The Dominican Government is threatening transnational repression against a U.S. organization that is speaking out about human rights violations in that country.

A Statement from Mario H. Lopez,
President of the Hispanic Leadership Fund/Dominican Justice Initiative

The largest newspaper in the Dominican Republic today reported that the Public Ministry of the Dominican Republic made an explicit and alarming threat against the Dominican Justice Initiative (DJI) in an attempt to silence us from speaking out about the human rights abuses being committed in that country.  DJI is an initiative of the Hispanic Leadership Fund – a U.S. organization.

The threat of transnational repression by the Dominican government against a U.S. organization and U.S. citizens is consistent with the documented abuses in that country by the Public Ministry, which is responsible for preventive detention, arbitrary arrest, persecution of judges, prison overcrowding and inhumane conditions for detainees, denial of due process rights, interference with fair trials, and failure to address forced labor and human trafficking in the DR.

The Dominican government seeks to silence and disparage anyone who shines a light on these abuses that have been documented as getting worse by the U.S. State Department and condemned before the Inter-American Human Rights Commission and by the U.N. Working Group on Arbitrary Detention.

Activists aligned with the Dominican government have threatened human rights activists with expulsion from the country for speaking out inside the DR about these abuses. Judges are being intimidated by Public Ministry prosecutors. The horrendous prison conditions overseen by the PM have led to fires and riots that have caused deaths multiple times this year alone.

The Dominican government’s solution? Silence the critics. Threaten them with retaliation.

As U.S. citizens, we will not be silenced or intimidated by a foreign government’s threats. We will redouble our efforts to expose the truth about human rights abuses in the Dominican Republic, particularly those at the hands of the Public Ministry. We call on the State Department and the U.S. Embassy in Santo Domingo to make it very clear to the Dominican government that the United States will not tolerate such threats.