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Hundreds in DR protest new law

SHERRYLYN CLARKE, [email protected]

Hundreds in DR protest new law

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SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic (CMC) – Hundreds of people took to the streets in support of a controversial Constitutional Court ruling that could render stateless, thousands of persons of Haitian descent.
The demonstrators assembled opposition Independence Park in the capital carrying banners rejecting the presence of Haitians in the country and even suggesting the erection of a wall to ensure the division of Hispaniola that is shared by Haiti and the Dominican Republic.
The demonstrators said the “Patriotic Meeting” was aimed at lending support to the ruling of the Constitutional Court that children born in the country of undocumented foreign parents do not have Dominican nationality.
The Caribbean Community (CARICOM, as well as the Washington-based Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, have criticized the ruling made on September 23, with the IACHR saying that it “retroactively modifies legislation that was in effect from 1929 to 2010, and thus would strip Dominican citizenship from tens of thousands of people born in the Dominican Republic”.
CARICOM secretary general Irwin La Rocque said the ruling “raises a serious question about the status of the numerous… Dominican Republic nationals of Haitian extract” while St Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister D. Ralph Gonsalves, in a letter to President Danilo Medina, said the court’s decision was “unacceptable in any civilized community”.
The international human rights group, Amnesty International and the Organization of American States have also expressed concern over the ruling and the US-based Council on Hemispheric Affairs said the ruling had turned the Dominican Republic into a “ticking time bomb”.