A compilation of extracts featuring child-rights issues from the reports submitted to the second Universal Periodic Review. There are extracts from the 'National Report', the 'Compilation of UN Information' and the 'Summary of Stakeholder's Information'. Also included is the final report and the list of accepted and rejected recommendations.
Haiti - Twenty-sixth session - 2016
7 November 2016 - 09:00 - 12:30
III. Progress made on the implementation of the recommendations of the universal periodic review
A. Strengthening of the National Police
10. The curriculum of the National Police School has been reinforced with training modules on human rights. Police have also been given training courses on the accommodation that should be provided in police stations for women victims of violence, with the help of organizations working in the field of violence against women. To date, about 450 women police officers have been given such training. A module and a training guide for the National Police on child protection have also been produced, with assistance from the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).
B. Justice reform
3. Action against prolonged pretrial detention
19. Between 2014 and 2015, under an operation called “Punches” launched by the Ministry of Justice and Social Protection, the files of 427 persons held in prolonged pretrial detention in Ouest Department were identified. Of those 427, 119 received a correctional penalty and 52 were released. The operation also enabled 40 minors to stand trial, with legal support provided by legal aid bureaux. This resulted in the release of 2 minors and the placement of 38 others with foster families. The remaining 308 files were taken on by the Criminal Division of the Port-au-Prince Court of First Instance.
21. In April 2016, in view of the fact that prolonged detention was still very common, the Ministry of Justice and Social Protection requested judges to undertake regular visits to detention centres. A number of criminal hearings were thus held in the civilian prison of Port-au-Prince, in the women’s prison in Pétion-Ville and in the Re-education Centre for Minors in Conflict with the Law in Delmas 33 (Ouest Department). These hearings led to the release of 441 male detainees from Port-au-Prince prison, 54 female detainees from Pétion-Ville prison and 11 minors from the Re-education Centre. In addition, 39 detainees were released on 20 June 2016. In April and May 2016, 506 persons were released.
4. Improved access to justice
25. In 2011, the Government resumed its legal aid programme for disadvantaged detainees. The legal aid bureaux were established under that programme to help litigants who could not afford the services of a lawyer. Between December 2012 and October 2013, the bureaux helped 6,056 people, including 863 women. In addition, a bill on the establishment of a national legal aid system is under discussion in Parliament. Funding for a legal aid bureau for minors has been provided in the jurisdiction of Les Cayes, Sud Department.
26. The Legal Service Training College continues to provide training for judges. Over the 2011/12 academic year, 20 judges received initial training and are already serving. In the 2012/13 academic year, 60 judges were trained and joined the judicial system. Each intake of judges attends a training course in France and in Haiti. Serving judges receive inservice training. Thus 18 judges have received training for trainers in November 2012 and about 95 others received training in juvenile justice in 2013. Between 2014 and 2016, 67 pupil judges, including 33 women, attended the college and will graduate in December 2016. A plan to monitor training was set up in 2014, in partnership with the High Council of the Judiciary. In addition, a training guide on child protection was prepared by the Legal Service Training College in 2015, in collaboration with UNICEF.
D. Conditions of detention
33. The Re-education Centre for Minors in Conflict with the Law was built and inaugurated at Delmas 33 in May 2011. The centre provides psychosocial monitoring and academic education for the children. A similar institution, the Haitian Centre for the Reintegration of Minors in Conflict with the Law, is provided with infrastructure and staff in Cabaret but lacks the financial resources to operate. A similar project in Jacmel is awaiting funding.
34. In another development, the prison administration of the Fort-Liberté prison in Nord-Est Department redeveloped the building so that, since 6 May 2013, children have been kept separate from adults.
E. Ratification of international instruments
40. In addition, Haiti deposited the instrument of ratification of the Convention on Protection of Children and Cooperation in respect of Intercountry Adoption in December 2013. This Convention came into force in Haiti on 1 April 2014. Lastly, on 9 September 2014, Haiti ratified the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography.
42. Approval for the ratification of the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict was given by the National Assembly at a meeting held on Friday, 30 April 2014. The instrument of ratification of this Protocol was deposited, although, because of a technical problem, it could not be recorded by the depositary. The Government will ensure that this ratification is completed in 2016.
I. Public policy
56. With regard to education, the Strategic Development Plan envisages the provision of early childhood education to eradicate illiteracy and action to promote gender equality in education and to improve higher education and vocational and technical training
K. Right to education
71. Haiti has implemented programmes to ensure that disadvantaged children, particularly in rural areas, enrol in school and receive a free education, mainly at the primary and middle-school level. For example, the Universal, Free and Compulsory Education Programme, introduced by the Government in 2011 for primary education, promotes access to education for an increasing number of school-age children. The National School Cafeteria Programme has been strengthened, and each child enrolled in the Programme is entitled to one hot meal a day, with a view to reducing dropout rates. A free school transport system has been put in place to make it easier for children to get to school. Similarly, a bill on the National Education Fund was submitted to the legislature and passed by the Chamber of Deputies in August 2012.
