Last Updated: Friday, 27 May 2016, 08:49 GMT

Dominican Republic: Treatment of homosexuals, including protection offered by the state and the attitude of the population

Publisher Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada
Author Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Ottawa
Publication Date 22 January 2007
Citation / Document Symbol DOM102147.FE
Cite as Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Dominican Republic: Treatment of homosexuals, including protection offered by the state and the attitude of the population, 22 January 2007, DOM102147.FE, available at: [accessed 29 May 2016]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

A report published by the World Policy Institute indicates that sexual relations in private between consenting adults of the same sex are legal in the Dominican Republic (Dec. 2003, 64; AI July 2006). However, no law protects Dominican homosexuals from discrimination (ibid.).

According to a survey of 1,972 people conducted in September and October 2004 by the National Public Opinion Institute (Instituto Nacional de Opinión Pública) of the Global Foundation for Democracy and Development (Fundación Global Democracia y Desarrollo, FUNGLODE), a private Dominican institution that proposes innovative strategies on topics of national interest (FUNGLODE n.d.), sexual orientation is still a delicate issue in the Dominican Republic (ibid. 18 Jan. 2006). The report published by FUNGLODE indicates that the Dominican population's attitude toward the homosexual community [translation] "runs from an 'accommodating' tolerance to plain intolerance" (ibid.).

A report published by the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) indicates that [UN English version] "homosexuality is highly stigmatized in the Dominican Republic" (UN Dec. 2002, 28; see also PAHO 22-24 Jan. 2005). The FUNGLODE report indicates that their survey results are evidence that homophobia exists in the Dominican Republic (FUNGLODE 18 Jan. 2006).

An article published on the Web site Dominican Republic One (DR1), a Dominican information portal (n.d.a), states that the Dominican Republic's gay population lives in a conservative country where religion influences political, social and cultural decisions (n.d.b). According to an article published by Diario Digital RD, a doctor and pastor of the International Baptist Church of Santo Domingo (Iglesia Bautista Internacional de Santo Domingo), speaking at a public conference, described homosexuality as [translation] "an illness" and [translation] "a sin" (11 Sept. 2006). An article published by El, quotes Santo Domingo's cardinal as speaking out against the army's recruitment of homosexuals (28 Nov. 2006; Diario Digital RD 27 Nov. 2006). The cardinal reportedly stated that the Dominican army's [translation] "foundations" would be shaken if homosexuals joined its ranks (El 28 Nov. 2006; see also Diario Digital RD 27 Nov. 2006). The cardinal added that he would [translation] "prefer that the topic of homosexuality remain within the circles where such things are practised" (El 28 Nov. 2006).

In December 2006, a Dominican journalist was fired for interviewing the Santo Domingo cardinal about his comments concerning homosexuals enlisting in the army (Diario Digital RD 5 Dec. 2006; 6 Dec. 2006). Another article published by Diario Digital RD carries the statements of the president of the Order of Journalists (Colegio de Periodistas), who criticized the media attention given to homosexuals (4 April 2006). According to him, showing homosexuals on television sends [translation] "a negative message" to Dominican children (Diario Digital RD 4 Apr. 2006).

An article published by the Dominican online newspaper Clave Digital reports on the police closure of a night club and a bar for homosexuals (19 June 2006). The police interrupted officials of the Presidential AIDS Council (Consejo Presidencial de Sida), who were promoting a human rights forum in the Dominincan Republic's gay and lesbian community (Clave Digital 19 June 2006).

Regarding the organizations that work on behalf of members of the homosexual community, the results of FUNGLODE's survey in September and October 2004 indicate that 57.77 percent of the 1,972 people polled think that gay rights groups in the Dominican Republic should not have the right to carry out their activities (FUNGLODE 18 Jan. 2006). A report published by the World Policy Institute indicates that the police have interfered with the organizing efforts of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community (Dec. 2003, 1). According to a Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) document, there are not enough resources and services for Dominican homosexuals (PAHO 22-24 January 2005). The Dominican non-governmental organization Friends Always Friends (Amigos Siempre Amigos), which promotes AIDS prevention in the Dominican Republic's gay community (Amigos Siempre Amigos n.d.), is the only gay organization in that country that could be identified among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate. Additional information on organizations that work with and provide services for the gay community in the Dominican Republic could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate.

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim for refugee protection. Please find below the list of additional sources consulted in researching this Information Request.


Amigos Siempre Amigos. N.d. "¿Quiénes somos?" [Accessed 18 Dec. 2006]

Amnesty International (AI). July 2006. AI Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Network. "Sexual Minorities and the Law: A World Survey." [Accessed 18 Dec. 2006]

El Caribe [Santo Domingo]. 28 November 2006. Oscar Quezada. "Se opone a 'gays' en FF.AA." [Accessed 19 Dec. 2006]

Clave Digital [Santo Domingo]. 19 June 2006. "Cierran discoteca Arena, bar Punto y colmadón Omar en la Zona Colonial." [Accessed 18 Dec. 2006]

Diario Digital RD [Santo Domingo]. 5 December 2006. Guillermina Santos. "Critica a Color Visión se doblegara ante carta FFAA." [Accessed 18 Dec. 2006]
_____ . 27 November 2006. "El Cardenal crítica homosexuales." [Accessed 18 Dec. 2006]
_____ . 11 September 2006. "Concluye en que el homosexualismo es una enfermedad." [Accessed 18 Dec. 2006]
_____ . 4 April 2006. Awilda González. "Periodistas: empíricos o profesionales." [Accessed 18 Dec. 2006]

Dominican Republic One (DR1).com. N.d.a. "Introduction." [Accessed 18 Dec. 2006]
_____ . N.d.b. "The Fight for Civil Rights: Homosexuality and the Dominican Republic." [Accessed 18 Dec. 2006]

Fundación Global Democracia y Desarrollo (FUNGLODE). 18 January 2006. Instituto Nacional de Opinión Pública. "Los dominicanos son "moderadamente" tolerantes y poco participativos en asuntos de ciudadanía." [Accessed 19 Dec. 2006]
_____ . N.d. "¿Qué es FUNGLODE?" [Accessed 19 Dec. 2006] 6 December 2006. María Pia Durán. "República Dominicana. Despiden a periodista por preguntar a cardenal sobre homosexuales." [Accessed 19 Dec. 2006]

Pan American Health Organization (PAHO). 22-24 January 2005. "Presentación realizada durante el Comité Técnico Consultativo sobre VIH/SIDA/ITS." [Accessed 19 Dec. 2006]

United Nations (UN). December 2002. Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS). "Travailler avec les hommes pour la prévention et la prise en charge du VIH." [Accessed 19 Dec. 2006]

World Policy Institute. December 2003. Andrew Reding. "Sexual Orientation and Human Rights in the Americas." World Policy Reports. [Accessed 18 Dec. 2006]

Additional Sources Consulted

Oral sources: The organizations Amigos Siempre Amigos and Colectiva Mujer y Salud did not respond to requests for information within time constraints.

Internet sites, including: United States Department of State, Human Rights Watch (HRW), International Lesbian and Gay Association (ILGA).

Copyright notice: This document is published with the permission of the copyright holder and producer Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB). The original version of this document may be found on the offical website of the IRB at Documents earlier than 2003 may be found only on Refworld.

Search Refworld