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Haiti - Justice : More than 75% of prisoners in Haitian prisons have never been tried
24/02/2018 08:08:05

Haiti - Justice : More than 75% of prisoners in Haitian prisons have never been tried
The situation of people in prolonged pretrial detention is one of the causes of the overcrowding rate of prisons in Haiti. According to figures from the Directorate of Prison Administration (DAP), on average 74% of men, 82% of women and 95% of girls are detained without having been tried.

During his official visit to the United Nations Mission for the Support of Justice in Haiti (Minujusth), Bintou Keita, the UN Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, wanted to visit the Jérémie Prison, which has 304 detainees of whom only 20% have already been tried. A situation that shocked Keita "I was absolutely sorry to see the conditions not only of people who are in prison, but also those who work in prisons every day."

From the point of view of international minimum standards, the inmate's living space averages is 4.5 square meters. But in Haiti, this space is limited to 0.5 m2 and less according to the study World Prison (2016). There is a shortage of places available due to overcrowding caused by the large number of people in prolonged pretrial detention, resulting in serious human rights violations including unhygienic living conditions, health problems, illnesses and malnutrition.

Pre-trial detention sometimes takes longer than the sentence that the detainees would have had to serve under the law if they had been found guilty.

For Keita, the certification of prisons to improve their functioning according to international standards is one of the main objectives of the United Nations in partnership with the Haitian authorities. For the next two years, Minujusth will focus on 9 detention centers to create benchmarks that will serve as a model to gradually certify other centers in the country. These efforts are coordinated with national authorities and the 19 United Nations Agencies, Funds and Programs in the country.

The United Nations is leading projects in Haiti focusing on the promotion of human rights, HIV prevention, the protection of children and the prevention of violence in prisons, especially for women. That is why the UN Security Council has entrusted Minujusth with a mandate to support national authorities in the context of the rule of law reform.

The purpose of the Mission is to promote and defend human rights, with particular emphasis on access to justice, compliance with legal procedures, structural support for the prison system and respect for the detention conditions, overcrowding, hygiene, access to care and visits

UNAIDS providing technical support for the Health Through Walls (HTW) health project in prisons stresses the importance of AIDS prevention in prisons. For the 2016/2017 period, more than 19,533 detainees have been examined and tested for HIV and 1,156 are currently on antiretroviral therapy.

HL/ HaitiLibre

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