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Procedure : 2019/2928(RSP)
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Texts tabled :

RC-B9-0214/2019

Debates :

PV 28/11/2019 - 3.2
PV 28/11/2019 - 5.1
CRE 28/11/2019 - 3.2
CRE 28/11/2019 - 5.1

Votes :

PV 28/11/2019 - 8.3

Texts adopted :

P9_TA(2019)0074

Texts adopted
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Thursday, 28 November 2019 - Strasbourg Provisional edition
Haiti
P9_TA-PROV(2019)0074RC-B9-0214/2019

European Parliament resolution of 28 November 2019 on Haiti (2019/2928(RSP))

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to its previous resolutions on Haiti, in particular those of 19 January 2011 on the situation in Haiti one year after the earthquake: humanitarian aid and reconstruction(1), and of 8 February 2018 on child slavery in Haiti(2),

–  having regard to the EU Annual Report on Human Rights and Democracy in the World 2018, and in particular the Haiti country update thereof, adopted by the Council on 13 May 2019,

–  having regard to the final report of the EU Election Follow-up Mission to Haiti between 19 and 23 November 2018,

–  having regard to the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) and Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (UN OHCHR) annual report on the situation of human rights in Haiti, 1 July 2015 to 31 December 2016, of July 2017,

–  having regard to the MINUSTAH and UN OHCHR report on allegations of human rights violations and abuses of 13 and 14 November 2018 in the district of La Saline, Port-au-Prince,

–  having regard to the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) on Haiti adopted by the UN Human Rights Council at its 34th session on 17 March 2017,

–  having regard to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, adopted by the UN General Assembly on 16 December 1966 and to which Haiti is a State Party,

–  having regard to the Cotonou Agreement,

–  having regard to the UN Declaration of Human Rights,

–  having regard to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, of which Haiti is a signatory,

–  having regard to UN Security Council Resolution 2476 (2019) of 25 June 2019,

–  having regard to the final report of the EU Election observation mission of 2015,

–  having regard to the Declaration by the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy on behalf of the European Union on the situation in Haiti of 7 November 2019,

–  having regard to the article published by Amnesty International on 31 October 2019, which provides evidence of excessive use of force against protesters,

–  having regard to the report of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs regarding the situation in Haiti of 1 October 2019,

–  having regard to the statement made by the Delegation of the European Union to Haiti on 28 May 2019,

–  having regard to Rules 144(5) and 132(4) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.  whereas the government’s announcement in July 2018 that it would eliminate subsidies, allowing fuel prices to increase by up to 50 %, led to widespread protests and the worst civil unrest the country has seen in years; whereas this measure responded to the cuts agreed with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in February 2018 in exchange for financial loans of USD 96 million to help the country pay its foreign debt;

B.  whereas the demonstrations organised by opposition leaders demanded the resignation of President Jovenel Moïse because of rampant inflation, allegations of systematic government corruption, which also involved former president Michel Martelly, and economic and food insecurity, without major attention paid to it by the outside world; whereas the demonstrations which began over a year ago in protest against corruption scandals involving Haitian authorities have claimed about a hundred victims and have escalated into a major conflagration; whereas corruption seems to be an endemic problem of Haitian society and politics;

C.  whereas the security forces repressed the protests using live ammunition and tear gas; whereas in February 41 people died and 100 were injured in the protests, according to the UN OHCHR; whereas according to the latest figures from the OHCHR between 15 September and 1 November 2019 at least 42 people died in similar protests, 19 of these having been killed by law enforcement, and 86 people were injured;

D.  whereas Haiti has been without a government since March 2019, hampering the country’s ability to access international aid funding and World Bank loans; whereas as of January 2020 Haiti will be without a Parliament on account of its failure to hold parliamentary elections in October 2019; whereas Mr Moïse has indicated his intention to introduce constitutional reforms strengthening the powers of the office of President;

E.  whereas no legal action has been taken despite the demonstrations; whereas this impunity and the lack of attention of the international community have further stoked the violence; whereas the protracted and continuing crisis has also had the consequence of further limiting access to healthcare, food, education and other needs, and has caused further shortages of electricity and fuel;

