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6095: Commemorating the Life and Works of Jean Dominique (fwd)

From: Merrie Archer <MArcher@nchr.org>

Slain Journalist and Fellow Human Rights Activist to be Honored in New York
by the National Coalition for Haitian Rights

NEW YORK CITY -- On Sunday, December 10, International Human Rights Day, the
National Coalition for Haitian Rights (NCHR) will pay tribute to a legend,
Jean Léopold Dominique, and honor Michèle Montas, his widow and a fearless
advocate who continues their struggle for Haitian democracy.

Together, Jean and Michèle harnessed their passion for democracy and human
rights and their journalistic talents into Radio Haiti Internationale, an
independent radio station, a voice for the Haitian people and a beacon of
hope for justice and freedom for over 20 years. Their daily broadcasts,
commentaries and investigative reports provided an independent and reliable
source of accurate information about the status of human rights in Haiti and
gave the Haitian people an outlet for their voice.

As acclaimed filmmaker and NCHR Board Member Jonathan Demme stated, "Michèle
and Jean are the real thing. They represent the gold standard in engaged
journalism at its very finest, its most heroic, its most profoundly
contributive. Jean literally paid for his integrity with his life, and
Michèle?s life is currently under the most dire, most overt threats. It is
therefore truly a great, extraordinary honor to have Michèle Montas here in
New York on International Human Rights Day and to pay tribute to the
lifework of Jean Dominique and Michèle?s continued commitment."

This evening will commemorate their life-long human rights work in Haiti by
showcasing a 30-minute segment of a Jonathan Demme documentary
"work-in-progress" about Mr. Dominique and honoring Ms. Montas with the
Michael S. Hooper Award for Human Rights. (Mr. Hooper was NCHR?s Executive
Director from 1982 until his untimely death from cancer in 1988.)

Despite powerful opposition, exile, and even threats against their lives,
Jean and Michèle never wavered from their commitment to democracy and their
tireless work with and on behalf of the Haitian people. On April 3, 2000,
outside of the offices of Radio Haiti in Port-au-Prince, Mr. Dominique was
assassinated because of those efforts, and now, Michèle carries on the fight
without him.

This evening will not only celebrate their work but also draw attention to
the heightened danger that continues to plague the lives of those who remain
committed to a free and democratic Haiti. As Ms. Montas herself stated,
"When you do investigative reporting in the States, it?s a pretty safe
thing, most of the time. When you do it in Haiti, you take your life in your
The National Coalition for Haitian Rights is a nonprofit, non-governmental
organization that seeks to promote and protect the rights of Haitian
refugees and Haitian-Americans under U.S. and international law, and to
advance respect for human rights, the rule of law and support for civil and
democratic society in Haiti.  

For Immediate Release
November 29, 2000  Contact: Dina Paul Parks
(212) 337-0005, x11