REPORT Nº 68/05
PETITION 12.271
ADMISSIBILITY
BENITO TIDE MÉNDEZ, ANTONIO SENSIÓN, ANDREA ALEZI, JANTY FILS-AIME, WILLIAM
MEDINA FERRERAS, RAFAELITO PÉREZ CHARLES, BERSON GELIM, ET AL.
DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
October 13, 2005
I.

SUMMARY

1. On November 12, 1999, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (hereinafter "the
Commission" or the “IACHR”) received a petition lodged by the Human Rights Clinic of the
Berkeley University of California School of Law (Boat Hall), the Center for Justice and
International Law (CEJIL), and the National Coalition for Haitian Rights (NCHR) (all hereinafter
“the petitioners"1), against the Dominican Republic (hereinafter, the State). Initially the
complaint did not specify the names of alleged individual victims; subsequently however, the
petitioners identified the following individuals as possible victims: Benito Tide Méndez, Antonio
Sensión, Andrea Alezi, Janty Fils-Aime, William Medina Ferreras, Rafaelito Pérez Charles, and
Berson Gelim, all Haitians and Dominicans of Haitian origin and residents of the Dominican
Republic (hereinafter, the alleged victims). In their complaint, the petitioners claim that the
State has a policy of deportation2 and expulsion of Haitians and Dominicans of Haitian origin
that has given rise to human rights violations against Haitian workers, documented and
undocumented alike, as well as against documented and undocumented Dominicans of Haitian
origin. The petitioners contend that this policy has impinged on the rights of the alleged
victims and that the rights violated are set forth in Articles 3 (Juridical Personality), 5 (humane
treatment), 7 (personal liberty), 8 (due process guarantees), 17 (right of the family), 19
(rights of the child), 20 (nationality), 22 (movement and residence), 24 (equal protection) y 25
(juridical protection), all of them in connection with Article 1.1 (obligation to take measures) of
the American Convention on Human Rights (hereinafter, the Convention).
2. The State claims that the repatriation process is grounded in domestic law and incorporates
due process guarantees including the individual processing of cases and the right to a defense
and legal counsel. It further states that the process is carried out through a joint decisionmaking process with the Haitian government, especially through a bilateral commission
established in 1996, and that these measures have been improved upon through domestic
legal reforms and inter-country cooperation. The State also asserts that the Dominican State
has the irrenunciable right, as an attribute of sovereignty, to repatriate foreigners residing in
the country illegally, and that this does not contravene any treaty or convention signed by the
Dominican State.
3. After analyzing the positions of the parties, the Commission concludes that it is competent
to take up the complaint lodged by the petitioners and that the case is admissible under
Articles 46 y 47 of the American Convention. The Commission also resolves to publish the
instant report in its Annual Report to the General Assembly of the OAS and to notify both
parties.
II.

PROCESSING BEFORE THE COMMISSION

4. On November 17, 1999, the Commission received a petition with a request for precautionary
measures and registered it as case 12.271, in accordance with its rules of procedure in force at
that time. On November 22, 1999, during its 105 regular session, the Commission asked the
State to adopt precautionary measures. On November 24 and 29, 1999, the Dominican State
submitted additional information, without prejudice to a subsequent response. On November
1

See infra para. 5, in which the Human Rights Clinic of the Columbia University School of Law are added as petitioners
in the case
2
The term deportation is used to refer to the removal of foreigners and the term expulsion for the removal of
nationals from their own territory. Original written complaint submitted by the petitioners in the file before the IACHR,
pp. 1-10.
1

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