Haiti : human rights held ransom / Amnesty International


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Haiti : human rights held ransom / Amnesty International
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N.Y. : Amnesty International, 1992


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Human Rights
Held Ransom

August 1992
AI Index: AMR 36/41/92

322 Eighth Ave. NewYork,N.Y.

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[EMBARGOED FOR 26 August 1992] /

amnesty international


Human Rights Held to Ransom


An Amnesty International delegation visited Haiti between 20 March and 3 April. There
the delegation obtained evidence that extrajudicial etcutions, severe ill-treatment
amounting to torture, and arbitrary and illegal arrests continue unabated since the 30
September 1991 coup. The delegation also found evidence of widespread extortion of
money from civilians by the Haitian security, forces and others apparently working in
connivance with them. People are forced to hand over money to prevent arrest or torture
and other ill-treatment, to secure improved.prison conditions, or simply to obtain release
from prison.

Lawlessness pervades. Human rights abuse is part of most Haitians' daily life. The
security forces and the thousands of civilians acting in collusion with them carry out a
wide range of abuses with total impunity. The old repressive structures, which the
deposed government had partly succeeded in dismantling, are back in place. The civilian
authorities are totally unwilling or powerless to stop these abuses, while the military,
which is practically the sole authority in many areas of the country, is clearly
spearheading the repression. In only one case of human rights violations have those
responsible known to have been arrested, despite the fact that in many instances the
victim or witnesses have been able to identify the perpetrators. Rampant corruption of
the judicial system and its connivance with the executive and the military makes it
impossible for the population to seek reparation before the courts. The ordinary citizen
is left with no recourse but simple denunciation to local or international human rights
organizations, and no other protection than hiding or paying ransom money.

Since the delegation's return, and particularly since mid-May, Amnesty
International has been receiving increasing reports of human rights violations, following
popular unrest and increased demonstrations against the government. Numerous instances
of arrest, ill-treatment and extrajudicial executions have been reported. A new Prime

Minister, Marc Bazin, was sworn in on 19 June. Several days before he took office, he
had pledged before the Haitian Senate to "stop repression and restore freedom of the
press. However, repression continues, and the opportunity to seek asylum abroad has
been thwarted by the actions of the US authorities, where most of the asylum seekers
have tried to flee, but also by the negative response of other countries, such as France.
Haitians still live in a permanent state of fear, while their oppressors are free to kill,
torture and terrorize with impunity, and continue to make money out of their repression.


This report summarizes a 41-page document (14,042 words), Haiti: Human Rights Held
to Ransom (AI Index: AMR 36/41/92), issued by Amnesty International in 26 august
1992. Anyone wanting further details or to take action on this issue should consult the
full document.


Introduction .

Amnesty International's concerns . .

Arbitrary and illegal arrests . .

Torture and ill-treatment .......

Making a business out of repression
arrest or ill-treatment .........

Continuing harassment . .

Extrajudicial executions . .

"Disappearances" . . .

Prison conditions . . .

The internally displaced . .

The situation of refugees and those f(

The Haitian authorities' response .

- Extortion

as an
.. .

.rcby returned.

forcibly returned

.........alternative.... to.

alternative to

. .. 13

. 17

. 19

. 20

. 22

... 24

. 26

. 34

Recent develop ents .....................................

Arbitrary or illegal arrests and ill-treatment . . . . .

Extrajudicial execution ...............................

Conclusions . ..........................................

. . . . . . . . 1

. . . .



Human Rights Held to Ransom


In January 1992 Amnesty International published The Human Rights Tragedy Human
rights violations since the coup (AI Index AMR 36/03/92). The report detailed the
human rights situation in Haiti in the aftermath of the violent military coup on 30
September 1991, which overthrew the democratically-elected President, Jean-Bertrand
Aristide. Since the report's publication, Amnesty International has continued to receive
information of gross human rights violations, including serious extrajudicial executions,
severe ill-treatment amounting to torture, and arbitrary and illegal arrests. Between 20
March and 3 April an Amnesty International delegation visited Haiti. The delegates
found extensive evidence that such grave human rights violations, far from having
stopped, have been a continuing feature since the coup in September 1991.

The delegation also obtained evidence of widespread extortion of money from
civilians by the Haitian security forces and others apparently working in connivance with
them. People are forced to hand over money to prevent arrest or torture and other ill-
treatment, to secure improved prison conditions, or simply to obtain release from prison.
Those targeted for human rights violations have included members and leaders of
popular organizations, peasants, trade unionists, students, journalists, members of the
Catholic church, and virtually anyone suspected of supporting the return of deposed
President Aristide. There is, also extensive evidence that the security forces have also
committed widespread human rights violations against the civilian population for no
apparent political reason.

Amnesty International's delegation met victims of human rights abuses or their
relatives whose cases the organization had already highlighted. It also met people
internally displaced by the repression, members of human rights organizations and the
press, members of the clergy and religious groups, and lawyers. The delegation had
meetings with military officers and with former de facto Prime Minister Jean-Jacques

Since the delegation's return, human rights violations have continued. Political
violence increased in late May as students staged demonstrations and protests against the
de facto government. As a result, indiscriminate, arbitrary and widespread repression
once again increased. Many Haitians were plunged into despair as their hope for a return
to constitutional order faded. Urban insecurity, which had dramatically decreased during
President Aristide's administration, has risen to levels comparable to those before
February 1991. As in the past, there have been allegations that many of the violent acts

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2 Haiti: Human Rights Held to Ransom

committed by armed men in civilian clothes, popularly called zenglendos, were
perpetrated by members of the security forces or with their complicity. A trade embargo
and the widespread extortion of money from much of the population have thrown even
greater numbers into desperate poverty. Unabated repression compounded by these
factors led to a mass exodus of Haitians from their country. Some have fled to the
Dominican Republic, where in several instances they have reportedly been arrested or
intimidated. Others have escaped by sea in makeshift vessels, preferring to risk the
perilous voyage to the Florida peninsula in the US rather than face brutal repression in

One of the numerous military road blocks in operation in Haiti. Thorough
searches of vehicles and passengers are frequent.

