Invited by the Government of Haiti, the Inter-American Commission of
Human Rights (IACHR) will visit the country on August 21-25, 2000, in order
to observe the overall human right situation in Haiti.
The IACHR is a principal organ of the Organization of American States
(OAS) responsible for the promotion and protection of human rights
throughout the Hemisphere. The seven members of the Commission are elected in their
personal capacity by the OAS General Assembly for a four-year term.
The Commission’s terms of reference mainly derive from the American
Convention on Human Rights and the OAS Charter, instruments ratified by
The IACHR delegation comprises Professor Hélio Bicudo, Chairman;
Ambassador Peter Laurie, and Dr. Julio Prado Vallejo.
The delegation will be assisted by Ambassador Jorge E. Taiana,
Executive Secretary of the Commission; Dr. David J. Padilla, Assistant
Executive Secretary; Dr. Bertha Santoscoy, specialist in Haitian affairs,
Dr. Raquel Poitevien, an IACHR specialist; Ms. Rose-Marie Brière, OAS
interpreter, and Mr. Luiz Coimbra, a public information officer.
Ms. Martha Keller and Ms. Gloria Molina will form part of the
administrative support team.
During its stay in Haiti, the IACHR will meet with the highest
government authorities and with representatives of various different sectors
in society, such as: political
parties, human rights organizations, the Church, grass-roots groups and
popular organizations, alleged victims of human rights violations, and
others. The Commission will
also meet with representatives of international organizations, and it will
visit some penitentiaries in Port-au-Prince.
To accomplish its objectives, the Commission employs various methods:
one of them is on-site visits to countries where the human rights
situation is being reviewed. A
report is then made public on the findings.
This report provides a diagnostic assessment of the human rights
situation in the country and puts forward a series of recommendations on how
to improve it. The Commission
also works on specific areas of concern to the Hemisphere (prison
conditions, rights of the child, women’s rights, etc.)
Another very important method used by the Commission is processing
individual petitions when it receives complaints alleging violation of
rights enshrined in the American Convention on Human Rights and the American
Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man.
The Commission’s visit will take place in the framework of the
jurisdiction established by the American Convention on Human Rights and the
Commission’s Regulations. Within
this legal framework, the states parties to the Convention undertake to
provide all the facilities required for the success of the Commission’s
observation mission and, in particular, not to take reprisals against
persons or entities cooperating with the mission by providing information
As is customary in visits of this nature, during its stay in Haiti
the IACHR will be prepared to receive petitions from persons who allege that
their rights have been violated. The
petitions should be submitted in writing.
A model form for this is available in the OAS office, located on the
corner of Borno and Métellus No. 15, in Pétion-ville, Haiti.
During its stay, the Commission will have an office in the Montana
hotel in Pétion-ville, which will be open from 8:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m.
from August 21-25, 2000.
At the end of its visit, the Commission will hold a press conference
in the Montana hotel, at 11:00 a.m. on Friday, August 25, 2000.
At the conference a press release will be distributed containing a
few preliminary observations by the Commission with regard to the human
rights situation in Haiti.
The Commission will then return to its headquarters in Washington to
evaluate its findings and prepare a report on the human rights situation in
The Commission would like to thank the Government of Haiti and civil
society organizations for the cooperation and facilities provided, as well
as international organizations for their help in the preparations for this
visit. The Commission once
again reiterates its willingness to cooperate with the democratic
governments of the Hemisphere in promoting and protecting human rights.
Port-au-Prince, Haiti, August 21, 2000