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Dominican Republic leaves Inter-American Court of Human Rights

[JURIST] The Dominican Republic's Constitutional Court ruled on Tuesday to withdraw from the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR) [official website], raising concerns about the welfare of the country's migrant population. Following a 1999 report [text] that criticized the Dominican Republic's treatment of Haitians, the IACHR issued a motion of provisional measures [text] to prevent further the country's expulsion of Haitians and Dominicans of Haitian descent. This led to years of discussion [NCHR backgrounder] before an agreement [text, in Spanish] was signed by the Dominican Republic. In Tuesday's ruling, 10 judges concurred that the agreement was unconstitutional because the Senate failed to ratify it as required by the Dominican constitution. Three judges voted against the ruling. The decision to withdraw from the IACHR comes soon after the Caribbean nation was once again found by IACHR to be discriminatory against Dominicans of Haitian descent. Human rights organizations, such as Amnesty International (AI) [advocacy website] have already criticized the Constitutional Court for its decision, claiming [press release] that withdrawal from the IACHR could "deprive hundreds of thousands of survivors of human rights abuses from any hope of justice."

This is not the first time the Dominican Republic has been accused of violating human rights. Just last year, the Constitutional Court held that a person born in the Dominican Republic to parents of another nationality should not be registered as a Dominican citizen. The implementation of the court's ruling would affect individuals' identity cards will be cancelled leaving them no way to travel or receive services from the government. AI called [JURIST report] upon the Dominican Republic to reject this ruling, claiming that it will particularly impact those of Haitian descent. A group of Caribbean nations also condemned [press release] the court's ruling. The government has since promised to resolve the statuses of those left stateless under this ruling, but has only offered residency and work permits.

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