Stateless: Crisis in the Dominican Republic
There is a crisis in the Dominican Republic. One that threatens statelessness for tens of thousands of Dominicans of Haitian descent. One that could end up “returning” Dominicans to Haiti, a foreign land they’ve never known as home. One that will then burden Haiti with the responsibility of caring for countless displaced persons without citizenship.
Prior to 2010 anyone born in the D.R. was considered a citizen. After that, citizenship narrowed to individuals having at least one Dominican parent or having foreign parents with legal residency. Citizenship was more severely narrowed in 2013 when, “a Dominican constitutional court ruled to revoke the citizenship of anyone born in the D.R. after 1929 to Haitian immigrant parents.” [Haitihub] That year—1929—is the year in which the modern day border between the D.R. and Haiti was established on the island of Hispaniola.
Those whose citizenship is in question face the challenge of either proving their Dominican heritage, registering as undocumented workers (the deadline was June 17, 2015), or facing “mass deportation to Haiti (where they also don’t have citizenship).” [Haitihub] Such a mass exodus would not only impact the individuals whose cultural identity and experiences are being disregarded, but also the nation of Haiti which would become responsible for some quarter of a million displaced people. “The ruling itself also perpetuates a legacy of racism and violence against Haitians in the D.R.; something that most Dominicans would like to moved beyond.” [Haitihub]
On behalf of the thousands of people facing statelessness in the D.R., let’s join together in prayer. May they be given the citizenship and dignity they deserve. May the legacy of racism and violence towards Haitians be broken. Let’s pray to end the brokenness between the D.R. and Haiti, asking the Holy Spirit to speak truth and wisdom into the hearts of those who hold the fate of many in their hands.
For more information on this story, check out the full article on Haitihub.