Emergency Statement: Haïti - Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results

PSI Executive Board EB-165, meeting in Geneva, 26-27 June, expressed deep concern over the severe violence and instability caused by armed gangs.

The Statement issued by the Executive Board, criticizes military interventions and calls for funds to be directed toward rebuilding public services instead. PSI calls on the international community to protect the rights and safety of displaced persons and advocates for the full involvement of the trade union movement in national stabilization efforts, emphasizing the disastrous impact of previous foreign interventions.

Full statement

Life remains extremely difficult for the Haitian people. More than 25,000 jobs have been lost in the textile sector alone. In the education sector, the number of teachers who have been technically unemployed because it is impossible to do their jobs is impossible to calculate.

The socio-economic situation of the population continues to deteriorate. Armed gangs in Port-au-Prince occupy the neighbourhoods, looting, raping, killing, and burning houses. The number of internally displaced persons exceeds 300,000.

Almost all union leaders and representatives had to abandon their homes to escape the fury of the gangs. The General Secretary of the Confederation des Travailleurs et Travailleuses des Secteurs Public at Privé (CTSP) recently informed us that he and his family were attacked and his home invaded by armed bandits. He was able to flee to safety. The CTSP’s headquarters has been taken over by armed gangs. Public services including health and care are not functioning, exactly at a time when people most need them.

Millions of foreign dollars to support military intervention have been pledged and approved. This money should be spent on rebuilding strong public services to serve the people, not on military adventures. EB notes that armed forces from the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) are also expected to be part of the multinational forces. EB calls on the governments of these Caribbean countries, as well as African governments, not to be complicit in the mounting of another destabilising military intervention that will only result in more suffering and the loss of lives and livelihoods.

The country has the largest number of displacements globally due to crime-related violence. The UN records 578,074 internal displacement happening this year, which is more than double the figure from 2022. Among those forcibly displaced are 310,000 women and girls and 180,000 children.

PSI calls on the international community to share in the responsibility to protect the human rights and safety of IDPs, including those who have sought refuge in other countries.

The CTSP continues to work with its members to provide shelter and relief where it is able to do so, keeping members and their families safe and away from harm. The confederation demands the genuine and full involvement of the trade union movement in national efforts to stabilise the country. The record of foreign interventions in Haiti is disastrous. Haiti was the first country in the world to win independence through a slave rebellion in 1804. The people made that decision, and through self-determination won their freedom. We stand with the CTSP and the people of Haiti, particularly the workers that continue to fight to provide public services to the population under these terrible conditions. We will mobilise for peace and stability in Haiti.