December 25, 2006
Haiti Action Committee:
Urgent action alert
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 reported.
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 bandits."
- 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 community.
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 families.
- Demand prosecution of the UN officials, commanders and soldiers responsible for this latest UN atrocity in Haiti.
To: Edmond Mulet, UN Special Representative in Haiti firstname.lastname@example.org fax 011-509-244-3512 cc
To: Thierry Fagart, UN Human Rights chief in Haiti email@example.com fax 011-509-244-9366 cc
To: Louise Arbour, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights firstname.lastname@example.org fax 011-41-22-917-9011
For more information: