Image by Greg Constantine. Dominican Republic, 2011.
Discriminatory laws and government directives have denied documents such as birth certificates, national IDs and passports to tens of thousands of Dominicans of Haitian descent in the Dominican Republic. Most of the children in this remote batey (sugar workers town) do not possess any documents. Image by Greg Constantine. Dominican Republic, 2011.
While increasing numbers have moved into urban centers like Santo Domingo and Santiago, large numbers of Dominico-Haitians still live in poverty-stricken bateyes on old sugar estates. Most of the children do not possess any documents. Image by Greg Constantine. Dominican Republic, 2011.
This 13-year-old boy was born in the Dominican Republic. His father came to the country in 1986 to work on one of the state-owned sugar plantations. They are unable to go to school because they lack the necessary documents. Image by Greg Constantine. Dominican Republic, 2011.
This 24-year-old woman applied for a cedula (national ID) in 2007 and was denied. She spent the next three years trying to get this documentation. She was let go from her job because her employer had to provide her with health insurance, which was not possible without a cedula. As a result of a court case, she was issued her cedula in 2010. Image by Greg Constantine. Dominican Republic, 2011.
This 19-year-old man tried to get a copy of his birth certificate, but because of a government directive called Circular 17, he was denied, and has not been able to receive any documents since then, including a national ID. As a result he has been denied Dominican citizenship. Image by Greg Constantine. Dominican Republic, 2011.
This 16-year-old girl was born in the Dominican Republic to Haitian parents who had worked on the sugarcane plantations for decades. She went to school up to 8th grade, but was denied documents and could not continue her schooling. She has a 6-month-old son but was unable to register his birth because she does not have a cedula. Image by Greg Constantine. Dominican Republic, 2011.
The mother of these three children was born in the Dominican Republic. None of the children were issued birth certificates because the authorities said their family is of Haitian ancestry. Image by Greg Constantine. Dominican Republic, 2011.
A child in a batey on one of the largest privately owned sugar plantations. Ninety percent of the children on the plantation do not have documents. Image by Greg Constantine. Dominican Republic, 2011.
This 23-year-old man was born in Dominican Republic in 1987. Both of his parents are of Haitian ancestry. At the age of 17 he was required to present a copy of his birth certificate to continue his education. He went to the registration office to request a copy, but was told that because his parents were Haitian he would not be given any documents. As a result, he was unable to continue his education and cannot find legal employment. For the past five years, he has been milking cows to earn money. Image by Greg Constantine. Dominican Republic, 2011.
The parents of this 22-year-old man were born in Haiti but have spent the past 48 years in the Dominican Republic. When he turned 18, he went to request a copy of his birth certificate so he could apply for his national ID card. His request was denied because his parents are of Haitian descent. Without a cedula, he could not register for university. Now, he cannot seek out formal employment; he possesses no valid documents and is stateless. Image by Greg Constantine. Dominican Republic, 2011.
This boy, 16, reads the Bible in his family's room on a batey in the town of Quisqueya. He was born in Dominican Republic but has been denied documents and is now unable to continue his education. Image by Greg Constantine. Dominican Republic, 2011.
Children stand outside their school in a remote batey and sing the Dominican national anthem as the Dominican flag is raised before classes. Most will not be permitted to go to school past the 8th grade because they lack sufficient documentation. Image by Greg Constantine. Dominican Republic, 2011.
This young man was denied his documents because of his Haitian name. He was born in the Dominican Republic but because he was denied documents he could not continue his education. Now he cuts sugarcane. Image by Greg Constantine. Dominican Republic, 2011.
Both of these boys were born in Dominican Republic. Both stopped going to school because they could not provide sufficient documentation to continue their education. They live on a batey located on one of the largest private sugar plantations in the county. Image by Greg Constantine. Dominican Republic, 2011.
This 21-year-old man was born in the Dominican Republic. Because his parents are of Haitian descent, he was denied documents and could not continue with school. Without employment opportunities, he had no choice but to start working as a cane-cutter on one of the Dominican Republic's largest sugar plantations. Image by Greg Constantine. Dominican Republic, 2011.

Ethnic Haitians have played a vital role in the development of the Dominican Republic. Haitians have been the backbone of the sugar industry, working as braceros or cane-cutters, and in recent years they have made invaluable contributions to the construction and service industry. But deep-rooted racism and discrimination towards people of Haitian origin have been a part of society in the Dominican Republic since the late 1920s.

It is estimated that between 500,000 and one million people of Haitian ancestry currently live in the Dominican Republic, including tens of thousands of children and young adults who were born in the country. Yet changes to migration laws in 2004, governmental directives in 2007, and a change in the Constitution of the Dominican Republic in 2010 have denied or retroactively stripped Dominican citizenship away from tens of thousands of Dominico-Haitian youth. Human rights groups see these legal and policy changes as specifically targeting those of Haitian descent. As a result, these residents find themselves unable to access opportunities afforded to other Dominican citizens, such as legal employment, access to social services, or the right continue their education and to legally marry.

While the situation in the Dominican Republic has now gained the attention of the Inter-American courts and international human rights organizations, it remains the largest case of statelessness in the Western hemisphere.

This slideshow was also featured on The Atlantic

Project

From the slums of Nairobi to the sugar plantations of the Dominican Republic to the far reaches of Bangladesh, entire communities live without citizenship rights. They are “the stateless”.

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