Protect Human Rights Defenders and Peasants Facing Land Grabs

Haitian Human Rights Defender Milostène Castin Submits Communication to UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders

On November 18, 2022, Global Justice Clinic client and colleague Milostène Castin submitted a formal communication to the Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders, Mary Lawlor. 

The communication and supporting affidavit presents the threats that Mr. Castin has received against his life as a result of his solidarity and activism with peasants—subsistence farmers—including those who have been victim to forced, and often violent, takings of their land. It requests that the Special Rapporteur send an urgent appeal to the Haitian Government regarding Mr. Castin’s case. The submission was made on November 18th in recognition of the Battle of Vertières, which marked the victory of the enslaved population of Haiti overthrowing Napoleon’s army.

Mr. Castin is the Coordinator for AREDE, Action pour la Reforestation et la Defense de l’Environnement (Action for Reforestation and Defense of the Environment) and has collaborated with the Global Justice Clinic for the past ten years. Mr. Castin has tirelessly defended the rights of peasants in rural Haiti, documenting and challenging land seizures and forced displacement. He has also spoken forcefully about the impacts of extractivism and the climate crisis on peasant communities, for example presenting on environmental racism and climate (in)justice in Haiti at NYU in October 2022, at an event to mark the launch of former Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism E. Tendayi Achiume’s final thematic report.

Mr. Castin has been attacked and intimidated due to his work for many years. The Global Justice Clinic works with Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer to represent Mr. Castin in relation to the threats against him.

Mr. Castin held a press conference in Haiti to coincide with his submission to the Special Rapporteur and to call attention to the ongoing threats to peasant rights in Haiti, particularly land grabs and extractivist projects. He continues to call on Haitian authorities to respect and protect the rights guaranteed by the Haitian Constitution of 1987, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Peasants and Other People Working in Rural Areas, the International Convention on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights, and the Universal Declaration on Human Rights.

This post was originally posted as a press release on November 21, 2022.