Voicing deep concern over a ruling that renders countless Dominicans of Haitian descent stateless, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has urged the Dominican Government to rapidly restore the nationality of those affected.
UNHCR is deeply concerned that two months after the ruling, the situation of stateless population has not yet been adequately addressed by the authorities, according to a press release from the agency.
Moreover, it says, the Dominican Government announced its intention this week to submit to Congress a bill to allow the affected population to apply for naturalization, which will make those already considered citizens apply for naturalization.
The ruling of the Constitutional Court, effective on 23 September, introduced new criteria for acquisition of Dominican nationality with regard to children of irregular migrants born in the country.
Retroactively to 1929, the new criteria indicated that several generations of Dominicans of Haitian decent, including those officially registered as Dominican citizens at birth, no longer meet the standard for Dominican nationality.
UNHCR stressed that those affected by the judgment are not migrants and that they have deep roots in the country. The agency also encouraged the Government to take immediate action to resolve this human rights problem.
By virtue of being stateless, a person can be denied many of the rights and privileges taken for granted as a national of a country, including the right to vote, the right to travel outside of one's country and even the right to access basic services.