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

Photogallery Americans Celebrate Thanksgiving With Feasts, Festivities

Holiday traditions include turkey dinners, 'turkey trots,' American-style football and New York parade with giant balloons More

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

With two years left in term, analysts say, president has less to lose by taking conversation on race further More

Video Italian Espresso Expands Into Space

When Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti headed for the ISS, her countrymen worried how she would survive six months drinking only instant coffee 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.
To Make A Living, Nairobi Street Vendors Face Legal Hurdles, Physical Violencei
X
Lenny Ruvaga
November 27, 2014 7:05 PM
The Nairobi City Council has been accused of brutality in dealing with hawkers in the Central Business District - in order to stop them from illegally selling their wares on the streets. Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video To Make A Living, Nairobi Street Vendors Face Legal Hurdles, Physical Violence

The Nairobi City Council has been accused of brutality in dealing with hawkers in the Central Business District - in order to stop them from illegally selling their wares on the streets. Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

Throughout the crisis in Ferguson, Missouri, President Barack Obama has urged calm, restraint and respect for the rule of law. But the events in Ferguson have prompted him to call — more openly than he has before — for profound changes to end the racism and distrust that he believes still exists between whites and blacks in the United States. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Online Magazine Gets Kids Discussing Big Questions

Teen culture in America is often criticized for being superficial. But an online magazine has been encouraging some teenagers to explore deeper issues, and rewarding their efforts. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky went to this year’s Kidspirit awards ceremony in New York.
Video

Video US Community Kicks Off Thanksgiving With Parade

Thursday is Thanksgiving in the United States, a holiday whose roots go back to the country's earliest days as a British colony. One way Americans celebrate the occasion is with parades. Anush Avetisyan takes us to one such event on the day before Thanksgiving near Washington, where a community's diversity is on display. Joy Wagner narrates
Video

Video Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Change

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Mali Attempts to Shut Down Ebola Transmission Chain

Senegal and Nigeria were able to stop small Ebola outbreaks by closely monitoring those who had contact with the sick person and quickly isolating anyone with symptoms. Mali is now scrambling to do the same. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Mali on what the country is doing to shut down the chain of transmission.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid

More Americas News

Mexican Leader Announces Nationwide Crime Crackdown

Announcement comes as 11 mutilated bodies found in violence-racked Guerrero state
More

Soccer Icon Pele Moved to Special Care Unit

Legendary soccer player's personal aide says Pele, who is suffering a urinary tract infection, is 'completely fine,' move was primarily to protect his privacy
More

Venezuela’s Military Introduces Hugo Chavez Course

Fans say it promotes late leader’s humanist values; critics deride it as deification
More

Video Talks on New UN Climate Treaty Set Next Week in Peru

Representatives from 200 countries will discuss emissions reductions, setting stage for broader talks in 2015
More

Colombia's FARC Free Two Soldiers to Restart Talks

Troops taken captive in restive eastern department of Arauca in November 9 military operation freed with help of ICRC
More

FARC Leader Faults Colombia's Suspension of Peace Talks

Guerrilla chief Rodrigo Londono says government's action violates terms of agreement that brought rebels to negotiating table
More