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Procedure : 2018/2562(RSP)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : B8-0107/2018

Texts tabled :

B8-0107/2018

Debates :

PV 08/02/2018 - 8.3
CRE 08/02/2018 - 8.3

Votes :

PV 08/02/2018 - 12.3

Texts adopted :

P8_TA(2018)0036

MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION
PDF 287kWORD 53k
See also joint motion for a resolution RC-B8-0100/2018
6.2.2018
PE614.416v01-00
 
B8-0107/2018

with request for inclusion in the agenda for a debate on cases of breaches of human rights, democracy and the rule of law

pursuant to Rule 135 of the Rules of Procedure


on Child slavery in Haiti (2018/2562(RSP))


Catherine Bearder, Nedzhmi Ali, Petras Auštrevičius, Beatriz Becerra Basterrechea, Izaskun Bilbao Barandica, Dita Charanzová, Gérard Deprez, Martina Dlabajová, Nathalie Griesbeck, Marian Harkin, Filiz Hyusmenova, Ivan Jakovčić, Ilhan Kyuchyuk, Patricia Lalonde, Louis Michel, Javier Nart, Urmas Paet, Maite Pagazaurtundúa Ruiz, Jozo Radoš, Frédérique Ries, Robert Rochefort, Marietje Schaake, Pavel Telička, Ramon Tremosa i Balcells, Ivo Vajgl, Johannes Cornelis van Baalen, Hilde Vautmans, Cecilia Wikström on behalf of the ALDE Group
NB: This motion for a resolution is available in the original language only.

European Parliament resolution on Child slavery in Haiti (2018/2562(RSP))  
B8‑0107/2018

The European Parliament,

¾having regard to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 10 December 1948,

 

¾having regard to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child,

 

¾having regard to the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination,

 

¾having regard to the European Parliament resolution of 11 January 2011 on the situation in Haiti a year after the earthquake: humanitarian aid and reconstruction;

 

¾having regard to Chapter II on Fundamental Rights of the Constitution of the Republic of Haiti;

 

¾having regard to Haiti’s Labour Code, whose articles 341 and 355 guarantee the protection on labouring children in domestic service and prohibit children labour to individuals who are under 12 years of age;

 

¾having regard to Rules 135(5) and 123(4) of its Rules of Procedure,

 

A.whereas according to a report on Haiti by UNICEF of July 2010, an average of 1.6 million people live in 1342 spontaneous sites, of which 800.000 are estimated to be children, 661.000 are displaced outside of Port-au-Prince, of which 330,000 are estimated to be children; whereas 500.000 children have been deemed extremely vulnerable and require child protection assistance; whereas 90 per cent of schools in earthquake-affected areas were affected, representing 23% of all schools in Haiti, while over 1,500 education personnel died in the earthquake of January 2010;

B.whereas it is estimated that approximately 400.000 children are in a situation of child slavery in the Republic of Haiti, in the so-called "Restavek" (from French: rester avec, “stay with”) system; whereas these “Restavek” children live under conditions of child labour, exploitation and slavery;

 

C.whereas more than 6 million Haitians are living below the poverty level and according to conservative estimates over 40% of the population is unemployed; whereas the Haitian government is aimed to demand the payment of a flat-rate tax of 10,000 gourdes (130 Euro) to the over 2 million Haitians who left the country, denying them the right to vote; whereas in 2017 workers of the textile industry were on strike for weeks demanding a twofold increase of their minimum wage of 300 gourdes (4 Euro) a day; whereas the reaction of the government was a raise of 50 Haitian gourdes (65 Euro cents);

D.whereas in September 2017 the parliament of Haiti approved a national budget for the year 2018 that raises taxes disproportionately from an already impoverished population, with the consequence of violent demonstration and riots in the capital, Port-au-Prince; whereas the Minister of Economy and Finances, Mr Patrick Salomon, exposed a budget which, for instance, prioritises the cleaning of governmental institutions over public health programmes;

E.whereas the public health system, paralysed because of an acute lack of operating budget and continuing strikes of the underpaid medical staff, is budgeted to receive less funds than the two chambers of parliament; whereas President Jovenel Moïse has given himself a personal portfolio which exceeds the budget of the judicial authorities;

