DJERBA, Tunisia (CMC) – Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is returning to Canada on Monday after attending the summit of French-speaking countries where he announced that Ottawa is providing CAD $16.5 million to help stabilise Haiti.
In response to the recent United Nations (UN) flash appeal to act on the humanitarian situation in Haiti, Trudeau said Canada is providing CAD$ 8-million in additional funding to its key humanitarian partners in the French-speaking Caribbean Community (Caricom) country in order to address the urgent needs of the population affected by the crisis, whether related to recent displacement, violence or the cholera epidemic.
Trudeau said the funding will enable initiatives such as providing additional support to the World Food Programme (WFP) to deliver food and nutritional assistance; to the UN Humanitarian Air Service to facilitate assistance to remote and hard-to-reach areas as well as to the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) to provide support in responding to cholera and to the United Nations Children’s Fund to strengthen the water, sanitation and hygiene response.
“This builds on CAD$4.5 million in Canadian funding announced by Canada in 2022 to respond to humanitarian needs in Haiti,” Trudeau stated.
Additionally, Canada is also providing five million dollars to help strengthen Haiti’s capacity to fight corruption and impunity.
“Canada is providing financial support to an initiative of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, led in collaboration with the Organization of American States (OAS), which aims to strengthen the capacity of Haitian legal institutions to investigate, prosecute, and try cases involving corruption and economic crimes, money laundering and related offences, and to improve the sharing of information with international partners, including in Canada, on transnational organised crimes,” he said.
He added that it is also providing CAD$3.5 million for access to justice and fighting impunity in Haiti
“Canada is extending and increasing its funding to this project from Lawyers Without Borders Canada, which aims to strengthen the legal and judicial services of civil society organizations and justice actors in order to assist victims of gender-based violence in particular.
“This new funding will allow for continued efforts to strengthen access to justice, address impunity and support the fight against corruption in light of the current crisis in Haiti. This funding brings Canada’s total contribution in support of this project since 2017 to CAD$21.3 million,” Trudeau said.
The announcement by Canada comes as the country announced that three Haitian politicians have been slapped with sanctions after Ottawa accused them of aiding gang leaders and laundering their illicit earnings.
“These individuals are using their status as current or previous public office holders to protect and enable the illegal activities of armed criminal gangs, including through money laundering and other acts of corruption,” said a government statement.
The sanctions will freeze any assets held in Canada by Senator Ronny Célestin, former Senator Hervé Fourcand, and former president of the Chamber of Deputies Gary Bodeau.
Haiti’s gangs have expanded their power since the assassination of President Jovenel Moise in 2021, and Prime Minister Ariel Henry has faced difficulties in restoring order to the country.
The sanctions, which implement a UN Security Council resolution and build on earlier actions imposed by the United States and Canada, aim to stop the illegal flow of money and weapons into Haiti that help criminal gangs