Opinion

Who and what defines a Haitian National?

By Robb Rousseau

Anyone born in Haiti to two Haitian parents or one foreign parent and one Haitian parent is Haitian whereas an individual born in Haiti to two foreign parents is not Haitian. The fact of being born in Haiti does not confer on anyone the status of Haitian when there is no blood relationship between the individual and one of his parents. This is because the Haitian constitution in its article 11 recognizes the right of blood as the main criterion to be a Haitian. 

By extension of the right of blood, the individual born abroad to two Haitian parents or to a foreign parent and a Haitian parent is also Haitian. No need to say here that, when it comes to the Haitian nationality, the Haitian constitution does not recognize the right of the soil. That latter individual is also a foreigner provided that his country of birth recognizes both the right of the soil and the right of blood. 

Thus, he holds dual Haitian and foreign nationality. In short, an individual, regardless of his country of birth, is Haitian provided that one of his parents is Haitian. When the latter individual, regardless of whether he lives in Haiti or in his country of birth, gives birth to a child, regardless of the nationality of the other parent (whether Haitian or foreigner), that child also holds the Haitian nationality under the right of blood solemnly proclaimed by the Haitian legislation.

Considering that the parent (s) of this individual, born in a foreign land, returns with him to Haiti to live there. Before leaving his country of birth, his parents made sure he is granted a Social Security Number, a birth certificate and a passport. Traditionally, this parent’s child will not attempt to have him applied and obtained a birth certificate, a National Identification Card (CIN), or a Haitian passport. He grows up in Haiti knowing that he is a foreigner. 

Despite being a Haitian and living in Haiti, he is not a Haitian citizen since, in theory; he cannot obtain a CIN because he must present a Haitian birth certificate to request one. According to articles 16 and 17 of the constitution, the main entitlements of citizenship are the right to enroll in the new high school program and university, to vote, to run for office, and to receive a presidential nomination.

In truth, I tell you that I know several Haitian families that are in such a predicament and that pay racketeers to defraud the national archives and the General Directorate of Taxes. Imagine that being 25 years old now; this child decides to run for office. At this level, he has already illegitimately obtained the documents necessary to file with the Provisional/Permanent Electoral Council. However, according to articles 90 to 96 and 135 of the constitution and articles 89 and 90 of the electoral decree of 2015, the candidate must only have the Haitian nationality at the time of filing his candidacy. Will he or should he be rejected by the electoral council on the basis of the articles above mentioned or will automatically be considered a Haitian since he has been living all his life in Haiti. 

Allow me to open a parenthesis to educate you on the situation of Haitians living abroad. The situation is completely different for the Haitian who becomes a naturalized foreigner. Article 12 stipulates that no foreigner or no naturalized Haitian should prevail with his foreign nationality in Haiti. This compromises that naturalized Haitians will not use their foreign passport when they wish to enjoy the entitlements linked to Haitian nationality and citizenship. 

As a result, naturalized Haitians have the right to acquire a Haitian CIN and passport if they intend to be a Haitian citizen so that they are still Haitians when they are in Haiti. They are eligible to run for office with their Haitian passport without the obligation to declare their other nationality because their foreign nationality has no legal force in Haiti according to article 12 of the constitution.

In summary, only individuals born in Haiti or abroad to at least one foreign parent have dual nationality. Be free, according to articles 90 to 96 and 135 of the constitution and articles 89 and 90 of the electoral decree of 2015 to consider as having dual nationality, Haitians who hold a foreign passport. However, I confirm to you that several scholars have proven that nationality is innate at birth and that the act of pledging allegiance to another government does not constitute the loss of one’s nationality, but rather the gain of citizenship.

Bobb Rousseau is an entrepreneur who develops several businesses in Haiti. He is a doctor in Law and Public Policy. He has been in the United States military for over 20 years where he is currently serving as a Medical Service Corps officer. 

Haitian Times

Haitian Times

The Haitian Times was founded in 1999 as a weekly English language newspaper based in Brooklyn, NY.The newspaper is widely regarded as the most authoritative voice for Haitian Diaspora.
Haitian Times
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Jun. 03, 2020

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