Press Release

IACHR Installs Working Group on Implementation of Human Rights Policies in the Dominican Republic

April 3, 2018

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Washington, D.C. – The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) published in its 2017 Annual Report the creation of the Working Group on Implementation of Human Rights Policies in the Dominican Republic for the monitoring of recommendations and commitments related to the acquisition of nationality, migration, policies to combat all forms of discrimination and policies on women’s rights and gender equality.

The Working Group on Implementation of Human Rights Policies is inserted in the context of following up on the recommendations made by the IACHR in its 2015 country report and in Chapter IV of the 2016 Annual Report, in relation to the human rights situation in the Dominican Republic. Following the working visit conducted to the Dominican Republic in November of 2017, the State forwarded a note to the IACHR which contained the proposal for the creation of the aforementioned Working Group with a registry of the 12 issues of attention that had been identified by the IACHR as priorities.

Acquisition of Nationality and Migration (public policies post Judgment 168-13: Law 169-14 and the National Regularization Plan for Foreigners):

  • State measures necessary to ensure access to documentation, on an equal basis and without discrimination and expand paths to effective access to the civil register.
  • Measures to ensure birth registration, on an equal basis and without discrimination, including late registration of births.
  • Full enforcement of Law 169-14, which brings the State in full compliance and measures to facilitate the means to guarantee effective access of the population to its documentation.
  • Mechanisms to investigate and address potential cases of persons born from 2007 to 2010, who never had a birth record and did not apply through the statutory procedure, as well as the children of mixed couples.
  • Measures to advance in the implementation of the National Regularization Plan for Foreigners and offer alternatives in order to gain access to immigrant registration and documentation.
  • Measures to improve and ensure the security and safety of migrants.
  • Actions to prevent unlawful expulsions and deportations.

Policies to Combat All Forms of Discrimination

  • State measures to strengthen anti-discrimination efforts. In particular, laws and concrete programs specifically targeted to eradicate discrimination against vulnerable populations.

Women’s Rights and Gender Equality

  • Measures required to amend the regulatory and legal framework in order to ensure for all women, without discrimination, effective enjoyment of their sexual and reproductive rights;
  • Concrete actions to ensure access, on an equal basis, to services of sexual and reproductive health, in particular for women and girls with disabilities, in a situation of vulnerability because of their socioeconomic origin, their race or ethnicity, for their sexual orientation, gender identity, their immigration status and/or for their geographic location.
  • Programs aimed at achieving universal coverage, on an equal basis, of the health care system for gestating women and women in reproductive age—from 15 to 49 years old.
  • Measures to strengthen the gender perspective in the country’s criminal justice system, including the training of judges and justice operators, through an inter-institutional approach with the relevant entities of the State to contribute to combating impunity for violence against women.

The Working Group will work for a year and will meet twice, the first semester in Washington DC and the second semester in Santo Domingo.

The Commissioner Margarette May Macaulay, President of the IACHR, emphasized that: “the creation of the Working Group inserts itself in the confirmation of a new position of the state authorities of the Dominican Republic in recognizing the existence of pending challenges in the area of human rights and the express disposition for the construction of a Working Group on the topics of interest to the Inter-American System for the development of policies in the areas of attention”.

For his part, Commissioner Luis Ernesto Vargas Silva, Rapporteur for the Dominican Republic, affirmed that: “The Working Group presents itself as an opportunity to establish a structured path to follow up on the implementation of recommendations on the issues of attention and it comes as an additional mechanism to the mandates and existing tools of the IACHR to address these issues and to accompany the concreate responses by the State of the Dominican Republic.”

The Executive Secretary of the IACHR, Paulo Abrão, explained that: “The Working Group will have the participation of representatives of the State and of the IACHR. During the operations of the Working Group, meetings with civil society organizations will take place to learn about the advances or new situations that are created and that require a state response, as well as joint meetings with all of the actors. As well, at the end of its period of operation, the IACHR will publish a report on the results achieved. During the hearing civil society welcomed the initiative and presented itself to participate.”

The Working Group is a complementary tool to the process of following up on the recommendations on the situation of human rights in the Dominican Republic and represents an opportunity for the affirmation of the State’s international commitments and an important step in the implementation of the Strategic Plan of the IACHR 2017-2021, which establishes a commitment on the strengthening of the mechanisms for the follow-up of recommendations in order to strengthen the effectiveness of the Inter-American Human Rights System.

A principal, autonomous body of the Organization of American States (OAS), the IACHR derives its mandate from the OAS Charter and the American Convention on Human Rights. The Inter-American Commission has a mandate to promote respect for human rights in the region and acts as a consultative body to the OAS in this area. The Commission is composed of seven independent members who are elected in an individual capacity by the OAS General Assembly and who do not represent their countries of origin or residence.

No. 075/18