Annual Report: Haiti 2013

Report
May 23, 2013

Annual Report: Haiti 2013

View More Research

Evictions contributed to the overall decrease in the number of people living in makeshift camps and to the closure of numerous camps. Between January and June, more than 30 camps were closed following forced evictions, affecting more than 2,140 people. More than 75,000 people were under constant threat of forced eviction.

  • In May, municipal officials accompanied by armed members of the municipal Street Control Brigade and national police forcibly evicted 131 families from Camp Mozayik in Port-au-Prince. Former camp residents said that officials demolished their houses and destroyed their belongings. None received alternative accommodation or adequate notice.
  • In July, the authorities tried to forcibly evict 142 families belonging to a community set up in the 1980s in Parc La Visite, a nature reserve in the South-East department. According to eyewitnesses, 30 police officers and 20 armed civilians arrived to carry out the eviction. Members of the community threw stones at the police when they started to destroy homes. Officers then opened fire, killing four men. The authorities denied any involvement and no investigation had been carried out into the shootings by the end of the year.

The government presented the first ever draft National Housing Policy in April. Among the concerns were the lack of a human rights perspective and the failure to address the issue of forced evictions.

Violence against women and girls

Women and girls continued to face gender-based violence. According to reports from women's rights organizations, women living in camps for internally displaced people remained at particular risk of gender-based violence and sexual exploitation. Driven by poverty, women and girls continued to be involved in transactional sex to ensure their livelihoods. Haiti's police and justice system made some progress in responding to gender-based violence, but offered women few opportunities for justice and reparation.

Impunity

Those responsible for serious human rights violations, including enforced disappearance, torture, rape and extrajudicial executions, over the past four decades continued to evade justice.

In January, an investigating judge dismissed complaints of crimes against humanity filed by 22 victims against former President Jean-Claude Duvalier. He concluded that Jean-Claude Duvalier should be tried only for corruption and misappropriation of public funds. In his report, and contrary to Haiti's obligations under international law, the judge stated that Haiti's courts were not competent to investigate and prosecute crimes against humanity. An appeal by victims and their relatives was pending at the end of the year.

Justice system

In July, the High Council of the Judiciary was finally established. However, its functioning was hampered by internal divisions which resulted in the temporary withdrawal of two members, including the representative for the human rights sector. The Council is a key institution for the reform and independence of the justice system. One of the main roles of the Council is to confirm the appointment of new judges. However, according to local human rights organizations, judges continued to be appointed without the agreement of the Council.

On 28 September, the Chief Prosecutor of Port-au-Prince, Jean Renel Sénatus, was dismissed. Interviewed on a local radio station, he said he was removed from office because he refused to implement a ministerial order to arrest 36 political opponents, including human rights lawyer Mario Joseph and anti-corruption lawyers Newton St-Juste and André Michel. In October, Lucman Delille became the eighth Chief Prosecutor of Port-au-Prince to be appointed since President Martelly took office.

The authorities failed to take effective steps to address the problem of prolonged pre-trial detention.

Amnesty International visits/reports

  • Amnesty International delegates visited Haiti in May and July 2012.