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#2924: Human Rights in Haiti: Amnesty International's Recommendations (fwd)

From: Max Blanchet <MaxBlanchet@worldnet.att.net>


The climate of respect for human rights in Haiti established
since the countryís 1994 emergence from military regime has
been dealt a series of blows since the beginning of 1999.  In
addition to a series of violent incidents involving political
figures and authorities, Amnesty International is concerned at
the apparent increase in intolerance among political sectors,
evidenced by reported threats, acts of intimidation and violent
demonstrations.  Amnesty International is likewise concerned
that the reversal of efforts to construct professional and
independent police and judicial institutions could have a
serious impact on the capacity of those institutions to ensure
respect for human rights, particularly in the context of the
upcoming elections.

I. Recommendations to the Haitian authorities

Regarding the Police

1.Haitian authorities must take steps to strengthen the
professionalism and public accountability of the police
force.  Recruitment of new members must be carried
out in a way as to ensure their political impartiality.

2. The Head of State, Director General of the HNP and the
Inspector General of the HNP must send a strong and
clear message to all police officers that extrajudicial
executions, the unnecessary and disproportionate use
of firearms, torture and ill-treatment, and
"disappearances" will not be tolerated.

3. HNP authorities must guarantee that any police officer
suspected of committing human rights violations will be
immediately suspended, an independent and impartial
investigation carried out and those reponsible brought
to the courts for prosecution. Consideration must be
given to the establishment of a complaints unit within the
office of the Inspector General, to increase public
recourse to the unit.

4. All HNP personnel must be made fully aware of, and
abide by, the UN Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement
Officials, the UN Basic Principles on the Use of Force
and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials and all
other relevant international standards.

5. The Inspector General of the HNP must publish regular
detailed reports of the status of investigations and
prosecutions relating to police officers suspected of
committing human rights violations.  Adequate
resources must be provided to the Office of the
Inspector General so that it can carry out its work
promptly and effectively throughout the country.

6. Both the HNP and the judiciary must be under strict
orders to carry out arrests and searches solely in
accordance with Haitian law and Haitiís obligations
under the ICCPR and the Inter-American Convention on
Human Rights.

Regarding the Penal System

1. As a long-term aim but at the earliest possible
opportunity, the authorities must seek, with the
assistance of foreign governments and international
organizations, to achieve prison conditions that are
consistent with the UN Standard Minimum Rules for the
Treatment of Prisoners and other relevant international

2. The serious food shortage in detention facilities must
be addressed as a matter of priority.

3. A separate rehabilitation facility for minors must be
established as soon as possible, in accordance with
the requirements of Haitian law.  Every effort must be
made to ensure that treatment of minors in detention
complies in every way with the requirements laid out in
article 37 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Regarding Justice

1. Every effort must be made to strengthen the
independence, impartiality and effectiveness of the
justice system.  Within those efforts, special attention
must be paid to ensuring the impartiality and
independence of public prosecutorial authorities.
Recruitment and training must be carried out in a way
as to ensure political impartiality.

2. Legislation establishing clearly the roles and functions
of the  police, public prosecutors and the courts in
investigations, particularly those involving allegations of
police misconduct, must be adopted.

3. Measures must be taken to guarantee that no one is
arbitrarily detained, and that anyone arrested on a
criminal charge be presented promptly before a judge.
All detainees must be guaranteed a fair trial, in
accordance with the provisions of articles 14 of the
ICCPR and 8 of the Inter-American Convention on
Human Rights, within a reasonable time frame. In
addition, alternatives to detention should be
incorporated in Haitian legislation, in accordance with
the UN Standard Minimum Rules for Non-custodial

4. Efforts to establish a system of public defense should
receive adequate financial and institutional support.

5. The Haitian state must establish a clear policy on
prosecution of past and current human rights violations
in accordance with its international obligations.  Court
and prosecutorial authorities must fulfill their duties by
taking a more proactive role in investigating allegations
of abuses and in bringing such cases before the courts
in conformity with international standards. The victims of
human rights violations committed by agents of the
State, or by individuals acting with the Stateís consent,
should receive adequate reparation.

