The following information is based on the Amnesty International Report 2021/22. This report documented the human rights situation in 149 countries in 2021, as well as providing global and regional analysis. It presents Amnesty International’s concerns and calls for action to governments and others.
The political and economic situation continued to deteriorate, facilitating massive human rights violations, abductions and generalized violence. Human rights defenders and journalists were at heightened risk, impunity remained endemic and tens of thousands of Haitians sought international protection.
The killing in July of Haitian president Jovenel Moïse was a shocking indicator of the massive human rights violations and violence that Haiti has been facing for years.1
Following an earthquake in August, the UN estimated that some 800,000 people needed assistance. As of August, the US State Department advised against all travel to Haiti due to “kidnapping, crime, civil unrest, and COVID-19”.
Human rights defenders and journalists were increasingly at risk of attack and human rights violations.
There was little progress in the investigation into the killing of journalist Diego Charles, a reporter for Radio Vision 2000 and co-founder of the website Larepiblik Magazine, and Antoinette Duclaire, a political and human rights activist, vocal government critic and co-founder of Larepiblik Magazine. They were murdered just a week before President Moïse. The authorities failed to protect their families, who were subjected to death threats and intimidation.2
Civil society organizations continued to raise concerns about chronic impunity and judicial dysfunction in Haiti.
In April, the Observatoire Haïtien des Crimes contre l’humanité and Harvard Law School’s International Human Rights Clinic issued a report alleging Haitian government complicity in three massacres targeting impoverished neighbourhoods between 2018 and 2020. The report pointed to evidence that the attacks, carried out by gangs, were supported by state actors and alleged these acts could amount to crimes against humanity.
During the year, tens of thousands of Haitians made their way overland, often taking dangerous routes, including through the Darien Gap jungle, to reach Mexico and the USA. However, both countries implemented policies and practices that limited access to international protection, and continued mass detentions and unlawful forced returns to Haiti, Mexico and Guatemala, placing the lives and physical integrity of thousands of Haitians at risk.3 In September, images emerged of US border authorities on horseback abusing and taunting Haitians, which provoked widespread condemnation.4 However, between 19 September and 10 November alone the US government sent nearly 9,000 Haitian migrants and asylum seekers to Haiti, largely without providing access to the US asylum system or protection screenings, exacerbating the crisis.5
In September, UN agencies also jointly called on states across the Americas to adopt a comprehensive regional approach for Haitians on the move and to provide them with protection measures including asylum “or other legal stay arrangements for more effective access to regular migration pathways”.
In October, a resolution adopted by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights addressed the regional need to increase the protection of Haitians on the move. Despite this, during the year, states across the region largely failed to shield Haitians from a range of human rights violations in host countries, including detention and unlawful pushbacks, extortion, anti-Black racism, gender-based violence by armed groups, and destitution, leaving many Haitians with restricted access to protection measures including asylum6 and nowhere safe to go.7
Refugee and Migrant Rights – A Look Ahead in 2022
In September of 2022 around the one-year anniversary of the border agent abuses in Del Rio against Haitian migrants, Amnesty International will do a follow-up report to the briefing and fact sheet.
Amnesty International USA condemns the Biden Administration’s attack on the human right to seek asylum.
Amnesty International USA Advocacy Director for the Americas, Amy Fischer, and Haiti Fellow, Taisha Saintil, released the following statement in response to the Biden administration’s decision to extend and redesignate Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Haiti.
U.S. authorities have subjected Haitian asylum seekers to arbitrary detention and discriminatory and humiliating ill-treatment that amounts to race-based torture, said Amnesty International today in the new report, ‘They Did Not Treat Us Like People’: Race and Migration-Related Torture and Other Ill-Treatment of Haitians Seeking Safety in the USA.
States across the Americas are failing to provide international protection and safety for Haitians on the move, exposing them to a range of human rights violations, including detentions and illegal pushbacks by authorities; extortion; anti-Black racial discrimination; abuses by armed groups, including gender-based violence; and lack of access to adequate housing, healthcare, and employment, said Amnesty International and Haitian Bridge Alliance in a new briefing published today.
Today, Congress passed a continuing resolution that includes funding to support Afghans arriving to the United States and ensures that Afghans arriving on humanitarian parole have access to refugee resettlement benefits.
In response to the mass deportation of Haitian migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border and horrific reports of Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) inhumane treatment against Black asylum-seekers, Paul O’Brien, Executive Director at Amnesty International USA said: “The horrific conduct by CBP in Del Rio, Texas, including officers charging into crowds of Haitian asylum-seekers on horseback, violently dispersing them, taunting them, and forcing them away from safety, is reprehensible and underscores a deeper problem of systemic and racist treatment against Haitian and other Black migrants in the U.S. and at the southern border.
Today, the #WelcomeWithDignity campaign expressed its disgust with Customs and Border Protection’s treatment of Haitian people seeking asylum at Del Rio, Texas. The campaign joined dozens of other national organizations and expressed steadfast solidarity with Haitian …
As millions took to the streets to protest rampant violence, inequality, corruption and impunity, or were forced to flee their countries in search of safety, states across the Americas clamped …
The Dominican Republic has unlawfully expelled hundreds of Dominicans to Haiti who have been caught in the middle of a wave of returns and deportations of more than 100,000 people in recent months, Amnesty International said in a new report a year after the Dominican Republic ended a moratorium on deportations on June 18, 2015.
International protection of human rights is in danger of unravelling as short-term national self-interest and draconian security crackdowns have led to a wholesale assault on basic freedoms and rights, warned Amnesty International as it launched its annual assessment of human rights around the world. “Your rights are in jeopardy: they are being treated with utter contempt by many governments around the world,” said Salil Shetty, Secretary General of Amnesty International.