Haitian Diaspora FederationTHE HAITIAN DIASPORA FEDERATION DENOUNCE THE RULING OF THE CONSTITUTIONAL TRIBUNAL OF SEPTEMBER 23, 2013, REVOKING THE DOMINICAN CITIZENSHIP OF PERSONS BORN TO HAITIAN LABORERS SINCE 1929, RENDERING THEM STATELESS. DEMAND THAT THE CONSTITUTION BE AMENDED TO RESTORE THE RIGHT OF DOMINICAN NATIONALITY TO DOMINICANS OF HAITIAN DESCENT.
On September 23, 2013, the Constitutional Tribunal of the Dominican Republic revoked the nationality of Dominicans descended from Haiti.  The Constitutional Tribunal is taking away the nationality of Dominicans, who were born in the country after 1929.

Haitian Diaspora FederationTHE HAITIAN DIASPORA FEDERATION DENOUNCE THE RULING OF THE CONSTITUTIONAL TRIBUNAL OF SEPTEMBER 23, 2013, REVOKING THE DOMINICAN CITIZENSHIP OF PERSONS BORN TO HAITIAN LABORERS SINCE 1929, RENDERING THEM STATELESS. DEMAND THAT THE CONSTITUTION BE AMENDED TO RESTORE THE RIGHT OF DOMINICAN NATIONALITY TO DOMINICANS OF HAITIAN DESCENT.
On September 23, 2013, the Constitutional Tribunal of the Dominican Republic revoked the nationality of Dominicans descended from Haiti.  The Constitutional Tribunal is taking away the nationality of Dominicans, who were born in the country after 1929.  This decision was based on the modified definition of nationality under the 2010 Constitution of the Dominican Republic.  In the same ruling, the Constitutional Tribunal has requested that Dominican authorities identify all individuals, who have formally registered as Dominicans as far back as 1929 to target them for expulsions.  A witch hunt has been unleashed to render Dominicans of Haitian descent stateless.

The ruling of the Constitutional Tribunal is a blatant violation of internationally recognized principles, practices, agreements, and law.  The ruling elite sought and received constitutional and judicial cover for its strategy of cleansing the Dominican Republic of its Haitian-descended Dominican population based on ancestry and race.  It has historically maintained political power through a constant campaign of fear mongering, using Haitians and Dominicans of Haitian descent as scapegoats for past and present ills of the Dominican Republic, future threats of blackening its population, as well as bringing down its economy.  President Rafael Leonidas Trujillo Molina sought to resolve this threat by killing more than 20,000 Haitians in 1937 in what is now remembered as the “Parsley Massacre.”
 
For years, Dominicans and Haitians have crossed the borders of both countries with or without documents to work, pursue education, for pleasure, and to do business.   The children born in either country have been recognized as nationals/citizens of the country of birth under the concept of jus soli or right of the soil.  For over a century, Haitian labor has been actively sought out by successive Dominican administrations to work in their cane fields.  The fact that these generations of Haitians have worked, and continue to work in slave-like conditions, to literally build up and sustain the Dominican Republic's economy, makes this constitutional decision all the more heinous.  Due to historical conflicts and the perpetuated fear, that Haitians, represent a threat to the lighter-skinned population of the Dominican Republic,legislation, executive dictates, and negative propaganda were used to fuel societal hatred, resentment, and resistance the growth of the Haitian population in Dominican Republic. The propaganda in the Dominican Republic has been so intense that some Dominicans have taken the liberty to engage in vigilante hostility against Dominicans of Haitian descent.  In May of 2009, a Haitian man, Carlos Nérilus, was beheaded in Santo Domingo.  Less than two years prior, a Dominican mob lynched three Haitians suspected of being responsible for the murder of a Dominican store-owner. The killer was later found not to be a Haitian.
 
On a more systematic basis, the various institutions in the society have conspired to illegally deny Dominicans of Haitian descent their basic human rights as citizens, even before invoking constitutional authority.   Nothing has been more pernicious and demeaning than the refusal of institutions to register Dominicans of Haitian descent and provide them the necessary documents to access and exercise their rights.  For decades, in various hospitals throughout the country, the Dominican authorities have refused to issue birth certificates to Dominican-born babies of long-time Dominican parents of Haitian descent.  Not to be registered as a member of the society as an infant has meant that such individuals would go through life unable to access other normal services of the society, such as enrolling in school, getting a license to work or drive, traveling, appearing in court, and would consequently be subjected to living in constant fear of deportation for being undocumented.
 
In the face of such inhumane treatment, the Dominicans of Haitian descent have actively resisted on many fronts.  Organizations such as the Movimiento de Mujeres Dominico-Haitianas (MUDHA), led by the courageous Sonia Pierre, have resisted with the use of legal challenges.   In 1997, Yean and Bosico v. Dominican Republic, was brought before the Inter-American Court of Human Rights.    In 1997, the mothers of Dilcia Yean, then aged 10 months, and Violeta Bosico, then aged 12 years, went to the civil registry to ask for copies of their daughters' birth certificates. Both mothers and daughters had been born in the Dominican Republic - the mothers had documents proving their Dominican nationality. However, due to the fact that they were of Haitian descent, the civil registry refused to give them copies of their daughters’ birth certificates.   On September 8, 2005, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights issued a landmark decision in that case, “…affirming the human right to nationality as the prerequisite to the equal enjoyment of all rights as civic members of a State.  The court held that the principle of jus soli was enshrined in the constitution, and could not be further restricted…”
 
The courtfurther  held that racial discrimination in access to nationality breaches Articles 1, 21, and 27 of the American Convention of Human Rights, and concluded that the discriminatory application of nationality and birth registration laws rendered children of Haitian-descent stateless. This violated the recognition of their juridical personality, and was an affront to their dignity. They were unable to access other critical rights to education, to a lawfully registered name, and to equal protection before the law.
 
