U.S. Department of State

Governance and Rule of Law: Two Year Fast Facts on the U.S. Government's Work in Haiti

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Fact Sheet
Office of the Haiti Special Coordinator
December 28, 2011


The January 12, 2010, earthquake had an immediate impact on governance and rule of law, killing an estimated 18 percent of Haiti’s civil service and destroying key infrastructure, including the National Palace, the Parliament, many courts, 28 of 29 government ministry buildings, the headquarters of the Haitian National Police, and several correctional facilities. National elections were delayed until November 2010 as a result of the earthquake’s impact. President Michel Martelly was inaugurated in May 2011; however, the new Prime Minister and government were not confirmed until October 2011. This political environment presented significant challenges to governance and rule of law, as key legislative and policy reforms were hindered by the political deadlock and lack of government counterparts to guide donor programs.

To achieve long-term stability and economic growth, Haiti needs strong governmental institutions that deliver public services transparently and with accountability, administer justice efficiently and in conformity with the Haitian Constitution, provide security to the Haitian people, and protect the most vulnerable. The U.S. Government (USG) is committed to supporting a responsive, just, and effective government in Haiti.

Capacity Building for the Government of Haiti

The USG, through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), is helping Haiti to establish credible political and electoral processes and to strengthen national and local governance institutions. Currently, our activities include:

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. USAID and the U.S. Department of State are:

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 GOH’s ability to provide public order and protect vulnerable populations. The USG is:

The USG is 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 100 U.N. Police officers, 10 corrections officers, and nine military officers seconded to MINUSTAH.

Protecting Human Rights and Vulnerable Populations

Increasing protection of human rights and vulnerable populations is key to U.S. assistance in Haiti. The United States is funding a number of initiatives to improve physical security, provide services to victims of abuse, collect and analyze data, build institutional capacity, and empower vulnerable populations, including:

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