Report on the Situation of Human Rights in the Dominican Republic (IACHR 2015)

Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. “Report on the Situation of Human Rights in the Dominican Republic.” 2015.

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights is presenting this report to examine the
situation with regard to the rights to nationality, legal personality, equality and nondiscrimination,
as well as other related human rights from the situation created by
judgment TC/0168/13 of the Dominican Republic’s Constitutional Court on
September 23, 2013. This report will also make recommendations to ensure that the
policies, laws and practices of the Dominican Republic on these subjects are in compliance with the
international obligations that the State voluntarily undertook in the area of human
rights. The Commission is presenting this report in pursuant to its functions under
Article 106 of the Charter of the Organization of American States (hereinafter the
“OAS Charter”), Article 41 of the American Convention on Human Rights (hereinafter
the “American Convention”) and Article 58 of its Rules of Procedure.

This report examines a number of situations that concern the effective enjoyment of
the human rights of all persons under the Dominican State’s jurisdiction. The
particular focus of the report is the grave situation of persons born on Dominican
soil of Haitian descent or persons perceived as such in the Dominican Republic,
especially since the Constitutional Court delivered judgment TC/0168/13. In that
judgment, the Court established a retroactive reinterpretation of the scope of the
principle of jus soli as set forth in the June 20, 1929 Constitution,3 by equating the
phrase “immigrants in-transit” with the phrase “migrants with an irregular
migratory status”. The effect of this ruling by the Constitutional Court was that
persons, who had previously been Dominican nationals by virtue of the principle of
jus soli4, were deprived of their nationality and are now classified as stateless
persons because they cannot lay legal claim to any other nationality.