Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Can Haiti and the Dominican Republic repair relations after citizenship ruling?

Haitian and Dominican officials emerged from talks Tuesday with a broad-stroke agreement on how a controversial Dominican court ruling on citizenship would be carried out, marking the first sign of progress on an issue that has been central to a deteriorating relationship between the countries.

In a joint statement, the delegations said the Dominican government assured Haiti that “concrete measures will be taken to safeguard the basic rights of people of Haitian descent” living in the country.

The meeting came in response to a September ruling by the high Dominican court that strips citizenship from children of undocumented immigrants, even if they were born in the country and were previously registered.

The government, after reviewing birth records going back to 1929, said some 24,000 people will be affected, although human rights groups maintain the number is exponentially higher. The majority of people who could lose their citizenship in the Dominican Republic are of Haitian descent.

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