Statelessness In the Dominican Republic Video

Check out this great video made by the students who participated in Universal Justice’s 2013 trip to the Dominican Republic. It documents and discusses the ongoing struggle of Dominican persons of Haitian descent, a topic which is all the more pressing in light of the recent ruling from DR’s Supreme Court revoking the citizenship of Dominicans born after 1929 whose parents aren’t Dominican.

Waffles n’ Wiches!!!

stack o waffles   N’   download

In order to help all those 1L’s who are up late putting the finishing touches on (or just actually starting to write) their Long Memos, Universal Justice is putting on its Waffles n’ Wiches fundraiser.

Come grab a delicious waffle or sandwich from the UJ station in the law school cafeteria and power through the night!

Sunday, November 17th, 2013

From 6:00PM to Midnight

Waffles = $3

 Unlimited toppings =  $1 extra

‘Wiches = $2

DR Supreme Court strips naturalized Haitians of their nationality

This past Monday, September 23th, the Constitutional Court (CC) of the Dominican Republic issued a sentence that denies Dominican nationality to anyone born in the country whose parents were undocumented at the time of their registration of birth. The ruling will affect anyone born in the country since 1929. Essentially, the State will strip nationality from four generations of people who during eight decades were registered as Dominicans under the Constitution and existing laws.


This ruling, in violation of at least fifteen articles of the Dominican Constitution, is using racial discrimination to deny nationality. It will affect thousands of Dominicans of diverse origins, especially those of Haitian descent whom the State has already been stripping of Dominican identity documents since 2007.

If you do not agree with this ruling, we ask for your support by taking one of the following actions:

  1. Share this message on your Facebook wall attached to this video:
  2. Use the hashtag #EsoNoSeHaceRD y #SentenciaTC to foster discussion on Twitter
  3. Join us in solidarity during our public demonstrations to be held in the next few days
  4. Sign our online petition at (english version available):
  5. Send the message below to the President of the Dominican Republic ( with a copy to the Constitutional Court (

Mr. Danilo Medina, President of the Dominican Republic

We ask you to protect Dominicans affected by the ruling of the Constitutional Court, declaring that the rights that they have acquired and that are enshrined in the Constitution and international agreements signed by the country cannot be violated.

Stripping Dominican nationality from thousands born to migrant parents violates fifteen articles of the Constitution, subjects the country to international sanctions, and most importantly, exacerbates the exclusion of thousands of people who remain without nationality, documentation or legal status.

Mr. President, I Do Not Support the Ruling of TC


You can also follow some of the organizations fighting against the Ruling on Twitter @CentroBono, @reconoci_do, @mudhalegal, @MOSCTHA, @CEDAIL, @CNDHrd.


We are counting on you to stop this injustice.


Katherine Mayall

Universal Justice – Dominican Republic featured in the New York Law Journal

On Thursday, March 28th, Universal Justice’s Dominican Republic project was featured in the New York Law Journal.

To view the entire article online, visit this link to the New York Law Journal website.

An excerpt:

Kilawan, a 3L, said she was struck by the plight of a 21-year-old Dominican woman.

“This individual does have a Dominican birth certificate, but without a cedula, she cannot attend university, nor can she get legally married, nor can she apply for formal employment,” Kilawan said. “She explained that the only thing she holds on to is hope.”

UJ DR in the New York Law Journal

UJ DR in the New York Law Journal

Update from UJ DR 2013

Hello Supporters of Universal Justice!

We just returned from the Dominican Republic and are happy to report that our trip went exceedingly well.

We were able to visit various organizations who do meaningful work in the country to benefit marginalized communities of Dominicans of Haitian descent. We started the week with an informational session by CEO Ulrick Gaillard at Batey Relief Alliance’s office. Among many important topics discussed, Ulrick detailed the grassroots work that BRA does to promote community economic development in the bateys.

