Whereas, the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Constitution of the Republic of Haiti and the Constitution of the United States of America all enshrine the principles of religious freedom; and,
Whereas, the majority of the citizens of the Republic of Haiti are adherents of the traditionalist, Afro-diasporan religion of Vodou; and,
Whereas, the Vodou religion is the source of much of Haiti's social, agricultural, political, artistic and theological character; and,
Whereas, the persecution of Vodou and of Vodouisants by Christian denominations and governmental decrees and agents has at various times taken place in the Republic of Haiti; and,
Whereas, the current government of Haiti, headed by President Michel Martelly, has seen fit to amend the Constitution of Haiti in a way perceived by many Haitians as defining Vodou as a "superstitious practice" in an attempt to nullify Constitutional protection of freedom of religion; and,
Whereas, the current government of Haiti has seen fit to ignore or openly promote religious bias, including incitement to violence against Vodouisants as has been uttered with impunity by such media as Radio Shalom; and,
Whereas, the United Nations is currently maintaining a presence in Haiti, and the United States of America has many political and economic representatives and organizations active in Haiti;
We, the undersigned, request and indeed require the United Nations, the government of the Republic of Haiti, and the government of the United States of America, to:
Promote respect for all religions and specifically the religion of Vodou;
Put in place specific legal guarantees for the physical security of Vodouisants, our places of worship and pilgrimage sites in Haiti;
Take appropriate action against those individuals and organizations who incite religiously-motivated violence;
Use all necessary means to educate the government of Haiti and the members of groups most often perceived as violating the principle of religious freedom, specifically Roman Catholic and evangelical Protestant denominations, to cease and desist from slandering, demonizing, or physically attacking Vodou, our ceremonies, our places of worship, and our persons.
- The United Nations, United States Embassy in Haiti, Government of Haiti
- UN High Commissioner for Human Rights
Ms. Navanethem Pillay
- Ambassador to the Republic of Haiti
Ambassador Pamela A. White
- Haitian Ambassador to the USA
Ambassador Paul Altidor
I just signed the following petition addressed to: The United Nations, United States Embassy in Haiti, Government of Haiti.
Respect religious freedom and the Haitian Vodou religion.
Vodou is the religion of the majority of Haitians. It is a theologically sophisticated religion which has contributed enormously to national development, from the independence struggle to the present day culture of Haiti. Vodou has withstood past persecutions, but in this day and age, when the principles of religious freedom are widely understood and accepted, we can not accept another wave of persecution - which has begun under the auspices of the current government of Haiti, and various Christian denominations. Religious oppression and religiously motivated violence can not be allowed to happen in the year 2012.
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