While Yspaniola is an education organization, we collaborate with Batey Libertad community members, Dominican organizations, and international institutions to help prevent denial of documentation, deportations, and statelessness.
In September 2013, the Dominican Constitutional Tribunal’s ruling stripped citizenship from all Dominicans whose family members had come to the DR after 1929, effectively denationalizing hundreds of thousands of Dominicans of Haitian descent, including many residents of Batey Libertad. After international outrage and mobilization by activists within the country and the Dominican diaspora, the Dominican government created a process through which denationalized Dominicans could regain citizenship by applying through the government. The application process is convoluted, expensive, and excludes any denationalized Dominican without the means to legal representation or the ability to pay for the process. Those who are not able to apply for the naturalization and regularization plans are being threatened with deportation.
How Yspaniola partners with human rights organizations:
Starting in the late summer of 2014, Yspaniola collaborated with two local human rights organizations, CEFASA (a Jesuit organization) and MOSCHTA (a Dominican-Haitian workers organization), as well as the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to help 34 Batey Libertad residents who had been denationalized apply to regain their citizenship.
More recently, Yspaniola partnered with CEFASA to receive funding from the International Organization for Migration (IOM) to help other residents of Batey Libertad complete their applications for the national regularization plan. Various government officials and offices have threatened to deport all undocumented immigrants who do not register under the regularization plan, and the process gives undocumented migrants in the Dominican Republic the chance to obtain legal status in the country.
With IOM’s funding, Yspaniola helped CEFASA form a team of three residents of Batey Libertad to help guide and accompany other community members through the application process by organizing their documents, obtaining legal services, and communicating with government offices. We are thankful for the support and collaboration from IOM and CEFASA and are hopeful that by helping members of the community register under the regularization plan, we can help protect them from human rights abuses and deportations.
Improving reporting and accountability:
To ensure that the Dominican government is notified of illegal human rights violations, in the past, we have reported all human rights abuses to Amnesty International, the UN, IOM, and the U.S. Embassy, all of whom maintain contact with the appropriate Dominican government offices. We have also opened up lines of communication with the Department of Immigration and the army in the Valverde area, in the hopes that increased visibility will help protect Batey Libertad from military raids, extortions, and deportations. Anyone who would like access to our reports on human rights abuses should visit the page for Incident Reports
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