On the first day of school, children often worry whether they'll make new friends or like their teachers. But in the Dominican Republic, some confront a far graver concern: Will I be turned away because I don't have a birth certificate?

The report, Left Behind: How Statelessness in the Dominican Republic Limits Children's Access to Education, shows that many children born in the Dominican Republic but descended from foreigners, particularly Haitians, are denied an education. For generations, such children were recognized as citizens, but within the last decade, the Dominican government has refused to issue many of them birth certificates, identity cards and other essential documentation, rendering them stateless. The report concludes that the Dominican Republic is failing to comply with its domestic and international human rights obligations, including the human right to education.

The report is the product of months of research, including interviews with dozens of affected children and families, as well as educators, advocates and government officials. Several of the Dominicans of Haitian descent interviewed were prevented from attending primary school, secondary school or university because they could not obtain identity documents. Of those allowed to attend school despite not having birth certificates, many were denied the ability to take national exams required to graduate.

All of this occurs in spite of laws, policies, constitutional provisions and international human rights commitments that are meant to guarantee children's right to education. The report found that administrative barriers, discrimination and confusion about the law has meant that in practice not all children in the Dominican Republic are allowed to go to school, even if they consider themselves Dominicans.

En el primer día de escuela, los niños a menudo se preocupan si van a hacer nuevos amigos o si le van ha gustarsus maestros. Pero en la República Dominicana, algunos enfrentan una preocupación mucho más grave: ¿Tendré que dejar de cursar estudios porque carezco de un certificado de nacimiento?

El informe, Dejado Atrás: Como la Apatridia en la República Dominicana Limita el Acceso de los Niños a la Educación, videncia como muchos niños nacidos en la República Dominicana, descendientes de extranjeros, particularmente haitianos, enfrentan obstáculos para tener acceso a la educación. Durante generaciones, esos niños fueron reconocidos como ciudadanos, pero en la última década, el gobierno dominicano se ha negado a emitir certificados de nacimiento, tarjetas de identidad y otros tipos de documentación esencial, resultando para muchos de ellos en una situación de apatridia. El informe concluye que la República Dominicana no está cumpliendo con sus obligaciones nacionales e internacionales de derechos humanos, incluido el derecho humano a la educación.

El informe es producto de meses de investigación y decenas de entrevistas con familias afectadas, así como con educadores, defensores y funcionarios gubernamentales. Muchos dominicanos de ascendencia haitiana que fueron entrevistados fueron privados del derecho a acceder a la educación primaria, secundaria o universitaria por no haber podido obtener documentos de identidad. En los casos en los que los niños han podido acceder a la educación, a muchos de ellos se les ha negado la oportunidad de tomar los exámenes nacionales necesarios para graduarse por no poseer un acta de nacimiento.

Todo esto ocurre a pesar de que las leyes, políticas y garantías constitucionales tienen como propósito que todos los niños tengan acceso a la educación. El informe observa que las barreras administrativas, la discriminación y la confusión acerca de la ley representan que en la práctica, no todos los niños en la República Dominicana tienen permitido asistir a la escuela, aún y cuando ellos mismos se consideran orgullosamente Dominicanos.

This Report provides an overview of what countries are doing to ensure the right to education for girls and women. Based on the national reports of forty countries from different regions, the Report is organized in a series of country factsheets. Each factsheet contains key statistics on the situation of girls in education in each reporting country, followed by information on each country’s status of ratification of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (1979) and the Convention against Discrimination in Education (1960) as well as information on their constitutional and legislative provisions in this field. They illustrate how countries have made noteworthy advances in addressing gender inequalities and in eliminating discriminatory attitudes towards girls and women in the field of education.

The Report is based on national reports submitted for the Eighth Consultation on the monitoring of the implementation of the Convention against Discrimination in Education (1960) and the Recommendation against Discrimination in Education (1960).

 

Based upon Plan International's dataset of 1.4 million sponsored children, the report compares sponsored children with a disability to those without, from 30 countries worldwide. The report, produced in collaboration with London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, reveals that children with disabilities in developing countries are being held back from an education. The findings will help Plan International - and other researchers and organisations - to improve responses to the needs of children with disabilities, particularly their health and education.