72. According to figures from the Ministry of National Education and Vocational Training, 1,081,412 children in the country’s 10 departments benefited from the Programme in the 2011/12 school year. The number rose to 1,465,974 (586,499 in the capital and 879,475 in rural areas) in the 2013/14 school year. In addition, school supplies were distributed to 295,000 students and 7,853 teachers in more than 1,389 schools.
73. The “Kore etidyan” programme was set up in December 2012 to provide assistance to students at the University of Haiti. It consists of a grant, in the form of a scholarship, of G 18,000 for the academic year. As of January 2014, 22,000 students had benefited from this programme. The number of students who have benefited to date has risen to 31,408.
74. In the 2013/14 school census, the Ministry registered a net preschool enrolment rate of 62 per cent, with 78.6 per cent of boys enrolled and 85.1 per cent of girls. Of 755,388 children aged 3 to 5 years, 468,088 are enrolled in preschool. The number of preschools in the country has risen to 10,835.
75. The same census showed that there were 17,036 establishments offering the first, second and third cycles of basic education: 16,036 offer the first two, while 4,214, or 24.7 per cent, offer a complete, nine-year basic education. Of the children attending the first and second cycles of basic education, 51 per cent are boys and 49 per cent are girls. The rate of attendance in the third cycle of basic education is increasing, with 75.6 per cent of boys enrolled and 75.4 per cent of girls.
76. Secondary education is provided in 4,845 schools attended by 663,061 students, of whom 46 per cent are girls and 54 per cent boys. Of these schools, 5 per cent, attended by 29 per cent of students, are public.
77. The Ministry’s Educational Adaptation and Social Support Commission, which is responsible for the inclusion of children and young people with disabilities in the school environment, is being strengthened through a partnership with the Office of the Secretary of State for the Integration of Persons with Disabilities and the French Higher National Training and Research Institute for the Education of Young Persons with Disabilities and Special Educational Needs (INS HEA).
78. In August and September 2015, under a project to strengthen the legal framework for persons with disabilities in Haiti conducted in partnership with the Organization of American States (OAS), the Office of the Secretary of State, together with the Educational Adaptation and Social Support Commission, held training seminars for education personnel from Ouest Department to enable them to understand different impairments and provide proper support to students with disabilities. These seminars, held over several weeks, successfully raised awareness of disability and inclusive education among 180 education personnel, in accordance with the right to education of persons with disabilities.
79. These training and awareness-raising seminars on inclusive approaches and special education form part of a comprehensive teacher-training programme set up by the Ministry and the Office of the Secretary of State with the technical support of INS HEA.
M. Trafficking in persons
87. To combat child trafficking, the new Adoption Reform Act of 29 August 2013 (Official Gazette No. 213 of 15 November 2013) provides that persons wishing to adopt must use accredited adoption agencies. Pursuant to the Act, these are specialized foreign or national adoption agencies that have been accredited in the country in which they are based and authorized to operate in Haiti. Accredited agencies help combat child trafficking, as they are involved both in the process of adoption with the prospective adoptive parents and in the monitoring of a child’s development and integration into his or her adoptive family and environment over a period of eight years.
88. On 25 July 2012, a memorandum of understanding was signed by the Social Welfare and Research Institute, which is responsible for child protection, and the Directorate of Immigration and Emigration, acting on behalf of the Ministry of the Interior and Regional and Local Governments, to better monitor the movement of minors to foreign countries. Pursuant to the memorandum, prior authorization from the Institute is required for children to exit the country. The Directorate will assist the Institute in monitoring all the documents permitting the entry, exit or transit of all children and their escorts by checking their validity and ensuring that any minors not accompanied by one or both of their biological parents hold a departure authorization issued by the Institute. All border areas are already monitored by officials from the Institute or inspectors from the Directorate.
89. The Brigade for the Protection of Minors has been strengthened and has thus helped to enhance border controls in order to prevent illegal movements and the risk of child trafficking. These operations are carried out in cooperation with the Institute.
O. Children’s rights
1. Health coverage
99. Progress has been made by the Ministry of Public Health and Population thanks to the Extended Vaccination Programme, the objective of which is to achieve universal child immunization. Other programmes have also helped improve health coverage for Haitian children. In 2013, immunization rates stood at 72.7 per cent for tuberculosis (BCG vaccination), 75.8 per cent for measles and rubella, 87.5 per cent for polio-3, 85.3 per cent for diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis (DTP)1 and 80.6 per cent for DTP3. In addition, 43 Cuban units have been set up in eight district hospitals and 18 health centres to improve health coverage. Efforts have been enhanced through the reconstruction and restoration of 38 institutions affected by the 2010 earthquake, of which 28 suffered cracks, 8 partially collapsed and 2 were completely destroyed.
100. Between 2011 and 2015, health facilities were built or restored. About 6 hospitals, 39 health centres, 9 basic emergency obstetric and neonatal care centres, 2 blood transfusion centres, 43 acute diarrhoea treatment centres and 12 specialized health-care institutions were built.
101. A total of 56 health facilities are under construction, including 6 hospitals, 36 health centres, 3 basic emergency obstetric and neonatal care centres and 11 specialized institutions. Moreover, 97 other health facilities have been restored, including 16 hospitals, 56 health centres and clinics, 7 blood transfusion centres and 14 specialized institutions. The National Ambulance Centre has also been established. The Centre has 62 road ambulances, 2 water ambulances and 1 helicopter ambulance. Under its health programmes, the Government has trained 3,938 multi-skilled community health workers.
2. Situation of street children
102. There are large numbers of street children in Haiti. To reduce these numbers, a transit centre with capacity for 400 children in vulnerable situations was inaugurated on 12 November 2013 in Ouest Department. The centre, which houses a primary school, a vocational school and sports and medical facilities, will provide children with education and psychosocial support.
103. An increase in the number of teachers has helped enhance care arrangements for street children under the Universal, Free and Compulsory Education Programme. A total of 597 street children from the four centres covered by the social integration programme have been cared for in three of the country’s departments.
3. Efforts to combat child domestic labour and the widespread economic exploitation of children
104. Under the aegis of the Social Welfare and Research Institute, child protection working groups have been formed to foster cooperation between the State and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs).
105. A free emergency call centre has been set up for the public to report cases of child abuse, neglect and trafficking. A foster family programme and a transit centre have also been established to tackle, in particular, child domestic labour, abuse and exploitation. All children’s homes have been listed in a directory and categorized as red, yellow or green, depending on the standard of the services provided. The homes are systematically inspected. There is a moratorium on the establishment of new children’s homes.
106. The Adoption Act was published in the Official Gazette on 15 November 2013. The Act is in line with the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Cooperation in respect of Intercountry Adoption. The decree on the ratification of the Convention was adopted on 27 July 2012 and the instrument of ratification was deposited at The Hague in December 2013.
107. In accordance with International Labour Organization (ILO) Conventions Nos. 138 and 182, a tripartite committee has been set up to monitor their implementation. A list of jobs considered hazardous in Haiti has already been submitted to the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labour.
108. A study conducted by the Ministry and by the Social Welfare and Research Institute in 2014 identified 400,000 children aged 5 to 18 years, of whom 207,000 were employed in domestic service in unacceptable conditions.
4. Submission of periodic reports to the Committee on the Rights of the Child
109. The initial report on the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child was submitted pursuant to article 44 of the Convention. Once approved, the text was transmitted to the Committee on the Rights of the Child in Geneva by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Worship in November 2013. The consideration of the combined second and third periodic reports of Haiti took place on 8 January 2016.
R. Civil registration and national identification
126. The process of modernizing the civil registry in Haiti was launched on 14 November 2012. To that end, the National Registry Office has already taken steps to improve the process of issuing national identity cards and set itself the aim of ensuring that citizens are registered at birth. It has also launched a programme, in partnership with the Ministry of National Education and Vocational Training and the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labour, to ensure that schoolchildren are provided with identity cards. Other measures have been adopted, including the appointment of clerks in the sections communales and the issuance of guidance documents to registrars. Moreover, in May 2013, the National Archives set up a mechanism to make it easier for members of the Haitian diaspora to obtain civil status records.
I. Background and framework
A. Scope of international obligations
1. In 2016, the Committee on the Rights of the Child recommended that Haiti ratify OP-CRC-IC, OP-CAT, ICCPR-OP 2, ICPPED and ICRMW.10 In 2016, the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women encouraged Haiti to ratify OP-CEDAW, CAT, ICRMW and ICPPED.
3. The Committee on the Rights of the Child and the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women recommended that Haiti ratify ILO Convention No. 189.
4. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) encouraged Haiti to ratify the Convention against Discrimination in Education.
B. Constitutional and legislative framework
11. The Committee on the Rights of the Child recommended that Haiti expedite the adoption of the Child Protection Code.
C. Institutional and human rights infrastructure and policy measures
Status of national human rights institutions
16. The Committee on the Rights of the Child recommended that Haiti strengthen institutional capacities to investigate and prosecute all allegations of corruption and mismanagement of funds.
