Protect Labour Rights Defenders: SOLIDARity with the Haitian labour movement

The Haitian trade union movement is going through a very difficult time, which puts the lives and freedom of trade union leaders, freedom of association and the trade union movement itself at risk.

For about two months now, the highest political authorities of the country, and in particular the Minister of National Education and Vocational Training (MENFP) and the Minister of Public Works, Transport and Communication (MTPTC) have continuously published press statements against unions and unions’ leaders.

The Minister of National Education keeps attacking the dignity of education unions’ leaders: several leaders were transferred, and arrest warrants were issued against them.

The Minister of Public Works is embarking on a race against time to achieve the privatisation of Haitian electricity company (Electricité d’Haiti – ED’H). In doing so, the Minister ordered the government prosecutor to issue warrants against the leaders of the Federation of Trade Unions of Electricity Workers of Haiti (FESTRED ‘H) with an attempt to put an end to their activities. 

Moreover, death threats against trade union leaders continue to increase: a moment reminiscent of the period of dictatorship. 

In this troubling context, SOLIDAR:

  • expresses its support and solidarity with the Haitian trade union movement, and condemns these ongoing shrinking civic space actions. 
  • requests the EU to use all its leverages, from the regular sessions of political dialogue with the government of Haiti to its technical assistance, to demand the respect of international human rights obligations, including trade union rights and freedom of association. 
  • demands that the future national indicative programme (2021- 2027) with Haiti includes support for independent trade unions and civil society, as well as a focus on the promotion of Human Rights including ILO Core Labour Standards.

“The European Union, as a major development partner and political interlocutor, cannot turn its back to the Haitian people and their will to turn the country into a sound democracy with strong trade unions and civil society organisations” said Mikael Leyi, SOLIDAR Secretary General. 

“SOLIDAR will continue to closely monitor the evolutions in the country and to alert all relevant EU representatives on the matter: labour rights are not optional!”  he concluded.

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