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U.S. Statement at the Dialogue with the Independent Expert on Human Rights in Haiti
Interactive Dialogue: Independent Expert on Human Rights in Haiti
July 3, 2012

Statement by the Delegation of the United States of America
Delivered by Megan Wong
Human Rights Council 20th Session
July 3, 2012

Thank you, Madame President,

The United States thanks Independent Expert on Human Rights in Haiti Michel Forst.  We appreciate the opportunity to review the Independent Expert’s April 2012 report and engage in an interactive dialogue.  We commend the Independent Expert’s commitment to the Haitian people and to the betterment of the situation concerning human rights and rule of law in Haiti.

The institutional challenges that affect human rights and the rule of law in Haiti are difficult, but not insurmountable.  We look forward to continuing our collaboration with the Haitian government and the international community to address the issues raised by Mr. Forst and by the Government of Haiti itself during Haiti’s UPR.

The United States welcomes the filling of several judicial vacancies in Haiti and we look forward to the government decree that will enable the Supreme Council of the Judiciary to begin work, fulfilling its proper constitutional role.

In keeping with the purpose of Item 10 mandates, we encourage the Independent Expert to work closely with Haitian institutions.  We have a few questions and suggestions to that end.

First, to address impunity and corruption, over the next year, what capacity-building work are you planning for key institutions such as the Office of the Inspector General of the Haitian National Police, the well-respected Unit for Combating Corruption (ULCC), and the Office of Citizen Protection?

Second, are there lessons learned from the evolution of judicial independence in other countries with a similar legal structure to Haiti that you plan to share with the Supreme Council of the Judiciary?

Third, based on your experience, what policies could Haiti adopt in the near term to help its judges decrease the use of pre-trial detention?  In this regard, we think it might be worthwhile to connect Haitian jurists to jurists from other countries that have the same authority, but use it less frequently.

Finally, we wanted to address the worst forms of child labor.  Although the summary of the report draws attention to child domestic servants, this serious issue is not discussed in the report.  Do you plan to provide any capacity-building over the next year on this issue?  If so, are there other countries with a similar system to restavek whose experiences avoid these kinds of abuses?

Thank you, Madame President.