Supporting Rights of Dominicans of Haitian Descent

Rodneyse Bichotte, at podium, and other legislators and representatives of human rights and other organizations. (Photo via the Haitian TImes)

Rodneyse Bichotte, at podium, and other legislators and representatives of human rights and other organizations. (Photo via The Haitian Times)

[Editor’s update: In a later story, The Haitian Times reported that The New York State Assembly adopted a resolution condemning the denationalization of Dominicans of Haitian descent.  “Today’s vote sends an unequivocal message that the Dominican Republic’s persistent abuse of Dominicans of Haitian descent must stop,” Assembly member Rodneyse Bichotte said. “As happy as I am to bring my hunger strike to an end, it was nothing compared to the deprivation and persecution suffered by Dominicans of Haitian descent. I applaud my colleagues in the Assembly for joining me in voting to condemn these human rights violations.”]

New York State Assemblymember Rodneyse Bichotte has introduced a resolution urging other assembly members to pressure the U.S. Congress to condemn the Dominican Republic’s 2013 action of stripping about 250,000 Haitians born in the Dominican Republic of their citizenship, reports The Haitian Times.

“I take this action to draw the world’s eyes to the Dominican Republic’s abuse of Dominicans of Haitian descent, and efforts to strip them of their rights and citizenship,” said Bichotte, who announced yesterday she has been on a hunger strike for days.

“As a Haitian American, I would be justifiably outraged if the United States suddenly declared me a noncitizen for no other reason than my heritage. I’m no less outraged to see this done to Dominicans of Haitian descent. This is a brazen violation of their human rights.”

The Haitian Times notes that for decades the Dominican Republic had formally recognized the children of Haitian migrants born in the country as citizens, issuing them birth certificates, identity cards and passports. In September 2013, the country’s Constitutional Court ruled to deny retroactively Dominican citizenship to anyone born after 1929, who is not born to at least one parent of Dominican descent.

Bichotte’s resolution garnered support from the community.

Being recognized by a state is a fundamental right that should be afforded every human being,” the Haitian American Lawyers Association of New York (HALANY) said. “People without state recognition are vulnerable, invisible and have no protection under international law. They lack basic human rights and physical security.”

In June the Dominican government is expected to begin deportations of Dominicans of Haitian descent. Go to The Haitian Times to read what other state legislators had to say in support of the Brooklyn assemblywoman’s move.

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