Haiti’s Human Rights Organizations Say No to Dictatorship | Les Organisations Haïtiennes de Défense des Droits Humains disent non à la gouvernance par décret

martelly-lamothe

Editorial comment

Haiti‬’s Judiciary used to be directly elected; now it is appointed by the president and completely servile to him. Local executives, such as mayors, governors, etc., have been replaced by presidentially appointed interim executives; many of these new people have criminal records, and some are actively wanted for crimes as serious as arson and murder. The Haitian Senate has operated for two years with barely a quorum; it will become nonfunctional on January 12, 2015, when only 10 senators will be left. Simultaneously, the terms of all the members of the House of Representatives will expire. Coincidentally January 12, 2015 will be the fifth anniversary of the earthquake. In Haiti, such anniversaries have become a time for stocktaking.

The dissolution of Haiti’s Legislature from neglect and dismantlement of the Judiciary and local governance are all the realization of a vision that ‪‎Clinton‬ unsuccessfully tried to foist on the country as a series of constitutional changes in 2011. I wrote about this while it was happening. Nobody paid much attention. The Executive branch has gone ahead and pushed these changes on the country anyway, as a series of decrees.

Bill and Hillary Clinton are about the worst thing that could happen to a country, and I’m not thinking of only Haiti.

What will happen in January is up to us. Will Haiti be declared a failed state and turned over to the United Nations for an experiment in state building? Will ‎Michel Martelly‬ be formally declared president for life? Will Michel Martelly and ‪‎Laurent Lamothe‬ continue as if nothing is amiss and run the country by decree as a pair of dictators? Or will we rise to the challenge once again and make our own way?

Dady Chery, Editor
Haiti Chery

Paramilitary police patrol Port-au-Prince, Haiti in April 2011, after the announcement of the elections that brought Michel Martelly to the presidency.

Paramilitary police patrol Port-au-Prince, Haiti, in April 2011, after the announcement of election results that brought Michel Martelly to the presidency (Photo credit: Andres G. Farfan).

By Staff
AHP

English | French

Translated from the French by Dady Chery for Haiti Chery.

A group of 13 human rights organizations, including the National Episcopal Commission for Justice and Peace, the ACHR, RNDDH, POHDH GARR, the ECHR and the Haitian Justice Observatory reject governance by decree in Haiti.

Haitian organizations for the defense of human rights say no to governance by decree.

The Haitian organizations for the promotion and defense of human rights that are signatories to this note find that the socio-political situation in the country is deteriorating and becoming very worrying. This greatly impacts decades worth of efforts to put Haiti on the path of a democratic rule of law.

It is a general principle that the Executive branch is responsible to ensure the function and stability of institutions, according to Section 136 of the 1987 Constitution.

This requires it, among other things, to take up the task of organizing parliamentary and local elections, a task which it has not performed in three years. On the contrary, instead of assuming its constitutional responsibilities, the Executive has simply appointed “Interim Executives”, many of whom are persons in contravention of the law, according to reports and denunciations by Haitian and foreign human rights organizations.

Furthermore, since two years, the Senate of the Republic has been reduced by one third of its members. After Monday, January 12, 2015, the Parliament will have only 10 members, and the mandates of the House of Representatives members will expire.

At this stage, the Haitian organizations for the promotion and defense of human rights that are signatories to this note wish to emphasize that it is the responsibility of the Executive to ensure that the Parliament, one of the pillars of the republic, be operational.

Relying instead on an erroneous interpretation of Article 136, however, the Executive has said on the sidelines of the 69th United Nations General Assembly, and during interviews with journalists in Europe, that it would lead the country by decree after Monday, January 12, 2015.

This attempt to prepare minds for the unacceptable is an affront to democratic gains and a maneuver that is becoming more and more disturbing.

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Haitian President Michel Martelly and former U.S. President Bill Clinton at an Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) conference in Port-au-Prince to promote foreign investment in Haiti, November 29, 2011 (Photo credit: Larry Luxner).

The Executive cannot claim a right to lead the Republic by decree merely because it has failed its fundamental and constitutional mandate prescribed under Section 136. This would be a flagrant violation of the 1987 Constitution, a challenge to republican values ​​and a serious undermining of the foundations of a state based on three powers: namely the Judicial, Legislative and Executive.

