For years, the media has reported on U.N. peacekeepers exploiting women and girls in Haiti, ultimately fathering and abandoning scores of children.
That has added to the trauma and violence of the most marginalized in the community. But after an earthquake that killed more than 2,200 people and the assassination of Jovenel Moïse, turmoil in the region is even greater.
Now Haitians are facing yet another betrayal; asylum seekers are being brutalized at the southern border and denied an opportunity to plead their case. New York State Nurses Association President Nancy Hagans, a Haitian American registered nurse, issued the following statement:
“This is heartbreaking. Haiti was the first Caribbean nation to get its independence in 1804. Although Haitians have worked hard, they have always been treated differently because of the color of their skin.
“It is important to remember that no one leaves their country because things are good. They leave when things are bad. But Haitian migrants are not being given an opportunity to apply for asylum; they are rounded up and put on a plane back to Haiti. Some of those people haven’t lived in Haiti in years. They have nowhere to go. They will be on the street homeless, or they will be murdered.
“All Haitians want is an opportunity to work hard, educate their children and provide a better life for them. To see people on horseback beating and lynching helpless people breaks my heart. Why not give the Haitian people the same chance the U.S. extended to people in Afghanistan?
“Haiti is in bad shape. If the president could be killed, image the kind of life women and children will have. The U.S. government must provide humanitarian relief to this vulnerable community.”
The New York State Nurses Association (NYSNA) represents more than 42,000 members in New York State. We are New York’s largest union and professional association for registered nurses. For more information, visit nysna.org.