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3/4/06

How important is Jean Dominique? by Michèle Montas and Jan Dominique | Rape as weapon of war: World cried out for Bosnia, why not Haiti? |Machete Massacre perpetrators released-political prisoners still locked up |Haiti and Human Rights Watch

 

   

Date: 3 April 2006 19:22:20 BDT

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– Rape as weapon of war: World cried out for Bosnia, why not Haiti? by Wilma Eugene as told to Lyn Duff

– Machete Massacre perpetrators released from prison – political prisoners still locked up

– How important is Jean Dominique? by Michèle Montas and Jan Dominique

– Why a Mobile US fortress in DR-50miles from Haiti border? Cover story exposed on heavily armed US brigade in Barahona

– UN concerned about overcrowded prisons in Haiti

– Haiti and Human Rights Watch

– Join the list of sponsors for May 18, 2006, International Solidarity With Haiti

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– San Francisco Bayview www.sfbayview.com/032906/rapeasweapon032906.shtml

March 29, 2006

Rape as weapon of war: World cried out for Bosnia, why not Haiti? by Wilma Eugene as told to Lyn Duff

My name is Wilma. I am 28 years old. I am a university student, and I live in one of the popular zones in Port-au-Prince, the capital city of Haiti. I have message for the people of the United States and Canada, for the people of Brazil whose troops now occupy our country and for all of the Haitian people living in the Diaspora.

I want to know: Who is listening to the women who have been sexually violated by the police and the government attachés? Who is listening to our voices?

Not too long ago the world was outraged by the rape of white women in Bosnia. The world was horrified by reports that soldiers and paramilitary attachés were raping women as a form of ethnic cleansing, as an act of genocide.

The horrors of Bosnia were called out by the United Nations and others; the leaders were tried for their crimes against humanity in an international criminal tribunal. The world said, ?This will never happen again.?

But, it is happening. For the past two years, just a few minutes from Miami, thousands of women and girls have been raped by police, foreign soldiers and members of armed groups. Myself, I was also a victim. I was raped by armed masked men who came to my home, accompanied by two policemen in uniform. They raped me, my mother, my grandmother and my cousin, who is just 11 years old.

I have spoken about this crime to the police, to the United Nations, to the human rights organizations and to anyone else who will listen. I spoke about this crime to the media and went on the radio telling everyone about how I was violated.

Other victims too are speaking out. They are saying, ?Listen, rape is being used as a weapon of war, as a type of terrorism against the population and especially against the people who live in the popular zones and those who support Lavalas.?

I want to know, no, I demand to know: When will the world start to listen to us?

I implore women around the world to hear our voices and know that the rapes of women in the popular zones are continuing. You need to speak up about what is happening in Haiti. You need to have solidarity with the Haitian women who are suffering from rape in ways that you could not imagine.

I will give you an example. In my zone there was a young girl who was walking in the street on her way home from school. Some foreign soldiers stopped her and said that they needed to search her because they did not know if she had weapons.

This search was unnecessary because the girl was young, only a child of maybe 12 years. While they were searching her, they touched her in ways that were wrong, but only on the outside of her school uniform.

Some police, who were not working but were in their uniforms, came by while this was happening and saw how she was being touched. The police took the child from the Jordanian soldiers and went to the corridor between the houses. They forced her to take them in her mouth. She was made to do this for all three of the men.

All the people in the houses heard the child crying and could see what was happening if they looked, but no one in the area did anything to stop the attack on this girl because they were afraid. The police had weapons and even though they were off duty they could still arrest anyone who tried to stop them.

In the past two years, we have learned that when you intervene, you are also attacked or arrested. So no one wanted to get involved.

This makes me angry. But I am just as angry about the women of the world who also stay silently in their homes while a young girl is sexually violated. Where are all the women who were angry about the rape of the women of Bosnia? Where are they now, and why are they so silent?

Lyn Duff, LynDuff@aol.com, is a reporter currently based in Port-au-Prince. She first traveled to Haiti in 1995 to help establish a children?s radio station and has since covered Haiti extensively for the Bay View, Pacifica Radio?s Flashpoints, heard on KPFA 94.1 FM weekdays at 5 p.m., and other local and national media.

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– San Francisco Bayviewwww.sfbayview.com/032906/perpetratorsreleased032906.shtml

March 29, 2006

Machete Massacre perpetrators released from prison – political prisoners still locked up by Lyn Duff

At least six police officers involved in last summer’s Gran Ravin massacre were released from prison weeks ago, and charges against them may be dropped, according to a legal official who asked that his name not be used.

The officers, including former division commander Carl Lochard, were released March 9 on their own recognizance. The men were part of a larger group of police officers and attachés from the Lame Ti Machete (Little Machete Army) who attacked a crowd of spectators at a “Play for Peace” soccer match that was organized by the local community and funded by USAID last August.

Witnesses say police officers shot into the crowd, picking off individuals to execute. Those fleeing were stabbed by attachés armed with machetes that were reportedly distributed by officers at the Martissant police station shortly before the attack.

Fifty were killed and 20 wounded, says human rights attorney Evel Fanfan, who has organized a network of survivors of the massacre and community leaders that has been calling for the prosecution of police officers involved in the incident and compensation for the victims.

“As a supporter of the law, I recognize the legality of allowing the accused out on bail. But I have seen no guarantees that these men will be kept in the country to stand trial, and I have seen no movement on the part of the state to compensate the victims of this massacre,” said Fanfan.

“We call on the international community to see that these two vital things are taken care of. In the meantime, we also have to point out that the jails are still filled with people, especially the young and the poor, illegally arrested and detained. This is a travesty,” he said.

