International

Nov 26, 2013 5:42 PM by KATC

Caricom condemns Dominican citizenship ruling

The Caribbean Community on Tuesday condemned a court ruling in the Dominican Republic that could strip citizenship from children born to migrants living in the country illegally, and the trade bloc deferred a Dominican request to become a member.

Caricom's chairwoman, Trinidad Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar, said the group also will review its relationship with the Dominican Republic in other forums.

Ralph Gonsalves, prime minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, said the intention is to help the Dominican government find a quick and fair resolution for those affected.

"We are sending the signal there can be no business as usual," he said.

Haitian President Michel Martelly told The Associated Press that he is scheduled to meet with Dominican officials again by the end of this week, but added that the session might fall through.

"We don't want to keep on meeting without them showing good faith," he said. "We want some actions."

He noted the meeting is scheduled to come just days after some 350 Haitians and people of Haitian descent were expelled or volunteered to leave the Dominican Republic following an outbreak of violence along the border that the two countries share on the island of Hispaniola.

The violence came two months after a Dominican court ruled that being born in the country did not automatically grant citizenship under the current constitution. Advocates warn that some 200,000 people could be stripped of their citizenship and documents they need to work or attend school, while the government said in a preliminary report that only about 24,000 people would be affected.

Persad-Bissessar said Dominican President Danilo Medina sent her a statement early Tuesday promising that his government would not deport anyone affected by the ruling.

She said she expected Medina to honor that pledge.

"The government of the Dominican Republic must be prepared to show good faith by immediate, credible steps as part of an overall plan to resolve this nationality and attendant issues in the shortest possible time," she said.

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