Statement on Recent Ruling by the Constitutional Court of the Dominican Republic
The Honourable Kamla Persad-Bissessar, SC, Prime Minister of The Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, met on Monday evening with the Foreign Minister of Haiti, His Excellency, Pierre-Richard Casimir, to discuss the recent ruling on nationality made by the Constitutional Court of the Dominican Republic.
On 23 September 2013 the Constitutional Court of the Dominican Republic, handed down Judgement TC/0168 that considered the status of immigrants entering the country since 1929 and that of their offspring with respect to citizenship. The ruling, which has retroactive effect, cannot be appealed.
The ruling strips Dominican citizenship from people born in the Dominican Republic during this almost 85-year period. It is also widely viewed as discriminatory as it affects mostly Dominican-born people of Haitian descent.
It is estimated that 210,000 persons born in the country of Haitian immigrant parents could become stateless, with another 34,000 born to parents of other nationalities suffering the same fate.
The Prime Minister respects the sovereign independence of the Dominican Republic and of its Constitutional Court.
Equally, she acknowledges that those in the Dominican Republic whose status and rights have been cast in doubt face a difficult situation.
The Prime Minister believes that resolving this situation is in the interest of all concerned in the region. In particular, CARICOM, of which Haiti is a member, and of which the Dominican Republican is an applicant for membership, may have a role to play.
Therefore, the Prime Minister, as the current Chair of CARICOM, will consult with the Bureau of CARICOM and the Secretary General of CARICOM, Irwin LaRocque, on the best way to contribute to bringing about that resolution.
October 15, 2013