‘Without papers, I am no one’ Stateless people in the Dominican Republic

Dominicans of Haitian descent in the Dominican Republic face a series of obstacles to the full enjoyment of their human rights to a nationality, to recognition as a person before the law and to identity. The denial of these rights has increasingly been codified into Dominican laws and regulations, creating an ever more complex web of restrictions and entrenching and institutionalizing discriminatory attitudes and practices.

The intensification of discriminatory attitudes and practices has taken place in the context of changes in migration into the Dominican Republic, primarily from Haiti, in recent decades. from the 1920s to the 1980s, Haitian migrant workers were drawn into the Dominican republic as seasonal workers in the sugarcane industry. the workers, mostly men, were conned to settlements called bateyes within the plantations. for a considerable part of that time (1952-1986), they were contracted as braceros (cane cutters) for the sugar cane harvest in their own country through bilateral agreements between the Dominican and Haitian governments.

Following the fall in sugar prices on the international market from the mid-1980s onwards, the demand for sugarcane workers fell drastically. new migrant workers from Haiti began to make their own way to the Dominican republic. they, together with other Haitian migrants who previously worked in the sugarcane plantations, increasingly sought and found employment outside the bateyes in the diversifying agricultural sector, in the construction sector and in the developing tourism industry. these changes in migration patterns started to be used by some nationalist groups to stoke fear of a “peaceful invasion” of Haitians.

0 0 votes
Article Rating


Share on linkedin
Share on twitter
Share on facebook


Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments