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iciHaiti - Justice : Right to demonstrate a responsibility shared between the police and the demonstrators
22/02/2021 09:38:43

iciHaiti - Justice : Right to demonstrate a responsibility shared between the police and the demonstrators
Friday, February 19 Léon Charles, Director General ai of the National Police of Haiti (PNH), accompanied by members of the high command and departmental directors and executives of the institution received the visit of the Citizen's Protector Renan Hédouville and his deputy.

The right to demonstrate and the development of trade unions within the police institution are the main topics discussed during this meeting.

Léon Charles, who recognizes the right of everyone to demonstrate, nevertheless encourages the organizers of the demonstrations to notify the police authorities in order to avoid any slippage and clashes between demonstrators and law enforcement officers.

The Citizen's Protection Office recalls "The right to demonstrate is guaranteed by all international instruments for the protection of human rights. This right is also inserted in Haitian legislation, in particular in the Haitian constitution of 1987 in its article 31, which stipulates : "Freedom of association and unarmed assembly for political, economic, social, cultural or any other peaceful purposes is guarantee". Nevertheless, it should be stressed that the exercise of the right to demonstrate is a shared responsibility between the police and the demonstrators themselves.

The freedom to demonstrate peacefully is an essential right to the collective and public expression of one's opinions, to the defense of all human rights which is not subject to any prior authorization. On the other hand, the authorities are required to be informed in advance of meetings to take place in places of public demonstration and of the route. They will only be able to prohibit them if there are valid reasons to predict that public order will be disturbed, endangering people or property.

[...]

Demonstration is not synonymous with violence, we must respect public buildings, we must respect the rights of those also who do not want to take part in demonstrations. So it is the balance between the responsibility of the police and that of the demonstrators that can guarantee this fundamental human right.

Resorting to violence as a means to get one's demands across can have disastrous consequences on the effective enjoyment of certain fundamental rights, particularly economic, social and cultural rights. For their part, the police must avoid resorting to the use of excessive force or brutality to restore order and peace in their circumstances."

IH/ iciHaiti

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