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Haiti: Human Rights Held to Ransom 3

Amnesty International's concerns

In the aftermath of the September 1991 coup, Amnesty International's main concerns in
Haiti were extrajudicial executions, arbitrary and illegal arrests, torture and ill-treatment.
The victims were persons supporting or suspected of supporting deposed President
Aristide. During the organization's visit in March and April 1992, the delegation found
that although reports of extrajudicial executions had decreased, instances of illegal or
arbitrary arrests, nearly always accompanied by torture or other ill-treatment, continued
unabated. Repression in the countryside was compounded by the reinstatement of the
infamous chefs de section, or rural police chiefs. Many of these had been dismissed
under the Aristide government, and subsequently returned to their villages with a
vengeance, each accompanied by dozens of their notorious adjoints (assistants). Meetings
of popular and religious organizations continue to be forbidden by the authorities. Many
members of such groups have gone into hiding, fearing persecution. The general state
of fear is fed by the nightly shooting in certain areas in Port-au-Prince. In many
occasions, the military their civilian cronies have "entered" a particular area, going into
houses and reportedly ill-treating the residents, and sometimes stealing their belongings.

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4 Haiti: Human Rights Held to Ransom

Arbitrary and illegal arrests

Since October 1991 Amnesty International has received hundreds of reports of arbitrary
or illegal arrests. Most of these were carried out without a warrant, or outside the hours
prescribed by the Constitution for arrests of people not caught in flagrante delicto. In
many cases, the detainees were held without being brought to the judicial authorities for
more than 48 hours the limit provided by the Constitution. The following two cases
highlight the way arrests are being carried out in Haiti.
An Amnesty International delegate interviewed a member of Leve Kempe (Resist),
a popular organization. According to his
testimony, he was arrested on 27 February 1992 in Savanne Pistache, near Port-au-
Prince, shortly after a meeting at his home with other members of Leve Kempe.

Marks and scars could be seen on the back and wrists of this member of Leve Kempe some three
weeks after he was severely beaten.

A civilian known to have worked with the police accompanied by men he
described as Tontons macoutes (Bogeymen, the name given to the notorious Duvalierist
civilian militia) approached him. The man accused him of "waiting for Aristide to come

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Haiti: Human Rights Held to Ransom 5

back and burn people", and went to look for a sergeant from the Service d'investigation
et de recherches anti-gang, Anti-gang Investigation Service. He was then arrested and
taken to the police post in March6 Salomon, where he was severely beaten, and held for
the night. The next day he was taken to the Anti-gang Investigation Service with nine
other people. All were taken in turn to appear before a lieutenant. While the interviewed
detainee was talking to the lieutenant a civilian was standing behind him saying: "When
is your daddy coming back?" (meaning deposed President Aristide). The detainee's ears
were beaten by means of the calotte marassa (twin slap), a simultaneous slap on both
ears, usually given by someone standing from behind, that causes great pain and usually
causes infections in the ears. Other parts of his body were also beaten with sticks and
rifle butts, including his head, hips, chest. buttocks, wrists, and back. At one point his
torturers lit a match and put it near his beard, saying "We'll get rid of it all!".

Later that day, at 11pm, a truck took him to the National Penitentiary with the
nine others. They were accused of being "those who were going to spoil the carnival"
(meaning the yearly carnival celebrations). They were forced to remain barefoot on very
rough ground throughout their detention, which lasted until 4 March. That day, his
name, the names of the other nine and four others were called. They were told that they
could go home to wait for "Daddy" to come back as the carnival was over. They were
given back their shoes and they left. When the former detainee was interviewed by
Amnesty International, some 20 days after his release, he was visibly in severe pain and
had difficulty breathing. He said he could only sleep on his back because of the pain.
After he was released he, his wife and their two small children moved homes to a poorer
district in Port-au-Prince.

Harry Nicolas, a 25-year-old plumber, is an active member of several popular
organizations, including the local literacy movement and neighbourhood committee. He
was arrested on 29 March 1992 in Cap Haitien, North-East Department, at around 2pm,
a day before Amnesty International's delegation arrived in the area. A Justice of the
Peace reportedly accompanied by four soldiers came to his home and asked to search the
house. They apparently presented no written warrant, as stipulated in the Haitian
Constitution. They reportedly did not find any incriminating material in the house, but
arrested Harry Nicolas anyway. He was taken to the prison of Cap Haitien.

Harry Nicolas had only returned to Cap Ha'itien days earlier, having spent
approximately six months in hiding following the September 1991 coup. He had
participated in a reportedly peaceful demonstration in support of the Haitian Constitution
earlier that day. He was released about one month later, apparently uncharged. He
subsequently went into hiding and requested asylum at the US embassy. His request was

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6 Haiti: Human Rights Held to Ransom

On 21 March 1992 Dully Oxeva and lDrose Eranor, two peasant activists from
the area of Thomonde, Centre Department, were arrested by members of the Haitian
Armed Forces in Mirebalais, where they had been in hiding. Shortly after the coup of
September 1991, Derose Eranor fled Thomonde after soldiers reportedly burned down
his silo and looted his house. Both he and Dully Oxeva are members of the Mouvement
Paysan de Papaye (MPP), Papaye Peasant Movement. The MPP has been targeted in
the past for human rights violations by the security forces and has been severely hit by
the new authorities. The offices of the MPP were ransacked by the Haitian military
after the coup and several of its members have been arrested and ill-treated since. After
Dully Ox6va and Ddrose Eranor were arrested, they were severely beaten and then held
at the military barracks at Mirebalais. According to testimony given in the area to
Amnesty International delegates, their families were asked for $50 (US$31) for their
release. The two men were reportedly released on 23 April but immediately rearrested
and then freed again shortly afterwards. Dully Ox6va and Ddrose Eranor are said to be
suffering from poor health as a result of the beatings they received.

