The global humanitarian agency, Church World Service, announced that it is “monitoring the deteriorating situation and is prepared to assist with Haitians who might be displaced in the turmoil” amid the escalating political and humanitarian crises in Haiti, Feb. 9.
Church World Service Executive Director the Rev. John L. McCullough says CWS participation in the current refugee response is "a continuation of support for in-country Haitians and Haitian asylum seekers coming to the U.S."
"We have a longstanding presence in Haiti," McCullough explains, "working with ecumenical and grassroots partners. And through our Miami office," he adds, "we have been vigilant advocates for just treatment of Haitian asylum seekers and detainees."
McCullough also mentioned that the agency may prepare to provide relief in the form of emergency aid, shelter or resettlement and to offer ongoing assistance to those crossing the Haitian-Dominican Republic border. CWS is preparing to receive Haitian refuge seekers in neighboring countries.
Violence in Haiti began in 2000, following the country’s high-profile presidential election. President Jean-Bertrand Aristide was elected, and has since been accused of backing gangs to harass protestors. In recent months, hundreds of Haitians have been killed in the protests.
Last March, CWS hosted the Haitian Migration Crises Conference in Washington D.C. to press government, humanitarian advocates and policy makers to turnaround in discriminatory treatment of Haitian asylum seekers.
Founded in 1946, Church World Service is a global humanitarian aid agency of denominations working in partnership with indigenous organizations to support sustainable self-help development, meet emergency needs, aid refugees, and address the root causes of poverty and powerlessness.