Press Release

IACHR Condemns Assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moïse and Urges State to Guarantee Democratic Rule and Human Rights

July 9, 2021

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Washington, D.C. — The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) condemns the assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moïse during an attack on his private residence in Port-au-Prince in the early hours of July 7. The Commission sends its condolences to the family, expresses its solidarity with the Haitian people and also condemns that in this attack the wife of President Moïse was seriously injured, and we hope that her life can be saved. The IACHR notes that this crime is part of a context of growing violence and political and institutional tension in Haiti. In this sense, it urges the State to guarantee democratic institutions, citizen security, and the human rights of the entire population, and to do while showing full respect for the principles and rules of the constitutional and democratic framework.

According to publicly available information, Haitian president Jovenel Moïse was murdered on July 7. A press release from the Office of the President of the Republic of Haiti announced that an armed group attacked the president's private residence at approximately 1:00 AM, killing President Jovenel Moïse and injuring the first lady, Martine Moïse. According to the information provided by interim Prime Minister Claude Joseph at a press conference held on the morning of July 7, the Council of Ministers is said to have met to implement Article 149 of the Haitian Constitution, which provides procedures on presidential succession in circumstances such as these. At the same press conference, the Prime Minister declared a state of emergency throughout the country.

On the other hand, the IACHR observes that the assassination of the President adds to a context of profound exacerbation of the situation of citizen insecurity that has political and socio-economic components, and that results in a framework of complex violations of the human rights of the population. . The IACHR draws attention to its press release of February 23, 2021, in which it expressed concern over the increase in political tensions and the obstacles to broad dialogue between sectors of Haitian society. In this regard, the IACHR urgently reiterates its call for political dialogue to be resumed, for democratic institutions to be preserved, and for all human rights violations that have occurred in the context of the current wave of political and institutional tensions to be investigated and clarified, as well as for measures to be adopted to ensure these events are not repeated.

In this context, the IACHR calls on the State to take immediate action to investigate the assassination of the president with due diligence, and to identify and punish those responsible for these events. It also urged the State to investigate the violent incidents that have been escalating in the country, as well as to guarantee the human rights of all people under its jurisdiction and to adhere strictly to constitutional rules and democratic and republican principles.

In response to the risk of institutional instability and growing violence in the country, the IACHR reminds the Haitian authorities of the special obligation to prevent all factors that might generate and increase human rights violations. The IACHR urges authorities and political and social players in the country to use democratic channels, strategies, and spaces to settle conflicts and disputes, showing full respect for the democratic, constitutional framework. Likewise, the IACHR observes that the current atmosphere of political and institutional tension in the country must be addressed by creating effective mechanisms for social participation and dialogue, as well as through political consultation.

The IACHR also notes that it will continue to monitor issues that relate to the protection of human rights throughout the current political crisis via its Rapid and Integrated Response Coordination Unit (SACROI), as well as the structural, systematic aspects of the tensions currently prevailing in the country.

The IACHR is a principal and autonomous body of the Organization of American States (OAS), whose mandate derives from the OAS Charter and the American Convention on Human Rights. The Inter-American Commission has a mandate to promote the observance and defense of human rights in the region and acts as a consultative body to the OAS in this area. The IACHR is composed of seven independent members who are elected by the OAS General Assembly in their personal capacity, and do not represent their countries of origin or residence.

No. 172/21

4:59 PM