Diaspora

Haiti House Caucus formed in US Congress – caribbeannationalweekly.com

Four United States congressional representatives have announced the formation of the House Haiti Caucus, saying that it will work towards addressing serious issues plaguing the country.
“We come to Congress with vastly different backgrounds and from all corners of our country, yet we have found common ground in our deep commitment to the Haitian people and their wellbeing, as well as an intense desire to see Haitian democracy thrive,” said the congressional representatives in a joint statement.
The legislators are Yvette D. Clarke, the daughter of Jamaican immigrants, who represents the 9th Congressional District in Brooklyn, New York; Val Demings, of Florida’s 10th District; Andy Levin, of Michigan’s 9th District; and Ayanna Pressley, of Massachusetts’s 7th District.
“With this caucus, we will work for a Haiti free from corruption, violence, repeated violations of civil and human rights, and economic and public health crises,” they said in the statement.
“We have full confidence that, if given the opportunity, the Haitian people can overcome this challenge and establish a strong democracy that has justice and opportunity for all. This should be a turning point in the relationship between the United States and Haiti.”
The US legislators said there is no excuse to repeat past mistakes and that they will, instead, “lift and listen to the Haitian voices that must shape a democratic future that will serve all of Haiti’s people, not the few.”
As a result, they have promised to proceed with policies that will foster “a real relationship that engages meaningfully with the broad sweep of Haitian civil society in defense of Haiti’s democracy and civil rights”.
They said also that they “strongly support” a Haitian-led democratic transition, and as founding members of the House Haiti Caucus, they welcome any of their colleagues who wish to join them “in pursuit of a more just foreign policy that puts the needs and aspirations of the Haitian people first.
“We hope that this caucus can serve as a convening body for those who wish to hear from Haitian civil society leaders or organize legislative actions concerning Haiti, and as a partner to work alongside the Biden administration in forging a new path forward for our country’s relationship with Haiti.”
In February, the United Nations human rights office (OHCHR) said it was “very concerned” over attacks against judicial independence in Haiti, as the Caribbean country continues to be gripped by political and institutional instability.
According to OCHCHR spokesperson Liz Throssell, respecting the rule of law and the system of checks and balances at all times in Haiti is “paramount”.
Clarke, a strong Haiti proponent, had joined with US House of Representatives’ Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Congressman Gregory Meeks in writing a letter to US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken urging the Biden administration to “unambiguously reject the undemocratic actions of President (Jovenel) Moïse to retain power in Haiti.”
Clarke said the letter was supported by a number of their congressional colleagues, and felt “it is essential that the United States unambiguously reject any attempt by President Moïse to retain power in contravention of those principles”.
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