(No. 155 - May 7, 2010 - 9:30 a.m. ET) The Honourable Lawrence Cannon, Minister of Foreign Affairs, today concluded a three-day visit to Haiti, where he announced that the Government of Canada has contributed $4.4 million to the International Organization for Migration for the construction of the Croix-des-Bouquets prison and has also provided $2.5 million to Avocats sans frontières Canada for a project that aims to improve Haitians’ access to justice.
While in Haiti, Minister Cannon met President René Préval and Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive, as well as partners from the international community and the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti, members of the private sector, civil society representatives and Canadians working in Haiti.
“This week, I have witnessed Canadian contributions at work toward Haiti’s reconstruction, which is very encouraging,” said Minister Cannon. “Rebuilding Haiti will take time, and during my visit I have assured Haitians that Canada is committed to their country for the long term.
“It is essential to implement as quickly as possible the mechanisms, such as the Haiti Interim Commission for Reconstruction, that were included in the Haiti Action Plan agreed to in New York. This will ensure accountability and greater coordination between the Government of Haiti and the international community.”
Minister Cannon visited Jacmel and Léogâne, as well as Croix-des-Bouquets, where the prison is nearing completion. In addition to supporting the prison’s construction, Canada has committed to helping make it operational through the presence of Correctional Service Canada officers, who will train and mentor their Haitian counterparts. The new Port-au-Prince area detention centre will reduce overcrowding, helping improve prisoners’ health and safety.
Canada has also announced its intention to help rebuild a police station near the prison that was seriously damaged in Haiti’s January 12 earthquake.
“Canada will continue to play a key role in supporting the Haitian government as it makes the reforms necessary to increase security, strengthen the rule of law and ensure the country’s long-term stability,” said Minister Cannon.
Avocats sans frontières Canada will deploy Canadian legal experts to work with Haitian judges and lawyers to help re-establish urgent primary justice services for citizens in Port-au-Prince, Jacmel, Léogâne and Croix-des-Bouquets.
Canada also provides funding for other key areas of justice and security reform in Haiti, including police and border management. Funds for the projects come from the Global Peace and Security Fund.
For more information on Canada’s engagement in Haiti, please visit Haiti Task Force.
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