The UN is putting pressure on the Haitian government to move forward on legislative and local elections. The government has been taking steps in the last year to promote citizens’ rights, including passing laws to protect people with disability, improving workers’ rights, and establishing an independent judiciary. While this progress is meaningful, elections are a necessary next step to continue strengthening the country.
According to Michael Posner, U.S. assistant secretary of state for democracy, human rights and labor, “this is really a moment where Haitians themselves have to own their future, and find ways to engage with each other.” Some Haitians, though, have skepticism that elections would produce results. Many believe that the rule of law is not respected, and that the police, prisons and judiciary are not adequately doing their jobs.
It seems that Haitians do have much cause for concern. While the government has taken positive actions in the last year, there is much suffering in Haiti that leaves me wondering if things will ever change. For example, 350,000 people are still living in displacement camps three years after the hurricane. The UN’s independent expert on human rights, Michel Forst, has a similar opinion as the Haitian people and me. He has “heavily criticized Haitian authorities, questioning their commitment to strengthening Haiti’s broken justice system, saying in practice, many efforts to do so were being blocked.”