RESOLUTION Nš 48/82
March 9, 1982
1. In a
communication dated December 4, 1979, the Inter-American Commission on
Human Rights received the following complaint.
Marguerite Fenelon, 16 years of age, a student at the Professional
School Socurs Salesiennes de Carrefour was deceived by secret agents
who asked her to accompany them claiming that a cablegram has arrived
from her parents (in exile) residing in Santo Domingo, Dominican
of taking her to the Telegraph Office, they took her to the National
Palace and then to the national penitentiary in Port-au-Prince. After
having been tortured and raped she was put in jail. To date, she has
not appeared before a judge as is established by law. She is in jail
without cause, without due process and without defense counsel.
2. Through a
written communication of March 18, 1980, the Commission forwarded the
pertinent parts of the complaint to the Haitian Government requesting
that it provide the information it deemed appropriate, but no response
3. This request
for information was repeated by means of a written communication to
the Government of Haiti on December 21, 1981, which mentioned the
eventual application of Article 39 of the Commission's Regulations if
the information requested was not received within a reasonable period
of time. There was no answer to this communication either.
1. That the period
of time prescribed in Article 31 of the Commission's Regulations has
elapsed without the Government of Haiti having responded to the
request for information formulated in its written communication of
March 18, 1980, and repeated in a communication of December 21st,
1981, which leads to the presumption that there are no remedies of
internal jurisdiction that must be exhausted (Article 46 of the
American Convention) in light of the procedures established in the
2. That Article 39
of the Commission's Regulations states:
facts reported in the petition whose pertinent parts have been
transmitted to the government of the state in reference shall be
presumed to be true if, during the maximum term set by the Commission
under the provisions of Article 31 paragraph 5, the government has not
provided the pertinent information, as long as the other evidence does
not leas to a different conclusion.
3. Article 1 of
the American Convention on Human Rights reads:
1. Obligation to Respect Rights
The States Parties to this Convention undertake to respect the
rights and freedoms recognized herein and to ensure to all persons
subject to their jurisdiction the free and full exercise of those
rights and freedoms, without any discrimination for reasons of race,
color, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national
or social origin, economic status, birth or any other social
4. The Republic of
Haiti is a State Party to the American Convention on Human Rights.
in view of the background as outlined and the considerations made, and
since the Commission lacks any other element of judgement that would
lead it to conclude otherwise, on the grounds of Article 39 of its
INTER-AMERICAN COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS,
1. To presume to
be true the events denounced in the communication of December 4, 1979,
relating to the arbitrary arrest, torture and absence of due process
of Miss Marguerite Fenelon.
2. To declare that
those actions constitute a very serious violation of the right to
personal integrity, the right to personal liberty and the right to
judicial guarantees, Articles 5, 6 and 8, respectively, of the
American Convention on Human Rights.
3. To recommend to
the Government of Haiti that it: a) order the immediate release of
Miss Marguerite Fenelon; b) order a complete and impartial
investigation to determine where lies the responsibility for the
actions denounced; c) sanction those responsible for the denounced
actions in accordance with Haitian law; d) inform the Commission,
within ninety days, of the steps taken to put the aforementioned
recommendations into effect.
4. To communicate
this resolution to the Government of Haiti and to the complainant.
5. To include this
resolution in its Annual Report to the General Assembly of the
Organization of American States.