III. Implementation of international human rights obligations, taking into account applicable international humanitarian law
1. Equality and non-discrimination
21. The same Committee noted that women and girls continued to be subjected to widespread gender discrimination and mistreatment and that pervasive gender-based violence represented the most severe manifestation of discrimination in the country. It recommended that Haiti put in place a strategy to combat discriminatory stereotypes; and design and implement, in collaboration with civil society, awareness-raising programmes to enhance non-stereotypical portrayals of women
22. The same Committee was concerned that women and girls with disabilities continued to face severe stigmatization and were often subjected to violence and sexual exploitation.
2. Right to life, liberty and security of the person
27. The country team had concerns about conditions of detention, including prison overcrowding, malnutrition and the lack of adequate health care. The Secretary-General noted that only 3 of the 17 detention facilities under the jurisdiction of the Penitentiary Administration offered slightly more than 1 square metre per detainee, and that detainees spent more than 23 hours a day confined to their cell. The Human Rights Section noted that this situation was caused by, inter alia, failings in the justice system and the large number of unlawful arrests. The Section noted that the conditions in which detainees were held in police stations were just as gruelling. The Human Rights Committee was concerned about the lack of separation between remand and convicted prisoners. The Committee on the Rights of the Child was concerned that there was only one detention facility where children and adults were separated. The country team stated that the practice of transferring children to the central prison as soon as they reached the age of 16 constituted a major problem.
29. The Human Rights Committee was concerned about the disproportionate use of pretrial detention, with a direct impact on prison overcrowding, which amounted to inhuman and degrading treatment. Haiti should ensure that all detainees enjoyed the right to habeas corpus and urgently address the situation of persons who had been in pretrial detention for years. The Committee on the Rights of the Child was concerned that children were subjected to lengthy pretrial detention. The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women raised similar concerns with regard to women. The Human Rights Section noted that, in the vast majority of documented cases of pretrial detention, the failure of the responsible judge to carry out a judicial review was unlawful, and that 74 per cent of the detainees awaiting trial at the National Penitentiary in February 2014 were being held illegally. The Independent Expert on Haiti considered that resolving the problem of extended pretrial detention called for a more robust response to corruption in the judiciary; better time management for judges and prosecutors; more proactive application of the Code of Criminal Procedure; and a revision of the Penal Code. The Human Rights Section noted that understanding the issue of pretrial detention would not suffice to resolve problems related to deprivation of liberty.
31. The Committee on the Rights of the Child was concerned about gender-based violence against women and girls, particularly in internally displaced persons camps.
33. The Committee on the Rights of the Child was concerned about parents often refusing to bring cases of sexual exploitation and abuse of children to justice and accepting compensation by the perpetrator instead.
34. The same Committee was concerned about the vulnerability of children of single mothers to sexual abuse as they were left with strangers during working hours, particularly in internally displaced persons camps. It urged Haiti to ensure that working mothers could leave their children in adequate day-care centres.
36. The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women was concerned about reports of women and girls who were compelled by circumstances to enter into “transactional sex”, as well as cases of sexual exploitation by MINUSTAH personnel. It called on Haiti to put in place a legal framework, protect women and girls vulnerable to sexual exploitation by MINUSTAH personnel and provide them with access to justice.
37. The Committee on the Rights of the Child was concerned that corporal punishment was still extensively practised in all settings, and that the law prohibiting corporal punishment lacked clarity and was insufficiently implemented.
39. The Secretary-General stated that the practice of placing children in domestic service (restaveks) was widespread. The International Labour Organization (ILO) noted that one child in 10 was in domestic service.The Committee on the Rights of the Child noted with concern that many child domestic workers were forced to work in slavery-like conditions, subjected to physical, emotional and sexual abuse. It recommended that Haiti criminalize the practice of placing children in domestic service. The Human Rights Committee recommended that Haiti strengthen the Minors’ Protection Unit.
40. The Committee on the Rights of the Child was concerned about the increasing number of children in street situations, further exacerbated by the 2010 earthquake.
42. The same Committee was concerned that trafficking in women and girls, especially at the border with a third country, was ongoing, and that cases of human trafficking were reportedly often not investigated by the police. The Committee on the Rights of the Child recommended that Haiti implement victim protection policies introduced by law and ensure that child victims were always treated as such.
3. Administration of justice, including impunity, and the rule of law
45. The Committee on the Rights of the Child was concerned that juvenile courts existed only in Port-au-Prince and Cap-Haïtien and that the number of juvenile judges was still insufficient. It was furthermore concerned that the age for determining whether juvenile or adult law was applied was the age at which the child was judged; and that, while Haiti indicated that 13 was the age of criminal responsibility in practice, that was not explicitly stipulated. It urged Haiti to specify the age of criminal responsibility of 13 years or more in law.
D. Right to marriage and family life
48. The Committee on the Rights of the Child noted that, according to the Civil Code, girls could be married as of age 15 and boys as of age 18 and recommended that Haiti establish a minimum age of marriage of 18 for both girls and boys.
