Congresswoman Wilson invited to testify at U.S. Committee on Foreign Affairs hearing, ‘Haiti: Is U.S. AID Effective?’
Rep. Wilson urged greater scrutiny over rebuilding efforts and human rights abuse in Haiti.
By Gwen Belton
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Congresswoman Frederica S. Wilson (FL-24), a long-time advocate for Haiti and Haitian Americans, was invited this week by the U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs to represent her constituents at a hearing titled, “Haiti: Is U.S. AID Effective?” During the hearing, Congresswoman Wilson expressed serious concerns regarding the procurement process by the Government of Haiti and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). According to official U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) reports, less than 0.4 percent of contracts were awarded to persons of Haitian descent.
“I proudly represent a large Haitian American constituency that remains very concerned about the pace of Haiti’s recovery. In my district, I am frequently asked about the funds designated for the rebuilding of Haiti: how are these dollars being spent and who’s in control, are minorities and people of Haitian descent getting contracts, and how can small businesses and non-profit organizations effectively partner with USAID and the State Department. The GAO report high-lighted several lapses in U.S. assistance efforts in Haiti that must be addressed. In these trying fiscal times, we, as Members of Congress, must ensure that each taxpayer dollar is spent in the most effective and efficient way possible,” said Congresswoman Wilson.
Congresswoman Wilson invited to testify at U.S. Committee on Foreign Affairs hearing, ‘Haiti: Is U.S. AID Effective? Representative Wilson also asked for a status update on the more than 240,000 Dominicans of Haitian descent that were recently rendered stateless by the Tribunal Constitutional. This week, Rep. Wilson and her colleagues penned a letter to President Danilo Medina of the Dominican Republic urging him to take all necessary steps to prevent the retroactive redefining of the citizenship criteria for people born in the country since 1929 as defined by their constitution.
Congresswoman Wilson wrote, “If implemented by your government, this decision by the Tribunal Constitutional could result in an unprecedented humanitarian crisis and seriously threaten regional stability. In light of this, we urge you to take all necessary steps to stay the tide of the denationalization campaign exemplified by the Tribunal Constitutional.” Rep. Wilson is working in consultation with the Robert F. Kennedy Center to find a resolution to this crisis which leaves thousands without any benefits or protection.
Congresswoman Wilson also urged the Administration and Congress to prioritize and address the plight of Haitian women and girls against gender based violence. Rep. Wilson is the author of House Resolution 61, which addresses gender based violence in Haiti and other human rights protections. “Congress and the Administration must ensure robust funding for these initiatives, including the USAID’s Gender Equality and Female Empowerment Policy. I urge Haiti’s own government to continue its important efforts to implement the findings of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, which were issued in response to increased levels of sexual violence in camps for internally-displaced persons.”
For nearly three decades, Congresswoman Wilson has been a national voice for Haiti. The Congresswoman continues her advocacy as a member of the U.S. Congressional Haiti Taskforce and the Dominican Republic/Haiti Working Group.