May 6 2005
Press Release – Organization of American States
The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) wishes to express its grave concern over the health and legal status of former Prime Minister Mr. Yvon Neptune in the Republic of Haiti. Over the past several months, the Commission has followed with concern the situation of Mr. Neptune, based upon information indicating that the former Prime Minister has been detained since June of 2004, apparently without having been charged or brought before a judge to determine the legality of his arrest and detention. The Commission also understands that Mr. Neptune has undertaken a hunger strike to protest the lack of due process in his circumstances. In light of these concerns, the Commission sent three separate communications to the Haitian State in March and April 2005 requesting information about Mr. Neptune�s status, including his measures of security and condition of health. As of the present date, the Commission has not received a response from the government of Haiti to its requests for information. In addition, on April 19, 2005 the Commission received an individual petition filed on Mr. Neptune�s behalf alleging violations of his rights under the American Convention, which the Commission has since transmitted to the State for a response.
As the Commission has noted on previous occasions, Mr. Neptune�s situation is part of a broader and longstanding problem in Haiti of the prolonged detention of individuals without charge or trial. During its recent visit to Haiti in April 2005, for example, the Commission visited the National Penitentiary and discovered that of the 1,054 inmates in the prison only 9 were convicted of any crime. In this respect, the Commission has emphasized the State�s obligation to end impunity for all human rights abuses through demonstrably fair and effective procedures that conform to international standards, as well as its obligation to ensure to all persons within its jurisdiction the right to physical integrity, liberty and the right to a fair trial as enshrined under Articles 5, 7 and 8 of the American Convention.
Accordingly, the Commission calls upon the Haitian State to take the urgent measures necessary to guarantee the right to life, physical integrity and access to effective judicial protection and guarantees of Mr. Neptune.