Wednesday 14th April, 2021

Young lawyer Rosa Iris is taking on the challenge of a lifetime, attempting to run for office in a society rife with state-sanctioned racism and longstanding electoral corruption, whilst simultaneously standing for human rights of her electorate.

The two countries of Haiti and Dominican Republic share the island of Hispaniola. In 1937, tens of thousands of Haitians and Dominicans of Haitian descent were exterminated by the Dominican army, based on anti-black hatred fomented by the Dominican government. Fast-forward to 2013, the Dominican Republic stripped the citizenship of anyone with Haitian parents, retroactive to 1929. This ruling rendered more than 200,000 people stateless, without nationality and vulnerable in the country they called home.

In this dangerous climate, Rosa - herself a Dominican of Haitian descent - mounts a grassroots election campaign, fighting for social justice and fundamental human rights.

Director Michèle Stephenson traces the complex tributaries of history and present-day politics in Dominican Republic, observing the way that insidious state-level racism seeps into offices, living rooms and street protests.

This screening was followed by a live online discussion with Stateless director Michèle Stephenson and UNHCR's Representative to the UK, Rossella Pagliuchi-Lor. Moderated by Simon Offord, lead curator for the exhibition 'Refugees: Forced to Flee' at IWM London.