After an investigation implicated 20 officers in the massacre, relatives of the victims were allowed to file criminal complaints against both police officers and paramilitary attachés, specifically naming Lochard in the complaint. Seven officers were eventually arrested, but no members of Lame Ti Machete were ever taken into custody for their involvement.

The case was given to Investigating Magistrate Jean Pérès Paul. Last year Pérès Paul ordered the prolonged illegal detention of Father Gérard Jean-Juste, a member of the Lavalas political party who was accused of murdering his cousin, a journalist who was killed in Haiti while Jean-Juste was on a speaking tour in the United States.

Named a prisoner of conscience by Amnesty International, Jean-Juste was held without bail or charge by Judge Pérès Paul for months before international pressures forced the prosecutor to release him so that he could seek medical treatment for cancer in the United States.

Pérès Paul’s involvement also worries foreign human rights observers including Tom Luce of HURAH, the Human Rights Accompaniment in Haiti. “Judge Pérès Paul is the one who ranted and raved out of control at the hearing for journalists Kevin Pina and Jean Restil last fall. He had them arrested for trying to cover the ransacking of Father Jean-Juste’s parish house. With the world watching (their court) hearing, he had to let them go for lack of a case against them.”

The six police officers were released under Haiti’s main levée (personal recognizance) procedures, says Brian Concannon, an American lawyer who directs the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti. Under the Préval and Aristide governments, Concannon worked on the prosecution of government officials and paramilitary attachés who violated human rights during the 1991-1994 coup.

“Although (the officers who were released) are technically required to remain available to the justice system, it would be easy for them to hide in Haiti or flee abroad. It is unusual in Haiti to grant pre-trial release to defendants held on such serious charges, especially where, as here, the judge has not even questioned all of the witnesses,” Concannon said.

“More importantly, the victims, who have reported continuing harassment by Little Machete Army members, will have reason to fear reprisals from some of the officers. This fear was magnified when the supporters of the highest ranking officer, Division Commander Carlo Lochard, celebrated his release by firing shots in the air at his house near Grande Ravine,” said Concannon. Witnesses and journalists reported that heavy shooting was heard during the celebration at Lochard’s home in Carrefour-Feuilles.

Concannon says that earlier this month he wrote to the new Commissaire du Gouvernement (prosecutor) for Port-au-Prince, Leny Fredd’Herck, urging him to free the political prisoners in his jurisdiction. “There has not been any progress on that front,” says Concannon, who argues that it is unjust to free human rights violators while continuing the detention of political prisoners, many who have been held for more than a year without being charged with a crime.

“The prosecutor’s office should have more forcefully opposed the liberation of the Grande Ravine Massacre defendants,” he said.

Lyn Duff, LynDuff@aol.com, is a reporter currently based in Port-au-Prince. She first traveled to Haiti in 1995 to help establish a children’s radio station and has since covered Haiti extensively for the Bay View, Pacifica Radio’s Flashpoints, heard on KPFA 94.1 FM weekdays at 5 p.m., and other local and national media.

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– How important is Jean Dominique? by Michèle Montas and Jan Dominique

Six years ago, on April 3, 2000, journalist Jean Léopold Dominique was killed yards away from his station, Radio Haïti.

It has been six years and still justice has not been served for this free speech activist. As of today, his murderers, as well as those who murdered Jean Claude Louissaint and Maxime Seide two years later to shut down the movement for justice, are still walking the streets freely.

With the oh-so troubling voice of Radio Haiti no longer around, the April 3 murder cases have not moved for three years in a conspiracy of silence and impunity.

The trial, taken over by four different judges, lasted 2 years and 10 months. It was agitated and bloody. Suspects died in prison under strange circumstances. Witnesses were killed. A judge went into exhile after receiving threats. Almost every State institution tried to stop the investigation: arrest warrants ignored by the police, Senate opposition to waving off a Senator?s parliamentarian immunity, police officers publicly threatening a judge, the Head of State temporary refusing (in 2002) to renew the mandate of the judge leading the case.

After a not so subtle intervention by the Minister of Justice of the time, the investigation theoretically reached its conclusion on March 21, 2003, a month after Radio Haïti was forced to shut down following an assassination attempt, a murder and numerous threats to its journalists. Even though the trial, from May 2000 to January 2002, had heard tens of witnesses and had handed about 20 charges, Judge Bernard St Vil convicted six individuals for the death of the journalist. No sponsor was named.

On April 3, 2003, the family of the journalist made appeal on the investigation?s conclusions. On August 4, 2003, Port-au-Prince?s Court of Appeal asked for a new trial and freed three of the six convicted individuals. The other three appealed to the Supreme Court of Appeal, thus suspending the entire case. Meanwhile, those three individuals, Jeudy Jean Daniel, Dimsey Milien and Markenton Philippe, broke prison.

On March 14, 2004, the police followed two of Judge St-Vil?s orders and arrested a former assistant to the mayor of Port-au-Prince, Harold Sévère, charged on January 28, 2003, and Roustide Pétion, alias mDouze, for their alleged implication in the April 3 murders.

On June 29, 2004, the Supreme Court of Appeal rejected the “ Appeal of sirs Dymsley Millien named Tilou, Jean Daniel Jeudi named Guimy and Markington Phillipe against the order of the Court of Appeal of Port-au-Prince “.

Thus, the Supreme Court of Appeal confirms the Court of Appeal?s verdict that a new judge should be named to find the sponsors of the crime. On April 3, 2005, five years exactly after the April 3 murders, the case is handed to a new judge. To this day, a year later, the case is still on hold according to the RNDDH which has followed the case closely for the past six years: “ The case of Jean Léopold Dominique and Jean Claude Louissaint has been handed to Judge Jean Pérez Paul, President of the Association Nationale des Magistrats Haïtiens (National Association of Haitian Judges) (ANAMAH).