Amnesty International's delegation interviewed several other victims of arbitrary
or illegal arrest. Through its conversations with human rights organizations, lawyers,
journalists and religious workers, it learned of scores of other cases of such human
rights violations. Among these were:

a peasant who was arrested in December 1991 without a warrant together with
his son and nephew in Limb6, North Department. All were severely beaten. He reported
that his house had been pillaged by the local chef de section. He has now left the area
with his family.

Patrick Destin was arrested without a warrant in Pont-Sond6, Artibonite
Department, on 23 February 1992. He was reported to have been severely beaten by a
soldier in civilian clothes and a chef de section.

Franck Louis, who was arrested without a warrant on 10 March 1992 in Thiote,
South-West Department, was severely beaten and detained for three days. He was
reportedly made to pay for the medical treatment he was given in prison.

Elveus Elissaint and Dorzius Benniss6, two catechists (lay religious workers),
and Piersaint Piersius, a protestant leader, were all arrested without a warrant on 17
March 1992 allegedly because they had attended two meetings with Father Gilles
Danroc, the parish priest of Verrettes. The three were beaten severely, and it was
reported that the chef de section who arrested them broke his rifle on the back of Elv6us

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Haiti: Human Rights Held to Ransom 7

Torture and ill-treatment

Since October 1991 Amnesty International has received hundreds of reports of torture
and ill-treatment of civilians by the military, chefs de section and civilians working with
them. Severe beatings are practically automatic when an arrest takes place, and are daily
occurrences in detention centres. Beatings have also been reported in the open streets,
either during demonstrations or when the security forces enter a particular
neighbourhood. While in Haiti, Amnesty International.delegates interviewed victims of
torture and ill-treatment, their relatives or doctors who treated torture victims.

Roosevelt Charles was arrested on 13 February 1992. A coordinator of the Parti
National Progressiste Revolutionnaire Haltien (PANPRA) National Progressive
Revolutionary Party of Haiti, for the Limb6 area in the North Department, he was well
known as a political activist, and was labelled as a "communist" by the local military
authorities. Although versions differ as to why he was arrested, all agree that it was the
result of a dispute between him and another individual who then had him arrested. Upon
arrest, Roosevelt Charles tried to run away but the soldiers attacked him with stones, and
then severely beat him. He later told his family that he was beaten every day during his
detention. Before his release eight days later, he was reportedly given 250 blows with
a stick. After ten blows, he fell, and the man who was beating him said: "Now, I have
to start all over again" ("Maintenant, je suis oblige de recommencer"). Roosevelt
Charles was hospitalized for approximately a month following his release. According to
the information gathered by the delegates, he had such a serious infection owing to the
beatings on his buttocks that he could have died had he not been treated. He also had
severe anaemia. After two weeks in hospital, with daily cleaning and dressing of the
wounds, he began to heal. However, he had to be flown to the US for a skin graft. His
family have now left the Limb6 area and are in hiding, in fear for their lives.

Torture and ill-treatment is not confined to those arrested and detained. The
organization talked to a young teacher in the Centre department who is member of the
Front National pour le Changement et la Democratie, (FNCD), National Front for
Change and Democracy, the party coalition that supported President Aristide's
candidacy. The teacher told Amnesty International that on 21 March, at about 9.45am,
a group of soldiers from the local barracks, grabbed him and a student friend as they
were on their way to school. They were beaten with sticks on their shoulders and
buttocks and told to clean some outside walls where pro-Aristide graffiti had been
written. They were however not accused of having written the graffiti. Many others were
arrested and ill-treated in the area.

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8 Haiti: Human Rights Held to Ransom

Amnesty Inter-
national's delegates also met
victims of torture or ill-
treatment who had been
featured in its January
report. They gave extensive
details of their suffering.
Among them were
Raymond Toussaint, a
member of the Congr&s
National des Mouvements
(KONAKOM), National
Congress of Democratic
S\ Movements, arrested
S, without a warrant on 24
October 1991, severely ill-
treated and released on 19
November; Dieuleme Jean-
Baptiste, arrested without a
The Djak is a widely used form of ill-treatment in Haiti. A baton warrant on 6 January, badly
is wedged under the knees and over the arms of a prisoner, who is ll-treated and released two
then repeatedly beaten in different parts of the body. ill-treated and released two
days later; and some of the
students arrested and ill-
treated during a peaceful student gathering in November 1991.

The delegation also met with other victims about whom Amnesty International had
had no previous knowledge. One of these was a woman in her twenties who worked with
the hard of hearing at an institute in Port-au-Prince. She was arrested on the morning
of 3 December 1991 at her mother's home in Marchand Dessalines, Artibonite
Department. Her case is representative of the climate of lawlessness and impunity with
which the security forces and the civilians acting with them operate.

According to her testimony, she was arrested because she stopped someone cutting
down a tree in the yard of her mother's house. The person apparently went to see a
soldier, who arrived at her house with two civilians, including the man who had tried
to cut down the tree. The soldier told her that the commander wanted to see her, but she
refused to go without a warrant. She was then beaten on her arms and back with fists
and open hands. As she arrived at the local barracks, the commander asked who she was
and where she was coming from. "She's a lavalassienne" (a member of Lavalas, the

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Haiti: Human Rights Held to Ransom 9

political movement that supported deposed President Aristide's candidacy), said the
soldier. "Beat her", said the commander.

