Take stand on human rights, Dominican Republic presidential candidates urged

Amnesty International has urged presidential candidates in the Dominican Republic to take a public stand on a range of issues including alarming levels of police killings, violence against women and abuses against migrants.

In an open letter, Amnesty International details a series of recommendations for presidential candidates, including the need for an extensive reform of the police, the appointment of an ombudsman and the provision of effective measures of redress in cases of gender based violence, abuses against migrants, denial of identity documents to Dominicans of Haitian descent and forced evictions.

“The presidential elections offer an extraordinary opportunity to discuss the challenges faced by the Dominican Republic, including on how to better protect and promote human rights,” Javier Zúñiga, Special Advisor at Amnesty International said. “Human rights must not be seen as a secondary or separate issue from daily issues of politics and economics, but as integral and essential to the Dominican society.”

Amnesty International said that human rights violations by the police are often inadequately investigated and many officers responsible are not brought to justice.

The new President, Amnesty International said, should ensure that the Office of the Prosecutor General instructs all prosecutors to investigate thoroughly all allegations of human rights violations by the police.

Presidential elections in the Dominican Republic will be held on 20th May 2012.