F.  whereas many communities still lack access to the electricity grid following the 2010 earthquake, and depend on electricity generators for their day-to-day needs; whereas the fuel price increase has limited economic opportunities further;

G.  whereas there is credible evidence that police armed with semi-automatic rifles have fired live ammunition during protests, in violation of international human rights law and standards on the use of force; whereas journalists are a target of continuous harassment and physical attacks; whereas Néhémie Joseph, a journalist with Radio Méga who covered the protests, was shot dead in his car on 11 October 2019, Associated Press photojournalist Chery Dieu-Nalio was shot in the face in September 2019, Radio Sans Fin reporter Pétion Rospide was shot dead in his car in June 2019, and journalist Vladjimir Legagneur disappeared in March 2018;

H.  whereas impunity has also prevailed in cases such as the massacre in La Saline, on the outskirts of the capital Port-au-Prince, where in October 2018 70 people were arbitrarily killed and 13 women were raped; whereas the government attributed the massacre to a war between gangs; whereas the Organisation of American States (OAS) and the UN Mission for Justice Support in Haiti (MINUJUSTH), based on information gathered the National Human Rights Network (RNDDH), attribute this massacre to an attempt by the President’s wife Martine Moïse and several government representatives to bribe the people of la Saline to stop the demonstrations against President Moïse, and allege that the massacre was the consequence of their refusal to accept the bribe; whereas human rights organisations in Haiti have called for an OAS mission to investigate the massacre;

I.  whereas the security situation in the country has declined drastically since October 2017, when the peacekeepers of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (UNSTAMIH) were replaced by the MINUJUSTH, whose staff have limited police training;

J.  whereas gender discrimination continues to be a serious concern in the country; whereas Haiti has a gender inequality index (GII) of 0,593, which places the country in the 142nd position out of 159 in the 2015 index; whereas discrimination, stigmatisation, exclusion and violence against LGBTI people are systemic and widespread in Haiti; whereas young girls receive little or no education; whereas laws criminalising rape and domestic violence were not adopted until 2005, the criminal code has not been revised since 1835, and women and girls often face unequal legal protection; whereas on 7 November 2019, 10 female detainees, including a 15-year-old girl, were raped at Gonaïves Civil Prison; whereas overcrowding, food shortages, lack of family visits, and other inhumane conditions have been widespread in the Haitian prison system since the start of the protests;

K.  whereas most children in Haiti have been unable to go to school since the beginning of the school year in September; whereas illiteracy and access to education are major problems in Haiti, since approximately one half of all Haitians age 15 and older are illiterate, and at least 350 000 children and young people remain out of primary and secondary school throughout the country;

L.  whereas the system of Restavèk, a modern form of slavery, is still a practice in which Haitian children from impoverished homes are sent by their parents to live with other families and work for them as domestic servants, often suffering abuse and mistreatment, with no access to schooling;

M.  whereas Haiti, ranked number 168 of the world’s countries in the UNDP Human Development Index, which is lower than its previous rankings, is in continuous need of humanitarian and development aid: whereas according to the World Bank, Haiti remains the poorest country in the Americas, and one of the most impoverished states in the world, with 59 % of the population living below the national poverty line, 24 % below the national extreme poverty line, and over 40 % of the population unemployed; whereas government corruption runs rampant, and Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index 2018 ranks Haiti 161st out of 180 states surveyed;

1.  Strongly condemns the repression of peaceful protests by the Haitian authorities, as well as the use of lethal force, arbitrary detainment, intimidation, harassment, and sexual violence; demands that the Haitian authorities immediately desist from the unlawful use of force, in particular firearms and live ammunition, against peaceful protesters, and safeguard the people’s right to demonstrate freely and peacefully; endorses the Haitian people’s demands for an end to corruption and impunity;

2.  Underlines that, to prevent further instability and suffering of the population, all parties involved must abstain from violence; calls on all sides to engage in a frank, open and inclusive inter-Haitian dialogue in order to better respond to the basic needs and aspirations of the population, and provide lasting solutions to the current political, economic and humanitarian crisis;

