To all Members of the Religious Orders of Haiti:
The arrests made during the last two weeks in several regions of the country are a cause of great concern, not only for the victims' relatives but also for the whole Haitian community. No official communique has been released to inform the public for the reasons for these arrests, nor has any information been given as to the whereabouts of those arrested. As far as we know, no judge or tribunal has yet convened to try those who have been arrested beyond the Constitutionally limited period of 48 hours.
Among the victims are professionals and citizens whom we regard as honest, competent, and dedicated to the well-being of their country. We are speaking out not only on their behalf, but also for all of those who are in need of the church's solicitude in this situation of violation of their most fundamental rights.
Our consecration as Religious causes us to be part of the people's life and to assure the redemption of this alienated and divided humanity. Our prophetic mission is to be with all persons in their pain, their suffering, their anguish, and their hopes. As Jesus, we obey the will of God who sent His servants to suffer amongst His people and with His people.
We remind every Religious of this sacred and imperative duty which goes beyond justice: a working and unshakeable solidarity with all suffering people. Our consecration as Religious demands of us a prayer and an attitude that contributes to the reconciliation of every person and all things in Christ, and the reconciliation of our people in particular.
This same consecration as Religious demands that we have a clear vision where true human values are at stake and are threatened.
We are all concerned when the most fundamental rights - guaranteed by our Constitution and universally recognized by the social teaching of the Church and by international declarations, accords, and treaties - are violated, disregarded, and ignored.
The Conference of Haitian Religious believes it is urgent to give full support to the recent interventions of the Episcopal Conference of Haiti, aimed at securing and protecting the rights and the dignity of all the victims of this most recent wave of arrests.
We hope that, with the grace of God, this letter will serve to reenforce the bonds of our unity and solidarity in building God's kingdom.
The Directorate of the Conference of Haitian Religious: