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Item 10 – Interactive Dialogue with the Independent Expert on Haiti
June 17, 2009

UN Human Rights Council 11th Session
Statement by the Delegation of the United States
Geneva, June 17, 2009

Thank you, Mr. President.

The United States thanks the Independent Expert on Human Rights in Haiti, Mr. Forst, for his report. The United States has a long relationship with Haiti; we understand, as do others, that the human rights and other problems facing Haiti are difficult, but we believe that they can be solved.

Many of the areas highlighted by the Independent Expert, including judicial reform, corruption, reform of the Haitian National Police, prison conditions, deportees, and violence against women, are also areas that the United States has worked to address in collaboration with Haitian authorities through a variety of bilateral aid programs. Over the past three years, the United States has provided more than $904 million in assistance to Haiti to support programs aimed at protecting human rights and improving food security, fostering economic development, and strengthening democratic governance. Our annual Human Rights Report notes the difficult conditions in Haitian prisons, and we support the steps outlined by the Independent Expert for prison reform, including reducing overcrowding and improving living conditions, particularly for minors in detention. Similarly, we support calls to take action to reduce violence against women and children in Haitian society.

The United States recognizes the difficult problems faced by some individuals who are deported to Haiti. We appreciate the Independent Expert’s support of the International Organization for Migration program, which is funded by the United States, to help with the reintegration of such individuals in Haiti. The United States is committed to assisting Haiti in its development, which will reduce pressures to leave the country, and we will continue to treat all those returned to Haiti in a humane manner.

We look forward to the continued work of the Independent Expert on Human Rights in Haiti.

Thank you, Mr. President.