Citizenship Crisis in the Dominican Republic

Tuesday April 8, 2014
3:00 - 4:30 pm
Malkin Penthouse (Littauer Building, 5th floor)
Harvard Kennedy School of Government


Migrant Descendants in the
Dominican Republic,
Nationals or Foreigners?

a panel discussion with

Douglas A. Johnson

Lecturer in Public Policy
Faculty Director, Carr Center for Human Rights Policy

Ambassador Rhadys Abreu de Polanco

Director of Human Rights of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Dominican Republic 

David Baluarte

Assistant Clinical Professor of Law
Director, Immigrant Rights Clinic
Washington and Lee University School of Law


Bridget Wooding

Director, Observatory of Migrants of the Caribbean (OBMICA)

with closing remarks by

Cristian N. Martinez

MPP Candidate, Harvard Kennedy School of Government

Since the recent constitutional law reform on Sept 23, 2013, the Dominican Republic has effectively removed the right to nationality of over 200,000 Dominicans of Haitian descent.  With this new law in place, all those who fail to prove they and their descendants held legal citizenship from 1929 until today will be stripped of their Dominican citizenship. This ruling will essentially increase the number of stateless persons from an estimated present level of 40,000 to an estimated 200,000. Beyond the violation of the internationally recognized human right to a nationality and the IACHR ruling in 2005, this also highlights the growing xenophobia and discrimination in the DR.  International bodies like the OAS, IACHR, CARICOM, and UNHCR have publicly denounced this measure and other strategic players like the US are determining the best course of action to the situation.

This event is co-sponsored by:

The Carr Center for Human Rights Policy
The David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies
The Human Rights Professional Interest Council (HKS)
The Black Student Union (HKS)
The Harvard Hatian Alliance
The Harvard Dominican Student Association