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VIDEO U.S. Congress Learns 127 Haitians Killed in State-Sponsored Massacres in Past Year



On Tuesday the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee was told by a leading human rights activist in Haiti that under President Jovenel Moïse, "since 2018, the authorities of the executive have used armed gangs to repress their opponents. There have been at least five massacres. The most significant was the one perpetrated in La Saline where 71 people were killed..."

The testimony was given by Pierre Esperance, Executive Director of the National Network for the Defense of Human Rights (RNDDH). Mr. Esperance was in Washington, D.C. for the 10:00 AM hearing on Haiti called "Haiti on the Brink: Assessing U.S. Policy Toward a Country in Crisis".

The executive director told the lawmakers that a total of 127 people were killed in total. From July 2018 to December 2019, 187 people were killed, including 42 protesters who were shot in the head as part of the violent repression against demonstrations. 44 police officers had also been killed in Haiti since January 2019.

Pierre Esperance said that judiciary is politicized and instrumentalized to persecute members of the opposition. This justice, said Esperance, does not follow the cases involving officials of this administration, citing, for example, the PetroCaribe case and the massacre of La Saline. 74% of the incarcerated have not been tried. The country's prisons, which have a capacity of 3000 detainees, are at a number above 11,000.

President Jovenel Moïse's inability to organize elections that were scheduled for October 2019 is also a deepening of the crisis expected early in 2020. The electoral law has not been passed in Parliament despite the fact that the president holds a majority, Esperance said.

"There is no budget," said Pierre Espérance as he spoke about the illegality of the new identification cards mired in the Dermalog scandal. In January 2020, President Moïses is going to begin governing by decree. "This situation is of great concern to Haitians because the president is involved in corruption. He is involved in systematic violations of human rights and he supports gangs," said the RNDDH director.