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9417: NCHR

Dear Friends,

Through out the last several months, NCHR and members of POHDH (Platform
of Haitian Human Rights Organisations) have received numerous death

Earlier this month NCHR published an open letter to the Superior Conseil
of the Haitian National Police, condemning its politicization and severely
criticizing its practices.  Not afraid to speak the truth, NCHR named
names.  As a result of speaking out, Pierre Esperance, NCHR staff, Simon
St. Hubert, Serge Bordenave and other members of POHDH are once again
receiving death threats.

According to NCHR contacts with close connections to the police and
governing party, the abovementioned individuals and staff are on a list
for elimination.  Sources say the threats began after President Aristide
met with members of the National Police, calling for action to be taken
against the officers mentioned in NCHR's letter.

NCHR has received such threats in the past.  In June of this year, Pierre
Esperance defiantly denounced President Aristide's zero tolerance policy.
In response to this, Ren Civil of JPP (Jan l Pase l Pase) and Paul Raymond
of TKL (Ti Komite Legliz) publicly called for the government to apply zero
tolerance on Pierre and other human rights organization.

In August, Pierre Esperance received several calls on his cell phone.  The
callers warned that if NCHR did not close its mouth on the Jean Dominique
case, Pierre would be eliminated.

On March 1st, 1999, NCHR, POHDH, and organizations within the Platform
received threats in the form of tracks that were distributed around
Port-au-Prince, again warning NCHR to keep silent.  On March 8, 1999 a
group of men attempted to carry out these threats.  Pierre Esperance was
attacked on his way to the NCHR office.  His truck was riddled with
bullets and Pierre was shot in the shoulder and knee.  Even while Pierre
was in the hospital, he continued to receive threats.  To this day,
nothing has been done in terms of investigating this assassination

Throughout 1999 threats circulated around town.  Tracks were distributed
that contained the addresses of schools where NCHR and POHDH children
attended, vehicle descriptions and license plate numbers. 

Despite these serious threats, the bottom line is this:  NCHR will not be
silenced.  The truth must be spoken and justice must be sought.  Until a
State of Law is established and the fundamental rights of all Haitians are
respected, NCHR will not surrender the fight.  The future of a democratic
Haiti depends on this.

 NCHR-Haiti Staff