UUSC Responds to Escalating Crisis in Haiti

Challenging Injustice, Advancing Human Rights

The Unitarian Universalist Service Committee advances human rights through grassroots collaborations.

UUSC Responds to Escalating Crisis in Haiti

 

In response to recent events happening in Haiti related to gang violence, Prime Minister Ariel Henry’s fractured, illegitimate, and failing leadership, and the need for equitable long-term solutions for the nation, UUSC has issued the following response: 

“The continued violence and lawlessness in Haiti remain top-of-mind for UUSC and its members. The dissolution of Prime Minister Ariel Henry’s failed government is a clear indication that a different kind of international intervention is needed—a response rooted in respecting the Haitian people’s rights to self-determination. 

“UUSC has a history of supporting grassroots human rights organizations at the forefront of Haiti’s work to recover and thrive in the face of many adversities. UUSC has been working with a coalition that includes our partners in Haiti and a network of Haitian diaspora organizations to support narrative and media engagement around the preservation and respect of Haitian autonomy. 

“We’ve been pushing the U.S. government to understand that support for Henry is further obstructing local civil society’s efforts at autonomy and progressive democratic reform and causing more chaos. The development this week with the United States reportedly encouraging Henry to make way for a transitional government brings us hope for what we’ve been long advocating for—supporting Haiti on the path to free and fair elections. 

“With gangs storming the capital, two large prisons overrun, and abject violence overtaking Port-au-Prince and swaths of the nation, we are in full agreement that Henry’s corrupt leadership has done nothing but exacerbate the unprecedented levels of violence we’ve been seeing across the nation. 

“The United States has a troubling history when it comes to interference in the politics and sovereignty of Haiti—a legacy the nation has a moral obligation to acknowledge and address. While we are fully supportive of a transitional government led by the people of Haiti, we also caution that this government should receive U.S. support and assistance with limited interference. The people of Haiti should be allowed to control the entire process of installing a government, discerning paths towards democracy, and addressing whether foreign assistance is needed and how that assistance is received, if at all. 

“The people of Haiti’s right to self-determination and self-governance take precedent over foreign interests, whether it be in the form of United Nations support, military support from countries like Kenya, or other forms of intervention that often oppress, dehumanize, and colonize.

UUSC remains in steadfast solidarity with the people of Haiti as they navigate what is inarguably a period of trauma, strife, and incalculable harm. For UUSC, global solidarity means not only bearing witness to the human rights violations we see, but also flanking the communities most impacted by those violations. The people of Haiti have an inherent right to self-determination, to live peacefully and govern themselves without global interference driven by greed, politics, or power. We will continue to support the people of Haiti as they make their way through this journey, humbly assisting when and where we can in the name of justice.

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