Dominican Republic

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Dominican Republic 2023

Discrimination remained widespread and structural, particularly affecting Haitians or Dominicans of Haitian descent. Congress failed to protect women, children and LGBTI people from gender-based violence and hate crimes. Law enforcement officials continued to use excessive force.


Discrimination against Haitians or people of Haitian descent and anti-Black racism continued. Women and girls, LGBTI people, migrants, asylum seekers and refugees were particularly at risk.1

Pregnant and post-partum women seeking medical attention were discriminated against if the authorities considered them to be Haitian. Immigration authorities and law enforcement officials visited hospitals to search for migrant women and girls to arbitrarily arrest and deport them.

In September, seven UN human rights mechanisms warned about the risk of refoulement and human rights abuses in relation to measures against pregnant women, and called on the authorities to separate migration control from access to public services.

Arbitrary deprivation of nationality

Ten years since the ruling of the Constitutional Court that retroactively deprived thousands of Dominicans of Haitian descent of their nationality, the government still had not taken sufficient measures to mitigate and repair the human rights violations caused.2 The authorities failed to comply with the 2014 ruling on the issue by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights.

At the end of the year, tens of thousands of people remained stateless and were targeted by arbitrary restrictions on their rights to legal personality, a name, and a life free of discrimination. The majority were people of Haitian descent. The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights urged the Dominican Republic government to provide support to stateless persons to regularize their situation and address the effects of protracted and intergenerational statelessness.

Sexual and gender-based discrimination and violence

Abortion remained prohibited in all circumstances. Congress failed to amend the Criminal Code to provide protection against torture, violence, and discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity. Femicide and hate crimes were not specific criminal offences.

The Committee on the Rights of the Child voiced concern over the absence of a minimum legal age for sexual consent and the high number of cases of sexual exploitation and abuse of children.

Excessive use of force

Excessive use of force by law enforcement officials continued to be reported, with no progress in combating impunity for these incidents. In February, a 12-year-old boy died after suffering gunshot wounds in a police operation during the carnival in the city of Santiago. Witnesses said the police failed to give him first aid.

Freedom of expression

Nuria Piera, a high-profile journalist who focuses on corruption and impunity, was targeted with NSO Group’s Pegasus spyware, which enables full and unrestricted access to a device.3 It was the first confirmed case of its use in the country, but a technical analysis revealed that the first attack on her devices occurred in 2020. The Office of the Attorney General and the Ministry of Interior and Police denied involvement in the surveillance.

  1. “Americas: States must end racist treatment of Haitian asylum seekers”, 20 June
  2. “Dominican Republic: Authorities must end racist treatment and guarantee the right to nationality”, 22 September
  3. “Dominican Republic: Pegasus spyware discovered on prominent journalist’s phone”, 2 May