Leading Human Rights Group Welcomes Capitol Hill Hearing on Repression in Haiti

American Jewish World Service (AJWS) stands with Haitian Civil Society groups

 

As the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Western Hemisphere, Civilian Security, and Trade prepares for a December 10 hearing entitled “Haiti on the Brink: Assessing U.S. Policy Toward a Country in Crisis,” Rori Kramer, Director of Government Affairs for American Jewish World Service (AJWS), issued the following statement:

“This is an important chance for Congress to highlight the voices of Haitian civil society. We commend the leadership of Congressman Albio Sires and his colleagues for holding this hearing and for including two witnesses from Haitian organizations focused on human rights and anti-corruption measures.”

This hearing comes at a critical time for human rights in Haiti. For the past 18 months, the Haitian people have participated in nationwide protests following reports of misuse of funds by current and former Haitian officials, including President Jovenel Moïse, from the PetroCaribe loan program initiated by Venezuela in 2005.

Despite this popular movement, none of the officials implicated in corruption have been held accountable. Instead, the Haitian National Police (HNP) has responded to these mostly non-violent protests with excessive and violent force, killing at least 187 people and injuring many others. The Haitian people are also the victims of violence perpetrated by armed gangs operating under the protection of the government; since the beginning of Jovenel Moïse’s term, there have been five massacres implicating government authorities, including the deadliest one in the La Saline neighborhood in November 2018. Government officials implicated in these gruesome attacks have not faced charges, and we continue to call for justice for those harmed.

As a faith-based organization founded on the Jewish value of respecting the dignity and worth of every person, we stand in solidarity with the Haitian people. We echo the demands of Haitian human rights and civil society organizations for government accountability for human rights abuses and corruption. We call on members of the U.S. Congress to condemn the Haitian Government’s systematic repression of protesters, politicizing of the judicial system, and dismantling of anti-corruption institutions. We also echo Haitian demands for the U.S. to more closely monitor the import of arms and ammunition that bolster the widespread proliferation of armed gangs across Haiti.

About American Jewish World Service (AJWS)

American Jewish World Service (AJWS) is the leading Jewish organization working to fight poverty and pursue justice in the developing world. By supporting hundreds of social change organizations in 19 countries, we respond to the most pressing issues of our time—from disasters, genocide and hunger, to the persecution of women and minorities worldwide. With Jewish values and a global reach, AJWS is making a difference in millions of lives and bringing a more just and equitable world closer for all.

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