Letter from President Aristide on
the 18th Anniversary of the Haitian Constitution
March 29, 2005
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Letter from President Aristide on the 18th Anniversary of the Haitian Constitution

Private Office of the President of the Republic
Jean Bertrand Aristide

Press Release

Today, March 29, 2005 is the date of the 18th anniversary of the Haitian Constitution. On this day, President Jean Bertrand Aristide salutes the courage and determination of the Haitian people. They have been carrying out a peaceful, non violent struggle for respect of the Constitution since the coup d'etat of February 29, 2004. A return to peace and stability must necessarily include the re-instatement of the Constitution, which is the only lasting solution to the Haitian crisis.

On the occasion of the 18th anniversary of the Constitution of the Republic of Haiti, March 29, 2005, President Jean Bertrand Aristide salutes the courage and determination of all those who are deprived of their constitutional rights, those who have been shamefully assassinated, those who are persecuted, those who are being held illegally in prison because of their political opinions, those who have been forced into hiding or exile, those who have been refused access to education, health care and decent housing.

The alarming situation of the violation of the Constitution and abuses against individual rights is only intensifying. When, on March 29, 1987, the Haitian people ratified the Constitution by more than 90%, they expressed their desire to participate in public affairs, to transform the country into a state of law and to build a lasting democracy. Since February 29, 2004 the 1987 Constitution, the basic law of Haiti, has been completely ignored; the vote of the Haitian people in the presidential elections of November 2000 ridiculed; and fundamental human rights practically non-existent.

There has been a violent response to the non-violent peaceful resista›Xpeof the Haitian people: intimidation, persecution, illegal arrests, rapes, murders. More than 10,000 deaths since February 2004, more than 1,000 political prisoners, thousands of disappeared, in a word, impunity is the law. A complicit silence is maintained on the genocide in Haiti.

On March 25, 2005 while the Haitian people demonstrated for the re-establishment of the Constitution, the forces of repression attacked again, causing two deaths and many wounded. That event is the latest in a series of atrocities committed since the coup d'etat of February 29, 2004 again the Haitian people who continue to demand a return to constitutional order. Despite the blatant violations of the basic rights of the Haitian people, they continue to demonstrate against the coup d'etat of February 29, 2004, to demand the return of their democratically elected President, and to ask for respect of their vote and the enjoyment of their rights.

On the occasion of the 18th anniversary of the 1987 Constitution, more than ever, these extracts from the 1987 greetings of President Jean Bertrand Aristide to the Haitian people are relevant today:

[rough translation] "All Haitians who are in prison or underground or in exile have to be able to return to their homes as the Constitution requires. The Constitution gives all the citizens the right to free expression, to demonstrate peacefully for peace. Mobilization and deliverance go hand in hand."

In Haiti, the return to peace must necessarily involve a constitutional solution, a first and essential condition to install confidence and enable the holding of credible, honest and democratic elections.

Dr. Maryse Narcisse
Spokesperson for President Jean Bertrand Aristide.