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TITLE:  HAITI HUMAN RIGHTS PRACTICES, 1993                             
DATE:  JANUARY 31, 1994


The Haitian military has effectively ruled the country since 
its unconstitutional, violent overthrow and expulsion of 
President Jean-Bertrand Aristide in September 1991.  From 
January to August, Haiti was ruled by an unconstitutional de 
facto regime, the second since the coup.  On July 3 the 
military high command signed an agreement with President 
Aristide on Governors Island, New York to restore 
constitutional order.  Pursuant to the accord, on August 30, 
Prime Minister Robert Malval, appointed by President Aristide, 
was sworn in to office.  The military high command failed to 
respect the provisions of the Governors Island accord which 
delayed full implementation by the end of the year.  Malval 
held de jure power throughout this period but was unable to 
effect full control of the Government, and actual power 
remained in the hands of the military and its supporters.  
Ministers in the Malval Government were often prevented from 
carrying out their duties by threats, violence, and other forms 
of intimidation.  On October 14, Justice Minister Guy Malary 
was killed in downtown Port-au-Prince.  Although the killers 
had not been identified by year's end, there is strong reason 
to believe they were supporters of the military.  Prime 
Minister Malval resigned on December 15, in keeping with his 
announced intentions, but stayed on as acting Prime Minister 
pending appointment of a replacement.

The Haitian armed forces, which have considerable legal and 
institutional autonomy, are responsible for law enforcement and 
public security.  The police, all of whom are stationed in 
Port-au-Prince, are an integral part of the armed forces.  In 
both urban and rural areas, armed forces units serve as police, 
despite a constitutional requirement to separate these two 
bodies.  Paramilitary personnel in civilian clothes (known as 
"attaches" in the city or "section chiefs" and "adjoints" in 
rural areas) conduct most of the intimidation and violent 
repression for both the police and the army.  Military, police, 
and paramilitary personnel committed numerous serious human 
rights violations with impunity in 1993.

The Haitian economy is characterized by severe overpopulation 
vis-a-vis ever dwindling arable land due to environmental 
devastation, high infant mortality, a heavy dependence on 
imports and foreign assistance, a predominantly rural 
population living on rapidly eroding land, wide disparities of 
income, and a small manufacturing base.  While never strong, 
the economy declined in recent years, owing to political 
instability and government mismanagement.  That decline 
continued in 1993 and was intensified by the Organization of 
American States' (OAS) trade embargo and the United Nations' 
fuel embargo, as well as the suspension of all but 
international humanitarian assistance following the 1991 coup.

Haitians suffered frequent human rights abuses throughout 1993, 
including political and extrajudicial killings by the security 
forces and their allies, disappearances, beatings and other 
mistreatment of detainees and prisoners, arbitrary arrest and 
detention, executive interference with the judicial process, 
and continued infringement of the rights of citizens to change 
their government.  More than 200 civilian human rights 
observers from the United Nations and the OAS were deployed 
throughout the country from February through October when they 
were withdrawn due to perceived threats and intimidation.  
Their presence temporarily helped curb political violence and 
human rights violations, but indiscriminate violence remained 
substantial, especially in rural areas, where two-thirds of 
Haitians live.  There was a substantial increase in crimes of 
violence, including politically motivated killings, beginning 
in July and August, as tensions rose over the Governors Island 
accords and military efforts to derail their implementation.  
Most of the violence is directed at stopping the transition to 


Section 1  Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including 
           Freedom from:

     a.  Political and Other Extrajudicial Killing

Levels of violence were high throughout 1993 and were 
exacerbated by the manifest unwillingness of the military and 
de facto government to respect human rights, curb extrajudicial 
killings, and pursue criminal justice.  Until its withdrawal in 
October, the wide-scale presence throughout Haiti of the 
U.N./OAS International Civilian Mission (ICM) human rights 
observers helped prevent even greater violence.  

The ICM began formally collecting and publishing data on human 
rights abuses in June, and the mission registered over 100 
homicide cases from June to September.  It is difficult to 
assess the actual number of political and extrajudicial 
killings, because judicial authorities rarely conducted 
criminal investigations into any unexplained deaths, including 
violent ones such as murder, whether political or not.  For 
example, the ICM registered a disturbing increase in killings 
in Port-au-Prince and environs in July and August.  According 
to the ICM, the number of murders in the city climbed from 5 in 
May and 9 in June to 67 for the combined months of July and 
August.  Of these 67 killings, ICM officials believe at least 
7 may have been politically motivated.  The ICM registered 
three deaths in official custody from suspected unnatural 
causes from May to August, but informed observers believed the 
number of such deaths was significantly higher.  Some local 
groups published much higher estimates, but their methodology 
was not as careful as the ICM's and their figures could not be 

No serious investigation of these killings was undertaken by 
judicial or military authorities.  The Haitian army general 
staff, under strong pressure from the ICM, transferred a few 
army officers for repeated abuses and dismissed one officer on 
human rights grounds in 1993.  As a general pattern, however, 
the military avoided disciplining even flagrant abusers.  An 
army corporal accused of the August murder of a peasant in the 
Central Plateau was transferred to a nearby department.  
Although initially described by military authorities as "under 
arrest and investigation," the soldier was, in fact, loosely 
confined to barracks, and there was little indication of any 
"ongoing" investigation.

Elements of the military and their unpaid deputies, or 
"attaches," continued their vigilante actions, particularly in 
Port-au-Prince.  There was strong evidence of systematic 
complicity between city police and criminal and vigilante 
gangs.  Attache violence resulted in at least one death and 
numerous injuries at a September 8 city hall ceremony to mark 
the return of Port-au-Prince's pro-Aristide mayor, ousted 
following the coup.  Several days later, armed civilians 
attacked Aristide supporters during a church service, killing 
prominent pro-Aristide activist Antoine Izmery and one other 
person.  Justice Minister Guy Malary was similarly murdered in 
public on October 14.  No investigation or arrests have been 
made in either case.

One homicide case with political implications was investigated 
by judicial authorities during the year:  the July 1991 torture 
and murder of five youths while in police custody.  Following 
the arrest of the policeman accused of the murder, President 
Aristide publicly praised him in a September 11, 1991, speech.  
A Port-au-Prince magistrate determined in July, despite 
compelling evidence to the contrary, that "reasonable doubt" 
existed concerning the guilt of the accused policeman and 
dropped all charges.

     b.  Disappearance

Haitian human rights advocates point out that, because many 
Aristide activists remained in hiding, it was difficult to 
verify reports of disappearances.  The ICM recorded 1 reported 
disappearance between February and May, then 10 in June.  There 
were eight abduction and subsequent release cases and five 
disappearances in July and August.  Historically, the 
"disappeared" in Haiti are either never found or found 
murdered.  Increased political tension in the latter half of 
the year may have altered and exacerbated patterns of violent 

The bullet-riddled body of a relative of a local journalist was 
discovered July 13 on the coastal road north of Port-au-Prince.
The journalist had photographed soldiers pistol-whipping their 
way to the front of a gas line during the U.N./OAS fuel 
embargo.  After an independent local daily published the photo, 
the reporter was arrested and beaten and family members were 
harassed, leading to the disappearance and murder of the 
journalist's cousin.  Criminal elements associated with 
Port-au-Prince's 22nd police company were suspected of 
involvement in the crime; the Government took no action to 
investigate or prosecute.

     c.  Torture and Other Cruel, Inhumane, or Degrading 
         Treatment or Punishment

The Constitution guarantees each citizen the right to life, 
health, respect of the human person, and individual liberty.  
In addition the Constitution prohibits unnecessary force or 
restraint, psychological pressure, or physical brutality.  
These constitutional protections were largely ignored, and 
ill-treatment remained widespread, particularly the threat of 
physical violence used by police and soldiers to extort money 
from detainees and their families.  Brutal beatings with fists 
and clubs, torture, and other cruel treatment of detainees were 
common.  In June a pregnant woman arrested for theft in the 
southern town of Jeremie was beaten so badly that she lost her 

Three labor leaders arrested and beaten in April were held at 
the Port-au-Prince military hospital for several days following 
their legal release.  They were probably detained and treated 
at the military hospital because the extent of their injuries 
would have aroused local and international outrage had they 
been released immediately.