This judge, well known for his December 30, 2005 order in favour of alleged kidnappers, decided to hand back the case to deanship, protesting that the Ministry has not given him sufficient means to do his work. But the judge did not resign; he is still working on other cases. Since when does a judge choose his own cases ? And no one says a word. “ the RNDDH said.

Six years after the April 3 murders, how important is Jean Dominique?

Anaesthetized by the victims in succession, in a strong climate of impunity and with so much crime it?s almost common, some might ask why we keep fighting for this case, it?s because it is the most well-known one of our recent history, and it should not be left forgotten because some people are trying to put us to sleep by repeating over and over again that ?an investigation is under way?. Shouldn?t it be time for reconciliation and economic partnership? Who cares about justice? After all, aren?t we holding, for many years now, conventions of corruption, violence and impunity in a society which has made forgetting the best tool to survive?

Despite recurring political turbulence related to corruption, after Duvalier, after the coup or after Aristide, the nation never seems to ask people to pay their dues. Kidnappers are freed almost as soon as they are arrested. The same stands for assassins. While a case like Raboteau, which had the strongest evidence ever put together in our judiciary system, is stopped for procedural defect, and no one from our so-called civil society complains, you can count on one hand the number of legal penalties that are not cancelled by the eternal justice of the winners.

This impunity is everywhere in our daily lives, from defamation in our media to the filth thrown in the streets. A friend was telling me about a car driver who was asking a merchant to move her stand which was right in the middle of the Rue du Centre and the answer he gets is “ pouki m’ta fè sa, pa gen leta “. Everybody can break the law without the fear of being punished, whether it is minor infractions or murders. Impunity is leading us into this daily anarchy, and still we keep our eyes shut, accomplices or guilty.

How important is Jean Dominique? Once we have chosen impunity for the murders of the four Jean, Jean Marie Vincent, Jean Pierre Louis, Jean Lamy and Jean Dominique, shouldn?t we have expected the murder of Brignol Lindor, or the sponsored murder of deputy Marc André Dirogène or the torture inflicted on our poet and journalist Jacques Roche? How can we be surprised by this dangerous spiral of aggression which has made so many of us feel sorrow and pain? By seeing justice as troubling, aren?t we all guilty of murder and corruption? Aren?t we all accomplices by staying shamefully silent?

How important is Jean Dominique? Some will say that demanding justice for Jean Dominique or others today is not politically correct, as it may disturb this fragile and artificial stability that some try to call reconciliation.

Why insist on justice today for Jean Dominique?

The answer lies in all those who are abused daily by little gang leaders, who are excluded, marginalized and denied of justice, those who massively voted on February 7 for the end of insecurity, knowing very well that this monster feeds off of impunity and injustice, those who have fought for 30 years against a corrupt State, to put an end to the destructive games of power and money, and to change their lives. Those who do not have the courage, or the lucidity to understand that impunity can no longer be the result of power, money, judiciary or political games, of “kache fey kouvri sa”, they will be the next victims, just like the State of law and the democracy we are trying to build

New York, April 3, 2006.

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– U.S. troops in Dominican Republic

By G. Dunkel Published Apr 2, 2006 5:51 PM

The United States hoped sending a heavily armed brigade of several thousand troops to Barahona, a small city on the southern coast of the Dominican Republic 50 miles from the Haitian border, would go unnoticed.

But the progressive movement in the Dominican Republic held a series of demonstrations in late February exposing this potential threat to Cuba, Venezuela, and Puerto Rico, to the elections scheduled for Haiti and to progressives in the Dominican Republic itself.

The U.S. and the Dominican army put out the cover story that the U.S. troops were there to provide medical assistance. Oscar Moreta, a member of the Patriotic Anti-Imperialist Committee of Barahona, told the Cuban News Agency Prensa Latina, ?Those of us who live in Barahona have been able to confirm that they have tanks, armored vehicles, attack helicopters, radar and many weapons, and we understand that those are not things used to build clinics.?

There are rumors circulating in Barahona that the troops are the advanced guard of an eventual 14,000, designed to pose a major threat to any U.S. opponents in the region.

Although René Préval is Haiti?s president-elect, after a massive popular struggle, he can?t take office until the Haitian parliament is seated. The second round of parliamentary elections is currently scheduled for April 21-23, which means that the votes won?t be counted and the victors seated until some time in May.

The danger to Haiti is that the U.S. troops in Barahona could intervene against Préval, whom they see as an ally of deposed President Jean-Bertrand Aristide.

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UN concerned about overcrowded prisons in Haiti * Agence France Presse — English

March 31, 2006 Friday 3:56 PM GMT

LENGTH: 189 words HEADLINE: UN concerned about overcrowded prisons in Haiti DATELINE: PORT-AU-PRINCE, March 31 2006

The United Nations mission in Haiti on Friday expressed concern about overcrowding in the country’s prisons, where the majority of inmates have not been convicted and are being held in preventive detention.

The spokesman for the UN Stabilization Mission, David Wimhurst, denounced the fact that of the 4,034 people imprisoned nationwide only 450 had been convicted.

“We have seen a very worrisome development at detention facilities in Port-au-Prince where detainees who have not been convicted are being held because of prison overcrowding,” Wimhurst said.

He said Haitian authorities have been urged to address the problem but have taken no measures.

Thierry Faggard, the head of the human rights section of the UN mission, said one way to rectify the situation would be to set up special commissions to study individual cases at the country’s prisons and thus ease overcrowding.

