Working to secure the rights of minorities and indigenous peoples

Minority Rights Group International campaigns worldwide with around 130 partners in over 60 countries to ensure that disadvantaged minorities and indigenous peoples, often the poorest of the poor, can make their voices heard.

This information pack has been produced with the support of E4D.

Find out more

Newsletter Signup

Sign up to receive news, reports and job postings from Minority Rights Group International.


Support Our Work

With your help we can continue to empower minorities and indigenous communities to speak out for their rights and make sure their voices are heard.


Chapter Seven

Interview with Violeta Bosico

2 min read

In 2005 the Inter­-American Court of Human Rights issued the “Yean and Bosico” case judgement. The Dominican Republic was found guilty of discriminatory treatment when granting the Dominican nationality to two girls who are Dominicans of Haitian descent, leaving them stateless. This violated fundamental rights like the right to nationality and the right to a fair trial, amongst others. The Court required the Dominican state to adopt measures to resolve the situation of these two girls and of other children who are Dominicans of Haitian descent facing the same situation, and to guarantee their free access to primary education.

Ten years later, Violeta Bosico, one of the girls whose case was brought to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, has obtained her documents and has started fulfilling her dreams. However, she yearns for a solution for the whole community of Dominicans of Haitian descent.

Q. What does having no documents mean for you?

A. Having no documents meant not being free. I felt as if I didn’t exist without documents. Also, for me it was a real obstacle. I couldn’t do so many things like studying, working, acquiring medical insurance or traveling freely.

Q. What does that mean for your family?

A. For them it meant pain and helplessness because the authorities didn’t allow me something I had the right to.

Q. How did you feel when the Court published the judgement?

A. I felt great. Thankful to God, MUDHA and the international organizations that helped us, but mainly to my family. Without their efforts, it wouldn’t have been possible to win the trial. Thanks to my family and to God I am finally someone. When I received my documents I felt joy, I felt really excited because I finally had in my hands what belonged to me. I felt happy. Really happy. Honestly, I don’t know how to thank God and all the institutions for their constant support. To MUDHA and everyone. With all my heart.

Q. How was the reaction in the streets of the Dominican Republic?

A. Here everyone talked about the case. Some in favour, others against. It had a huge impact in the Dominican Republic. Thank God there was no physical violence but there were some verbal attacks. People against the judgement said that my community, Dominicans of Haitian descent, are Haitians and that we should go back to Haiti.

Q. How is your life now that you have your documents?

A. My life has changed a lot. Before, without documents, I couldn’t think about my future. Now, I have taken some technical courses and I’m studying psychology at university because I love helping people. I have a lot of dreams. In the future, I want to study law to help other community members and travel to Costa Rica. I also want that the government gives everyone affected their documents. I know there are limits but I wish God will help me keep fulfilling my dreams.

Q. How do you see the current situation of Dominicans of Haitian descent in the Dominican Republic?

A. In my opinion, the situation has worsened. I thought that after the judgement of the Inter-American Court everything would change. However, that didn’t happen and there are still people who don’t have their rights respected. There are a lot of people who cannot continue with their studies. They have to repeat grades because they don’t have their documents. They cannot work, nor even have health insurance or register their children. Currently, people are suffering because of the Dominican Constitutional Court judgement that has affected many. Honestly, with all my heart, I wish that all this gets sorted out and that those people affected get their documents so they can fulfil their dreams as I am doing with mine.