Bridget Wooding
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Supra-national jurisprudence
Necessary but insufficient to contest statelessness in the Dominican Republic
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Following a decade of restrictive measures on migration and nationality matters, in late 2013 the Constitutional Tribunal in Santo Domingo issued a ruling which effectively denationalised over 130,000 Dominicans of mainly Haitian ancestry. Despite some limited pushback achieved by civil society actors and their allies at home and abroad and notwithstanding official rhetoric to the contrary, this egregious violation of human rights is far from being redressed. This chapter analyses the policy environment in recent years with an eye to anticipating future developments. Compared with international norms for addressing statelessness, the legal framework developed and operated in the country since 2014 is inadequate but nevertheless gives human rights defenders some space with which to manoeuver to restore the rights of nationality-stripped persons. The respective roles of international human rights actors and local organisations will be explored to assess the extent to which there has been effective complementarity in both drawing attention to limitations in the framing of the problem, as well as in the operation of relevant legislation. In particular, the chapter interrogates why important regional jurisprudence on statelessness emanating from the inter-American human rights system has not been met with compliance on the ground – rather, generating backlash. In sum, what are the prospects for better governance of labour migration on the island? Will there be more progress towards inclusion of the descendants of Haitian migrant workers born in the Dominican Republic, overcoming persistent discrimination and discretionary legal latitude and practice which continue to serve to exclude one ethnic minority?

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