Last Updated: Friday, 26 December 2014, 13:50 GMT

U.S. Committee for Refugees World Refugee Survey 1999 - Dominican Republic

Publisher United States Committee for Refugees and Immigrants
Publication Date 1 January 1999
Cite as United States Committee for Refugees and Immigrants, U.S. Committee for Refugees World Refugee Survey 1999 - Dominican Republic , 1 January 1999, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/3ae6a8c238.html [accessed 29 December 2014]
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.

There were 614 known refugees in the Dominican Republic at the end of 1998, 604 of whom were Haitians.

During the year, 18 persons applied for asylum in the Dominican Republic. Of these, three were recognized, two Haitians and one Chinese national. Eleven cases were denied and four cases were pending at year's end.

Asylum Procedure

The Dominican Republic is a signatory to the UN Refugee Convention and Protocol. Asylum procedures are based on Presidential Decree Number 1569 of 1983, as amended by Decree Number 2330 of 1984. The National Commission for Refugees (NCR) adjudicates asylum claims. Asylum seekers submit applications to the National Office for Refugees (NOR) within the Directorate of Migration, which refers the cases to an NCR technical subcommission. Based on the subcommission's findings, the NOR may recommend that the general director of migration issue the asylum seeker a 60-day, renewable permit for up to six months while the case is pending. The NCR is to make a first instance refugee-status determination within 30 days.

Asylum applicants rejected in the first instance have seven days to seek an NCR review. The NCR also informs UNHCR of its decision and allows UNHCR to seek review of negative first-instance decisions. The NCR itself, rather than another administrative or judicial body, carries out the review and makes a final status determination. Pending that decision, asylum seekers cannot work.

Restrictive Measures

The Dominican Republic generally does not detain asylum seekers, although the Directorate of Migration does have its own detention cells in common prisons for undocumented aliens who have not registered asylum claims.

Many Haitians live and work in the Dominican Republic, but no credible estimates of their number exist, in part, because the number is constantly changing. At one popular crossing point, Dajabon, 600 to 7,000 Haitians cross the border every day, mostly to buy and sell in local markets. The number of Haitian residents in the Dominican Republic is usually estimated at about a half million.

There is no way to determine how many Haitians might credibly fear persecution if returned to Haiti. Reportedly, individual Haitians are deported daily. The government often deports Haitians arbitrarily, giving them (and persons presumed to be Haitians) no meaningful opportunity to establish refugee claims or to show otherwise that they have a legal right to remain in the Dominican Republic.

Relatively few Haitians, even among those who have resided in the Dominican Republic for many years, have proper documentation, and, consequently, many of the children and grandchildren of Haitians born in the Dominican Republic have no recognized citizenship.

Periodically, the military rounds up large numbers of Haitians, and presumed Haitians, seemingly at random, and summarily deports them. In doing so, the army generally acts on its own initiative without informing or consulting with the Directorate of Migration.

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