UN expert urges Haiti to work on human rights issues

UN expert urges Haiti to work on human rights issues

first_imgAn independent expert on human rights has welcomed the recent completion of the electoral process in Haiti as “remarkable progress” while also urging the authorities to address the situation in prisons and to redouble efforts to help Haitians affected by Hurricane Matthew and the 2010 massive earthquake.Gustavo Gallón, who has just completed an official mission to the country, praised “the transparency, professionalism and commitment of the Provisional Electoral Council, and the provisional government authorities in leading the elections.”Gallón said detention conditions in Haitian prisons are “extremely inhuman, cruel and degrading,” and that long pre-trial detention, which amounts to an average of 70 per cent at national level, is among the main causes of prison overcrowding, which reaches a rate of 358 per cent, equivalent to 1.43 square meters per prisoner.The United Nations said there are prisons where the situation is even worse, according to a study conducted in 2016.“It can be said that 91 per cent of all detainees in this prison who are awaiting trial are illegally or arbitrarily detained, which represents an increase of 23 per cent since 2014,” said Gallón , adding that the excessive level of overcrowding is also a factor, among others, that contributes to the high level of death in prison.“If the current trend continues, projections for the year 2017 can result in the death of 229 prisoners, an annual mortality rate of 21.8 per 1,000,” he said.Taking note of the establishment of a new Presidential Commission to assess the situation in prisons, Gallón appealed to the authorities to implement urgent actions aimed at the abolition of prolonged pre-trial detention in order to improve prison conditions and to respect the rights of people deprived of their liberty.last_img

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