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UPR of Haiti: country still struggles to recover from effects of 2010 earthquake
Tuesday, 18 October 2011 12:05

 

On 13 October 2011, the Working Group on the UPR examined the human rights situation in Haiti. Haiti’s review was originally scheduled for May 2010, but had been postponed on request of the delegation following the devastating earthquake of January 2010. The State was represented only by Mr Jean-Claude Pierre, Chargé d’Affaires at the Permanent Mission of Haiti to the United Nations at Geneva, who stated that it had been planned to send a larger delegation for the original review, but that half of the members had been killed by the natural catastrophe and it was not possible to spare the others from the country’s rebuilding efforts. Mr Pierre also stated that original report had been lost in the earthquake. In his introductory statement Mr Pierre stated that Haiti is still suffering from the earthquake’s repercussion and thus lacked the infrastructure and resources to develop and protect human rights. The country was asked to immediately improve the situation of children sold into domestic servitude and tackle violence against women. In addition, the dialogue covered issues such as human trafficking, the situation in prisons, and the lack of international commitment to promises made to help Haiti after the earthquake. 

 

Specific recommendations, questions, and comments focused on the following issues:

  • Calls to ratify the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance, the Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees , the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families, and the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
  • Recommendations to work with ‘available UN systems’ to improve the situation in the country.
  • Asked to conduct investigations in all cases of alleged police violence.
  • Recommendations to reduce poverty, although no specific suggestions were made.
  • Asked to implement free education.
  • Recommendations to put more effort into eradication of violence against women and enable victims to more easily access the legal system.
  • Address situation of street children and end the practice of putting them into domestic servitude.
  • Calls to review conditions in prisons.
  • Recommendations to improve the health care, social security, and educational systems, in particular to provide easier access for vulnerable groups.

Mr Pierre responded to some of the recommendations during the session. He acknowledged the criticism made in regards of the health care and educational system. He referred to measures being taken to combat violence against women and ensure their participation in public life. However, these measures have not been very successful due to the lack of necessary funds. Furthermore, the Government is looking into measures to combat human trafficking and the lack of general child protection. He also referred to the serious issue of malnutrition and called upon the international community to step up to their promises and help Haiti. Finally, Mr Pierre stated that the country was unable to protect human rights because of the underdevelopment prior to the earthquake and the worsened situation caused by it.

 

Haiti has yet to respond to any of the recommendations made and is planning to do so at the 19th session of the Human Rights Council in March 2012. The delegation expressed their enthusiasm at being able to participate in the mechanisms of the Human Rights Council.

 
© by The International Service for Human Rights (ISHR) 2018