WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Ben Cardin (D-Md.) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) praised passage today in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee of their legislation, the Haiti Development, Accountability, and Institutional Transparency Initiative Act (S. 1104). First introduced in April, the Cardin-Rubio bill prioritizes the protection of human rights and anti-corruption efforts in Haiti by fostering strong relationships with independent civil society groups. The legislation also requires the U.S. State Department to report on human rights abuses that have taken place in Haiti. The bill further supports the efforts of the Haitian Government to identify persons involved in such human rights violations and significant acts of corruption in Haiti and hold them accountable for their actions.
Amended since the assassination of President Jovenel Moise in July and the August earthquake and tropical storm, all of which exacerbated long-term challenges facing Haiti, the bill would measure the progress of post-disaster recovery and efforts to address corruption, governance, rule of law, and media freedoms.
“Everyday life for the Haitian people remains a constant struggle as one disaster piled on top of another,” said Senator Cardin. “We are greatly concerned that an unstable Haitian government, rife with corruption, will ignore or even enable further human rights abuses. UNICEF has reported that 1.6 million people, including 800,000 children, in Haiti are in dire need of humanitarian assistance. The United States must take a more active role in helping our neighbors emerge from this ongoing crisis.”
“The people of Haiti continue to confront unimaginable hardships in their desire to keep strong democratic institutions and their quality of life,” Senator Rubio said. “Unfortunately, the country has been plagued by crime, violence, corruption, and has been negatively affected by multiple natural disasters. A secure and stable Haiti not only benefits Haitians on the island, but also America. I welcome the committee’s passage of our bipartisan Haiti Development, Accountability, and Institutional Transparency Initiative Act. We must continue to support Haiti’s democratic process, push for transparency and accountability in the ongoing investigations, as well as help strengthen Haiti’s future.”
The legislation, as amended, can be downloaded here.