This week, a letter from Paul Moist, CUPE National President, was sent to René Préval, President of the Republic of Haïti, condemning the assassination of Professor Jean Filbert Louis outside the offices of the Ministry of Education by a police officer during a peaceful demonstration in Port-au-Prince.
October 27, 2010
I am writing on behalf of the 600,000 women and men that belong to the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE).
CUPE strongly denounces and condemns the assassination of Professor Jean Filbert Louis outside the offices of the Ministry of Education by a police officer, on Friday October 8, 2010, during a peaceful demonstration in Port-au-Prince.
Professor Jean Filbert Louis, math teacher and member of the National Union of Haitian College Teachers (UNNOH), was hit by a tear gas canister in the head when police opened fire on the crowd of protesters. He died on Saturday October 9, 2010, after 14 hours in hospital.
The demonstration was organized by a coalition campaigning to raise awareness of and advocate for the need to provide quality education for all Haitian children, and to demand that the Haitian government put in place measures to ensure decent living conditions for the people of Haiti.
The demonstrators were protesting against the decision announced by the Haitian government to establish a traditional school year, without taking into account the need to provide quality education to hundreds of thousands of Haitian children who have been kept out of the education system because of poverty or through being displaced after the earthquake in January.
CUPE deplores any attempt by the Haitian government to criminalize the event and to ignore the legitimate demands of civil society to place affordable, accessible quality public services at the heart of the reconstruction plans for Haiti.
CUPEdemands an immediate and thorough investigation by the competent Haitian authorities in order to determine who gave the order to open fire on a group of citizens who were exercising their legitimate right to protest; the authorities must bring the culprit to justice. We further ask that the findings of such investigation be made public.