In “Stateless in the Dominican Republic” COHA delves into the conditions of many Haitians who find themselves in limbo as stateless people in the Dominican Republic. As Kaitlin Porter reports, stateless people—those without citizenship or nationality—represent a vastly underreported problem and a chronic international diplomatic dilemma:
“Without a country, the stateless lack adequate governmental protection and are chronically denied inalienable human rights. Stateless people live in constant danger of being deported; however, they lack a home country to return to. Without citizenship, they are unable to receive health care or education, and lack any form of representation in government. For example, in the case of the Dominican Republic, 90 percent of Haitian men work predominantly in the agricultural and industrial sectors, and almost 90 percent of these have either no schooling or have achieved only a rudimentary elementary education. It is unlikely that this situation will change. Without legal status, the growing Haitian population cannot enjoy full participation in society.”
Porter provides a succinct summary of the historical events and circumstances leading up to the present situation, including the Haitian Revolution, the Trujillo dictatorship, the Haitian Massacre of 1937, and the complex layers of racial discrimination and conflict affecting political and social development, to illustrate how a generation of people of Haitian descent, born on Dominican soil, can still be denied citizenship and become a population of stateless people. She explains that “in the case of refusing citizenship to people of Haitian descent—even those born in the Dominican Republic—nationality criteria is based on ethnicity and descent rather than legality” and that parameters for citizenship are based on contradictory principles. Porter also provides insight into the plight of the stateless who are exposed to human rights violations and poverty, and who are also highly vulnerable to human trafficking, especially of children [also see I Too Am Haiti: Campaign to Fight Child Traffic and Exploitation in Haiti]. Since the stateless are considered illegal aliens, there are no structures set into place to protect these people on either side of the border.
For full article, see http://www.coha.org/2009/08/stateless-in-the-dominican-republic/