6. The authorities must give the highest priority to the
process of judicial reform, acting as quickly as possible
on the reform law. This reform should follow up on the
recommendations of the National Commission for Truth
and Justice, and take into account international
standards regarding the judiciary such as the UN Basic
Principles on the Independence of the Judiciary, the UN
Guidelines on the Role of Prosecutors and the UN
Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers.

7. Haitian authorities must make every effort to ensure that
treatment of minors by the justice system is in
compliance with the requirements laid out in article 40
of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Regarding Human Rights Defenders

1. The Haitian government must take all possible steps to
ensure that the principles contained in the Declaration
on the Right and Responsibility of Individuals, Groups
and Organs of Society to Promote and Protect
Universally Recognized Human Rights and
Fundamental Freedoms, adopted by the UN General
Assembly on 9 December 1998, are fully incorporated
into national law and mechanisms.  Authorities at all
levels of government must commit themselves to
promoting respect for human rights and to the
protection of human rights defenders, including by
investigating allegations of threats, intimidation or
attack and bringing those responsible to justice.

2. The Haitian authorities should ensure that the scope of
the mandate of the Ombudsman can address all types
of human rights violations committed by state agents.
Adequate funding should be provided to the
Ombudsman and his staff to enable them to carry out
their work.

Regarding the Electoral Process

1. Amnesty International calls on political parties to ensure
that they and their partisans respect the rights to
expression, assembly and association, so as to ensure
that the electoral process proceeds in an open,
transparent and peaceful manner.

Regarding other matters

1. The Haitian Government should ratify as soon as
possible the UN Convention against Torture, the
International Covenant on Economic, Social and
Cultural Rights, the two optional protocols to the
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the
Inter-American Convention to Prevent and Punish
Torture and Inter-American Convention on the Forced
Disappearance of Persons, and incorporate such
standards, as well as those it has already ratified, into
domestic legislation, including the Constitution.

II. Recommendations to the USA and Haitian authorities

1. The USA authorities should immediately return intact to
the Haitian Government the 160,000 pages of
documents and photographs seized by USA troops in
1994 from army, police and paramilitary offices in Haiti.
Upon their return, as in the case of any such sensitive
information, the Haitian Government should take
appropriate measures to ensure the security of all those
who might be identified in the documents as being
responsible for human rights violations or other
activities of an incriminating nature, as well as the
security of the documents themselves. They should also
ensure that any legal proceedings initiated on the basis
of the information contained therein are carried out in
accordance with international standards for a fair trial.

2. The USA authorities should also pass on to the Haitian
authorities any other information in the possession of
the CIA or other USA government agencies which may
shed light on the identity of those responsible for human
rights violations in Haiti.  USA Congress should
consider conducting an independent investigation into
the possible direct or indirect involvement of USA
officials in human rights violations in Haiti at the time of
the de facto military government.  Any USA citizens
found responsible for such violations should be held to
account for their actions.

III. Recommendations to international organizations and
governments providing economic and technical
assistance to Haiti

1. International governmental and non-governmental
organizations should continue to give the highest
possible priority to assisting the Haitian Government in
the task of judicial reform. International organizations
and aid donors should work as closely as possible with
the Haitian Government, as well as with each other, to
ensure that projects that are under way to support
judicial reform are both appropriate for Haiti and
consistent with international standards.  When
evaluating their projects in Haiti, they should take into
account evaluations of their programs that have been
undertaken by Haitian NGOs and others.

2. The planned International Civilian Support Mission in
Haiti must give precedent to the need for ongoing
independent human rights monitoring and reporting.
The UN should establish a long-term strategy for
ensuring continued human rights monitoring and the
protection of human rights defenders in Haiti.

3. International organizations and foreign governments
assisting in the training of the Haitian National Police
should continue to ensure that human rights training and
education is incorporated into all aspects of such
training and should encourage the Haitian authorities to
bring to justice any police officer who is alleged to have
committed or ordered human rights violations.   If not
already in place, consideration should also be given to
developing joint training programs for the police and the
judiciary so that each has a better understanding of the
otherís role.

4. Foreign governments, international governmental
organizations and non-governmental organizations with
appropriate expertise should help Haiti establish a
recruitment and training program to train a greater
number of Haitian defence lawyers.

5. International financial institutions should evaluate the
possible impact of their programs on the ability of the
Haitian Government to guarantee respect and
protection of all human rights.