A state of human rights is one of the major indicators of the civilized society. “Human rights are inherent, universal, indivisible and inalienable. This means that everyone has them, they are the same for everyone, all are equally important, and they can not be taken away. Although a right can not be taken away it can be violated. ” (Wikipedia, 2006). The state of human rights defines the level of democracy of the country. Though the authorities of the Dominican Republic display their commitment to the internationally accepted standards of democracy, numerous violations of the human rights occur in the country.
“The national security forces are reported to violate basic rights of the citizens. “In recent years, concern has focused on frequent reports of unlawful killings by members of the security forces, including extrajudicial executions. The security forces, which include the Policia Nacional, National Police, and the Fuerzas Armadas de la Republica Dominicana, Armed Forces of the Dominican Republic, have consistently defended their agents' conduct, maintaining that most of the deaths occurred in exchanges of gunfire with armed criminal suspects.
However, in numerous cases their account was contradicted by witness testimony or other evidence. ” (Amnesty International USA, 2006) The Dominican Republic experiences certain economic difficulties and in 2003 The Amnesty International noted an alarming trend in the state of human rights, their numerous violations by the national security forces connected with the discontent about the economic policy of the country’s authorities. One of the reasons of the unlawful violence of the national security forces is the tradition of impunity for human rights violations in the country.
The Dominican authorities declare their respect of the international legal provisions regarding law enforcement but in practice those accused of committing the inhuman treatment, tortures and unlawful punishments are rarely brought to justice. There are numerous factors that contribute to the current state of human rights in the country. First of all historically the Dominican Republic had been under the totalitarian rule for years. People of the Dominican Republic have not yet perceived the ideals of democracy in the full scope. This explains their tolerant attitude towards the human rights violations.
Secondly the country is experiencing the growth of criminality. Such issues as growing drug trade, the immigration of the US criminals and the complicated issue of Haitian immigration impact the country’s stability. The security forces are completely out of public control in the Dominican Republic. These provisions are legalized by the Dominican law. Military and police are under the jurisdiction of the special police and military courts. This contradicts to the international practice according to which all human rights violations should be heard publicly.
According to the UN practice all violators of the human rights should face the civilian courts. The Amnesty International states that crimes committed by police are linked to the economic situation in the country. Most of the killings were committed by police in the poor districts. It could be said that the police violence is used by the state authorities as a mechanism “to maintain an order” in the country. Such “fist order maintenance” is an attempt to overcome the economic problems and to substitute necessary economic reforms by the police methods of suppressing the civil protests against the poor economic conditions.
One of the main reasons of growing human rights violation by the security forces has the strong economic background. Inadequate measures of government which strengthened the economic crisis by cutting subsidies for electricity and raising the import tariffs caused the immediate raise of fuel and public transportation prices. The raise of electricity price contributed to the above mentioned factors which caused the public protest and the security forces violence as a response to such protest.