49. UNHCR indicated that the 2014 Law on Paternity, Maternity, and Filiation would help closing gaps in birth and civil registration, including by ensuring that children born outside of marriage could be registered. The Committee on the Rights of the Child noted that the law excluded children born outside wedlock before 2014. Considering that there were between 2.5 and 3 million undocumented persons in Haiti, UNHCR recommended that the Government adopt improved civil registration procedures aligned with the draft Nationality Law; and ensure that civil registration was free of charge and accessible to all. The Special Rapporteur on internally displaced persons recommended that the Government launch a countrywide registration process aimed at ensuring that all internally displaced persons had access to personal documentation. UNHCR recommended that the Government transfer the draft Nationality Law to Parliament for adoption.
50. The Committee on the Rights of the Child noted that a high number of children were in alternative care institutions despite having one or both parents alive; and that the majority of alternative care institutions were privately run and profit motivated.
51. The same Committee welcomed enactment of the law reforming adoption in 2013.
G. Right to social security and to an adequate standard of living
59. The Committee on the Rights of the Child was concerned about widespread, extreme and increasing family poverty. The Independent Expert on Haiti recalled that 60 per cent of Haitians earned less than US$ 1 per day; 74 per cent of families lived in slums; 60 per cent of the population lacked access to basic health care; and almost half of the country’s children did not attend school.
61. The Committee on the Rights of the Child noted that food insecurity and malnutrition remained prevalent. The World Food Programme observed that Haiti had experienced one of the worst droughts in recent decades and that, as a consequence, 1.5 million people were severely food insecure while 3.6 million were food insecure. The Independent Expert on Haiti encouraged donor countries to support agricultural revitalization activities through programmes facilitating the marketing of food products.
62. The Committee on the Rights of the Child was concerned about the poor housing situation, further exacerbated by the 2010 earthquake. The Special Rapporteur on internally displaced persons observed that, before the earthquake, Haiti had already been witnessing a lack of urban planning and of a cadastre, inequalities, corruption and weaknesses in the rule of law, and rapid growth in the urban population. National authorities should regulate the quality of individually constructed houses and ensure that they met minimum requirements.
65. The Secretary-General pointed out that Haiti continued to be vulnerable to drought. The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs indicated that 42 per cent of Haitians did not have access to clean water and 72 per cent lacked adequate sanitation. The Committee on the Rights of the Child recommended that Haiti prioritize provision of drinking water and sanitation services in reconstruction activities and ensure that the population had access to treated drinking water.
H. Right to health
66. The Committee on the Rights of the Child was concerned that more than half of the population did not have access to basic health care and urged Haiti to increase the portion of its annual budget devoted to health to at least 15 per cent.
68. The Committee on the Rights of the Child urged Haiti to prevent the spread of communicable diseases, focusing on providing adequate sanitation and access to clean drinking water.150 The Special Rapporteur on internally displaced persons stated that poor access to water and sanitation directly impacted health conditions in camps. The Independent Expert on Haiti stated that the cholera epidemic continued to plague the country and that efforts to eradicate it had been insufficient. He recommended that a truth, justice and redress commission be established for the victims of cholera. Several special procedure mandate holders had an exchange of communications with the Secretary General regarding the lack of access to remedy and compensation for the victims of the cholera epidemic, and the purported responsibility of the United Nations.
69. The Committee on the Rights of the Child recommended that Haiti reduce sources of air pollution and provide households with stoves with more efficient combustion.
71. In the view of the country team, the fight against HIV/AIDS remained a major challenge because persons under 18 years of age had limited access to sexual and reproductive health services unless they were accompanied by a parent or guardian. The Committee on the Rights of the Child recommended that Haiti ensure that sexual and reproductive health education was part of the mandatory school curriculum.
I. Right to education
72. UNESCO stated that the number of children who had never been to school fell by over half between 2000 and 2012. However, the country team noted that only 68 per cent of children finished primary education, while only 33 per cent finished basic education. The Independent Expert on Haiti indicated that illiteracy was prevalent among nearly half of the adult population. The Committee on the Rights of the Child noted that educational infrastructure was poor, few teachers were qualified and salaries were not regularly paid. It added that the education sector was dominated by private schools, often not officially authorized or monitored.
73. UNESCO recommended that Haiti prioritize achieving universal, free and compulsory primary education and take additional steps toward an inclusive and quality education. The Committee on the Rights of the Child recommended that Haiti establish a regulatory framework for private schools. The Independent Expert recommended the adoption of urgent measures to eradicate illiteracy within a reasonably short time.
74. The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women was concerned about the low enrolment and dramatic decline in completion rates of girls at the secondary school level.
