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- Subject: =?X-UNKNOWN?Q?a721=3A___=5BWindows-1252=5D_National_Coalition?==?X-UNKNOWN?Q?_for_Haitians=92_Rights_=28NCHR=29__Fe=5BWindow?==?X-UNKNOWN?Q?s-1252=5D_bruary_7_2002__Index_to_Haiti_New?==?X-UNKNOWN?Q?s_=28fwd=29?=
- From: Bob Corbett <email@example.com>
- Date: Mon, 11 Feb 2002 07:50:10 -0600 (CST)
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From: Robert Benodin <email@example.com>
National Coalition for Haitians’ Rights (NCHR)
February 7 2002
The National Coalition for Haitians’ Rights (NCHR) notes that the first year
of the return of President Jean Bertrand Aristide to power was characterized
by a clear deterioration of the general human rights situation in Haiti.
I- Civil Liberties: Progress in Danger
The freedoms of association, assembly, and expression acquired through
painful struggles since the downfall of Duvalier were severely tested during
that period. Civil and political rights of citizens were not respected.
Peaceful demonstrations by unarmed citizens against the government were
violently disrupted by supporters of the regime throughout the country,
particularly in Hinche, Pétion-Ville, Arcahaie, Cap-Haitïen, Cayes, l’
Estère, Saint-Marc, Gonaïves, Plaisance, Port-de-Paix, Belle-Anse, Grand
Gosier, etc. Every time, the supporters of the regime seemed to be acting
with the approval of the National Police, which has not always been
A- Freedom of Expression Violated
Since the return to the constitutional order in 1994, freedom of expression
has never been so seriously threatened. Leaders of grassroots organizations,
as well as Lavalas officials, regularly and publicly utter death threats
against members of the independent media. Nearly twenty journalists had to
seek refuge abroad, including: Donal Jean, Arthur Welbert, Carlo St Ristil,
Gaston Janvier, Abel Descollines, Remy Jean Joseph, Dominique Beauplan,
Jonathan Joseph, Techeller Dimanche, Mayard Jean Marie, Rose Franceline
Léonard, Gary Béllizaire, Yves Clausel Alexis, Pharès Duverné, Robert
Philomé, Pierre Richard Midi, Marc Sony Jean Baptiste, Ernst Océan, Gladys
Joseph, Pierre Nazaire Beaulière.
Radio stations had to shut down or stop their programs temporarily under
threats. Among them, Vision 2000, Caraïbes FM, Echo 2000, Radio Tele Contact
Petit Goâve, Rotation FM Belladère, Vwa Peyizan Papay, Signal FM, etc.
The worst occurred on December 3, 2001, when Brignol Lindor was shamefully
assassinated in Petit-Goâve, three days after Mr. Dumay Bony, Deputy Mayor
of the city, had threatened him with death.
B- Obstruction of Justice
Justice was obstructed mainly through political pressure on the judges,
dereliction of duty by the police, obvious lack of cooperation with the
courts, refusal by government attorneys to enforce court decisions,
systematic refusal of the Senators and Parliament Representatives, all
members of the same political group, to make available to justice some
members of parliament implicated in criminal acts.
In Port-au-Prince, the Government Attorney’s Office refused to execute at
least three (3) court decisions (cases of Prosper Avril, Guy François, and
The investigation of the murders of Jean Dominique and Jean Claude
Louissaint could not be completed, due to obstacles created by the Executive
Branch to the work of the investigating judge. At the end of his term, the
investigating judge had to flee the country for his safety, although he
should have enjoyed government protection even after the investigation, as
in any country where a judge has to face the particular risks of such a
Arrest warrants not executed by police: cases of Ronald Kadav, Paul Raymond,
Richard Salomon, René Civil, Dumay Bony, among others.
The murderers of Brignol Lindor’s were not arrested.
Jean Robert Placide, a congressman from Port Salut, was implicated in an
armed robbery (zenglendo) but was not even asked to explain himself in
The House of Representatives has yet to make available to justice
Congressman Jocelyn Saint Louis, commonly believed to be the master brain in
the assassination of Sernand Sévère, Mayor of the Commune of Saint-Raphaël,
who was shot in the back seventeen times.
In Gonaïves, Amio Métayer (Lavalas activist), commonly believed to be
responsible for killing a Mochrena leader’s bodyguard on December 17, 2001,
as well as killing two people and injuring others when he opened fire on a
carnival group on Sunday January 20, 2002, has yet to be questioned for his
In Hinche, Mayor Dongo Joseph was placed in custody for slapping a judge
performing his duties, and later released arbitrarily after the intervention
of the Minister of the Interior, Mr. Henry Claude Ménard. Dongo Joseph was
never tried and convicted under to the law.
Congressman Jean Candio, responsible for the incidents of Pliché, has never
appeared in court.
On June 14, 2001, a massacre at Fò Mèkredi left eleven people dead, nineteen
injured and seventeen missing, and thirty-five homes were burned or damaged.
The alleged criminals (Lavalas activists) named Félix Bienaimé, Dieu
Puissant, Fritz, Sason, Makandal, Ti Mario, Labon, Tison, Sonson,
Chèrenfant, 6 Biskuit, Yvon, Dieumé, Ti Gérard, Michaëlle Toussaint, Guy
Love, Topshit, Framto, were not even asked to explain their acts in court.
Ronald Kadav, a Lavalas activist nicknamed the new Haitian "Bòs Pent,"
commonly believed to be a hired killer, has been widely accused, among other
murders, of killing Fritzner Jean a.k.a. Bobo on Monday September 10, 2001
near the Parliament building; he still enjoys impunity.
There were many victims during the November 1, 2001 incidents in La Saline.
None of the perpetrators has been arrested. On the contrary, it is Franco
Camille, one of the individuals responsible for the massacre, who prepared
the visit of the president of the Republic in La Saline, following those
On Saturday September 8, 2001, an individual named Ronald Francis was
arrested, handcuffed and cold-bloodedly shot. Dominique Jean Moïse, the
police officer involved, continues to enjoy impunity.
Senator Prince Pierre Sonson, exposed by his colleague Dany Toussaint as one
of the arsonists who burned the house of Gérard Pierre Charles during the
December 17, 2001 events, has not been prosecuted so far.
The Senate of the Republic went beyond its constitutional powers when it
acted as a court, analyzing the records of the investigation on the shameful
crime of April 3, 2000, blaming the investigating judge, and demanding that
the records be turned over to the Senate with the obvious purpose of
establishing first whether the incriminated Senator, Dany Toussaint, was
guilty before declaring the Senate’s formal decision about lifting that
Strangely enough, the commission responsible for reviewing the records was
presided by the interim leader of the party in power, Senator Yvon Neptune,
who had made the most injurious statements against the investigating judge.
By that vote, the Senate of the Republic challenges the centuries old
principle of judicial investigation, still recognized universally today. The
Senate forgets or pretends to forget that "each branch of government is
independent from the other two (2) branches in the fulfillment of its
duties, which must be done separately, and no branch shall, for any reason,
delegate its duties in whole or in part, nor go beyond the limits set by the
Constitution and the law" (articles 60 and 60-1 of the current
The Senate must explain to the public what are the constitutional or legal
provisions allowing it to instruct a judge to communicate the investigation
files, before the it makes a decision about a request to lift a congressman’
s immunity. Otherwise, the Senate will have to recognize that it was misled
by the special commission appointed to review the case about Senator Dany
Toussaint’s immunity, and take another vote on the matter.
The refusal by the National Police to disarm the armed mobs who terrorize
the country is also one of the causes of the state of anarchy already
established in the shantytown of Cité Soleil, where the population is
completely left at the mercy of bandits.
C- The Zero Tolerance Operation
During a visit at the Headquarters of the National Police of Haiti (PNH) on
June 28, 2001, the president had launched the "Zero Tolerance Operation."
This was a significant call for summary justice. Since then, many persons
have been lynched in broad daylight. The most spectacular case was that of
Panel Rénélus, a.k.a. Tipanel, lynched at the police substation of Léogâne.
No government action has been taken against the perpetrators, nor against
the police officers who acted as their accomplices.
D- The Situation of Human Rights Advocates
The situation of human rights advocates has not been the most encouraging.
They are threatened and intimidated. During the month of October 2001, a
list of human rights advocates to be killed circulated within the National
Police of Haiti, after the NCHR had published reports about the
politicization of the PNH.
II- Economic, Social, and Cultural Matters
In a long inaugural speech delivered on February 7, 2001, President Aristide
had promised the nation to create about 500,000 jobs, reduce unemployment
from 60% to 40%, increase the level of food self-sufficiency, generate 348
additional megawatts in electrical energy, and bring the availability rate
of drinking water to:
- 16 to 70% in the countryside
- 40 to 80% in urban areas.
One year later, the outcome is disastrous:
- Inflation rate exceeds 10%.
- The cost of living increased significantly because the value of
the gourde, in relation to the American dollar, went down further from 50%
in 1991 to 450% in 2001.
- Unemployment has reached record levels. Youth are desperate. The
drain in human resources is at an increasing rate.
- Contracts signed without requests for proposal between Electricity
of Haiti and other providers of electrical energy did not allow any
improvement to take place in the distribution of electricity. The deals thus
concluded amount to a total waste and a mess.
- The country is becoming increasingly dependent upon foreign
countries for food.
- Foreign aid remains frozen, making it difficult for the population
to improve its standards of living. The negotiations started between the
Lavalas Regime and the opposition, regrouped within the Democratic
Convergence, in order to discuss the political agreement required for the
resumption of foreign aid, were so carelessly conducted that the chances of
success are almost nil today. The regime does not really care about its
immense responsibility to address the demands of the population, honor its
electoral promises and follow through on its new commitments.
- Today, Haiti is poorer than before and ranks 134th among 162
countries of the world, according to a July 10, 2001 report on human
development from the United Nations Program for Development. The FAO puts
Haiti in a list of 33 countries in the world facing a food crisis of
"exceptional urgency" (FAO Cultures and Food Shortage, No. 3, June 2001.)
