- Who We Are
- What We Do
- Get Involved
Washington, DC – An international coalition of nongovernmental organizations has joined to express profound concern following a campaign of verbal attacks and misinformation launched by the Dominican media against human rights defender Sonia Pierre.
The coalition comprises the Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL), Open Society Justice Initiative (OSJI), The Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights, Refugees International, Christian Aid UK, Church World Service, Global Rights, Fundación Etnica Integral (FEI), Movimiento Social y Cultural de Trabajadores Haitianos (MOSCTHA), the Red de Encuentro Dominico Haitiana Jacques Viau (REDHJV) and the Asociación 180° para la Cooperación y el Desarrollo.
The following is a joint statement by the coalition:
"We are compelled to state that reports published in the media contain inaccurate and incomplete information regarding human rights activist Sonia Pierre and an upcoming public hearing at the Inter-American Commission in Washington, regarding the rights of Dominicans of Haitian descent in the Dominican Republic.
"First, the public hearing is not a legal action against the Dominican State, but rather, a thematic hearing convened by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and to be held on October 24, 2011 on the issue of "Judicial Response in Cases of Denationalization in the Dominican Republic." We stress that this is not a trial proceeding against the Dominican State, but instead, a space for dialogue to discuss a situation that affects its citizens. This thematic hearing was requested by more than 12 local and international organizations along with individual experts. The Movement of Dominican-Haitian Women, an organization directed by Sonia Pierre, is one of the organizations that supported the petition for the hearing, but it was not Mrs. Pierre who arranged or submitted the request.
"Second, the public hearing at the Inter-American Commission headquarters in Washington addresses the Dominican State's policy of denationalizing Dominican citizens and depriving them of their identity documents. This policy has been criticized by Dominican civil society in general, as well as Dominican courts of first instance which have issued decisions favorable to the victims of this policy. Nonetheless, the State has continued with the policy, clearly violating domestic and international law. The coalition that requested the public hearing consider that this is an alarming situation and deserves an international space for dialogue. This hearing will not only be about the cases presented by the organization MUDHA, but also about all the cases that have been submitted for adjudication by numerous organizations and lawyers throughout the country.
"We wish to express our strongest condemnation of the statements and attacks against Sonia Pierre and denounce this campaign of misinformation and threats. Ms. Pierre is the beneficiary of protective measures ordered by the Inter-American Court that require the Dominican State to investigate all threatening and aggressive acts perpetrated against her. In this context, we demand that the Dominican State adopt the measures necessary to prevent all acts of verbal aggression that put Ms. Pierre's security and personal integrity at risk, as well as fulfill its international obligations to respect the human rights of all persons within its territory."
Refugees International is a Washington, DC-based organization that advocates to end refugee crises and receives no government or UN funding. For more information, go to www.refugeesinternational.org.
Milli Legrain (CEJIL) + 1-202 629 7537, email@example.com
Liliana Gamboa (Open Society Institute) +1 212 548 0189, firstname.lastname@example.org
Josh Karlen (RFK Center for Justice and Human Rights) +1 917 671 6803, email@example.com