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Dominican Republic

    May 27, 2019

    Women engaged in sex work in the Dominican Republic are routinely raped, tortured, and humiliated by police as a form of social control, and as punishment for transgressing social norms surrounding femininity and sexuality. Transgender women suffer particularly extreme forms of sexual abuse and humiliation due to the additional transphobia they face. We must demand their protection and rights now.

    Amnesty International documented the stories of women that have been subjected to these abuses in “If they can have her, why can’t we?,” a report published in April 2019.

    Luna’s story

    In this video, Luna explains how transphobia and homophobia in the Dominican Republic influence particular forms of gender-based violence against people like her, engaged in sex work, and how their activism has helped to bring about change.

    March 28, 2019

    Police in the Dominican Republic routinely rape, beat, humiliate and verbally abuse women sex workers to exert social control over them and to punish them for transgressing social norms of acceptable femininity and sexuality, said Amnesty International in a new report released today.

    ‘If they can have her, why can’t we?’ chronicles the stories of 46 Dominican cisgender and transgender women sex workers, many of whom reported suffering various forms of violence, much of which amount to gender-based torture and other ill-treatment. The criminalized status of sex workers combined with profound machismo, fuels arbitrary detentions by police and enables these grave human rights violations, with impunity.

    “Gender-based violence is epidemic across Latin America and the Caribbean, with women sex workers at particular risk from state officials and other individuals,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas director at Amnesty International.

    February 22, 2018
    Amnesty International publishes State of the World’s Human Rights report for 2017 to 2018 “Last year our world was immersed in crises, with prominent leaders offering us a nightmarish vision of a society blinded by hatred and fear. This emboldened those who promote bigotry, but it inspired far more people to campaign for a more hopeful future,” says Salil Shetty, head of Amnesty International

    The world is reaping the terrifying consequences of hate-filled rhetoric that threatens to normalize massive discrimination against marginalized groups, Amnesty International warned today as it launched its annual assessment of human rights.

    Nevertheless, the organization found that a growing movement of both first-time and seasoned activists campaigning for social justice provides real hope of reversing the slide towards oppression.

    The report, The State of the World’s Human Rights, covers 159 countries and delivers the most comprehensive analysis of the state of human rights in the world today.

    June 07, 2017

    The horrifying killing of a transgender woman in the Dominican Republic – the second such killing this year and 38th since 2006 – highlights the extreme violence faced by many transgender women in the country and the need for strengthened legal protection for discriminated groups, said Amnesty International.

    “The grotesque killing of Jessica Rubi Mori is a tragic reminder that the Dominican authorities need to take bolder steps to eradicate discrimination, including that based on gender identity and sexual orientation,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas Director for Amnesty International.

    The body of Jessica Rubi Mori (whose legal name was Elvis Guerrero) a transgender sex worker and activist with community organization Este Amor (This Love), was found on 3 June 2017 in the eastern Dominican municipality of Higüey. Her body was found dismembered in a wasteland. According to news reports one suspect has been placed under arrest.

    December 03, 2015

    The Dominican Republic has taken a drastic step backwards for women’s human rights as the Constitutional Court struck down reforms to the Penal Code that would have decriminalized abortion in certain cases, Amnesty International warned today.

    After last night’s decision overturned a tranche of penal code reforms adopted last year, the current code, which dates back to 1884, will remain in force. The code denies women and girls access to abortion in all circumstances, and criminalizes them for seeking one, even in cases of rape or incest, where a pregnancy poses a risk to a woman’s or girl’s life or health, or where a foetus will be unable to survive outside the womb.

    “This decision takes women’s and girls’ human rights back to the 19th century,” said Erika Guevara Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.

    “Its impact will be catastrophic for women and girls in the Dominican Republic who will continue to be criminalized, stigmatized and forced to seek out unsafe abortions because they are denied access to safe and legal medical treatment.”

    November 18, 2015

    The Dominican Republic’s bureaucratic legal maze has left thousands of stateless “ghost citizens”, who are unable to work regularly, enroll in high school or even see a doctor, said Amnesty International in a new report today.

    ‘Without papers, I am no one’: Stateless people in the Dominican Republic debunks official statements that no one in the Dominican Republic lacks a nationality. It explores the intricate legal labyrinth created by the authorities since the 1990s and more recently through a 2013 ruling which has arbitrarily left tens of thousands of people born to foreign parents or grandparents without a nationality.

