News / Americas

Citizenship Threat Hangs Over Haiti, Dominican Talks

FILE - Haitian residents, who have been living and working undocumented in the Dominican Republic wait for Dominican immigration officials to allow them back, at a border post in Ouanaminthe, January 10, 2013.FILE - Haitian residents, who have been living and working undocumented in the Dominican Republic wait for Dominican immigration officials to allow them back, at a border post in Ouanaminthe, January 10, 2013.
x
FILE - Haitian residents, who have been living and working undocumented in the Dominican Republic wait for Dominican immigration officials to allow them back, at a border post in Ouanaminthe, January 10, 2013.
FILE - Haitian residents, who have been living and working undocumented in the Dominican Republic wait for Dominican immigration officials to allow them back, at a border post in Ouanaminthe, January 10, 2013.
Reuters
Haitian and Dominican authorities met for migration and trade talks on Tuesday under the cloud of a controversial court ruling that threatens to strip Dominican nationality from thousands of residents of Haitian descent.
 
The talks are the first under a newly created bi-national commission designed to improve often hostile relations between the neighbors. They share the island of Hispaniola, the most populous in the Caribbean, with a combined 20 million inhabitants.
 
It was unclear if and how the citizenship issue would be raised, as Dominican officials have indicated the September ruling by the country's Constitutional Court was off the table.
 
The delegations, led by Haitian Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe and the Dominican president's chief of staff, Gustavo Montalvo, posed briefly for reporters but made no comments before the talks got underway at an industrial park.
 
The talks in the Haitian border town of Ouanaminthe are being observed by Venezuela, the European Union and the CARICOM, the Caribbean's main regional organization.
 
Haiti has expressed its concern following the court decision, which critics say could render stateless 250,000 Dominican residents of Haitian ancestry.
 
Dominican President Danilo Medina agreed to the talks after a mid-December meeting with Haiti's President Michel Martelly. Medina said then his government was willing to focus on migration, trade, poverty and the environment, but that it would not discuss the country's plan to carry out the court ruling, which has sparked widespread international reproach.

Losing citizenship

The Constitutional Court ruling orders authorities to strip citizenship from children of illegal immigrants dating back to 1929, even if they were born in the country and previously held Dominican documents.
 
After conducting an audit of birth records, the government said about 24,000 people - of whom 13,672 were Haitian - would be affected by the ruling. Human rights groups suggest the number is likely exponentially higher.
 
A National Regularization Plan, called for as part of the court decision, will provide a path to permanent residency and, eventually, citizenship for those affected, the government says.
 
Although the constitution grants birthright citizenship, illegal immigrants and others deemed “in transit” are an exception and, therefore, not entitled to citizenship unless at least one of their parents was a legal resident, the court said.
 
The ruling has put the country largely at odds with the international community.
 
On December 18, U.S. State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said the Obama administration has “conveyed our deep concern to the government of the Dominican Republic.”
 
She added that the United States had “urged the government to continue close consultation with international partners and civil society to identify and expeditiously address in a humane way concerns regarding the plan's scope and reach to affected persons.”
 
CARICOM said the court ruling is out of synch with regional norms and principles. The Dominican Republic has been pushing for full membership in the organization.
 
Despite international pressure, the Dominican government has maintained it is not willing to revisit the ruling - which cannot be appealed.
 
While the Dominican decision has aroused angry reactions in Haiti, neither Lamothe, the prime minister, nor President Martelly have addressed the issue publicly, prompting criticism from human rights groups.

You May Like

Republican Majority in Congress Off to Rough Start

Standoff over Homeland Security funding exposes philosophical, tactical problems within party More

Pakistan Blocks Baloch Activist from US Trip

Human Rights Commission of Pakistan slams Islamabad officials for stopping people from leaving country to attend human rights conference More

Video Muslims Long Thrived in North Carolina Before Students Killed

Idyll shattered February 10, when three Muslim university students living in Chapel Hill were gunned down by a neighbor More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Muslims Long Thrived in N Carolina Before Slaying of 3 Studentsi
X
Jerome Socolovsky
March 05, 2015 9:04 PM
The killings of three Muslim students in North Carolina early last month came as Muslims across the United States have felt under siege, partly as a result of terrorist attacks being committed internationally in the name of their faith. But Muslims have long thrived in university cities in this part of the American South. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Muslims Long Thrived in N Carolina Before Slaying of 3 Students