“Some of the people being held in preventive detention have been in prison for longer than the maximum sentence they faced and others have never had their case looked at by a judge,” Faggart said.

He said the Haitian judicial system was failing at all levels.

Copyright (C) 2006 Agence France Presse.

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ZNet | Haiti Watch www.zmag.org/content/showarticle.cfm?SectionID=55&ItemID=10011

Haiti and Human Rights Watch by Joe Emersberger

March 29, 2006

In a world dominated by the wealthy the temptation will always exist for NGOs to acquire funds, and respectability, by saying at least some of what the powerful want to hear.

It’s an understandable temptation. Nobody should seek out oblivion – especially those who document human rights abuses. Any attention given to their work by the media may save lives and alleviate suffering, but the price of corporate respectability is high, and it is paid by people that human rights groups are supposed to defend.

Human Rights Watch (HRW) appears to have succumbed to this temptation. The quantity and content of what it has published about Haiti and Venezuela over the past two years provide a good example of how to avoid oblivion: downplay the human rights abuses of US allies, and exaggerate the abuses of official enemies. By doing this HRW has assisted the US in its efforts to crush democracy in Latin America.

Aristide won the presidency twice – in 1990 and again in 2000-. Both times his triumph at the polls was overwhelming and unassailable. Both times he was overthrown in US backed coups led by Haiti’s tiny elite. HRW responded quite differently to both coups.

HRW AND THE COUP OF 1991.

In 1991, seven months after his election, Aristide was overthrown. The military regime that took over immediately began a murderous campaign to destroy Lavalas – the movement of Haiti’s poor majority that brought Aristide to power. Emmanuel Constant and Jodel Chamblain were leaders of the FRAPH death squads that were organized to eliminate Lavalas.

Within two months of the coup HRW produced a 38 page report entitled “The Aristide Government’s Human Rights Record”. [1] HRW was alarmed that the military was pointing to human rights abuses during months of democratic rule to justify the coup. HRW was particularly alarmed that the junta’s allegations were being spread by US officials with the help of the New York Times. HRW put Aristide’s record in proportion:

“…at least three hundred civilians estimated to have been killed by soldiers during the few days of the coup and its immediate aftermath – dwarfing the number killed by any means under seven months of President Aristide’ rule”

They also stated that “In our view, President Aristide is the sole legitimate Haitian head of state.”

They criticized Aristide for being not being consistent in his opposition to “popular violence” when Haitians, tired of seeing Duvalier’s henchmen escape justice, sometimes took matters into their own hands. However, the point was clearly made that junta’s attempt to justify itself were outlandish.

According to HRW the military killed at least 3000 people and forced 300,000 into hiding.[2] The US finally ordered the junta to step down in 1994 after outrageous concessions were secured from Aristide. HRW published a 30 page report highlighting some of the US imposed concessions.[3] The report, entitled “Security Compromised Recycled Haitian Soldiers on the Police Front Line” criticized the US for creating “…an interim police force composed entirely of former members of the same military whose brutal human rights record initially galvanized the international effort to restore democracy…”

In October, 1995 HRW followed up with a report that mentioned US support for FRAPH:

“Despite voluminous evidence of FRAPH’s close links with the Haitian military … the U.S. government initially insisted that FRAPH (whose leader Emmanuel Constant was at one time on the CIA payroll and later was permitted entry to the U.S. on a reinstated visa) was a legitimate Haitian political movement. On October 3, 1994, the U.S.-led multinational forces conducted raids of FRAPH offices in Port-au-Prince and Cap Haitian, but most of these detainees were released on the same day…”[4]

A year later HRW expressed frustration with US efforts to prevent criminals from being brought to justice. It suggested that “Washington’s reasons ranged from a misguided belief that the army was the only institution capable of securing order in Haiti to a realpolitik calculation that the army was necessary to keep leftist political forces in check.” For years HRW publicly asked the US to deport Emmanuel Constant and to return 160,000 pages of documents seized from FRAPH offices.[5] The US refused to return the documents unless the names of US citizens were deleted.

After 2001 HRW stopped publicly appealing for the deportation of Constant. He is still a free man living in New York. The San Francisco based Center for Justice and Accountability filed a lawsuit against him in 2005 on behalf of three FRAPH victims who fled to the U.S.[6]

HRW AND THE COUP OF 2004

Rene Preval, another Lavalas leader, was elected president in 1995. The Haitian constitution does not allow a president to serve two consecutive terms. In 2000 Aristide was elected president in another landslide victory. In 2004 he was overthrown in another US backed coup. CARICOM (the Caribbean Community and Common Market) called on the UN to investigate Aristide’s allegation that he was forcibly removed from Haiti by US troops. No investigation has ever taken place.

In the first two years after the 1991 coup HRW’s reports dedicated roughly 50,000 words to the situation in Haiti. That does not include a 136 page book they published during that period entitled “Silencing a People: The Destruction of Civil Society in Haiti”. But two years after the 2004 coup HRW allotted a trifling 9000 words to Haiti – less then had been written in the first two months after the coup of 1991. [7]

What changed? Was the human rights situation vastly improved compared to what it had been following the coup of 1991? A cursory glance at the coup leaders in 2004 should have convinced HRW that crimes of a similar scale were likely. One of rebels who overthrew Aristide in 2004 was Jodel Chamblain – second in command of FRAPH – whose exploits during the 1990's HRW had documented. Days before the coup Chamblain’s rebels freed notorious criminals from jail including General Prosper Avril who served under both Duvaliers.[8]

