Dominican Republic: The Cost of Inaction for a Stateless Child Without Legal Identification

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On 1 February 2015, about 140,000 children born in the Dominican Republic became stateless—not recognized as a citizen by any country. Of these children, 46,000 have no form of birth registration or identity documentation. The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) must respond as this crisis continues to unfold. Based on a cost of inaction analysis, the Dominican government will assume greater economic, social, political, and security costs to sustain the status quo than to provide these stateless children with a legal form of identification. The UNHCR should leverage these findings to garner the state’s consent for an intervention. The UNHCR could implement a feasible two-year mobile birth registration program that serves up to 26,000 stateless children in the rural regions of the Dominican Republic.

The full article will be published in the LAPJ 2015. Order the LAPJ 2015 Now!

About the Author

Screen Shot 2015-05-01 at 12.55.47 PMCristian N. Martinez is a Master in Public Policy candidate at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. Her career and academic endeavors root from her personal experience as a 1.5 generation Mexican-American. As a US Fulbright research fellow, she’s had the great privilege of working with the Movement of Haitian-Dominican Women and the Caribbean Migrants Observatory in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. During her time in the Dominican Republic, she published and presented “A Walk in My Shoes: Discrimination in Access to Health Services for Women in the Bateyes.” Then, during her time in the Department of State’s Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs, she helped advance US diplomacy on racial and ethnic equality in Brazil and Colombia. Ms. Martinez received her BA in political science and international studies from the University of California, Irvine in 2010. Upon graduating from the Kennedy School, she looks forward to beginning her career as a US diplomat in September 2015.

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