President Aristide had promised to reinstate order and authority of the
government. He had also pledged to do everything to fight corruption:
"We need order! Discipline, certainly! Government authority, absolutely
"Tolerance for corruption, zero; tolerance for theft and mismanagement,
zero. As for government vehicles, government gasoline, government money, the
tolerance is absolute zero," had essentially declared the Head of State.
That pledge has not been honored either, as shown by the numerous scandals
during the first year of presidency and the total lack of involvement of the
president in the struggle against this problem. Here are some examples:
1- The purchase of Bush Ashton’s Villa at an outrageous price,
according to public opinion, while the government already has a house
acquired when Jacques Edouard Alexis was in office as the residence of prime
ministers. The country still does not know whether the decision was made
during a ministerial meeting to purchase that house, whether some
individuals benefited at the expense of the people, and whether the
president had approved the transaction. Those are questions that will have
to be answered. The president who loves to talk so much, differently from
his quiet predecessor, has not said one word so far. Do we need to remind
that "a thief needs cover to operate?"
2- 700,000 US$ were allegedly embezzled at the airport by police
officers Raphaël Janvier and Schiller Louidor, as well as some influential
parliamentary representatives and senators close to the president of the
Republic. None of the suspects has been interrogated by justice and nobody
knows whether the money has been found. The investigation continues, and
maybe arrogance has since taken the place of shame. A thief needs cover to
3- The immigration scandal where Minister Henry-Claude Ménard was
implicated in collecting taxes directly from taxpayers. This fact was also
exposed by Prime Minister Jean Marie Polinice Chérestal, who had even
mentioned dereliction of duty. Here again, justice was respectfully kept at
arm’s length. A thief needs cover to operate.
4- The rice scandal implicating the Aristide Foundation for
Democracy (a state within the state), and the "Cooperative for All of Us,"
specially created for this purpose by regime officials, transforms the
Senate of the Republic into a place for business and the senators into
common rice vendors. According to media information, that business costs the
public treasury the insignificant amount of one hundred seventeen million
gourdes (117,000,000.00 gourdes). Nobody has any information about the
source of the funds used to purchase that low quality rice, or the names of
the members of the Board of the Cooperative, or the relationship between
those individuals and the president of the Republic allowing them to act on
behalf of his Foundation and his government. As strange as it may seem, the
persons responsible for explaining the good reason for this business to the
public are not board members of Cooperative for All of Us or Aristide
Foundation for Democracy, but the spokesperson of the regime, Mr. Jonas
Petit, and a parliament representative, Mr. Roudy Herriveaux. Who then was
speaking against insider trading, conspiracy against the state, government
corruption, and conflict of interests?
Here again, the truth was not duly established in a court of law. A thief
needs cover to operate.
5- The DGI scandal implicating high officials of that institution.
The embezzled funds were returned within the family, without more formality.
A thief needs cover to operate.
6- Parliament representatives exposed the office members of the
Lower House for allegedly embezzling more than two million gourdes from the
accounts of that government institution. The case was brought neither before
the administrative court (the General Accounting Office), nor before
criminal courts. The matter was settled within the family. A thief needs
cover to operate.
7- According to statements made by Michel Soukar on Radio Caraïbes
FM on Saturday December 8, 2001 during a program called Ranmase, the
president of the Republic himself is allegedly implicated in several elusive
transactions. So far, the presidency has not bothered to bring any
clarification on the matter to the population.
8- Almost everywhere, the Lavalas mayors have been accused of
mismanagement, embezzlement, and theft. We can mention, among others, the
cases of the Mayor Office in Port-au-Prince, the Deputy Mayor of Mirebalais,
Mr. Denis Régis, accused of rape, the Mayor of Ennery, accused of stealing a
bull, the Mayor of Croix-des-Bouquets, Mr. Jean Claude Pierre Louis, accused
of embezzlement, the Deputy Mayor of La Chapelle, accused of stealing a fire
hydrant belonging to the population, the Mayors of Miragoâne, Las Cahobas,
Petit-Goâve, Delmas, Plaine du Nord, and Hinche, accused of mismanagement.
In all those cases, due process has not been followed. Who was speaking
about justice, and respect for the law?
In the matter of culture, the regime seems to practice extreme obscurantism.
On December 17, they burned a church, a school, a library, and a Research
Center. Isn’t this regime killing artistic inspiration when it hires
musicians in the presidential palace, unofficially certified on the basis of
political affiliation, to engage in sterile propaganda during the Mardi Gras
III- On the Environment
The right to a healthy and properly treated environment is a human right,
and not just a duty of the government. The citizens must no longer be
regulated, but they must be educated; they must no longer be governed by
rules, but given incentives.
The government has not created any incentive in the matter of environment.
This fact is made obvious by the tons of wet and smelly piles of trash
sitting in the streets of the metropolitan areas.
Another cause for concern is the intensification of desertification by the
careless cutting of trees and the use of charcoal.
The National Coalition for Haitians’ Rights (NCHR) invites the Lavalas
Regime to show more political wisdom, and embrace a culture of tolerance,
and a resolute involvement in working for a negotiated solution of the
political crisis, so that the remaining years of Aristide’s presidency can
be different from his first year.