Report from U.N. Human Rights Expert Expresses Grave Concern over Deportations to Haiti
ACLU and Dozens of Other Groups Call on U.S. to Change Policy Due to Dangerous Conditions
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GENEVA, Switzerland – The American Civil Liberties Union, along with more than 50 other groups, at a meeting of the U.N. Human Rights Council today called on the U.S. to stop deportations to Haiti. The joint statement condemning the deportations came as the U.N. Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in Haiti, Michel Forst, repeated his serious concerns about deporting individuals to Haiti because of the unsafe environment there.
Since January 2011, the U.S. has sent four deportation flights carrying dozens of people to Haiti. The most recent flight was Tuesday, and more are expected soon. At least one of the deportees, Wildrick Guerrier, died of cholera after being deported to Haiti. In a policy statement issued April 1, the government said that it was deporting only individuals with criminal records who pose a danger to the public, and that it would take into account additional factors such as family ties and medical conditions that place individuals at particular risk. However, the government has established no procedure for making these determinations, and recent deportees include people with only nonviolent and minor crimes as well as people with extensive family ties to the United States and serious medical conditions.
The following can be attributed to Jamil Dakwar, director of the ACLU Human Rights Program:
"Continuing deportations to Haiti while conditions remain so dangerous is an affront to human rights. With Haiti battling a cholera epidemic and an unprecedented humanitarian crisis, it is irresponsible to force anyone to return before conditions have improved enough to allow a safe and humane return. The United States should strive to be a leader on human rights, but this policy ignores the recommendations of the international human rights community."
The following can be attributed to Judy Rabinovitz, deputy director of the ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project.
"The government is violating its own stated policy. At a minimum the government must ensure that no one is deported to Haiti without the case-by-case assessments they are entitled to."
The joint statement from the ACLU and other organizations is available here:
The report of the U.N. Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in Haiti is available here: www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/hrcouncil/docs/17session/A.HRC.17.42_en.pdf