The University of Miami School of Law Human Rights Clinic has submitted an amicus curiae brief in the case of Benito Tide Méndez et al., v. Dominican Republic before the Inter-American Court of Human Rights. The brief focuses on rights violations by the Dominican Republic in its process of carrying out mass deportations of Haitians and Dominicans of Haitian descent without allowing them proper due process or taking into account humanitarian considerations.
The amicus brief was one of several filed in this case by advocacy organizations, including the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights, which touched on different issues at question in the Benito Tide Méndez case. In that case, approximately 30 dark-skinned individuals of Haitian descent, including long-term residents and citizens of the Dominican Republic, were arbitrarily detained and summarily deported to Haiti without any due process. These deportations are representative of a historical practice of mass expulsions from the Dominican Republic of people of Haitian descent; a practice that continues to this day.
The Clinic's brief argues that the Dominican government should be compelled to ensure that no one is deported without access to substantive and procedural due process, and to establish measures to ensure humanitarian protection of individuals facing deportations to Haiti specifically. The latter is particularly important in light of both the continuing crisis in Haiti in the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake and the Dominican Constitutional Tribunal's recent decision that has potentially put hundreds of thousands of additional individuals at risk of deportation to Haiti.
Last month, the Constitutional Tribunal published a decision that revoked the Dominican citizenship of generations of people born in the Dominican Republic of Haitian descent, going back to 1929. As a result, hundreds of thousands of people are no longer safeguarded by the protections of the Dominican Constitution and could possibly be subjected to deportation without notice or hearing.
The Inter-American Court's eventual ruling in the Benito Tide Méndez case could award financial compensation to the victims and order migration-related law and policy reforms in the Dominican Republic.