Dominican government denounces court case alleging discrimination against children of Haitian descent

The Dominican government on Tuesday denounced a court case that accused the Caribbean nation of discriminating against Dominican-born children of Haitian descent by denying them birth certificates and access to public schools.

The Inter-American Court of Human Rights on Friday ruled the government had violated the rights of Haitian-origin children by denying the birth certificates, according to the International Human Rights Law Clinic at the University of California at Berkeley, which helped argue the case against the government.

The Dominican Foreign Affairs Ministry in a statement called the lawsuit "unacceptable" and said it "ignored the real facts and constitutional law, Haitian as well as Dominican."

It also accused the Costa Rica-based Inter-American Court of ignoring evidence presented by the government "as if the ruling had been preconceived to condemn our country."

The International Human Rights Law Clinic and two other groups filed the lawsuit in 1997 on behalf of two Dominican-born girls who were allegedly denied birth certificates because of their Haitian origin. The groups argued the practice was widespread and left children at risk of being denied public schooling or even deported, reports the AP. I.L.

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