Target: Jean Renel Sanon, Minister of Justice and Public Security
Goal: Protect human rights activist from death threats
For years, Pierre Espérance has been defying threats against his safety in order to defend human rights in Haiti. However, a recent threat on his life has human rights activists particularly concerned for Espérance’s safety. Sign the petition and urge Haitian authorities to protect a man who has dedicated his life to protecting others.
Pierre Espérance was the victim of an attempted shooting in 1999 in Port-au-Prince, the capital of Haiti. He did not let that prevent him from his human rights work, however. Over the years, he has served as treasurer of the Platform of Haitian Human Rights Organizations (POHDH), chairman of the board of directors for the Association for the Promotion of Integral Family Healthcare (APROSIFA), secretary general of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), and executive director of the National Human Rights Defense Network (RNDDH), which Amnesty International calls “one of Haiti’s leading human rights organizations.”
Despite his good work, Espérance has his share of enemies, a fact made evident by a letter recently sent to him. The letter accused Espérance and the RNDDH of making false human rights reports in an attempt to “destabilize the government,” Amnesty reports. It also makes direct threats on Espérance’s life. “In 99 we missed you,” the letter reads. “This time you won’t escape it, stop speaking bullshit.” A bullet was enclosed with the letter.
Human rights workers are entitled to do their work without interference from outside threats. It is the responsibility of the Haitian government to ensure that Pierre Espérance and the valuable work he does are protected at all costs. Sign the petition to call upon the Minister of Justice and Public Security in Haiti to provide security to this human rights activist.
I am writing to urge you in the strongest terms possible to provide for the protection of Pierre Espérance, executive director of the National Human Rights Defense Network (RNDDH). Recent attempts to intimidate him have culminated in strong threats on his life, and his safety hangs in the balance.
Despite–or because of–his long history of human rights work and activism, Pierre Espérance has been the target of harassment and threats. In 1999, he managed to escape harm in a shooting, but recent events prove that those who tried to kill him before have not given up: Espérance received a letter in which he was accused of making false reports of human rights violations in an attempt to “destabilize the government,” Amnesty International reports. “In 99 we missed you,” the letter continues, alluding to the shooting Espérance survived fifteen years ago. “This time you won’t escape it, stop speaking bullshit.” There was a bullet enclosed with the letter.
Haiti has an obligation to protect human rights workers under the terms of the 1998 United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Defenders. I therefore urge you to extend every possible protection to Pierre Esperance and, where appropriate, the staff members of the RNDDH, in accordance with both his and their wishes.
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Photo credit: Garrett Crawford via Flickr