Is it an offence for citizens of the Dominican Republic to leave the country without permission of the authorities? If so, what is the penalty? Dominican Republic [DOM4839]

Information currently available to the IRBDC on the subject is quite limited.

The Embassy of the Dominican Republic in Washington (there is no diplomatic representation in Canada), as communicated to the IRBDC by telephone on 10 April 1990, stated that a legal departure from the Dominican Republic requires a valid passport and a visa for the country of destination. Illegal exit should result in arrest and detention for interrogation, and a fine. According to the source, an expired passport does not constitute illegal exit and is not subject to the same procedure and penalty.

Corroborating information on the subject could not be found among the sources currently available to the IRBDC.

According to the Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 1989 (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of State, February 1990) as well as the previous edition, in the section on "Freedom to travel..." in their chapter on Dominican Republic, it is stated that "[t]here are no unusual legal restrictions on travel within or outside the country for citizens" (same statement in both issues).

The Human Rights Watch Critique: Review of the Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 1988 (Washington, 1989), however, states that the rights provided by the Dominican Constitution are not exercised by Dominicans of Haitian descent (p. 43). These Dominicans reportedly find it difficult or impossible to obtain legal papers for some purposes (p. 44), although no direct reference to travel documents could be found in the publication. The Washington, D.C. staff of Americas Watch who deal with the Dominican Republic were not available for consultation on this question, but should be available for consultation tomorrow (11 April 1990), while the New York office could not be contacted from the Toronto IRBDC, where research is being carried out during this week. Should you wish to contact them yourself, their phones are: Washington, D.C. - (202) 371-6592; New York - (212) 972-8400.