The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) has suspended the application of the Dominican Republic for membership in light of the court ruling denying citizenship to thousand of persons, mostly of Haitian descent, born in the Dominican Republic after 1929, saying, “It cannot be business as usual.”
The regional bloc says it welcomes the intervention by Venezuela to assist in resolving the issue but added that given the grave humanitarian implications of the court ruling, the Community “cannot allow its relationship with the Dominican Republic to continue as normal.
“In that regard, the Community, at this time, will suspend consideration of the request by the Dominican Republic for membership of the Caribbean Community.
“Furthermore, the Community will review its relationship with the Dominican Republic in other fora including that of CARIFORUM, CELAC and the OAS. It cannot be business as usual,” CARICOM said in a statement Tuesday after leaders of the three-member CARICOM Bureau, comprising Trinidad and Tobago, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Haiti, met in Port-of-Spain on Tuesday.
The Sept. 23 ruling by the Constitutional Court in the Dominican Republic has been widely condemned internationally.
Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves, who has written twice to President of the Dominican Republic, Danilo Medina, emerging as one of the most vocal critic in the region.
(Read: Gonsalves continues efforts to isolate Dominican Republic over court ruling)
The Bureau said that it “condemns the abhorrent and discriminatory ruling”, noting that persons stripped of citizenship are rendered them stateless, with no recourse to appeal.
In as statement after the meeting, the Bureau said, “It is especially repugnant that the ruling ignores the 2005 judgement made by the Inter-American Court on Human Rights (IACHR) that the Dominican Republic adapt its immigration laws and practices in accordance with the provisions of the American Convention on Human Rights.
It said the ruling violates the Dominican Republic’s international human rights obligations and has created an environment where, “with the abrogation of rights that flow from citizenship, arbitrariness can flourish as illustrated by recent media reports of the forced deportation to Haiti of persons claiming to be Dominican and with no linguistic or familial ties to that country”. CARICOM reiterated its call to the Government of the Dominican Republic to “take the necessary political, legislative, judicial and administrative steps urgently to redress the grave humanitarian situation created by the ruling.
“The Community also calls on regional and hemispheric countries and organisations to lend their voice to urge the Dominican Republic to right this terrible wrong.”
CARICOM said that it supports the visit of the Inter American Commission on Human Rights and will request an advisory opinion from the Inter American Court of Human Rights.
Further, CARICOM will also consider the introduction of a Resolution at the United Nations General Assembly condemning the ruling.
“Moreover we call on the global and regional community to pressure the government of the Dominican Republic to adopt urgent measures to ensure that the jaundiced decision of the Constitutional Court does not stand and that the full citizenship rights of persons of Haitian descent, born in the Dominican Republic are guaranteed. The Caribbean Community accords this matter the highest priority.”
CARICOM said it is prepared to engage the Dominican Republic “but the government of the Dominican Republic must show good faith by immediate credible steps as part of an overall plan to resolve the nationality and attendant issues in the shortest possible time”.