PORT-OF-SPAIN: Caribbean Community (CARICOM) chairman and Trinidad & Tobago Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar says although she welcomes reports that Haiti and the Dominican Republic have taken steps to deal with immigration and trade issues, she wants Santo Domingo to immediately address the Constitutional Court ruling that renders thousands of Haitians stateless.
In a letter sent last week to President of the Dominican Republic, Danilo Medina, Persad-Bissessar said the court ruling was unacceptable to her government.
“Additionally, any commitment to naturalize those persons is at variance with established norms and principles whereby naturalization frameworks constitute a means for foreign nationals to acquire citizenship.
“This is not applicable in this instance. Accordingly, I call on you to take steps to restore immediately Dominican nationality to those who have been denationalized,” she wrote.
On September 23, the Constitutional Court in Santo Domingo ruled in favour of stripping citizenship from children of Haitian migrants. The decision applies to those born after 1929 – a category that overwhelmingly includes descendants of Haitians brought in to work on farms.
In defending the ruling, Dominican Republic officials said it ends uncertainty for children of Haitian immigrants, allowing them to apply for residency and eventually for citizenship.
Last week, Haiti and the Dominican Republic agreed to establish a joint commission to discuss the migration problem caused by the Constitutional Court ruling, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said.
Haitian President Michel Martelly and Medina met last week at a meeting of the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas (ALBA) and PetroCaribe.
Following the meeting, Maduro announced the “creation of a high-level committee with representatives of both sides to address various issues on the bilateral agenda”.
He said the joint commission would comprise five representatives each from Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Venezuela, the United Nations, the European Union and the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) have been invited as observers.