CARICOM Ambassadors meeting with His Excellency Andres Navarro Garcia, Foreign Minister of the Dominican Republic

(MFA) — 30th June, 2015: Foreign Minister of the Dominican Republic H.E. Andres Navarro Garcia on Tuesday, 30th June 2015 addressed The Permanent Council of the Organisation of American States (OAS), delivered a presentation on the current situation regarding relations with Haiti, the regularization of persons of Haitian descent, the concerns of CARICOM and mechanisms to address these concerns. Ambassador Bocchit Edmond of Haiti also delivered a statement. The Bahamas also presented on behalf of CARICOM.

Mrs. Kemoy Liburd-Chow, Counselor in the Permanent Mission to the OAS, who was accompanied Dr Everson Hull, Ambassador-designate, delivered a statement on the Federation’s position on the current human rights situation in the Dominican Republic.

Other countries presented included Barbados, Canada, Colombia, Dominica, Jamaica, Mexico, Trinidad and Tobago, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, the United States of America and Venezuela.

CARICOM Ambassadors accredited to the OAS had earlier that day met with Foreign Affairs Minister Navarro Garcia.

In October 2013, the Dominican Republic’s Constitutional Court overturned the practice of granting citizenship to all persons born in the Dominican Republic. This ruling affected all persons born after 1929. Mrs. Liburd-Chow stated that the Government of St Kitts and Nevis “strongly condemns the ruling of the Constitutional Court of the Dominican Republic, as it viewed the ruling as a violation of the civil and political rights of those affected. The ruling retracted citizenship of individuals, majority of Haitian descent, who have laboured and sacrificed for decades to build the cultural, economic and social fabric of their country of citizenship, the Dominican Republic.”

In 2014, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights ordered the Dominican Republic to repeal the constitutional decision and “to take all necessary steps to adopt all juridical measures in order to offer a more simplified birth registration process, which can be accessed by a large group of persons.”

As of June 19th, 2015, persons without regularised status have been deported; others have voluntarily left and the influx of Dominican Republic citizens to Haiti has the potential to create a human rights disaster, compounding the lingering effects of the catastrophic earthquake of January 12th, 2012, from which the country has not yet recovered. The action of the Dominican Republic has the potential to render hundreds of thousands of citizens stateless.

The Secretary General of the OAS proposed that a Mission be deployed to the Dominican Republic and Haiti not merely to observe, but also to address some of the apparent irreconcilable differences. Foreign Minister Navarro Garcia expressed his Government’s willingness to receive said Mission.

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