Torture is not even a criminal offence in Haiti. The country’s parliament must immediately take this long overdue step and pass a law criminalizing torture. There is no excuse for further delay.”
Compiled from hundreds of testimonies and evidence gathered over 10 years, the report exposes the institutionalized use of police torture chambers and routine abuses in a country that prohibits torture in its constitution but has yet to pass legislation outlawing the violation.
The video also reveals how most of those detained are held incommunicado – denied access to the outside world, including lawyers, families and courts.
Torture has become such an integral part of policing in Haiti that many police stations have an informal “Officer in Charge of Torture” or O/C Torture. They use an alarming array of techniques, choking, electric shocks and sexual violence.
Haiti’s police is committing similar human rights violations, detaining protesters for no reason.
“Torture happens on this scale partly because no one, including in the chain of command, is being held accountable.Haiti needs a radical change of approach, to suspend all officers against whom there are credible allegations of torture, to thoroughly investigate those allegations and to ensure that suspected torturers are brought to justice.”
When internal investigations within the police do take place, the findings are not made public and the recommendations rarely implemented. Of the hundreds of cases researched by Amnesty International, not one victim of torture or other ill-treatment was compensated or received other reparation from the Haitian government.
The Haitian government is aware of the problem and nothing gets done on reforming the criminal justice system and eradicating torture. However, the implementation of these recommendations has been painfully slow.
“Our message to the Haitian authorities today is clear – criminalize torture, end incommunicado detention and fully investigate allegations of abuse,” Hole Mugambe said.
“That would mark an important first step towards ending this abhorrent practice. It’s high time the Haitiann authorities show they can be taken seriously on this issue.”