J. Persons with disabilities
76. The Committee on the Rights of the Child was concerned about the limited access to education for children with disabilities and the insufficient measures to enable inclusive education.
K. Migrants, refugees and asylum seekers
80. The Committee on the Rights of the Child was concerned that Haiti provided insufficient support to undocumented families of Haitian descent expelled from a third country. It recommended that Haiti immediately provide them with identity documentation.
81. The same Committee was concerned about the extremely difficult living conditions in makeshift camps of Haitians, among stateless families of Haitian descent and children born abroad to undocumented Haitian migrants, as well as unaccompanied children expelled from a third country. The Independent Expert on Haiti called on the authorities to take urgent steps to ensure that persons entering from a neighbouring country had access to health care, education and sanitation, food and drinking water.
L. Internally displaced persons
86. The Committee on the Rights of the Child recommended that Haiti carry out a countrywide profiling and needs-based assessment of internally displaced persons.
M. Right to development, and environmental issues
87. The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women recalled the vulnerability of Haiti to environmental and climate change and natural disasters. The Committee on the Rights of the Child recommended that Haiti discontinue deforestation to reduce the impact of the climate change consequences.
I. Information provided by the national human rights institution of the State under review accredited in full compliance with the Paris Principles
3. The widespread placement of children in domestic service affected children from poor families in particular. According to the Office, the State’s actions were regrettably insufficient to address the exploitation of children in Haiti.
8. The Office reported that distressingly, a number of courts did not have juvenile judges and that some minors were tried in adult courts.
9. The Office considered that the Paternity, Maternity and Filiation Act enshrined the principle of equality among legitimate, natural, adopted and other children. However, all the other discriminatory provisions of the Civil Code still needed to be revised.
10. There were no provisions to provide for the care of children whose parents were in prison.
II. Information provided by other stakeholders
A. Background and framework
1. Scope of international obligations
16. JS3 recommended the ratification of the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict.
B. Cooperation with human rights mechanisms
24. Bearing in mind the recommendations received during the first universal periodic review,Comite pour la Paix et le Développement, JS3 and JS6 recommended that the Government should extend an invitation to the special procedures, in particular the Special Rapporteur on children’s rights.
C. Implementation of international human rights obligations, taking into account applicable international humanitarian law
1. Equality and non-discrimination
29. In line with the recommendations made during the first cycle of the universal periodic review, the Istituto Internazionale Maria Ausiliatrice recommended that the Government should eliminate all forms of discrimination against children with disabilities, street children and “restavèk” children (children in domestic service).
2. Right to life, liberty and security of the person
35. JS17 noted that children detainees were placed in the same locations as adults, particularly minor girls. Moreover, 85 per cent of minors in detention had never been seen by a judge. JS17 recommended that Haiti give priority to cases of minors in detention and guarantee their separation from adults. JS6 recommended the establishment of a reintegration centre for minors in conflict with the law.
40. JS16 noted that instability in the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake had exacerbated vulnerabilities of women and LGBT persons and incited further sexual violence. JS1 stated that the Government had failed to prevent and investigate sexual and gender-based violence against women and girls and that the failure to bring perpetrators to justice implicitly condoned such violence.
44. JS13 considered that women and girls were at greater risk of sexual abuse and exploitation because of the presence of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH). JS13 said that allegations of sexual exploitation against MINUSTAH staff often involved transactional relationships that developed into sexual abuse. In other cases, victims were assaulted or raped. There was also the problem of the lack of support for the children of MINUSTAH staff.JS13 considered that the Government had failed both to request contingents to prosecute their military personnel who committed sexual abuse and to support the victims so that proceedings would be brought against those responsible in their countries of origin.
46. The Istituto Internazionale Maria Ausiliatrice noted that, despite the adoption of a law in 2001 prohibiting the use of corporal punishment against children, such punishment was commonplace in schools and families. Comite pour la Paix et le Développement recommended that the Government should ensure that the law was implemented and disseminated.
47. According to Lumos, violence against children was endemic. Lumos also noted that evidence showed systematic abuse of children in some institutions and that perpetrators were seldom arrested or prosecuted. Lumos considered that children in institutions, internally displaced children and children in domesticity were at high risk of being victims of violence and trafficking. JS3 pointed out that children in domestic service were subjected to all kinds of physical and psychological abuse without receiving any assistance from the authorities.
48. Lumos noted the enactment, in 2014, of Law CL/2014-0010, prohibiting all forms of human trafficking. According to independent sources, no convictions had taken place until 2015. Lumos recommended that the Government improve the enforcement of Law CL/2014-0010 and strengthen the National Committee against Trafficking in Persons; finance programmes to address trafficking in children; ensure the prosecution of traffickers; and develop standard operating procedures for whenever a child within an institution has been victim of abuse.
