Department of Martinique
Département Île de la Martinique
(Overseas department of France)
Joined United Nations: 24 October 1945
Human Rights as assured by their constitution
Updated 17 January 2013
412,305 (July 2012 est.)
President of the Regional Council
since 20 March 2010
President elected by popular vote for a five-year term (changed
from seven-year term in October 2000); Prefect selected by the
President; election last held 22 April and 6 May 2012
Next scheduled election: Spring 2017
HEAD OF GOVERNMENT
Presidents of the Regional and General Councils elected by
each of their respective councils for a six year term; previous
elections- Regional Council- 14 and 21 March 2010
General Council- 31 March 2011
Next scheduled election: 2016 and 2017 (respectively)
|DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS
African and African-white-Indian mixture 90%, white 5%, Indian Tamil or East Indian, Chinese less than 5%
Roman Catholic, Protestant, Hindu, Muslim, Buddhist, pagan
Overseas department of France with 1 region; Legal system is a civil law system with indigenous concepts; review of administrative but
not legislative acts; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
Executive: President elected by popular vote for a five-year term (changed from seven-year term in October 2000); Prefect
selected by the President; election last held 22 April and 6 May 2012; Next scheduled election: 2017; Presidents of the Regional
and General Councils elected by each of their respective councils for a six year term; previous elections- Regional Council- 14 and
21 March 2010 General Council- 31 March 2011 Next scheduled election: 2016 and 2017 (respectively)
Legislative: The island sends four representatives to the French National Assembly and two to the Senate. The 45-seat General
Council and the 41-seat Regional Council administer the island’s local affairs; both are elected every six years. Elections: Regional
Council: March 14 and 21, 2010 General Council March 14 and 21, 2010; Next scheduled election: 2016
Judicial: Supreme Court of Appeals or Cour de Cassation (judges are appointed by the president from nominations of the High
Council of the Judiciary); Constitutional Council or Conseil Constitutionnel (three members appointed by the president, three
appointed by the president of the National Assembly, and three appointed by the president of the Senate); Council of State or
French, Creole patois
Martinique was inhabited by Arawak and Carib peoples at the time Christopher Columbus came across the island in 1493. The
island was not colonised by Europeans until 1635 when Pierre Belain d'Esnambuc landed with a hundred French settlers from Saint
Kitts. They cleared forests to grow sugar cane, thus increasing tensions with the native Caribs, and in 1660 those Caribs who had
survived the fighting were forcibly removed from the island in what has become known as the Carib Expulsion. In 1642, King Louis
XIII authorised an action referred to as "La Traite des Noirs" that allowed for Blacks to be seized in Africa and forcibly brought to
work as slaves in the French sugar plantations. The effect of this meant that ensuing Martinican culture and its history has been the
result of creolization between the French colonials and their African slaves. Britain captured the island during the Seven Years' War,
holding it from 1762 to 1763. Between 1794 and 1815, there was a strong British interest in Martinique, with Britain controlling the
island during the French Revolutionary Wars from 1794 to 1802; and again during the Napoleonic wars from 1809 to 1814.
Slavery was abolished under the earlier period of British rule, but reinstated after 1802, when the Treaty of Amiens gave Martinique
back to France, and Napoléon Bonaparte allowed slavery again. Slavery was not officially abolished until 1848, with Victor
Schoelcher’s law. All former slaves became French subjects. Martinique's then capital, Saint-Pierre, which was widely considered
to be the most cultured town in the West Indies, was destroyed in 1902, by a blast from the volcano Mont Pelée. All 28,000
inhabitants were killed with the exception of two (or possibly three) residents, and the town had to be completely rebuilt, although it
lost both the status of capital, that title now belonging to Fort-de-France, and its cultural reputation. In 1946, Martinique obtained
the position of a French overseas department, due mainly to Aimé Césaire's campaign as mayor, and in 1974 it gained more
autonomy with the regional status the island was allowed. In 1635 a small contingency of French colonizers arrived on the island.
