A prominent human rights group on Friday called on the Haitian law enforcement authorities to launch an investigation into claims that President of the Haitian Football Federation (FHF) Yves Jean-Bart had sexually abused female players
MOSCOW (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 22nd May, 2020) A prominent human rights group on Friday called on the Haitian law enforcement authorities to launch an investigation into claims that President of the Haitian Football Federation (FHF) Yves Jean-Bart had sexually abused female players.
In late April, The Guardian newspaper reported, citing numerous sources, that several young female football players accused the federation chief of coercion to sex at Haiti's national training center in the Croix-des-Bouquets district in the country's Ouest department.
"Haitian law enforcement should effectively investigate serious allegations of sexual assault against the president of the Fédération Haïtienne De Football (FHF), and vigorously pursue appropriate prosecutions," Human Rights Watch (HRW) said in a press release.
According to the watchdog, FIFA, whose independent ethics committee is already investigating the allegations, should suspend the FHF president and any officials involved in the case during the inquiry to "reduce risks of abuse or retaliation against women and girls in the country's football system." In addition, HRW recommends that FIFA carry out the probe with a survivor-centered approach and ensure safety and access to support services while interviewing suspected victims.
The watchdog also spoke with a former Haiti Women's National Team player, who said that over the years the FHF head pressured young female players into having sex, promising them contracts or scholarships or threatening them with expulsion from the national training center.
Jean-Bart has been the FHF president since 2000 and was recently reelected for the sixth term in office. When accused in late April, the official publicly denied the allegations.
This is not the first high-profile case involving allegations of sexual assault and harassment by top football officials in the FIFA system. In 2019, Ahmad Ahmad, the president of the Confederation of African Football and a vice president of FIFA, was subject to a probe for multiple allegations, including those of sexual assault. The official denied any wrongdoing, but the investigation is still ongoing.