URGENT ACTION ALERT          Dec 28 2003

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What you can do today

by Haiti Action Committee

HAITI: Urgent Action Alert 

On the eve of Haiti's bicentennial anniversary, the Haiti Action Committee (HAC) urges the governments of the US and France to take a firm stand in support of constitutional democracy in Haiti.

In the past three weeks there have been a series of anti-government demonstration calling for the violent overthrow of the elected government of Jean-Bertrand Aristide. Escaped prisoners convicted of crimes against humanity, Duvalier supporters, former military and coup leaders led some demonstrations. Anti-government protestors have thrown rocks, swung clubs, attacked government and media offices and shot bullets into pro-government crowds, killing and wounding several people in drive-by shootings.

Haitians supporting the government have taken to the streets by tens of thousands throughout the country to protect their hard-won but still nascent democracy. They reject any non-electoral solution to the political crisis.

The overthrow of an elected government is unacceptable under democratic principles, including the OAS and UN Charters. The U.S. and France have covertly and overtly supported the very forces now calling for the destruction of Haiti's democracy.

The U.S. and French governments should immediately reiterate their support for Haiti's Constitution and elected officials. Both should make it absolutely clear that their governments will not support any group advocating violent or anti-constitutional change in Haiti. They should ensure that no U.S. or French funds support any group engaging in or supporting violent activities. They should investigate and prosecute any activities on U.S. and French soils that support unconstitutional change in Haiti.

As the Haitian people prepare to celebrate the 200th Anniversary of their victory over slavery, the US should embark on a new partnership with Haiti based on respect for the sovereignty of our oldest neighbor. It must be guided by the fundamental principles of democracy. The Haitian people came out in record numbers to elect the current government of Haiti, and that vote must be respected.

Urgent Action:

Call Secretary of State Colin Powell (202-647-4000) and the US Embassy in Port-au-Prince (509-222-0200/0354/0269/0327; Fax 509-223-1641) and urge support for the democratically elected government of Haiti and legislative elections mandated by Haiti's Constitution.

Call the French Consulate General in San Francisco (415-397-4330) and Ambassador Jean-David Levitte, French Embassy in DC (202-944-6000; Fax 202-944-6166) and urge them to respect Haiti's bicentennial celebration and support the Campaign for Restitution.

Contact your representatives and senators (202-224-3121) or http://www.congress.org and ask them to issue a statement supporting democracy in Haiti and intervene to end the development assistance embargo against the Haitian government.

Urge your representatives to support legislation that can ease the suffering of the Haitian people, including Congresswoman Barbara Lee's HR 3386, "New Partnership for Haiti", and Congresswoman Maxine Waters' HR 1108, "Access to Capitol for Haiti's Development Act."

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