She told Amnesty International:

"I was astonished, I didn't think they were going to beat me. I was
really scared. I was pushed into a small yard. There were three soldiers. I
was beaten with a rigoise (a kind of leather lash) on my face, on my head.
The rigoise cut my back... When they were beating me I tried to stop the
blows, and they broke my arm... So, they beat me with a rigoise and with
a big wooden stick and another soldier beat me with his hands. When they
were tired they left and then another came, and the one who arrested me
came with his rigoise and beat me a lot. Then they left me, and after quite
a while they shut me up in my cell. I was hurting a lot on the arm, on the
leg, on the hips, the skin on my back was really torn. This arm hurt so
much and even now it is not good. I had a lot of wounds, you see? (she
showed a delegate dark marks on the arms and the legs). I also had
contusions because of the stick. The soldiers were in front... and they were
making fun of me... Then a man came and told them that I have two sisters
who were angry because of what happened to me. The commander said they
should be arrested too... They arrived in my home, but my sisters and my
cousin had fled. They searched the house and they tried to arrest other
young women who had gone to see my mother, but they were told that they
weren't my sisters and they were released. They returned to the barracks.

After a while my father arrived. He came to the commander and said
that in his absence one of his daughters had been arrested... 'They almost
beat him... After one or two hours they sent me to the tribunal. They had
torn my dress; they made me walk with my dress all torn. When I arrived
at the tribunal, they accused me of beating a soldier and disturbing public
order... They did not say that it was a campaign of deforestation that was
proposed... They threw other accusations at me. Then I gave my statement
to the court and then they took me back to the barracks, but the judge had
ordered that I was to be taken to hospital. The commander did not agree,
I stood there all day. At about 6pm they decided to send me to hospital,
because many people from the district had come to ask the commander that
I be sent there".

The young woman stayed overnight at the hospital only after the intervention of
her doctors, who were threatened by soldiers. But she was returned to the barracks early
the next morning, where she was locked up again. That evening, the commander called

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10 Haiti: Human Rights Held to Ransom

her, asked her if she worked and how much money she earned. He told her she would
be released if she admitted to having beaten a soldier, but she refused. She said
"Commander, I have already received a lot of blows, if you want to send me to Saint-
Marc (the prison in Saint-Marc), you can send me to Saint-Marc". She was sent there
the next day. She was first taken to the barracks in Saint-Marc, where soldiers refused
to see her medical certificates explaining she was ill and insulted her. She was then taken
to Saint-Marc prison, where she was asked for 70 gourdes'(about US$10) to save her
from further beatings. A cousin who was there gave the soldiers the money. The next
day, she was to appear before the local attorney, but the soldier who had accused her
did not turn up. The same thing happened two days later. She was finally released on
10 December with a summons to court for 23 December, which she had to delay
because of a doctor's appointment. On the second summons, the soldier did not appear.
Nor did he appear on four other occasions. When she was interviewed by Amnesty
International, her arm was still in a plaster, and, according to the latest reports received,
it had not healed by the end of April.

Amnesty International's delegates also met victims of ill-treatment that occurred
during military and police incursions into several neighborhoods. According to their
testimony, in the area of Bizoton 53 in Port-au-Prince, a group of about 50 military
personnel from the nearby naval base and policemen from the Lamentin 54 police station
entered the neighbourhood in the evening, on 31 December and on the first days of
January. Several victims described how the military either beat the people in the street
or in their houses. In one instance, two children, aged nine and seven, were beaten.
Several women were also reportedly beaten severely on the back, chest, stomach and
waist with rifle butts and sticks, and given the calotte marassa. All the victims
interviewed were, in late March 1992, still suffering from the physical effects of the
beatings they received. Most had abandoned their houses. Similar incidents have been
reported frequently.

Street children were not spared the ill-treatment of the Port-au-Prince police. One
of Amnesty International's delegates interviewed a group of street children during the
visit. According to their testimony, the Port-au-Prince police go to the places where the
children sleep at night, usually around the city's cemetery, and beat them so that they
move to a less conspicuous place. One of the children alleged that in the days
immediately following the coup, several street children were arrested by policemen
belonging to the 4th Police Company, known as "Cafdtria", and were made to clean
the police station. Testimony given by inmates at the National Penitentiary indicated that
children were being held there and beaten. The Amnesty International delegation was not

The gourde is the Haitian currency. Five gourdes are commonly referred to as "one dollar". One
Haitian dollar is roughly equivalent to US$0.70. Seventy gourdes is equivalent to 14 "Haitian dollars".

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Haiti: Human Rights Held to Ransom 11

able to visit freely the National Penitentiary, but it did identify at least two children, one
of them with his head shaven, among a group of prisoners sitting in the main courtyard.
This is is contrary to Article 8(d) of the UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment
of Prisoners, which states that "Young prisoners shall be kept separate from adults". The
UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, which Haiti signed in 1990 but has not yet
ratified, states, in its Article 37(c), that "Every child deprived of liberty shall be treated
with humanity and respect for the inherent dignity of the human person, and in a manner
which takes into account the needs of persons of his or her age. In particular, every
child deprived of liberty shall be separated from adults unless it is considered in the
child's best interest not to do so...". The delegation was however, not allowed to discuss
the situation of detained children with prison officials. Earlier, the delegates had raised
the issue of street children who had been ill-treated and the harsh prison conditions for
children at the National Penitentiary with de facto Prime Minister Jean-Jacques Honorat.
"Street children are drug pushers" ("Les enfants des rues sont des passeurs de drogue")
was his reply.

Street children at a day centre in Port-au-Prince. Those raising their hands said they had been
beaten by the police.

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12 Haiti: Human Rights Held to Ransom

Deaths as a result of ill-treatment

Among the victims was Jean-Luc Antoine, the father of two small children, who was
reportedly beaten to death in early March 1992 by the military in Bainet, South West
Department, after he was arrested by a corporal, for walking in the streets while drunk.
Also in March, Woodly Gerard Jacques, a Haitian citizen resident in the US, died
reportedly as a result of ill-treatment in the military barracks of Arcahaie. His body
allegedly had a broken finger, cuts and bruises on the face, and signs of blows on the
abdomen. His left ear was partly mutilated, apparently from burns, and one of his
buttocks showed a large wound surrounded by severe bruising.

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Haiti: Human Rights Held to Ransom 13

Making a business out of repression Extortion as an alternative to arrest
or ill-treatment

An increasingly common form of repression has been the extraction of money by
members of the security forces, particularly in the countryside, to avoid arrest or ill-
treatment, or to secure better prison conditions or release from detention. This has
happened in political and non-political cases alike. One effect of extortion is that the
victims have been forced to sell their possessions livestock, crops, grains, leaving
them totally impoverished. Amnesty International's delegates also gathered information
about "protection money" being paid to militia groups called "syndicats" in the Central
Plateau, apparently with the connivance of the local military. In other cases, particularly
in the 7th communal section of Limb6, North Department, peasants who were arrested
reported that their houses had been looted by the local chef de section and civilians
working with him.

An expensive case of extortion was that of Aldajuste Pierre, president of the
Kosmika cooperative, formed by the MPP. Aldajuste Pierre, who lived in Los Palis, near
Hinche in the Centre Department, was arrested by soldiers on 16 October 1991. He was
severely beaten, causing him to urinate blood. He was subsequently transferred to the
military hospital in Hinche.

He was later sent back to prison and routinely beaten. He was finally released on
14 February, after his family agreed to pay $1,800 (about US$1,100), which they
reportedly raised from relatives and friends and from the sale of most of their
possessions. However, it was reported to Amnesty International that when the local
commander of the tactic unit, who was away at the time, learned of Aldajuste Pierre's
release, he immediately attempted to rearrest him. Aldajuste Pierre -fled his home and
had not returned home by early April.

After his release from prison, Aldajuste Pierre had to be treated at a local
dispensary for his injuries, including his ears which were severely infected, and several
skin ulcers. He told a foreign aid worker that he had received at least 375 blows in one
session. "After that, he could not count", the foreign worker told Amnesty
International's delegation.

In the same area, Amnesty International's delegates interviewed another member
of the MPP. He had been in hiding since the coup and had only recently started going
back to his field, although he did not sleep at home. The man also spoke of the extortion
of money from peasants practised by the local authorities in the area.

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14 Haiti. Human Rights Held to Ransom

"In some areas, it is terrible, because they are asking for money, money,
money. And today, one sergeant, the other day an adjoint, the other day the
chef de section, and people have paid $200, which is equivalent to a year's
work. Even here in Los Palis they are paying. There is a little factory of
cassava, and at the factory they have paid also. Everywhere you must pay...
They always have a pretext, for example of belonging to MPP... There are
some macoutes who are asking for money, but they are saying that they
have been sent by the chef de section; but then there is a deal to split the

The MPP headquarters in Papaye had been attacked and ransacked by soldiers in
early October 1991. According to the testimonies received by the delegation, the soldiers
took the money of the peasants' saving cooperative, which amounted to tens of thousands
of dollars, as well as computers and other materials. "What they could not take they
destroyed", said a foreign religious worker, "including the printing press and the
electricity generator". Amnesty International delegates saw the destruction caused by the
military at the MPP headquarters. Torn papers from the MPP files and library were seen
on the ground outside and inside the buildings. Not even the doors and windows were
left. Many peasants lost their savings.

a nu rn.saze.au neauquarters ui tne wmuvemIent
by soldiers.

Al Index: AMR 36/41/92

lysan ae rapaye, several muntns alter mne muaac

Amnesty International August 1992

Haiti: Human Rights Held to Ransom 15

A peasant from Ravine Desroches, 7th Communal Section of Limbd, described
how his home was raided on 9 December 1991 by the local chef de section and about
45 civilians. They took most of his belongings and arrested him, his son and his nephew.
They were accused of being "communists", beaten severely and kept in detention for
several days. When the delegation saw him, the man was still suffering from the ill-
treatment he had received. Amnesty International has learned of other similar cases,

particularly from the same area.

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One of the several lists given to Amnesty International's delegates of people arrested and ill-
treated. The amounts paid to the authorities by them can be seen on the last column on the

Extortion was also reported in the prisons (see the section on prison conditions
below). The delegation was given many first-hand testimonies and reports of this
practice. It was also shown full lists, collected by local human rights workers in different
parts of the country, of people who had been arrested or ill-treated, or both, and how
much they had paid. In other cases, peasants reported that their homes had been burned

Amnesty International August 1992

- i I


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16 Haiti: Human Rights Held to Ransom

after they refused to pay a "tax" to the local authorities. In Petit-Trou de Borgne, for
example, over 120 houses were burned in late January. A foreign television crew trying
to do a report on the incident was arrested by the local chef de section and was only
saved from execution because of a dispute between the arresting chef de section and
another chef de section who claimed the crew was in his jurisdiction. According to local
human rights groups, many peasants refuse to say they have been victims of such
practices by the local authorities, or refuse to disclose the sum they paid, for fear of

Hinche Civil Court. Graffiti with slogans
against the Papaye Peasant Movement (MPP)
and the trade embargo can be read on the

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Haiti: Human Rights Held to Ransom 17

Continuing harassment

Journalists, priests, foreign workers, members and leaders of popular organizations all
continue to report threats, harassment or intimidation. In many cases, the authorities
have given orders forbidding them to meet or express themselves freely. In many of the
following examples. the victim's name has been withheld for their safety.

An "animatrice" (organizer) who works for a foreign non-governmental
organization (NGO) which supports a peasant movement and a women's group in the
south west of the country, told Amnesty International delegates that all activities in the
area were stopped after the coup, both because of persecution of popular organizations.
In November 1991 the chef de section, accompanied by soldiers, went to her house
reportedly to arrest her and another co-worker. They were not at home, and they fled
to Port-au-Prince, where they spent over two months. The two returned to their village
of origin in mid-January, only to receive a message from the chef de section, that
"Aristide will not be back. Organizers will not be able to work again" ("Aristide ne sera
pas de retour. Les animateurs ne pourront plus travailler'). By the time of Amnesty
International's visit, meetings had not resumed, most of the youth in the area were
hiding, and the local people were too scared to gather in groups.

