11 years since the approval of Law 19-01 creating the Office of the Ombudsman in the Dominican Republic on 1 February 2001.
11 years that representatives of the Dominican government have regularly been giving an undertaking to the UN human rights bodies that an Ombudsman would be appointed.
11 years that the competent authorities have failed to comply fully with Law 19-01.
11 years that victims of human rights violations have been denied a fundamental avenue for redress.
Most human rights violations in the Dominican Republic – including abuses committed by the National Police, gender-based violence, discrimination against Dominicans of Haitian descent and illegal forced evictions – go unpunished.
An Ombudsman would play an important role in institutionalizing respect for human rights in the country. However, 11 years have passed since approval of the law creating the concept of Ombudsman, and the Dominican people are still waiting for the post to be established.
The Ombudsman, a position now found in most Latin American countries, plays a crucial role in monitoring the protection of people’s rights and acting as a guarantor against possible excesses of State power.
We shall be presenting the following petition to the President of the Dominican Republic, calling on him to establish the Office of the Ombudsman during his first year in office and to ensure that it is adequately funded.
Add your signature and voice to this petition!
As you know, the Ombudsman is an independent body created by Law 19-01. The main role of this institution is to safeguard people’s constitutional rights and conduct investigations into possible violations committed by public officials.
Law 19-01 itself explains that “the institution of Ombudsman has become a useful tool with which to defend people’s rights in relation to the State administration or any public service provider.” The 2010 Constitution expressly included mention of this institution, also specifying mechanisms by which to speed up its implementation.
The Dominican Republic is now one of the few countries in Latin America not to have an independent institution responsible for monitoring respect for human rights and recommending reparation measures in cases of their violation.
Many victims of human rights violations would have benefited from an Ombudsman to turn to over the last 11 years. For example, the incalculable victims of abuses by the National Police, the thousands of Dominicans of Haitian descent who have suffered discrimination and abuse, the members of hundreds of communities throughout the country who have suffered illegal forced evictions, and all the women who have been denied effective protection from domestic violence. Plus many more victims of abuses who, over the last 11 years, would have benefited from the protection of a body such as the Ombudsman.
On 16 August, you will swear to “fulfil and ensure fulfilment of the Constitution and the laws of the Republic.” As the new President, you now have an opportunity and a duty to ensure that a 12th year does not pass without an Ombudsman being appointed.
We are calling on you to use all means available to your high position to establish this post during your first year in office, and to ensure that it is endowed with sufficient resources.