CONCERNED BY RECENT EVENTS IN HAITI
Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) is deeply concerned by the
events in Haiti over the last few days.
to various sources, the demonstrations in Cap-Ha´tien from November 16 to
18, 2002, occurred without violence, in the presence of the police. However,
during the student demonstrations of November 20, 2002, in Petit GoÔve, the
police opened fire on the demonstrators and wounded several people.
barricades were set up in Port-au-Prince on November 22, bringing the city
to a standstill. The IACHR deplores that these latter events took place
without an adequate police presence.
addition, since November 21, several journalists have been subject to
threats and acts of aggression. According to information received by the
Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and the office of the Special
Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression, some journalists are still living under
cover because of these threats.
Commission notes that these events as a whole indicate the intensity of the
political situation in Haiti, the fragility of the rule of law, and the risk
of violation of the rights guaranteed by inter-American human rights
just as it did following its on-site visits last May and August, the IACHR
reiterates the importance of training police and of increasing their numbers
and their presence to ensure public safety. Once again it underscores the
need for dialogue among the various sectors of Haitian society for the
purpose of strengthening democracy in Haiti. Lastly, the Inter-American
Commission on Human Rights reminds the Haitian Government of the importance
of ensuring freedom of expression and is concerned by the threats and acts
of aggression confronting certain journalists. The IACHR considers that
there can be no guarantee of the rights envisaged in the inter-American
human rights instruments unless the safety of the population and the free
exercise of the rights essential to democracy are ensured, as provided by
the Inter-American Democratic Charter.
Inter-American Commission on Human Rights will continue to monitor the
situation closely and will soon make a third visit to Haiti.
Washington, November 27, 2002