If, by Monday, January 12, 2015 elections are not conducted in the country, then this will merely prove that the Executive has not fulfilled its constitutional mission to deliver specific results and respect the letter of its mandate.

Moreover, the establishment of the Constitutional Council (CJSP), one of the conditions thought to be important for achieving the democratic rule of law, has not contributed to an independent Judiciary but one that has instead been vassalized by the Executive.

Today, it is recognized that the Constitutional Council far from meets the expectations of the people and the judges at various levels of the judicial system. Consequently, the whole struggle for years to ensure the independence of the Judiciary is being challenged.

Faced with the imminent dangers posed by the failure to hold elections and the dependency of the Judiciary, the Haitian organizations for the promotion and defense of human rights that are signatories to this note, assuming their responsibilities as one of the pillars of democracy and the rule of law, rise up clearly and unequivocally against the interference of the Executive in the affairs of the Judiciary and denounce the impending return to presidentialism as being the sole authority in the country.

To accept that one of the branches of government deliberately exercises the powers of the others, in violation of the sacred principle of separation of powers enshrined in Articles 59.1 and 60.1 of the Constitution, is simply to abandon all efforts to put Haiti on the path to democracy and development. The Judiciary has already been weakened. Haitian citizens cannot afford to accept the Legislature being wiped out by the Executive.

Protest in Cap Haitien against the Martelly-Lamothe regime, August 14, 2013 (Photo credit: Tout Haiti).

Protest against Martelly-Lamothe regime in Cap Haitien, Haiti, August 14, 2013 (Photo credit: Tout Haiti).

The Haitian organizations for the promotion and defense of human rights that are signatories to this note publicly express their categorical refusal to see the Executive run the country by decree, and they invite all sectors of society, without exception, to speak out against this neo-dictatorship and organize by all democratic means to defeat this macabre project.

The Haitian organizations for the promotion and defense of human rights that are signatories to this note urge the Executive to reconsider its dictatorial ambition, take the path of democracy, exercise wisdom and live up to its responsibilities.

Finally, the Haitian organizations for the promotion and defense of human rights that are signatories to this note believe that it is the duty of all sectors of society to assume their responsibilities to prevent any project that aims to challenge decades of the fight for democracy in Haiti.

Indeed, there is no need to remember that democracy is, above all, respect for the law and the given mandate. It therefore implies an obligation that some results are incumbent on the government, including the President of the Republic, who is responsible to ensure the proper function of institutions.

The signatories are as follows:

• Platform of Haitian Human Rights Organizations (POHDH);
• Center for Analysis and Research on Human Rights (ACHR)
• Group Intervention on Human Rights (GIDH);
• Vision of Haitian Human Rights (VHDH);
• Solidarity for the Defense of Human Rights (SODDH);
• Ecumenical Center for Human Rights (ECHR);
• National Episcopal Commission for Justice and Peace (CE-JILAP);
• Combite for Peace and Development (Combite for Peace);
• Haitian Justice Observatory (OHJ);
• Action for the Abolition of Torture from Haiti (ACAT-Haiti);
• National Network for the Defense of Human Rights (RNDDH);
• Program for Alternative Justice (PAJ);
• Support Group for Returnees and Refugees (GARR).

 Protest against Martelly-Lamothe regime in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, on Vertieres Day, November 18, 2014.


Protest against Martelly-Lamothe regime in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, on Vertieres Day, November 18, 2014 (Photo credit: RT).

Sources: Haiti Chery (English) | AHP (November 3, 2014, French)Par le personnel
AHP

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Un groupe de 13 organisations de droits humains dont la Commission Episcopale Nationale Justice et Paix, le CARDH, le RNDDH, la POHDH, le GARR, le CEDH et l’Observatoire Haïtienne de la Justice rejettent la gouvernance par décret en Haïti

Les Organisations Haïtiennes de Défense des Droits Humains disent non à la gouvernance par décret

Les Organisations haïtiennes de promotion et de défense des droits humains signataires de cette note constatent que la situation sociopolitique du pays se détériore et devient très inquiétante. Cette dernière affecte considérablement les efforts consentis depuis plusieurs décennies pour mettre Haïti sur la voie de l’État de droit démocratique.

