SANTO DOMINGO – Extrajudicial executions, public lack of safety and impunity continued to be the norm this year in the Dominican Republic, according to a report presented Monday by the National Commission for Human Rights (CNDH).
According to the report on the Dominican human rights scenario during 2016, police have killed some 200 civilians this year, 70 percent of them young men between the ages of 18 and 30.
The CNDH also denounced massive arbitrary arrests, conducted mainly on the weekends, and the alleged demanding of bribes by police in exchange for releasing the people apprehended.
Police and the military are the institutions coming in for the most criticism in the report, which expressed “concern” at the “level ... of corruption” among the members of the national security forces, who commit the majority of the abuses, according to the CNDH.
“Human rights are in intensive care in the Dominican Republic. It’s a serious situation that merits rapid intervention by the state,” CNDH president Manual Maria Mercedes told EFE after presenting the document.
One of the situations of greatest concern is the stateless status of – Mercedes said – some 100,000 Dominicans, especially those of Haitian descent, after the implementation of Ruling 168-13 issued by the Constitutional Court, which sets the criteria for citizenship.
On the other hand, the CNDH said Monday that it regretted the situation of the Dominican judiciary which “is experiencing a situation of deterioration that has become chronic and structural, due mainly to the lack of resources received by the judicial branch.”
The organization also deplored the fact that 70 women have been murdered by their partners or ex-partners this year without the state taking concrete action to deal with this societal scourge.
The CNDH also said that the high rate or maternal and child mortality, as well as teenage pregnancies, is of great concern, despite the many programs undertaken with foreign help to deal with these issues.
The CNDH said, however, that the lack of citizen safety “is the issue that continues to upset and concern the majority of Dominican citizens and ... the impossibility of controlling the high indices of violence that are besetting our neighborhoods.”
Other concerns include impunity for corrupt officials, the lack of public policies to improve health services and education, the precarious condition of jails, high prices for basic foods and products and forced evictions.
“Economic, social, cultural and environment rights seem to have suffered a reversal this year,” says the report, and Mercedes told EFE that the government needs to implement the National Human Rights Plan, which has been pending since the 1993 Vienna World Conference on Human Rights.