On September 15th, International Democracy Day: “Défenseurs Plus” calls for respect for standards and a return to democratic order in Haiti.
In a democracy, respect for the standards established by state authorities and the consolidation of institutions remain an obligation for both the governed and the governing. This political system, namely democracy, grants sovereignty to citizens, who exercise it through the possibility it offers them to choose their own representatives through regular and transparent elections.
For the past two (2) years, “Défenseurs Plus” has observed institutional gaps in the three (3) branches of government in Haiti. Article 58 of the 1987 Constitution clearly states that “citizens exercise the prerogatives of sovereignty” through the election of the country’s political personnel. However, it is being observed that this sovereignty of the people is being violated by the de facto and unpopular government. The legislative branch, composed of the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies, has been non-functional since 2020. The dual-headed executive branch, in principle, is being led by an unconstitutional and illegitimate Prime Minister following the assassination of President Jovenel MOISE on July 7, 2021. The judicial branch is affected by both structural and conjunctural problems and suffers from illegality in its highest judicial and administrative instances. Furthermore, the lack of resources and the absence of professional conscience prevent litigants from having confidence in the actions of judges and other actors in the system. Political influence, corruption, prolonged pretrial detention, and poor conditions in detention centers are sources of human rights violations.
Furthermore, democracy, by its very nature, is the power of the people. However, the government led by the current Prime Minister shows no concern for the fate of the population, hindered by insecurity, crime, and violence from armed groups. On the contrary, it remains indifferent and complicit in the blatant violations of human rights suffered by the population, both in civil and political aspects, as well as in the economic, social, and cultural spheres. These situations hinder the enjoyment of public and individual freedoms that are necessary for democratic life in any country.
“Défenseurs Plus” emphasizes that democracy, as a political system, is intrinsically linked to the notion of popular sovereignty, which guarantees the right to self-determination of the people. In this sense, point 3 of Article 21 of the United Nations Charter states that “the will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government; this will shall be expressed in periodic and genuine elections which shall be by universal and equal suffrage.” Therefore, the organization of free and democratic elections is a necessary legal requirement for any transitional or interim government.
On this International Democracy Day, “Défenseurs Plus” urges the authorities of the de facto power to respect the fundamental rights of the Haitian people, by ensuring a secure environment conducive to the organization of general elections in the country without delay. It also calls on the national and international forces to mobilize for the respect of the right to life and for the restoration of the essential institutions of the State.
Done in Port-au-Prince, on September 15, 2023
Legal Assistance Manager
Tel: (509) 3748-2218