They settled on the northwestern portion of the island, later to become known as St. Pierre. As their numbers grew, the French
made their way across the island defeating the fiercely resisting Caribs. About eight years after settling the island the last of the
Caribs were brutally massacred in the area now known as Fort-de-France. Fort-de-France would soon become a major port as
Martinique was the first stop for ships following the trade winds from Europe. After their takeover of the island, the French began
importing slaves and sugarcane. They had also taken their hand to tobacco, but tobacco, being a weed, would grow anywhere and
soon Virginia took over the tobacco industry. With all the productivity on the island, the French soon caught the eye of the British
near the end of the 1700s. As a result of this interest a power struggle began for the island between the British and French that
would last almost two centuries. Martinique changed hands between the two powerhouses several times, including one incident
during the French Revolution. Another delay in the end of slavery on the island came when Emperor Napoleon I married the
daughter of a local plantation owner, Josephine Beauharnais – it was rumored slavery remained the mainstay of plantation owners as
a favor to his in laws. The white planters on the island frightened by both the Jacobin reign of terror and a massacre on Saint
Domingue representatives willfully placed the island under British rule. The tug of war finally ended in 1815, when the island was
returned to France by England on orders from the Vienna Treaty. The return of Martinique to France was bittersweet, as the
endorsement of slavery continued well after the practice ended on neighboring islands around 1833. Revolution by French
abolitionists in 1848 finally brought slavery to an end. Victor Schoelcher was appointed to head the committee on Emancipation.
Mount Pelee started the twentieth century with a bang. On May 8, 1902, the volcano on the northern portion of the island erupted.
The eruption included a pyroclastic flow, a "glowing cloud" that was a mixture of superheated air and dust moving at avalanche
speed, which destroyed the town of St. Pierre and killed almost all the inhabitants (29,000 people). There was one survivor, a
prisoner who was locked in the jail dungeon and saved because there was only a tiny window through which he could obtain air.
The remainder of the century was marked by social unrest by factions trying to gain independence from France. Several of these
occasions turned violent. As a result Martinique, received greater overseas department status and powers in 1982-1983. By taking
the power and distributing it more equally between local councils and leaders rather than all power lying with the prefects. Things
have settled down quite a bit in the country now. Although some sugarcane is still produced the majority of the economy is based on
tourism, with many French citizens coming for holiday and cruise ships docking on almost a daily basis, the island has flourished. In
August 2007 Hurricane Dean pounded Martinique and entirely wiped out its banana crop. The hurricane caused damage estimated
at $240 million, and also killed two people. Some of the hotels set on the island’s plantations have shut their doors as a result and it’
Source: Wikipedia: History of Martinique
The economy is based on trade. Agriculture accounts for about 6% of GDP and the small industrial sector for 11%. Sugar
production has declined, with most of the sugarcane now used for the production of rum. Banana exports are increasing, going
mostly to France. The bulk of meat, vegetable, and grain requirements must be imported, contributing to a chronic trade deficit that
requires large annual transfers of aid from France. Tourism has become more important than agricultural exports as a source of
foreign exchange. The majority of the work force is employed in the service sector and in administration. In August 2007 Hurricane
Dean pounded Martinique and entirely wiped out its banana crop. The hurricane caused damage estimated at $240 million, and also
killed two people. Some of the hotels set on the island’s plantations have shut their doors as a result and it’s uncertain whether they’
ll reopen anytime soon.
Source: Wikipedia: Economy of Martinique
Martinique is not a separate territory but both an overseas region and overseas department of France, with the same government
institutions as areas on the French mainland..
The general council is composed of 45 seats; whose members are elected by popular vote to serve six-year terms. Miscellaneous
left-wing detain 13 seats, the PPM holds 11, the Union for a Popular Movement holds 6, miscellaneous right-wing hold 5, the
Communist Party has 3 seats , the Union for French Democracy has 3, there are two socialists and two independents.
The regional council is composed of 41 seats; members are elected by popular vote to serve six-year terms.