The court ordered damages of $8,000 to each of the two children, ordered that the judgment be published, and that the state apologize to the girls. They also ordered that the law be changed so as to ensure that birth certificates were issued in a way that was not discriminatory, and that there was a full judicial review of that process. Education must be available to all, no matter their background.
 
Even though the Inter-American Court of Human Rights issued the ruling, and ordered damages as well as reforms to ensure the protection of the rights of Dominicans of Haitian descent, the Dominican authorities resisted.  They reneged on their agreements and began to explore avenues to amend the then-constitution to legalize their discriminatory treatment.   They sought to introduce and pass “Amendments to the Constitution to introduce the principle of jus sanguinis” (citizenship through blood-line).  Such authority was achieved on January 26, 2010.  Under the leadership of then-President Leonel Fernandez, the Dominican Republic enacted a new Constitution, which re-introduced criteria for acquisition of Dominican nationality.  In Chapter V, Section 1, Article 18, Paragraph 3, the new Constitution states:
 
The following persons are Dominican Nationals: Any person born within the territory of the Dominican Republic except those born to members of the Diplomatic or consular missions, and foreigners who are in transit or reside illegally in Dominican territory.  For decades, "in transit" meant someone docking in the country port on a ship, or stopping for a few days visit. But in the past decade, the courts have changed this description to include migrants - event those who came with valid wok permits decades ago.  
 
In the past, the nation has promulgated and adopted numerous constitutions, and none of them repeated the 1929 definition of Nationality.  For example, the Constitutions of 1994 and 2002 did not exclude those born to persons who reside illegally in Dominican territory.   Dominicans were defined in Title III, Section I – Nationality, Art.11, as “…All persons born in the territory of the Republic, with the exception of the legitimate children of foreigners residing in the country on diplomatic missions or those who are in transit.” Under the prior constitutions, individuals born on Dominican soil were heretofore Dominican Citizens. The 2010 constitution faced notable criticism, both abroad and at home, with opponents referring to it as an "injustice" and a "step backwards" for the ensuring of human rights in the country, especially towards minorities.
 
WHAT IS TO BE DONE?
We are calling on the Haitians, the Dominican people, and the global community to defeat this state-sponsored ethnic cleansing of Haitian-descended Dominican citizens from the Dominican Republic by doing the following:
 
1)      Stand in solidarity in words and deeds with the Haitian-descended Dominicans.
2)      Call for action by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights regarding the September 2005 decision in Yean and Bosico.
3)      Appeal for U.S. diplomatic intervention and demand that Secretary of State, John Kerry bring the full force of his department into action on this issue.
4)      Demand that the United State grant Temporary Protective Status and Asylum to the Dominicans of Haitian Descent.
5)      Demand that the UN back up its condemnation of the ruling of the Constitutional Tribunal and the on-going persecution of Haitians and Dominicans of Haitian descent.
6)      Demand that the UN declare that the Constitutional Tribunal’s ruling is a violation of International Agreements against rendering people stateless;
 
FURTHERMORE, HAITIANS SHOULD DO THE FOLLOWING:
1)  Demand that President Martelly direct the Haitian Ambassador to the UN to request that the Security Council condemn the persecution of Dominicans of Haitian descent.
2)  Call for Haitians around the world to boycott the Dominican Republic.
3)  Call for President Martelly and his government to accelerate the reintegration of Haitians living in the Diaspora, including Dominicans of Haitian descent in the Dominican Republic.
 
THE HAITIAN DIASPORA WORLDWIDE SHOULD DEMAND THE FOLLOWING:
1)  Haitians  worldwide should begin to lobby our elected officials to demand the following:
    i.   That the Government of our host nations condemn this Constitutional Court ruling as a violation of international norms, treaties, and Agreements on the protection of Human rights;
   ii.  That the Government of our host nations impose trade sanctions against the Dominican Republic.
2)  Haitians in the US should build coalitions with allies, such as of the Congressional Black Caucus, the Latino Caucus, the Progressive Caucus, NAACP, Lott Carey, and others.
 
LET US STAND IN SOLIDARITY WITH THE HAITIAN-DESCENDED DOMINICANS IN THEIR FIGHT AGAINST ETHNIC CLEANSING!!!

Patriotically,

________________________________
Joseph M. Bernadel
President, Haitian Diaspora Federation
 
The Haitian Diaspora Federation is comprised of the following organizations:
            National Organization for the Advancement of Haitians - Colonel Joseph Baptiste, DDS
            Association des Medecins Haitiens a L’Etranger – Pierre Paul Cadet, M.D.
            Haitian Resource Development Foundation – Aldy Castor, M.D.
            Haitian-American Chamber of Commerce of Florida – Ms. Paola Pierre
            Rethink Haiti – Major Joseph Bernadel
            Haitian Congress to Fortify Haiti – Attorney Marie LynnToussaint
            Haitian Professionals of Philadelphia – Ms. Florcy Morisset
            Haitian Alliance Coalition of Georgia – Ms. Delbi Noel
            Haitian American Engineers and Scientists – Mr. Marc Antoine Leveille
            Haitian Hometown Associations Resource Group – Ms. Katleen Felix     
            Global Syndicates – Mr. Fabrice Armand
            FDHE-Europe – Mr. Samuel Colin
            Haiti-Jamaica Society – Ms. Myrtha Desulme

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