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Open Letter of Fanmi Lavalas to the UN Security Council
Fanmi Lavalas has learned that the Security Council will hold a special meeting on different aspects of the Haitian crisis, in Port-au-Prince from April 13th to April 16th 2005. Fanmi Lavalas welcomes the initiative and is encouraged by the Security Council's interest in Haiti.
Fanmi Lavalas wants to take advantage of this opportunity to express its deepest concerns for all the Haitian people facing the unacceptable inhumane treatments and ongoing violation of their human rights in their own country and to protest the present conditions in Haiti. Officials of the Lavalas government: Prime Minister Yvon Neptune, Minister of Interior Jocelerme Privert, Delegate Jacques Mathelier, members of the Parliament, members and supporters of Fanmi Lavalas and others are being kept in jails without any formal charges. Many thousands were forced into exile and their properties ransacked; many more are in hiding. It is estimated that currently more than 1000 political prisoners are being held illegally in Haiti's jails. Over 10,000 Haitians have been killed. Since the February 29th Coup d'Etat against the democratically elected President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, poverty has reached the worst levels. Hunger, insecurity, fear, impunity are at the heart of the problem. In a country where access to education is severely limited, the first ever University campus created under President Aristide was shut down and used as barracks for foreign troops. The illegitimate and illegal regime imposed after February 29th has done nothing. The de facto Prime Minister Latortue has publicly spoken on his involvement in illegal gun trade, promoted violence: "we shoot them (unarmed people demonstrating), some were killed, some were wounded, some escaped ". He has showed his unwillingness to engage in a real dialogue.
Many widely distributed reports from credible organizations such as those from the University of Miami School of Law, and Harvard University have denounced the violent situation that prevails in Haiti. The report titled "Keeping the Peace In Haiti?" released last month, and co-authored by the Harvard Law Student Advocates for Human Rights and the Brazilian non-governmental organization Centro de Justica Global (Global Justice Centre) says that the MINUSTAH forces have "effectively provided cover for the Haitian National Police (HNP) to wage a campaign of terror in Port-au-Prince's slums and have thus failed to fulfill their mandate to protect the civilian population and ensure the respect of human rights". ( Marcela Valente, Inter Press Service IPS 9 April 2005)
On April 2nd 2005, after having read the report by the Center for the Study of Human Rights of the University of Miami School of Law entitled "Haiti Human Rights Investigation: November 11-21, 2004, the Canadian congressman Mr. Bill Siksay, wrote to Mr. Pierre Pettigrew, Minister of Foreign Affairs: "I am deeply troubled by this report and by the ongoing human rights violations, the continued arrest and detention of Lavalas supporters, the increasing violence and deaths, the apparent emergence of the army, alleged collusion of UN forces with the police, and political corruption that it describes. As well, according to this report, there seems to be no organized effort to resume dialogue to resolve the serious issues facing Haiti. The role of the Canadian government employees working within the interim government, including the Ministry of Justice, and CIDA funding is of great concern as well."
On April 4th, a diplomat from the OAS Haiti Office speaking on conditions of anonymity to the Haitian Press Agency (AHP) stated: " People claimed responsibility for murders, however what is reported is that the "chimères'' (name used to describe poor people living in slums) have attacked once again. We must stop using the word 'chimères' to cover all illegal acts perpetrated by others" (AHP 4 April 2005) Even representatives of UN peacekeeping forces have spoken out about the questionable role of the Haitian Police in political attacks: On March 1st 2005, "The Brazilian commander of the peacekeepers, Lt. Gen. Augusto Heleno Ribeiro, said police killings had poisoned an atmosphere that peacekeepers had been working to improve for two months. "But police went there and killed six people on Friday ... now we're being received with a completely different attitude." (AP March 1st 2005). Cmdr. Carols Chugs Brag, a spokesman for the 7,400-member U.N. peacekeeping mission said:" This looked to be peaceful but for some reason, we are not sure why, the Haitian police arrived and decided to disband the demonstration" (AP February 28th 2005). During a recent visit in Argentina, the Defense Secretary of State Donald Rumsfeld himself raised doubts on holding elections at the end of the year with the chaotic situation in Haiti. Repression in Haiti has reached unthinkable and inhuman levels. Those who are the most vulnerable are those who are persecuted and killed. People from poor neighborhoods and specially supporters of Lavalas are being targeted for military interventions because they are poor. The well being of the entire Haitian population, even those opposed to Lavalas, is threatened because these current conditions are not conducive to any kind of sustainable development.
Everyday since the February 29th coup d'etat, it becomes more obvious that it is very difficult to bring back stability and peace in Haiti when the Haitian Constitution, Haiti's mother law, is not respected, when the principles of democracy are being violated by those in charge of implementing them, when there is no argument to justify the ousting of the democratically elected President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, when people's votes are not being respected, when the National Police in charge of protecting the population is itself the perpetrator of many acts of violence, and when the most vulnerable of Haiti, the disenfranchised are deprived of their basic rights, which are to have access to education, healthy nutrition, appropriate housing and healthcare..
Since February 29th 2004, the Haitian people have shown so much courage and determination in their struggle for the return of democracy and Constitutional order in the country. Fanmi Lavalas joins them in demanding that immediate action be taken for:
Cessation of political persecution directed towards its members and supporters;
Liberation of all political prisoners;
End of illegal arrests and summary executions;
Effective disarmament of groups and/or individuals illegally armed;
Restoration of the constitutional order in Haiti by the physical return of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide; and
Organization of free, honest and democratic general elections in Haiti
Fanmi Lavalas believes that the United Nations must have an important role to help solve the Haitian crisis. However their success will depend on their willingness to listen to the majority excluded for 200 years, to take into account the Haitian Constitution, to apply the basic principles of democracy and human rights promoted by the United Nations itself and to facilitate a real pluralistic dialogue in which Fanmi Lavalas is ready to engage. Not addressing those core issues will affect the dialogue and reconciliation process and consequently will impact negatively the organization of free and democratic elections in the country.
Fanmi Lavalas welcomes the efforts of members of the Security Council, and would appreciate their response on the steps the United Nations are envisioning to address these concerns.
Holding its accountability to the Haitian people very high on its agenda, Fanmi Lavalas renews its willingness to engage in a process of true dialogue, reconciliation and peace building under the banner of the Haitian Constitution.
Commission of Communication
Mr. Angelot Bell
Mr. Mario Dupuy
Dr. Maryse Narcisse
Mr. Jonas Petit
fanmilavalas [at] yahoo.com
Contact: Fanmi Lavalas
Open Letter of the Political Organization Fanmi Lavalas to the UN Security Council