Other evidence was immediately available that the aftermath of the 2004 coup would be as bloody as the previous one. A month after the coup the morgue in Port-au-Prince reported that 1000 bodies had been disposed of – most obvious victims of violence. The morgue typically disposed of only 100 bodies a month.[9]

HRW’s reports were not only inexcusably sparse, but they legitimized the overthrow of Aristide. A month after the coup HRW made no distinction between Aristide’s government and the people who had overthrown him:

“U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell should press the interim Haitian government to pursue justice for abusive rebel leaders as well as members of the deposed government”[10]

This statement was typical of HRW after the coup. HRW did not recognize Aristide as “the sole legitimate Haitian head of state” as they had in 1991. Why was Aristide no longer legitimate? How could the US and the “interim government”, whom HRW knew were allied with major criminals, be appealed to as if they were legitimate? Why was no comparison made between Aristide’s human rights record and his opponents’? In 1991 HRW had speedily refuted the junta’s attempt to justify themselves by exaggerating Aristide’s abuses – not this time.

Peter Hallward examined Amnesty International and press reports during Aristide’s second government. He found that “reports covering the years 2000-03 attribute a total of around 20 to 30 killings to the police and supporters of the FL [Famni Lavalas -Aristide’s party]… at least 20 police officers or FL supporters were killed by army veterans in 2001, and another 25 in further paramilitary attacks in 2003,” [11] In short, the crimes of Aristide’s supporters were immediately dwarfed by the regime that replaced him – something easily predicted by referring to HRW’s research during the 1990's.

Moreover, HRW had documented the concessions wrung out of Aristide by the US in 1994. They knew that criminals were being incorporated into the police; yet they were silent about this contributing factor to the abuses that occurred under Aristide.

On May 16, 2005 HRW published a letter to the head of MINUSTAH (UN forces) in Haiti. It stated that Aristide supporters were responsible for most of the violence in Port-au-Prince and called for increased firepower for MINUSTAH and the Haitian National Police.[12] Again, the legitimacy of the UN forces was not questioned. Two centuries of uninterrupted brutality, murder and theft inflicted on Haiti by US and European governments were easily dismissed as was Aristide’s popularity which was confirmed by electoral victories and even US commissioned polls. [13]

Shortly before HRW published their letter a 54 page report published by Harvard Law School found that “”…MINUSTAH has effectively provided cover for the police to wage a campaign of terror in Port-au-Price’s slums. Even more distressing than MINUSTAH’s complicity in HNP abuses are credible allegations of human rights abuses perpetrated by MINUSTAH itself,…” [14]

By the time HRW published their letter the regime had announced that it would pay millions of dollars in “compensation” to members of the former army. [15] Hundreds of political prisoners, overwhelmingly Aristide supporters, were in jail. Jodel Chamblain, of FRAPH, had been acquitted in a widely ridiculed trial as had 15 other perpetrators of a massacre that HRW had documented after the 1991 coup. [16] I wrote HRW asking why none of these facts had been addressed in their letter. I asked if they disputed the findings of Harvard Law School report or of the detailed report by Thomas Griffen of University of Miami School of Law.[17] They never replied; nor did they ever reply to an open letter from Kevin Pina, a US journalist who has taken on tremendous personal risk to film the crimes of MINUSTAH and the HNP. [18]

HRW TAKES ON HUGO CHAVEZ

HRW had little to say about Haiti’s brutal unelected government. It had much more criticism for Venezuela’s democratically elected government. Two years after the coup in Haiti HRW allocated more than 22,000 words towards the situation in Venezuela – more than double what it had allocated to Haiti in the same period. [19]

A law to reform the Venezuelan judiciary received particularly disproportionate attention. In June, 2004 HRW published a 24 page report “Rigging the rule of Law” critical of the proposed law. An HRW press release said that the “biggest threat to the country’s rule of law comes from the government itself” – a remarkable statement given US support for the opposition that briefly ousted Chavez in a 2002 coup. The same month an op-ed appeared in the Washington Post entitled “Court-Packing Law Threatens Venezuelan Democracy” written by HRW’s executive director for the Americas, Jose Miguel Vivanco.[20]

HRW’s stated concern was independence of the Venezuelan judiciary from the legislative and executive branches of government. The class bias of the judiciary, which allowed various perpetrators of the 2002 coup to escape justice, was not addressed by HRW.

Haiti offered much more compelling examples than Venezuela of a judiciary under the thumb of the executive. The Toronto Star reported that in December of 2004 “Justice Minister Bernard Gousse removed two prominent judges’ caseloads after they had ordered the release of prisoners who were political opponents of the government.” [21] In December, 2005 Haiti’s unelected government fired the supreme court because it had hampered a US millionaire’s attempt to run for president. HRW remained silent. [22]

Worse than the double standard HRW has revealed regarding judicial independence in Venezuela and Haiti has been their double standard towards the opposition in both countries. HRW strongly protested Venezuela’s decision to prosecute members of Sumate, an NGO that had received US funds in violation of Venezuelan law to organize the recall referendum against Chavez. HRW referred to the trial as “government persecution”. [23]

HRW has not used such strong words (in fact, any words) to defend Haiti’s political prisoners. HRW’s failure to join the international campaign to free the Rev. Gerard Jean-Juste is particularly glaring. The priest is a prominent Aristide supporter and humanitarian worker. He was illegally jailed twice after the 2004 coup. After his second arrest Amnesty International (AI) named him a “prisoner of conscience”. AI also issued an appeal on behalf of Annette August, another Aristide ally, who has been imprisoned for two years without being charged. I have contacted HRW many times to ask why they have been silent about the plight of these prisoners. They have never replied. [24]

HRW remained silent about Jean-Juste’s case even after he was diagnosed with Leukemia. The regime, under international pressure, eventually allowed him to leave Haiti to receive chemotherapy in Miami.

