Pax Christi International welcomes Rev. Jan Hanssens of Commission Episcopale Nationale Justice et Paix d’Haiti


On 19 July 2016, Pax Christi International welcomed Rev. Jan Hanssens of Commission Episcopale Nationale Justice et Paix d’Haiti. The Commission is a PCI Member Organisation in Haiti. Hanssens has served as the director and is currently the chaplain of the Commission. 
Hanssens gave a brief overview of the history and priorities of the Commission to new staff members of the International Secretariat, followed by a long discussion of the current situation in Haiti and the efforts being made by the Commission to address human rights and violence. The Commission has offered a national training program to help create a common language and vision on human rights, as well as monitoring violence and human rights violations and issuing regular reports. 
“Our conclusion has been that all violence is political violence in Haiti, including criminal violence, and indirectly, violence related to drugs,” Hanssens stated. 
Explaining that Haitian unemployment is over 60%, Hanssens shared that it is surprising sometimes that there is not more violence considering what the people of Haiti face.
“In our reports we always say that the people are not violent,” Hanssens explained. “But the politicians are.”
The Commission is active in every diocese in Haiti, with groups present in over 330 parishes, addressing citizenship, civil society, political rights and peacebuilding, in addition focusing on human rights and violence. Hanssens explained that it is a “powerful network” when it can be mobilised. 
In March 2016, the Commission Episcopale Nationale Justice et Paix d’Haiti, along with Pax Christi International and several other member organisations, was consulted during the writing of the “First-hand Assessment of the Human-rights Situation in Haiti,” which was submitted for consideration to the Universal Periodic Review of the United Nations Human Rights Council.
Jan Hanssens, Commission Episcopale Nationale Justice et Paix d’Haiti, Haiti, Member Organisation