From Left to Right: Ricky Singh, Lauren Irby, Nita Narayan, Paula Sternberg, Alex Cardenas, BRA's CEO Ulrick Gaillard, Aminta Kilawan, Linda Jordan, Michelle Gonzalez

From Left to Right: Ricky Singh, Lauren Irby, Nita Narayan, Paula Sternberg, Alex Cardenas, BRA’s CEO Ulrick Gaillard, Aminta Kilawan, Linda Jordan, Michelle Gonzalez

Later in the week, we met with Allison Petrozziello and Eddy Tejeda of the Observatory Migrants of the Caribbean (OBMICA), a social science think tank and research facility in the Dominican Republic. A researcher and an attorney respectively, Allison and Eddy gave us a detailed overview of the major legal milestones which led up to the current human rights issue of statelessness among Dominicans of Haitian descent.

From Left to Right: Alex Cardenas, Michelle Gonzalez, Ricky Singh, Paula Sternberg, Linda Jordan, Lauren Irby, Nita Narayan, OBMICA's Allison Petrozziello, Aminta Kilawna, and OBMICA's Eddy Tejeda
From Left to Right: Alex Cardenas, Michelle Gonzalez, Ricky Singh, Paula Sternberg, Linda Jordan, Lauren Irby, Nita Narayan, OBMICA’s Allison Petrozziello, Aminta Kilawan, and OBMICA’s Eddy Tejeda

Our meeting with OBMICA was particularly helpful in framing the rest of the week. We attended portions of a three-day long protest in front of the Junta Central Electoral by stateless  young Dominicans of Haitian descent who have joined the movement. Centro Bonó, an organization committed to justice for the most impoverished and excluded in the Dominican Republic, played a pivotal role in mobilizing individuals from various villages to pariticipate in the protest.

Protest in front of the Junta Central Electoral

Protest in front of the Junta Central Electoral

Paola Pelletier of Centro Bonó liaised with Universal Justice so that members of our team could interview those affected, chronicling their personal stories of injustice at the hands of the state. In the coming weeks, the UJ DR team will be working on a short film, including footage of many of the stories we gathered at the protest.

Paola Pelletier of Centro Bono

Paola Pelletier of Centro Bono

In addition to our involvement with the issue of statelessness throughout the entire duration of the trip, we were also able to visit Mata Los Indios, the batey where Universal Justice has a long-standing relationship. In Mata, we connected with the elders of the community and developed a list of potential projects based on Mata’s immediate needs.

One of the community's concerns is access to education. Mata Los Indios currently functions with only one school teacher.

One of the community’s concerns is access to education. Mata Los Indios, which is heavily populated by children, currently functions with only one school teacher.

While we develop an advocacy campaign against statelessness in the Dominican Republic via a short film and report, we will also work towards identifying a sustainable project we can initiate for the people of Mata Los Indios.

We extend our thanks to all of the organizations and individuals who made our trip so worthwhile and look forward to continued partnership.

We are excited to keep this momentum so do look out for our short film and report coming soon!


Aminta Kilawan on behalf of the entire UJ DR 2013 Team

MOSCTHA’s Break the Silence Campaign

UJ was honored to have MOSCTHA at Fordham Law today. MOSCTHA has worked with our group in the Dominican Republic on issues related to the unique plight of Haitian-Dominicans and their Dominican-born children. Their current campaign, Break the Silence, seeks to build awareness about statelessness. In efforts to “Break The Silence” MOSCTHA exhibited gripping images and told personal stories of those who struggle with statelessness.

Check out MOSCTHA’s website here!

UJ Dominican Republic Trip Leader Aminta Kilawan with MOSCTHA-USA Director Edison Suero

Stateless children who were born on Dominican soil. Due to lack of citizenship, they will be unable to earn a junior high school education. Thus, their unfortunate cycle of poverty continues.

The woman on the far right was once a citizen of the Dominican Republic. As a result of a new law passed by the government (Law 285-04), she has now been stripped of that right. This woman, along with the individuals to her left, are stateless.


Landlocked Luau on Thursday, October 25th at 9pm!



Bar Night Tomorrow!

2012-2013 Universal Justice Application Information Sessions

Fordham Law students: are you interested in doing human rights work in Nicaragua or the Dominican Republic during your winter or spring break?


Attend one of our informational sessions on Tuesday, September 18th from 12:30pm – 1pm or  Thursday, September 20th from 5:45 – 6:15pm to learn more about the projects and the application process. Sessions will be held in Room 215.


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