Caribbean Labour Solidarity have asked for our support to Picket the Evening of Dominican Cigars, Music and Rum on Wednesday 26th November at the Royal Geographical Society, Kensington Gore, SW7 2AR from6.30pm
It is "Dominican Week" next week in London and the Royal Geographic Society are hosting an Evening of Dominican Cigars, Music and Rum for the Dominican Ambassador and guests. It is appalling to celebrate the country in this way, particularly as three weeks ago the Dominican Republic informed the Inter-American Court of Human Rights of its intention to withdraw its membership, a reaction to the international criticism it received following the 2013 Constitutional Court ruling and subsequent acts of discrimination against Dominicans of Haitian descent in the country.
The Constitutional Court of the Dominican Republic made a ruling in September 2013, which retroactively stripped the birthright citizenship from tens of thousands of children, women and men, many of whose parents and grandparents were brought to work in the Dominican Republic’s sugar industry. The ruling covers citizens resident in the Republic since 1929 and their descendants.
There is a long history of racism, xenophobia and violence directed against Haitians and persons of Haitian descent in the Dominican Republic, which cannot be disassociated from this latest injustice. It would do us well to recall that the last time there was a major governmental crack-down against people of Haitian heritage in the Dominican Republic, during the 1937 "Parsley Massacre" by the forces of Dominican President Rafael Trujillo, 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 black.
It is scandalous that the Dominican court has chosen to commemorate the 76th anniversary of the 1937 massacre by stripping Dominican-born men, women, and children of Haitian descent of their citizenship, rendering them not only stateless but unable to attend school or make a living while becoming even more vulnerable to all kinds of hostilities including, increasingly, physical violence.