Una aberración en el camino hacia la igualdad social en América Latina, por Tim Shenk


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Desahogo Dominicano

November 6, 2013

Una aberración en el camino hacia la igualdad social en América Latina

por Tim Shenk

Ithaca, Nueva York. Los libros de historia del futuro contarán que en una época de grandes avances en los derechos humanos en América Latina, la República Dominicana se destacó por sus políticas retrógradas que serían la vergüenza de futuras generaciones de quisqueyanos.

Ver el artículo completo en “El Desahogo Dominicano”, foro virtual del periodista dominicano Bienvenido Scharboy: Una aberración en el camino hacia la igualdad social en América Latina


An aberration in the advance toward equality for migrants in Latin America

A criticism of a recent Constitutional Court ruling in the Dominican Republic

By Tim Shenk*
Published at El Desahogo Dominicano blog, November 6, 2013

Ithaca, New York. The history books of the future will chronicle that in an era of great advances in human rights in Latin America, the Dominican Republic stood out for its backwards policies that would be the shame of future generations.

The Dominican Constitutional Court ruling of September 23, which aims to rescind citizenship papers and rights from four generations of native-born persons of Haitian ancestry, represents an aberration on the road to social equality in Latin America.

Countries like Ecuador and Argentina, among others, have taken legislative steps to ensure the welfare of its citizens both as migrants and so-called “foreigners in transit,” as the Dominican government refers to them.

In its 2008 constitution, Ecuador recognizes and guarantees the right to “el buen vivir,” or a good life, for every person born in its territory. El buen vivir, a translation of the indigenous concept “sumak kawsay,” guarantees the human right to: access to water, food, a healthy environment, access to communication and information, culture, free public education, health, housing, employment and social security.

Furthermore, Article 40 of the Ecuadorian Constitution recognizes the right to migrate and prohibits discrimination based on migratory status.

In Argentina, the Migration Act has been in place since 2004. This legislation recognizes that “the right to migration is essential and inalienable right of the individual.” Furthermore, Article 6 states: “The State in all its jurisdictions ensures equal access for immigrants and their families in the same conditions of protection and rights enjoyed by nationals, particularly in reference to social services, public goods, health, education, justice, labor, employment and social security.”

These two cases illuminate the path to a future of human rights in the region. However, in the Dominican Republic the current government insists on another path: that of discrimination, exclusion and de-nationalization.

Gentlemen, eso no se hace. That’s just not right. May history judge you, as well as the people of here and now.

* The author lived in the Dominican Republic from 2002-2003 and 2006-2010. He is currently the Coordinator of Committee on U.S.-Latin American Relations (CUSLAR) headquartered at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. CUSLAR defends the right of every human being to a homeland and all other rights guaranteed by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

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