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Legal Identity, Race and Belonging in the Dominican Republic: From Citizen to Foreigner

Between the Lines

Feb 15 2022 • 46 mins

In this episode of the IDS podcast Between the Lines, IDS Research Fellow Tony Roberts interviews Eve Hayes de Kalaf, author of the book Legal Identity, Race and Belonging in the Dominican Republic: From Citizen to Foreigner.


The author discusses amongst other things; What motivated them to write the book? And what stories of lived experiences were important in developing this book?

Listen to the episode


About the author

Eve Hayes de Kalaf is a research associate based at the School of Histories, Languages and Cultures, University of Liverpool and a fellow of the Institute of Latin American Studies, University of London.


About the interviewer

Dr. Tony Roberts is a Research Fellow in the Digital and Technology cluster at the Institute of Development Studies. He has been working at the intersection of digital technologies, international development and social justice since 1988 as a volunteer, lecturer, practitioner, trustee and researcher.


About the book

Over the next ten years, states are carrying out large-scale registrations in alignment with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The SDGs aim to provide more than one billion people around the world with evidentiary proof of their legal and, increasingly, digital existence by 2030.


This book identifies a connection between the role of international actors, such as the World Bank and the United Nations, in promulgating the universal provision of legal identity and links these with arbitrary measures to restrict access to citizenship paperwork from migrant-descended populations.


The book provides the definitive analysis of the events leading up to the controversial 2013 Constitutional Tribunal ruling that rendered the Dominican plaintiff Juliana Deguis Pierre stateless. Hayes de Kalaf illustrates how measures that purposely blocked people of Haitian ancestry from accessing their legal identity not only affected undocumented and stateless populations – persons living at the fringes of citizenship – but also had a major impact on documented people; Dominicans already in possession of a state-issued birth certificate, national identity card and/or passport.


The book illustrates the complex and contradictory ways in which ID systems are experienced, thus challenging the assumption within current development policy that the provision of ID to everyone, everywhere will lead to the inclusion of all citizens.


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