Haiti - Social : «It is time to ensure access to rights for Haitians» - HaitiLibre.com : Haiti news 7/7

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Haiti - Social : «It is time to ensure access to rights for Haitians»
08/02/2012 13:02:04

Haiti - Social : «It is time to ensure access to rights for Haitians»
Mr. Michel Forst, the Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in Haiti, appointed by the Secretary General of the United Nations, ends its tenth mission in the country to prepare the report to be presented and discussed at the Human Rights Council in Geneva in June 2012.

"During my last visit I received important and promising commitments from President Martelly, namely the implementation of the Rule o Law. Most of these promises were kept and major announcements are now a reality."

n particular, the Independent Expert highlighted the appointment of the President of the Court of Cassation, the forthcoming establishment of the Supreme Council of the Judicial Power, the outcome of the trial of Les Cayes and the ratification of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. The latter opens important perspectives in the field of access to rights, such as the right to education, health or the right for every Haitian to be free from hunger.

But serious challenges remain. "President Martelly has made Rule of Law one of his top priorities for his mandate, but the implementation of the rule of law requires a sound political action to implement the technical decisions for which diagnoses were made long ago. To rule also means to send political signals. The population needs to see that the Rule of Law prevails in Haiti." The Independent Expert suggested the appointment of an Inter-Ministerial Delegate for Rule of Law to ensure the coordination between different departments.

In the field of justice, the Independent Expert continues to recall the need to fight against prolonged pre-trial detention. There are still far too many women and men waiting far too long to be heard by a judge, and often in conditions that can be considered as cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment under the UN Convention against Torture. "It would be desirable to adopt a comprehensive penitentiary law that would begin by affirming the fundamental principle that imprisonment is the deprivation of liberty, while it guarantees retaining all other rights enshrined in the constitution of 1987 and in the international texts" Michel Forst suggested.

On the situation in the camps, the Independent Expert called for the adoption of a national comprehensive urban planning strategy, going beyond the project 16/6, and allowing the displaced persons to return to their communities of origin in acceptable conditions, and not in makeshift shelters.

In a few weeks Haiti will decide before the UN Council for Human Rights in Geneva on the recommendations that the country accepts within the context of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR). Within this framework, the Independent Expert recommended the preparation of a National Human Rights Action Plan based on these recommendations and all of those made by the international human rights instruments.

Finally, the independent expert reiterated its deep disappointment concerning the treatment of the Jean-Claude Duvalier case, and recalled the numerous statements and reports of the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights that constantly reminded the severity of the crimes committed. "My first thoughts go to the victims and their families, and I support their decision to appeal the judge's decision in order to proceed with the case."

S/ HaitiLibre

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