DR must implement IACHR recommendations

Tuesday, February 25, 2014    

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WE hope that the Dominican Republic takes Jamaica's advice to implement recommendations made by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) in relation to that controversial Constitutional Court ruling made last September.

The ruling, readers will recall, arbitrarily rendered stateless more than 200,000 Haitians human beings who either migrated to the Dominican Republic many years ago or were born there.

Consistent criticism of the ruling by this newspaper resulted in the Dominican Republic's ambassador to the Organisation of American States (OAS), Mr Pedro Vergés, responding earlier this month with an assurance that he and his president, Mr Danilo Medina, would not allow the violation of any person's rights.

We will hold him to his word, even as we suspect that his country is uncomfortable discussing the issue, especially with the Haitian Government.

However, the Court ruling is a wrong that needs to be corrected, and Ambassador Vergés, in his response to the Jamaica Observer, suggested that his Government accepts that, as he said: In response to the Court's ruling, the Government is implementing a process that protects fundamental rights while documenting and guaranteeing a legal status to each and every person living on Dominican soil.

Given that admission, it won't be difficult, we presume, for the Dominican Republic to implement the IACHR recommendations, which were highlighted at last Wednesday's meeting of the OAS Permanent Council.

Those recommendations, as highlighted by Jamaica's permanent representative to the OAS, Professor Stephen Vasciannie include the restoration of nationality to all persons who had Dominican Republic nationality in the period from 1929 to 2010, and who may have lost it as a result of the Constitutional Court's decision.

The IACHR also recommended that persons with the right to Dominican Republic nationality should not be required to register as foreigners in order to have their rights recognised.

In addition, the IACHR proposed that measures and mechanisms to guarantee the right of nationality to persons harmed by the Court's judgement should be general, automatic, simple, clear, fair, non-discretionary, non-discriminatory, and must be financially accessible.

Professor Vasciannie, who is also Jamaica's ambassador to the United States, stated it well when he reiterated that Jamaica is not seeking to be critical of the Dominican Republic for the sake of criticism.

"We are saying to a friend that the matter of the Constitutional Court's decision needs to be addressed in ways that respect international human rights norms and standards," Ambassador Vasciannie correctly pointed out.

The Dominican Republic, which is obviously proud of its OAS membership, should remember that the organisation is deeply committed to the protection of human rights.

President Medina should therefore move quickly to assure us that he and his Government share this ideal.





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