How Does It Feel to Be Stateless?

A talk by Altagracia Jean Joseph, introduced by Miriam Neptune

In September 2013, the Dominican Republic passed TC168/13, a law that permanently annulled the citizenship of children born to “undocumented parents,” going back to 1929. This law directly impacted the children of Haitian immigrants who have been brought into to the Dominican Republic as laborers for the past 80 years, a practice initiated by the Dominican state-sponsored sugar industry. Hundreds of thousands of people of Haitian descent are now facing the inability to go to school, obtain work, travel, vote, and exercise other civil rights. Where are the denationalized people in the Dominican Republic? What are they experiencing each day as they attempt to navigate the current limitations on their rights? How does one survive without citizenship rights in the country in which they were born?

Altagracia Jean Joseph is a 29 year old law student and human rights activist who is one of the Dominican Republic’s most outspoken youth leaders in the movement to defend citizenship rights for people of Haitian descent. Altagracia is currently a leader of the campaign “Soy Dominicano Como Tu” (I am Dominican, Like You), and has collaborated with several Dominican human rights groups, including Centro Bonó, Movimiento Unidos de Mujeres Dominicano Haitiana (MUDHA), and The Socio-Cultural Movement for Haitian Workers (MOSCTHA) to respond to this crisis.

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