Dominican Republic

According to the World Bank, over the past 25 years, the Dominican Republic (DR) has experienced a remarkable period of solid economic growth. The economy grew 5.3 per cent, on average, between 2000 and 2019, primarily driven by rapid capital accumulation and productivity improvements. The government’s timely response during the pandemic enabled a rapid recovery, reaching 12.3 per cent growth in 2021. However, more than 40 per cent of the population lives below the poverty line.[1]

Over the last decade, economic growth in the Dominican Republic substantially reduced poverty rates and supported the expansion of the middle class. However, disparities in access to economic opportunities and public services remain profound. Poverty rates are persistently high in rural areas and women face disproportionate challenges throughout the country. Female employment continues to be the hardest hit, little progress has been seen in job creation for women compared to 2019.[2]

Recently, efforts have been made to improve both the quality-of-care centers and access to them. Infant mortality has been reduced considerably, and there has been an improvement in hospital care and resources.  AIDS is also prevalent throughout the country. Although there has been much progress in preventing HIV transmission, the persistence of the virus remains a concern.

More than 40 per cent of Dominican children are illiterate. Children living in rural areas, as well as immigrant children, do not have easy access to schools. Only 60% of children complete their primary education. Also, many families are in favor of children dropping out of school to work full time to improve the household economy.

Numerous acts of discrimination can be seen, not only among certain segments of the civilian population of the Dominican Republic, but also at the official level. Haitian children are one of the main victims of this type of discrimination. Most of them live on Dominican soil because of the situation in their country. However, the Dominican Republic does not allow them to have an equal position with respect to its own citizens, especially when it comes to public services. 

In the Dominican Republic, more than a quarter of births are not officially declared to public authorities. The government has tried to improve this situation, but its efforts remain insufficient. As a result, there are children who have neither official identity nor nationality[3]

People of Concern
According to Refugee and Migrant Response Plan for 2022[4], Aruba, Curaçao, the Dominican Republic, Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago host some of the world’s highest concentrations of refugees and migrants per capita: in 2020, Aruba hosted the world’s largest number of refugees and migrants per capita at nearly 16 per cent, while Curaçao took third place at roughly 10 per cent. Despite movement restrictions established during the pandemic and other entry limitations including visa restrictions still in place at the end of 2021, the five countries of the R4V Caribbean Sub-region continue to see new arrivals of refugees and migrants from Venezuela, including those who risk their lives through dangerous, irregular boat journeys, at times resulting in fatalities. This situation has been aggravated by border closures and stringent entry requirements throughout the sub-region. The need for avenues for legal stay and regularization remains critical as access to asylum remains limited and risks of pushbacks, deportation, refoulement, human trafficking, exploitation, abuse, and GBV remain acute for vulnerable groups.

 Existing socio-economic and structural inequalities in the sub-region have significantly deepened due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and negatively impacted living conditions of refugees and migrants from Venezuela and of host communities. Overall, Venezuelans in irregular situations face various barriers to exercising their rights, accessing services or participating in host countries’ formal labour markets, since many do not have the required stay and work permits, and risk detention and deportation if identified by authorities. 

Meanwhile, important government-led initiatives to regularize or extend permits of Venezuelans who would otherwise be in irregular situations were launched in 2021 and will require enhanced support from R4V partners in 2022, particularly in the Dominican Republic.

RET’s Future Interventions
For RET it is key to address the RMRP’s priorities:

  1. Preventing, mitigating and responding to protection risks faced by refugees and migrants from Venezuela and improving the protection environment in host countries. 
  2. Delivering essential goods and services, including food, non-food items (NFIs), shelter and hygiene items, multisectoral and sectoral cash and voucher assistance (CVA) including for health and psychosocial support. 
  3. Increasing integration opportunities, including access to decent employment, through access to documentation and essential public services linked to fundamental rights (education and health) and advocacy for the inclusion of refugees and migrants in national social protection mechanisms. 

R4V partners, including the RET will continue to advocate with host governments to promote access to territory, regularization and end pushbacks and deportations of Venezuelans, to respect the principle of non-refoulement and provide access to asylum procedures for those who may have international protection needs, to ensure that all regularization initiatives observe due process, and to promote alternatives to the detention of refugees and migrants from Venezuela. Particular attention will be given to prevention and response to GBV, child protection challenges and human trafficking, referrals to specialized protection systems, as well as to the integration of refugees and migrants from Venezuela in their host communities.

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[3] Available at:
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Latest Projects

Strengthening comprehensive disaster risk management at the local level in Costa Rica, Panama, Mexico and the Dominican Republic – Regional Project

The Program for Strengthening Comprehensive Disaster Risk Management at the local level is funded by the Bureau of Humanitarian Assistance of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID/BHA), its objective is to provide technical assistance and knowledge exchange to strengthen the capacity for DRM at the local level.

Four subsectors will implement the actions of the project: Building Community Awareness, Capacity Building and Training, Integration/Enhancement within Education Systems and Research, and Policy and Planning.

The activities will directly reach more than 3,000 beneficiaries in Costa Rica, Panama, the Dominican Republic, and Mexico; and indirectly, more than 1,444,000 individuals.

This project, implemented between October 2020 and September 2022, is funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the Bureau of Humanitarian Assistance (BHA) and implemented by  RET in Costa Rica, Panama, and México, and in partnership with Plan International in the Dominican Republic.