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Several Canadian and Haitian networks are calling on Justin Trudeau’s government to provide a Canadian response to the multidimensional crisis in Haiti

  • May 10, 2024
  • 12
  • 11

Supporting the political transition process, taking a stand against arms trafficking to Haiti, deploying appropriate humanitarian aid are the main recommendations of these Canadian and Haitian networks to the government of Justin Trudeau

Submitted to AlterPresse on May 10, 2024

The 8th of 2024

The Right Honorable Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada
[email protected]

The Honorable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Canada
[email protected]

The Honorable Ahmed Hussen, Minister of International Development of Canada
[email protected]

Subject: Canadian response to the multidimensional crisis in Haiti

Mr. Prime Minister Trudeau,
Madam Minister Joly,
Minister Hussen,

Following a special meeting, organized on April 15, 2024 by the Quebec Association of International Cooperation Organizations (Aqoci), the Concertation for Haiti (Cph) and Cooperation Canada to consult representatives of Haitian civil society, our three networks wish to relay to the Canadian government the major issues heard and present recommendations to contribute, in a resolute, constructive and lasting manner, to the resolution of the crisis in Haiti.

More than 70 participants in this virtual meeting, including around twenty speakers representing several sectors (women’s rights, human rights, health, education, environment, agriculture) directly from Haiti and some members of the Haitian diaspora in Canada, expressed their dismay in the face of this umpteenth crisis, the escalation of which since the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse in 2021 has led the country into chaos, with today 80% of the city of Port- au-Prince under the control of armed gangs, according to the United Nations.

The political crisis is breeding a culture of violence, sexual assault, food insecurity and socio-economic stagnation.

Faced with this untenable situation for millions of Haitians taken hostage, we call on Canada to intervene on three fronts, in particular by supporting the political transition process, by taking a stand against arms trafficking to Haiti and by deploying appropriate humanitarian aid.

1. Support the political transition process

Canada should recognize and support the Presidential Transitional Council, which has just been sworn in, so that it can implement the “Political Agreement for a Peaceful and Orderly Transition” as quickly as possible. This agreement, despite its imperfections, offers the opportunity to restore constitutional normality, the proper functioning of institutions and legal order for Haitians.

Canada should insist on the broad and effective representation of all social groups, particularly women, young people and the diaspora, within the transitional bodies provided for in the Political Agreement. Participants deplored the presence of only one woman (also without a deliberative voice) among the nine designated members of the Presidential Council. Furthermore, to allow Haitians to take back control of their destiny, Canada should help recall the place and role of the diplomatic corps in Haiti, whose interference, sometimes excessive in national affairs, offends the dignity national.

Canada should take note of past mistakes and exercise increased vigilance to restore integrity and honesty in governance, while preventing the violation of human rights in Haiti.

2. Take a stand against arms trafficking to Haiti

Canada should engage in courageous and uncompromising advocacy with the United States to end arms trafficking to Haiti, based on the recent rapport of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.

Canada must imperatively encourage international responses, guided by the will of the Presidential Transitional Council and the institutions of the Political Agreement for a peaceful and orderly transition, in order to restore security, promote law enforcement and support defense Haitian coast. This requires providing the security forces (police and army) with logistical and financial support, without which the situation will remain precarious, hindering any progress towards democracy.

For its part, Canada must be transparent and consider legal action or the imposition of sanctions (seizure of funds or travel ban) against those involved in transport.

3. Deploy appropriate humanitarian aid

Any lasting solution for the well-being of Haitians requires a paradigm shift.

Canada must reconsider the current approach to humanitarian aid, based on projects that too often do not reach the most vulnerable people and the most affected territories. Canada should initiate with civil society organizations a new way of coordinating humanitarian and development actions, in order to support the economy in the territories, promote local expertise and respect the dignity of populations. To this end, Canada should implement the triple nexus approach, combining structuring interventions in the humanitarian, development and peace fields (which includes social cohesion).

Faced with a multifaceted crisis and immense humanitarian needs, Canada should also increase and diversify its funding to reach more affected sectors (agriculture, health, protection of civilians, hygiene and sanitation, shelter, education, economic support, etc.) while considering the question of access to the services offered. While the populations witnessed the aerial ballet of evacuation of diplomats, let us remember that nearly 50% of the population risks suffering from acute food insecurity by June 2024 (Ipc, 2024), it is essential to ensure that that access to aid is facilitated throughout the country.

Being the 2nd largest donor in Haiti is not enough.

The above recommendations are part of an overall demand for more coherence in Canada’s foreign policy vis-à-vis Haiti. Canada has the opportunity to once again demonstrate its values ​​and its feminist approach to promoting peace and security in the world, by becoming one of the champions of Haiti’s cause in the international community.

By remaining at your disposal to further discuss the points raised and to possibly organize a meeting with Canadian and Haitian civil society, we ask you to accept, Mr. Prime Minister Trudeau, Madam Minister Joly, Mr. Minister Hussen, the expression of our respectful greetings.

Michèle Asselin
Executive Director
Quebec Association of International Cooperation Organizations (Aqoci)

Marc-Édouard Joubert
Coordination Committee
Consultation for Haiti (Cph)

Kate Higgins
Executive Director
Cooperation Canada

Signatory organizations in Canada:
•Acted Canada
• Action-Haïti
• Gatineau-World Friendship
• Architecture without borders Quebec
• International Bureau for Children’s Rights (Ibcr)
• International solidarity crossroads
• Center for international study and cooperation (Ceci)
• Interdisciplinary Center for International Health Development – ​​Cidis at the University of Sherbrooke
• International Center for Workers’ Solidarity (Ciso)
• International health collaboration
• Solidarity Committee/Trois-Rivières (Cstr)
• Confederation of National Trade Unions (Csn)
• FTQ Metropolitan Montreal Regional Council
• Development and peace – Caritas Canada
• Desjardins international development
• Development, expertise and international solidarity (Desi)
• United Church
• Quebec Interprofessional Health Federation (Fiq)
• Paul Gérin-Lajoie Foundation (FPGL)
• South Solidarity Fund
• Humanity & inclusion Canada
• Engineers Without Borders Quebec
•Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund
• World health
• Society for the Reforestation of Haiti (Srh)
• Solidarity-Haiti in Estrie
• Suco – Solidarity, Union, Cooperation
• Land without borders
• UPA International Development

Signatory organizations from Haiti
• Landscape animation and community action center (Capac)
• Training center for mutual aid and community development (Cfedec)
• National Episcopal Commission for Justice and Peace
• Women Decide
• Cultural Institute Karl Lévêque (Ickl)
• Kri Fam Haiti (Krifa)
• Union for the development and respect of Haitian women (Udreph-Centre)
• Episcopal University of Haiti
• Women’s House