Dominicans protest, once again, against corruption and impunity

Peaceful Assembly

The Movimiento Marcha Verde (Green March Movement) continues to mobilise against impunity and corruption, in particular as a response to the Odebrecht scandal that has rocked the current government over accusations of gross misconduct and corrupt practices. Most recently, on 12th August 2018, thousands of citizens dressed in green t-shirts marched in Santo Domingo holding signs that read "End to Impunity" and "Thieves to Prison". The march was supported by several social organisations and political parties, including the main opposition group Modern Revolutionary Party (PRM).

In a separate development, on 4th June 2018, two community leaders and a policeman were injured during protests in Licey and Moca, in the Province of Santiago. Media reports indicate that police forces shot Elías Gomez, leader of the Frente de Lucha Unido y Popular ( Front of United and Popular Struggle) in Licey, without any provocation. Later that day, another community leader from Moca and policeman Toribio Bencosme were shot. Protesters  took to the streets to demand an improvement of  basic services, such as potable water, electricity, sewers, and better roads. 

On 15th July 2018, thousands of Dominicans gathered in Santo Domingo to demand the decriminalization of abortion in cases of threats to the life of the mother, fetal impairment and in case the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest. The protest was organised by the Coalition for the Rights and Life of Women, comprised of more than 100 different organisations. Speakers requested "the immediate guarantee of health, life, dignity and integrity of women through the decriminalization of abortion in extreme circumstances". 

Expression

Speaking at the conference “Freedom of Expression in the Digital Era: Challenges, Threats and Limitations” from 4th to 6th July 2018, international experts stated that the country's Freedom of Expression Act should be aligned with international standards regarding freedom of expression. Although the experts considered the 2010 constitutional reform as a significant step forward, considerable gaps still need to be addressed.