Stripping Dominicans of Haitian descent of their citizenship is unjust

The traditionally strained relationship between Haiti and the Dominican Republic has sunk to a new low following the implementation of a controversial Dominican law that gives new meaning to being a bad neighbour, Canada’s Globe and Mail reports.

The Dominican government has begun annulling the citizenship of people born in the country whose parents and grandparents lacked legal residency. The move is expected to leave hundreds, even thousands, of people stateless, most of them Haitians whose families migrated across the border years ago, to work on sugar-cane plantations.

The change reflects the difficulty the Dominican government has managing the flow of undocumented Haitians who cross the border in search of work, especially after the devastation of the 2010 earthquake.

There is an understandable sense of frustration, as Dominicans confront the reality that their country cannot absorb every Haitian wanting to migrate. Already, about one million Haitians and people of Haitian descent live in the DR, a country of 10 million.

However, the solution to managing this complex issue is not to retroactively strip people of their legally acquired citizenship. This is not only racist and impractical, it is unjust. How can citizens track down documentation from 50 years ago proving their parents had legal status? The law has already been declared illegal by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, which received 457 complaints in October. “There are inherent conflicts when two countries share an island, and one is very poor and black, and the other is wealthier with a mixed-race population,” notes Carlo Dade, a senior fellow at the University of Ottawa. “But Haitians should not be treated as the bogeyman.”

The Dominican government should allow those of Haitian descent born in the DR to retain their citizenship, and resist the temptation to apply the law retroactively. It could consider investing in greater security and scrutiny at the border it shares with Haiti. There are other ways to convey to their neighbour that the Dominican Republic cannot grant a safe haven to everyone who wishes to live on the other side of Hispaniola island.

For the original report go to

6 thoughts on “Stripping Dominicans of Haitian descent of their citizenship is unjust

  1. While I agree that it is unjust to strip Haitians Dominicans of their rights as citizens and that it should be stopped, I wish that these journalist who so easily point fingers at the Dominican Republic mostly sitting in their armchairs at home, would get off their seats and actually go to Haiti do some investigating reporting and point fingers at the cause of the problems which are forcing people to migrate and large numbers. This migration is not just due to the recent earth quake, this has been going on forever. However, no one goes to Haiti and identify the true problems and points fingers at the real culprits and causes of this migration. Most of them are too scared to actually go outside their hotels in Haiti, so it is easier to go to the D.R. where its safe and things are functioning and they can go there and write about the injustices while sipping on a rum and coke in a fancy hotel. As the article points out, the Dominican Republic cannot absorb all of this migration. Canada and the rest of the world, so worried about the rights of Haitians, should open their borders to all of those millions Haitians needing to migrate and offer to relieve the Dominican Republic of this great burden. I am sure they will all fair better in these wealthy countries – instead of trying to make the D.R. the bad guy as if it was all of our fault. The D.R. is the country which helped the Haitian people the most during it’s great crisis, yet you rarely read about this. Unlike so many other countries which collected huge sums of money in the name of the Haitian people and only gave them the smallest percent if any. Many of the people affected by the Earth quake are still waiting for some of these donations to trickle down to them, instead of just sitting in the pockets of all of these NGOs. Why is this not being talked about? Lets focus on solving the cause of the problem rather than the affects.

  2. On my resent research trip to the Dominican Republic I met young Dominican-Haitian teenagers who were not enrolled in school because although they are Dominicans by right of birth, their parents are Haitian migrants, and thus, based on the new Dominican constitution, not Dominicans. This made me extremely furious, for the Dominican Republic pays the highest consequence by enforcing this constitutional law. Dominican legislators believed that such law would deter the traffic of Haitians into the country. What they don’t understand is that these kids will remain in the DR, for that is what they know; that is where they were born. They will stay in the DR, uneducated and unskilled, and in the long term, that simply hurts the Dominican economy.

    On the other hand, reading someone’s comment on the post, I realize that many Dominicans and Haitians point the finger at each other when debating Dominican-Haitian relations. I think such practice is the historical consequence of decades of Dominican-Haitian intelligentsia trying their best to scientifically—at times—blame the other side for anything.

    This blog post unusually recognizes the Dominican Republic’s inability to take-on so many Haitian migrants when the country cannot even take care of its “own people.” However, although a fact, the question is, why doesn’t the DR also repatriate the Jews who migrated to the country during WWII and the rich Cubans who substituted Cuba for the DR in post-Batista years?

  3. A peine Lennon débarque-t-il à Berlin qu’Iggy Pop, qui y avait suivi Bowie l’année précédente, rentre aux Etats-Unis, fou de jalousie. ?La chanson China Girl, lui lance-t-il avant de claquer la porte, tu peux te la foutre où je pense, je la reprends et je t’interdis de l’enregistrer.? ?OK, répond Bowie du haut de ses deux mètres cube de coke, je m’en fous, de toute fa?on, maintenant je fais équipe avec John.? On conna?t la suite : sous l’influence de Brian Eno, Robert Fripp et Yoko Ono se crée une étrange fusion entre jap-rock et krautrock électronique (de Neu ! à Kraftwerk), et les deux compères produisent la trilogie la plus expérimentale de l’histoire de la pop, qui culmine avec Hiros, en septembre?1977, une chanson (et un album) sur l’empereur Hirohito à la fois planante et gla?ante : on entend les cris de Yoko en arrière-plan, entre orgasme et r?le meurtrier. Autre tube : Dying on Thin Ice, où se mêlent à la fois des nappes synthétiques ultramodernes et des ch?urs pop très ?choubadoula?. Le son électronique fascine Bowie qui y entend à la fois les échos du nazisme et de la guerre froide. Lennon est plut?t du c?té acoustique et blues. C’est apparemment antinomique mais cela fonctionne. Dying on Thin Ice deviendra même un tube dans les nightclubs en 2003, remixé par Danny Taglia et popularisé par la série Queer as folk.
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  4. Le thème de l’incompréhension se retrouve au c?ur de la Fin du western, la deuxième pièce, qui rassemble, elle, huit interprètes. Historiquement, l’arrivée du ?coupé-décalé? en C?te-d’Ivoire correspond à peu près au début de la guerre civile en?2002. Et la ?philosophie? du mouvement (en gros, faire la fête), était largement apolitique. Ce qui constituait évidemment, dans un pays massivement bipolarisé, une fa?on de prendre position. La?Fin?du?western ne prétend pas retracer toute l’histoire du conflit ivoirien, mais la période de ?cohabitation? en?2011, entre les deux présidents, l’un, Gbagbo, refusant de reconna?tre sa défaite, l’autre, Ouattara, soutenu par la communauté internationale et retranché dans un h?tel d’Abidjan ; les comédiens – ivoiriens et allemands – interprétant des membres des deux camps.
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