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The Haitian Constitution of re-legalizes dual citizenship, allowing for Haitians living abroad to own land and run for Haitian political office except for offices of president, prime minister, senator or member of the lower house of Parliament. The official languages of Haiti are French and Haitian Creole. Traditionally, the two languages served different functions, with Haitian Creole the informal everyday language of all the people, regardless of social class, and French the language of formal situations: However, because the vast majority of Haitians speak only Creole, there have been efforts in recent years to expand its use.

In , a law was passed that permitted Creole to be the language of instruction, and the Constitution of gave Creole the status of a national language. However, it was only in that the Constitution granted official status to Creole. Haitian art, known for its vibrant color work and expressive design, is a complex tradition, reflecting strong African roots with Indigenous American and European aesthetic and religious influences. It is a very important representation of Haitian culture and history. Haitian art is distinctive, particularly in painting and sculpture where brilliant colors, naive perspective and sly humor characterize it.

Frequent subjects in Haitian art include big, delectable foods, lush landscapes, market activities, jungle animals, rituals, dances, and gods. Artists frequently paint in fables. The music of Haiti combines a wide range of influences drawn from the many people who have settled on this Caribbean island.

It reflects French, African rhythms, Spanish elements and others who have inhabited the island of Hispaniola and minor native Taino influences. Youth attend parties at nightclubs called discos , pronounced "deece-ko" , and attend Bal. This term is the French word for ball, as in a formal dance.

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Compas, short for compas direct , is a complex, ever-changing music that arose from African rhythms and European ballroom dancing, mixed with Haiti's bourgeois culture. It is commonly spelled as it is pronounced as kompa. Until , Haiti had no recorded music, until Jazz Guignard was recorded non-commercially. One of the most celebrated Haitian artists today is Wyclef Jean. Wyclef Jean, however, left the country before his teenage years and began the Fugees with Laury Hill and Peas, who together went on to become the biggest selling hip hop group of all time with The Score released in Haitian cuisine originates from several culinary styles from the various historical ethnic groups that populated the western portion of the island of Hispaniola.

Haitian cuisine is similar to the rest of the Latin-Caribbean the French and the Spanish-speaking countries of the Antilles , however it differs in several ways from its regional counterparts. While the cuisine is unpretentious and simple, the flavors are bold and spicy that demonstrate a primary influence of African culinary aesthetic, paired with a very French sophistication. A small population of Muslims and Hindus exist in the country, principally in the capital of Port-au-Prince.

The exact number of Vodou practitioners is unknown; however, it is believed that a small proportion of the population practice it, often alongside their Christian faith. Some secular Christians also have been known to participate in some rituals, although indirectly. In , a World Bank estimation claimed that approximately , Haitian citizens were residents of Dominican Republic. By , approximately 15, Haitians had migrated to Dominican Republic to work in sugar mills. In , Approximately , Haitians resided in the United States, 80, Haitians were living in France , in Canada while 80, were dispersed between the Bahamas and other Caribbean Islands.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. History of Haitian nationality and citizenship. Haitian French and Haitian Creole. Up until relatively recently there was no alternative civil register or birth certificate for these children whose birthright claim to legally exist was negated. In the Dominican Constitutional Court CC handed down a sentence that went way beyond the practice of denial at the point of birth registry: Dilcia Yean and Violeta Bosico, two girls born in their homes in bateyes , were taken as young children by their mothers to register their births.

Thus, the civil registry denied the girls evidence of Dominican nationality that they needed to study, impeding their social mobility in Dominican society. In , after the Yean and Bosico ruling, high-placed government officials claimed that it evidenced a conspiracy by international actors to deny Dominican sovereignty and force the Dominican Republic to disproportionately bear the regional insecurity threat posed by the Haitian State. This manifestly mythical international conspiracy underpins a nationalist narrative that continues to be used for domestic political ends. On the other hand, increasingly on the island, affected persons and their advocates were realizing the need for a more holistic advocacy strategy, beyond judicial engagement which they believe is necessary but insufficient if lasting change is to be effected.

