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Discussion with the Independent Expert on the Situation of Human Rights in Haiti
March 25, 2014

Interactive Dialogue with the Independent Expert on the Situation of Human Rights in Haiti

Statement by the Delegation of the United States of America

Delivered by Aleksandra Needham
Human Rights Council 25th Session
Geneva, March 25, 2014

Mister President,

The United States thanks the Independent Expert on the Situation of Human Rights in Haiti, Gustavo Gallón, for his work with Haiti.  We appreciate the attention he has paid to the serious deficiencies in the rule of law and institutional capacity.  Long-term, sustained capacity-building is critical to strengthening the rule of law and improving the efficiency of Haiti’s justice system.

As the Independent Expert highlights in his report, prolonged pre-trial detention contributes to severe prison overcrowding and exacerbates the poor living conditions faced by people in detention.  The passage of a modified criminal procedures code with provisions for alternatives to incarceration, such as bail, is necessary to mitigate this serious problem.

We agree with Mr. Gallón that these institutional challenges are not insurmountable and, indeed, the Government of Haiti has made progress to move rule of law matters forward.  We commend the Government of Haiti for its close cooperation with the Independent Expert.

We have two questions:

Rule of Law:  Previous reports by the Independent Expert noted the need for a holistic approach to the rule of law across all ministries, and you suggested the consolidation of the various institutions working on these issues to strengthen the rule of law.  Following the creation of the Inter-ministerial Committee on Human Rights, what additional steps can the Government of Haiti take to further harmonize Haiti’s laws and public policies with constitutionally guaranteed and internationally recognized human rights?

Pre-Trial Detention:  What do you identify as the root causes of prolonged pre-trial detention in Haiti, and what could be done to mitigate those causal factors?

Thank you.