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UN expert urges member states to stop deporting Haiti citizens

Michel Frost, the UN Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in Haiti, renewed his call on Wednesday to UN member states to cease the deportation of Haitian citizens to Haiti [BBC backgrounder]. In his report [text, PDF] that was presented to the General Assembly of the UN Human Rights Council [official website], Frost revealed that there has been a severe and ongoing humanitarian crisis since the 2010 earthquake [BBC backgrounder; JURIST news archive] in Haiti. Civilians in Haiti are suffering from diseases caused by insufficient access to water, food and medical attention, and others are dying from the cholera epidemic that already killed more than 7,000 people. Frost noted that forced return may constitute a violation of human rights and of Article 17 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) [text]. He recommended that states enact laws that will help to end forced deportation and protect vulnerable groups from discriminatory deportation practices. Frost's call was supported by the University of Miami School of Law Human Rights Clinic [academic website] and Fanm Ayisyen Nan Miyami (FANM)/Haitian Women of Miami [advocacy website]. The Human Rights Clinic filed an emergency petition [text, PDF] with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) [official website] to stop the deportation of Haitian citizens residing in the US.

Conditions in Haiti have been a topic of international concern since the devastating 2010 earthquake. In February, the US Department of State (DOS) [official website] sent a team [JURIST report] of international law experts to Haiti to assess how to reinforce the Haitian judiciary's power and independence. One of the main goals of the team was to investigate the ruling [JURIST report] of Haiti's Investigative Magistrate Carves Jean who held that former president Jean-Claude Duvalier [BBC backgrounder; JURIST news archive] will not stand trial for crimes against humanity, including torture, false imprisonment, rape and murder during his reign between 1971 and 1986. This goal was echoed by Frost who praised the significant progress of Haiti's rule of law but expressed his disappointment [JURIST report] of Haiti's ruling for Duvalier.

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