On 4 February 2021, six children of Cité Soleil, Haiti and a community center established to provide safe harbor for children in Cité Soleil (SAKALA Community Center for Peaceful Alternatives) communicated a petition to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights alleging human rights violations arising from the adverse environmental conditions that they are subject to.
Facts of the case:
The petitioners’ concern relates to the local waste management system in Cité Soleil, which is woefully inadequate and exposes residents to risks arising from toxic waste and fumes. They complain that waste from other cities is brought into Cité Soleil but not contained in sanitary landfills or subjected to waste treatment. Piles of trash are burnt in the open, worsening the air quality, and floods carry the trash into residential areas, and lead to the contamination of water sources. They argue that climate-related adverse events magnify the adverse environmental conditions that children in Cité Soleil are faced with, aggravating their vulnerability.
The petitioners allege that Haiti is engaged in violations of the rights of the child, the right to dignity, the right to life, and the right to judicial protection of children in Cité Soleil. They request the Commission to recommend Haiti to undertake concrete measures addressing the environmental pollution problem and providing specialized and adequate medical care to the children. Aside from requesting an investigation on the matter and granting the reliefs sought, the petitioners have requested the Commission to grant precautionary measures of protection in the interim- requiring Haiti to take urgent measures and protect the children in Cité Soleil from harm.
Status of the case:
The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights is yet to decide on the admissibility of the petition.
For the petition (in English), click here.
2 August 2023.