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#486: Amnesty International: Chamberlain replies (fwd)
From: Greg Chamberlain <GregChamberlain@compuserve.com>
Amnesty has been extensively involved in campaigning for human rights in
Haiti for nearly 30 years. It has produced (and still does) many detailed
and trenchant reports about conditions there and its actions led to the
release of political prisoners during the Duvalier dictatorship.
Some of the current members of MICIVIH came to the mission after several
years of working at Amnesty headquarters in London. One of them, Ian
Martin (now heading the UN operation in East Timor) was the head of
Amnesty. Others (who had worked specifically on Haiti for a long time)
include Xavier Zuniga (now, I think, in Rwanda), Maria Clara Martin (now in
Switzerland and a member of this list), Elio Tamburi (now with the UN in
Bosnia, also a Corbetteer) and Sandra Beidas (in MICIVIH for about four
years now). List member Mike Levy (ex head of Amnesty's New York office)
is a Haiti human rights veteran of nearly 20 years standing. In fact, all
the human rights organisations currently working on or in Haiti took their
inspiration from Amnesty's work.
I remember the first press release about repression in Haiti in April 1973.
Carefully prepared and targeted by the late Inger Fahlander (who pioneered
and conducted the work on Haiti for many years and who died tragically in
the Estonia ferry disaster in 1992), it lost all chance of media coverage
because the release date coincided with the kidnapping of a lot of
diplomats in the US embassy in Khartoum, something which of course couldn't
be predicted. We thought it was somehow an omen for the uphill task of
telling the world about the situation in little Haiti. We were right.