Haiti - Society : "We must finish with the impunity"
"As the country prepares to choose its next president, I hope that solemn commitments are made in the field of human rights and that the signals are sent for a greater respect for human rights, judicial reform, the fight against impunity and access basic services for all" Mr. Forst said.
The Independent Expert has chosen the fight against impunity as one of his main themes during meetings with Haitian officials and representatives of international organisations.
"It is important that the fight against impunity be carried out through judicial means, and I want to remind the victims that we will explore all possibilities in this area, especially for the most serious crimes of the past" he recalled.
"However, the fight against impunity is not limited to judicial remedies only. There are also additional steps to be taken in education, awareness. Other countries in Latin America and Africa have used innovative ways to exorcise the past crimes. Haiti would do well to learn from these experiences"
After visiting several prisons and talking with many judges, the independent expert noted that reform of the justice system, including the independence of the judiciary, is blocked for several years. "The elements are there, the long-awaited reform of justice has been written and adopted by Parliament during the vote of three laws on the judicial reform in 2007. The law is there, but it can not enter in effect because the key of the reform, one that can run the engine, has not been used.
After visiting several prisons and talking with many judges, the independent expert noted that reform of the justice system, including the independence of the judiciary, has not been implemented for several years despite the passing by parliament in 2007 of laws on judicial reform. You know, this key is the appointment of the President of the Court of Cassation, the keystone of the edifice".
In the area of the humanitarian situation, the independent expert has advocated for that a greater attention be paid to human rights in the reconstruction. "I want to stress that water, housing, access to [health] care are not only humanitarian needs. They are rights guaranteed by the Haitian State. It is urgent that parliament ratifies the International Convention on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, to gradually enter into this new dynamic access to all rights, including the rights proclaimed by the pact"
The seventh mission of Mr. Forst in the country will end Sunday, February 27 and the next report of the independent expert will be presented and discussed in June 2011 at the Human Rights Council in Geneva.
Learn more about Michel Forst :
The United Nations Secretary-General has appointed Mr. Michel Forst as independent expert on the situation of human rights in Haiti in June 2008. Mr. Forst is the Secretary General of the National Consultative Commission on Human Rights of France since 2005 and is the author of several books on human rights, extreme poverty and the UN.