With the beginning of the new parliamentary term, a preliminary draft of the Criminal Code is being debated by the Dominican Republic’s Congress with the objective of approving a reformed version by the end of this legislative year. Legislators are currently pushing forward with a reformed criminal code that would fail to decriminalize abortion in three circumstances and that would not provide protections against torture, violence, and discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity. We demand the Congress approves a reformed criminal code that meets their human rights obligations to respect, protect and fulfil women’s, girls’, and LGBTIQ+ people’s rights, lives, health, dignity, and autonomy.
- Please take action as-soon-as possible. This Urgent Action expires on November 19, 2021.
- Write a letter in your own words or using the sample below as a guide to one or both government officials listed. You can also email, fax, call or Tweet them.
- Click here to let us know the actions you took on Urgent Action 36.21. It’s important to report because we share the total number with the officials we are trying to persuade and the people we are trying to help.
Dear Alfredo Pacheco,
Right now, human rights activists across the Dominican Republic are demanding that the reform of the country’s criminal code includes the protection of LGBTIQ+ rights and the decriminalization of abortion in three limited circumstances: when the pregnancy poses a risk to the life of a pregnant woman or girl, when the fetus could not survive outside the womb, and when the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest. These demands are a human rights imperative for the Dominican Republic and must be approved.
The Dominican Republic’s current legislation that outlaws abortion under all circumstances causes a serious and urgent public health problem, leading to avoidable deaths of women and pregnant people, generally from the most vulnerable sectors of the population.
Over the last 25 years, more than 50 countries have changed their laws to allow for greater access to abortion, recognizing the vital role that access to safe abortion plays in protecting lives and health. Such reforms are widely supported by human rights standards, as well as by public health experts. The World Health Organization, along with prominent medical associations, support the decriminalization of abortion, asserting that criminalization does not have the intended effect of reducing the numbers of abortions and only leads to women seeking unsafe clandestine abortion that put their lives and health at risk.
Sadly, the Dominican Republic continues to be amongst the last countries in the world to maintain a complete ban on abortion. The current debate over the reform of the country’s criminal code represents an historic opportunity to change this situation and stand on the right side of history.
Equally, by failing to ensure that the Criminal Code includes protections against torture, violence and discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity, the Dominican Republic would sustain inequalities, perpetuate discrimination and stigmatization of LGBTIQ+ people, preventing them from enjoying a whole range of other rights.
Therefore, I call on to you to approve a reformed criminal code that meets the Dominican Republic’s obligations under international human rights law to respect, protect, and fulfil the rights of women, girls, and LGBTIQ+ people to life, health, autonomy, and dignity.