Washington will be focused on Haiti this week, two years after the earthquake that devastated the country.
Rep. Frederica Wilson, D-Miami, introduced a resolution calling for the United States to work with the Haitian government to end gender-based violence. Deep-seated gender discrimination and violence against women and children have long marred Haitian society, Wilson said, but those living in displacement camps and other impoverished communities have experienced increased vulnerability to sexual and other forms of gender-based violence.
"Now is the time for the United States to renew its commitment to Haitian women and children, and for us to make the issue of ending gender-based violence a priority for both our countries," Wilson said.
Her resolution would reassure the people of Haiti, particularly vulnerable women and children, that the U.S. remains a committed partner in the fight to end all forms of gender-based violence in Haiti. It also encourages the Obama administration, through the State Department and USAID, to support the Haitian Government’s proactive steps that are consistent with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights’ recommendations on sexual violence in IDP camps, to eliminate gender-based violence. Finally, it reinforces the efforts of the Haitian Government as it contemplates comprehensive legislative reforms aimed at eliminating violence against women and girls.
Meanwhile, in an open letter to Florida's Haitian community, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., called on fellow Floridians and the American people to "recognize what is at stake for us in Haiti." Fresh off his first visit to the country, Rubio pledged to share what he had learned there with other senators. He called for accountibility in how U.S. money is spent in Haiti, and said that he'd had both an "eye-opening" and heartbreaking" experience, but one that was cause for optimism. The full letter here.
"I believe it is in the United States’ best interests for Haiti to consolidate its democratic institutions and reclaim its destiny as a more prosperous and stable nation," Rubio said. "This is important for our own security and prosperity. In essence, we cannot have a failed state in our hemisphere and especially one that sits at the crossroads of air and sea commerce in the Caribbean and in close proximity to our shores in Florida."