Action Alert: Stop Attacks on Labor and
Human Rights Activists in Haiti
          Sept 21 2004


Stop Attacks on Labor and
Human Rights Activists in Haiti

Emergency Action Alert

A new wave of repression has hit Haiti in response to growing popular mobilizations against the U.S.-imposed de facto government of Gerard LaTortue. While the election campaign in the United States proceeds with no mention of Haiti, the grim impact of the U.S.-sponsored coup continues to be felt by the Haitian people.

On Thursday, September 16, masked police commandos attacked a union meeting at the Confederation of Haitian Workers (CTH) local office in Port-au-Prince. They arrested a dozen Haitian citizens, some of whom are members of the religious community of St.-Jean Bosco. There was no police explanation for the arrests. Those arrested are now being held in terrible conditions in a tiny cell where they barely have room to sit.

The arrests were immediately denounced by leaders of the CTH, including its director, Paul Loulou Chery. Mr. Chery noted that this is yet another attack on the right of Haitian workers to organize. Other union spokespeople noted that the arrests were clearly political, targeting known Lavalas activists.

In a second incident, at 1:00am on Saturday September 18, three heavily armed men invaded and ransacked the offices of the Committee for the Protection of the Rights of the Haitian People (CDPH). CDPH is a human rights organization which has taken up the case of many political prisoners in Haiti, including Prime Minister Yvon Neptune and Annette Auguste (So Anne). Its director, Ronald St. Jean, is a leading critic of the de facto governmentís human rights record. The CDPH office has also been the site of recent press conferences held by the Group for the Defense of Political Prisoners, a newly formed organization made up primarily of family members of those being held illegally by the de facto government.

The three perpetrators, wearing olive khaki military uniforms and brandishing large automatic weapons broke into the office, tied up a night watchman, destroyed a sound system used for press conferences, and broke open desks and file cabinets, scattering papers and literature on the floor.

This attack came a day after the de facto Prime Minister, Gerard Latortue complained in an interview with Radio Caraibes that critics of his governmentís human rights record are tarnishing his reputation internationally and hampering Haitiís diplomatic relations.

We urge you to send a strong message to U.S. and U.N. authorities and to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. We will not sit in silence as union activists and human rights workers in Haiti are threatened, attacked and illegally detained.

FAX OR CALL Ambassador James Foley and UN Officials in Haiti!
Demand an end to persecution of Haitian labor and Lavalas activists!

U.S. Ambassador to Haiti: James B. Foley
PHONE: 011.222.0200 OR 011.222.0354
FAX: 011.509.223-9038 OR 011.509.223.1641

UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH)
PHONE: 011.509.244.9650.9660
FAX: 011.509.244.9366/67
** Kofi Annan's Special UN Envoy to Haiti: Mr. Juan Gabriel Valdes
** UN Military Commander in Haiti: Lt. General Augusto Heleno Ribeiro Pereira
** UN Commissioner for Human Rights in Haiti

Please Fax the MINUSTAH office Attention to the 3 listed above. Better yet, send 3 separate letters addressing them individually.

Contact Haiti Action for more information.