Press Release

IACHR presents the results of its efforts to monitor the Working Group on the Implementation of Human Rights Policies in the Dominican Republic

October 25, 2019

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Washington, D.C. - The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) presents its report on the results of the Working Group on the Implementation of Human Rights Policies in the Dominican Republic, after monitoring over eight months the commitments made by the Dominican State.

During 2018, the IACHR held with the State and with Dominican civil society two sessions of the Working Group on the Implementation of Public Policies Regarding Human Rights in the Dominican Republic. The aim of these sessions was to follow-up on recommendations and commitments concerning the acquisition of citizenship, migration, policies to fight all forms of discrimination, and policies on women’s rights and gender equality. The Working Group was set up as a tool to supplement the process of broadly following up on recommendations about the situation of human rights in the Dominican Republic.

In March 2019, the IACHR presented its follow-up report on the Working Group on the Implementation of Human Rights Policies in the Dominican Republic (Chapter V of the IACHR’s Annual Report for 2018) and on recommendations made in the Commission’s country reports. The report assessed the Working Group’s progress and pending challenges, as well as a series of actions conducted by the State during 2018—including the launch of the Working Group on the Implementation of Human Rights Policies in the Dominican Republic—which were adopted to improve dialogue with the IACHR in the search for solutions to critical situations mentioned throughout Chapter V of the Annual Report. In its report, however, the IACHR also observed that some tasks and challenges remained pending to ensure full compliance with its recommendations.

On January 25, 2019, the Dominican State sent the IACHR a letter detailing that State’s commitments for 2019, as agreed by the Working Group: (1) holding a working meeting with civil society; (2) responding to a mid-year IACHR human rights questionnaire; (3) providing IACHR-led human rights training for public servants; and (4) presenting an end-of-year report in Washington, D.C. to explain progress made by the country regarding human rights.

The IACHR welcomes the measures taken by the Dominican State to comply with its commitments on this issue. The State has informed the IACHR of a working meeting held with civil society on May 23, 2019, while the IACHR led training sessions for public servants on August 13–14, 2019. Training addressed the norms and standards of the Inter-American Human Rights System concerning migration, access to nationality, and discrimination against women, LGBTI persons, and Afro-descendant persons. Representatives of the Presidency, the Legal Council Office of the Presidency, the Central Electoral Board, the General Prosecutor’s Office, the General Migration Directorate, the Ministries of Women, Culture, Foreign Affairs, and Labor, the Ministry of the Interior and the Police, the National Housing Institute, the General Prisons Directorate, the National Council for Ageing Adults, the CONANI, and the CONAVIHSIDA were among the 35 participants in these sessions. Furthermore, on August 8, 2019, the IACHR sent the Dominican Republic its questionnaire to collect information on the progress made in public policies focused on human rights.

“The Working Group gave us a major opportunity to consolidate dialogue with Dominican civil society and with the Dominican State, which is now reflected in a series of commitments made by the Dominican State to keep working together to follow up on the recommendations issued by the IACHR,” said Commissioner Luis Ernesto Vargas Silva, IACHR Rapporteur on the Rights of Migrants and country rapporteur for the Dominican Republic.

“For the IACHR, it is extremely important to ensure direct collaboration with the Dominican State and civil society. Progress regarding the commitments made by the Dominican State could—gradually and in the long term—lead to the attainment of solutions that ensure the effective enjoyment of human rights for all people in the Dominican Republic,” said Commissioner Margarette May Macaulay, IACHR Rapporteur on the Rights of Women and on the Rights of Afro-Descendants and against Racial Discrimination.

The Inter-American Commission reiterates its commitment to cooperate with the Dominican State in the search for solutions to the problems identified by the Working Group. The Commission encourages the State to keep up its open attitude and to implement the recommendations and reparation measures issued by the Commission and by the Inter-American Court, to ensure that the current legal framework and its enforcement by Dominican authorities ensure an effective enjoyment of human rights for all people in the Dominican Republic, in keeping with the country’s international human rights obligations.

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 and to defend 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. 273/19