Everyone, everywhere: Why our mass Urgent Action for Dominican citizens needs you

Back in 2006, we issued what must be our biggest urgent action ever: ‘victims of human rights violations in all countries’. A little vague, you might think. But at that point, the US could have stalled the creation of the UN Human Rights Council, and if that body was never created, thousands more people could be at risk of human rights abuses.

Flooding the authorities with appeals can be very effective whether we’re aiming to help a single person, a family, a whole community – or every single person in the world.

Similarly, calling for urgent action when someone is at risk of abuse can make sure the harm never comes. An activist once wrote to us asking why we were calling for action for someone at risk of torture. They hadn’t been tortured yet, they argued, so why interfere?

We know that when people are arrested, detained or disappeared, torture is often the next step. When we know that an abuse like torture is extremely likely, we’d never wait for that to happen before we call on you for help. Prevention is the best cure, after all…

These reasons are why we’ve just issued an urgent action on behalf of hundreds of thousands of people in the Dominican Republic.

In September, the Dominican Constitutional Court ordered the examination of all births since 1929, in order to remove all people who have supposedly been wrongfully registered as Dominican citizens. This decision could deprive 100,000s of their citizenship, effectively making them stateless – something that contradicts any country’s human rights obligations.

Those affected would be unable to access healthcare, education, the right to vote. And the decision seems to target those Dominicans of Haitian descent. They could be told the country they’ve lived in all their life, is no longer theirs. Thousands upon thousands could be affected.

Strictly speaking, no one is a victim of this decision yet. But the potential for a human rights abuse here – and the number of people it could affect – is of huge concern.

All repressive laws have victims. These two urgent actions highlight our work behind-the-scenes, researching and understanding how laws and decisions, or lack of them, could have a massive impact on peoples’ everyday lives.

Find out more about the Dominican Republic urgent action in the attachment below. Please add your letter to the thousands already coming from around the world.

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Our blogs are written by Amnesty International staff, volunteers and other interested individuals, to encourage debate around human rights issues. They do not necessarily represent the views of Amnesty International.
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