In this tenor, it is understood that affected persons as well as their intermediaries need to be even more visible as protagonists claiming rights, and public opinion needs to be influenced to contest the reactionary ultra-nationalist narrative. An important shot across the bows by the ultra-nationalists in the Dominican Republic happened at the end of March at an international conference in Santo Domingo on issues concerning migration and nationality. A press note followed, part of which appeared in the national Hoy newspaper on March Some 18 NGO, national and international organizations, as well as persons of repute, rejected yesterday in a document the proposal of the CEB to call for the birth certificate of Sonia Pierre to be annulled, whom they consider to be an eminent defender of human rights in the country.

Likewise they consider the request to be illegitimate and arbitrary. The Department of Investigation of the CEB announced yesterday in the national press that it is proposing to judicially annul the birth certificate of Sonia Pierre, after considering the document to be false because her parents were in the country illegally. The organizations and personalities who signed on to the document consider the initiative to be a clear reprisal for the work Pierre has been carrying out in defense of the communities of Haitians and Dominico-Haitians.

On receiving the news about the proposed action of the CEB, the legal counsel from the United States for the Yean and Bosico case attending the conference warned with prescient alarm: This deprivation of access to birth certificates, ID cards, and Dominican passports to people who had already been recognized as Dominicans by the state and who had obtained copies of their documents in the past amounted to nationality stripping and a consequent serious limiting of the exercise of their fundamental rights.

Thus the president of the CEB denied that there were discriminatory practices in the Civil Registry while the organizations accompanying the affected persons continued to complain about the suspension of birth certificates on the part of the CEB as having a disproportionate effect on persons of Haitian ancestry, Afro-descendants.

Between September and December Dominican civil society organizations that accompanied affected persons engaged in no fewer than seven demonstrations to publicly denounce the nationality stripping policy of the Dominican State.

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It was during this period that the Reconoci. Insofar as the right to Dominican nationality for those born in the Dominican Republic was concerned, the demands were concentrated on confronting the denial of Dominican nationality at the point where Haitian parents attempted to register their children. The novelty since is that nationality stripping involves the deprivation of Dominican nationality, and many of those affected are unable to continue to higher education where a birth certificate is an indispensable requirement , or to engage in normal civil life and work, requiring identity documents.

Therefore these Dominican youngsters of Haitian ancestry run the risk of being condemned to permanent social immobility if their documentary status is not effectively reversed.

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It represented a watershed as regards the public perception of the people affected: In the strategy turned more to the offensive, exemplified in the special appeals processes recurso de amparo brought on behalf of persons being stripped of their nationality. Dominican civil society organizations presented more than sixty such actions representing some affected persons. Despite favorable judgements in many cases, the CEB refused to comply with rulings for the plaintiffs that ordered the immediate handing over of suspended documents.

These legal actions were complemented by intensified communication with the media and the public in general. Also, approaches were made to the Congress, especially to the Commission for Human Development of the Chamber of Deputies, by concerned civil society organizations regarding reports on violations of human rights. Both of these strategies sought the same objectives: Two female CC judges issued dissents of the sentence. Paradoxically, had started auspiciously with a week of policy dialogue in Santo Domingo on the right to nationality, coordinated by a coalition of civil society organizations and a local university in which international specialists were present.

The dialogue comprised a high-level meeting with jurists, visits to the affected communities, a meeting with the Dominican Congress, and an international symposium. Thus the glimmerings of spaces for public debate were created between the Dominican authorities, human rights defenders, and the affected people themselves.

Moreover, various demonstrations took place in the first half of , perhaps the most evocative of which was in April when young people from the Reconoci. The objective was to challenge President Daniel Medina to make a public declaration on the situation of the affected persons. Finally, lobbying efforts before the Chamber of Deputies bore fruit to the extent that a representation of the Congress met with affected persons and called the CEB to account for its actions on the documents of persons of Haitian ancestry inter alia.

