The Catholic Institute for International Relations (CIIR) has joined forces with other non-governmental organisations to urge the European Union to help solve the political crisis in Haiti. At a meeting in Brussels on 14 January, Alessandra Spalletta, co-ordinator for the European NGO Network on Haiti, issued a statement on behalf of the NGOs working in the region. It said: "The political impasse has worsened in recent weeks. Since 12 January, an elected parliament no longer exists. "There has been a return to the worst kind of traditional state repression; an increase in violence; in political assassinations; in attacks on women; an open and increasingly arrogant sense of impunity; and brutal interventions by the Llavalas governing party." The deterioration of the socio-economic indicators; the continuous decline in agricultural production; the extreme nature of the environmental crisis; the worsening standard of living of the mass of people in urban and rural areas and the poverty of the immense majority of the population have provoked a deeply worrying structural misery, according to the statement. Some 3.8 million people cannot meet their daily nutritional requirements and 65 per cent of the population lives below the absolute poverty line. The statement added: "Today, in these extremely difficult circumstances, we reiterate our commitment and determination to continue our work of accompaniment, support and solidarity with our Haitian partners, in such civil society organisations as peasant movements, human rights organisations and organisations working in health and education." The statement was issued on the same day that the European Parliament was considering a motion to draft a strongly worded emergency resolution on Haiti. The NGOs believe the international community has a responsibility to work with all parties in Haiti to support a peaceful resolution. They are calling on the European Union to support the dialogue between the Haitian government and civil society groups, with a view to ending the political stalemate in the country. The current parliamentary mandate ran out on 12 January and president Jean-Bertrand Aristide is now ruling by decree. Source: CIIR
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