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Haiti - FLASH : The hell of Haitian prisons... (report)
05/07/2021 11:08:35

Haiti - FLASH : The hell of Haitian prisons... (report)
The United Nations Integrated Office in Haiti (BINUH) and the United Nations Office for Human Rights (SDH) have published a report "N ap mouri" on the conditions of detention and call on the Government to adopt urgent measures to respect human rights.

Extreme overpopulation is one of the main causes of rights violations. The proportion of people in pre-trial detention has increased from 73% in 2015 to 82% today. Whom had not been tried. Often detainees are arbitrarily detained for more than a year before even seeing a judge. In March 2021, the UN Security Council again called on Haiti to end the practice of prolonged pretrial detention after years of resolutions and investments to do so.

"[...] The overcrowded situation in the vast majority of places of detention visited by the SDH can be described as extreme. Indeed, the average space per person in the cells of the places of detention visited by the SDH is 0.57 m2 for men, 0.88 m2 for boys and 1.37 m2 for women and girls. In some cells for men of the Civil Prison of Les Cayes, of the Police Station of Petit-Goâve and the Civil Prison of Cap-Haitien, the area per person is limited to as little as 0.23 m2, 0.26 m2 and 0,31 m2 respectively. [...]"

Note that according to a ranking of the "World Prison Brief" published at the end of January 2018 Haiti occupies the disreputable first place out of 205 countries, for having the most overcrowded prisons in the world, followed in 2nd position by the Philippines and El Salvador https://www.haitilibre.com/en/news-23478-haiti-flash-haiti-world-champion-of-prison-overcrowding.html

The report exposes how most of the detainees live in overcrowded and poorly lit cells, without adequate ventilation, clean water or sanitation facilities. They defecate in buckets that are not regularly emptied. They receive a daily ration of food and have little or no access to health care. These conditions amount to cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, even torture, UN concludes

"[...] In addition, in all the prisons visited by the SDH, with the exception of the Cabaret prison for women and the Fort-Liberté 2 prison, the cells do not have toilets or showers. The toilets are therefore inaccessible to detainees when they are in the cells, that is to say between 11:20 p.m. and 11:50 p.m. per day for all men, and between 7 a.m. and 4 p.m. for boys detained at CERMICOL. Thus, detainees have to relieve themselves in small plastic bags or in large communal buckets, the excrement accumulating throughout the day and night, and are only emptied during the two periods of access to the court [...]"

The report concludes that the conditions of detention constitute torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment. During prison visits, 27% of detainees said they had been victims of ill-treatment and 44% said they had witnessed it.

Download the full report (PDF) : https://www.haitilibre.com/docs/2021.06.26_rapport_detention_final.pdf

HL/ HaitiLibre

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