This report is part of CRIN's access to justice for children project, looking at the status of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) in national law, the status of children involved in legal proceedings, the legal means to challenge violations of children’s rights and the practical considerations involved in challenging violations.
The Dominican Republic ratified the CRC in 1991, and has also ratified the optional protocols on children in armed conflict and on the sale of children. The Convention has constitutional status and prevails over domestic law. The country incorporated the provisions of the CRC in a Code for the protection of children, establishing a special tribunal to deal with civil, criminal and administrative issues related to the CRC. Children can generally bring cases through a representative, but they can act in their own name for pecuniary compensation of violations of the Code as well as habeas corpus and amparo actions. NGOs, the Public Prosecutor and the Ombudsperson can act on behalf of children in criminal proceedings. The Constitution of 2010 created a Constitutional Court which can review fundamental rights claims, but some provisions, such as a legal aid system, still lack national laws to be enforced. Currently (June 2015), the compliance of the Dominican Republic with the Inter-American Court of Human Rights is at risk, which, along with corruption accusations, greatly endangers the enforcement of children's rights.