2010 State Department Human Rights Report on Haiti - by Stephen Lendman
Haiti's human rights history is long and abusive, alleviated only during Jean-Bertrand Aristide's tenure. Besides achieving impressive social, economic and political gains, he respected and promoted justice and human rights initiatives.
For the first time ever, those arrested had formal hearings before a judge in two days. In 1995, a school for magistrates was opened. Courthouses and police stations were constructed and refurbished. Protecting children became paramount, including laws prohibiting all forms of corporal punishment.
A new law repealed child (mostly chattel) domestic service, and another one prohibited trafficking in persons. Haiti's hated military was disbanded. Ordinary Haitians experienced unprecedented free speech, assembly, and personal safety. A National Commission for Truth and Justice was created to investigate and report on crimes committed during the 1991 - 94 coup period. As a result, former soldiers and paramilitaries were tried, those found guilty convicted in fair proceedings.
Compared to pre and post-Aristide years, it was a renaissance period, erased after the February 29, 2004 coup, ousting the man 90% or more Haitians love, their only leader who cared since their 1791 - 1804 liberating revolution.
Last November, sham presidential and parliamentary elections prevented real democratic change. Stealth Duvalierist Michel ("Sweet Micky") Martelly, an anti-populist former Kompa singer, was named president in a March runoff against Mirlande Manigat, wife of former right-wing president, Leslie Manigat.
In both rounds, around 80% of Haitians abstained, knowing no candidate represented them. Orchestrated in Washington, the result both times was fraudulent, illegitimate, and predictable, assuring continuing repression and human rights abuses for another five years, even with Aristide home from exile.
Each year, the State Department publishes human rights reports for over 190 countries. Its complete Haiti one can be accessed through the following link: