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Sen. Forry and Rep. Cullinane pass resolution on humanitarian crisis in Dominican Republic

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Last Friday the Massachusetts Senate and House of Representatives unanimously passed a Joint Resolution addressing the humanitarian crisis in the Dominican Republic. The joint resolution, filed by Sen. Linda Dorcena Forry and Rep. Dan Cullinane, comes on the heels of a press conference held by elected officials and human rights groups in front of the State House on June 30.

The current government of the Dominican Republic has recently implemented a series of new naturalization laws specifically aimed at Dominican citizens of Haitian descent. These laws disenfranchise people born in the Dominican Republic whose parents, grandparents or even great grandparents may have entered as noncitizens after 1929. To date, thousands of Dominicans of Haitian descent have been deported, and thousands more are in danger of becoming stateless. Many of these Dominicans of Haitian descent have no family in Haiti nor do they speak French or Haitian Creole.

“There is no doubt in my mind that, by every modern standard, this is a crisis,” said Forry in her speech on the Senate floor. “Article 15 of the United Nation’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that ‘everyone has the right to a nationality’ and right now there are thousands of Dominicans of Haitian descent being denied that right, and so the Commonwealth of Massachusetts is joining the international community in pursuit of a peaceful end to this crisis.”

“This is not an issue of Haitians vs. Dominicans. This is an issue of right vs. wrong,” Cullinane said. “This is not happening on the other side of the world. This is a serious and escalating human rights emergency happening just miles off our shores. Today, through this resolution, we stand unified against discrimination and against racism.”

The joint resolution, which requests U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to pursue a multilateral approach to address this crisis, received broad support in both the State Senate and the House of Representatives.

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