Dominican Republic

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CountryDominican Republic
Optional protocolon the involvement of children in armed conflict, on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography
ViolenceThe Committee is concerned at the information provided by the State party that the number of children’s deaths caused by common criminality, drowning, electrocution and traffic accidents has not significantly changed in the last three years.
Corporal punishmentCorporal Punishment is legal in in the home, alternative care settings and day care.
Overview of the child rights situation

The report on the Dominican Republic is long, particularly due to the length of the chapter on violence. The country's problems with sex tourism and many pregnancies, especially among minors, are striking as well. In addition, there is poor supply of clean drinking water, which causes the death of many mothers and babies and leads to the spread of cholera. Furthermore, discrimination of Haitians is prevalent.

Female genital mutilation and reproductive rights

The Committee is concerned about persistent discrimination against and gender stereotyping of women and girls, often perpetuated in the media and in campaigns for promoting tourism, which contribute to the high prevalence of gender-based violence, particularly against girls of Haitian origin.

To improve the situation, the Committee recommends to the State party to strengthen its efforts to prevent violence, in particular feminicide, against mothers and caregivers, investigate all cases, prosecute the alleged perpetrators, punish the convicted and adequately compensate and rehabilitate the victims.
Also, the State party should review the legislation to set a minimum age for sexual consent in accordance with international standards and ensure that the definition of crimes relating to sexual exploitation and abuse complies with the Convention and its Optional Protocol on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography, and that sanctions are commensurate with the gravity of the offences.

Situation of children with disabilities

The Committee urges the State party to adopt a human rights-based approach to disability, set up a comprehensive strategy for the inclusion of children with disabilities and ensure that inclusive education is given priority over education in specialized institutions and guarantee social-protection programmes, including subsidies for families with children with disabilities living in poverty, and free access to treatment and rehabilitation programmes.

Situation of asylum-seeking, refugee and migrant childrenThe Committee is deeply concerned about the 2013 Constitutional Court ruling which might deprive tens of thousands of people of Haitian descent of their nationality, including children born in the country to parents with an irregular migratory status. While noting the adoption in 2014 of the Law on Naturalization to address the consequences of this ruling, the Committee is concerned about its low rate of implementation and that the naturalization process does not fully comply with the Convention.The Committee is also concerned that the inadequate access to identity documents for child refugees and asylum seekers and/or their relatives puts them at risk of detention and deportation and impedes their access to health care and education.
Free kindergartenYes
Free primary and secondary schoolYes
Digital possibilitiesThe Committee is concerned about the lack of regulations to protect the privacy and safety of children accessing information and communications technology (ICT) and the lack of a comprehensive strategy to ensure equal access to it.
physical health

The Committee is concerned about the high rate of maternal mortality, 80% of which was preventable, and persistent chronic child malnutrition. Another problem is the poor water quality leading to maternal and neonatal deaths and the increased risk of cholera becoming an epidemic.

To ensure the right of the child to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health, the Committee recommends to continue implementing measures to eliminate the incidence of cholera and take all necessary measures to ensure that adequate safe water and sanitation are available, especially in hospitals.

Concerning adolescent health, the Committee is concerned about its low level of implementation as a result of insufficient resources and coordination and the influence of religious leaders and recommends to ensure the effective implementation of the National Sexual Education Programme for girls and boys, giving special attention to preventing early pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections.

Relation to other countries
Business sector

The Committee recommends to the Dominican Republic to monitor the implementation of the agreement with the tourist industry on the prevention of child sex tourism and strengthen international cooperation for prevention and prosecution in relation to child sex tourism.

Furthermore, the Committee urges the State party to review its legislation in order to prohibit the employment of children under 15 years of age and ensure that all hazardous forms of labour, including domestic work, are prohibited for children under 18 years of age. Also, the State party should increase the coverage and quality of education and provide vocational training programmes to ensure that all children are enrolled and are protected from the harmful effects of child labour.

Situation of juvenile justice

The Committee is concerned about the large number of children sentenced to prison and subjected to prolonged pretrial detention. It is further concerned about the inefficient functioning of the juvenile justice system, the insufficient juvenile courts and lack of adequate procedures, the lack of alternative measures to detention and reports of children being detained together with adults.

To improve the situation, the Committee urges the Dominican Republic to establish sufficient juvenile courts, adopt relevant procedures, allocate adequate resources to the juvenile justice system and provide qualified and independent legal aid to children accused of a criminal offence at an early stage of the procedure and throughout the legal proceedings.

Specific observations

The Committee is concerned that in 2012 one fifth of children under 5 years of age, mostly from families living in poverty, had no birth certificate.

Additional background

Concluding observations on the third to fifth periodic reports released on 6 March 2015. More information about education in Dominican Republic:

Last Updated (date)19th of February, 2022