Haiti Not Ready for Return of Big Business, says Human Rights Expert

December 4, 2012
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Defend HT

UN Ind. Expert on Human Rights in Haiti, Michel Forst

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (defend.ht) – The independent expert of the United Nations on the situation of human rights in Haiti, Michel Forst, announced on Friday after reviewing the human rights situation in Haiti, that “Haiti is not presently ready for the return of big business.”

A journalist from Scoop FM asked the human rights expert, “since he government has made the rule of law a pillar of its program, do you see those in power on the road towards the rule of law?”

In his response, Michel Forst said:

“…for me, I repeat, the rule of law is not only civil and political rights but also economic, cultural and social rights.”

This prompted a follow up question from an FM Caraïbes journalist who said, “Your statement is rather overwhelming in terms of the rule of law. While the government continues to advocate “Haiti is Open for Business” What do you think of a country where the rule of law does not reign supreme, is this a country that can attract foreign investors?”

Forst said in his reponse:

“Haiti is not ready at this time for the return of large companies. I am speaking on the feeling of a few French investors. I do not know the mindset of U.S. investors or others. In any case, the French say that for them the prerequisites are not yet met.”

“They insist that even if there is the Commercial Code, the cadastre, land, social rights are not yet stabilized. Therefore, the prerequisites are not met for investors to invest heavily in Haiti.”

“This is why we need to build a state of law in which the Commercial Code, the Labour Code are also parameters of the rule of law. And while these settings are not reunited, it is clear that the return on investment is not yet totally secure.”

Forst gave this response in a question and answer portion of a press conference held at MINUSTAH press quarters. The independent expert said also expressed dissatisfaction with the developments since his last visit which brought hope.

The rule of law has not been achieved in Haiti said Forst, adding that “the rule of law is not only civil and political rights but also economic and cultural social rights.”

Michel Forst says during his visit he met with the Prime Minister, members of the government, senior judges and representatives of Parliament. He also met with the head of MINUSTAH, members of the diplomatic corps and representatives of civil society.

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