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UNICEF Warns of Dominican Republic Citizenship Ruling’s Impact on Children

By: Caribbean Journal Staff - October 11, 2013

Above: the National Palace in the Dominican Republic

By the Caribbean Journal staff

A recent ruling by the Dominican Republic’s Constitutional Court that could deprive hundreds of thousands of Dominican-born Haitians of their citizenship could have a “devastating impact” on thousands of children in the country, UNICEF said this week.

Without a nationality, the world organization said, stateless children could be denied access to basic social protection programmes, could fail to earn education certificates or even lack an identity card.

“The decision contradicts numerous court decisions and treaties to which the Dominican Republic is party, and contravenes basic principles of human rights,” UNICEF said in a statement.

“A 2005 judgment by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights on the issue of nationality in the Dominican Republic and the recommendations made by the UN Treaty-based bodies and the Human Rights Council clearly set out that cases involving the violations of children’s rights are particularly serious,” the international children’s organization said.

The organization said it urged the Dominican Republic’s government to “adopt, with the support of the United Nations system, a procedure to protect every child’s right to acquire a nationality, in accordance with the country’s international human rights obligations.”

The case has led to strained ties between Haiti and the Dominican Republic, although the two sides have been holding discussions on the issue.

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