UN agency urges Dominican Republic to restore nationality for people affected by court ruling

The United Nations is asking the Dominican Republic to quickly restore the nationality of individuals affected by a recent court decision that could revoke the citizenship of tens of thousands of people.

The U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees said Thursday that international legal standards require Dominican authorities to restore automatically the nationality of individuals affected by the ruling. People affected also need a simple way to obtain their identity documents.

The Dominican Republic launched a plan Saturday that puts into motion the court decision. The plan gives those affected by the ruling 18 months to request Dominican citizenship starting in June 2014.

Advocacy groups say that an estimated 200,000 people could lose their citizenship, many of them of Haitian descent. The government maintains that only some 24,000 would be affected.