Prison conditions are abysmal.  Detainees regularly have no 
access to legal counsel and continue to suffer from a lack of 
the most basic hygienic facilities as well as inadequate food 
and health care.  Children are regularly detained together with 
adults in violation of the rule that children should be 
detained separately.  The 1987 Constitution calls for prisons 
to be administered by the Ministry of Justice.  The army 
continues to control them, although the military authorities 
have asked to be relieved of responsibility for prison 
administration.  The ICM attempted to monitor prison conditions 
throughout the country and to prepare registers of all 
prisoners but periodically was denied access to prisoners.

     d.  Arbitrary Arrest, Detention, or Exile

Arbitrary arrest and detention remain among the most persistent 
human rights abuses in Haiti.  The ICM recorded more than 300 
cases of arbitrary arrest from June to August.  According to 
the Constitution, a person may be arrested only if apprehended 
during the commission of a crime or if a judicial warrant has 
been issued and must be brought before a judge within 48 hours 
of arrest.  In practice, however, arbitrary arrest and 
detention as well as interrogation without legal counsel 
present are common and are frequently used by soldiers and 
provincial officials to intimidate and extort money from the 
populace.  The frequency of this practice makes it difficult to 
determine the number of arrests on purely political grounds.

The Constitution calls for the separation of the police from 
the military, with the civilian police under Justice Ministry 
authority.  One goal of the Governors Island accord was passage 
of enabling legislation aimed at finally separating the police 
from the army.  On the basis of this legislation and with 
U.N.-sponsored training and assistance for the new police 
force, a new rural police force was to be deployed to the 
provinces to replace the infamous "section chiefs," a form of 
local constabulary in rural areas who are responsible for 
numerous arbitrary arrests.  Section chiefs commonly obtained 
their positions by bribing the military commanders who appoint 
them, recouping their "investment" in turn by accepting money 
from individuals called attaches or adjoints who also extort 
money from the peasant population under threat of arbitrary 
arrests and beatings.

Politically active clergy were frequently victims of arbitrary 
arrest and harassment by the military and the paramilitary 
attaches, as part of a more general intimidation campaign 
against Aristide sympathizers, particularly in the 
countryside.  In February pro-Aristide bishop Willy Romelus was 
attacked by civilians after giving a funeral mass at the 
Port-au-Prince cathedral.  The bishop was escorted from the 
cathedral site by U.N./OAS civilian observers.  Arrests and 
harassment of journalists are frequent and form part of an 
overall pattern of government and military intimidation of the 

Two American citizens were illegally detained in 1993, at the 
behest of relatives, in cases involving family land disputes.  
One American citizen was illegally detained for "lack of 
respect to a uniformed police officer on duty."

     e.  Denial of Fair Public Trial

This right is widely and severely abridged.  The Constitution 
provides for an independent judiciary and the right to a fair 
public trial.  It expressly denies police and judicial 
authorities the right to interrogate persons charged with a 
crime unless the suspect has legal counsel present or waives 
this right.  Nevertheless, interrogation without legal counsel 
present is the norm, and the use of beatings and torture to 
extract confessions is widespread.  Moreover, contempt for the 
judiciary dating back to the Duvalier regime rendered it a 
vestigial branch of government, understaffed, poorly trained, 
and inadequately compensated.  Seven years after the Duvaliers' 
fall, the judicial branch's lamentable state has not improved.  
All governments since 1986 have continued the practice of 
appointing and removing judges at will and of exerting 
political influence at every stage of the judicial process.

The Code of Criminal Procedure does not clearly assign 
responsibility to investigate crimes, and there are no 
penalties for delay or inaction.  Authority to prosecute is 
divided among police, prosecutors, and investigating 
magistrates.  Overlapping authority invites the abdication of 
responsibility and encourages tacit complicity in widespread 

The Code also stipulates two criminal court sessions per year 
to try all major crimes requiring a jury trial.  These sessions 
usually last only 2 weeks, and in some years only one session 
is held.  Failure to reform the Code has resulted in a huge 
backlog, with detainees sometimes waiting years in pretrial 
detention for a court date.  A U.S. citizen charged with murder 
(he was 15 years old at the time he was alleged to have 
committed the crime) has been detained for more than 2 years 
awaiting trial.  Taking the month of April as an example, the 
Port-au-Prince metropolitan military announced total arrests 
for the month to have been 1,018.  Some 212 prisoners were 
released in April, with 90 referred to the public prosecutors' 
office for possible charges.  During the same month, the 
Chamber of Deputies' Justice Committee counted 700 prisoners at 
the National Penitentiary, including about 250 military 
prisoners.  Fewer than 100 of the total penitentiary population 
were actually serving sentences.  The rest were accused persons 
held without bail.  If the accused is ultimately tried and 
found innocent, he has no recourse against the Government for 
time already served.

     f.  Arbitrary Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or 

Throughout 1993 there were many credible reports of soldiers 
and other armed persons entering private homes for illegal 
purposes.  Similar arbitrary searches were equally common in 
the provinces, with clergy suspected of pro-Aristide sympathies 
a particular target.  In addition, armed urban bandits called 
"zenglendos" violently raided entire neighborhoods of 
Port-au-Prince, confident that the police, with whom they are 
alleged to have strong ties, would not intervene.  

