Annual Report: Dominican Republic 2013

May 23, 2013

Annual Report: Dominican Republic 2013

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Women’s rights organizations expressed concern that proposed changes to the Penal Code represented a backward step in combating violence against women and girls. For example, it did not include the crime of gender-based violence and reduced the penalties for certain forms of violence against women and girls.

Sexual and reproductive rights

The total ban on abortion remained in place. Proposed changes to the Penal Code would allow for an exception to the ban when the life of the woman is at risk. However, women’s rights organizations considered the formulation to be too vague.

  • In August, Rosaura, a 16-year-old girl with leukaemia, died of complications caused by a miscarriage. She had been prevented from having a therapeutic abortion – as recommended by various health professionals – because it was against the law. Chemotherapy was also delayed as doctors were concerned it would harm the foetus.

Freedom of expression – journalists

The Dominican National Union of Press Workers reported that scores of journalists and other media workers were harassed or physically attacked. In most cases the perpetrators were not brought to justice.

There were concerns that proposed reforms to the Penal Code included penalties of up to three years’ imprisonment for criticizing elected representatives or government-appointed officials.

Housing rights – forced evictions

According to local NGOs, several forced evictions were carried out and police used force unlawfully on several occasions.

Amnesty International visits/reports

  • Amnesty International delegates visited the Dominican Republic in November/December.
  • Dominican Republic: Submission to the UN Human Rights Committee (AMR 27/001/2012)
  • Dominican Republic: Open letter from Amnesty International to Dominican presidential candidates for the May 2012 elections (AMR 27/005/2012)
  • Towards a successful reform? Proposals for an organic law to help bring about comprehensive reform of the National Police in the Dominican Republic (AMR 27/016/2012)