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Rep. Waters Statement on 1-Year Anniversary of Lasalin Massacre in Haiti

‘Those responsible for acts of politically motivated violence in Haiti must be held accountable.
Impunity in Haiti must end now’ 

WASHINGTON – Congresswoman Maxine Waters (CA-43) issued the following statement on the one-year anniversary of the Lasalin Massacre in Haiti:

“Following the anniversary of the brutal attack in the Lasalin neighborhood of Haiti’s capital – which resulted in the deaths of at least 71 civilians, in addition to the rape of at least 11 women, and the looting of more than 150 homes – I renew my call for justice for the victims and survivors of Lasalin and the protection of Haiti’s citizens in exercising their democratic rights to free expression and assembly.

“In April 2019, I led a delegation to Haiti, which met with residents of Lasalin and surrounding areas, who described acts of unconscionable violence that occurred the previous November.  Survivors expressed concern that government-connected gangs, working with police officers, carried out the attacks to punish the neighborhood for participation in anti-government protests.

“In the months since my trip to Haiti, credible investigations by Haiti’s National Human Rights Defense Network (RNDDH), the United Nations (UN) Mission for Justice Support in Haiti together with the Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights (OHCHR), and Haiti’s national directorate of judicial police have all consistently pointed to politically motivated violence. Furthermore, the judicial police investigation report named two senior officials from the administration of Haiti’s President, Jovenel Moise, in the list of alleged perpetrators.

“As a longtime friend of Haiti, I am deeply concerned that one year after the massacre, the state officials implicated in the Lasalin killings remain at liberty, and they were only suspended from their posts in September 2019, after repeated calls for accountability by victims and human rights organizations.  Meanwhile, judicial processes in Haiti regarding Lasalin appear stalled.

“Without justice for Lasalin, impunity for violence against civilians continues, and acts of repression are increasing. Early reports suggest that the recent killing of at least 15 people in the Bel-Air neighborhood between November 4-7, 2019, may have been carried out by the very same gang leaders implicated in the Lasalin massacre. OHCHR has verified that Haitian security forces were responsible for at least 19 killings since September 15, and attacks on journalists have steadily increased in recent months. Moreover, Amnesty International reported that Haitian police have repeatedly used excessive force during recent anti-government protests, including unlawfully firing live ammunition at protesters and indiscriminately launching tear gas.  These acts of violence are alarming and raise grave concerns about human rights in Haiti.

“Following the one-year anniversary of the Lasalin massacre, we are reminded that impunity for brutality against innocent civilians enables and perpetuates violence. These acts of violence endanger the safety of the population and violate fundamental human rights.

“Those responsible for acts of politically motivated violence in Haiti must be held accountable.  Impunity in Haiti must end now.”

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