Martinique elects 2 seats to the French Senate; indirect elections were last held in September 2004. The Martinican Progressive
Party won 1 senator and one other left-wing candidate was elected.
Martinique also elects 4 seats to the French National Assembly, the last elections were held in June 2007. The Union for a Popular
Movement elected 1 deputy, the Socialist Party elected 1, the nationalist Martinican Independence Movement elected 1, and the
Martinican Progressive Party also elected 1. On March 31, 2011 Josette Manin was elected President of the General Council of
Martinique . She is the first woman in the history of Martinique to chair this body.
Source: Wikipedia: Politics of Martinique
Transshipment point for cocaine and marijuana bound for the US and Europe
|HUMAN RIGHTS STATEMENTS, ANALYSIS AND CRITIQUES
|April 27, 2011
French West Indies
The French West Indies consists of the islands of Martinique, Guadeloupe, St. Martin (the French side) and St. Barthélemy. These
islands are well developed. In St. Martin and St. Barthélemy, English is widely spoken, and U.S. currency is accepted. Read the
Department of State Background Notes on France for additional information.
In addition to being subject to all French laws affecting U.S. citizens, dual nationals may also be subject to other laws that impose special
obligations on French citizens. Although France recognizes dual nationality, dual nationals are considered French citizens and are subject
to French laws without regard to the other nationality. For additional information, please see our Dual Nationality flyer.
French customs authorities may enforce strict regulations concerning temporary importation into or export from the French West Indies
of items such as firearms, medications, animals, etc. For questions, travelers may wish to contact the Embassy of France or a French
Consulate for specific information regarding customs requirements. Please see our information on customs regulations.
The French West Indies can be affected by hurricanes. The hurricane season normally runs from June to the end of November, but
there have been hurricanes in December in recent years. General information about natural disaster preparedness is available via the
Internet from the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) at: http://www.fema.gov/.
Please see Customs Information.
While in a foreign country, a U.S. citizen is subject to that country's laws and regulations, which sometimes differ significantly from
those in the United States and may not afford the protections available to the individual under U.S. law. Penalties for breaking the law
can be more severe than in the United States for similar offenses. Persons violating French West Indies’ laws, even unknowingly, may
be expelled, arrested or imprisoned. Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs in the French West Indies are severe,
and convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines. Engaging in sexual conduct with children or using or
disseminating child pornography in a foreign country is a crime, prosecutable in the United States. Please see our information on
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4 June 2012
Human Rights Council
Agenda item 10
Technical assistance and capacity-building
Report of the Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in Haiti, Michel Forst
Forced returns of Haitians from third states*
Established by the Commission on Human Rights in its resolution 1995/70 and with Presidential Statement PRST/15/1, the Independent
Expert on the situation of human rights in Haiti submits this Addendum to his annual report to the Council at its twentieth session.
B. Despite the humanitarian crisis, several states resumed forced removals to Haiti in 2010 and 2011: Legal framework and
34. France reports forcibly returning 5 individuals to Haiti from the French ―métropole‖ between January 2010 and November 2011. In
total there were 55 returns to Haiti from the métropole, 31 of which were voluntary, 18 of which were aided by the French, and the
remaining 5 of which were forced and 1 of which was a readmission to one of the European States. Deportations from French overseas
territories Martinique and Guadeloupe resumed following the January 2010 moratorium.52 The French Government noted, that ―[i]t has
been decided to allow the Governors of the two Departments [Martinique, Guadeloupe] and Guyana to remove Haitians in irregular
situations [illegals] to their country, giving as instructed, accordance [to the recognized standard] of the Office of the High
Commissioner for Human Rights and the High Commissioner for Refugees, to not apply these laws to the weak, while also considering
the state of health, age, and the eventual isolation from one’s country.‖53 The French Government justifies the end of the moratorium,
which occurred in June 2011, on the grounds that ―the migratory situation in the Departments of Martinique and Guadeloupe has
degraded because of the arrival of many clandestine Haitians.‖54
35. From the French overseas departments, Martinique, Guadeloupe, and French Guyana, France reports that 455 individuals have been
returned to Haiti. From the French response, it is unclear how many individuals were removed from each territory, and whether these
removals were voluntary. NGOs report, however, that 50 individuals have been forcibly removed from Guadeloupe between June 2011
and 15 February 2012. In the same period, 78 individuals have had ―the obligation to leave Guadeloupe.‖
51. In France, the Haitian nationals against whom removal procedures have been initiated can appeal the decision before the
Administrative Court and the Administrative Court of Appeal. In French overseas territories, Guyana, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Mayotte,
Saint Barthelemy and Saint Martin, Haitians and other foreign nationals can be forcibly returned before the appeal is considered by the
courts. While in theory, there is an emergency appeal – a motion for a protective order – such appeals are generally heard after one
month, and aliens are generally returned after 48 hours.
