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Human rights group wants probe after Haiti protests

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Human rights group wants probe after Haiti protests

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

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WASHINGTON, United States (CMC) — The US-based Human Rights Watch is calling on the Haitian authorities to launch a thorough and independent investigation into the events that led to the deaths of several people during demonstrations in the French-speaking Caribbean Community (Caricom) country last month.

Human Rights Watch, quoting figures from the United Nations Mission for Justice Support in Haiti, said at least 34 people were killed and 102 injured, including 23 police officers, during the Opposition-inspired demonstrations to force the Government of President Jovenel Moise out of office.

“Haitian authorities should investigate the use of force by police during these protests, and ensure that any police officer who used excessive force is held accountable,” said Jos Miguel Vivanco, Americas director at Human Rights Watch.

President Moise is under pressure from Opposition parties to step down over his handling of domestic affairs as well as the use of funds under PetroCaribe, an oil alliance of many Caribbean states with Venezuela to purchase oil on conditions of preferential payment.

Moise has already indicated that he does not intend to step down in favour of armed gangs and drug traffickers, acknowledging that the “the crisis we are going through is very serious”.

The Government announced in January that it would pursue civil and criminal action against individuals implicated in the PetroCaribe scandal.

Last week, the Opposition political parties said they will be staging street protests on March 29, and that the “mobilisation will continue even afterwards”.

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