Dominican Republic Revokes Citizenship for Ethnic Haitians

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The Constitutional Court of the Dominican Republic ruled Sept. 23 to retroactively strip citizenship from people born in the country after 1929 whose parents had an irregular migratory status. The sentence refers to the case of 29-year-old Juliana Deguis Pierre, the daughter of Haitian parents who according to the court does not fulfill the requirements in order to be registered as a Dominican citizen. The regulatory action will affect around 210,000 people of Haitian origin born in the Dominican Republic who due to this measure would face statelessness and restriction of their rights.

Amnesty International appealed to the Dominican government not to apply the sentence of the Constitutional Court.

"The full implementation of this ruling will have a devastating impact on the lives of hundreds of thousands of people whose identity documents would be cancelled and, therefore, would see many of their human rights -- freedom of movement, education, work and access to healthcare -- totally denied," said Chiara Liguori, Amnesty International researcher on the Caribbean, who added that the ruling is the last of a number of administrative, legislative and judicial decisions that since the early 2000s have had the effect of retroactively depriving Dominicans of Haitian descent of their Dominican nationality.

The ruling, Amnesty International says, also violates the Dominican Constitution which clearly prohibits the approval of retroactive measures. Nevertheless, Dominican authorities like the president of the Senate, Reinaldo Pared Pérez, consider it "an act of full sovereignty."

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