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Freedom In The World 2010
France (including Martinique)
Several commissions reviewed a range of issues in France in 2009, including those related to the judiciary, measuring the country's
ethnic composition, the French administrative system, and the wearing of burqas. Meanwhile, a month-long general strike in Guadeloupe
and Martinique led to a governmental increase in payments to low-wage workers.
In early 2009, major protests broke out in Guadeloupe and Martinique, two French overseas departments equal in status to those in
mainland France. A month-long general strike began over the cost of living but also reflected tensions between the black majority and the
ruling whites. French riot police were sent in and ultimately reached a deal whereby the government agreed to increase payments to
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Summit of the Americas fails to address human rights
Fifth Summit of the Americas
20 April 2009
The fifth Summit of the Americas has failed to recognize that human rights must be placed at the centre of efforts to confront the many
fundamental challenges facing the region.
Governments from every country in the Americas, except for Cuba, took part in the four-yearly meeting held in Port of Spain, Trinidad
and Tobago, between 17 and 19 April.
The 34 heads of state and government discussed the Summit's three principal themes: human prosperity, energy security and
The Declaration of Commitment of Port of Spain was adopted by consensus at the close of the Summit on 19 April. Based on the three
themes, the Declaration fails to lay out a clear human rights framework for progress in these areas.
A number of governments, including Venezuela, Bolivia, Nicaragua and Honduras, indicated that they were not prepared to formally sign
the Declaration. Leaders agreed to instead adopt it by consensus and have Trinidadian Prime Minister Manning sign on behalf of all
The governments that had registered objections did not feel that the Declaration deals adequately with the current global economic crisis.
They also wanted to see strong references to the issue of Cuba's reintegration into Organization of American States (OAS) and the lifting
of the US embargo against Cuba.
Amnesty International delegates at the Summit urged the governments of the region to make a firm commitment to ensuring that all
measures taken in response to the current global economic crisis fully conform to their human rights obligations. But the recognition in
the Declaration of the responsibility governments have to address the crisis does not acknowledge human rights at all.
"At a time of global economic turmoil and with a new spirit of compromise in the air between the government of US President Barrack
Obama and other governments in the Americas this Summit offered an unparalleled opportunity to lay out a strong human rights vision
for the Americas," said Alex Neve, Secretary General of Amnesty International Canada, who was part of the Amnesty International
delegation at the Summit. "Instead, human rights have once again been pushed to the back."
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No Reports from Human Rights Watch mentioning Martinique after exhaustive search of their database. Please forward any
information you may have regarding Human Rights Watch efforts on behalf of Martinique to the Pax Gaea World Report
editor at the link below
Contact the editor »
TRANSLATED FROM FRENCH BY GOOGLE TRANSLATE
Welcoming ceremony in the new French citizenship 60
Updated on: 07/12/2012 6:23 p.m.
Thursday afternoon in the hall of the prefecture, Laurent Prévost, prefect of the Martinique region, presided over the ceremony of 60
new French home, including 7 children, in which he proceeded to the delivery of orders naturalization, welcome booklet in citizenship to
these people from 21 different countries.
