The New York Times details the plight of Haitians and Dominicans of Haitian descent in the Dominican Republic in its November 20, 2005 issue. The story was initiated in part by the win of Boalt’s International Human Rights Law Clinic of a right to nationality case decided by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights earlier this fall.
In its decision, the San José, Costa Rica-based court, found that the Dominican Republic had violated the rights of children of Haitian ancestry and rendered them stateless by refusing to issue birth certificates and denying basic citizenship rights because of their race. The International Human Rights Law Clinic and two other groups initiated the case in 1998.
Interviewed in The New York Times’ story is Boalt Lecturer in Residence Roxanna Altholz ’99, who as a student worked on the litigation, and later assisted Clinic Director Laurel Fletcher in arguing the case before the Inter-American court this spring. “At the root of the problem, Ms. Altholz said, is that Haitian immigrants and their Dominican-born children live in a state of ‘permanent illegality,’ unable to acquire documents that prove they have jobs or attend schools or even that they were born in this country.”