224. In the light of past and continuing events in Haiti affecting the
human rights guaranteed by the International Covenant on Civil and Political
Rights, and in accordance with article 40, paragraph 1 (b), of the Covenant,
the Committee requested the Government of Haiti, on 27 October 1994, to
submit a special report, not later than 31 January 1995 and if necessary
in summary form, describing in particular, the implementation of articles
6, 7, 9, 10 and 14 of the Covenant during the current period, for consideration
by the Committee at its fifty-third session. In response to that request,
the Government of Haiti submitted a report on 27 February 1995 (CCPR/C/105),
which was considered by the Committee at its 1397th and 1398th meetings,
on 27 March 1995 (see CCPR/C/SR.1397 and 1398), which adopted the following
225. The Committee welcomes the willingness of the Government of the State
party to cooperate and to enter into a constructive dialogue with the
Committee on the application of the Covenant in Haiti, as evidenced by
the submission of the special report and the sending of a high-level delegation
to present the report. The Committee notes that, while providing some
information about constitutional and legal measures giving effect to articles
6, 7, 9, 10 and 14, the report lacked information on the practice concerning
human rights and on the difficulties affecting the application of the
Covenant in the country. The Committee, mindful of the difficulties facing
all branches of government in Haiti since the restoration of the legitimate
Government, thanks the delegation for endeavouring to reply to the questions
raised in the course of the dialogue and thus, to a certain extent, make
up for the report's shortcomings.
and difficulties affecting the implementation of the Covenant
226. The Committee notes that Haiti is only now emerging from a long and
devastating military dictatorial past during which grave human rights
violations occurred, including summary executions, torture and other inhuman
or degrading treatment and arbitrary arrests and detentions. The country
has only recently initiated a process of recovery and has just embarked
on a course of transition to democracy. The Committee further notes that,
despite efforts undertaken by the Government, political and social attitudes
still prevalent in the country are not conducive to the promotion and
protection of human rights. Violence and disorder continue to disrupt
society and many weapons remain in the hands of members of former paramilitary
groups and the public in general. The lack of a functioning judicial system,
and deeply rooted social and economic problems, affect the application
of the Covenant.
227. The Committee welcomes the restoration of the legitimate Government
of Haiti and the considerable efforts made by the present Government to
ensure respect for human rights. In this connection the establishment
by presidential decree of a National Commission on Truth and Justice with
the task of carrying out investigations into human rights violations and
ensuring justice for the victims of such violations is particularly appreciated.
The Committee also notes the creation of a civilian police force separated
from the armed forces as an important step. The Committee appreciates
the fact that programmes for the training of judges and police officers
are being initiated.
228. The Committee notes with satisfaction the adoption of a number of
laws directly affecting the establishment and development of institutions
and policies for the protection of human rights, such as the recent Act
declaring all paramilitary groups illegal, the Territorial Communities
Act, which eliminates the former autocratic system of section chiefs and
provides for local authorities elected by the people, and the Electoral
Act. The Committee also welcomes the beginning of the process which will
lead to the holding of parliamentary elections in June 1995 and presidential
elections in December 1995.
subjects of concern
229. Given the general conditions prevailing at the present time in Haiti,
the Committee has not detailed all its concerns relating to inconsistencies
between provisions of Haitian legislation, including the Constitution
and the Covenant.
230. The Committee expresses its concern about the effects of the Amnesty
Act, agreed upon during the process which led to the return of the elected
Government of Haiti. It is concerned that, despite the limitation of its
scope to political crimes committed in connection with the coup d'état
or during the past regime, the Amnesty Act might impede investigations
into allegations of human rights violations, such as summary and extrajudicial
executions, disappearances, torture and arbitrary arrests, rape and sexual
assault, committed by the armed forces and agents of national security
services. In this connection, the Committee wishes to point out that an
amnesty in wide terms may promote an atmosphere of impunity for perpetrators
of human rights violations and undermine efforts to re-establish respect
for human rights in Haiti and to prevent a recurrence of the massive human
rights violations experienced in the past.
231. The Committee emphasizes the importance of investigation of human
rights violations, determination of individual responsibility and fair
compensation for the victims, and regrets that the Commission on Truth
and Justice has not yet initiated its work.
232. The Committee is concerned that failure to screen and exclude human
rights violators from service in the military, the police force and the
judiciary will seriously weaken the transition to security and democracy.
The Committee is also concerned that human rights violations by members
of the armed forces, agents of security services, and members of former
paramilitary groups still occur. The Committee notes with particular concern
the lack of full and effective control by civilian authorities over the
military. The Committee is concerned that the composition, command and
number of the armed forces is not clearly defined.
233. The Committee expresses its concern at the numerous problems affecting
the proper functioning of the justice system, including long periods of
pre-trial detention and overcrowding of prisons. It wishes to point out
in this regard that, unless a serious effort is undertaken to reform the
judiciary and re-establish a proper functioning of the judicial system,
efforts to strengthen the rule of law and to promote respect for human
rights will be seriously undermined.
234. The Committee is concerned about allegations of forced labour of
minors in violation of article 8 of the Covenant.
235. In view of the fact that the Amnesty Act was adopted before the reinstallation
of the legitimate Government, the Committee urges the State party to apply
that Act in conformity with the Covenant and to exclude from its scope
the perpetrators of past human rights violations.
236. The Committee emphasizes the obligation of the State party under
article 2, paragraph 3, of the Covenant to ensure that victims of past
human rights violations have an effective remedy. It strongly recommends
that the Commission on Truth and Justice initiate its work as soon as
possible and that other mechanisms be set up to investigate human rights
violations by members of the police, the armed forces and other security
services and the judiciary to ensure that persons closely associated with
human rights abuses do not serve in those offices.
237. In order to guarantee the safety of the population, the Committee
recommends that a clear policy be implemented to disarm members of former
paramilitary groups and that effective measures be taken to reduce the
number of weapons in the community.
238. The Committee recommends that a major reform of the judiciary be
undertaken with a view to establishing an independent and impartial judicial
system which will safeguard human rights and enforce the rule of law.
239. The Committee strongly recommends that the State party confirm the
ratification of the Optional Protocols to the Covenant by depositing the
necessary instruments of ratification or accession with the Secretary-General
of the United Nations. Acceptance of the First Optional Protocol would
affirm the commitment of the Government with respect to inquiries into
allegations of human rights abuses and help to protect the human rights
of individuals in the difficult period the country is facing.
240. The Committee urges that respect for human rights be recognized as
an essential element of the process of national reconciliation and reconstruction.
To that end, the Committee recommends that all provisions of the Covenant
be fully incorporated into the national legal system; that the administration
and Parliament, as a confidence-building measure, set up special institutions,
open to individuals, to assist in the daily implementation of human rights;
that comprehensive human rights training be provided to judges, the police
and the military; and that human rights education be provided in schools
at all levels.
241. The Committee urges the State party to submit information on measures
taken to implement these suggestions and recommendations together with
the submission of the initial report, which was due on 6 July 1992, and
for whose submission the Committee sets the date of 1 April 1996.