U.S. Report Slams Haiti for Human Rights Violations

Harsh criticism has come out of Washington D.C., regarding human rights abuses in several Caribbean countries. The U.S. government released its comprehensive report "Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2013". Countries receiving the most condemnation for alleged human rights abuses included Haiti, Jamaica, Guyana, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, and the Bahamas.


All of the Caribbean countries singled out for egregious human rights abuses shared the same characteristics. Some were prison overcrowding; a weak judiciary system; wide-spread corruption in all government sectors; human trafficking; police brutality; and discrimination against women.

In Haiti's case, the alleged human rights abuses included willful and illegimate murders by government functionaries; excessive use of force by police towards suspects and demonstrators; child abuse under a system called restavek, and human trafficking.

The report gives limited credit to the Martelly-Lamothe administration, for attempting to prosecute and/or incarcerate government officials and members of law enforcement. But reports from reputable sources have continued to surface corruption within the government of Haiti and law enforcement is ongoing. Civil society organizations say government corruption is a hard nut to crack, because those in the know about such criminal practices will not come forward for fear of retaliation.

The Martelly family itself has been accused of siphoning off government funds (First Lady, Sophia, and son Oliver). Even if it is true, they will never be prosecuted, not in Haiti. Martelly holds onto his power by refusing to hold elections, more than two years overdue.

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Read more: Human Rights, US Department of State, Department of State, United States

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