Politics, Business & Culture in the Americas

DR, Haiti to Discuss Citizenship Ruling

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Government officials from the Dominican Republic and Haiti will meet next month to discuss a controversial court decision that would take citizenship away from thousands of Dominicans of Haitian descent, Haiti’s foreign minister Pierre Richard Casimir said on Thursday.  A commission made up of five officials from both countries will meet in Ouanaminthe, a town on the Haitian border, on January 7.

Earlier this week, Dominican President Danilo Medina and Haitian President Michel Martelly, met during a summit of the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas (ALBA) and Petrocaribe. The two leaders agreed to create a commission to discuss the court ruling, which could retroactively render approximately 200,000 individuals stateless. Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro, who chaired the meeting, announced the creation of the joint commission, which will have Venezuela, the UN, the European Union and the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) as observers.

The ruling has become source of international debate, as advocates of those affected by the decision accuse the Dominican Republic of discriminating agaimst Dominicans of Haitian descent and violating their human rights. Some Haitian diaspora leaders have even called for an international boycott of the Dominican tourism industry.

The United Nations Human Rights Commission (UNHCR) has urged the Dominican Republic to restore nationality to those affected by the court decision. Critics of the court decision also published an open letter to Dominican president Medina condemning the decision.

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