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Torture by Police, Forced Disappearance

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In the early years of the 21st Century, 2000 to 2025                                    

Republic of Haiti

A culture of violence and impunity in law enforcement, in addition to widespread crime and violence, leave people in Haiti with little protection from the illegitimate use of force.

[Freedom House Country Report, 2018]

Description: Description: Haiti

CAUTION:  The following links have been culled from the web to illuminate the situation in Haiti.  Some of these links may lead to websites that present allegations that are unsubstantiated or even false.  No attempt has been made to validate their authenticity or to verify their content.



If you are looking for material to use in a term-paper, you are advised to scan the postings on this page and others to see which aspects of Torture by Authorities are of particular interest to you.  You might be interested in exploring the moral justification for inflicting pain or inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment in order to obtain critical information that may save countless lives, or to elicit a confession for a criminal act, or to punish someone to teach him a lesson outside of the courtroom.  Perhaps your paper might focus on some of the methods of torture, like fear, extreme temperatures, starvation, thirst, sleep deprivation, suffocation, or immersion in freezing water.  On the other hand, you might choose to write about the people acting in an official capacity who perpetrate such cruelty.  There is a lot to the subject of Torture by Authorities.  Scan other countries as well as this one.  Draw comparisons between activity in adjacent countries and/or regions.  Meanwhile, check out some of the Term-Paper resources that are available on-line.

*** ARCHIVES ***

2020 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Haiti

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, 30 March 2021

[accessed 22 July 2021]


While the law prohibits such practices, several reports from nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) alleged that HNP officers beat or otherwise abused detainees and suspects. Detainees were subject to cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment in overcrowded, poorly maintained, and unsanitary prisons and makeshift detention centers.

A May 5 video clip showed Patrick Benoit, with hands and feet tied and bloodied clothing, being dragged on the ground by police. The incident took place after magistrate judge Ricot Vrigneau and police officers attempted to enforce what they claimed was a court judgment.


Physical Conditions: Overcrowding at prisons and detention centers was severe, especially at the National Penitentiary in Port-au-Prince and the prison in Cap Haitien, where each prisoner had 8.6 square feet of space. In many prisons detainees slept in shifts due to the lack of space. Some prisons had no beds for detainees, and some cells had no natural light. In other prisons the cells often were open to the elements or lacked adequate ventilation. Many prison facilities lacked adequate basic services such as plumbing, sanitation, waste disposal, electricity, ventilation, and lighting.


Pretrial Detention: Prolonged pretrial detention remained a serious problem due to the arbitrary application of court rules, court discretion, corruption, and poor record keeping. The judicial system rarely observed the constitutional mandate to bring detainees before a judge within 48 hours. Many pretrial detainees never consulted with an attorney, appeared before a judge, or received a docket timeline. In some cases detainees spent years in detention without appearing before a judge.

Freedom House Country Report

2018 Edition

[accessed 12 May 2020]


A culture of violence and impunity in law enforcement, in addition to widespread crime and violence, leave people in Haiti with little protection from the illegitimate use of force.

In November, a six-hour antigang police raid supported by MINUJUSTH ended in the killing of at least nine civilians and two police officers on a school campus in Port-au-Prince. None of the police officers involved were disciplined or arrested. Police are regularly accused of abusing suspects and detainees. Prisons are overcrowded and lack adequate health and sanitation.

Human Rights Watch World Report 2015 - Events of 2014

Human Rights Watch, 29 January 2015 or

[accessed 18 March 2015]


CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM AND DETENTION CONDITIONS - Haiti’s prison system remains severely overcrowded, in large part due to high numbers of arbitrary arrests and prolonged pretrial detentions. The weak capacity of the Haitian National Police (HNP) contributes to overall insecurity in the country. While the government and the United Nations Stablization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH), the UN peacekeeping operation in the country, have made police reform a priority, there have been difficulties training sufficient numbers of entry-level cadets.

Haiti's Street Kids Fear Killings By Police

Canadian Broadcasting Corporation CBC News, November 29, 2004

[accessed 22 May 2011]

Someone has been killing street children on the streets of Haiti's capital, and the kids blame the police.  United Nations officials in Port-au-Prince say at least six children have been shot to death in the past few weeks.  Several of the ragged, dirty children on the streets of the Haitian capital told CBC reporter Stephen Puddicombe that police come at night to kill them.


From an old article -- URL not available

Article was published sometime prior to 2015

IMPUNITY - Those responsible for serious human rights violations, including enforced disappearance, torture, rape and extrajudicial executions, over the past four decades continued to evade justice.

In January, an investigating judge dismissed complaints of crimes against humanity filed by 22 victims against former President Jean-Claude Duvalier. He concluded that Jean-Claude Duvalier should be tried only for corruption and misappropriation of public funds. In his report, and contrary to Haiti’s obligations under international law, the judge stated that Haiti’s courts were not competent to investigate and prosecute crimes against humanity. An appeal by victims and their relatives was pending at the end of the year.


For current articles:: Search Amnesty International Website

[accessed 2 January 1, 2019]

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Human Rights Reports » 2005 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, March 8, 2006

[accessed 31 January 2013]

[accessed 4 July 2019]

TORTURE AND OTHER CRUEL, INHUMAN, OR DEGRADING TREATMENT OR PUNISHMENT – Although the law prohibits such actions, members of the security forces continued to violate these prohibitions. Police officers used excessive and sometimes deadly force in making arrests or controlling demonstrations and rarely were punished for such acts. Members of the HNP also used excessive force, such as shooting and using teargas, to suppress demonstrations (see section 2.b.).

On May 17, men dressed in black and aboard a Nissan Patrol shot and killed a young man whose body was later found, with his head covered with a bag, in the Pacot neighborhood of Port-au-Prince.

The Carrefour police station (also called Omega) was known as a center of torture and beatings of detainees. On May 6, a team from the National Network of Defenders of Human Rights (RNDDH) visited the station and spoke with 30 detainees, who denounced the mistreatment they had received. The delegation observed scars on some detainees, apparently from beatings they received while being arrested. Nikenson Jean Baptiste, a prisoner whom police arrested on April 26, could not remain standing while the delegation was present. Ralphe Ramvil, arrested on May 2, had been beaten on the testicles and had difficulties urinating. Some of the remaining detainees complained of hearing problems and earaches, suggesting that police tortured them by boxing their ears (kalot marassa in Creole).

Judie C. Roy, who repeatedly was tortured in various prisons during 2003 and ultimately incarcerated at the Petionville police station for "plotting against the security of the state," escaped from prison following President Aristide's departure and was not rearrested. There were no efforts made to rearrest Roy, who was the only female presidential candidate in the scheduled elections.

There were no developments in the 2003 torture investigations of Joseline Desroses or Jonathan Louime.

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Cite this webpage as: Patt, Prof. Martin, "Torture by Police, Forced Disappearance & Other Ill Treatment in the early years of the 21st Century- Haiti",, [accessed <date>]