The U.S. government would be barred from giving weapons to Haiti under an amendment offered by Rep. Barbara Lee and approved by the House on a voice vote Tuesday night.
“The Haitian National Police are intimidating, murdering and executing the poor and political opposition with weapons transferred free of charge from the United States to the government of Haiti, and this is simply unacceptable,” said Lee, D-Oakland.
Lee’s amendment to the foreign operations appropriations bill, which still needs Senate approval, would stop the State Department from giving excess arms and ammunition free of charge to the Haitian National Police force. As many as 3,000 weapons have been transferred to Haiti since last year.
The United Nations and Amnesty International have expressed concern about Haitian police involvement in political violence and human rights abuses. Lee said the United States “must not be complicit in helping to arm criminals and human rights abusers.”
Lee introduced her amendment with support from John Conyers, D-Mich., Maxine Waters, D-Los Angeles, and Carolyn Kilpatrick, D-Mich. These and other Congressional Black Caucus members have decried the early-2004 ouster of former Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristede and questioned the U.S. government’s role in it.