PHOTO COURTESY OF ALLOAYITI
New York, NY & Port-au-Prince, Haiti – The Bureau des Avocats Internationaux (BAI), a Haiti-based human rights law firm, together with its U.S. based partner organization, the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti (IJDH), announce a petition to the InterAmerican Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) for an emergency response to protect the survivors of the November 2018 massacre (“the Massacre”) in the La Saline neighborhood of Port-au-Prince, Haiti. This petition is a request for “precautionary measures” under IACHR protocols to safeguard and protect human rights in member countries of the Organization of American States.
Reports from the UN’s mission in Haiti (MINUJUSTH) and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and Haiti’s National Human Rights Defense Network (RNDDH) confirm that armed gangs brutally murdered La Saline residents, including women and small children, in an hours-long massacre; RNDDH reports confirm at least seventy-one fatalities. BAI and IJDH have requested that the IACHR adopt measures compelling the Haitian government to provide urgent humanitarian assistance to survivors displaced by the massacre, improve security in La Saline and the surrounding neighbors where survivors have fled through increased police presence, and address delays that have hampered access to justice for victims. The request for the IACHR to issue measures to protect survivors of the Massacre was filed August 9, 2019.
“Before he was assassinated it was my son who supported me financially. Additionally, I lost everything the day of the massacre: my furniture, my business, my cooking utensils. Now I beg with humiliation for a piece of bread to give my children” explained one of the petitioners, who has been living in an open-air market without assistance since she fled the massacre.
Investigations by RNDDH and international journalists further suggest that the Massacre was carried out with the complicity of Haitian government actors, in retaliation for the neighborhood’s involvement in Haiti’s national anti-corruption movement. Over the past year, a growing popular movement has mobilized protests calling for government accountability and structural reform, following reports from Haiti’s Senate (2016, 2017) detailing the misappropriation of an estimated US$1.7 billion of state funds intended for investment in critical infrastructure and social services. A report by Haiti’s Central Directorate of Judicial Police directly implicated two senior government officials in the Massacre; Director-General of the Ministry of Interior Fednel Monchéry and President Moise’s direct representative to the Port-au-Prince region Joseph Pierre Richard Duplan. Despite the Judicial Police report recommending their arrest, neither man been arrested nor suspended from his post.