ashington, DC, October 23rd 2014- The Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR) ruled that the Dominican Republic violated the human rights of 26 people—among them 15 children—as a result of discrimination, forcible expulsions, denationalization policies and breach of duty to prevent statelessness.
In the case Expelled Dominican and Haitian Persons vs. The Dominican Republic, the IACHR determined that at the time the event took place there existed a " systematic pattern of expulsions , including through collective acts or procedures that did not involve an individualized analysis of Haitians and people of Haitian descent , which reflects a discriminatory conception. "
The Court also found the Dominican Republic implemented laws that violated the right to a nationality, the right to legal personality, the right to identity, the right to equality before the law and the obligation to prevent statelessness, among others.
"Treating people born in the Dominican Republic like foreigners through a process of naturalization, even for a very limited time, implies a complete disregard of their right to a nationality," said Francisco Quintana, CEJIL’s Program Director for the Andean Region , North America and the Caribbean. "This ruling clearly and indisputably determines the best way to guarantee the rights to citizenship and subject individuals to collective, arbitrary expulsions."
The Inter-American Court’s ruling established that the Dominican Republic must take all necessary measures to override all rules, practices, or decisions which arbitrarily deprive people of the right to citizenship if they were born in the Dominican Republic and had no immediate access to any other nationality. As part of its plan for reparations, the Dominican government will need to sensitivity training in order to ensure its operatives avoid racial discrimination , observe the guarantees of due process during immigration proceedings and do not conduct mass expulsions.
CEJIL litigated the case in partnership with the Dominican - Haitian Women's Movement (MUDHA) of Dominican Republic, the Human Rights Clinic at the University of Columbia, USA and the Support Group for Returnees and Refugees (GARR ) in Haiti