy, which has retroactively stripped citizenship of people whose ancestors migrated to the country and who cannot prove the legality of their migration. Undocumented residents face both the risk of deportation and the reality of being stateless in their own country, prohibiting them from finding a job, getting married, and having access to documentation. A researcher from Amnesty International claims that the local Dominican government has intentionally created obstacles for Haitian-Dominicans seeking registration, by poor advertising of the policy and instituting burdensome fees. The protests call for the international community to boycott the country’s tourism industry and to seize travel to the Dominican Republic, as a means to ardently stand against racism and discrimination.

Haitian’s Lynching Renews Protests Against Dominican Citizenship Law

Kenya Downs, National Public Radio

February 14, 2015

People of Haitian descent born in the Dominican Republic stand in line to apply for a birth certificate listing them as foreigners in the Dominican Republic. Those who did not meet the Feb. 1 deadline are now stateless.

A Haitian man was lynched at a public plaza in the Dominican Republic this week. Authorities there say it was the result of a personal dispute, but activists claim it’s part of rising racial animus and anti-Haitian attitudes in the Caribbean nation.

The lynching came during an already tense time for Dominicans of Haitian descent in the Dominican Republic. Feb. 1 marked the deadline for tens of thousands of them to report to the country’s civil registry to prove that their ancestors came to the nation legally. Those who didn’t — or couldn’t — comply with the deadline could be deported. For many of those affected, that could mean being deported to Haiti, a place where they’ve never lived, where they may not have any remaining family, and may not know the language.

This is all the result of a 2013 ruling by the Dominican Republic’s constitutional court which retroactively stripped citizenship of people whose ancestors migrated to the country and who can’t prove that the migration was legal. The change applies to anyone born after 1929, potentially affecting an estimated 240,000 Dominicans. The vast majority are people whose family migrated from Haiti.

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