SUGGESTED ACTION

Contact the offices of Human Rights Watch. Politely inquire about the matters addressed in this alert.

Joanne Mariner (HRW’s “Haiti expert”)Joanne.mariner@hrw.org

Hrwdc@hrw.org Hrwuk@hrw.org

Tel:1-(202) 612-4321, Fax:1-(202) 612-4333 (Washington)

Please copy all correspondence to Jemersberger@aol.com>

NOTES

[1]HRW;November 1, 1991 www.hrw.org/reports/pdfs/h/haiti/haiti91n.pdf

[2] HRW; August 1994; www.hrw.org/reports/pdfs/h/haiti/haiti948.pdf

[3]HAITI: Security CompromisedRecycled Haitian Soldiers on the Police Front Line www.hrw.org/reports/pdfs/h/haiti/haiti953.pdf

[4]HRW: www.hrw.org/reports/1995/Haiti3.htm

[5] hrw.org/english/docs/1997/10/16/haiti1520.htm
hrw.org/english/docs/1999/09/16/haiti1641.ht

hrw.org/english/docs/1999/11/04/haiti1968.htm
hrw.org/english/docs/2000/12/01/usint3114.htm
www.hrw.org/campaigns/bush2001/key-countries.htm#haiti

[6] T h e C e n t e r f o r J u s t i c e & A c c o u n t a b i l i t y: HAITIAN DEATH SQUAD LEADER, toto Constant, to be brought to justice for his campaign of rape and murder: www.cja.org/cases/ConstantDocs/Constantpr1.14.04.htm

[7] Word count of all reports available on HRW’s website <www.hrw.org> for the relevant periods

[8] Paul Farmer; Uses of Haiti” third edition; pg 393

[9] <www.ijdh.org/articles/article_ijdh-human-rights_update- july-26-04.html#intro>

[10] HRW; April 14, 2004;hrw.org/english/docs/2005/04/14/haiti10491.htm

[11] Znet Commentary: Option Zero in Haiti by Peter Hallward : www.zmag.org/content/showarticle.cfm?SectionID=55&ItemID=5806 Brian Concannon, a human rights lawyer with ample experience in Haiti, assisted Hallward with his analysis.

[12] HRW; May 16, 2005: hrw.org/english/docs/2005/05/17/haiti10956.htm

[13] NYT: Tracy Kidder, op-ed, NYT, Feb 26,2004; For details about the 2000 elections HRW has labelled “deeply flawed” see www.medialens.org/alerts/04/040302_Hell_Haiti_2.html Also www.zmag.org/content/showarticle.cfm?SectionID=55&ItemID=8940Also “Canada in Haiti: Waging war on the poor majority” by Yves Engler and Anthony Fenton

[14] Harvard Law School; “Keeping the Peace in Haiti?”;March 2005 tinyurl.com/pe5lj

[15] Maxine Waters letter of protest to G.W. Bush; www.wbai.org/index.php?option=content&task=view&id=4684&Itemid=2

[16] Toronto Star: Reed Lindsay: Haiti’s `huge step forward’ pushed back Court quashes milestone massacre convictions; May 15, 2005

[17] UNIVERSITY OF MIAMI SCHOOL OF LAW: HAITI HUMAN RIGHTS INVESTIGATION: NOVEMBER 11-21, 2004 By Thomas M. Griffin; www.law.miami.edu/news/368.html

[18] Znet: Pina: Open Letter to Human Rights Watch: www.zmag.org/content/showarticle.cfm?ItemID=7882 Znet: Pina: Open Letter to Human Rights Watch: www.zmag.org/content/showarticle.cfm?ItemID=7882

[19] see note [7]

[20] HRW, June 17, 2004; (24 pg report) (www.hrw.org/reports/2004/venezuela0604/;HRW June 17, 2004 (press release) hrw.org/english/docs/2004/06/17/venezu8855.htmHRW June 22, 2004; hrw.org/english/docs/2004/07/07/venezu9015.htm (published in the Washington Post)

[21] see note 16 [22] NYT: Reuters: Haiti’s Interim Government Fires Supreme Court; 12/9/2005

[23] HRW, July 8, 2005;hrw.org/english/docs/2005/07/08/venezu11299.htm)

[24] AI; July 25, 2005;web.amnesty.org/library/Index/ENGAMR360082005?open&of=ENG-HTI AI; January 11, 2006 web.amnesty.org/library/Index/ENGAMR360032006?open&of=ENG-HTI

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Haitian Lawyers Leadership Network www.margueritelaurent.com

March 2006

– Answer the call, join the list of sponsors for The Free Haiti Movement’s, May 18, 2006, International Solidarity With Haiti

Folks, La Sosyete,

Onè e respè

Once again, it’s time for The Free Haiti Movement’s May 18th International Solidarity Day with Haiti. Below see our announcement and how you may participate.

Those of you who have been with HLLN for a while know that HLLN’s work is public, inclusive and transparent. We promote Haitian self-reliance, self-defense, self-determination, non-dependency on foreign governmental funds, charity or any traditional sort of foreign-sponsored “benevolence,” that breeds dependency and work hard to organize international solidarity with Haitian-led participation in order to mobilize world attention to regain Haitian sovereignty and attain justice for the majority poor in Haiti.

