New Haiti constitution gives citizens abroad more rights


Haitian President Michel Joseph Martelly listens during a session 'Building a better Haiti'' at the WEF meeting 2012 in Davos on January 27, 2012.



Haiti has published a new constitution under which some two million Haitians living abroad will be granted the right to run for public office and own land in the impoverished Caribbean nation.

The country’s parliament approved the new text – which allows Haitians to hold dual nationality – in May 2011. President Michel Martelly initially opposed the amendments and tried to engineer a rewrite of the document, but following international pressure has now signed it, the BBC reported.

“The matter of the dual nationality that was creating division between the diaspora and people here in Haiti, that’s been resolved,” Martelly told reporters Tuesday after a signing ceremony at the National Palace. “All Haitians are Haitians,” he added, according to the Associated Press.

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Haitians residing in the US and Canada send up to $2 billion in remittances back to relatives in Haiti every year, constituting around 20 percent of the country’s GDP, Reuters reported. Many have expressed anger that they have been barred from participating in Haitian public life.

While they will now be eligible for appointment to Cabinet posts and several other administrative and political roles under the new constitution, Haitians holding second passports will remain locked out the positions of president, prime minister, senator or member of the Chamber of Deputies, according to the news agency.

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