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Amnesty International Report 2007 - Dominican Republic

Publisher Amnesty International
Publication Date 23 May 2007
Cite as Amnesty International, Amnesty International Report 2007 - Dominican Republic, 23 May 2007, available at: [accessed 24 October 2017]
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.


Head of state and government: Leonel Fernández Reyna
Death penalty: abolitionist for all crimes
International Criminal Court: ratified

There were further mass expulsions of Haitians and Dominico-Haitians (Dominican of Haitian descent), some of whom were reportedly ill-treated. There were reports of unlawful killings by the security forces. Domestic violence remained a serious concern.

Discrimination against Haitians and Dominico-Haitians


There were continued mass illegal expulsions of Haitian migrant workers and Dominico-Haitians, many of whom were rounded up by officials simply because they were black. There were reports of ill-treatment by migration officials and security forces.

  • Eight-year-old Francisca José was among five children rounded up by migration officers on 4 January in the capital Santo Domingo. She was allegedly hit twice, causing her to bleed from the mouth. She was held overnight at a detention centre until a local human rights organization managed to secure her release by proving her Dominican nationality.
  • Scores of people were injured in September when an overcrowded bus from the Dominican Department of Migration carrying 120 alleged irregular Haitian immigrants crashed into a river in Elías Piñas province en route to the border. Some of those being deported reportedly had valid documentation permitting them to work in the country. Many of the injured reportedly did not receive medical attention before being expelled to Haiti.

Access to nationality

The Dominican authorities failed to comply with the September 2005 ruling from the Inter-American Court of Human Rights in the case of two Dominico-Haitian girls who had been denied Dominican nationality. The Court had called for the girls to receive compensation and for the Dominican authorities to implement the necessary measures to grant nationality to the thousands of other Dominicans and their children who had been denied it.


There were reports of violent indiscriminate attacks against Haitians. Human rights organizations claimed that killings of Haitians were not investigated by the authorities.

  • Two Haitian nationals, Edison Odio and Jako Medina, were reportedly set alight by a mob on 7 March in the community of Yabonico in Las Matas de Farfán in apparent revenge for the murder of the local mayor. Jako Medina subsequently died of his injuries. AI was unaware of any proceedings initiated by the authorities to bring those responsible to justice.

People smuggling

The bodies of 24 Haitians were found on 11 January near the border town of Dabajón in the north of the country. They had apparently suffocated to death as they were being illegally transported in a truck to find work in the Dominican Republic. The bodies were reportedly thrown from the back of the truck which contained more than 60 people. Four Dominican nationals, including two members of the military, were on trial at the end of 2006 in relation to the incident.

Unlawful killings by security forces

According to official figures 204 people were killed in shoot-outs with police between January and August, down from 345 for the same period in 2005. However, concerns remained that a number of these fatal shootings may have been unlawful. Fifty-seven members of the security forces were killed during the same period.

  • Twenty-two-year-old Elvin Amable Rodríguez, a spokesman for the left-wing organization Broad Popular Front for Struggle (Frente Amplio de Lucha Popular) was fatally shot in the head twice by police on 26 September in the town of Navarrete. Police claimed he died in a shoot-out. Two officers were in pre-trial detention at the end of the year.
  • On 9 July members of the Dominican armed forces reportedly opened fire on a group of Haitian nationals as they tried to cross the border near the town of Dajabón. One of the group was allegedly shot in the back and subsequently died in hospital.

Violence against women

According to government statistics, in the first six months of the year 43 women were killed by their partners or former partners. In April alone 1,800 incidents of domestic violence were reported to the authorities.

Right to health

Despite receiving sufficient international funding, nearly 70 per cent of all people requiring antiretroviral treatment in the Dominican Republic did not receive it. Those most at risk were the poor and marginalized, including the Haitian migrant population and Dominico-Haitians, who faced significant obstacles in gaining access to treatment and care. There were reports of employees being tested for HIV without their consent or as a condition of their employment.

Human rights defenders

Human rights defenders continued to be intimidated and harassed.

  • Teolé Yeolé García, a Dominico-Haitian rights activist, was illegally deported from Santo Domingo to Haiti on 2 February. He was detained while trying to intervene on behalf of fellow Dominicans who were being illegally rounded up to be deported.
  • Adonis Polanco, an HIV/AIDS activist, received anonymous death threats, apparently because of his outspoken criticism of the government's failure to provide adequate treatment for people living with HIV/AIDS in his local community in the town of Boca Chica.

AI country reports/visits


  • Dominican Republic: Open letter from Amnesty International to the President of the Dominican Republic regarding the rights of Haitian migrant workers and their descendants (AI Index: AMR 27/001/2006)
  • "I am not ashamed!": HIV/AIDS and human rights in the Dominican Republic and Guyana (AI Index: AMR 01/002/2006)


AI delegates visited the Dominican Republic in January and June.

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