Fast Fact on U.S. Government's Work in Haiti: Governance and Rule of Law
The January 12, 2010 earthquake had an immediate and deleterious impact on governance and rule of law in Haiti. The human losses from the earthquake affected every government ministry as well as parliament. As much as thirty percent of Haiti’s civil service perished in the quake. The government’s physical infrastructure was also badly damaged. The National Palace, the Parliament, many courts, 28 of 29 government ministry buildings, the headquarters of the Haitian National Police, and several correctional facilities were destroyed. Through programs focused on building sustainable local capacity, the U.S. government is supporting increasingly responsive governance and improved rule of law in Haiti.
Capacity Building for the Government of Haiti
We know that a responsible, effective government will help Haiti recover and rebuild stronger than it has ever been. Through the U.S. Agency for International Development, we are:
- Strengthening legislative and oversight functions through skills development for members and staff; developing internal administration and management; and addressing critical issues such as the need for political inclusiveness, negotiations, and power-sharing.
- Providing infrastructure and equipment to key Government of Haiti offices.
- Providing short-term technical assistance to key ministries and the Interim Haiti Recovery Commission (IHRC), the key reconstruction coordinating body within Haiti.
- Promoting transparency and government accountability through the redeployment and extension of the Integrated Financial Management System (IFMS), a network that provides for automated financial functions; enhanced control of all GOH expenditures; facilitation of investigations; and greater transparency and accountability with respect to revenue collection.
- Supporting decentralization bybuilding the capacity of municipal governments to coordinate emergency relief efforts and provide services for displaced Haitians.
Improving Access to Justice and Legal Assistance
The rule of law, as supported by justice and security institutions, is a basic foundation of citizen security and economic growth. In order to facilitate access to justice services, we are working with the Ministry of Justice and Public Security, judges, prosecutors, the Directorate of Prisons and other justice sector officials to support the provision of justice services. Through USAID and the Department of State we are:
- Providing equipment and targeted technical assistance to reduce pre-trial detention and to strengthen key criminal justice institutions in their ability to manage cases more efficiently and provide services to the most vulnerable populations.
- Providing free legal assistance to vulnerable populations from the Cité Soleil neighborhood in Port-au-Prince, including supporting community outreach activities to increase civil and legal rights education and training court personnel and community leaders in the use of alternative dispute resolution to resolve conflicts.
- Renovating the corrections sector to reinforce prison infrastructure severely damaged by the earthquake, and provide additional space to alleviate severe overcrowding.
- Providing quick-impact support to the Directorate of Prisons by funding temporary office space allowing administrative functions to continue while headquarters are rebuilt and by purchasing communications equipment
Strengthening the Security Sector
The Haitian National Police (HNP) is Haiti’s sole indigenous security force. Improving and expanding the capacity of the HNP is critical to the Government of Haiti’s ability to provide public order and protect vulnerable populations. The U.S. Government is:
- Supporting the recruitment and training of new officers by providing food, equipment, uniforms and other supplies for cadets, and undertaking repairs to the national police academy.
- Facilitating in-service learning through deployment of six Haitian-American, NYPD officers who support the judicial police with investigative techniques, monitor activities in the IDP camps, and propose training needs for existing HNP officers, to include senior management.
- Providing communications equipment for the Haitian National Police.
We are also supporting the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) to promote a secure and stable environment under very challenging circumstances in Haiti. The U.S. currently supports the contribution of 50 UN Police Officers, 5 corrections officers, and 9 military officers seconded to MINUSTAH. We are working to increase our contribution in all areas and have scheduled deployment of an additional police 50 and 5 corrections officers.
Protecting Human Rights and Vulnerable Populations
Increasing protection of human rights and vulnerable population is key to U.S. assistance in Haiti. The United States is funding a number of initiatives to improve physical security, provide victims’ services, collect and analyze data, build institutional capacity and empower vulnerable populations, including:
- Bolstering security presence in IDP camps by providing 1,000 headlamps and 500 flashlights to security forces to facilitate night patrols in IDP camps, constructing security kiosks in 6 of the most at-risk camps, and providing temporary infrastructure for 2 security kiosks in each of 20 major IDP camps.
- Targeting recruitment of female police officers and those with special victims’ unit backgrounds.
- Funding a survey to gather baseline data on sexual and gender based violence in the IDP camps and surrounding areas.
- Improving the capacity of the Government of Haiti and NGOs to provide treatment to victims of violence and human trafficking, including medical, rehabilitation, psychosocial, and legal services.
- Conducting women’s support groups and messaging campaigns that raise awareness of gender-based violence’s destructive effects.
- Providing economic opportunities for women, including through short-term jobs programs.