However, the ensuing report was disappointing, investigating less than satisfactorily allegedly questionable practices of the CEB. In a year when civil society had pulled out all the stops to arrive at institutional solutions with which to confront incipient denationalization begun in , the affected persons and their advocates reeled when they heard the bombshell CC decision.

La Sentencia as it became known generated widespread outrage against what was perceived as an anti-Haitian reinterpretation of the Constitution to retroactively strip the citizenship of Dominicans of Haitian ancestry in contravention of human rights protections against discrimination and deprivation of nationality. There has been much speculation as to the reasons behind the timing of the judgement and its scope, despite the signposts that preceded it.

Some credence may be given to this explanation for the timing and wide-reaching nature of this critical event in that, several months after the Sentence was handed down, this ultra-nationalist party allied up until then with the ruling PLD split from the government and announced that the FNP would not ally with any major political party in the general elections scheduled for May The precipitating issue on which the FNP resigned was their opposition to President Medina standing for re-election, changing the constitution to suit his purposes.

Key FNP figures may also have felt uncomfortable about the Medina administration pushing back on the Sentence to the extent that it did in seeking palliative solutions to its effects. He was not, and Medina was returned for a second consecutive period. In May the Dominican legislature unanimously passed Law as its proposed solution to the crisis.

Consultation was minimal with civil society, but most concerned organizations believed that it was necessary to keep the door open for solutions rather than slamming it shut because of the perceived inadequacies of the new law, recognizing that in comparable situations worldwide such opportunities for remedies however partial to alleviate sudden mass deprivation of nationality have been few and far between.

Haiti Benefit: "Wither Must I Wander"

Early on, a coalition of organizations and Dominicans of repute presented a Recognition Law to the Congress for their consideration, but this was not the option chosen. Therefore the Dominican authorities were unable to ignore these hitherto largely invisible protagonists, and civil society concurred that the opportunity to shine light on their particular plight should not be missed.

The solution that they naturalize through a procedure that required them to declare themselves Haitian nationals, before potentially naturalizing after two years had elapsed, was unacceptable to many. Added to the social and political implications of the proposed solution, bureaucratic complications and tight time frames to initiate registration for Group B resulted in only 8, applications.

There was consensus between progressive and conservative sectors as to the need for the plan, given that this Caribbean territory was the only country in the Americas that had never had such a plan but had such a significant number of migrants with irregular status. Dominican civil society took a proactive stance and approached the authorities in early with a view to cooperating and, indeed, sharing suggestions on how to incorporate a gender perspective and best practices from other regularization experiences in the Americas.

For their part, the competent authorities, executives of the Ministry of Interior and Police, were initially most enthusiastic, too, especially when—in their initial schema of things— all of those tens of thousands of persons denationalized under the sentence would be obliged to register as foreigners.

As noted, because of large-scale protests, the implementation of the Sentence was not carried out exactly as its architects would have wished, due in part to Law being adopted. Finally, added to the mix, was new regional jurisprudence, in mid, in the Case of Expelled Dominicans and Haitians v. Dominican nationals whose nationality documents were disregarded by authorities at the time of their expulsion and persons who had been born in the Dominican Republic but were unable to acquire nationality documents and were subsequently expelled.

This second group was germane to the girls Yean and Bosico before they received their birth certificates, in that they had been born in the Dominican Republic and had been denied birth registration. An international perspective confirms that caution is needed when it comes to using strategic litigation without a wider policy advocacy strategy. Recent scholarship suggests that the inter-American human rights system delivers more robust jurisprudence on migrant matters than the European Court of Human Rights ECtHR , the former considering affected persons first as human beings and then as migrants, whereas the latter operates with the inverse supposition.

Notwithstanding this important distinction, she concludes that the stumbling block remains the lack of compliance nationally with regional jurisprudence, on which the European and American systems alike score badly. A government functionary of the Ministry of the President two years on from the Sentence, in an international seminar in Santo Domingo in November , summed up the enormity of the situation facing the government:.

