Member of US Congress part of
high-level delegation to visit Haiti
March 07, 2005
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Member of US Congress part of high-level delegation to visit Haiti out of concern for Prime Minister Neptune, Minister Privert and Other Political Prisoners, Some in Advanced Stage of Hunger Strike

On the heels of the one year anniversary since the removal of elected President Jean Bertrand Aristide as well as to mark March 8 International Women's Day, , on Monday, March 7, 2005, a high level delegation, including US Congresswoman Maxine Waters, a medical team, a representative of the Global Women's Strike, and Haitian-American activists will travel to Haiti. They will investigate the condition of Prime Minister Yvon Neptune and Minister of Interior Jocelerme Privert, who have both been held in prison by the un-elected government of Gerard-Latortue. Both men have been on a hunger strike, protesting their prolonged detention in the National Penitentiary in Port-au-Prince as well as the human rights crisis in Haiti. The delegation has expressed concern about the human rights abuses in Haiti since the removal of the elected President .

Additionally, the delegation will visit Annette Auguste, a folk-singer and activist, who has been held in detention for the past several months.

The delegation is requesting that immediate action be taken to remove Prime Minister Neptune and Minister Privert from prison to a hospital where they can get urgent medical care. They will also look into why the two, along with Annette Auguste and other political prisoners have been held for so long,, Delegation members are concerned about reports that point to a systematic effort to attack supporters of Lavalas, the movement and party of President Aristide. In recent days even representatives of UN peacekeeping forces have spoken out about the questionable role of the Haitian police in political attacks. In her statement to mark the anniversary of the coup Congresswoman Waters said: "Today, a year later, Haiti is in total chaos. Widespread violence and a lack of an orderly society has led to pain and despair for the Haitian people. The people of Haiti have suffered tremendously over the past year. It is time for the United States to help clean up the mess in Haiti it helped to create. Congresswomen Waters, Barbara Lee and others are organizing for a letter of protest signed by other members of Congress to be sent to President Bush, US Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice and others.

Actor and activist Danny Glover, who expressed regrets in not being able to participate in the delegation due to earlier commitments had this to say "We whose positions give us voice and/or authority in society have a greater obligation than most. What is happening in Haiti is unbearable, first of all for the poor in Haiti, and not only for those of us who are African in ancestry throughout the world, but for those of us who know that if they come for Haitians in the morning, they'll come for the rest of us at night. I join Congresswoman Maxine Waters in calling for accountability from the Bush administration to protect and free Prime Minister Neptune, former Minister Privert, singer So Anne and others wrongfully imprisoned".

Margaret Prescod, representing the Global Women's Strike says that on March 8th their network will take actions in 60 countries around the world on every continent to call on governments to attack the twin terrors of poverty and war and to invest in caring not killing. The Barbados born Prescod, said women in their network in the Caribbean , along with the Barbados based Clement Payne Society and other community based organizations on other islands have helped to coordinate efforts in the Caribbean region to oppose the coup and occupation of Haiti and that their global network are demanding action against the rape and violence against women and girls as part of the intimidation of poor communities in Haiti Prescod is also with the Pacifica Radio network in the US.

The delegation will hold a press conference at the Aristide Foundation for Democracy at 1 pm on Monday March 7 to report on their visit. Delegation members in addition to Congresswoman Waters include: Dr. Serge Louis, Dr. Jean Paul Bonnet, attorneys Ira Kurzban, Marguerite Laurent, Picard Lozier, Activist Lucie Tondreau.

Press Release Date: March 7, 2005
Contact: Jean Yvon Kernizan

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