Report to the 72nd General Assembly

Mexico City, Mexico

October 13 – 17, 2016


The country continues to be submerged in electoral and political uncertainty that is affecting the free exercise of fundamental liberties, while journalists and news media are being harmed by severe economic and social problems, facing limitations for the practice of journalism.

In its 2016 edition of the world press freedom classification Reporters Without Borders placed Haiti in 53rd place among 180 countries. The organization concluded that Haitian journalists lack financial resources and access to information is difficult for them. It adds that despite changes in the press law journalists continue to be the victim of intimidation and physical violence.

On June 6 the government invalidated the October 25, 2015 elections following the recommendation of the Independent Evaluation and Verification Commission that detected possible cases of fraud in the polling.

The annulment of the voting was repudiated by electoral observers of the European Union, the Organization of American States and international institutions that verified the elections and considered the allegations of fraud to be hardly proven.

Meanwhile, President Michel Martelly (2011-2016) ended his mandate in February without a successor having been ratified and the chairman of the Senate, Jocelerme Privet, was named interim chairman. Privet's interim mandate expired on June 15, but he remained in the post as de facto chairman, due to the fact that the National Assembly refused to meet to name a substitute.

In June the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights expressed deep concern at the lack of institutional continuity which "affects the effective prevalence of human rights" in Haiti.

The first round of the presidential and legislative elections, scheduled for October 9, 2016, was suspended due to the serious damage caused in the south of the country by Hurricane Matthew following its passage on October 3, which left close to 500 deaths.

Given the unstable political situation and the denunciations of corruption the government is running the risk of the withdrawal of its principal donors' financial aid for the country's recuperation now affected by Hurricane Matthew and still by the effects of the January 2010 earthquake in which more than 200,000 people died and some 1.5 million were left homeless.