Literature

Edwidge Danticat urges awareness of "Birthright Crisis" in D.R.

MIAMI, USA (sentinel.ht) - Renowned Haitian-American Author Edwidge Danticat, in a letter, is seeking to bring awareness to the birthright crisis in the Dominican Republic that has existed for decades. She writes about the exacerbation of the problems faced by immigrants in that country in 2013.

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Birthright Crisis 2013

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MIAMI, USA (sentinel.ht) - Renowned Haitian-American Author Edwidge Danticat, in a letter, is seeking to bring awareness to the birthright crisis in the Dominican Republic that has existed for decades. She writes about the exacerbation of the problems faced by immigrants in that country in 2013.

Eight years ago, when this powerful film was made, the Dominican Republic was already in the midst of a "Birthright Crisis".

On September 23, 2013, this crisis was made official by the Dominican Republic's Constitutional Court's ruling that citizenship can only be granted to people who were born to one Dominican parent since 1929. Asked to rule in the case of one person, a 29-year-old Dominican-born woman named Juliana Deguis Pierre, the Court decided to render Ms. Pierre, and retroactively, a quarter of a million of her compatriots, stateless. As one of the dissenting judges in the case has bravely declared, this ruling is unprecedented, unconstitutional, and unjust.

This film powerfully shows how the Constitutional Court's decision can potentially have grave consequences. It officially makes it impossible for a large number of Dominicans of Haitian descent to get an education, a job, own property, or receive medical care. It also leaves them highly vulnerable to deportation, and many other forms of xenophobic violence.

This film forcefully shows why we cannot remain silent.

We must speak and we must act, just as thousands of Haitians and Dominicans, along with several international organizations - including the United Nations, The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, the Organization of American States, CARICOM, Amnesty International - and people around the world have vehemently denounced this ruling through statements, petitions, demonstrations, and other means.

As MUDHA founder, the late Sonia Pierre, reminds us in this film, the right to nationality is an essential human right. Everyone has an irreversible right to a nationality and the critical protections rendered by citizenship in the country of his or her birth.

Please watch "Birthright Crisis", then learn what you can do to add your voice to this very important cause.

Edwidge Danticat
Haitian Women for Haitian Refugees

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