Mr. Roche has been a close friend of ActionAid since his 2001 pro-bono collaboration on the prevalence of child slave labor within the Dominican Republic. In addition, Roche led an influential civil society campaign against the implantation of free trade zones in Maribaroux, a fertile agricultural plain upon which many rural planters depend for sustenance.
Roche, the host of a local television show, was found bound and murdered within the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince yesterday. Authorities report his mutilated body, which was shot several times, showed marked signs of torture.
According to the Associated Press, prior to his murder, Roche's captors had demanded $250,000 US in ransom money for his return. Roche's tragic death marks yet another instance of growing violence within the region, which is experiencing an average of six kidnappings a day, as well as daily barrages of unprovoked gunfire.
Says Jean-Claude Fignole of ActionAid International Haiti, "the increase in our nation's kidnapping rate is nothing short of remarkable. The accompanying, very dramatic, spike of rape, torture and mutilation has left Haitian society feeling absolutely defenseless. Our home region has become akin to a blood bath, and we don't foresee it getting better any time soon. Unfortunately, the message we as Haitians are getting from Mr. Roche's murder is clear: be silent, or be silenced."
Note to Editors:
ActionAid International is a nonprofit organization bringing relief to some 13 million individuals in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Caribbean every year. Working hand-in-hand with 2,000 civil society partners, over 90 percent of ActionAid's employees herald from developing countries. For more information, visit http://www.actionaidusa.org or www.actionaid.org.