CARICOM and the OECS Condemn DR Nationality Ruling
CARICOM STATEMENT ON DEVELOPMENTS IN THE AFTERMATH OF THE RULING OF THE CONSTITUTIONAL COURT OF THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC ON NATIONALITY
Nov. 26 2013, Trinidad and Tobago – The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) condemns the abhorrent and discriminatory ruling of September 23, 2013, of the Constitutional Court of the Dominican Republic on nationality which retroactively strips tens of thousands of Dominicans, mostly of Haitian descent, of citizenship rendering them stateless and with no recourse to appeal.
It is especially repugnant that the ruling ignores the 2005 judgement made by the Inter-American Court on Human Rights (IACHR) that the Dominican Republic adapt its immigration laws and practices in accordance with the provisions of the American Convention on Human Rights. The ruling also violates the Dominican Republic’s international human rights obligations. Furthermore, the ruling has created an environment where, with the abrogation of rights that flow from citizenship, arbitrariness can flourish as illustrated by recent media reports of the forced deportation to Haiti of persons claiming to be Dominican and with no linguistic or familial ties to that country.
The Caribbean Community reiterates its call to the Government of the Dominican Republic to take the necessary political, legislative, judicial and administrative steps urgently to redress the grave humanitarian situation created by the ruling. The Community also calls on regional and hemispheric countries and organisations to lend their voice to urge the Dominican Republic to right this terrible wrong.
The Community welcomes the intervention by Venezuela to assist in resolving the issue but given the grave humanitarian implications of the court ruling the Community cannot allow its relationship with the Dominican Republic to continue as normal. In that regard, the Community, at this time, will suspend consideration of the request by the Dominican Republic for membership of the Caribbean Community. Furthermore, the Community will review its relationship with the Dominican Republic in other fora including that of CARIFORUM, CELAC and the OAS. It cannot be business as usual.
CARICOM supports the visit of the Inter American Commission on Human Rights and will request an advisory opinion from the Inter American Court of Human Rights. The Community will also consider the introduction of a Resolution at the United Nations General Assembly condemning the ruling.
Moreover we call on the global and regional community to pressure the government of the Dominican Republic to adopt urgent measures to ensure that the jaundiced decision of the Constitutional Court does not stand and that the full citizenship rights of persons of Haitian descent, born in the Dominican Republic are guaranteed. The Caribbean Community accords this matter the highest priority.
Nov. 25, 2013 – We, the Authority of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) meeting in Montserrat at our 58th Meeting, express our collective abhorrence at the 23 September 2013 ruling of the Constitutional Court of the Dominican Republic that effectively renders stateless, thousands of men, women and children mostly of Haitian descent.
The decision of the Constitutional Court is repulsive and discriminatory. We deeply regret the failure of the Government of the Dominican Republic to take corrective measures. Accordingly, we call on the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) of which our individual countries are also Members, to suspend immediately any consideration of the application by the Dominican Republic for membership of CARICOM.
Further, until this injustice has been addressed, the Member States of the OECS would find it extremely
difficult to engage with the Dominican Republic in various fora including within the councils of the Caribbean Forum of African Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (CARIFORUM).
Equally, consideration ought to be accorded by the relevant authorities to the continued participation in the Petro Caribe Agreement of the Dominican Republic until a credible plan of corrective measures be elaborated for implementation in the shortest possible time by the Government of the Dominican Republic regarding the issue at hand.
We also call on other regional and hemispheric organisations such as the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) to speak out unequivocally in condemnation of this ruling. The individual and collective voices of all who believe in and are committed to human rights and justice for all must now be raised to urge the Dominican Republic to right this terrible wrong.