Clinic News

Clinic Students Present First Case Against Dominican Republic Before International Court for Violating Nationality and Education Rights (Mar.1 4-15th, 2005)

On March 14-15, 2005 the clinic presented the first case against the Dominican Republic before the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, the highest human rights tribunal in the Americas. Under the supervision of Director Laurel Fletcher, clinic students Justin Berger '06, Anu Menon '05, and Tara Lundstrom '06 worked alongside advocates from the Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL), and the Movement of Dominico-Haitian Women, Inc. (MUDHA) to press the claims two Dominican girls, Dilcia Yean and Violeta Bosico, who are victims of violations of the rights to a nationality, equality before the law, and judicial protection, as well as the rights to a name and to protection of the family.

The facts of the case date to 1997, when the State Civil Registry of the Dominican Republic rejected Dilcia's and Violeta's applications for late registration of their births, although the girls' families presented evidence they were born within Dominican territory. Professor Fletcher argued during closing argument that the Dominican state refused to issue the girls' birth certificates on discriminatory grounds, a decision that was arbitrary and illegal in terms of the guarantees provided for in the Dominican constitution. As a consequence of the refusal, Dilcia and Violeta were placed at risk - and remain at risk - of expulsion from the country. They also lack access to education, lack nationality and legal status, and have suffered alienation from their families.

This project is supported through the generous contribution of the Mertz Gilmore Foundation.