Monday, February 10, 2014

Dominican Republic decision to strip Haitians of citizenship is inhumane

A whirlwind of debate was recently created by a Dominican Republic ruling which, once implemented, will strip tens of thousands of Dominicans of Haitian descent of their citizenship and put them in a limbo of statelessness. This is being condemned as an extremely racist and inhumane action by human rights groups.

The Dominican Republic's Constitutional Court is seemingly pulled from the same book as the 1937 Parsley Massacre which was a government-sponsored genocide that claimed the lives of thousands of Haitians living in the Dominican Republic. For important historical context, it is referred to as the Parsley Massacre because, without any way to visually tell Haitian-descendant Dominicans apart from non-Haitian descendant Dominicans, Dominican border guards would ask people to pronounce the word "perejil" (Spanish for "parsley"). Individuals who pronounced perejil with a Creole-sounding accent were murdered.

The significant damage this genocidal massacre caused to Haitian-Dominican relations still reverberates into the present and haunts this latest ruling by the Dominican Republic's Constitutional Court on the citizenship rights of Dominicans of Haitian descent.

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