The situation of irregularity and uncertainty in which the descendants of Haitian migrants found themselves provoked a grave political and institutional crisis. The Government, noted the Ambassador, did not have the tools with which to confront the situation, such that it was obliged to create an ad hoc technical team and draw up a new normative to placate the social and legal situation around the descendants of immigrants.

Additionally, the government found itself with a multitude of situations which affected decision-making. Since mid, the Dominican government has been implementing three parallel processes. From mid up to the present, the Dominican government has been implementing these three parallel processes. The local government offices opened for business with many deficiencies, including under-trained staff and weak computer systems. Owing to the complexities of the requirements, the majority of the people who applied for the National Regularization Plan for Foreigners with an Irregular Migration Status PNRE had to go at least five or six times to the regularization centers.

Other difficulties were the lack of information for a dispersed population with little access to the media and low education levels. For its part, in support of the PNRE, Haiti initiated operations of its Programme for the Identification and Documentation of Haitian Immigrants with considerable delay, and managed to set up only five centers, including one in Barahona from April —a few days before the registration for the PNRE was set to finish.

Some 45, people managed to register but only 5 percent of these received their passports before the registration process for the Plan was finalized on June 17, Civil society actors accompanied irregular migrants as best they could in a situation where most believed that the bar had been set too high for criteria of inclusion for the category of migrant involved, mainly Haitian migrant laborers in the bottommost jobs.

By the time the program closed registration in mid-June , fewer than 5, migrants had obtained residence status by completing files. Documentation was renewed for a further year in mid but, as of September, the announced accompanying protocol for this administrative action has yet to be issued.

Two Dominican diaspora video-bloggers favorably compared the Dominican Republic with the United States in its treatment of migrants. Given sustained criticism about the slow pace with which Group A was being processed and in order to assuage criticisms as to what might happen to this group once the PNRE finished and deportations started again when inadvertent expatriations might take place , the authorities appeared to take decisive action by mid As per the Sentence, the Central Electoral Board CEB carried out the audit of all those persons registered as Dominicans and born to two foreign parents going back to The ensuing publicized audit of 55, persons contains 43, persons of Haitian ancestry according to the CEB ; several thousand people who might reasonably have supposed that they had been audited are unaccounted for on the list, and no time frame has been given for dealing with this latter group.

The preamble to this list indicates that persons therein should be immediately restored their documents, but, on their own count, the CEB, as of early , reports that only 13, persons have managed to re-possess their documents. Civil society organizations have been particularly challenged in following up the document status of Group A, in part because many key leaders are themselves in this group and have individual cases to be resolved consuming energy and resources in so doing and in part because the task of dissecting the audit list is daunting because of the number of mistakes and truncated information.

Nevertheless, Group A is relatively more visible and vocal than Group B which is more sizable but more invisible, because persons in it remain largely unidentified. Theoretically, the unregistered persons of foreign ancestry were required to present only one of the following four requirements: However, applicants were often rejected when more than one of the requirements was routinely required and additional documentation was added arbitrarily to the list, especially an identity document of the mother.

This last extra requirement reinforces the gender bias, salient in the new migration law of , regarding the disproportionate role of the mother in registering her offspring, as documented by Allison Petrozziello. For whatever reason, the majority of persons in Group B who might have applied for registration under the operation of Law did not. When the period to do so elapsed on February 1, , 8, persons had signed up. As with irregular Haitian migrants who may be deported to Haiti , these undocumented Dominicans of Haitian ancestry may be erroneously expatriated to Haiti if they cannot prove their birth in the Dominican Republic.

Aside from accompaniment of affected persons in these three distinct processes, civil society organizations have contributed variously to policy advocacy. Firstly, they have done so by indicating the challenges to be overcome from mid in taking the PNRE forward, in a document presented by the United Nations system, with support of select businesspeople, pro-migrants rights organizations, and some academic sectors, to the Dominican authorities in late Secondly, on the denationalization crisis, civil society organizations have continued to engage with the inter-American human rights system, using key dates and events to keep the spotlight on the issues in country while lagging behind in drawing up an exhaustive list of the problems faced under the operation of Law , precisely because of their multiplicity and legal complexity.

