Country report and updates: Haiti

Last revision: 30 Apr 1998
30 Apr 1998

1 Conscription

conscription does not exist

There is no conscription as the armed forces were disbanded in 1994, following the fall of the military regime which had ruled Haiti since 1991. At present, the only armed forces in Haiti are paramilitary and police forces.

Conscription is, however, enshrined in art. 268 of the 1987 Constitution, according to which all men aged over 18 are liable for military service.


Recruitment into the Haitian National Police Force is voluntary. Controversy has surrounded the admission of former military personnel into the police force, particularly to their appointment of command positions, as the armed forces have been responsible for gross human rights violations in the past. According to the Haitian authorities the recruitment of ex-soldiers is necessary as there are not enough suitable civilian candidates. [2]

2 Conscientious objection

There is no known legal provision for conscientious objection.

However, arts. 52 and 53 of the 1987 Constitution provide for a civilian service. [1]

5 History

The previous constitution, which applied when Haiti was ruled by the Devalier clan (1957-1986), provided for conscription. However, during this period conscription was, for the most part, not enforced in practice. Under Devalier rule the right to conscientious objection was not legally recognized. [3]

In the period after Devalier, between 1987 and 1994, conscription was in practice not enforced.

6 Annual statistics

The paramilitary forces are 7,000 strong - about 0.09 percent of the population. [4]


[1] Amnesty International 1991. Conscientious objection to military service. AI, London. [2] Human Rights Watch/Americas 1997. The Human Right Record of the Haitian National Police. HRW, New York. [3] Eide, A., C. Mubanga-Chipoya 1985. Conscientious objection to military service, report prepared in pursuance of resolutions 14 (XXXIV) and 1982/30 of the Sub-Commission of Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities. United Nations, New York. [4] Institute for Strategic Studies 1997. Military Balance 1997/98. ISS, London.