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Universal Periodic Review – MEDIA BRIEF

Wednesday, 5 February 2014 (Morning)

(Disclaimer: The following brief is not an official record, provides a brief factual summary of the UPR Working Group meeting with the State under review, and does not cover all points addressed)

State under review

Dominican Republic
Represented by five-member delegation headed by Ms. Alejandra Liriano de la Cruz, Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs.

Documents

To access national report, compilation of UN information, and summary of stakeholders’ information, visit
the Dominican Republic page on the UPR website.

Troika *

India, Gabon and Peru.

Opening statement by State under review

Few points raised in the  opening statement of State under review:
(See full statement on the Dominican Republic page on the UPR Extranet **)

  • On 26 January 2010 a new Constitution came into effect which examined in greater scope human rights and which spurred the enactment of new laws and norms to better guarantee respect for human rights;
  • Revisions have been made to the Criminal Code to address issues such as domestic violence, femicide, enforced disappearances, racial discrimination and that based on sexual orientation and gender identity. A new law was also in place decriminalising abortion when the health of the mother or child was at risk;
  • Within the reporting period, the Government ratified the CAT and the Protocol to the American Convention on Human Rights to Abolish the Death Penalty and was studying the possibility of ratifying the 2nd OP to the ICCPR, the OP to the CRC on children in armed conflict and ILO Convention 189 on domestic workers;
  • A human rights unit within the Office of the Procurator was set up to advance human rights through public awareness campaigns and establishing platforms for receiving human rights complaints. Moreover, the Ombudsperson was appointed in May 2013;
  • On education, 28,000 new classrooms will be built in a four-year period and efforts have been made to improve school attendance rates, namely the “Quisqueya Empieza Contigo” programme. The Government also launched a publicity campaign in September 2012 to combat illiteracy;
  • The National Migration Council, established by a law in 2004, met for the first time last year.  The aim of the Council was to regularize foreigners with irregular status.The Government of President Danilo Medina was committed to addressing the situation migrants to uphold the rights of migrants;
  • A clear road map has been established to address the various needs of migrants including for documenting irregular migrants and foreigners in line with international human rights standards. A law was being promulgated to ensure that the children of persons who were irregular would also be regularized;
  • On the rights of children, a standard was drawn up to combat child abuse and the Government was currently implementing a strategic framework to stamp out child labour. Considerable efforts were also made to ensure that all children born in the Dominican Republic were registered;
  • The Government has signed agreements to better promote and protect the rights of persons with disabilities and conducted a campaign in 2013 to promote social inclusion for person with disabilities; 30 workshops have also been conducted to allow for persons with disabilities to join the labour market;
  • A specialized unit set up in 2013 to address cases of human trafficking and significant efforts have been made to address these crimes;
  • The prison system was also being reformed to improve conditions for inmates and the Government was also providing human rights for prison staff;
  • Concerted efforts were also being made to reduce levels of poverty in the country. The country experienced considerable success in combatting hunger and in achieving the MDGs. There was a strategy in place to address the right to health addressing a wide range of health needs. 

Participants

In total 49 States participated in the dialogue:  19 HRC members and  30 observers  (Statements available on Dominican Republic page on the UPR Extranet)

Positive achievements

Positive achievements noted by delegations included, among others:

  • The ratification of the Convention Against Torture;
  • The legislative initiatives to assist people with disabilities;
  • Progress made in promoting women’s rights and guaranteeing gender equality, as reflected by the high number of women represented in public life;
  • The newly created position of the Ombudsman;
  • Measures taken to combat violence against women and girls and the recent decline of 26 per cent between 2012 and 2013 in fatalities from domestic violence;
  • Efforts made in combating trafficking in persons and the creation of the special prosecutor’s office to combat trafficking and smuggling in persons.

Issues and Questions

Issues and questions raised by the Working Group included, among others:

  • The recent constitutional tribunal ruling 068/13 of September 2013, resulting in statelessness of tens of thousands of individuals;
  • The issue of prevailing violence towards women, especially the high incidence of killings of women;
  • Allegations of human rights violations, excessive use of force, unlawful killings, arbitrary arrests and detentions by law enforcement officials;
  • The criminalization of abortion;
  • Human trafficking;
  • Racial discrimination;

Recommendations

States participating in the dialogue posed a series of recommendations to Dominican Republic.  These pertained to the following issues, among others

  • To take urgent steps to ensure full respect for the right to a nationality, to implement a regularization process to prevent discriminatory deprivation of nationality and to seek technical advice with UNHCR to identify and prevent statelessness and protect stateless persons;
  • To strengthen the national legal framework for the protection of women and girls from gender-based and domestic violence and  to take effective measures to eliminate occurrences of femicide;
  • To investigate cases of human rights violations committed by security forces;
  • To provide adequate funding to institutions with a role in preventing and addressing cases of gender-based violence;
  • To take measures to develop the Ombudsman into an independent human rights institution in-line with the Paris Principles with adequate funding;
  • To intensify efforts to combat human trafficking;
  • To extend an open invitation to all Special Procedures mandate holders;
  • To do its outmost to achieve universal free primary education without;
  • To decriminalize abortion and to ensure that women and girls seeking it and health professionals are not subject to criminal sanctions;
  • To strengthen efforts and implement policies to address discrimination against LGBT persons;
  • To further promote gender equality in society;
  • To end mass arbitrary expulsion of migrant;
  • Ratification of human rights instruments: the Conventions on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide;  on the Reduction of Statelessness; on the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance; on the Protection of the Rights of all Migrant Workers;  the Optional Protocols to the Convention Against Torture; to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights; to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on a communications procedure; and the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

Adoption of report of Working Group

The adoption of the report of the UPR Working Group on Dominican Republic is scheduled to take place on Friday, 7 February 2014.

*The troikas are a group of three States selected through a drawing of lots who serve as rapporteurs and who are charged with preparing the report of the Working Group on the country review with the involvement of the State under review and assistance from the OHCHR.

** For access to the UPR Extranet, please fill out the following form to receive a username and password

Media contacts:
Rolando Gómez, Public Information Officer, OHCHR, + 41(0)22 917 9711,
rgomez@ohchr.org
Cédric Sapey, Public Information Officer, OHCHR, + 41(0)22 917 9695, csapey@ohchr.org

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