Congresswoman Waters Urges State Department to Support the Rights of Peaceful Demonstrators in Haiti
Congresswoman Waters Urges State Department to
Support the Rights of Peaceful Demonstrators in Haiti
October 2, 2014
Washington, DC – Today, Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA) sent a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry, expressing concern about the potential for political instability and violence in Haiti. The letter urges him to use his influence to encourage the Government of Haiti to respect the rights of Haitian citizens to peaceably assemble and express their political opinions free from government intimidation. Copies of the letter were sent to Thomas C. Adams, Haiti Special Coordinator, and Ambassador Pamela A. White, U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Haiti.
The text of the letter follows:
I am extremely concerned about the potential for political instability and violence in Haiti.
It has been reported that Haitian police used water hoses and tear gas against thousands of Haitian demonstrators, who were attempting to march towards the home of former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide on September 30th as part of commemorations of the anniversary of the 1991 coup d'état. These confrontational tactics were used despite reports that the demonstrators were peaceful. It has also been reported that police blocked the route along which the demonstrators had planned to march.
Given Haiti's past history of political violence and violations of human rights, I am concerned that efforts to intimidate demonstrators could lead to a dangerous confrontation between demonstrators and the police. This in turn, could lead to a tragic loss of life among innocent Haitians and further political instability in Haiti. It could also jeopardize earthquake recovery and economic development efforts supported by the United States and interfere with efforts to organize elections. Given the considerable amount of U.S. foreign assistance that has been invested in Haiti in recent years, this kind of repression could be a tremendous setback.
I strongly urge you to use your influence and the diplomatic resources available to the United States to encourage the Government of Haiti to respect the rights of Haitian citizens to peaceably assemble and express their political opinions free from government intimidation.
To read more about Congresswoman Waters' longtime work on Haiti, click here.