    “With the stroke of a pen, authorities in the Dominican Republic have effectively wiped four generations of Dominicans off the map. Without nationality, tens of thousands of people have become virtual ghosts, who face serious obstacles in accessing basic services in the country,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.

    November 06, 2014

    The appalling ruling by the Dominican Republic’s Constitutional Court that could to lead to the country’s withdrawal from the Inter American Court of Human Rights would, if supported by the government, deprive hundreds of thousands of survivors of human rights abuses from any hope of justice, said Amnesty International.

    “With this latest judgement, the Constitutional Court of the Dominican Republic has confirmed its lack of independence and impartiality, proving it to be politically biased by defending narrow interests,” said Erika Guevara Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.

    “Depriving people of the opportunity of finding justice abroad when it is denied at home would not only be outrageous but also a worrying step back in the country’s strengthening of the rule of law.”

    The judgment comes only two weeks after the Inter-American Court of Human Rights ruled against a Dominican Republic’s judicial decision that stripped thousands of Dominicans of Haitian descent living in the country of their nationality in a discriminatory way.

    October 24, 2014

    The dismissive reaction of the Dominican Republic to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights’ ruling on human rights abuses suffered by Dominicans of Haitian descent and Haitian migrants demonstrates a shocking disregard for international law and the country’s legal responsibilities, said Amnesty International.

    Earlier this week the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR) handed down a ruling calling on the Dominican Republic to provide redress for human rights abuses suffered by Dominicans of Haitian descent and Haitians as a result of illegal deportations, denial of identity documents and arbitrary deprivation of nationality, among others. However, yesterday the government formally rejected the regional court’s ruling, dismissing it as “out of season, biased and inappropriate.”

    August 14, 2014

    Posted at 0001 BST 15 August 2014

    The number of killings perpetrated by the police is on the rise again in the Dominican Republic whilst legislation intended to fix the problem stalls and stagnates in Congress, said Amnesty International today. 

    The past six months have seen the number of people killed by the police rise by 13% compared with the year before, with 87 people dead between January and June this year, according to figures released by the National Observatory on Citizen Security (Observatorio de Seguridad ciudadana). 

    “Fourteen people a month are dying at the hands of the police in the Dominican Republic. Many of these killings seem to have been unlawful. Clearly the government needs to push harder for concrete action to stop these abuses once and for all,” said Erika Guevara Rosas, Amnesty International’s Americas Director. 

    “It’s a tragic state of affairs when the police, the very people tasked with protecting the human rights of citizens, are the ones committing such terrible crimes, further endangering public security in the country.” 

    October 18, 2013

    The Dominican Republic should not implement a Constitutional Court ruling that could leave hundreds of thousands of Dominicans of foreign descent stateless, Amnesty International urged today.

    Under aspects of the ruling, individuals of foreign descent - the vast majority Dominicans of Haitian origin- could be deprived of their nationality, forced to leave and ordered to apply for citizenship from scratch.

    "The full implementation of this ruling will have a devastating impact on the lives of hundreds of thousands of people whose identity documents would be cancelled and, therefore, would see many of their human rights – freedom of movement, education, work and access to healthcare – totally denied,” said Chiara Liguori, Amnesty International researcher on the Caribbean.

    The Constitutional Court last month ruled that Juliana Deguis, who was born in the Dominican Republic in 1984 to Haitian parents, had been wrongly registered as Dominican at her birth.

    The case could have wide-reaching discriminatory effects, particularly for Dominicans of Haitian descent.

    January 22, 2013

    A prosecutor in the Dominican Republic has filed charges against five policemen and a naval officer for the murder of two men in 2009, in what Amnesty International called a key case that points to the pressing need for radical police reform in the Caribbean country.

    On 19 January the Prosecutor’s office in north-western Montecristi province filed the charges against the officers for their responsibility for killing William de Jesús Checo and Cecilio Díaz, who were shot dead on 10 October 2009.

    Amnesty International has campaigned for justice for the men’s killings, and raised the case in a meeting with the Prosecutor General late last year.

    “After more than three years, the decision to formally charge these police officers and move on with legal proceedings is a major advance, and we hope the investigation and prosecution will look into how high up the police chain of command the responsibility lies for these killings,” said Javier Zúñiga, Special Adviser to Amnesty International.

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