University and College Union
London Retired Members' Branch

The Society for Caribbean Studies issued the following statement at their annual conference. It was moved and seconded by UCU retired members. The statement reflects UCU London Retired Members' Branch policy:

Statement on the situation in the Dominican Republic

The Society for Caribbean Studies in the UK (SCS) condemns the threat by the Dominican Republic to expel thousands of its citizens of Haitian heritage.

The Constitutional Court of the Dominican Republic made a ruling in September 2013, which retroactively stripped the birthright citizenship from tens of thousands of people whose families have lived in the country for generations. The ruling covers Dominican citizens resident in the Republic since 1929 and their descendants, rendering them not only stateless but unable to attend school or make a living while becoming even more vulnerable to all kinds of hostilities.

Researchers have already noted the impact of the ruling. A recent report by US trade unions concluded that “the deliberate creation of a stateless underclass increases the already formidable risks of exploitation”. It warned that the ruling could worsen poverty among those affected, because without an identity card people are relegated to informal jobs and have little bargaining power in relations with employers.

The last time there was a major governmental crackdown against people of Haitian descent in the Dominican Republic, during the 1937 “Parsley Massacre” by the forces of Dominican state, over 20,000 men, women and children were rounded up, then beaten or hacked to death for just being Haitian or simply looking as if they were because they were of African heritage.

The SCS therefore calls upon governments, international and regional organisations, as well as human rights, and trade union organisations to put all available pressure on the government of the Dominican Republic to reverse this injustice.

No ethnic cleansing in the Caribbean.

Download the Caribbean Labour Solidarity briefing paper on the plight of people of African heritage in the Dominican Republic