Il est de principe général que l’Exécutif ait la responsabilité de garantir le fonctionnement et la stabilité des institutions, selon le vœu de l’article 136 de la Constitution de 1987.

Cette obligation lui confère, entre autres, la tâche de la mise en place de l’organisme devant organiser les élections législatives et locales, tâche dont il ne s’est pas acquitté depuis trois (3) ans. Au contraire, au lieu d’assumer ses responsabilités constitutionnelles, l’Exécutif s’est contenté de nommer des « Agents Exécutifs Intérimaires » dont plusieurs sont des personnes en contravention avec la loi, selon divers rapports et dénonciations d’organisations des droits humains haïtiennes et étrangères.

De plus, depuis deux (2) ans, le Sénat de la République est amputé d’un tiers de ses membres. Après le deuxième lundi du mois de janvier 2015, le Parlement ne comptera que dix (10) Sénateurs et le mandat de la Chambre des Députés arrivera à terme.

A ce stade, les Organisations haïtiennes de promotion et de défense des droits humains signataires de cette note tiennent à souligner qu’il est de la responsabilité de l’Exécutif de s’assurer que le Parlement, l’un des piliers de l’État républicain, soit opérationnel.

Or, se basant au contraire sur une interprétation erronée de l’article 136, l’Exécutif a affirmé, en marge de la 69èmeAssemblée Générale des Nations unies et au cours des entretiens avec des journalistes en Europe, qu’il dirigera le pays par décret après le deuxième lundi de janvier 2015.

Cette tentative de préparer les esprits à l’inacceptable est une manœuvre attentatoire aux acquis démocratiques et devient de plus en plus inquiétante.

Clinton-Martelly

Ce n’est pas parce que l’Exécutif a échoué dans sa mission fondamentale et constitutionnelle, aux termes des prescrits de l’article 136, qu’il pourrait s’arroger le droit de diriger la République par décret. Ceci serait une violation flagrante de la Constitution de 1987, une remise en question des valeurs républicaines et une atteinte grave aux fondements de l’État qui repose sur trois pouvoirs, savoir les Pouvoirs judiciaire, législatif et exécutif.Si au deuxième lundi du mois de janvier 2015 les élections ne sont pas réalisées dans le pays, ceci prouvera tout simplement que l’Exécutif n’a pas rempli sa mission constitutionnelle qui consiste à fournir des résultats et à respecter le contenu de son mandat.

Par ailleurs, la mise en place du Conseil Supérieur du Pouvoir Judiciaire (CSPJ), qui constitue l’une des conditions indispensables pour parvenir à l’État de Droit démocratique, n’a pas contribué à rendre indépendant le Pouvoir judiciaire qui est vassalisé par l’Exécutif.

Aujourd’hui, force est de reconnaître que le CSPJ est loin de répondre aux attentes de la population et des magistrats de différents niveaux du système judiciaire. Conséquemment, toute la lutte menée pendant des années pour garantir l’indépendance de la justice est aujourd’hui remise en question.

Face à l’imminence des dangers que constituent la non-réalisation des élections et la dépendance du pouvoir judiciaire, les Organisations haïtiennes de promotion et de défense des droits humains signataires de cette note, assumant leurs responsabilités en tant que l’un des remparts de la Démocratie et de l’Etat de droit, s’insurgent, de manière claire et sans équivoque, contre l’immixtion de l’Exécutif dans les affaires du Pouvoir judiciaire et dénoncent ce retour imminent au présidentialisme et à l’autorité unique au pays.

Accepter que l’un des pouvoirs exerce délibérément les attributions d’un autre, en violation du principe sacré de la séparation des pouvoirs consacrés par les articles 59.1 et 60.1 de la Constitution, c’est tout simplement renoncer aux efforts pour mettre Haïti sur la voie de la démocratie et du développement. Le pouvoir judiciaire est déjà affaibli. Les Citoyens haïtiens ne peuvent se permettre d’accepter que le Pouvoir législatif soit gommé par l’Exécutif.

