Haiti: Placing human rights at the centre of the national and international agenda

At  present, the climate of Haiti is unfavourable to the protection of human rights and the life of its citizens. The reconstruction of Haiti, announced in the Summits, is blocked, while the cholera epidemic disease continues to spread uncontrollably through the ten geographical departments of the country.

A new political crisis that took place after the presidential  elections on November 28 has provoked waves of violence that paralyzed the country during the aftermath of the controversial results of the first round of elections. The incapacity of the political actors and the international community to give a quick response to the post electoral conflict, darkens the country´s future.

Far from keeping political stability, as was announced by the Haitian Government and the international community´s actors, the elections are becoming a destabilizing factor which is progressively reducing the possibility for the Haitian population to live with dignity, enjoying their  minimum fundamental rights.   

A conflict of agendas

Although several Haitian civil society organizations, including the displaced  people´s groups, are requesting as a top priority the protection of the population´s human rights, mainly the right to a secure home, the national  leaders and actors of the international community have placed the priority of their agendas on the elections as the only way to maintain the supposed political stability and create the necessary conditions for the "reconstruction" of the country.

What political stability and reconstruction are they talking about in a country amidst ruins and debris? can we ask ourselves.

We remember how the displaced groups have said on several occasions that they would boycott elections if the local authorities did not take the necessary steps to relocate them in safe places and assure the protection of their fundamental rights such as health, food, jobs, education...

"How can we go to vote if we live in camps, if none of the authorities have come to visit us?" said one of the displaced persons to a reporter from the capital.

An announced political-electoral crisis

The incapacity of the Provisional Electoral Council (CEP), supported by the UN and the Organization of American States (OAS), to overcome  political and  technical difficulties such as gaining the confidence of all political parties to carry out free elections with honesty and transparency, indicated that conditions were not met to ensure a legitimate election process.

Since the beginning of the election calendar, several opposition parties were not willing to participate due to the lack of confidence in the  members of the Provisional Election Council (CEP) accused of complicity with the regime in power. They asked for the restructuring of the election council as a guarantee of credibility. The political electoral crisis accompanied by outbursts of violence in the aftermath of the first round of elections, was foreseen.

Several national and international observers denounced massive  and orchestrated frauds, with violence, during election day. On the other hand, opposition parties and actors of the international community recognized that this first round,  qualified as "criminal fraud" by local organizations, did not reflect "the population´s will".


In favour of a solution with dialogue and law in hand

In the meantime, the  CEP  is looking for a negotiated solution with the three main presidential candidates (Myrlande Hippolite Manigat with 31% of the total votes, Jude Célestin  with  22% and  Michel Martelly with 21%) in order to resolve the election dispute and re establish peace in the country.
The CEP proposes setting up a mixed commission made up by members of the CEP, the three most voted candidates, national and international observers and members of the international community to count the votes and verify official results.

Considering this political-electoral crisis that will only lead to the worsening of life conditions in Haiti, the JRS invites the different national and international actors involved in the process to look for dialogue in the framework of the law in order to re establish peace which is essential to protect human rights and raise the country.

Wooldy Edson Louidor
Communications and Advocacy Assistant for Haiti
Jesuit Refugee Service for Latin America and the Caribbean