3.  Recalls that justice reform, and putting an end to prolonged pre-trial detention, and the fight against corruption must remain a priority, as identified in the last Universal Periodic Review; asks the international community to support the Haitian people to strengthen an independent and robust judicial system, which is able to bring perpetrators to court and punish them, regardless of their social status;

4.  Calls for an independent investigation into the massacre case of La Saline, into harassment and attacks on journalists, and into the deaths that have occurred mid-September 2019; demands that all perpetrators of crimes be brought to trial and punished; reaffirms the importance of the freedom of the media to report on the situation; urges all actors to refrain from targeting journalists, and allow them to report on the situation in the country; reiterates that the right to peaceful expression of opinion and of criticism must be guaranteed;

5.  Endorses the call for an independent OAS expert mission to be sent to Haiti for a longer period with the task of clarifying the multiple human rights violations in the country, and the aim of carrying out impartial, thorough, transparent and independent investigations, as well as improving accountability, providing justice and truth for families and surviving victims, as demanded by national human rights organisations;

6.  Rejects any attempt by some forces to reinstate dictatorship; underlines the urgent need for structural governance and economic reforms to restore faith in the country’s political system; highlights the need to eradicate systemic government corruption, clientelism, and the erosion of the rule of law;

7.  Calls on the European External Action Service (EEAS) and the EU Embassy in Port-au-Prince to support the full democratic stabilisation of the country, and to help to put an end to corruption and other forms of crime;

8.  Welcomes the establishment of the United Nation Integrated Office in Haiti (BINUH) by the UN Security Council on 16 October 2019, to be tasked with advising the Government of Haiti on improving political stability and good governance; asks the UN to continue to play an active role in a process of peace-keeping and preparing peace, without repeating errors of the past; calls on the UN and its member countries to effectively investigate cases of alleged sexual exploitation or sexual abuse by MINUSTAH peacekeeping forces and non-governmental organisations in Haiti, and to prosecute the perpetrators of these crimes, and provide support and compensation to the victims;

9.  Calls for the EU to strengthen and support the capacity of Haitian organisations to take the lead in deciding on the kind of assistance delivered to the country, as well as on its beneficiaries;

10.  Calls urgently on the Government of Haiti to allow humanitarian organisations unhindered access in order to carry out their operations, assist those in need, and distribute food and other vital aid;

11.  Calls for an end to the practice of Restavèk; calls for the Haitian Government to implement measures that ensure the registration and protection of children, both physically and psychologically, and to enforce schooling; calls for the EU to cooperate with the Haitian Government in order to implement a legislative framework to protect children’ rights;

12.  Stresses the need to combat violence against women and girls, to legislate against all forms of gender-based violence and to decriminalise abortion, which is currently prohibited in all circumstances, including in cases of sexual violence; considers it necessary to implement urgent measures to protect and support women and children who are victims of sexual abuse, such as medical and psychological care and specific social inclusion and rehabilitation programmes; condemns the gang rape of women detained in the prison of Gonaïves; demands a prompt, impartial, independent and effective investigation into the allegations; recalls that when states deprive people of their freedom, they are responsible for guaranteeing their integrity and protecting them from acts of violence;

13.  Condemns the anti-LGBT bills passed in 2017 which called for a ban on gay marriage and listed homosexuality, alongside child pornography, incest and the commercial sexual exploitation of children, as a reason to deny a citizen a certificate of good standing; expresses concern about the circumstances surrounding the death of Charlot Jeudy, President of the LGBTQI advocacy group Kouraj;

14.  Calls for the Haitian Government to put in a place an administrative system which guarantees that all new-born children are registered at birth and to ensure that measures are taken to register those who were not registered at birth;

15.  Calls for a systematic fight against violence against elderly people;

16.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the Member States, the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the ACP-EU Council of Ministers, the institutions of the Cariforum, the government and parliament of Haiti, and the Secretary-General of the United Nations.

(1) OJ C 136E, 11.5.2012, p. 46.
(2) OJ C 463, 21.12.2018, p. 40.

Last updated: 29 November 2019Legal notice