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Caricom appeals to Dominican Republic to halt expulsions

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The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) has called on the Government of the Dominican Republic not to expel tens of thousands of Dominicans of Haitian descent. This follows statements by the Dominican Ministry of Interior and the Police, which indicate their intention to expel Dominicans of Haitian descent whose citizenship status has not been regularized.{{more}}

In reiterating its human rights concerns, the Caribbean Community emphasized that these Dominicans had been made stateless by a ruling of the Dominican Constitutional Court of 2013, which had been made retroactive to 1929, revoking their nationality. The very real possibility that they could be expelled to Haiti, a country of which they are not citizens and with which many have neither family nor language links, was an additional cause for concern.

Extremely concerned by the looming threat of the expulsion of these Dominicans, CARICOM initiated a discussion on this issue during the recent European Union-CARIFORUM High-Level Meeting in Brussels on June 11, 2015. The CARIFORUM side consisted of Heads of State and Government and Ministers of CARICOM Member States and the Dominican Republic, with the EU being represented by the President of the EU Council and the High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. The meeting was informed of the plight of the Dominicans of Haitian descent rendered stateless, both those who were documented and those who were not.

As highlighted in the Joint Communique of the High-Level Meeting, there was commitment to adhere to a number of principles, including “protection of the status of citizenship and the presumption that persons shall not be rendered stateless.” In this regard, it was agreed that “proposals to set up appropriate benchmarks and monitoring mechanisms, to be presented by CARIFORUM, will be considered.” Efforts to this end are currently underway.

The Community calls on the Dominican Republic authorities to adhere to the above principles and confirm the citizenship status of Dominicans of Haitian descent. The Community also calls on the Dominican Republic not to engage in the expulsion of Dominicans of Haitian descent and avoid creating a humanitarian crisis in our region.

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