Police roadblocks were also used frequently to conduct illegal 
searches, especially during periods of real or perceived 
political tension.  In January police beat and held at gunpoint 
a foreign missionary at a police roadblock for having in his 
possession weekly newspapers, sold openly in Port-au-Prince, 
which mentioned President Aristide.  Police shot and wounded 
another foreigner in February for accidentally running a 
roadblock.  The discovery of pro-Aristide posters or literature 
during a police search of a house or vehicle frequently 
resulted in illegal arrest.  There were credible reports that 
police and military also seized private correspondence during 
such searches.

Section 2  Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

     a.  Freedom of Speech and Press

Freedom of speech and the press is provided for by the 
Constitution but is often abridged because of intimidation and 
self-censorship.  With an illiteracy rate of approximately 
80 percent, broadcast media, especially Creole-language radio, 
have unusual importance, and independent broadcast media were 
particular targets.  In February Conatel, the Haitian board 
governing communications, invoked a Duvalier-era decree to 
order all radio station directors to suppress all information 
that might "alarm the populace."

Nineteen radio stations operate in Port-au-Prince, 11 of which 
offer news programming.  Four radio stations operating before 
the coup closed permanently.  News broadcasts exercise sporadic 
self-censorship, conditioned by events and political tensions.  
Print media enjoyed greater freedom, possibly as a result of 
their relatively small readership.  Two independent daily 
newspapers operate in Port-au-Prince; pro-Aristide weeklies 
published in Haiti and in the United States were freely sold in 
the streets, although vendors of some of these publications 
were harassed sporadically.  The army and the police also 
frequently harassed, beat, or detained persons they found in 
possession of pro-Aristide literature.  There were numerous 
incidents of illegal detention and petty harassment of radio 
and print journalists during 1993.

     b.  Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association

The Constitution provides for freedom of assembly and 
association, but these rights were severely restricted 
following the 1991 coup d'etat.  There were credible reports 
from all parts of Haiti that the military engaged in a 
systematic effort to inhibit any type of association during 
1993.  Soldiers fired into the air to disperse gatherings.  
Some community organizers, even of nonpolitical organizations, 
were arrested and sometimes beaten, harassed, or intimidated 
into fleeing their own communities.  Grassroots liberation 
theology organizations in the countryside remain a strong base 
of support for President Aristide.  These groups and their 
leaders were particular targets of military and paramilitary 
harassment, such as short-term arrests clearly intended to 
intimidate.  These arrests often followed the discovery of 
pro-Aristide materials during illegal military searches of 
homes, vehicles, and church rectories.  Most civic education, 
community health, and literacy organizations were prevented 
from operating normally.

     c.  Freedom of Religion

Religion is an integral part of Haitian life and culture and is 
practiced widely.  Roman Catholicism and voodoo (a mixture of 
African beliefs and Christianity) are the two major religions.  
Members of various Protestant denominations and foreign 
missionary groups openly seek converts.  There are no 
government restrictions on missionary activities, affiliations 
with overseas coreligionists, or religious instruction or 

     d.  Freedom of Movement Within the Country, Foreign 
         Travel, Emigration, and Repatriation

There were credible reports that many Haitians moved from one 
area of the country to another to evade abusive local 
authorities.  Estimates of those numbers vary widely, and a 
lack of statistics make it difficult to establish the actual 
number.  However, it is likely that several thousand Haitians 
are internally displaced.

There were no cases of government restriction on foreign travel 
in 1993.  Although the clandestine departure of migrants is 
technically a violation of Haitian immigration law and 
punishable by fines or jail sentences, the authorities made 
only token efforts to interfere with such migration, 
occasionally in the form of soliciting small bribes to permit 
departure.  Authorities intermittently detained and prosecuted 
suspected organizers of the voyages.

