Children of Haitian descent in Dominican Republic being barred from school, forced into labor: report-Added COMMENTARY By Haitian-Truth

A new report analyzed the impact of 2013 court ruling that could let the government retroactively strip citizenship from people of Haitian descent born in the Dominican Republic. Researchers say families with school-aged children are being turned away or harassed, leading some children to drop out of school while others are forced into underage labor.

The Associated Press
Saturday, April 12, 2014, 1:52 AM

*** USA and Canada Rights Only *** EFE/Sipa USA Protesters of Haitian ancestry hold a banner that reads ‘I am Dominican like you’ as they protest in front of the National Palace in Santo Domingo on April 8.

Children of Haitian descent born in the Dominican Republic are increasingly being barred from attending school following a court ruling that could lead to tens of thousands of people being stripped of their citizenship, according to a report released Friday.

Dozens of families with school-age children say they are being turned away or harassed due to arbitrary interpretations of the court ruling and Dominican laws, according to researchers at the Human Rights Institute at Georgetown University Law Center who compiled the report.

As a result, some children drop out of school or lose scholarships while others are forced into underage labor, said Kimberly Fetsick, one of the report’s authors.

“Children are being harmed, and their human rights are being violated,” she said. “Action must be taken to protect these children.”

 	Haitians protest against a court ruling in neighboring Dominican Republic that strips Dominican citizenship from hundreds of thousands of children born over the last 84 years to migrants deemed to be living in the country illegally, in Port-au-Prince December 6, 2013. The Dominican government has come under intense international pressure over the ruling by the country's Constitutional Court that could leave more than 200,000 Haitian migrants stateless, many of whom were born on Dominican soil decades ago. REUTERS/Marie Arago (HAITI - Tags: POLITICS) - RTX167BB © Marie Arago/Reuters Haitians in Port-au-Prince protest on Dec. 6 against a court ruling in neighboring Dominican Republic that could strip Dominican citizenship from hundreds of thousands of children.

The report analyzed one of the impacts of a September 2013 court ruling that could let the government retroactively strip citizenship mostly from people of Haitian descent born in the Dominican Republic. Human rights groups have said roughly 200,000 people could be affected, while the government put the number at 13,000 people.

Those of Haitian ancestry are increasingly being denied basic identification documents or have had those documents seized by government officials despite having been born in the Dominican Republic, leading to limited access to education, the report found. The Dominican constitution grants everyone a right to education, including children without documentation, but many school officials are requiring proof of Dominican citizenship upon enrollment or prior to national exams.

“Much of a child’s fate may depend on the kindness of individual teachers and school administrators who are willing to overlook missing documents or actively help children obtain them,” the report stated.

NOV. 12, 2013 PHOTO Dieu Nalio Chery/ASSOCIATED PRESS A Haitian man crosses into Haiti along the border with Jimani, Dominican Republic, on Nov. 12.

An estimated 48,000 children who lack identification documents are enrolled in primary school, according to 2011-2012 statistics from the Ministry of Education. Similar statistics for middle school, high school and college were not immediately available.

A spokesperson for the Ministry of Education could not be immediately reached for comment.

Fetsick and other researchers made several recommendations, including the creation of an independent panel that would allow people to file complaints and appeal decisions in citizenship-related matters.

 	A little girl holds a banner next to tens of Haiti's people descendants who protest in front of National Palace asking for their right to have Dominican nationality and denouncing the serious situation due to a September Constitutional Court's sentence in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic on 08 April 2014. This sentence is about the requirements you need to acquire Dominican nationality and affects, especially, people from Haiti. (Photo by Orlando Barria /EFE/Sipa USA) *** Local Caption *** 13380538 EFE/Sipa USA A little girl holds a banner next to Haitian descendants protesting in front of the National Palace in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, on April 8.

The court ruling has raised tensions between the Dominican Republic and Haiti, which share the island of Hispaniola. Both governments began meeting privately this year to talk about the ruling and other differences, with representatives from the United Nations, Caribbean Community, European Union and Venezuela serving as observers.

The U.N. Refugee Agency said in a statement this week that it hopes the Dominican government finds a solution to the problem soon.

“The consequences of statelessness are dramatically real for individuals affected by the ruling. They are denied access to identification cards, employment and other basic services. They cannot travel, get married legally or register the birth of a child,” said Shelly Pitterman, the agency’s regional representative in Washington, D.C. “These individuals are in desperate need of a solution.”


President Martelly promised an education  for all Haitian children.
With this in mind, he should put pressure on the Dominican president for action.
While these kids are not legally Haitian, they are from our blood.
This is criminal.


