Senior State Department Leadership Participate in International Partners Ministerial Meeting on Haiti Hosted by the Government of Suriname
Washington, DC – The US Department of State released the following statement:
Deputy Secretary Wendy Sherman, Assistant Secretary for Western Hemisphere Affairs Brian A. Nichols, and Assistant Secretary for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Todd Robinson met virtually with senior Haitian government officials, over 17 international partner countries, and several international organizations during a Ministerial-level international partners meeting hosted by the Government of Suriname to discuss sustainable, inclusive solutions to the challenges faced by Haiti and Haitians. The ministerial reaffirmed the continued international partner commitment to support Haiti as it confronts grave insecurity, seeks to restore its democratic institutions, and revives the country’s economic development. Since December 2021, international partners have mobilized more than $294 million in new commitments to Haiti.
Supporting the Haitian People Remains a Major Priority
- In response to heightened humanitarian needs in Haiti, since the August 2021 earthquake, the United States has provided more than $153 million in life-saving humanitarian assistance and early recovery, risk reduction and resilience programming.
- To address growing food insecurity in Haiti, USAID provided more than $33.75 million to the UN World Food Programme (WFP), the International Organization for Migration (IOM), and six non-governmental organizations in FY 2021 to provide emergency food assistance and complementary services.
- In FY 2021, the Department of State contributed more than $6 million to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) towards regional activities for the Americas, allowing UNHCR the flexibility to use the funds where they are needed most in the region, including assistance for Haitian refugees.
- To respond to the COVID-19 outbreak in Haiti, the Department of State and USAID have provided more than $47 million in assistance to support the immediate COVID-19 health needs of Haitians, while focusing on reducing widespread transmission.
- The United States has also donated roughly 500,000 safe, effective COVID-19 vaccine doses.
- The Center for Disease Control has provided $34 million to support COVID-19 response efforts with $3 million specifically for vaccine administration. CDC also purchased durable laboratory equipment for decentralized COVID-19 testing (PCR and GeneXpert machines) and is supporting health systems strengthening for COVID-19 variant surveillance and vaccine adverse event surveillance.
- U.S. Southern Command donated four field hospitals, 12 ventilators, 11 ultra-low temperature freezers, and additional hygiene kits and personal protective equipment to Haiti to help respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and other emergent health crises. The donated equipment and material are worth $5.13 million.
- USAID is also increasing access to and strengthening the use and maintenance of medical oxygen for patients with severe COVID-19. Since June 2021, this assistance has included delivery of 50 oxygen concentrators and 250 cylinders, recurring cylinder refills, and technical assistance on medical oxygen.
Legal Pathways to Migration
- Expanding legal pathways for protection and opportunity is at the heart of efforts to humanely address irregular migration in the Americas. The goal is to change the way people migrate.
- To address labor shortages in key sectors of the U.S. economy and reduce irregular migration, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Department of Labor (DOL) made an additional 11,500 H-2B visas available in late May. These visas are dedicated for nationals of the Northern Central America countries and Haiti for this fiscal year.
- Reflecting the President’s commitment to support the people of Haiti, the United States commits to receiving increased UNHCR referrals of Haitians to the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program for potential resettlement in the United States. The United States encourages other governments to join us in strengthening legal pathways for protection and opportunity for Haitians and other displaced populations in the Americas.
- The United States will resume and increase participation in the Haitian Family Reunification Parole Program. The Department of Homeland Security will announce the resumption of the Haitian Family Reunification Parole Program, which allows certain eligible U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents to apply for parole for their family members in Haiti. Additionally, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services will take steps to increase participation in the program by reducing barriers to access. New invitations to apply under the program are anticipated to be issued in early fall 2022. Concurrently, the Department of State will increase efforts to process Haitian immigrant visas and reduce the existing backlog. State is in the process of assessing options to augment consular adjudicator staffing in Embassy Port-au-Prince and review additional operational efficiencies to decrease the immigrant visa backlog for Haitians.
- Strengthening Haiti’s law enforcement capacity remains a key U.S. priority. We have provided support to increase the capacity of the Haitian National Police (HNP) to maintain peace and stability, and to respond effectively to civil unrest while respecting human rights.
- In response to the grave security situation, we have allocated an additional $15 million in 2021 and are making a new commitment of $48 million in 2022 for partnering with the HNP, specifically to strengthen the HNP’s capacity to counter gangs, including funding community-based efforts to deter gang recruitment, hiring additional anti-gang subject matter experts, and supporting the HNP’s anti-gang operations. As a direct result of support to the HNP Academy, the number of trained officers increased from fewer than 10,000 in 2010 to nearly 14,000 officers today.
- The State Department has also donated 60 vehicles to the HNP.
- The Department of State supports 14 embedded subject matter experts in HNP leadership and specialized units to enhance the institution’s capability to provide election security, support safer communities and more secure borders, and prevent civil unrest.
- The State Department-supported experts also provide advisory support to the HNP judicial police and Inspector General. These advisors help the HNP improve its vetting system and the integrity of processing allegations of corruption, human rights abuses, and police misconduct. Their critical investigative capacity-building support will complement U.S. Federal law enforcement assistance.
- Increased Department of State and other U.S. government efforts have already helped Haitian security forces combat gangs. In early May 2022, the HNP successfully coordinated with the FBI to extradite Germine “Yonyon” Joly to the United States. Joly is the head of the “400 Mawozo” gang, accused of murder, kidnapping, vehicle theft, and destruction of private property. His arrest and extradition sent a strong signal of the HNP’s commitment to combat gangs across Haiti. These enhanced coordination efforts will provide much-needed assistance for the HNP to reduce kidnappings and gang violence across Haiti.
- In 2021, the Department of State and the Organization of American States (OAS) launched a pilot project in the Cité Soleil neighborhood to bolster the HNP’s community policing and police presence, improve service delivery, and engage with at-risk youth. The program has awarded 30 small grants for projects focused on youth violence prevention, economic development, health and infrastructure, and athletic programs, and will award up to 10 additional grants focused on job creation opportunities.
- We strongly encourage international partners to consider contributing to the UN security basket fund, and/or increasing support, to combat insecurity in Haiti.
Investigation Assistance Following the Assassination of President Moïse
- In the aftermath of the assassination of President Moïse, the Department of Justice, together with the Department of Homeland Security, assisted the Haitian authorities in conducting a thorough investigation of the July 7, 2021 attack.
- The Department of Justice, along with its U.S. government partners, will continue to support the Haitian authorities in its review of the facts and circumstances surrounding this heinous attack.
- The Department of Justice will also investigate whether there were any violations of U.S. criminal law in connection with this matter.
- USAID currently supports pre-election activities that are intended to support legislative and presidential elections when conditions permit. USAID has provided more than $3 million to the Consortium for Elections and Political Process Strengthening, which includes the National Democratic Institute, the International Republican Institute, and the International Foundation for Electoral Systems.
- These activities include focusing on improving electoral administration, strengthening the competitiveness of political parties, educating voters on electoral processes, promoting electoral transparency, and ensuring inclusive voter participation.
- USAID is providing technical assistance to Haiti’s Provisional Electoral Council (CEP) through this Consortium to build the capacity of electoral authorities to conduct free and fair elections. This includes technical assistance for strategic planning, information technology, and training for CEP, the Communal Electoral Office, and Departmental Electoral Office staff.