The problem of force migration, with special emphasis on the situation in the Dominican Republic
The issue of forced migration has reached the limits of an unfortunate tragedy. Proof of this is the actions taken by the United Nations (such as UNHCR and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights), the International Labour Organization (ILO), the World Health Organization (WHO), as well as the International Organization for Migration (OIM) to tackle this situation.
While it is certain that these migrants and refugees should receive urgent assistance, especially women, children and the elderly, it is also true that the discomfort of a human being should be treated not only with "simple medicines" but also with an effective and lasting cure.
The solution that these international entities offer, in general terms, is to aid those individuals who are forced to leave their countries in search of better horizons. However, in recent times, they have failed to address the real causes of this forced migration.
Instead of certain members of these international entities spending billions of dollars on sterile conflicts and wars that cause the phenomenon of forced migrations, they should be spending these dollars searching for stable solutions in these conflict areas.
In cases where poverty is the main factor in forced migration, these international entities should try to develop a collaborative approach to improving the well-being of these disadvantaged individuals.
Apart from the immediate and needed assistance provided to alleviate force migrations, these international entities are also urged to seek more effective solutions to resolve, once and for all, this global tragedy, achieving a political will on the part of those involved in this dire situation towards finding a just and lasting solution to obtaining peace and justice to be enjoyed by all peoples of the world.
In the case of the Dominican Republic, where poverty is the main factor in forced migration, the Government inherited a system that for decades kept it in a state of administrative weakness and left an entire group of individuals, both domestic and migrant, in an undocumented status and vulnerability. To put an end to this irregularity, the Dominican Government decided to take the initiative and provide all individuals living in the country with a document that reflected its immigration status.
The fundamental principles that guided the Government in this initiative was not just the legal aspect, but the sense of humanity and protecting the rights of individuals. These principals are contained in the Special Law 169-14 and the National Regularization Plan as implemented by the Dominican Government.
Thousands of individuals who have registered in the Libro de Extranjeria under the provisions of Special Law 169-14 would be in a position to access the naturalization process within two years. As for the National Regularization Plan, this special initiative sought to correct the immigration status of individuals who have been in the country illegally.
In order to facilitate the process, the Dominican Government relied on those organizations it recognized for their invaluable cooperation and expertise in this area, such as the UNHCR, the International Organization for Migration, UNICEF, the European Union, UNDP and the National Bureau for Migration, among others.
Nevertheless, some international media have maliciously repeated the theory that more than 200,000 individuals would have been in a situation of statelessness and in danger of being expelled from the Dominican Republic.
This is totally false and can be verified by those United Nations specialized agencies present in the country, as well as by some foreign diplomats based both in Haiti and in the Dominican Republic.
Like any State, the Dominican Government is not infallible and can make mistakes. However, if someone considers that a mistake has been made, that individual can present his/her case to the Dominican Government and can be assured that the authorities will find the proper solution.
The legal system in the Dominican Republic has mechanisms to do so. This is a complex situation and a fact that requires analysis, research, rigor and honesty.
But beyond speculation, after a collective effort like this, it is important to make a fair and balanced assessment of what has been achieved. And we cannot allow the debate remains exclusively in the hands of the most polarized sectors.
In the Dominican Republic, more than 350,000 individuals have regularized their situations and been given their proper documentation. For those who are fall under the provisions of the National Regularization Plan it will be the legal residence. For those who benefited from the Special Law 169-14, it will be the Dominican nationality.
In the Dominican Republic there is not, nor will there be, indiscriminate and collective deportations.
In the Dominican Republic those individuals that have been properly documented are not considered stateless, although some continue to say the contrary.
In 2015, hundreds of thousands of individuals in the Dominican Republic will have proper documentation and rights that they did not have in 2013. Make no mistake, this is a big step forward for human rights!
The Dominican Republic emphasizes that, like all other countries in the world, it has the sovereign right to regulate migration flows according to the laws that governs it. Its sovereignty is not at stake.
The Dominican Republic is a country open to the world which does not forget the sacrifices of its brothers abroad and values in the same way the contributions of all those who come to its land.
Those who want to come to the Dominican Republic and see with their own eyes its reality, the goodness of its people and the opportunities it offers, the country welcomes you as it always did.
His Excellency Mr. Homero Luís Hernández Sánchez