The human rights situation in Haiti is characterized as
serious by Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch.
Basic social and economic human rights, such as the right to
education and health, are very limited for the majority of
Haiti's authorities run about 25 percent of primary
schools, the rest run by private individuals, organizations
and missionaries. Most private schools are of poor quality,
and only 30 percent of Haiti's teaching staff are qualified
educators. On average, children under four attend school.
The earthquake in 2010 destroyed 80 percent of schools in
the affected areas. About. 50 percent of the adult
population is illiterate. About 40 percent of Haiti's
residents lack access to clean water.
Countryaah.com, Haiti's judiciary is known to be corrupt
and dysfunctional. Conditions in Haitian prisons are among
the worst in the world and are well below international
minimum standards for the treatment of inmates. More than 70
percent of inmates are in long-term custody without a valid
judgment. On average, one can sit in custody for one year -
and in some prisons for as long as six years, without a
sentence. The legislation and the judiciary are written and
operated in French, which prevents many of the inmates from
understanding their own proceedings and, not least, their
own rights. The majority of the inmates belong to the poor
part of the population and are only proficient in Creole.
Relations with neighboring countries The Dominican
Republic is strained and complex. Poor Haitians have for
generations emigrated to neighboring countries in search of
a better life. Many of these were originally encouraged by
the Dominican State to come to work on sugar plantations and
in agriculture. Haitians and Dominicans of Haitian descent
are among the poorest in the country, and many are living in
the country illegally. It is estimated that there are
approximately 800,000 Haitians living in the Dominican
Republic. In September 2013, the Dominican Republic
Constitutional Court ruled that all citizenship and birth
certificates given to children by foreigners without legal
residence and who were born in the country after 1929 should
be reviewed because they are considered illegal. In
practice, this means that hundreds of thousands of Haitians
are at risk of deportation to Haiti and may lose their right
to work, education, and health care. The verdict is met with
massive condemnation from the international community and
human rights defenders.
The United States is a very important player in Haiti.
Geographically, there is a short distance between countries,
and every year thousands of Haitians try to reach the United
States, in poor and crowded boats. Many of these so-called
Boat People never reach Florida, either because they perish
on the ocean or because they are taken care of by the US
Coast Guard and returned to Haiti. There are approximately
700,000 Haitians living in the United States and many are
actively lobbying the US government for bilateral support
for the country. The United States has contributed billions
to the reconstruction of Haiti after the earthquake. Haiti
is one of the largest transit countries for drugs ending up
in American cities. The fight against drug trafficking,
organized crime, including trafficking in human beings, is
one of the main US initiatives in the region.
Norwegian involvement in Haiti
Norway has provided some support to Haiti over the past
ten years, primarily through peace and reconciliation
efforts. After the earthquake in 2010, Norway has increased
its involvement with a focus on regional development in the
south of the country. Supported programs are natural
disaster prevention, natural resource management,
agriculture, the private sector, clean energy and tourism.
Norway supports efforts to combat sexual violence in Haiti
through a project in which Norwegian police advisers work
with the Haitian police to strengthen local expertise in
Other Norwegian actors in Haiti are Norwegian Church Aid,
which works with local partners on access to clean water,
disaster prevention, building schools, and women's
education, and Project Haiti, which runs educational
projects for children and youth, vocational training and
entrepreneurship for women.
A brief summary of Haiti's condition is depressing and
sad reading. Yet, if something has been illustrated in this
country, it is that the Haitian people can rise - so to
speak, regardless of resistance.
Population: 10.49 million (2016)
Life expectancy: 63.18 years
Infant mortality: 49.43 per 1000
GDP per capita (PPP): US $ 1,800 (2016)
Religion: Catholicism 54.7%, Protestantism
28.5%, voodoo 2.1% other 4.6%
Official languages: French and Creole
Main export items: Clothing, scrap metal,
oils, cocoa, mango, and coffee.
Regional relations: Member of Caricom,
CELAC, Petrocaribe, Union Latina, OAS