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Rights Groups, Scholars Convene in Geneva for Panel to Offer Recommendations for Way Forward Following Haiti's Universal Periodic Review at U.N.

October 12, 2011

Sarah PaolettiImmediately following the Government of Haiti’s appearance tomorrow morning before the Universal Periodic Review Working Group of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland, Professor Sarah Paoletti, the director of the University of Pennsylvania’s Transnational Human Rights Legal Clinic, will join lawyers from the Bureau des Avocats Internationaux, the Haiti-based affiliate of the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti, and the Human Rights Advocacy Director of MADRE, to discuss priority recommendations stemming from the Review and strategies for successful  implementation of those recommendations in Haiti. The panel will be held in Room XX, Palais de Nations, Geneva, from 12:30 – 14:00 local time. 

In close consultation and coordination with grassroots advocates and activists in Haiti, Penn Law’s Transnational Legal Clinic contributed to a report focusing on labor rights and the rights of child domestic workers in Haiti, issues to be taken up during Haiti’s Universal Periodic Review and addressed in greater detail during a panel presentation coordinated by the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti and the Bureau des Avocats Internationaux.  Haiti’s review, initially scheduled for May 2010, was postponed at the request of the Haitian government in response to the Jan. 2010 earthquake and will now close out the first full cycle of the Universal Periodic Review, a mechanism established with the creation of the UN Human Rights Council in 2006.

The submissions to Haiti’s Universal Periodic Review, Labor Rights, and Restavèk: The Persistence of Child Labor and Slavery, as well as an overarching summary report, are available for download via Reports/Analysis.

“Haiti’s UPR provides a unique opportunity to call for accountability not just from the government of Haiti but also from the international community, that has long played a direct and not always positive role in development and governance in Haiti,” said Professor Paoletti.  “In participating in the Universal Periodic Review process, Haitians – particularly women and children – suffering from violence and insecurity in the tent camps, those struggling to find sustainable employment in conditions that meet basic labor rights standards, children hungry for an education and the opportunities meaningful access to education provides, and other grassroots activists, are calling on the Government of Haiti and the international community to hear their voices and incorporate their priorities and recommendations in setting an agenda for not just rebuilding Haiti to the country it was before the earthquake, but rather in building a country that respects and promotes human rights in a sustainable and autonomous fashion.”

Penn Law is co-sponsoring this event with  Bureau des Avocats Internationaux / Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti, Human Rights Advocates, CUNY School of Law, Center for Gender and Refugee Studies at University of California Hastings School of Law, and MADRE.