Written Statement on Deportations to Haiti
The ICCPR recognizes that non-citizens in the United States have the rights to freedom from discrimination (Article 2), to not be subjected to inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment (Article 7), to liberty and security of person (Article 9), as well as to due process and fair deportation procedures (Article 13). The U.S. Government imposes mandatory detention for a wide array of cases, including asylum seekers, others in expedited removal, or persons with criminal convictions, without discretion to release or place under bond or other supervised release conditions and without access to individualized custody determination. Mandatory detention for asylum seekers risks re-traumatization of refugees who are already in a psychologically delicate state. Many detention facilities, often contracted out to private prison companies, fail to provide access to adequate physical and mental medical care, family and legal counsel, and rehabilitative and educational services.
Particularly disconcerting is the U.S. Government’s resumption of deportations to Haiti despite the continuing humanitarian crisis following the January 2010 earthquake. This crisis is even more severe for deportees due to a deadly cholera epidemic, which has prompted the U.S. Department of State to advise its own residents against travel to Haiti. Haitian jails and detention centers, where deportees have traditionally been held following deportation, are breeding grounds for cholera. Deportees also face discrimination and stigmatization, inability to access medicine and medical care, unemployment, gender-based sexual violence, and cultural and language barriers, with little or no family support in Haiti.