Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Good morning, everyone.
How can we talk about human rights when democracy in Haiti is still at the starting gate?
Since the fall of the Duvalier regime in 1986, Haiti has known only very short periods of democracy, too short for a culture of democracy to develop. Today, we are witnessing the failure of democracy to take root. It is the continuation of a dictatorship by another name.
After the fall of the Duvalier regime, Haitians adopted a constitution that guaranteed them freedom of expression, justice, freedom of association, the right to an education and the right to life. Even so, we have lost count of the number of journalists, activists, judges, lawyers, political adversaries, trade unionists, students, opinion leaders and ordinary people who have been compelled to flee or have been executed since 1987.
The biggest disappointment to Haitians, however, is certainly having their right to vote stolen from them. Chilean diplomat Juan Gabriel Valdes, a member of the Global Leadership Foundation, said that the crisis Haiti is experiencing is the result of a decision made by the Core Group in 2010. That decision was to fabricate the results of the presidential election in order to hand power to Michel Martelly, the candidate for the Haitian party PHTK.
The theft of the vote was confirmed by Pierre-Louis Opont, the president of the provisional electoral council of Haiti. Ricardo Seitenfus, who was the representative of the Organization of American States, the OAS, in Haiti between 2009 and 2011, said his lost his position because he opposed the falsification of the results. According to American special envoy Daniel Foote, Haiti will never recover if the Core Group continues to vote instead of Haitians. In other words, by putting its lackey in power, the Core Group has made Haiti its ward.
Throughout his term, Michel Martelly, whom Canada helped to steal power, did not hold a single election and managed his country by decree. He received all the help he needed from his sponsors in order to hand power over to his protégé, Jovenel Moïse, who pursued the same policies as Michel Martelly and used the same tactics as the Duvaliers.
Like the Duvaliers, like Michel Martelly and like Jovenel Moïse, the present Prime Minister of Haiti, Ariel Henry, also a PHTK politician, is governing the country with no countervailing forces. The PHTK has made sure that it has no opponents and has succeeded in shutting down opposition through its mafioso tactics.
As the Duvaliers' Tontons Macoutes did, the PHTK has financed and armed thugs to protect its stranglehold on the country. It is these same lowlifes who have turned against the regime, who have formed gangs, and who are creating a security crisis that fuels the humanitarian, economic, social and health crises. They are doing everything they can to transform the ideal of a democracy into mob rule.
In order to talk about human rights in Haiti, there must be compliance with article 149 of the Constitution of the Republic of Haiti. That article provides that a person who replaces a president who is unable to perform their functions has 90 days to restore power to elected representatives. After more than 17 months in office, Ariel Henry is in fact no more than a usurper of power and a dictator.
In order to talk about human rights in Haiti, the country would have to have state bodies that allow everyone to exercise their citizenship. Ariel Henry's regime cannot guarantee a supply of drinking water and food or access to healthcare, any more than he can enable children to go to school and working people to earn a living without being humiliated.
The main reason that the rights of women and girls are still a crucial problem is that Michel Martelly, who is also a popular singer, has indoctrinated an entire generation with his misogynistic, violent and hateful words and his rape apology language. Canada, the United States and France have banned his performances in those countries so that he can't spread his obscene ideology.
Haiti is still at the starting gate of its transition to democracy.
To get started, what will be needed is a vast program of public education, one of the aims being to make sure that people understand the rights, duties and responsibilities that come with citizenship.
To get going, there has to be a renewal of the political class, which today is mainly composed of old men who are out of sync, disconnected, fossilized and hoary, and have known nothing other than Duvalierist culture.
Pierre-Louis Opont, the president of the provisional electoral council of Haiti, had added that the fraud by which the Core Group appointed Michel Martelly to the office of president of Haiti was made possible because no one challenged the false results.
If Canada and the Core Group are responsible for this crisis, the Haitian political class, in its role as a cheap, docile and hungry collaborator, betrayed its fellow citizens and must bear full responsibility for this neo-Duvalierist dictatorship being put in place.
In closing, I would like to point out that in 2010, when Haitians' vote was stolen, Canada, a member of the Core Group, was the first to set the process in motion. Canada was the first one to impose that affront to representative democracy. The person who initiated that breach of a fundamental Canadian value was the minister of foreign affairs at the time, Lawrence Cannon.
I must also point out that the present Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mélanie Joly, has unfortunately done everything possible to legitimize Ariel Henry and make him her only interlocutor in seeking a solution to the Haitian crisis. How can Canada, a country governed by the rule of law, put Ariel Henry, a dictator, front and centre in the solution to a crisis that is depriving Haitians of their fundamental rights?