The Organization of American States (OAS) recently decided to hold its 46th General Assembly meeting in the Dominican Republic (DR), despite the ongoing human rights abuses against people of Haitian descent happening there. As members of OAS, CARICOM has the power to stand against OAS’ decision. In this letter, 120 organizations and individuals urge CARICOM to oppose holding the meeting in DR. They also ask CARICOM to once again stand up against DR’s discriminatory practices by making the current situation there a topic on the meeting agenda.
Part of the letter is below. Click HERE for the full text.
February 10, 2016
His Excellency Irwin LaRocque
Ambassador Colin Granderson
Assistant Secretary General
RE: OPEN LETTER – Community Response to the Organization of American States Holding the 46th General Assembly Meeting in the Dominican Republic
Dear Secretary General LaRocque and Ambassador Granderson:
It has come to our attention that the 46th General Assembly meeting of the Organization of American States (“OAS”) will be held in the Dominican Republic in 2016. Given that the member states of the Caribbean Community (“CARICOM” or “the Community”) are also members of the OAS and given CARICOM’s condemnation of the Dominican Republic’s antiimmigrant and xenophobic policies against people of Haitian descent, we write to express our vociferous protest and opposition to the Dominican Republic serving as the host country of the OAS General Assembly.
As you are aware, on September 23, 2013, the Dominican government, through a Constitutional Tribunal ruling (“TC 168-13”), summarily and retroactively stripped away the citizenship of several generations of Dominicans, predominantly of Haitian descent. According to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, this ruling created the largest stateless population in the Americas and the fifth largest in the world; the vast majority of whom are children.1 In early December 2013, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (the “Commission”) conducted an on-site visit to the Dominican Republic to observe the situation regarding, among other things, rights to nationality and identity. The Commission determined that the Constitutional Tribunal ruling “implies an arbitrary deprivation of nationality” and that the ruling “disproportionately affects individuals who are already subject to many forms of discrimination, particularly discrimination based on race and poverty.”2
Click HERE for the full text.