Organisation of American States to send representatives to the Dominican Republic
Following a debate by the Permanent Council of the Organization of American States (OAS) regarding the decision to strip the nationality from hundreds of thousands of Dominicans of Haitian descent by authorities in the Dominican Republic, the OAS Secretary General José Miguel Insulza has stated that he will visit the country soon to examine this case.
The ruling, taken in the Dominican Republic on 23rd September 2013, has rendered hundreds of thousands of Dominican citizens of Haitian descent stateless.
The Permanent Representative of St. Vincent and the Grenadines La Celia Prince spoke on behalf of members of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) at the Permanent Council. She highlighted that the decision to retroactively strip Dominican citizens born to foreign parents of their nationality has created a huge level of controversy and stated that this was the most “appalling and galling” aspect of the ruling.
During the debate, Ambassador Prince rose a number of important observations:
– It was regarded as a willful oversight that it has already taken over one month for this case to be discussed in a formal capacity and she expressed regret that there has been no official announcement made with regards to this
– Ambassador Prince questioned the civic and economic rights of the individuals affected. She also asked about the legitimacy of past elections in which they have already voted. What, for example, of the individuals who have legitimately faced the electorate and who may have been duly elected to public office? Will they be stripped of their post?
– How will affected individuals petition the court on matters such as divorce, domestic abuse, child abuse, child support, etc.? What of the rights to inheritance and property rights?
– What of the individuals who own businesses and employ others in the Dominican Republic? Are those who are being denationalised to cease paying taxes?
The Permanent Representative of Haiti to the OAS, Duly Brutus, also spoke of his concerns with regards to the decision.
To read the official press release of the OAS Permanent Council discussion please click here
Below is the video (the debate begins in English from minute six).