Local December 8, 2023 | 8:15 am

Ombudsman highlights police abuses in Dominican rights report

Santo Domingo.- The Ombudsman’s first National Human Rights Report in the Dominican Republic identifies police abuses as the primary cause of personal integrity violations. Released in conjunction with the 75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on December 10, the report reveals significant rights violations in health, integrity, work, justice, and equality.

The report highlights the challenges in healthcare, including inadequate medical insurance coverage, pension exclusions, and high medication costs, leading to its top ranking in citizen complaints. It also notes that clinics and hospitals are among the primary settings for rights violations.

Pablo Ulloa, the head of the constitutional body, stated that 59% of integrity abuse reports involve police misconduct. The National Police is perceived as the institution least respectful of rights, with 53% of respondents indicating this. Abuses include power misuse, psychological repression, physical aggression, and excessive force.

The report also addresses issues in employment, justice, and equality. These encompass child labor, workplace discrimination, human trafficking, and perceived legal privileges. Inequality is particularly noted in the treatment of people with disabilities and women.

Ulloa emphasized the State’s inadequate performance in protecting human rights, with 54% of respondents dissatisfied with the authorities’ response to rights violations. He stressed that a significant portion of the population perceives a lack of respect for human rights in the country.

Ndaba Mandela, the grandson of Nelson Mandela, attended the report presentation, underscoring its importance in shaping public policy. The Ombudsman called for effective policies to improve health services, ensure safety, and address the misuse of force by law enforcement. He advocated for the prevention of child labor, promotion of gender parity and diversity in the workplace, and the fight against human trafficking. Finally, Ulloa urged for policies ensuring equal rights and opportunities.

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