UPD quarterly report, period June 1 to September 30, 1996/ re: MICIVIH

HUMAN RIGHTS MONITORING

Police Monitoring

Through regular visits to police stations in the capital and in the provinces, MICIVIH monitored the operations of the Haïtian National Police (HNP) as concerns their respect for the human rights of persons arrested and detained and their adherence to due process obligations. Allegations of misconduct, ill-treatment and other types of abusive behaviour were investigated. Reports concerning serious incidents of police misconduct were conveyed to the HNP Inspector General for the necessary internal police follow-up. MICIVIH issued a report in July 1996 on the human rights record of the HNP after its first year of deployment. This report is currently available on the UPD Internet home page.

Monitoring the Judicial System

MICIVIH continued its regular visits to judicial officials and attended court hearings and the criminal assizes in its efforts to monitor the respect for legality and due process by the judiciary. MICIVIH regularly assesses the legal status of persons in detention. Where necessary, representation was made to the appropriate judicial authorities concerning due process infractions in particular in cases of lengthy pre-trial detention. MICIVIH issued a detailed report with recommendations on the functioning of the criminal justice system.

Monitoring of the National Penitenciary Administration (APENA)

MICIVIH monitored the conditions of detention and, with other international actors (ICRC, UNDP), contributed to their improvement. It investigated sporadic reports of ill-treatment of detainees by APENA agents and brought to the attention of relevant authorities these allegations. Regular monitoring of prison registers and the individual files of detainees continued to be an important aspect of the Mission work in this area.

INSTITUTION-BUILDING ACTIVITIES

Institutional collaboration project

MICIVIH initiated institutional collaboration meeetings in order to enhance coordination and collaboration between judicial, prison and police authorities.

Training activities

The Mission continued to provide human rights training to governemental institutions. For example, MICIVIH made presentations at the Ecole de la Magistrature on the use of international instruments in national procedures during the training of judges and justices of the peace. Human rights training was also provided at the Police Academy for members of the HNP such as Inspectors, Commissaires and agents of the Crowd Control Unit.

Technical assistance activities

MICIVIH continued providing technical assistance to governemental institutions. Some examples include: a) assistance to the Ministry of Justice in the execution of a pilot program for technical assistance to public prosecutors by helping to execute a records management project for courts clerks and to prepare an initial assessment report of the project; b) participation in the coordination meetings of the Donors Committee at the Ministry of Justice; c) meeting with the newly appointed Ombudsman to discuss ways in which the Mission could collaborate with his Office; d) meeting with international lawyers working with the HNP Special Investigation Unit regarding the cases on the Raboteau massacre and the assassination of former Justice Minister Guy Malary, and taking other initiatives to help the Government in fighting impunity; e) proposal of administrative circulars and instructions to solve urgent problems in the administration of Justice; f) sensitizing the Senate on the importance of ratifying international instruments; and g) helping in the preparation of an action plan for the Ministry of Justice.

HUMAN RIGHTS PROMOTION

Civic and human rights education activities

MICIVIH conducted many seminars on local government, citizen participation in democracy, respect for human rights, rights and responsibilities of the State and of citizens for judges, police officers, local government officials, journalists, facilitators and leaders of associations throughout Haïti. Some of these seminars were organized in conjunction with Haïtian authorities and NGOs. Several seminars and workshops were held for the benefit of university and law school students, human rights NGOs, journalists, and other governmental institutions. MICIVIH contributed to the strengthening of local human rights NGOs through conferences, training sessions and a two-week internship program on human rights which was attended by 28 members of 8 local NGOs.

Conflict resolution activities

A pilot conflict resolution training project was started by MICIVIH, supported by the UNESCO "Culture of the Peace" program, to strengthen the role of civil society and local authorities in the prevention and resolution of community conflicts. In this regard, MICIVIH offered seminars and training programs for judges and public prosecutors as well as for peasant leaders in areas torn by violent land conflicts.

Women's rights activities

MICIVIH has implemented a nationwide program of seminars on women's rights, some organized in cooperation with the Ministry of Women's Affairs. Also, a television documentary on women and violence was prepared and distributed to television stations around the country.

Public information activities

In June, MICIVIH began a new three- month media campaign of human rights promotion. The program has included broadcasting messages on television and radio regarding human rights and civic education issues. A number of radio spots and television documentaries were produced by MICIVIH concerning the rights of persons in detention, child domestic labor, citizens'participation in democracy, women's rights, conflict resolution and the constitutional ban against defamation. A puppet show to deter the lynching of suspected thieves and criminals was staged in 11 towns. In addition, the Mission released a number of press communiqués on various aspects of the human rights situation and gave a large number of interviews to the press, radio and television, both local and international.

Reports and publications

In additon to the reporting requirements set forth in relevant OAS and United Nations resolutions, MICIVIH produced weekly summaries and bi-monthly reports on the human rights for limited distribution, in particular to the Haïtian authorities. MICIVIH maintained a continuous and active program of data collection on all reported incidents of violence involving human rights abuses.

Among the publications which MICIVIH prepared during this period are the following: a) a bilingual (French /Creole) manual regarding the code of conduct of the police; b) a bilingual leaflet on the rules of police deontology; c) a new translation of the Declaration of Human Rights; d) in collaboration with the United Nations Support Mission in Haïti (UNSMIH), a report, which was submitted to the President on the functioning of the Judiciary, the Police and the Prisons in Haïti; e) a report on the human rights record of the HNP; f) a report on the Criminal Judicial system; and g) posters, brochures and flyers for human rights education programme.

Conclusion

Since the return to constitutional rule and following structural changes, the human rights situation has greatly improved. Basic human rights violations are the exception and no longer the rule. The government and the authorities have shown a strong commitment to fighting impunity and ensuring accountability within the newly created institutions - HNP and APENA. This improvement has enabled MICIVIH to put more stress on institutional reinforcement and human rights promotion. Nonetheless, because of MICIVIH's concerns over police misconduct and violations of due process, it continues to urge the Haïtian authorities to improve respect for the legal and constitutional provisions concerning arrest and detention and to actively encourage judicial reform efforts and the continuing consolidation of the new police force.