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Haiti has recent legislation on terrorism that raises significant human rights concerns. Adopted in late 2020, a decree greatly expands the definition of terrorism. It is feared that the new law will be used to repress domestic opposition to the ruling regime. 

Compliance with International Law:
Last updated: one year ago

The Definition of Terrorism in Domestic Law

The 2020 Decree for the Reinforcement of Public Security stipulates that:

In addition to the acts of terrorism provided for both by international treaties and by the Laws of the Republic, the following acts constitute acts of terrorism, when they are intentionally related to an individual or collective enterprise aimed at disturbing, in the name of a cause affirmed or not by terror, the public order and peace...Art. 1, 2020 Decree for the Reinforcement of Public Security.

The 2020 Decree then expands the definition of “terrorism” in Haitian law to include acts such as robbery, extortion, arson, and the destruction or degradation of public and private goods. Article 1(12) and (13) stipulates that crowding or blocking public roads, or placing rubbish in the road, may also amount to acts of terrorism. 

Adherence to Global and Regional Terrorism Treaties


Haiti is a State Party to several of the main United Nations treaties on terrorism.


Adherence to Global Terrorism Treaties
Treaty Adherence
1973 Convention on Crimes against Internationally Protected Persons State Party
1979 Hostage-Taking Convention State Party
1997 Terrorist Bombings Convention State not party
1999 Terrorist Financing Convention State Party
2005 Nuclear Terrorism Convention State not party


Haiti is a signatory but not a State Party to the main regional treaty on terrorism.


Adherence to Regional Terrorism Treaties
Treaty Adherence
2002 Inter-American Convention against Terrorism Signatory


Laws and Penalties for Terrorist Offences

The 2020 decree specifies stringent penalties under the new definition of terrorism. Those found guilty of committing terrorist acts are subject to a term of imprisonment ranging from thirty to fifty years and a heavy fine. A repeat offence carries the punishment of life imprisonment.Art. 2, 2020 Decree for the Reinforcement of Public Security.The decree further provides that the penalties cannot be lowered under any circumstance.

Individuals can be exempted from punishment if they provide the authorities with information that prevents a terrorist act and leads to the arrest of the individuals or groups responsible.

Counterterrorism Capacities and Policies at Domestic Level

A 2020 decree established a new National Intelligence Agency (ANI). The ANI is a technical and administrative institution, whose primary focus is on information gathering and the repression of hostile acts that could be perceived as a threat to national security. Although the new agency nominally operates under the Ministry of the Interior, experts at the Center for Economic and Policy Research noted that the president has the sole authority to name the director general and other high-level positions.Art. 54, 2020 Decree on the Creation of the National Intelligence Agency.

In November 2022, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Volker Türk, warned that unremitting armed violence has precipitated Haiti’s descent into the worst human rights and humanitarian situation in decades. Urgent solutions to this “protracted, multifaceted crisis" must be found, he stressed. 


Haiti 2020 Terrorism Decrees