Press Release

IACHR Supports Haiti in Current Political and Institutional Scenario

January 22, 2020

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Washington, D.C. - The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) supports Haiti in recent events affecting democratic institutions and human rights on its soil. The IACHR notes that—through various monitoring mechanisms—it has been permanently observing the political, economic, and social situation in Haiti since mid-2018, as shown in press releases R71/18, 33/19, 46/19, R151/19, 258/19, and 305/19, and in other monitoring efforts.

According to publicly available reports gathered by the Commission and in line with Haiti’s Constitution, the mandates of 119 legislators and two thirds of the country’s senators expired on January 13, 2020. As the IACHR has been able to observe, the failure to pass the Election Act to renew Parliament in 2019 has meant that the election that should have been held in November that year never took place. This situation has also led to the expiry of these parliamentary mandates and meant, among other things, that the budget could not be approved and that the prime minister could not be ratified, and could therefore not appoint a government.

The Commission stresses the need to relaunch political dialogue, as a crucial element to preserve democratic institutions and to prevent deadlock in the country. The IACHR also stresses the profound ties between respect for human rights, democracy, and comprehensive human and economic development. The Commission further notes that States are responsible for protecting the rights and safeguards that are inherent in democracy for people under their jurisdiction.

“In the country’s current context, the Commission urges the Haitian State and the different political forces within it to work to strengthen the country’s institutions and to ensure the independence of the different branches of government and the balance between them, in compliance with Haiti’s own Constitution and with its international commitments,” said Commissioner Stuardo Ralón Orellana, the IACHR’s Rapporteur for Haiti.

“The Commission will further pursue and intensify its monitoring efforts concerning the current situation in Haiti. It also reminds the State of its mission to prevent an escalation of violence,” Commissioner Stuardo Ralón added.

A principal, autonomous body of the Organization of American States (OAS), the IACHR derives its mandate from the OAS Charter and the American Convention on Human Rights. The Inter-American Commission has a mandate to promote respect for and to defend human rights in the region and acts as a consultative body to the OAS in this area. The Commission is composed of seven independent members who are elected in an individual capacity by the OAS General Assembly and who do not represent their countries of origin or residence.

No. 011/20