Haiti called on urgently to advance human rights agenda
LONDON, England — Following the adoption by the Human Rights Council of the universal periodic review outcome on Haiti, Haiti’s acceptance of recommendations to ratify the UN Convention on the Status of Stateless Persons and the Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness is significant in a situation where tens of thousands of people of Haitian descent born in the neighbouring Dominican Republic have been rendered stateless.
Amnesty International has urged the Haitian government to work closely with the Dominican government to restore Dominican nationality to those arbitrarily deprived of it in 2013. The government must also identify and register such persons who may be on Haitian territory and adopt and implement the draft Nationality Law to facilitate access to Haitian nationality to those affected by the previous ban on double nationality if they so wish.
In December 2016, human rights defender Pierre Espérance received death threats allegedly related to his human rights work. Amnesty International welcomed Haiti’s acceptance of recommendations to protect human rights defenders and investigate thoroughly all allegations of harassment, threats and attacks against human rights defenders and bring those responsible to account.
LGBTI persons continue to suffer high levels of discrimination. Amnesty International welcomed Haiti’s support of a recommendation to investigate and sanction violence based on sexual orientation, however, regrets its rejection of recommendations to combat stereotypes based on gender.
The cancellation in September last year of an LGBTI Film Festival following public threats, including by parliamentarians, against individuals and NGOs involved in the event, underscores the importance of these recommendations.
The enjoyment of the right to adequate housing remains precarious. More than 50,000 people internally displaced by the 2010 earthquake continue to live in makeshift camps and scores of people deported or returning from the Dominican Republic live in similar camps on the southern border. Following Hurricane Matthew in October 2016, nearly 7,000 people continue to be displaced.
“In this context it is regrettable that Haiti rejected recommendations to protect the rights of displaced people,” Amnesty International said, calling on Haiti urgently to implement the National Policy on Housing and Habitat.
“Now that the electoral process is complete, President Jovenel Moïse and his government must focus strongly on the protection and promotion of human rights in Haiti,” Amnesty International added.