F.whereas corruption seems to be an endemic problem of Haitian society and politics, President Jovenel Moïse has pledged to put an end to it, stating at the UN General Assembly in September 2017 that corruption “has severely weakened the country's political foundation and social fabric, it is a crime against development”; whereas President Jovenel Moïse’s government has released an large report informing that several former ministers who served from 2010 to 2016 were involved in “widespread fraud”, with irregularities also in the management of the Petrocaribe oil alliance fund;

G.whereas “Restavek” is a form of modern-day child slavery that persists in Haiti, affecting one in every 15 children; whereas the children are typically born into poor rural families and often given to relatives or strangers, and in their new homes, they become domestic slaves, performing menial tasks for no pay;

 

H.whereas “Restavek” children are typically aged between five and fifteen, and have been placed in a family other than their biological one in order to do household chores; whereas usually these children come from families who cannot provide for basic survival features;

 

I.whereas more than half of these children are estimated to work long labour hours, are not able to attend school, and some even have to work at night; whereas 77% of “Restavek” children receive only insufficient education or are not allowed to go to school;

J.whereas “Restavek” children end up being treated differently from host family children and they can suffer from malnutrition, physical punishment; whereas these situations have consequences in their psychological health due to the lack of attachment figures, the separation from their family, and due to the inferior status inside the family they have to stay with; whereas they are highly vulnerable to experience sexual abuse;

K.whereas a report of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) states that the investigation undertaken by this institution points out that “Restavek” children tend not to be treated equally in the families they work for, with a clear difference between family-member children and “Restavek” children, with cases where the former are taught to give orders to the latter; whereas “Restavek” children tend not to be housed in the same building as the family they work for, not receiving the same quality and amount of food; whereas according to this ILO report, articles 341 and 355 of Haiti’s Labour Code are not respected;

L.whereas “Restavek” is a type of human trafficking, extended in Haiti and becoming a cultural trend of its socio-economic structure; whereas human trafficking is the deployment of trade of human beings for military, labour, sexual purposes; whereas “Restavek” may also be the payment of a debt incurred by a family to another family, in order to honour the debt;

M.whereas according to UNICEF human trafficking generates a profit each year between €7 billion and €24 billion, with the necessity of community education, and legislative and judicial support, as means to prevent and put an end to it; whereas ILO estimates that human trafficking is a €120 billion industry worldwide;

N.whereas on the EU Anti-trafficking Day in October 2017, the Commission and Lumos expressed their concern regarding the increasing number of orphan children in Haiti being placed as “Restavek”; whereas there is growing evidence demonstrating how girls and boys are trafficked in and out of orphanages and other institutions, are often unregistered and uncounted for, leaving them exposed to the risk of trafficking; whereas research consistently shows that more than 80% of these children in Haitian orphanages and other institutions are not actual “orphans”, but are placed there for financial profit and due to poverty, disability, marginalisation, and the vicious circle of trafficking;

O.whereas the European Union has granted €60 million for the “Enhancing Access of Children to Education and Fighting Child Labour” project in order to provide incentives for poor families in remote areas to put, and keep, their children in community schools, as well as to fight child labour more generally; whereas this project will reach, until 2020, up to 100.000 children at risk of engaging in child labour;

 

1.Calls to end child slavery in the Republic of Haiti; urges for the registration of children at birth and with whom the children stay until they are 18 years of age;

 

2.Demands regular controls that prevent children from working for more than fourteen hours per week, only permitted to do age appropriate work under ILO standards; urges to ensure that all children attend school and have appropriate education;

3.Calls for the Haitian government to implement measures that ensure registration and protection of children, physically as well as psychologically and to enforce schooling;

4.Urges the Haitian government to look at its priorities for budgeting public funds and to be fairer in its tax burden;

5.Calls on the EU to cooperate with the Haitian government in order to draw up a legislative framework to protect children’s rights and ensure that the law reflects the duties arising from the international instruments ratified by the Republic of Haiti concerning children’s rights, human rights, the elimination of slavery, trafficking, and child protection;

6.Believes it is important for the European Union to support the Haitian authorities in the process of identifying and registering children separated from their families, searching for their relatives, and ensuring special precautions at the borders so as to prevent trafficking in children and illegal adoption;

7.Urges the Haitian government to enhance its efforts, programmes and policies aimed at preventing endemic corruption and further illegal practices committed by members of parliament and government;

8.Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, and the Vice-President of the Commission/High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the Governments and Parliaments of the Republic of Haiti and the Secretary-General of the United Nations.

 

Last updated: 6 February 2018Legal notice