GJC Project Director Testifies Before Congress on Human Rights in Haiti

On Wednesday, March 4, 2020, Haiti Project Director and Global Justice Clinic Staff Attorney Ellie Happel testified before Congress. Ellie was one of five witnesses called to speak at the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission hearing “Human Rights in Haiti: Ideas for Next Steps.”  Ellie presented concerns and recommendations from Haitian organizations, emphasizing that the path forward in Haiti must be determined by Haitian people.

The Haitian government is failing to protect, respect, and fulfill the human rights of its population.  In the past two years, in response to detailed evidence of misappropriation of funds and corruption, Haitians have channeled calls for change into collective action, organizing massive nationwide protests to demand government accountability.  The popular slogan “kote kòb la”—where is the money?—and the demand for new leadership not stained by corruption has been met—time and again—with repression and violence.  The worsening insecurity, including massacres in poor neighborhoods that implicate state authorities and kidnappings, are symptoms of widespread impunity.  The U.S. continued support for Haitian President Jovenel Moise undermine the popular call for accountability.  Commission Chairman Representative Jim McGovern (D-MA) demonstrated interest in setting up delegations to Haiti to meet with civil society organizations.

The hearing was intended as a follow-up to that held by the Committee on Foreign Affairs in December, “Haiti on the Brink.”

Recent press about the situation in Haiti that features comments from Ellie can be found in the Miami Herald and Yahoo Finance.


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