Growing gang violence has brought Haiti’s economy to a halt amid ongoing security and humanitarian crises. Rather than being brought to justice, many gangs receive support from political and economic elites in Haiti.
U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Bob Menendez (D-NJ) announced plans to introduce the Haiti Criminal Collusion Transparency Act of 2022, bipartisan and bicameral legislation to require the U.S. Department of State to investigate and provide Congress with annual reports identifying the relationships between criminal gangs and political and economic elites in Haiti. The bill would require the President to impose robust sanctions under the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act on individuals identified in the reports in order to hold these criminal gangs, as well as their elite backers, accountable.
U.S. Representative Val Demings (D-FL) introduced companion legislation in the House of Representatives. Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA) is an original cosponsor of the Senate version.
“Violent gangs, an outburst of cholera, and an unstable government are making the humanitarian crisis in Haiti worse by the day. Haitians will continue to suffer as long as gang members continue to be propped up and protected by corrupt government officials. Holding these bad actors accountable is the first step to addressing the complex crisis Haiti is facing.” — Senator Rubio
“I am proud to be joined by my colleagues in introducing this bicameral legislation not only to shed light on the devastating gang violence in Haiti but also signal our commitment to hold bad actors to account regardless of their status. There is a growing body of evidence of Haiti’s armed criminal gangs’ gross violations of human rights, drug trafficking and racketeering schemes, all of which have ushered in a new era of terror exacerbating the island’s significant economic, security, and humanitarian challenges. It is time for both Haiti’s gangs and their financiers and political backers to face more consequences for threatening Haiti’s future and broader hemispheric stability.” — Senator Menendez
“The people of Haiti have long suffered at the hands of criminal gangs and their backers. This legislation targets these individuals who perpetuate unspeakable violence against the Haitian people, and the powerful public figures who deploy these gangs for their own benefit. Exposing the connections between these individuals is an important step towards transparency, accountability, and justice for the Haitian people.” — Senator Kaine
“Governments must protect their citizens. I introduced this legislation in the House last week because we must fight for a Haiti free from fear and gang violence, where the Haitian people have the safety and freedom to build their own future. We need to root out the bad actors behind Haiti’s lawlessness and hold them accountable. After the brazen assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moïse, killings and kidnappings have soared, with the backing of Haitian political and economic elites. The United States must take concrete steps to hold these criminals accountable and help the Haitian people achieve stability, freedom, human rights, and democracy.” — Representative Demings