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29724: Urgent action alert from the Haiti Action Committee -Dec.24 (fwd)
From: Haiti Action Committee <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Urgent action alert from the Haiti Action Committee -
December 24, 2006
The UN?s Christmas present to Haiti -- A
pre-dawn, heavy-caliber assault on the men, women and
children of Cite Soleil
In the early morning of Friday, December 22nd,
starting at approximately 3 a.m., 400 Brazilian-led UN
occupation troops in armored vehicles carried out a
massive assault on the people of Cite Soleil, laying
siege yet again to the impoverished community.
Eyewitness reports said a wave of indiscriminate
gunfire from heavy weapons began about 5 a.m. and
continued for much of the day Friday -- an operation
on the scale of the July 6, 2005 UN massacre in Cite
Soleil. Detonations could be heard for miles, AHP
Initial press accounts reported at least 40
casualties, all civilians. According to community
testimony, UN forces flew overhead in helicopters and
fired down into houses while other troops attacked
from the ground with Armored Personnel Carriers
(APCs). People were killed in their homes. UN troops
from Brazil, Chile, Uruguay and Bolivia took part in
the all-day siege, backed by Haitian police. UN
soldiers once again targeted the Bois Neuf and
Drouillard districts of Cite Soleil -- scene of the
July 6th massacre.
While reports are still coming in, this is what we do
know right now:
* A Reuters photographer "counted 9 bodies, and
eyewitnesses counted 4 others dead. As many as 30
people were wounded, humanitarian workers said. All of
the casualties are believed to be civilians."
* One Haitian human rights observer personally
counted at least 17 dead bodies on the ground. This
eyewitness also reported:
+ A woman 6-months pregnant was shot in the
stomach, killing the unborn child.
+ A man and his 8-year-old boy were in their
beds when a helicopter rained bullets into their
house, wounding both.
+ A man named Jacquelin Olivier was killed
in his bed when bullets pierced the walls. He leaves a
wife and 3-year old boy.
* "The foreigners came shooting for hours without
interruption and killed 10 people," said Bois Neuf
resident Johnny Claircidor, quoted by Reuters. "They
came here to terrorize the population," Cite Soleil
resident Rose Martel told Reuters, referring to UN
troops and police. "I don't think they really killed
any bandits, unless they consider all of us as
* Agence Haitienne de Presse (AHP) said Cite Soleil
"residents report very serious property damage and
there are concerns that a critical water shortage may
now develop because water cisterns and pipes were
punctured by the gunfire."
* "Local residents say the victims were ordinary
citizens whose only crime was that they live in the
targeted neighborhood." (AHP)
UN soldiers block Red Cross vehicles from coming to
aid the wounded -- According to Pierre Alexis, the
Haitian Red Cross coordinator for Cite Soleil, the UN
soldiers prevented the Haitian Red Cross from treating
children injured during the assault. Alexis said that
many children were suffering serious injuries, but
that UN soldiers blocked Red Cross vehicles from
entering Cite Soleil. AHP reported that "residents
were outraged that [UN] soldiers refused to allow
medical care...for people they had injured." Despite
this, St. Catherine's Hospital in Cite Soleil reported
receiving many wounded.
Why this latest assault on the people of Cite Soleil?
-- UN occupation authorities in Haiti claim it is part
of their fight against "bandits" and "kidnappers,"
scapegoating the 300,000 residents of Cite Soleil.
However, it is widely known throughout Port-au-Prince
that kidnappers are coming from all sectors, including
corrupt police officials and the wealthy. Does the UN
lead military assaults on affluent neighborhoods where
kidnappers are known to operate? Of course not.
A more plausible explanation comes from grassroots
activists in Cite Soleil. They argue that this is
"punishment" for their ongoing protests demanding an
end to the UN occupation, restoration of full
democracy, return of President Aristide, and the
release of political prisoners. Additionally, the
people of Cite Soleil have been vigorously protesting
the December 3rd municipal elections, in which there
were widespread allegations of fraud and many from the
popular neighborhoods were prevented from voting.
Just recently, on December 16th, the people of Cite
Soleil led a massive protest throughout Port-au-Prince
marking the anniversary of Jean-Bertrand
Aristide?s first election as president in 1990.
[They marched despite the UN shooting up the district
the night before, in what was widely viewed as a UN
attempt to intimidate the populace on the eve of the
march.] In the week following the march, tensions
continued to escalate, culminating in the December
22nd assault by UN forces under Brazilian command.
Enough is enough! Join us in denouncing the ongoing UN
terror attacks on the Haitian people!
Now is the time for people in the US and throughout
the world to step up our solidarity efforts with the
people of Haiti. Our protests, calls and letters after
the UN massacre in Cite Soleil on July 6th, 2005 --
and the many UN attacks since then -- need to be
updated, expanded, intensified. Demand an end to the
UN?s repeated, brutal assaults on this besieged
Email or fax the UN official below. Keep it brief.
*** Denounce the massive, heavy-caliber assault on the
citizens of Cite Soleil by UN occupation forces on
Dec. 22, 2006.
*** Demand reparations for the victims and their
*** Demand prosecution of the UN officials, commanders
and soldiers responsible for this latest UN atrocity
TO: Edmond Mulet, UN Special Representative in Haiti
-- email@example.com fax 011-509-244-3512
cc to: Thierry Fagart, UN Human Rights chief in Haiti
-- firstname.lastname@example.org fax 011-509-244-9366
cc to: Louise Arbour, UN High Commissioner for Human
Rights -- email@example.com fax 011-41-22-917-9011
For more information: 510 483 7481 or email
www.haitiaction.net and www.haitisolidarity.net