Dominico-Haitians are not only struggling for legal citizenship but also for cultural citizenship, so that a broader recognition is given to their belonging in the Dominican Republic such that they may legitimately be part of the country. Cultural citizenship is a broad term which legal scholars and social researchers have created to describe the aforesaid unwritten presuppositions about those who, in race-ethnic-class terms, belong totally to the nation which defines their fundamental identity.

The exclusion from cultural citizenship may have negative social, economic and psychological consequences for people who are internally colonized or disadvantaged ethnic-racial minorities who see themselves relegated to the permanent condition of second class citizen or whose citizenship may be totally denied. It could be argued that the Inter-American Court of Human Rights jurisprudence on nationality and statelessness is a tipping point in the Dominican Republic, insofar as Dominico-Haitians have entered the political landscape to stay, notwithstanding the fact that some of their fundamental rights may be in jeopardy.

After decades of non-regulated immigration from Haiti, notably since the fall of the Duvalier dictatorship there in , and a decade of restrictive legislation on migration and nationality as a sequel to the adopting of the new Migration Law of , the country has been convulsed by new dynamics.


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Engagement with each of the three interrelated processes on the part of concerned civil society actors has been practically non-negotiable in order to underscore legitimacy as willing interlocutors with the state and its functionaries, not least in the search for more durable solutions.

Nevertheless, the uncertainty generated by many of the authorities as to how these processes are carried out combined with the mistrust of many of the supposed rights holders means that the net results have been mixed. Paradoxically, the country does appear on the cusp of positive change at a time when the international scene reveals backpedaling on migrant rights and nationality claims compliance on the part of important states worldwide, not least under the Trump administration in the United States since January An optimistic take on the Sentence might read it as a Reculer pour mieux sauter moment, or a putting off of the inevitable on the part of the ultra-nationalists.

Undoubtedly much more judicial engagement especially nationally on the part of civil society may be on the horizon in order to move forward on more inclusive citizenship for persons of Haitian ancestry born in the Dominican Republic before However, the new turn toward a cultural approach should also yield rewards and may well, in the long run, turn out to be decisive. One final example may suffice to make this latter point. Established in , this center is probably the biggest and best modern art museum in the insular Caribbean and has recently cemented inter-institutional links with Memorial ACTe, the new museum in Guadeloupe, which, since , has offered a memorial to Caribbean involvement in slavery and human trafficking.

An ID or a birth certificate may be used to obtain a burial plot in the Dominican Republic. With the cemetery gravestones as backcloth, this Dominico-Haitian woman affected by the Sentence points out, in the performance, that she has been unable to enroll at university because this requires a complete birth certificate, which she has unsuccessfully requested from the Dominican authorities.


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Poignantly, in interviews around this video performance, Karmadavis has clarified for him that this is: The end or the transformation into something. The issue must be resolved or it stagnates. Amelia Hintzen, also using new archival material, presents a fresh analysis on the lead-up to the massacre, A Veil of Legality: Haitians and Dominican Republic Sugar Plantations The first and only survey of all immigrants in the Dominican Republic is invaluable for hard data, Primera encuesta nacional de inmigrantes en la Republica Dominicana UNFPA-UE , as is the analysis in the studies derived from it: Estudios complementarios , ENI, Estudios complementarios ENI, Estudio complementario ENI, Estudio complementario a partir de la ENI, Jefrey Lizardo and H.

Estudio complementarios, ENI, For a vision of the ideological debate on migration governance, especially the buildup to the adoption of the new migration law, see Wilfredo Lozano La paradoja de las migraciones: The specific issues around deportations and expatriations are first systematized from both sides of the border in the text of the International Human Rights Law Clinic, Boalt Hall School of Law, University of California, Berkeley, Huespedes mal recibidos: