Haiti must end long pretrial detention

Statement by UN Watch

Item 10 – Interactive Dialogue with Independent Expert on Haiti

31st Session of the Human Rights Council, March 22, 2016

Delivered by Ms. Katie Buie

Thank you Mr. President.
UN Watch would like to thank the Independent Expert for his report on the situation of Human Rights in Haiti.
UN Watch is deeply concerned by the continued gross and systematic human rights violations taking place in Haiti. Regarding the report before us today, we would like to draw particular attention to two specific issues.
First, UN Watch is alarmed by the growing incidence of prolonged pretrial detention. We reiterate the call made by the Independent Expert to put an end to this practice. Despite repeated calls by the Independent Expert in recent years to this effect, the problem has only become more prevalent. Now, more than 70% of all detainees in Haiti are being held in pretrial detention. Among women, the pretrial detention rate is a staggering 87%.
Additionally, UN Watch is concerned that extreme social, political, and economic inequalities inhibit the majority of Haitian citizens from exercising full enjoyment of their human rights. These inequalities are of particular concern for women in Haiti, who suffer from gender based violence and inequality in almost all areas of life. As noted by the Independent Expert, poor reproductive health, as well as persistent physical and sexual violence, contributes greatly to the abysmal and rapidly declining state of gender equality in Haiti.
UN Watch echoes the request made by the Independent Expert to strengthen laws against gender based violence, harassment and sexual assault – in particular, we urge the Haitian government to pass the recent proposed amendment to the Criminal Code to protect Haitian women from systematic sexual harassment and violence.
We would like to ask the Independent Expert what concrete steps the Haitian government can take to immediately end the worsening practice of prolonged pretrial detention?
Thank you, Mr. President

UN Watch