Her story is consistent with what another "animatrice" working in the south east
told Amnesty International. In November, the military went to her house several times
looking for her. At other times she was confronted by soldiers who asked her if she had
organized meetings, to which she always replied that she had not. Later, she was told
by a member of the armed forces that her name was on a list of people considered to be
"communists". and she went into hiding in fear for her personal security. Several weeks
later, when she felt safer to do so, she returned to her home town, but she has not been
able to resume work.

Amnesty International's delegates interviewed many religious and popular
organizers in the countryside. Everywhere, the story was similar. Military road blocks
were in operation in virtually all towns and villages, and often involved thorough
searches of vehicles. Meetings were forbidden, and in the case of church groups, the
only meetings occasionally allowed were those preparing the liturgy for the following
day's mass. Priests reported being under close surveillance. In addition, several priests,
including foreign priests, reported that they had received death threats, and that the local
rectories had been "visited" by the military in an openly intimidatory fashion. In one
case in the Artibonite Department, a man was arrested for a brief period and interrogated
about his links with a local priest. Elv6us Elissaint, Dorzius Benniss6 and Piersaint
Piersius were arrested without a warrant and severely beaten on 17 March allegedly
because they had attended two meetings with the parish priest of Verrettes.

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18 Haiti: Human Rights Held to Ransom

Journalists have not escaped repression. Journalist Guy Delva, the Voice of
America correspondent in Port-au-Prince who has been outspoken on human rights
issues, was threatened several times. According to his testimony, armed men in plain
clothes, believed to be members of the security forces, went to the district of Delmas in
Port-au-Prince, where he lives, at the end of February 1992, and asked neighbours for
his address. The neighbours refused to say anything and the armed men left. The
following week, armed men again came to the Delmas district looking for Guy Delva,
and again neighbours refused to cooperate. Following this incident, Guy Delva
abandoned his home and has not slept there since. He told the delegation that since
December 1991 he had been receiving telephone calls saying that if he did not stop
broadcasting he would be "crushed". He believes the threats were linked to the reports
he was filing outside the country regarding the lack of press freedom and cases of human
rights violations in Haiti. These included the case of journalist Jean-Mario Paul (see
below) and the case of Jean-Claude Museau, a teacher who died as a result of ill-
treatment in January 1992 (see The Human Rights Tragedy, p. 7). In March 1992 Guy
Delva and several with foreign journalists attempted to visit Jean-Mario Paul in prison
in Petit-GoAve. They were refused admission by the sergeant in charge, who verbally
abused Guy Delva. Guy Delva was beaten by the Port-au-Prince police in late May,
when he was covering a student demonstration. Intimidation of members of the press
continues, and many radio stations have stopped broadcasting. Several were closed by
the military authorities, while others have preferred to stop broadcasting news, or to stop
broadcasting altogether, in fear for their security.

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Haiti: Human Rights Held to Ransom 19

Extrajudicial executions

Since January 1992 reports of extrajudicial executions have decreased. However the
Amnesty International delegation gathered information about several cases which suggest
that the practice still continues. They also heard of bodies being found in the streets.
However, given the rise in street crime, it was sometimes impossible to determine
whether those found dead were victims of extrajudicial execution or of the zenglendos.
In several cases, criminal violence appeared to be used to disguise politically motivated

Such was apparently the case with the death of Alberic Frederique, a small trader
and well-off peasant who was well known for standing up for the rights of the poorer
peasants. According to the information given to the delegation, Alb6ric Fr6ddrique was
shot by civilians in early March in Cazales, Artibonite Department. It was reported that
a deputy chef de section conveyed a message to him a few days before his death to say
that it was safe for him to return home. He did so, but two days later he was killed.
According to accounts, Alb6ric Fr6d6rique had heard the armed civilians coming and
tried to escape through the back door of his house. He was shot in the back as he was
running away. The local authorities reportedly said that he had been a victim of a
zenglendo commando, but local residents believe he was killed, either by or with the
connivance of the authorities because of his defence of poor peasants.

Astrel Charles, the congressional lower house representative for Pignon, North
Department, and member of the Parti agricole et industrial national, (PAIN), National
Agricultural and Industrial Party, was shot dead on 15 December 1991. On that day
Astrel Charles was apparently visiting relatives in Ranquitte. When the local population
learned that he was there, they looked for him to complain about abuses carried out by
the local chef de section, who had been dismissed by Astrel Charles but who resumed
his post after the coup. Astrel Charles apparently publicly reproached the chef de
section. Later, as he was walking home, two assistants (adjoints) to the chef de section
tried to arrest him. Astrel Charles reportedly explained that he had nothing against them,
and they fired their weapons in the air. The chef de section, who had been hiding behind
a tree, then appeared and shot him. Later, the chef de section's arrest was reported.

Extrajudicial executions increased sharply since Mid-May (see Recent
Developments, page 36).

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20 Haiti: Human Rights Held to Ransom


Amnesty International delegates obtained further details about cases of "disappearances"
which had been previously reported, as well as about new cases. In the most recent
cases, given the situation in the country, local human rights groups have found it
difficult to assess if those reported as "disappeared" were in fact people who had gone
into hiding without telling relatives after they had been arrested and released. However,
as time passed, the lack of news about the fate and whereabouts of those initially
reported as "disappeared" gave rise to concern. This was particularly the case of several
students who were arrested after a reportedly peaceful gathering at the Faculty of
Science building in Port-au-Prince on 12 November 1991, and of about 20 students from
Cap Haitien, who were reportedly arrested in January 1992 after they had reportedly
staged a demonstration against the director of their Lycee (college).

