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$4955: OAS Mission: Haiti Intolerance Wide (fwd)
Saturday August 26 6:05 PM ET OAS Mission: Haiti Intolerance Wide
By MICHAEL NORTON, Associated Press Writer
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) - An Organization of American States
human rights commission wound up a five-day visit to Haiti by warning
of an alarming rise in political intolerance in the Caribbean nation.
The OAS fact-finding mission met with government officials, political
leaders and human rights groups. It found that ``the climate of
intimidation has intensified in the country,'' Elio Bigodo, president of
the OAS's Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, said Friday.
Fifteen people died in politically related attacks in the months
leading up to May 21 local and legislative elections, and rock-throwing
street demonstrators loyal to former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide
managed to shut down the capital on several occasions.
Police arrested at least 40 opposition politicians and militants after
the balloting. Aristide's Lavalas Family party went on to win 18 of 19
seats in the upper house of Parliament and 72 of 82 seats in the lower
house in a landslide victory the opposition claimed was fraudulent.
Former electoral council president Leon Manus fled to the United States
in June, fearing for his life after he refused to approve the
first-round Senate results.The OAS had found the balloting acceptable
but contested the method used to compute some winners. It said 10 of the
Senate seats should have gone to a run-off vote.