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From: Jeb Sprague <jebsprague@mac.com>

Eyewitness account of UN firing into densely-populated Cité Soleil on
August 24 -
International Human Rights Delegation Protests Attacks on Civilians

PRESS CONFERENCE : Friday, August 25, 2006  - 2:00 p.m.
UNDP / MINUSTAH Headquarters, Avenue John Brown / Bourdon, Port-au-

An international human rights delegation from North America, Africa
and Europe will hold a press conference in front of UNDP / MINUSTAH
headquarters in Bourdon, Port-au-Prince, Haiti on Friday, August 25,
at 2:00 p.m. The delegation will report on the findings of their
investigation of human rights abuses in Haiti’s capital.

On the morning of August 24, six of the international observers
witnessed at close range an attack by UN “peacekeepers” on the
community Simond Pele, in the commune of Cité Soleil. Brazilian
MINUSTAH (UN) troops in four tanks fired multiple rounds of heavy
caliber ammunition in a densely populated residential area.  The only
other presence seen on the streets were unarmed civilians, including
small children.

As with other such military operations carried out by UN troops and
Haitian police since Feb. 29, 2004 coup, UN troops fired from tanks
(APCs) with little apparent concern for the safety of civilian
residents. Almost no return fire was heard from inside the neighborhood.

US trade unionist David Welsh, of the delegation, stated, “The
indiscriminate UN attacks on civilians in the poor neighborhoods have
got to stop. The residents of Cite Soleil have repeatedly said they
want an end to the violent repression of the country’s poor by
Haitian police and the UN occupying force.”

While they were in Simond Pele, a UN bulldozer arrived and a truck
dumped a load of dirt to block one of the entrances to the
neighborhood. A Cite Soleil resident noted that blocking entrances
was a tactic used by MINUSTAH prior to the July 6, 2005 Cite Soleil
massacre, and said that were it not for the presence of the
international delegation, the Brazilian force might have carried a
full scale massacre.

The delegation expressed concern that after the release of a small
number of high-profile prisoners, the more than one thousand other,
lesser-known political prisoners may be forgotten. Like their more
well known compatriots, these individuals were unjustly incarcerated
by the “interim” coup regime installed by the U.S., France and Canada
after the February 29, 2004 kidnapping of democratically-elected
President Jean-Bertrand Aristide.

  “Representatives of popular organizations we spoke with said they
want all political prisoners freed and they want their constitutional
government returned to office, which is why they voted en masse for
Rene Preval,” said Pauline Wynter, representative of the Congolese
Ota Benga Alliance, “and for the return of Jean-Bertrand Aristide,
and the reinstatement of government officials and civil servants
sacked by the coup government.”

For more information, call (011-509) 445-7651 or (011-509) 426-7976