Dominican Republic 2022
Lawmakers again failed to table a revised Criminal Code that would decriminalize abortion and provide protections for LGBTI people. President Abinader committed to police reform. Reports of discrimination against Haitians and Dominicans of Haitian descent continued as construction of a wall along the Haitian border commenced.
A report by NGO Participación Ciudadana and Transparency International found that the public viewed criminality, unemployment and corruption as priority social problems.
In September, at the UN General Assembly, Dominican authorities called on the international community for more support to address the deepening human rights and humanitarian crises in Haiti. That same month, Hurricane Fiona hit the Dominican Republic, displacing hundreds of people and resulting in power cuts.
Sexual and gender-based discrimination and violence
Congress again failed to table a revised Criminal Code that decriminalizes abortion and provides protections against torture, violence and discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity.
Excessive use of force
In May, the beating and subsequent death of a man in police custody reignited calls for police reform to address consistent complaints of excessive use of force by law enforcement. Police later recommended the dismissal of five officers in relation to the death, according to media reports.
In August, President Abinader stated that his government would do “whatever it takes” to reform the police and committed to specialized and ongoing capacity building of tens of thousands of police. This announcement followed over a decade of evidence collected on routine torture and other ill-treatment by police of young men, sex workers and others in marginalized communities.
In February, construction began of a wall along the Haitian border, which Dominican authorities argued will reduce organized crime and irregular immigration. Human rights organizations indicated it will only exacerbate xenophobia and historically entrenched discrimination. It also stands to limit safe routes for Haitians seeking international protection in the Dominican Republic.
In May, some 20 civil society organizations protested against what they described as the authorities’ racist treatment of Haitian migrants and asylum seekers and Dominicans of Haitian descent, especially during detentions and deportations.
In December, a number of civil society organizations condemned the collective expulsions of people, including children, adolescents and pregnant women, to Haiti by the Dominican Republic, amid ongoing complaints of racial profiling and discrimination against Dominicans of Haitian origin and Dominicans who are presumed to be Haitian because of their skin colour.
Arbitrary deprivation of nationality
In September, on the ninth anniversary of a 2013 ruling by the Constitutional Court, which retroactively and arbitrarily deprived thousands of Dominicans of Haitian descent of their nationality, human rights organizations called on the Dominican authorities to address the continuing problem of stateless people.
Despite a 2014 law that aimed to provide documents for people made stateless by the 2013 ruling, tens of thousands remained without documents, limiting their access to education and healthcare.