The Ministry of Justice and Public Security (MJSP), on behalf of the Government of the Republic of Haiti, expresses its grave concern with the numerous serious violent incidents committed by protesting officers of the Haitian National Police, which occurred over the past week, which are contrary to the motto of the HNP to “Protect and Serve” the Haitian People, and which continue to violate the rights of peaceful citizens, while worsening the country’s economic situation.
Furthermore, the MJSP condemns the attacks on the Headquarters of the Armed Forces of Haiti (FAD’H), which have resulted in injuries and deaths, as well as those against the press, including arson against vehicles, a generator and the premises of Radio Caraïbes, among the violent and harmful actions registered to date.
The Ministry of Justice and Public Security strongly condemns these actions, which constitute a political instrumentalization of legitimate grievances, culminating into an attempted coup d’état against a President of the Republic who was legitimately elected by the Haitian people.
The MJSP expresses its solidarity with the media, in general, and Radio Television Caraïbes, in particular. No one can tolerate even a single act that undermines the freedom of expression and a free and independent press for which we have all paid dearly.
The MJSP believes that the grievances of the police, as legitimate as they are, cannot, in any way, justify these recurring horrific actions, thereby harming the security of the state and violating the rights of peaceful citizens, including confiscations of vehicles and their freedom of movement. Despite the actions taken by the Government to deal with the crisis, individuals who claim to be protesting police officers, accompanied by masked and armed individuals, have gone so far as to attack soldiers and police officers on duty, under the pretext of defending their own rights. It is a paradox that requires that all active sectors of society, as well as the police officers themselves, to question the true motives of such acts.
What kind of future the country and the police institution can aspire to when law enforcement officers, using their status and state property entrusted to them to serve and protect the population, associate with individuals of dubious objectives, who are illegally armed, to assault the citizens and their brothers-in-arms of the National Police and the Armed Forces of Haiti?
The MJSP asks the police officers to reflect and urges them to pull themselves together, while focusing on the path of dialogue and the peaceful resolution of this crisis. And, as police ethics dictate, the protesters must remember their oath to prioritize the public interest, and which requires them to protect and serve the public, and to act, in all circumstances, within the framework of the law to enforce order and public peace.
The Ministry of Justice and Public Security therefore calls on all police officers, in accordance with the Law and their sacrosanct mission to protect and serve, to distance themselves from all disreputable acts, which are unbecoming of a police officer and to guarantee the safety of the population and the security of the Republic’s institutions.
Communication Unit of the MJSP,
Port-au-Prince, February 24, 2020