Press release

Dominican Republic Violates Basic Rights of Dominicans of Haitian Descent


In response to the Dominican Republic’s growing, institutional discrimination against Dominicans of Haitian descent, and an increase in violence against them, including the lynching of a Haitian man in a public park, Freedom House issued the following statement:

“The Dominican Republic’s actions against Haitian immigrants and Dominicans of Haitian descent are shameful examples of discrimination and violations of basic human rights,” said Carlos Ponce, director of Latin America programs. “The government should respect and protect the fundamental freedoms of Dominicans of Haitian descent and do its utmost to end discriminatory policies.”
Tensions have been rising since a 2013 ruling by the Dominican Republic’s Supreme Court that made stateless all Dominicans of Haitian descent born since 1930. In November 2014, the Constitutional Court decided to withdraw from the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR).  The ruling came days after IACHR found that migrants, specifically those of Haitian descent, continued to experience high levels of discrimination.  Anti-Haitian sentiment has been on the rise ever since that discriminatory decision. 

Due to international pressure, the Dominican government passed a law that required children of undocumented migrants to request residency permits by February 1, 2015.  Bureaucratic obstacles, lack of information and awareness of the law left the majority of Haitian descendants once again stateless. Since the February 1 deadline passed, there has been an increase of attacks and violence against people of Haitian descent, and those perceived to be Haitian.  

The Dominican Republic is rated Free in Freedom in the World 2015, and Partly Free in Freedom of the Press 2014.