Author: `

5 thoughts on “Children of Haitian descent in Dominican Republic being barred from school, forced into labor: report-Added COMMENTARY By Haitian-Truth

  1. Honestly and historically Spain had very little African slaves in comparison to the French on Hispaniola. However, Spain did create a lot of mullatos from rape and other sexual relationships. However, Dominicans are evidently a lot more black than your typical mullato or hispanics. My point is many Dominicans (majority) have haitian blood. Contrary to Dominican’s false history they were happy when Haiti first went into Santo Domingo and banned Spain. However,later things got sour. For the 22yrs that passed while former Spain colony (now Dominicans) were Haitians the people mixed in and did for ages after the separation. They still do. Some dominicans will admit it and most wont. My concluding point is that unknowing or willfully ignorant Dominicans are mistreating their blood brothers or cousins. The problem is Haitians have not learned to stop fighting each other for the GREATER cause and Dominicans have an unresolve identity crisis.

  2. Antihaitianismo –

    Origins: 1500s through 1800s
    Human Rights Watch has stated in their reports that the perceived difference between Haitians and Dominicans can be based on colonial times from linguistic, cultural, and racial differences, where Creoles or Haitians were thought to be descendants of Black Africans while Dominicans were descendants of Spaniards mixed with the indigenous Tainos.[1] As of 2014, it remains a reality as kids or barred from schools.

    Trujillo developed a uniquely Dominican policy of racial discrimination, Antihaitianismo (“anti-Haitianism”), targeting the mostly-black inhabitants of his neighboring country and those within the Platano Curtain, including many Afro-Dominican citizens.

  3. Again this news article, comes from a study where only a very small amount of families had this situation happen to them. The reality is that more that 58,000 undocumented immigrant children are getting free education in dominican schools, most of which are from Haiti. The ministry of education has denied the allegations presented on this study, very strongly. Its obvious that there most be some exceptions and some errors might be happening, with some children, even dominican nationals but is a very exceptional and rare situation at schools, since the Dominican constitution forces primary education on all children living in the country regardless of there legal status. I read the study and it talks of a very small number of people and in a very vague and unspecific way,

    And again, the comments that appear here under the article, maintain the idea that dominicans hate haitians, that is a compete lie, we don´t, and it is not a racial issue either. The problem is basically an economic one. Because of the inability to put economical resources to regulate the border between the two countries, and because of the terrible poverty and sad Earthquake of 2010, the DR has been flooded by Haitian undocumented immigrants, because Haiti does not document its citizens, creating a very unstable situation. They, understandably, are using lots of economic public resources in the educational and healthcare public systems of the DR, which are free for people on DR. This has created an unstable and dramatic situation, not based on race but based basically on poverty. Dominicans are already overextended with its own poverty problem. So so they are very scared that this uncontrolled influx of people with no education and in extreme poverty status will jeopardised their efforts for development. If the immigration were from educated, middle class afro-Bahamians no one would be complaining, is not a race issue, is more an issue of economics. Because of this main reason they are trying to put order into the unsustainable immigration mess. The process is obviously not perfect, because of its complexity, and because DR is a young and developing democracy, but is trying to make the best result out of a very complicated issue. Please also remember that the DR is small, in size. It already has a large dense population, and basically has no need for immigration like larger more powerful economies around the world with big territories and no density in population or and ageing one, with great need of immigrants.

    The DR recognises that as a good neighbour it has a responsibility to help, it did so during the aftermath of the Earthquake, being the first and most involved country in the help to Haiti, accepting people to its hospitals, sending food, etc, but also years after that building and inaugurating a whole University Campus for the Haitian educational system on the Haitian north coast, the biggest in that country. What the DR is asking the international community is that countries with a moral and historical responsibility and debt to Haiti like France and the US take a bigger role in helping Haiti, and lighten DRs load, those countries, that have so many opinions on this matter should open their borders to Haitian immigration instead of blaming the DR for trying to solve a mayor issue to Dominican economy. DR asks the international community to put their money, resources and territories where their mouth is.

  4. Paul writes a very good article.

    Unfortunately, he misses the fact that there is a very strong anti-Haitian psychology in the Dominican Republic This has existed since the early 1800s when Haiti controlled the entire island of Hispaniola.

    How can Paul suggest there isn’t a Haitian bias when the Dominican Republic’s government is deporting Dominican born citizens, who have never been in Haiti, because they are born to people who were themselves, born in Haiti. These deportees don’t even speak Creole of French – only Spanish.

    I have met a few of these completely confused Dominicans.

