National Congress (ANC) Calls for
Return of Democracy to Haiti
he African National Congress (ANC)
Campaign for the Return of Democracy to Haiti
South Africans are called on to join the people of Haiti, and others
the world, in campaigning for the return of stability, the rule of law
democracy to the Caribbean state.
Haiti has been in a state of crisis since an armed rebellion forced
democratically-elected president Jean-Bertrand Aristide out of office
into exile in February last year.
Despite the deployment of a United Nations 'stabilisation mission',
been widespread violence and instability since the overthrow of Haiti's
constitutional government. Members of the Aristide government, members
parliament, and members and supporters of Aristide's Lavalas party have
arrested and are being held without formal changes. It is estimated
currently more than 1,000 political prisoners being held illegally in
jails. Many thousands were forced into exile, and many are in hiding.
This situation has been highlighted by the grave condition of Haiti's
constitutional prime minister Yvon Neptune, who has been on a hunger
in a Haitian prison since mid-April. Reported to be gravely ill, Neptune
been in prison since June last year without having been brought to court
-despite a constitutional requirement of a hearing within 48 hours of
Neptune turned himself over to police after hearing a radio announcement
warrant for his arrest relating to an alleged 'massacre' near the coastal
city of St. Marc weeks before Aristide was ousted. Neptune is insisting
he be charged or released, amid reports that the interim government
to force him to leave the country.
A human rights investigation conducted in Haiti in November last year
the auspices of the Center for the Study of Human Rights at the University
Miami School of Law found that life for the impoverished majority "is
becoming more violent and more inhuman as the months pass since the
"After ten months under an interim government backed by the United
Canada, and France and but tressed by a United Nations force, Haiti's
churn inside a hurricane of violence. Gunfire crackles, once bustling
are abandoned to cadavers, and whole neighbourhoods are cut off from
outside world. Night marish fear now accompanies Haiti's poorest in
struggle to survive in destitution. Gangs, police, irregular soldiers,
even UN peacekeepers bring fear. There has been no investment in dialogue
end the violence.
"Haiti's security and justice institutions fuel the cycle of violence.
Summary executions are a police tactic, and even well-meaning officers
poor neighborhoods seeking a democratic voice as enemy territory where
must kill or be killed. Haiti's brutal and disbanded army has returned
join the fray.
Suspected dissidents fill the prisons, their constitutional rights ignored.
As voices for non-violent change are silenced by arrest, assassination,
fear, violent defense becomes a credible option. Mounting evidence suggests
that members of Haiti's elite...pay gangs to kill Lavalas supporters
finance the illegal army."
Since becoming the world first independent black republic in 1804 following
successful slave rebellion, Haiti has suffered almost two centuries
foreign interference, brutal misrule, military coups, underdevelopment
poverty. For almost three decades, the country was ruled by the Duvalier
dynasty, a period characterised by corruption, human rights abuses and
increasing impoverishment of the majority. Following the fall of Jean
'Baby Doc' Duvalier in 1986, and a succession of military governments,
Jean-Bertrand Aristide was elected president in December 1990. Within
months of taking office he was overthrown in a military coup, and was
returned to office in 1994 after a UN-authorised military intervention.
In November 2000, Aristide was re-elected president of Haiti, and
inaugurated the following February. Yet, despite the disbandment of
Haitian military, armed opposition to the constitutional order continued.
Alongside a sustained anti-Aristide campaign in the international -
particularly US - media, and a well-funded opposition movement, armed
opposition groups and proxy 'street gangs' waged an increasingly overt
campaign of terror against the Haitian poor.
Former paramilitary leaders, some of whom had been convicted of past
rights violations, emerged as the leaders of the armed opposition forces.
This violence escalated in the months before the 200th anniversary of
independence, on 1 January 2004, and set the scene for the removal of
Haiti's constitutional government barely two months later.
As the situation of Haiti's poor worsens daily, South Africans are called
upon to join others around the world in campaigning for a return to
constitutionality, stability and political freedom in Haiti.
The United Nations needs to lead an international effort, with the
involvement of regional bodies like the Caribbean Community (CARICOM),
ensure the unelected interim government ends the political persecution
Lavalas members and supporters, releases all political prisoners, ends
illegal arrests and summary executions, and ensures the disarmament
illegally armed groups and individuals As an immediate step, the interim
government must either formally charge or release Yvon Neptune and other
The constitutional order must be restored, which should include the
of conditions for the return of all exiles, including President Aristide,
the organisation of free, peaceful and fair democratic elections.
Urgent steps need to be taken to end the brutalisation of Haiti's population
and open the way for a meaningful national dialogue towards the restoration
of the country's constitutional order. Yet this cannot happen while
remnants of Haiti's military past are allowed by the international community
to continue with their programme to silence the voices of the Haitian
Forwarded by the Haitian Lawyers' Leadership Network
"Men anpil chay pa lou" is Kreyol for - "Many hands make
light a heavy load."
Join our International Solidarity Day with Haiti for May 18, 2005 and
the ground floor to help launch the FREE HAITI MOVEMENT For info and
current sponsors, see:
Help stop the slaughter in Cite Soleil Right now. Go to:
“Bandit King in Cite Soleil”
Kreyol Speakers: Keep up to date by listening to - al tande nouvel e
an Kreyol lan: http://www.lakounewyork.com/koute.htm