The killings of three Muslim students in North Carolina early last month came as Muslims across the United States have felt under siege, partly as a result of terrorist attacks being committed internationally in the name of their faith. But Muslims have long thrived in university cities in this part of the American South. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Fuel Shortages in Nigeria Threaten Election Campaigns

Nigeria is suffering a gas shortage as the falling oil price has affected the country’s ability to import and distribute refined fuels. Coming just weeks before scheduled March 28 elections, the shortage could have a big impact on the campaign, as Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA.
Video

Video Report: Human Rights in Annexed Crimea Deteriorating

A new report by Freedom House and the Atlantic Council of the United States says the human rights situation in Crimea has deteriorated since the peninsula was annexed by Russia in March of last year. The report says the new authorities in Crimea are discriminating against minorities, suppressing freedom of expression, and forcing residents to assume Russian citizenship or leave. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video 50 Years Later African-Americans See New Voting Rights Battles Ahead

Thousands of people will gather to mark the 50th anniversary of a historic civil rights march on March 7th in Selma, Alabama. In 1965, dozens of people were seriously injured during the event known as “Bloody Sunday,” after police attacked African-American demonstrators demanding voting rights. VOA’s Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights pioneers who are still fighting for voting rights in Alabama more than 50 years later.
Video

Video Craft Brewers Taking Hold in US Beer Market

Since the 1950’s, the U.S. beer industry has been dominated by a handful of huge breweries. But in recent years, the rapid rise of small craft breweries has changed the American market and, arguably, the way people drink beer. VOA’s Jeff Custer reports.
Video

Video Video Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boy

A graphic mobile phone video is spreading on the Internet, claiming to show Iraqi forces or Shia militia executing a handcuffed Sunni boy. Experts have yet to verify the video, but already Islamic State followers are publicizing it across social media, playing on deep-rooted sectarian fears. VOA’s Jeff Seldin reports.
Video

Video Ukrainian Authorities Struggle to Secure a Divided Mariupol

Since last month's cease-fire went into effect, shelling around the port city of Mariupol has decreased, but it is thought pro-Russian separatists remain poised to attack. For the city’s authorities, a major challenge is gaining the trust of residents, while at the same time rooting out informants who are passing sensitive information to the rebels. Patrick Wells reports for VOA.
Video

Video Volunteer Gauge-Watchers Help Fine-Tune Weather Science

An observation system called CoCoRaHS is working to improve weather science, thanks to thousands of volunteers across the country who measure precipitation in their own backyards, then share their data through the Internet. VOA's Shelley Schlender reports.
Video

Video NASA Spacecraft Approaches a Dwarf Planet

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will make history on Friday, March 6, when it becomes the first man-made object to orbit a dwarf planet named Ceres. It is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, almost 500 million kilometers from Earth. Among other objectives, Dawn will try to examine two mysterious bright white spots detected on the planet’s surface. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Muslims Radicalized Online

Young Muslims are being radicalized ‘in their bedrooms’ through direct contact with Islamic State or ISIL fighters via the Internet, according to terror experts. There are growing concerns that authorities and Internet providers are not doing enough to counter online extremism - which analysts say is spread by a prolific network of online supporters around the world. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Image

Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Answers Elude Families of MH370 Passengers

For the families on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, an airline official’s statement nearly one year ago that the plane had lost contact with air traffic control at 2:40 AM is the only thing that remains confirmed. William Ide reports.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

More Americas News

ExxonMobil Set to Begin Drilling Off Guyana

Project could turn up the heat under a long-running territorial row with neighboring Venezuela
More

Peru Indigenous Groups Settle US Court Claims with Occidental

Achuar communities alleged Occidental spilled oil and dumped toxic waste while operating country's biggest oil block, triggering widespread health problems
More

Petrobras Scandal Threatens Brazil's Political, Business Elite

Executives reportedly feeling inclined to cut plea bargains that would result in less jail time in return for disclosing graft scheme details
More

Tests Indicate Argentine Prosecutor Was Slain, Ex-Wife Says

Alberto Nisman, found dead days after accusing president of involvement in cover-up, didn't commit suicide, Sandra Arroyo Salgado says
More

Canadian Pastor Detained in North Korea

Hyeon Soo Lim arrived in North Korea in late January, went to Pyongyang on a humanitarian mission and hasn't been heard from since
More

Colombia Generals Join Rebel Leaders for Peace Talks

Colombia's President Santos long resisted FARC calls for bilateral ceasefire, but since his re-election last year, he has injected urgency into negotiations
More