Throughout 1993 U.S. authorities engaged in interdiction and 
repatriation of illegal Haitian migrants bound for the United 
States.  Although Haitian boat people face the same difficult 
conditions affecting Haitians in general, in interviews the 
U.S. Embassy refugee program has conducted with returnees, no 
credible claims of retribution have been made by those 
repatriated Haitians who are not involved in organizing the 
voyages.  Persons suspected of organizing the illegal departures
are generally taken into police custody and detained briefly.  
Since February 1992, the U.S. Embassy and the Immigration and 
Naturalization Service (INS) have provided in-country processing
of refugee applications by Haitians claiming well-founded fear 
of persecution, and INS has granted refugee status to 
approximately 2,000 Haitians who are then transported to the 
United States.

Section 3  Respect for Political Rights:  The Right of Citizens 
           to Change Their Government

The right of citizens to change their government was forcibly 
abridged by the September 1991 military coup, and again in 
October 1993 when the army and its allies refused to implement 
the Governors Island accords.  President Aristide was forced to 
flee the country after the coup, and most senior members of his 
administration either went into hiding, fled the country, or 
took refuge in foreign embassies.

The Parliament and such local officials as mayors were elected 
along with President Aristide at the end of 1990.  Some local 
elected officials were persecuted and ousted from office after 
the coup.  Members of Parliament remained in place and have 
played a continuing role in political events since the coup.  
In January the de facto government mandated, pursuant to an 
"executive order," by-elections for nine senate and four 
chamber seats.  Pro-Aristide political parties refused to run 
for the vacant seats.  The by-elections were conducted 
irregularly and the results were not recognized by the 
international community.  Members of Parliament and leaders of 
political parties agreed at the United Nations in July that 
those elected to parliamentary seats in January would refrain 
from participating in legislative business until a solution to 
the problem could be found by the incoming constitutional 

There are no de jure impediments to women's participation in 
politics or government.  De facto impediments include economic 
factors such as poorer families "rationing" education money to 
pay school fees for male children only, and the general lower 
status of women which limits their role in these fields.

Section 4  Governmental Attitude Regarding International and 
           Nongovernmental Investigation of Alleged Violations 
           of Human Rights

About a dozen local human rights groups exist in Haiti, but 
only a few were active.  All of the local human rights groups 
depended upon five attorneys in Port-au-Prince who offered pro 
bono legal defense assistance.  These attorneys were also 
training paralegals to defend cases in the provinces.  Human 
rights organization officials reported repeated threats but 
still managed to operate relatively freely.  Haitian human 
rights figures and groups have publicly criticized the 
Government, although more so under the previous de facto regime 
than in the late-1993 political climate of intimidation and 
increased violence.  Most such groups do not have the means or 
training to investigate government activities.  One human 
rights group conducted a prison visit/reform program during 
1993.  The program halted when the group's director was 
threatened by armed civilians who invaded his home in late 
October; the director ultimately was forced to leave the 

The ICM, a team of international human rights observers which 
eventually numbered more than 200, were deployed throughout 
Haiti under U.N. and OAS auspices until October.  The ICM's 
activities were largely tolerated by military and de facto 
civilian authorities, although access to prisons was blocked 
intermittently by local officials.  On two occasions ICM 
vehicles were deliberately damaged:  one was stoned by a 
pro-Aristide mob and another was battered by soldiers and armed 
civilians.  ICM personnel were followed and intimidated by army 
enlisted men in the Artibonite Valley and in the Central 
Plateau, two areas known for strong pro-Aristide sympathies and 
repressive local military commands, but no ICM personnel were 
harmed.  ICM personnel were temporarily evacuated to the 
Dominican Republic in October because of concern for their 
personal safety during heightened political tension over 
implementation of the Governors Island accords.  At the end of 
the year, ICM personnel had not yet returned but were expected 
to begin returning by the end of January 1994.  

Representatives of international human rights organizations 
visited Haiti regularly.  These groups also faced threats and 
harassment, but their high profile permitted them to operate 
relatively freely.  In August the Inter-American Commission on 
Human Rights visited to gather information on the human rights 
situation.  The U.N. Special Rapporteur on Haiti was part of 
that delegation.

