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Haitian Organizations Call for Elections

December 2014

Since coming to power in 2011, the administration of President Martelly has failed to hold elections for senate seats, the chamber of deputies, and local.  Fed up with inactivity, the Platform of Haitian Human Rights Organizations (POHDH) renewed calls for elections in Haiti, joining other human rights organizations throughout the nation. 

In the press release below, POHDH and other organizations articulate fears about the potential for Haiti to return to dictatorship as the political climate in Haiti experiences escalating repression for political protestors, a lack of elections, and increased assassinations of human rights defenders. (Daniel Dorsinvil, General Coordinator of POHDH, and his wife Girldy Larêche were murdered in Port-au-Prince February 8, 2014, leaving behind three children.)

A partner of Grassroots International for over 20 years, POHDH is a coalition of nine of Haiti’s foremost human rights bodies.  The coalition trains people throughout the country to work at the grassroots level within their communities on human rights.  They document the violations and submit them to the Platform for follow up.  POHDH educates Haitians about their rights and focuses specifically on women and children.  Since the earthquake in 2010 POHDH has carried out projects in the tent camps that many Haitians still live in after nearly five years.  Antonal Mortime, Executive Secretary of POHDH has been outspoken on the issues of elections as well as the lack of accountability and transparency of aid in the aftermath of the earthquake.

Press Release from POHDH

The protagonists must find a solution to the current political crisis in order to avoid the worst

For about three years, Haiti has experienced an acute political crisis. The legislative and local elections, provided for by the constitution have not taken place.  The municipalities are currently being managed by Agents of the Executive appointed by the President of the Republic.  The Senate, the permanent branch of the Legislature, is reduced by one third of its members and it is difficult for it to function.

This reality affects, primarily, civil and political rights, to the extent that citizens cannot, in a sovereign manner, renew their representatives in accordance with the Haitian Constitution, which in Article 58 provides that: “National Sovereignty is vested in all citizens.” And, that article states, they directly exercise the prerogatives of sovereignty by the elections of the President of the Republic and the members of the Legislature as well as those of any meeting under the constitution and the law.

This situation announces even more difficult and uncertain times in the country during the year 2015. The political authorities do not seem to be worried, as they sink deeper the country into instability and confrontation through their irresponsible behavior and disrespect of law and republican principles.

The political crisis fully affects the socio-economic conditions, already precarious, of the vast majority of the population. The budget for the current year (2014-2015), which, moreover, has not been passed by parliament according to the constitution, will probably not be effective because the political troubles that lie ahead will not allow the collection of the revenue provided.

Moreover, planned investments aimed at achieving “social” programs capable of improving the plight of the most vulnerable parts of the country might not be carried out. Indeed, if the political situation continues and escalates, international funds, which constitute the bulk of the investment budget, will probably not be disbursed. This reality has already brought painful moments that affect both the civil and political rights and economic, social and cultural rights. And the real victims are the vulnerable, that is to say, over 70% of the population living under the “dictatorship” of extreme poverty.

Haitian human rights organizations renew once again their call for vigilance and civic responsibility in order to avoid the worst in the country. They want the protagonists to exceed their clan interests and to prioritize the interests of the Haitian nation. This will also prevent the strengthening of the UN occupation and the country’s dependence, both economically and politically, to other countries in the region.

Haitian human rights organizations signatories of this note urge executive authorities to end all political acts which would aim to obstruct the exercise of democratic rights of resistance (illegal arrests, arbitrary detentions, tax repressions intimidation and other …).

Haitian justice, should not be a repressive instrument of the executive.   Otherwise, it may stir up anger of the population and cause all sorts of confrontations in the country.

Haitian human rights organizations signatories of this memorandum recommend that the authorities of the three branches of government sit together with the socio-political actors in the shortest possible time, to find a consensual solution to the current political crisis. They solemnly ask citizens in general and Democrats in particular to double vigilance to prevent the country any form of anti-democratic governance and to work towards safeguarding democratic achievements from 1986.

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