Protest in Cap Haitien against the Martelly-Lamothe regime, August 14, 2013 (Photo credit: Tout Haiti).

Les Organisations haïtiennes de promotion et de défense des droits humains signataires de cette note manifestent publiquement leur refus systématique de voir l’Exécutif diriger le pays par décret et invitent tous les secteurs de la société, sans distinction aucune, à s’exprimer contre cette néo-dictature et à s’organiser, par tous les moyens démocratiques, pour faire échec à ce projet macabre.

Les Organisations haïtiennes de promotion et de défense des droits humains signataires de cette note pressent l’Exécutif à revenir sur cette ambition dictatoriale, à prendre le chemin de la démocratie, à faire preuve de sagesse et à se montrer à la hauteur de ses responsabilités.

Enfin, les Organisations haïtiennes de promotion et de défense des droits humains signataires de cette note estiment qu’il est du devoir de tous les secteurs de la société d’assumer leurs responsabilités en faisant obstacle à tout projet qui vise à remettre en question plusieurs décennies de combat pour la démocratie en Haïti.

En effet, point n’est besoin de rappeler que la démocratie est avant tout le respect de la loi et du contenu du mandat donné. Elle implique donc l’obligation de résultat qui incombe aux gouvernants, notamment au Président de la République, qui a la responsabilité de garantir le bon fonctionnement des institutions.

Suivent les signatures :

• Plateforme des Organisations Haïtiennes des Droits Humains (POHDH) ;
• Centre d’Analyse et de Recherche en Droits de l’Homme (CARDH) ;
• Groupe d’Intervention en Droits Humains (GIDH) ;
• Vision Haïtienne des Droits de l’Homme (VHDH);
• Solidarité de Défense des Droits Humains (SODDH);
• Centre Œcuménique des Droits Humains (CEDH);
• Commission Episcopale Nationale Justice et Paix (CE-JILAP);
• Combite pour la Paix et le Développement (Combite pour la Paix);
• Observatoire Haïtienne de la Justice (OHJ) ;
• Action pour l’Abolition de la Torture Haïti (ACAT-Haïti) ;
• Réseau National de Défense des Droits Humains (RNDDH);
• Programme pour une Alternative de Justice (PAJ);
• Groupe d’Appui aux Rapatriés et Réfugiés (GARR).

4 comments on “Haiti’s Human Rights Organizations Say No to Dictatorship | Les Organisations Haïtiennes de Défense des Droits Humains disent non à la gouvernance par décret

  1. This is beyond my comprehension Dady. I wish you and Haiti nothing but the best.

  2. Dady CheryDady Chery on said:

    Thank you for your good wishes, Paul.

    This state of affairs cannot continue. There are protests all over Haiti calling for the departure of Martelly and Lamothe (the president and PM), although two leaders of recent protests have been killed, and participants are being imprisoned.

  3. Dictatorship should have no place in the democracy of today. It is important that everyone join hands in fighting against it.

  4. Thomas Cleary on said:

    This is the same Clinton who railroaded subsidized Arkansas rice into Haiti and, by undercutting the Haitian farmer’s price, drove him out of business. This is the same Clinton who backs sweat-shop owners in their denial of a minimum wage or decent working conditions. This is the same Clinton who, together with George W. Bush, claimed to be the saviors of Haiti through forceful dispossession of land on Ile Vache as well as on fishing waters off Cap Haitien and farmland in the Artibonite Valley so that NGOs could build executive suites, hotels and golf courses and so that Canadian and American mining companies could strip mine the interior for gold and other precious metals. This is the same Clinton who looked the other way when UN troops carelessly introduced cholera into Haiti, killing thousands and sickening hundreds of thousands. This is the same Clinton who promised adequate food and shelter for those who lost everything in the 2010 earthquake but who, five years later, still have no adequate provisions for living. And, finally, this is the same Clinton who stood along with Bush in 2004 when President Aristide was overthrown and who has continued to make a mockery of democracy even today. He is just a smiling face mask covering the same Tonton Macoute, Duvalierist terrorism and tyranny that has plagued Haiti for over 50 years and was preceded by over 50 years of American interference and occupation for the sake of greed.

    The least I can do in this country is never support a Hillary Clinton bid for the US presidency.

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