Commission on Human Rights
The Executive Secretary of the Inter-American Commission on
Human Rights (IACHR), Dr. Santiago A Canton, strongly condemned the
widespread violence in Haiti resulting from an armed attack on the
National Palace in Port-au-Prince on December 17, 2001, in which five
people died and several others were wounded.
According to various sources, since that event numerous
persons, members of opposition parties, journalists, and radio and
television stations have been the targets of violence.
Executive Secretary of the IACHR emphasized "the need to restore
a climate of democracy in Haiti and the importance of the rule of
law.” The challenges of democracy-building make it imperative that
all sectors of society be able to participate in strengthening
democracy without risking reprisal.
The Executive Secretary reaffirms his rejection of any action
that would threaten the welfare of persons. “Democracy
must be built in a climate of tolerance, with all sectors of society
participating,” said Dr. Canton.
Executive Secretary of the IACHR also urges the Haitian state to take
the necessary measures to protect individuals and to open an
investigation of the events described, with a view to bringing to
justice and punishing those responsible for these actions, with due
guarantees and within a reasonable period of time, in proceedings
before an independent, impartial judge or court having appropriate
jurisdiction and previously established by law, who or which will
decide on the merits of any criminal accusation. The American Convention on Human Rights, to which the Haitian
state is a party, stresses the obligation of states to guard against,
duly investigate, and punish all violations of human rights recognized
in the Convention. The
states have the obligation to guard against such acts, to punish those
responsible after an appropriate investigation, and to ensure that
victims are properly redressed.
IACHR is an autonomous body of the Organization of American States
(OAS), charged with the promotion and protection of human rights in
the American Hemisphere. The
seven members of the Commission are elected in their individual
capacity by the General Assembly of the OAS and serve for four years.
The Commission’s authority is derived primarily from the American
Convention on Human Rights and the OAS Charter, instruments which have
been ratified by the Republic of Haiti.
D.C., December 19, 2001