ANSWER THE CALL: This year those of you who agree to sponsor HLLN’s Free Haiti Movement/International Solidarity With Haiti, are endorsing and supporting HLLN’s call for:

1. A stop to the killings, rapes, arbitrary arrests and political persecutions in Haiti;

2. Respect for the Feb. 7, 2006 vote and Constitutional rule;

3. Support the people of Haiti’s call for the authorities to progress with all deliberate speed to sit a free and duly elected Haitian Legislature, set a date firm for the inauguration of President Rene Preval, and to stop further pressures from the international community, mass media that would negate the Feb. 7, 2006 peoples mandate by vilifying President Preval or pressuring his government and team into IFIs compromises and giving seats, power or unmerited positions to the losers of the Feb. 7th elections;

4. Release of all political prisoners before Preval’s inauguration;

5. The disarmament, prosecution and bringing to justice the death squads, ex-military, paramilitaries, renegade police and coup d’etat orchestrators to justice; supporting the equal application of the UN’s Demobilization, Disarmament and Reintegration program to the people in the poor neighborhoods such as Bel Air, Site Soley, Solino, Gran Ravine, Martissant, et al, but with Haitian-led and designed social programs and without remobilizing the former military or reconstituting well known human rights violators or coup detat enforcers into the police force.

6. Demanding the demilitarization of the Haitian police and UN peacekeepers, promoting not any army on Haitian soil, foreign or domestic, but community-based policing; community-focused UN and Haitian police work and training and the banning of UN tanks, heavy weapons, equipments and all small arms exports to Haiti;

7. Requesting a stop to deportations and that temporary protected status be given to fleeing Haitian refugees;

8. Supporting the calls by CARICOM, OAS, African Union, Congressional Black Caucus for investigations into foreign powers’ role in the 2004 coup d’etat; and the call by HLLN for investigation into the role of UN/MINUSTHA, OAS, HDP, IFES, NED, US Embassy, Group 184, CEP and the de facto authorities, et al, in electoral fraud to dilute the Feb. 7, 2006 people’s vote, including HLLN’s call to prevent further fraud in the second Legislative rounds.

There will be teach-ins, rallies, vigils and lectures before and on May 18, 2006 about Haiti’s historical accomplishments; audio and video streaming for internet and DVD distribution of testimony from victims and resisters of the coup d’etat; letter campaigns, media outreach campaigns; the wearing and flying of the blue and red colors of Haiti; and, the sacrilege of the 2004 bicentennial coup, shall be remembered as Africans and friends of Haiti worldwide commit to fax, call-in and deliver to the French, Canadian and US Embassies and Consulates worldwide, the People of Haiti’s demand that France, Canada, the US and the international community respect Haitian sovereignty, stop inflicting Haiti with their traditional “benevolence,” racism, patriarchy and incessant corrupt intervention in Haiti’s affairs, through foreign “aid” and debt. For, it’s the INTERNATIONAL EFFORT that has brought Haiti where it stands today!

Africans and friends of Haiti worldwide shall deliver to the French and US Embassies and Consulates worldwide, a letter demanding that France pays back the 22 Billion dollars and the US pay back the (1914 to 1947) additional portion of that original illegal slave-trade debt the US also extorted from Haiti with its “refinancing” of this illegal blood debt (enforced, through a 19-year occupation), the final payment made in 1947 to the United States, after Haiti’s people had broken the chains of racial slavery to win their independence. (Sample letters will be provided to all sponsors)

Please send an e-mail to erzilidanto@yahoo.com or to eugenia@fondasyonmapou.org to join our list of sponsors this year. The Free Haiti Movement: Dessalines Is Rising Worldwide www.margueritelaurent.com/solidarityday/infoforsponsors.html

* The Free Haiti Movement’s International Solidarity Day with Haiti, May 18, 2006

Mission: To support the resistance inside and outside of Haiti to the U.S./Canada/France- backed bicentennial Coup D’etat and foreign occupation of Haiti until the Feb. 7th vote is fully respected and Haiti is free of foreign armies, dominance, dependency and neoliberalist interventions.

May 18, 2006 (Haitian Flag Day) Is Free Haiti Day! – The World Stands in Solidarity With The People of Haiti against the Coup, the de facto protectorate and foreign occupation of Haiti.

Ayisyen: You are not alone! We shall fly Dessalines’ blue and red liberating colors until Haiti is free!”

Dessalines Is Rising Worldwide!

Answer the call – Join the list of sponsors supporting the Free Haiti Movement

Marguerite Laurent, Esq. Haitian Lawyers Leadership Network March 20, 2006

___________________________________________________________

MEDIA ADVISORY

Haitian Lawyers Leadership Network (HLLN) P.O. Box 3573 Stamford, CT 06905 www.margueritelaurent.com

For Release On: Contact: Marguerite Laurent Tuesday, March 21 (203) 829-7210 or

Erzilidanto@yahoo.com

Contact: Eugenia Charles

(301) 537-8162

eugenia@fondasyonmapou.org

DESSALINES IS RISING WORLDWIDE! ANSWER THE CALL MAY 18, 2006 – THE FREE HAITI MOVEMENT’S INTERNATIONAL SOLIDARITY DAY WITH HAITI

JOIN THE LIST OF SPONSORS!

WHO: The Free Haiti Movement’s INTERNATIONAL SOLIDARITY DAY WITH HAITI has been initiated and sponsored by the Haitian Lawyers Leadership Network (HLLN) and co-sponsored by a network of university students, human rights’ activists, lawyers, artists, Haitian activists, Haiti solidarity organizations, progressive radio and press outlets, reparation organizations and the global African community from the Caribbean, U.S., Canada, France, Latin America, Africa.