Section 5  Discrimination based on Race, Sex, Religion, 
           Disability, Language, or Social Status


Officially, there is no discrimination against women.  While 
the 1987 Constitution does not specifically prohibit 
discrimination against women, it does establish fundamental 
rights for "all citizens."  Women have occupied prominent 
positions in both the public and private sectors in recent 
years.  In some social strata, however, women's roles have been 
limited by tradition.  Peasant women remain largely in the 
traditional occupations of farming, marketing, and domestic 
tasks.  Violence against women is known to occur with some 
frequency, but, because of societal traditions, it is generally 
not reported to police authorities.

Although women are traditionally often the breadwinners for 
rural and urban poor families, they do not enjoy the same 
economic and social status as men.  Knowledgeable local 
authorities report that both domestic violence and rape are 
common but are rarely reported or prosecuted.  Existing laws 
and penalties against these crimes would be adequate were they 


The practice of forced domestic labor by children, called 
"restavek" in Haitian creole, continued unabated during 1993.  
An estimated 109,000 restavek children were cited in a 1991 
U.N. study as an example of slavery practiced in the 20th 
century.  Young children from rural families are "adopted" and 
"educated" by more affluent city dwellers to serve as unpaid 
domestic labor.  The children are compelled to work long hours, 
receive poor nourishment, little or no education, and are 
frequently beaten and sexually abused.  Most of Port-au-Prince's
large population of street children are runaway restaveks, and 
child prostitution rings are alleged to purchase restavek 
children from their "adoptive families."  Local human rights 
groups do not regard the plight of restavek children as a 
priority and do not report on abuses of children or actively 
seek to improve their situation.

Only 2 percent of the Health Ministry budget was devoted to 
health programs such as immunization and oral rehydration which 
serve children.  However, humanitarian assistance to Haiti is 
specifically targeted at the most vulnerable groups of the 
population.  It is probable that infant and child mortality has 
deteriorated over the last year given the general long-term 
decline in social and economic conditions in Haiti--a decline 
that began before the September 1991 coup.  In the absence of 
thorough survey data, it is impossible to determine the 
magnitude of such a decline.

     National/Racial/Ethnic Minorities

Some 95 percent of Haitians are descendants of African slaves 
who won their war of independence from France in 1804.  Most 
others are mulatto or of European, Middle Eastern, North 
American, or Latin American origin.  Haitian law makes no 
distinctions based on race.  There are longstanding social and 
political animosities among these various groups, however, many 
of which date back before Haiti's revolutionary period.

There are two official languages:  Creole, which is spoken by 
virtually all Haitians, and French, which is spoken by about 
20 percent of the population.  Those unable to read, write, and 
speak French are limited in their political and economic 
activities.  Many argue that the country's French-speaking 
elite have used language requirements as a barrier to the 
advancement of the country's Creole-speaking majority.

     People with Disabilities

There is no overt ill-treatment of people with disabilities, 
but given the desperate poverty in which the vast majority of 
Haitians live, those with disabilities face a particularly 
harsh existence.  There are no laws mandating provision of 
access for people with disabilities.

Section 6  Worker Rights

     a.  The Right of Association

The Constitution and the Labor Code guarantee the right of 
association.  Workers, including those in the public sector, 
are specifically granted the right to form and join unions 
without prior government authorization.  A union, which must 
have a minimum of 10 members, is required to register with the 
Ministry of Social Affairs within 60 days of its establishment.
Union membership, marginal before the coup and even more so 
now, is estimated at 1 percent of the total labor force.  The 
influence and effectiveness of organized labor has been 
severely limited and eroded as a result of political repression 
and economic breakdown.  There are five principal labor 
federations:  the Autonomous Central of Haitian Workers, the 
National Confederation of Haitian Teachers, the Federation of 
Unionized Workers, the Confederation of Haitian Workers, and 
the Independent General Organization of Haitian Workers.  Each 
of these organizations maintains some affiliation with various 
international labor organizations.

The military continued to employ widespread repression and 
violence against trade union activities.  Many union leaders 
closed their offices and went into hiding.  Three union leaders 
were arrested and severely beaten by police in April.  Unions, 
as well as all other citizen groups or assemblies, may meet 
only with the express written permission of the military.  The 
military forced established unions of telephone, electrical, 
and journalism workers either to change or completely replace 
their leadership.  The military also intimidated leaders of 
rural agricultural unions and peasant cooperatives by arrests, 
beatings, and banning of meetings.

