Dominican Republic


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The following information is based on the Amnesty International Report 2021/22. This report documents the human rights situation in 149 countries in 2020, as well as providing global and regional analysis. It presents Amnesty International’s concerns and calls for action to governments and others. 

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC 2021

Gender-based violence remained common. Lawmakers failed to pass a revised Criminal Code that would decriminalize abortion and provide protections against violence, torture and discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation or gender identity. The authorities extended access to Covid-19 vaccines to Dominicans of Haitian descent and migrants, who were previously excluded.

Gender-based violence

Between January and September, 111 women were killed, 61 of whom were victims of femicides, according to preliminary statistics published by the General Prosecutor’s Office. Between January and October, the same office reported having received over 63,000 reports of gender-based and intra-family violence and more than 6,300 reports of sexual offences. The authorities continued to fail to develop a national protocol for the investigation of torture, in line with the Manual on Effective Investigation and Documentation of Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (Istanbul Protocol). This was despite evidence presented to the authorities in 2019 that the police routinely raped, beat and humiliated cisgender and transgender women engaged in sex work in acts that may amount to torture or other ill-treatment.

Sexual and reproductive rights

The Dominican Republic remained one of the few countries in the region that continued to criminalize girls or women who sought to terminate a pregnancy. This total ban on abortion continued to cause the deaths of women and girls.

In March, hundreds of human rights activists camped outside the National Palace demanding that Congress vote in favour of decriminalizing abortion on three grounds – when the pregnancy poses a risk to the life of the pregnant woman or girl, when the fetus cannot survive outside the uterus, and when the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest.1 However, in June, the Chamber of Deputies voted against decriminalization on the three grounds, risking the life and health of thousands of girls and women.2

In December, Congress again failed to pass a revised Criminal Code that decriminalizes abortion and provides protections against torture, violence and discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity.

Legislators also failed to pass comprehensive anti-discrimination legislation which had been demanded by civil society organizations for almost a decade.

Arbitrary deprivation of nationality

Thousands of people born to foreign parents who were registered as Dominicans at birth but later unrecognized as nationals, remained unable to obtain Dominican identity documents, which continued to leave them stateless.

In February, President Luis Abinader announced Covid-19 vaccination plans that would have left many Dominicans of Haitian descent and migrants without access to vaccines.3 However, following advocacy from civil society actors, Dominican authorities extended the vaccination programme to all residents.

Dominican Republic Newsroom



March 28, 2019 • Report

If they can have her, why can’t we?

Police in the Dominican Republic routinely rape, beat, humiliate and verbally abuse women sex workers to exert social control over them and to punish them for transgressing social norms of …

June 13, 2016 • Report

Where are We Going to Live?: Migration and Statelessness in Haiti and the Dominican Republic

The Dominican Republic has unlawfully expelled hundreds of Dominicans to Haiti who have been caught in the middle of a wave of returns and deportations of more than 100,000 people in recent months, Amnesty International said in a new report a year after the Dominican Republic ended a moratorium on deportations on June 18, 2015.

February 18, 2016 • Report

Amnesty International State of the World 2015-2016

International protection of human rights is in danger of unravelling as short-term national self-interest and draconian security crackdowns have led to a wholesale assault on basic freedoms and rights, warned Amnesty International as it launched its annual assessment of human rights around the world. “Your rights are in jeopardy: they are being treated with utter contempt by many governments around the world,” said Salil Shetty, Secretary General of Amnesty International.

February 25, 2015 • Report

State of the World 2014/2015

This has been a devastating year for those seeking to stand up for human rights and for those caught up in the suffering of war zones. Governments pay lip service to the importance of protecting civilians. And yet the world's politicians have miserably failed to protect those in greatest need. Amnesty International believes that this can and must finally change.

May 17, 2013 • Report

Annual Report: Dominican Republic 2013

Dominican Republic Head of state and government Danilo Medina Sánchez The number of unlawful killings by police remained high. People of Haitian descent continued to be denied identity documents. Violence …

October 25, 2011 • Report

Dominican Republic urged to tackle alarming levels of police abuse

Hundreds of people are shot and killed every year by police in the Dominican Republic.

June 20, 2011 • Report

Annual Report: Dominican Republic 2011

Head of state and government: Leonel Fernández Reyna Death penalty: abolitionist for ordinary crimes Population: 10.2 million Life expectancy: 72.8 years Under-5 mortality (m/f): 37/29 per 1,000 Adult literacy: 88.2 …

December 16, 2020 • Press Release

Governments and Police Must Stop Using COVID-19 Pandemic as Pretext for Abuse

Abusive policing and excessive reliance on law enforcement to implement COVID-19 response measures have violated human rights and in some instances made the health crisis worse, Amnesty International said today.

June 13, 2016 • Press Release

Reckless deportations from Dominican Republican leaving thousands in limbo in Haiti

The Dominican Republic has unlawfully expelled hundreds of Dominicans to Haiti who have been caught in the middle of a wave of returns and deportations of more than 100,000 people in recent months, Amnesty International said in a new report a year after the Dominican Republic ended a moratorium on deportations on June 18, 2015.

February 22, 2016 • Press Release

Amnesty International’s Annual State of the World Report Slams Governments, Including the U.S., for Global Assault on Freedoms

On the launch of its 2015 State of the World report, Amnesty International USA urged President Obama to use his last year in office to bring U.S. laws and policies in line with international human rights standards.

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