[Ppnews] Children suffer in Haiti jails

Political Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Mon Jun 21 17:02:07 EDT 2010

Group says children suffer in Haiti jails


Sunday, June 20, 2010

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti – A human rights group here 
says that more than 50 children are currently 
subjected to harsh treatment in jails in the 
earthquake-ravaged, French-speaking Caribbean country.

“These minors are receiving no special treatment 
whatsoever and routinely face prolonged 
preventive detention, overcrowding, poor 
conditions and no rehabilitation strategy,” said 
the Haitian National Human Rights Defence Network 
in a statement, disclosing that at least 58 children have suffered this fate.

The network said that since the January 12 
devastating earthquake 43 boys and 15 girls have 
been transferred to two prisons built for adults.

"There are 15 girls jammed into one little cell 
in which there are supposed to be a maximum of four people," it said.

This comes in the wake of a report by a United 
Nations human rights expert, which describes 
conditions at two of Haiti’s main prisons as “cruel, inhuman and degrading”.

Michel Forst – who visited the National 
Penitentiary in capital, Port-au-Prince, and the 
prison in southern city of Cayes, from April 21 
to May 1 – also told the UN Human Rights Council 
in Geneva, Switzerland that the prisons in Haiti are severely overcrowded.

He said this became even more unbearable in the 
wake of the January 12 earthquake that ravaged 
capital, Port-au-Prince, leaving several prisons destroyed.

“Both places are overcrowded with detainees 
living in cruel, inhumane, and degrading 
conditions, in the meaning of the (UN) convention 
against torture,” said Frost, adding that 
conditions at the two prisons are “even more 
severe than before the earthquake”.

He called for a “serious and impartial” probe 
into the alleged shooting death of about 10 
prisoners at Cayes, who sought to escape in the aftermath of the earthquake.

Late last month, the UN said it and Haiti will 
look into the deadly prison riot in Les Cayes 
amid allegations that unarmed inmates were shot by local police officers.

The UN said the independent commission will be “a joint UN-Haiti” effort.

“The commission is being set up under an 
agreement reached between Haitian President René 
Préval and Edmund Mulet, the Secretary-General’s 
Special Representative and the head of the UN 
peacekeeping mission, which is known as MINUSTAH,” the UN statement said.

According to reports, more than a dozen people 
were killed and dozens of others wounded during 
the attempted prison escape in Les Cayes on 
January 19, raising questions about the role 
played by the Haitian National Police (HNP).

“As far as we're concerned, there was a major 
human rights violation in that prison,” UN spokesman David Wimhurst said.

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