Activists face intimidation in the Dominican Republic

Association

During the first weeks of June 2017, two activists reported incidents of intimidation against them. Hero Pérez, a community leader and coordinator of Articulación Nacional Campesina (National Peasant Coalition) and Poder Ciudadano (Citizen Power), and a member of the Movimiento Marcha Verde (Green March Movement) was hit by a car several times while driving. The perpetrators intended to force Pérez's car off the road. Movimiento Marcha Verde is currently very active in combating corruption and impunity in the country after allegations of corruption were made against the government and the Brazilian corporation Odebrecht.

On 3rd May 2017, the leader of Peregrinos de Moca, Juan Comprés, was arrested and accused of possessing illegal drugs. The activist was later released when the judge ruled that his rights had been violated and some of the evidence presented by the police had been altered. After an investigation into the incident, the police commander was dismissed.

In June 2017, transgender activist Jessica Rubi Mori was brutally murdered in the Dominican Republic. Her body was found at an abandoned property in the city of La Romana. Mori was an activist with the community organisation Este Amor.

Human rights and LGTBI organisations have demanded a transparent investigation into the murder as well as increased protection for the LGBTI community. Amnesty International condemned the murder, stating that:

“The absurd murder of Jessica Rubi Mori is a tragic reminder that the Dominican authorities need to take stronger measures to eradicate discrimination, including that based on gender identity and sexual orientation”. 

Peaceful Assembly

Movimiento Marcha Verde (Green March Movement) continues to organise and hold demonstrations in the country as previously reported on the Monitor. In June 2017, protesters held mass anti-corruption demonstrations on the alleged connection between President Danilo Medina and Odebrecht in a corruption scandal. Protesters marched to the National Palace and stayed there for hours, expressing their frustration and dissatisfaction with the level of corruption in the government. 

A protester expressed one of the reasons for participating in the demonstration, declaring:

“We have decided to reclaim the end of impunity and the end of corruption because we believe they steal the nation’s right to justice, education and healthcare”.