In other cases, however,
"disappearance" clearly followed arrest or
abduction. In early October 1991 Amnesty
S International had learned of the arrest and
subsequent "disappearance" of Jean-Robert
Jean-Baptiste, the 40-year-old Vice-dlegue
du government, government vice-delegate
for the South West Department, and an
FNCD member. During their visit to Haiti
-. the delegates talked to his family, who said
that Jean-Robert Jean-Baptiste "disappeared"
-- on 1 October 1991 after leaving his home in
Carrefour, Port-au-Prince. The family said
they had been given different accounts of his
"disappearance" by supposed witnesses. All
coincide, however, in saying that agents from
the 46th Police Company (46&me Compagnie
de Police) in the Lamentin area of Port-au-
Prince were responsible for his arrest. Some
reported that he was forced into a van at
S. gunpoint and taken away; others reported that
he was shot on the spot and that his body was
taken away. A former detainee held at the
Jean-Robert Jean Baptiste Lamentin police post, however, reported
seeing him detained there. The family told
the delegation that all their efforts to locate
him, including visits to the hospital, the morgue, and several police stations, had brought

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Haiti: Human Rights Held to Ransom 21

no results. The police consistently denied holding him. Jean-Robert Jean-Baptiste has
seven children, including three young boys of 11, nine and eight. In April, several days
after talking to Amnesty International's delegates, the home of Jean-Robert Jean-
Baptiste's wife was reportedly searched by four armed civilians. The family has
apparently gone into hiding.

Amnesty International delegates were also able obtain further information about
the "disappearance" of Fdlix Lamy, director of Radio Galaxie. He was abducted in
December 1991 by seven unidentified men who forcibly entered the radio station after
he broadcast a story about a possible rebellion within the armed forces. Again versions
differ concerning his fate. One indicated that at some stage he was brought to the 4th
Police Company in Port-au-Prince, known as Cafietria, in a delicate state of health and
died later; another version indicated he was already dead upon arrival. Yet another
version indicated that he had been killed at the police station in Portail Saint Joseph in
Port-au-Prince. It was impossible to verify these allegations, but the authorities have
made no effort to investigate his abduction and subsequent "disappearance".

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22 Haiti: Human Rights Held to Ransom

Prison conditions

Amnesty International has for years been concerned about prison conditions in Haiti.
Conditions at the National Penitentiary, Saint-Marc, Gonai'ves, Cap Haitien and other
detention centres have been described by former inmates as harsh. Beatings and other
ill-treatment have been frequently reported. Most inmates have suffered from
malnutrition and lack of medical treatment, and many have died as a result.

Amnesty International delegates requested a visit to the National Penitentiary
during their meeting with de facto Prime Minister Jean-Jacques Honorat. Prime Minister
Honorat replied that the delegation would be allowed to see all the prison facilities and
talk to inmates. The delegation agreed with him that they would go the next morning.
When the delegation arrived at the National Penitentiary, they were taken directly to see
the youths who had been imprisoned after they occupied the Canadian Embassy in
December 1991, prisoners about whom Amnesty International did not appear to have
concerns and whom the delegation had not specifically asked,to meet. Delegates were
not allowed to visit any other area of the prison or talk freely to inmates. Nor were they
allowed to discuss their concerns with the prison authorities, who stated that they had
only received orders to allow access to the prisoners initially shown. The delegation
refused to carry on with the visit on such terms. Similarly, attempts to obtain written
authorization to visit Jean-Mario Paul at the barracks prison in Petit-Goave were

In spite of the government's de facto refusal to grant access to detention centres,
Amnesty International's delegation did obtain information about prison conditions in
other detention centres around the country. Raymond Toussaint, who was arrested in
October and severely ill-treated, described the conditions he was subjected to at the
Saint-Marc prison. He was taken to Saint-Marc prison after a short time at Saint-Marc
military barracks, where he was insulted and severely beaten. At the prison, he avoided
further ill-treatment because he had been able to pay the money the prison authorities
usually ask for not beating prisoners upon arrival. He was then shut up in a cell that had
between 75 and 80 other people. The cell did not have any ventilation, and inmates were
obliged to relieve themselves there. The smell was unbearable. After about 35 minutes
he was taken outside. "Here you have to pay to be taken to another cell" ("Ici tu dois
payer pour etre transport dans une autre salle"), he was told by the "Chef de carre",
a long-term prisoner who is given privileges, including keeping some of the money
extracted from prisoners. Raymond Toussaint paid $15 to be transferred to a different,
better cell. The next day he was taken to the barracks for interrogation, where he was
again severely beaten. After this he was returned to his prison cell instead of being kept
at the barracks, as his father had been able to "negotiate" his return to prison for $100

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Haiti: Human Rights Held to Ransom 23

After two days, he developed a severe ear infection due to the ill-treatment he had
received. He asked to be taken to hospital, but was told that a written order by the local
district attorney was necessary. After five days in severe pain and fever, another inmate
advised him on a medicine he could buy, which his relatives were then able to obtain.
According to Raymond Toussaint, payment was needed for everything. His family
always had to pay to see him or help him. Inmates had to pay to go to the toilet, for
water or for anything else they needed. Raymond Toussaint was finally released on 19
November after paying $100 so that the soldier in charge would sign his release order.
In all, he estimated that his imprisonment cost his family about $1,500 (US$940).
Similar allegations confirming Raymond Toussaint's account were made by other former
inmates in Saint-Marc prison.

The delegation received information that prison conditions in other detention
centres continue to be extremely harsh, with lack of hygiene, severe ill-treatment and
official corruption.

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24 Haiti: Human Rights Held to Ransom

The internally displaced

Tens of thousands of Haitians are refugees in their own country. Many fleeing the
provinces arrived in Port-au-Prince, while Port-au-Prince residents fled to the provinces.
Many of these displaced persons had been active in politics, literacy movements or
popular organizations and had fled their homes in fear of reprisals immediately after the
coup 1991. Others fled after having their houses burned or ransacked, their crops
destroyed and their animals killed, after receiving threats, or after being "visited" by the
military. Yet others escaped after being victims of human rights violations.

