DR tells IACHR to reject complaints

The Dominican Republic has asked the Inter-American Human Rights Commission to declare the position taken by the organizations that are defending the rights of the descendants of Haitian migrants as inappropriate, unfounded and with no legal basis. The complaint stems from an allegation by NGOs that there is a government policy to deprive certain individuals of their nationality.

During a hearing entitled “The Judicial Response in cases of denaturalization in the Dominican Republic,” the Dominican ambassadors to the Organization of American States (OAS) and the White House, Roberto Saladin and Anibal de Castro, assisted by Migration Director Jose Ricardo Taveras and Mayerlin Cordero Diaz, deputy representative at the OAS, said that no policy of “denaturalization” exists, as the plaintiffs in the case are suggesting.

They reiterated that there was no state-sponsored discrimination against migrants. “We reaffirm most emphatically that these hearings are of a general nature and that their purpose is “to hear testimony or collect information about the human rights situation in one or more states or ‘about things in general,’ so therefore they are not called upon to hear individual cases.”

The delegation expressed the willingness of the Dominican state to continue advancing in the processing and solution of these issues according to the laws and regulations in force in this area. During the hearing, held at the OAS headquarters in Washington, it was argued that the content of Resolution No. 12 and Circular No. 17 by the Central Electoral Board (JCE) at no times makes any reference to racial criteria to suspend the issue of civil status certificates: Birth, Death, Marriage or Divorce. Neither is this criterion seen in the implementation of these dispositions.

“In these documents, the only thing that is established is a procedure for “the provisional suspension of the issue of civil status certificates that are irregular or contain mistakes.”

They were referring to the position of the Movement of Dominico-Haitian Women (Mudha) and other organizations that are arguing that 417 cases of Dominicans in which the registrars of the Civilian Registration offices, backed by the aforementioned dispositions, used racial criteria to deny the issue of documents (such as the “cedula”, birth certificates or copies of these documents). The DR representatives said that they had received only 107 complaints and showed the OAS copies of communications sent to MUDHA requesting documentation on the other 300 cases, back in July 2011.