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Human Rights Violations in Haiti

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Haiti was once an economic power when France held claim to the Eastern Part of Hispaniola, then named St. Domingue. It was a French colony flourishing with coffee and sugar. Eventually the ideals of the French Revolution - Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity - made its way to the colonies resulting in a revolution. Haiti was the first slave-led revolution and declared its independence as a republic on January 1, 1804. After their declaration of independence, things started to make a turn for the worst. In 1934 the U.S. forces occupied Haiti to establish stability. The U.S. appointed heads of state but the real power was present in the U.S. occupiers, whereas the heads of state are just figureheads. Haiti’s economy dwindled further down when France demanded reparations of 150 million francs, which wasn’t paid off until 1947. In 65 years, Haiti had 22 heads of state.” In 1957 Francois Duvalier is elected president. He later “creates a totalitarian dictatorship and in 1964 declares himself president-for-life.” This is where Haiti’s political instability really begins.

Currently, almost two years ago Haiti was struck by a 7.0 magnitude earthquake. It sparked an international urge to help aid and relieve Haiti of its catastrophe. Not only governments in various countries reached out, but independent organizations as well. This disastrous event showed how the world could come together when their neighbor is in need. But prior to this 2010 earthquake, Haiti was already facing devastation other than a natural one - societal.

Haiti is drenched in poverty, corruption, and lack of education. Due to these aspects Haiti is “the least developed country in the western hemisphere”. With only one-third of suitable land...

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...to their children, otherwise citizenship must be requested from the Ministry of Interior. Yet, many birth documents sren’t recorded at birth. When it comes to applying for school or trying to open a bank account, many “citizens” cannot do so because of the lack of archiving records. Unfortunately the January earthquake has made Haiti’s recordkeeping on a higher backlog status. Also, there is a high displacement of children.

“The minimum employment age for employment in industrial, agricultural, or commercial companies is 15. The minimum age for apprenticeships is 14. There is no minimum age restriction for work in domestic service and there are no legal penalties for employing children in domestic labor unless the nature or condition of domestic service harms their health, safety, or morals.”

Works Cited

http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2010/wha/154509.htm
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