Reps. Levin and Lee Send Letter to Sec. Pompeo Expressing Concerns over Violence Against Civil Protesters in Haiti
Congressman Andy Levin (MI-09), a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and a lifelong activist for Haitian human rights, joined Congresswoman Barbara Lee (CA-13), a member of the House Appropriations Committee, in leading a letter signed by 104 bipartisan Members of Congress to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo expressing concern over civil unrest in Haiti.
“Having been engaged in Haitian human rights work for more than three decades, I am determined to elevate the United States’ response to the dangers faced by brave protesters seeking justice and fair democracy in Haiti,” Congressman Levin said. “To protect the Haitian people, the United States must investigate the Haitian government’s corruption and human rights violations, and the State Department should ramp up its communication with Congress on its progress. We cannot let this perilous situation escalate further.”
“The latest reports of violence against civil protestors by the Haitian National Police are deeply concerning,” said Congresswoman Lee. “Given the United States’ longstanding support for the people of Haiti, it is critical that the Secretary of State take action to investigate these claims and to ensure that the country’s upcoming elections are transparent and inclusive. The Haitian people have endured enough in their long fight for democracy and human rights.”
Read the full text of the letter HERE.
Recent protests in Haiti take aim at long-standing corruption and gross human rights violations at the hands of Haitian government officials and law enforcement. Last month, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights reported that 26 people were killed and 77 injured over less than three weeks. These incidents are not only tragic but deliver a terrible blow to Haiti’s development.
The letter asks Secretary Pompeo to support thorough and independent investigations into both the corruption allegations that sparked the crisis, as well as the human rights violations that have reportedly taken place. The letter also encourages Secretary Pompeo to ensure U.S. support for Haiti fosters a democratic environment that promotes transparency, inclusivity, and broad participation among Haitian voters in the country’s upcoming election.
Congressman Levin has been engaged in Haitian human rights work throughout his life. After learning to speak Haitian Creole while organizing Haitian nursing home workers, Congressman Levin served as an observer during the country’s presidential elections in 1987 following the end of the Duvalier dictatorship. Congressman Levin also spent the summer of 1992 in Haiti for Human Rights Watch and was the principal investigator and writer for that organization’s book-length report, Silencing a People.