IN THE KNOW: Dominican Republic honored Gloria Arroyo last May
The Dominican Republic, located in the Caribbean and with an estimated population of almost 10 million, became a party of the United Nations’ Refugee Convention and Protocol in 1978 and has since passed implementing legislation on the treaty.
The 1951 Refugee Convention defines who is a refugee and the legal protection that he or she should receive.
A 2003 survey report of the US Committee for Refugees states that under the law of the Dominican Republic, those who wish to seek asylum in the Caribbean country should submit their applications to its National Office for Refugees (NOR) within the Directorate of Migration.
The NOR will then review the cases and submit them to the National Commission for Refugees (NCR), the agency in charge of adjudicating claims.
The NCR’s decision is conveyed to both the applicant and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
Last May, former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo traveled to the Dominican Republic where she was honored with the Order of Merit of Duarte, Sanchez and Mella in the Grade of Grand Cross Gold Plaque, for helping strengthen ties between the Philippines and Latin America.
The award was contained in Decree 278-11 issued by Dominican Republic President Leonel Fernandez, according to a release posted in that country’s website.
The ceremony was held at the Hall of Ambassadors of the National Palace.
Previous reports state that Ecuador’s former President, Gustavo Noboa, is among those who have sought asylum in the Dominican Republic.
Citing persecution in his home country, Noboa sought asylum after being investigated over alleged financial anomalies during his term in office.
As of January, there are 1,759 persons who have pending applications for asylum or refugee status in the Dominican Republic, data from the UNHCR showed. Ana Roa, Inquirer Research
Sources: www.unhcr.org, US Committee for Refugees’ World Refugee Survey 2003, Dominican Republic CIA World Factbook, www.presidencia.gob.do, BBC News