Haiti News Watch:
BBC misrepresents conclusions in a new report
June 1, 2005
News HaitiAction.net
About Events Talk News Links Home

BBC misrepresents conclusions in a new report
by Brussels-based think tank International Crisis Group (ICG)


The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) misrepresented the conclusions of a comprehensive report issued by the ICG entitled, "Spoiling Security in Haiti Crisis Group Latin America/Caribbean Report N?13, 31 May 2005."

The BBC, for unknown reasons, ignored important key observations of the report and provided readers with a condensed "interpretation" that blamed Haiti's violence solely on politically motivated "warring gangs." The BBC utterly ignores the report's assessment of the role of politically non-aligned groups such as drug traffickers and the violence of the Haitian police.

Article Title:

Haiti faces 'explosive' situation Haiti is caught in a "deep political, social and economic crisis", says a new report by Brussels-based think tank International Crisis Group (ICG).

British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) Published: 2005/06/01 URL: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/4599369.stm


"It [ICG report] blames warring gangs - supporters or opponents of ousted President Jean Bertrand Aristide - for the bloodshed."


false generalization, false conclusion of the overall facts contained in ICG report.

Omitted Information:

Source: Spoiling Security in Haiti Crisis Group Latin America/Caribbean Report N?13, 31 May 2005.

pg. 4

Groups linked to criminal activities, particularly drugtrafficking and contraband (in Haiti and abroad), are behind much of the current wave of violence. It is plausible that they will attempt to establish (or indeed have already established) ties to political parties, and will offer financing or other kinds of support. While the extreme weakness of the transitional government and state institutions might suit them, they can be expected to follow politics closely so as to be able to adapt to any conceivable post-election scenario and to quickly establish a modus vivendi with the new government, as they have done in the past.

Editor's note: From this passage we conclude this particular group cited in the ICG report has no political affiliation in relation to the question of Aristide but is parasitic in nature

pg. 11

In the capital's poor neighborhoods, the police not only have failed to regain public trust, but they are increasingly perceived as an aggressive force. The HNP seems to be criminalising many of the urban poor through indiscriminate declarations by senior officers and indiscriminate repressive operations in the slums. This same pattern appears in the media, which systematically associates residents of poor neighborhoods with "chimeres" or, more commonly, "chimeres Lavalas". Members of the business elite have fuelled this campaign, demanding a tougher stance towards "chimeres Lavalas", ignoring the fact that many other gangs also are engaged in criminal, violent and destabilising acts. Repeated killings during pro-Lavalas demonstrations have been a consequence. Unfortunately, most Haitian human rights NGOs have not been spoken out about these abuses.

pg. 11


There have been several allegations serious human rights abuse by HNP officers over the last few months in Port-au-Prince:

  • At least five persons were confirmed killed and five wounded after police shot at demonstrators in the Nazon area, near the UN headquarters, on 27 April. According to local residents, officers from one of two HNP vehicles shot indiscriminately, killing at least five demonstrators.58

That vehicle then left while officers from the other vehicle shot in the air, dispersing the crowd. The bodies were subsequently removed.59

  • On 28 February 2005, during a peaceful demonstration to commemorate the first anniversary of Aristide's departure, police allegedly opened fire without reason, killing at least two demonstrators. The Special Representative of the UN Secretary General (SRSG) said publicly a few days later police brutality was hindering stabilisation, and the UN would not tolerate it. He warned that UN soldiers would use force if needed whenever the HNP fired on unarmed civilians.60 The Minister of Justice angrily accused MINUSTAH of protecting "chimeres".61 Relations were soon patched up, however, and MINUSTAH failed to insist on a thorough investigation into the shootings.
  • Six young men were allegedly killed on 25 February when police entered alleys in Rue St Martin and Rue Tiremasse, Bel Air, shooting widely. Victims allegedly included a homeless man, a football trainer for poor children in the neighborhood and a street vendor.62

Full ICG report available at: http://www.crisisgroup.org/home/index.cfm?l=1&id=3485