No. 21/03

          At the invitation of the Government of Haiti, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) will make an on-site visit to Haiti, from August 18 to 22, 2003 to observe the overall human rights situation in the country, in particular with regard to the administration of justice, impunity, and the rule of law.

          The IACHR is a principal organ of the Organization of American States (OAS), entrusted with the promotion and protection of human rights throughout the Hemisphere. The seven members of the Commission are elected in their personal capacity by the OAS General Assembly for a four-year term.  The Commission’s terms of reference derive from the American Convention on Human Rights and the OAS Charter, instruments ratified by the Republic of Haiti.

The IACHR delegation will consist of Commissioner Marta Altolaguirre, President of the IACHR; Commissioner Clare Kamau Roberts, Second Vice President of the IACHR and Rapporteur for Haiti; Mario López Garelli, Attorney and Senior Human Rights Specialist; and Bernard Duhaime, Attorney and Human Rights Specialist. 

          During its stay in Haiti, the Commission will meet with the highest-level government officials and with representatives of diverse sectors of civil society, such as members of the legal community, representatives of human rights organizations, etc.

        While in Haiti, it will be prepared to receive petitions from persons alleging that their human rights have been violated.  The petitions must be presented in writing.  A sample form is available in the OAS office on impasse 4, Fraçois, Musseau, Haití.  During its visit, the Commission will have an office in the Hotel Montana in Pétion-ville, which will be open from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. from August 18 to 22, 2003.

          At the end its visit, the Commission will hold a press conference in the Hotel Montana, on Friday, August 22, 2003.  It will then return to its headquarters in Washington, D.C., to evaluate its findings and prepare a report on the human rights situation in Haiti.

          The Commission is grateful for the cooperation and the facilities provided by the Government of Haiti and by nongovernmental organizations, civil society institutions, and international organizations, including the OAS Special Mission, in the preparation of its visit, and once again it expresses its full readiness to cooperate with the democratic governments of the Hemisphere in promoting and protecting human rights.

Washington, D.C., August 15, 2003