Tripartite negotiations (labor, management, and government) 
begun in 1986 to revise the Labor Code were concluded in 1992.  
The revised Labor Code has not yet been approved by 
Parliament.  The revised Code recognizes the right to strike 
but restricts the duration of certain types of strikes, as did 
the previous Code.  The Code also stipulates that the Ministry 
of Social Affairs must recognize workers' right to strike in 
each case before a strike is legal.  There were several 
attempts at major public or private sector strikes in 1993, but 
they were not widely observed, owing to the atmosphere of 
severe repression that followed the coup, as well as the 
economic impact of the U.N./OAS embargo.

     b.  The Right to Organize and Bargain Collectively

Trade union organizing activities are protected by the Labor 
Code, and those who interfere with this right may be fined.  
Employers, including export firms, however, still routinely 
attempted to prevent workers from organizing labor unions, and 
government enforcement remained mostly ineffective.  While 
union activities were curtailed by the de facto authorities, 
job loss as a result of economic conditions had a far more 
damaging impact on union activities.  Prior to the coup, 
organized labor activity was generally concentrated in the 
Port-au-Prince area, primarily in a large private sugar 
factory, in the assembly sector, and in state enterprises, all 
three of which suffered drastic job losses following the coup.  
The Haitian-American Sugar Company, which alone employed 7,000 
unionized workers, has been closed for more than a year.  State 
enterprises also suffered large job losses as the state-run 
flour mill, daily newspaper, and cement factory shut down.

Collective bargaining, which has never been widespread in 
Haiti, was nonexistent in 1993.  Wages are generally set 
unilaterally by employers.

While Haiti has no export processing zones, prior to the OAS 
trade embargo it did have a sizable export-oriented assembly 
sector.  The Haitian Labor Code does not distinguish between 
industries producing for the local market and those producing 
for export.  Many assembly sector companies were the focus of 
developmental efforts; they received greater outside scrutiny 
and were consequently somewhat more generous with benefits such 
as on-site medical care, vitamin supplements, interest-free 
loans, and subsidized meals than domestically oriented 
producers.  In addition, wages in the assembly sector are 
generally above the official minimum wage.  Total employment in 
the export assembly sector declined by about 75 percent, 
corresponding to an estimated 25,000 to 30,000 jobs.  As the 
assembly sector contracted, unions that were particularly 
strong in this sector declined accordingly.

     c.  Prohibition of Forced or Compulsory Labor

The Labor Code prohibits forced or compulsory labor, but 
enforcement of these provisions is practically nonexistent.  
Children continued to be subjected to forced domestic labor 
(see Section 5).

     d.  Minimum Age for Employment of Children

The minimum employment age for minors in all sectors is 15 
years.  Fierce adult competition for jobs ensures that child 
labor is not a factor in the industrial sector.  Children under 
15 commonly work at odd jobs in both rural and urban settings 
to supplement family income.  Enforcement of child labor laws 
is the responsibility of the Ministry of Social Affairs but has 
been criticized by the International Labor Organization as 

     e.  Acceptable Conditions of Work

The minimum wage is set by law.  A few weeks before the 
September 1991 coup, Parliament set a new minimum wage of about 
$2.15 (26 gourdes) per day for workers in the industrial 
sector.  Although technically it became law before the coup, 
the legislation was never published in the official gazette; 
nevertheless, companies in the assembly sector have already 
adopted it.  Even if it were widely applied in the private 
sector, the revised minimum wage would not provide a worker and 
family with a decent living.  The minimum wage law applies also 
to agricultural workers but is not enforced.  Thus the majority 
of Haitians, who work in the agricultural sector, must survive 
on considerably less than the minimum wage.

The Labor Code governs individual employment contracts.  The 
Code sets the normal workday at 8 hours and the workweek at 48 
hours, with 24 hours of rest on Sunday.  It also establishes 
minimum health and safety regulations.  These laws and 
regulations are somewhat better observed in the industrial 
sector, which is concentrated in the Port-au-Prince area and is 
more accessible to outside scrutiny.  However, official 
enforcement, which is the responsibility of the Ministry of 
Social Affairs, has been lax.  Labor Code provisions on health 
and safety are not enforced.  With more than 50 percent of the 
population unemployed, workers are not able to exercise the 
right to remove themselves from dangerous work situations 
without jeopardy to continued employment.

[end of document]


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