CSA Statement on the Denaturalization and Deportation of Dominicans of Haitian Descent

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The Caribbean Studies Association unequivocally condemns the denaturalization and deportation of Dominicans of Haitian Descent from the Dominican Republic. We regard this as a distinct violation of their human rights, a dis-regard for human dignity and an absolute travesty against the history and meaning of Caribbean community. We ask all international institutions to intervene to pre-empt this tragedy in the making.

As the executive council of the CSA, which is the primary association for scholars and practitioners working on the Caribbean Region, we represent over 1100 members. As a body, we stand firmly against the human rights violations against persons of Haitian Descent in the DR. We denounce the Dominican Republic’s Constitutional Tribunal Ruling 168-13 and the change of citizenship policy in September 2013, which stripped the citizenship rights of Dominicans born to Haitian immigrants as far back as 1929, as well as Law 169-14 that passed in May 2014, which established requirements and rules for naturalization of people born in the DR to undocumented migrants.

The ruling and passage of the law were and continue to be strongly condemned by a number of Caribbean governments, the United Nations, civil society organizations, and social justice activists (regionally and internationally). The plan gave Dominicans only 18 months to acquire the necessary paperwork (end of February) to become documented, and even with the 90 days extension (15 June 2015), many persons have been unable to secure the documentation to meet the new requirements of the DR government. Therefore, a serious and egregious crisis continues as hundreds of thousands of people born in the Dominican Republic without “regularization” documents will be rendered without status and subject to deportation (with no “right” to stay in the country of their birth). Many of these persons are of Haitian descent. Additionally, the question of deportation raises major international law conventions, particularly in light of the fact that many of those potentially affected, were born in the DR, are culturally Dominican, and have very little (if any) direct connections to Haiti. As a consequence, they have been rendered stateless by this ruling and law.

This is undoubtedly a violation of rights to citizenship, and in particular for those who are most vulnerable (Dominicans of Haitian ancestry generally and those working along the border especially). As the extension has now officially passed, the DR government will be legally able to deport persons without documentation even if they were born in the DR. As a number of international and regional reports suggest, the DR is preparing for mass deportations.

The CSA stands in support of the inviolable human right to citizenship. There must be an urgent and effective regional response to the issue of migration rights, and a collaborative endeavor to forge reasonable solutions to concerns over labor, borders, and migration. The CSA calls on Caribbean governments, activists, scholars, civil society organizations, members and their affiliates to continue the work of redressing these violations and working towards social justice.

CSA Executive Council
June 2015

See the following articles written by Caribbean writers and scholar-activists:

Myriam Chancy, “Are You Haitian? Apartheid in the Americas,” Asterix Journal:
http://asterixjournal.com/apartheid-americas-haitian-myriam-j-chancy-ph-d/

Edwidge Danticat, “Fear of Deportation in the Dominican Republic,” New Yorker:
http://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/fear-of-deportation-in-the-dominican-republic

Edwidge Danticat, interviewed on Democracy Now:
http://www.democracynow.org/2015/6/17/the_dominican_republics_ethnic_purging_edwidge

Angelique V. Nixon and Alissa Trotz – “Where is the Outrage? – Tenuous Relations of Human Rights and Migration,” Groundation Grenada and Stabroek News:
http://groundationgrenada.com/2015/06/12/where-is-the-outrage/
http://www.stabroeknews.com/2015/features/in-the-diaspora/06/15/where-is-the-outrage-tenuous-relations-of-human-rights-and-migration/

Gina Ulysse, “Meditation on Haiti and Charleston as a Certain Kind of Black,” Africa is a Country:

http://africasacountry.com/meditation-on-haiti-and-charleston-as-a-certain-kind-of-black/

Conversation with Edwidge Danticat and Junot Diaz, “The Dominican Republic and Haiti: A Shared View from the Diaspora,” Americas Quarterly:
http://americasquarterly.org/content/dominican-republic-and-haiti-shared-view-diaspora

Angelique V. Nixon, “Limbo Citizens or Stateless People? – Human Rights Migration and for the Future of Dominicans of Haitian Ancestry,” Groundation Grenada:
http://groundationgrenada.com/2013/11/05/limbo-citizens-or-stateless-people-human-rights-migration-and-the-future-for-dominicans-of-haitian-ancestry/

Consider signing these petitions (to Caribbean governments):

https://www.change.org/p/government-of-caricom-protect-the-rights-of-dominican-citizens-of-haitian-descent-in-the-dominican-republic

https://secure.avaaz.org/en/petition/Caribbean_Governments_STOP_DOMINICAN_REPUBLIC_APARTHEID_AGAINST_DOMINICANS_OF_HAITIAN_HERITAGE/

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