    The suggestion that Haitians travel to the DR for free education is bizarre to the extreme.

    Paul’s suggestions – if true – would be wonderful.

    Unfortunately, they aren’t.

    There is a strong, and historic prejudice against Haitian in the Dominican Republic.

    Trujillo capitalized on this when he ordered the massacre of some 40,000 Haitians in 1937.

  5. Hello Anne, thanks for your comments,

    Of course there is an anti-Haitian psychology, nobody is denying that. But it wasn’t always like that, as you mentioned it has a historic background, nothing happens in a void. First of all both countries had two different colonial rulers, France and Spain, two Colonial kingdoms that where enemies, at war with each other during all the duration of the colonial period. But lets not go so far behind, people from Spanish Santo Domingo(DR) welcomed the Haitians when they arrived in 1822 with open arms. Obviously some of the Spanish and Portuguese families that owned land fled the island to Puerto Rico and Venezuela scared of ending up dead like their french counterparts on Haiti, but mixed and obviously slaved dominicans welcomed, at the beginning, the Haitian incursion. We have to remember thought, that the Haitian army was composed of people that had bravely freed themselves from slavery, which is an incredibly noble and a great achievement, but the army was composed obviously of uneducated people, traumatised by the terrible experience of slavery, that had the agenda of destroying all things european, this included all rule of law, religion, property ownership, language and education.This effort to destroy all these elements, prohibit the spanish language and the closing of the University of Santo Domingo (first in the Americas), where the components that fuelled the Dominican uprising and independence from Haiti, so yes, nothing happens in a void. This Haitian army agenda for destroying all things european is also one of the reasons, beside the US and French economic embargoes and taxation, why Haiti is in such an underdeveloped state today, having been the richest colony in the continent before their foundation as a republic. For centuries it went into an unorganised society, based on family/tribal survival, and then a dictatorship. The idea that Haiti represents an unorganised, anti-european / anti order influence on the DR sadly still lingers, but there is a historic reason for it and the economic and political chaos in Haiti today, doesn´t help change this idea, it sadly reinforces it.

    You mention that the Dominican government is doing deportations of dominican born citizens but that is untrue, all deportations of Haitians or dominicans of Haitian descent born in the DR have been halted and prohibited by law until the presidential project of naturalisation is presented to congress and a humane solution is found. The deportations being done recently are those related to illegal crossings at the border, but people born in the country are not being deported, because there´s a study being worked out from the presidency to find a better solution to the very complex issue.

    Im also happy to tell you that I´m not confused, Haitians travel in mass to the DR to flee the terrible conditions they are living in, in their own country, just like dominicans migrate abroad to first world economies for a better life. And yes they come to the DR to give birth in the clinics, also for education, many kids cross the border to get educated in the Dominican schools and then go back home to Haiti, walking miles everyday which is both inspiring and heartbreaking.

    And I think all of these situations are understandable considering the state Haiti is in today. And we want to help, we have helped, and we will and have to help. What we are asking is that there are normal controls, like in any other rule of law nation on the planet, so that this uncontrolled aid and immigration doesn’t collapse the DRs very fragile economy and young democracy. You can surely understand that the DR has the right to try to succeed as a country and as a democracy on its own terms without the weight of the reality of a neighbour country, Specially when this situation has not been created by dominican intervention, but that of International super powers like France, The US and the own population and elites in Haiti.

    We need to continue to organize our country, build a good foundation, continue to protect our environment, try to develop in a sustainable way and educate our people, including our immigrant population, but we can not become a huge refugee camp. And this it what dominicans are scared of, that after surviving so many hardships, bloody dictators, natural disasters, invasions from other countries, and after finally starting to see the light of some development we are going to be send back decades in our development time by an uncontrolled immigration problem.

    At the end of your comment you mention Trujillo, but you forget to mention that Trujillo, killed, tortured and jailed for political reasons his own population, and that he, the dictator, was killed by dominicans, yes, dominicans bravely shot him to end his cruel reign. Not the case in many other countries with similar dictatorships where the dictators died on the president seat.

    Please dont get me wrong as I said before, the DR recognises that as a good neighbour it has a responsibility to help. What the DR is asking the international community is that countries with a moral and historical responsibility and debt to Haiti like France and the US take a bigger role in helping Haiti, and lighten DRs load, DR deserves the chance to achieve it goals on a sustainable development.

    All those articles usually try to villainize dominicans, make them look to the world as racist, bad people, with no empathy and that is just not the case, Dominicans are a warm, welcoming, empathic, hardworking, caring people, who can make mistakes like any other society in the world, but do not deserve all this mistreatment.

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