WHAT: The Free Haiti Movement is launching its second INTERNATIONAL SOLIDARITY DAY WITH HAITI and asking everyone to ANSWER THE CALL. remember Haiti’s historical accomplishments, the unmatched achievements towards inclusion and social justice of the Lavalas Movement in Haiti and the Haitian people’s triumphs in 1986, 1990, 1995, 2000 and now February 7, 2006.

WHEN: May 18, 2006 – Haitian Flag Day is International Solidarity Day with Haiti!!! Worldwide, people are asked to organize an event in their community in support of Haiti.

WHY: To support the resistance inside and outside of Haiti to the U.S./Canada/France-backed Coup D’etat and foreign occupation of Haiti.

WHY: To support the Haitian Lawyers Leadership Network’s call for a stop to the killings, rapes, arbitrary arrests and political persecutions in Haiti; to support respect for the Feb. 7, 2006 vote and Constitutional rule; to support the people of Haiti’s call for the authorities to progress with all deliberate speed to sit a free and duly elected Haitian Legislature, set a date firm for the inauguration of President Rene Preval, and to stop further pressures from the international community and mass media that would negate the Feb. 7, 2006 people’s mandate by vilifying President Preval or pressuring his government and team into giving seats, positions or unmerited positions to the losers of the Feb. 7th elections;

WHY: On this International Solidarity Day with Haiti we are calling for the release of all political prisoners before President Preval’s inauguration; asking the authorities to disarm, prosecute and bring the death squads, ex-military, paramilitaries, renegade police and coup d’etat orchestrators to justice; to apply the UN’s Demobilization, Disarmament and Reintegration program equally to the people in the poor neighborhoods such as Bel Air, Site Soley, Solino, Martissant, et al, with Haitian designed and implemented social programs; Demilitarize the Haitian police and the UN peacekeepers, promoting not any army on Haitian soil, foreign or domestic, but community-based policing; to not remobilize the former military or reconstitute human rights violators into the police force.

The Free Haiti Movement is demanding that deportations cease and temporary protected status be given to fleeing Haitian refugees. We support calls by CARICOM, OAS, African Union, Congressional Black Caucus for investigations into foreign powers’ role in the coup d’etat; and the call by HLLN for investigation into the role of UN/MINUSTHA, OAS, Group 184, CEP and the de facto authorities in electoral fraud to limit voter participation from the poor areas and then dilute and diminish the value of the Feb. 7, 2006 people’s votes honestly cast, including HLLN’s call to prevent further fraud in the second Legislative rounds.

WHY: To work cooperatively with and say to the Haitian voters and Haiti’s majority poor: “You shall not walk or die along this freedom road alone or in vain. We shall fly Dessalines’ liberating colors on May 18, 2006 worldwide!”

Media Visuals: There will be teach-ins, rallies and lectures before and on May 18, 2006 about Haiti’s historical accomplishments; vigils, pickets outside embassies and U.N. buildings; audio and video streaming for internet and DVD distribution of testimony from victims and resisters of the 2004 coup d’etat; the wearing and flying of the blue and red colors of Haiti; and, the sacrilege of the 2004 bicentennial coup, shall be remembered as Africans and friends of Haiti worldwide commit to fax, call-in and deliver to French and US Embassies and Consulates worldwide the People of Haiti’s demand that France pays back the 22 Billion dollars it extorted from Haiti, and the US pays back its portion of this illegal slave-trade debt which was “refinanced” by the US in 1914 (enforced, through a 19-year occupation), the final payment made in 1947 to the United States, after Haiti’s people had broken the chains of racial slavery to win their independence.

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Forwarded by Ezili’s Haitian Lawyers Leadership Network www.ezilidanto.com

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DESSALINES RISING WORLDWIDE! (1806-2006)

Answer the call – Join the list of sponsors supporting the Free Haiti Movement Send an e-mail with your organization’s name and address to: erzilidanto@yahoo.com

See last year?s partial list of sponsors. www.margueritelaurent.com/solidarityday/haitisolidarityday.html#sponsors

Sign-on by sending e-mail to Erzilidanto@yahoo.com, or eugenia@fondasyonmapou.org

Articles & Pictures from last years Haiti International Solidarity Day www.margueritelaurent.com/solidarityday/pictures/hsd_pictures.html

Info Package For Sponsors of the Free Haiti Movement www.margueritelaurent.com/solidarityday/infoforsponsors.html

All people of conscience invited to endorse this call and sponsor an event. (See 2005 official flyer as a sample) www.margueritelaurent.com/solidarityday/haitisolidarityday.html

Dessalines Is Rising Worldwide! (1806-2006) ANSWER THE CALL https://lists.riseup.net/www/arc/ezilidanto/2006-03/msg00010.html

HLLN’s Media Letter Writing Campaign: Stop Mainstream Media libelously railroading President Preval and the people of Haiti -Keep writing, denouncing these false accusations https://lists.riseup.net/www/arc/ezilidanto/2006-02/msg00027.html

Letter to the New York Times from Hazel Ross-Robinson https://lists.riseup.net/www/arc/ezilidanto/2006-02/msg00028.html

Why we cannot forget the past by Harry Comeau, A letter to Washington, Ottowa, Paris and international media from a Haitian man https://lists.riseup.net/www/arc/ezilidanto/2006-03/msg00000.html

Letter’s to the Media – It’s the INTERNATIONAL EFFORT that has brought Haiti where it stands today. Stop these international LIES about Haiti, stop stealing and calling it “helping Haiti!” https://lists.riseup.net/www/arc/ezilidanto/2006-03/msg00002.html

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Forwarded by Ezili’s Haitian Lawyers Leadership Network www.ezilidanto.com

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Donate to support HLLN’s work, go to: www.margueritelaurent.com/donate/donate.html

  
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