4. Right to marriage and family life
52. The Istituto Internazionale Maria Ausiliatrice noted that many families remained reluctant to register their children. Several factors were responsible: registration was not always free; the nearest civil registry office was not always nearby; and little importance was attached to registration. JS17 recommended that the Government ensure that all Civil Status Offices issue birth certificates free of charge; and increase the number of Offices in rural and remote areas.
54. Lumos noted that institutionalisation of children was widespread, though 80 per cent of children in orphanages have one or two living parents. Less than 15 per cent of the orphanages in Haiti were registered. Lumos recommended that the Government work with donors to shift resources to community-based services that strengthen the abilities of families and communities to care adequately for their children; and develop an inspection system so that no one can establish an institution without accreditation.
8. Right to health
70. JS14 said that sexual and reproductive health services discriminated against women and girls with disabilities. JS14 recommended that Haiti should develop an antenatal, delivery and postnatal follow-up programme for women with disabilities and make sexual and reproductive health programmes accessible to them
9. Right to education
73. Several organizations expressed their concern over the poor situation of the education system. JS17 recalled that during its first UPR review, Haiti accepted six recommendations related to education and considered them as already implemented. Nonetheless, a significant number of children still did not have access to education.
74. JS2 recognized that the Government had adopted policies to improve public education, such as the provision free of charge of the six years of primary education, but found it regrettable that the policies were not implemented in practice. JS2 added that the number of solely profit-oriented private schools had risen without any oversight, with no framework or regulations and with untrained teachers and inadequate infrastructure. Of the schools in the country, 85 per cent were private and were attended by 75 per cent of students. Around 30 per cent of those schools received government funding. There was, however, insufficient monitoring of the use of such funding, which was thus liable to be embezzled. As a result, it was more difficult for disadvantaged groups to access education.
75. JS2 recommended that the Government should direct resources towards developing a public education system, increase education funding, adopt a comprehensive law on education and secure the approval of the parliament for the National Pact for Quality Education.
76. JS6 found it regrettable that, six years after the 2010 earthquake, the State University of Haiti had still not been rebuilt. JS9 objected to the fact that the only State university was being weakened by a huge increase in the number of private universities that did not conform to any standards.132
77. JS10 pointed out that at least 52 per cent of women were illiterate. The Istituto Internazionale Maria Ausiliatrice recommended that the State should guarantee the right of girls to education by conducting campaigns to raise awareness of the importance of attending school.
78. JS14 reported that persons with disabilities were excluded from the education system. Special education was prioritized over inclusive education. JS14 recommended that the Government should include a requirement of accessibility for persons with disabilities in the accreditation process for schools, vocational training centres and universities and guarantee the right of children with disabilities to inclusive education.
The following recommendations enjoy the support of Haiti:
115.4 Carry out efforts to ratify the Optional Protocols to the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (El Salvador);
115.5 Speed up the process of ratification of the Convention against Torture and the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict (Georgia);
115.28 Expedite the adoption of the Child Protection Code (Timor-Leste);
115.29 Adopt a Child Protection Code that includes physical, emotional and sexual abuse (Portugal);
115.34 Strengthen the Minor’s Protection Unit (Timor-Leste);
115.35 Continue its efforts in order to provide full access to justice, health services and education for all (Holy See);
115.62 Put in place a strategy to combat discriminatory stereotypes and implement, in collaboration with civil society, awareness-raising programs to enhance non-stereotypical portrayals of women and girls (Portugal);
115.64 Remove from its legislation and practice all civil and criminal provisions which constitute discrimination towards women and girls (Paraguay);
115.70 Implement programmes for human rights education and awareness-raising against discrimination, as well as for the promotion of the rights of women, children and other vulnerable groups (Italy);
115.73 Improve detention conditions of detainees, in particular minors (Algeria);
115.74 Reduce significantly the periods of pre-trial detention and ensure that minors have separate spaces in the detention centres and prisons (Spain);
115.80 Develop and put in place a strategy to improve, as soon as possible, detention conditions of minors separated from adults, and reduce the duration of police custody and pre-trial detention (Canada);
115.83 Take additional measures to address all forms of violence against women and girls, including women and girls with disabilities (Georgia);
115.85 Amend all legislative provisions discriminatory against women and introduce a comprehensive law preventing and combating violence against women and girls, including a definition of rape in line with international standards and the criminalization of marital rape (Czechia);
115.88 Continue strengthening the participation of women, and especially, ensure the adoption of the framework legislation on prevention, sanction and elimination of violence against women and girls (Plurinational State of Bolivia);
115.89 Remedy violence against women and girls, including gender and sexual violence, through the implementation of legislation that prevents and criminalises such acts (Canada);
