IADL is concerned about increasing persecution against union activists, wage suppression and worker exploitation in Haiti’s public sector and apparel industry four years after the January 12, 2010 earthquake.

The International Association of Democratic Lawyers (IADL), a non-governmental organization with consultative status to the Council on Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations (ECOSOC), was established to support and uphold the international law, and to protect the rights of nations to development, economic equality and access to scientific achievements as well as natural resources.

IADL is alarmed by increasing persecution against union activists, wage suppression and worker exploitation in Haiti’s public sector and apparel industry. As Haitians continue to rebuild from the devastating January 12, 2010 earthquake, enforcement of basic labor and employment protections is critical.

IADL is concerned that garment factories owners have not been paying the minimum wage for piece-rate workers. Many factories have terminated workers and union activities from their jobs in retaliation for organizing a lawful protest against low and unpaid wages. IADL urges foreign retailers and brands to ensure that Haitian factories they buy from are in compliance with all Haitian labor and employment laws and international standards.

Rather than protecting workers rights, the Haitian government has been complicit in labor and employment violations. The complicity starts with the exclusionary justice system, which caters to Haiti’s elite and excludes the poor. Haitian law contains basic employment and labor protections, but the impunity for employers’ unwillingness to obey the law results in endemic worker exploitation. IADL calls for Haitian government to ensure that workers have access to fair and impartial hearings.

International Labor Organization (Convention 98), the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (Article 22) and the International Covenant on Economic, Cultural and Social Rights (Article 7) unequivocally protect workers’ right to organize and be paid fair compensation for their work. Moreover, enforcing labor protections is necessary for reducing impunity and strengthen rule of law.