Unlawful killings by police were reported. Many alleged human rights violations committed by the police remained unresolved. People of Haitian descent continued to be denied identity documents. Violence against women and girls remained a major concern.
Several organic laws regulating state institutions were adopted by Congress. Members of the Supreme Court and the new Constitutional Court were appointed at the end of the year. For the 10th consecutive year, Congress failed to appoint a Human Rights Ombudsman.Top of page
According to statistics from the Office of the Prosecutor General, 289 people were killed by the police in 2011, compared with 260 in 2010. Evidence suggested that many of these killings may have been unlawful.
Reports of torture during police interrogations and mass arbitrary detentions continued to be received.
In several cases, police used unnecessary or excessive force to disperse demonstrators.
Many alleged cases of abuses by the police remained unpunished, despite compelling evidence.
A survey carried out by the Jesuit Service for Refugees and Migrants in four rural communities revealed that at least 1,584 people had been denied identity documents by the Dominican Electoral Board, mainly on the basis of a directive issued in March 2007; 96 per cent had been affected between 2005 and 2011 and the vast majority of cases occurred in 2011. Some 72 per cent of those affected were aged between 15 and 34 years. Denial of identity documents had effectively prevented them from pursuing their studies, finding employment or obtaining other official documents.
The impact of the 2007 directive on thousands of Dominicans of Haitian descent was discussed in a hearing in October of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. Five days before the hearing, the Dominican Electoral Board issued a decision allowing the temporary release of identity documents to descendants of foreign citizens. This temporary release was made pending the conclusion of investigations into claims that identity documents had been wrongly issued prior to 2007. However, according to migrants’ rights organizations, the release of documents remained at the discretion of administrative officers, who, in many cases, continued to deny the documents to Dominico-Haitians.Top of page
In January, following an outbreak of cholera in Haiti, the Dominican authorities intensified mass deportations of Haitian migrants, claiming that the move was necessary to prevent the spread of the disease. In spite of an appeal in June from two UN agencies to suspend all involuntary returns to Haiti on humanitarian grounds, mass deportations continued throughout the year.
According to the Office of the Prosecutor General, 127 women and girls were killed by partners or former partners in 2011, compared with 97 in 2010.
At the end of the year, Congress was examining a draft law on femicide (the killing of women and girls) and considering including this as a specific crime in the Penal Code.Top of page
According to the Dominican National Union of Press Workers, 60 journalists and other media workers were harassed or physically attacked between January and August, in many cases by police officers. In August, more than 60 journalists denounced a smear campaign by state officials against independent journalists reporting on corruption and drug trafficking.
According to local NGOs, at least 100 forced evictions were carried out between January and September. In most cases there was a lack of due process or consultation with affected communities. On several occasions, fatalities and gunshot wounds were reported during forced evictions.