After his speech, the prefect stressed the importance of this step in the path of interest allowing them to enjoy the rights and duties of
citizenship, especially the right to vote, a pillar of democracy and freedoms.
Before being put their naturalization decrees, new citizens have heard the Marseillaise, their new national anthem and watch the movie
In the room were present relatives, friends, and some mayors of the municipality of residence.
Some recipients have wanted to ask along with the representative of the state in remembrance of that memorable day.
In total, there are 120 people who have been welcomed into citizenship in 2012 in Martinique.
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TRANSLATED FROM FRENCH BY GOOGLE TRANSLATE
No evictions foreign women!
27 November 2012
Tuesday, November 27, the people of Martinique was informed of the scandalous situation of Mrs. Betty SAINT LOUIS, a young
woman of Haitian origin, and sometimes arbitrary treatment of issues related to the right to stay nationals and foreign nationals residing in
This young woman has lived a hell during his detention at the airport, waiting for his deportation to Haiti. For 5 days, she was separated
from her friend pulled her baby 2 months. The prefecture under the pressure of our engagement and the testimony of Madame
Saint-Louis and his companion, has reconsidered its position within 8 days.
Betty Saint Louis was able to get a title one year after mobilization. Activist pay! But it is clear that unfortunately the situation is not
During the press conference of the Collective Rights Defense Caribbeans and Caribbean, including the MRU is a part, have been revealed
other situations like Ms. VALMYR.
Céline VALMYR, mother of a child of three months ill, was expelled on November 26 without her baby. Forcibly! In total disregard of
the prefecture, she had to undergo this inhumane distance.
Prefecture encourages these measures shocking abandonment of children, making them motherless, which is not tolerable. Moreover,
given the fact that the violence incurred by more women in Haiti, we measure the dangers they face and distance fighting they have to
take to be able to review one day their child in Martinique.
Under the Family Law, the Collective Defense of the Rights of Caribbean women and Caribbean calls Prefecture, in association with the
Embassy of France in Haiti, issued a visa to Ms. VALMYR a year and a residence so she found her child and cares like any mother.
The group denounced the unacceptable pressures whose father was the object. These pressures are common humiliating on the part of
some officials vis-à-vis nationals Caribbean but also against their fellow Martinican origin.
The West Indies are they territories except for the application of the code of entry and residence of foreigners and asylum?
Strengthen our solidarity and outrage at the arbitrary and discriminatory and that they suffer to live with dignity in Martinique.
-A woman filed a complaint for rape by a Haiti-elected him carries the MRU support.
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TRANSLATED FROM FRENCH BY GOOGLE TRANSLATE
A major conference of "The Institute of Human Rights of Martinique,"
December 7 2012
CONFERENCE ON HUMAN RIGHTS AND FREEDOMS, is the theme that offers the Institute of Human Rights of Martinique, which
invites you to the conference he organized in partnership with the IEJ-MARTINIQUE , Friday, 7 December 2012, 18 to 20 HOURS,
Frantz Fanon AMPHITHEATRE, Faculty of Law and Economics of Martinique, on the theme:
"RIGHT OF INTELLIGENCE AND INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS" by Alban COULIBALY Master, Doctor of Law, Attorney to
the Court, Member MHDI
INTEREST OF THE CONFERENCE:
The international law of interference is the right granted to one or more States, violate the HYPERLINK
"http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Souverainet% C3% A9" \ o "Sovereignty" national sovereignty of another state, under a warrant issued by a
supranational authority, in case of serious and massive violations of human rights or international law.
Despite attempts at standardization, this right remains imperfect, especially the right of intervention has no clear legal basis.
Today, it is clear that this right is of variable geometry. The news analysis reveals that the right to interfere no longer applies today as
countries and countries deemed weak militarily easy, where interventions can be made at low cost for human intervention force .
Given the international news, and ambiguities surrounding the concept, it now appears necessary to take on this legal theory.
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President of France since 15 May 2012
Prefect since 30 March 2011
President of the General Council
since 31 March 2011