Extreme weather and environmental crisis: Défenseurs Plus is calling on the authorities to define sustainable policies for environmental protection.
For several decades, the right to a healthy and clean environment has been violated in Haiti. In other words, environmental problems are increasing. Furthermore, the state has been unable to ensure a clean and sustainable environment for its citizens in accordance with Article 9 of the decree of January 26, 2006, which deals with environmental management and the regulation of citizens’ behavior for sustainable development. Défenseurs Plus has observed that after seventeen years since the adoption of this decree, there has been a rapid degradation of the country’s environmental situation, characterized by deforestation, erosion, pollution, and congestion of public roads after periods of rainfall.
According to the observations of Défenseurs Plus, significant material damage has been recorded in the affected areas after recent heavy rains. This includes damaged roads (with road sections cut off), collapsed bridges, dysfunctional power pylons, waste, and stagnant water littering the streets, resulting in a slowdown of activities. Impracticable roads in Lalue, Rue Capois, Pétion-Ville, Martissant, and others are causing difficult pedestrian and vehicular traffic, leading to massive congestion throughout the metropolitan region. In Carrefour Feuilles, a landslide occurred where houses were destroyed.
The country is highly vulnerable to extreme weather events, and the government remains indifferent and inactive in the face of environmental degradation. It seems that the authorities of the de facto government are not concerned about the climate change threats that are affecting our region, including our country. Heavy rainfall causes an increase in endemic diseases such as cholera, malaria, and typhoid, resulting in the deaths of hundreds of people in provincial cities. In some municipalities, such as Bainet, Belladère, Cornillon, Savanette, recent cases of cholera have been reported. The accumulation of waste in the streets after heavy rains, along with the alluvium containing plastic debris and fecal matter that invade the streets, undermines public health. Environmental problems pose a major challenge throughout the country and require significant intervention from the state, which is the guarantor of human rights according to Article 19 of the 1987 Haitian Constitution.
Environmental degradation constitutes a systematic violation of human rights in a country plagued by growing and menacing insecurity. The violation of the right to a clean and healthy environment has a negative impact on the right to life, the right to health, and the right to housing for both men and women. As a result, the collective defending human rights, Défenseurs Plus, demands that the competent state authorities define policies for environmental management.
Done in Port-au-Prince, October 26, 2023.
Deverson Frimens Duval
Head of Communication and Advocacy.
Tel : (509) 3716-3526/3223-6116