115.92 Continue its efforts in implementing the Strategy of combating violence against women and girls 2012-2016 (Sudan);
115.93 Deepen measures aimed at guaranteeing the fight against impunity of perpetrators of acts of gender violence and sexual abuse, in particular against women and girls living in the IDP camps (Argentina);
115.95 Establish a legal framework to better protect women and girls from sexual exploitation and forced marriage (Sierra Leone);
115.96 Raise awareness on the responsibility to investigate cases of human rights violations against women and girls in the IDP camps (Argentina);
115.97 Consider adopting further measures to enhance legal protection to vulnerable groups, including on the issues of gender violence and child labour (Brazil);
115.98 Continue giving special priority to the care of street children (United Republic of Tanzania); 115.99 Continue efforts to combat child domestic labour (United Republic of Tanzania);
115.100 Ensure the systematic enforcement of laws eliminating child labour, including the establishment of a clear minimum age for domestic work (Austria);
115.101 Take further steps to combat child domestic labour and child abuse (Armenia);
115.102 Address the question of children in domesticity by strengthening the measures already adopted to prevent, combat and eliminate this problematic in line with the international commitments taken by the country (Canada);
115.103 Adopt a law against the placement of children in domesticity that are victims of several abuses (Congo);
115.104 Continue the actions to protect street children and provide them with food, health, education and housing basic services (Ecuador);
115.105 Adopt a holistic, long-term approach that involves phasing out “restaveks”; incorporating international best practices which could include increased inspections, sensitisation of parents, children and employers, and guaranteed schooling for child domestics (Jamaica);
115.106 Take further appropriate actions to eliminate child labour, trafficking and protect street children (Mongolia);
115.107 Eradicate domestic child labour and economic exploitation of children (Panama);
115.108 Make decisive efforts to criminalize the practice of placing children in domestic service (Slovenia);
115.109 Take strong measures to prevent child labour and make sure that children who are employed as domestic help, the so-called “restaveks”, can go to school (Norway);
115.110 Fully implement the Trafficking in Persons Act 2014 and ensure the continued work of the Committee against Trafficking in Persons (Bahamas);
115.111 Vigorously investigate, prosecute, convict and sentence traffickers, including those responsible for domestic servitude and child sex trafficking (United States of America);
115.120 Take steps to strengthen and reform the judiciary to reduce the numbers of pre-trial detainees, particularly minors (Ireland);
115.131 Improve the documentation process for citizens, which would help actual and effective realization of children’s rights in adoption processes (Spain);
115.133 Promote a full registration of children so as to confront the situation of food insecurity and malnutrition (Holy See);
115.134 Establish a minimum age of marriage of 18 for both girls and boys (Botswana);
115.146 Continue to take measures with a strong social impact to improve the economic situation of the Haitian people, by focusing on vulnerable groups, particularly women, children and persons with disabilities (Senegal);
115.153 Further develop public health policy, with a focus on guaranteeing access to health for children and women (Cyprus);
115.154 Continue to strengthen its public healthcare system and improve access to healthcare services, particularly for women, children and older persons (Singapore);
115.156 Proceed with international cooperation and with the United Nations specialised agencies to enhance the government efforts in providing free education and eliminate illiteracy (Syrian Arab Republic);
115.158 Continue strengthening its education policy, focusing on the most disadvantaged sectors (Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela);
115.159 Take necessary measures to put into practice free education for the first six years of primary education and eradicate all discrimination, including class, gender and between rural and urban populations in the education system (Austria);
115.160 Continue to adopt programmes that will ensure disadvantaged children, particularly in rural areas, enjoy the right to education (Nigeria);
115.161 Take additional steps to improve accessibility to education, including for children in domestic service and children with disabilities and ensure inclusive and quality education for all (Slovenia);
115.162 Continue to take steps to prevent disruption to education faced by children affected by Hurricane Matthew, and implement policies and programmes that promote access to education (Singapore);
115.168 Provide food, water and health support not only in the direct aftermath of natural disasters, but also in the reconstruction phase, with special consideration given for women and children and other particularly vulnerable groups (Japan);
115.95 Establish a legal framework to better protect women and girls from sexual exploitation and forced marriage (Sierra Leone);
The following recommendations have been noted by Haiti:
116.3 Step up efforts to systematically address exploitation of and violence against children, including by introducing and effectively implementing legislation criminalizing the practice of placing children from poor families in domestic services (so-called restavek) (Czechia);
116.4 Speed up the procedure to adopt the law against the high rate of pregnancy among adolescent girls (Congo);
The recommendations below did not enjoy the support of Haiti and the State party considered them as already implemented:
117.29 Raise the minimum age of marriage to 18 for both boys and girls (Sierra Leone);
117.30 Redouble its efforts to eliminate discrimination against women, including by establishing the minimum marriage age of 18 for both men and women (Republic of Korea);