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Human rights and the
Bicentennial -- a 10-point
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INTERNATIONAL SECRETARIAT, I EASTON STREET, LONDON WCIX ODW UNITED KINGDOM
Human rights and the Bicentennial a 10-point action plan
On the eve of the 200th anniversary of Haitian independence on 1 January 2004, Amnesty International urges that the actions outlined in this 10-point programme, aimed at government authorities, political leaders, civil society groups and members of the international community, be taken immediately and throughout 2004 to ensure protection for the basic human rights of Haitian citizens.
KILLINGS AND TORTURE
The right to life, liberty and security of person, and to freedom from torture or cruel, inhuman or
degrading treatment or punishment (art. 3 and 5, Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR)) I. Police and justice authorities must publicly guarantee that no unlawful killings,
torture or other grave human rights violations will be tolerated during the
Bicentennial celebrations. Human rights and other groups should be
encouraged to monitor whether this promise is met. If violations occur, as they
have around other public events, they must be immediately investigated and those responsible brought to justice without delay; any official's failure to do
this must be punished with suspension from office pending investigation.
The right to equality before the law and to equal protection by the law (art. 7, UDHR)
2. The President and leaders of all institutions must promise to prevent and
punish any abuses by political activists, regardless of their affiliation, with the
same level of diligence. They must put their commitment into action by
treating abuses by government supporters in the same way as those attributed
to anti-government groups, making equal efforts to bring those involved to
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The right to effective remedy for acts violating fundamental rights (art. 8, UDHR)
3. As ruled by the Haitian Court of Appeal, the trial documents in the case of
journalist Jean Dominique, killed in April 2000, must address not just the
identity of the actual gunmen and their accomplices but that of the intellectual
authors of the crime. The Haitian authorities must immediately allocate all
necessary financial and security resources, and take all other steps required, to
ensure full justice.
VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN
The rights of women and the family's entitlement to protection by society and the State (art. 16, UDHR)
4. All social and state actors must take steps, each within his or her own area of
influence, to ensure that the climate of growing political violence in Haiti does
not lead to increased violence against women, whether through repression of
women's public activism or by spilling over into private life as domestic
FREEDOM OF CONSCIENCE
The right to freedom of thought and conscience (art. 18, UDHR)
5. Political leaders on all sides should issue public statements condemning any
act of intolerance, intimidation or abuse carried out by their supporters against
those with different beliefs or party loyalties. Political parties must cooperate with the authorities to stamp out abuses and bring those responsible to justice.
HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS
The right to freedom of opinion and expression (art. 19, UDHR) 6. The authorities must develop a plan for implementing the principles contained
in the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Defenders.
Recommendations by local and international human rights groups and by human rights experts within the Organization of American States and the
Inter-American and UN human rights systems should be considered.
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.
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The right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association (art. 20, UDHR)
7. The right to peaceful assembly and association must be respected and
protected by the police. For their part, activists must follow Haitian law with
regard to organising demonstrations, and must respect others' right to
demonstrate; all stifling of protests by those with opposing views must stop
The right to take part in government, directly or through freely chosen representatives, and for the will of the people to be expressed in periodic and genuine elections (art. 21, UDHR)
8. All officials, political parties and civil society groups must commit to doing
their part so that Haitians can exercise the right to political participation
without fear of violence or reprisals.
LABOUR AND TRADE UNION RIGHTS The right to work, to just and favourable work conditions and to form and join unions (art. 23, UDHR)
9. Companies in the new Free Trade Zone on the border of Ouanaminthe, Haiti
with the Dominican Republic must publicly commit to respecting international
standards for the conditions of their workers, including the right to unionise.
Haitian and Dominican authorities must publicly promise to protect their citizens employed in the Zone by seeing that the standards are enforced.
The right to realisation of the economic, social and cultural rights indispensable to dignity, and to a standard of living adequate for health and well-being (art. 22 and 25, UDHR) 10. The international community must meet the United Nations DevelopmentProgramme's request for US$ 84 million for an Integrated Response
Programme to respond to deteriorating socioeconomic conditions in Haiti. It
must also comply with the provisions of the Organisation of American States'
Resolution 822 of September 2002, normalising donor and lending relations with Haiti. The Haitian government must sign the International Covenant on
Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, which calls for states to work to the
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maximum of their available resources for the progressive realisation of these
On the eve of the Bicentennial, Amnesty International believes that the Haitian people, with their exemplary history of courage and dedication to freedom in the face of great odds, deserve concrete measures to improve their lives. The organisation hopes that this action plan, focusing on key areas of concern, will help Haiti move along the path towards respect for all human rights.
For more in-depth information on the concerns raised above, see
- "HAITI: Abuse of human rights: political violence as the 200'h anniversary of independence approaches, (AI Index: AMR 36/007/2003), October 2003
- "HAITI. Update of the Jean Dominique investigation and the situation ofjournalists, (A! Index: AMR 36/013/2002), November 2002
-1HAITI: 'I have no weapon but my journalist's trade': human rights and the Jean Dominique investigation (AI Index AMR 36/001/2002), April 2002
- "HAITI: Steps forward, steps back: human rights 10years after the coup, (Al Index: AMR 36/010/2001), September 2001
- "HAITI: Human rights challenges facing the new government," (Al Index: AMR 36/002/2001), April 2001
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