In late January and early February, many displaced persons who had been living
in the open in the mountains with difficult access to food started to return to their places
of origin. Some of them were immediately targeted for human rights violations by the
military, such as Harry Nicolas, Dully Ox6va, D6rose Eranor and Alb6ric Fr6ddrique,
whose cases were described earlier. Some of them returned by day to work in the fields,
but preferred not to sleep in their homes. Others remained in hiding, as it was clear that
the authorities were still looking for them. Amnesty International cannot determine the
numbers of displaced people, but local human rights organizations have established that
at least 200,000 have left their homes since September 1991.

A Haitian journalist in Port-au-Prince described to Amnesty International how he
lived after he was obliged to leave his home town the south east:

"I live in hiding and I move all the time, never more than two or three
days in the same house... life is very hard here and I haven't got a job, I
cannot do my job as a journalist, that's my profession. So maybe ... I'll
return. I was told it's not safe because if you go back you'll be dead. To
eliminate people they have told lots of stories. They said that I have an arms
cache and that I always have with me a Colt, a Taurus (hand gun) in my
bag... Like this, they can justify their abuses... if they kill me they put a
Taurus in my bag, and people say 'See, everybody knew that he had a
Taurus in his bag'... I live thanks to my friends' solidarity. Before, I was
able to earn my living, I had no luxury, but I earned my living. Now,
maybe I'll return to the mountains or I will get into an embassy if this
doesn't change. In any case, I am not sure what I'm going to do, I follow
the evolution of the situation, what's going to come out of this, if the crisis
will last, if it lasts one month, two months, three months. If I am still

Many of the internally displaced have also expressed fear that they are under
surveillance after being followed to their places of hiding. A leader of a popular

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Haiti: Human Rights Held to Ransom 25

organization in the Artibonite Department reported that men from his area had arrived
on several occasions at the Port-au-Prince district where his brother lives, and asked the
neighbours whether they knew him, as they had "a message" for him. He had changed
houses several times, and was trying to leave the country when the Amnesty
International delegation talked to him.

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26 Haiti: Human Rights Held to Ransom

The situation of refugees and those forcibly returned

Since the September 1991 coup, tens of thousands of Haitians have fled their country
and many thousands of them have been forcibly returned to Haiti by the US authorities.
Many factors have combined to cause the mass exodus. First, there is the appalling
human rights situation. Then, there is the loss of hope that deposed President Aristide
would be returned to power or that a solution to the political crisis would be found.
There is the desperate economic situation, exacerbated by a trade embargo and the
extortion of money from people by the military rulers and their cronies. Several
thousand have crossed the border into the Dominican Republic, while others have taken
to sea in unseaworthy vessels, apparently hoping to reach US shores.

The US Government has responded to this exodus through a series of measures.
It has forcibly returned Haitian asylum-seekers after a cursory examination of their
asylum claims on board US Coast Guard vessels. It has granted others a more substantial
hearing at the US naval base at GuantAnamo Bay. But throughout the period of mass
exodus it has steadfastly refused to fully honour its international legal obligations to
protect refugees. Most recently, in an egregious violation of international law, the US
Government began to forcibly return all Haitian asylum-seekers without even a cursory
attempt to identify those who might be at risk of human rights violations in Haiti. This
action not only clearly threatens the safety of many Haitians who may well face serious
human rights violations upon return but, by treating international standards on the
treatment of refugees with such contempt, threatens /o undermine the carefully-crafted
international regime for the protection of those who flee such violations.

With regard to the situation of those who have fled to the Dominican Republic,
Amnesty International delegates were told that several people who had crossed the
border had been arrested by the Dominican security forces and forced to act as workers
in the bathyes (sugar cane fields). For instance, Prosper Th6rism6, a lawyer for the
MPP in his early 30s, fled to the Dominican Republic in January. He was captured by
the Dominican authorities and forced to work in the cane fields in the Los Cocos area.

Those who have fled by sea are covered by a bilateral agreement between the
governments of the US and Haiti, in force since September 1981. This agreement has
permitted the US authorities outside US territorial waters to intercept Haitians trying to
reach the USA and return them to Haiti. In the ten years between September 1981 and
September 1991, about 20,000 were intercepted under that agreement. Following the
September 1991 coup, in the eight months between October 1991 and the time of
finalizing this report in June 1992, almost double that number some 38,000 had been
intercepted by US Coast Guard ships.

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Haiti: Human Rights Held to Ransom 27

On 18 November the US State Department announced that only those who might
qualify for asylum would be allowed to proceed to the US to lodge an asylum claim; the
others, apart from those who had been granted temporary refuge by other countries in
the region, would be returned to Haiti. The statement added that the US Government did
not believe the asylum-seekers sent back to Haiti would face persecution there. On 18
and 19 November the US authorities forcibly returned over 500 asylum-seekers to Haiti.
Between then and the end of January 1992 a series of court rulings prevented the US
Government from forcibly returning any more Haitian asylum-seekers who had been
intercepted at sea. On 31 January 1992 however, the US Supreme Court issued a ruling
which allowed such asylum-seekers to be forcibly returned to Haiti.

From early December 1991 until late May 1992, Haitians intercepted at sea were
taken to a camp at the US naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where they were
interviewed by US Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) officials to determine
whether they had a "plausible claim" for asylum. Of the some 38,000 intercepted since
October 1991, some 11,000 have reportedly been assessed as having a "plausible claim".
Most of them have been allowed to proceed to the US to pursue their asylum claims,
except those found to be HIV positive, who are not allowed entry into the United States
and will, apparently, have to pursue their asylum claims from Guantanamo. More than
27,000 have been returned to Haiti. Some 12,000 of these had been intercepted during

Refugee camp at the US Naval Station in Guantdnamo Bay, Cuba. December 1991
c Popperfoto

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28 Haiti: Human Rights Held to Ransom

Article 33 of the UN Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, which is
binding on the USA, prohibits refoulement -- the forcible return of any person to a
country where they risk serious human rights violations. In order to ensure that such
people are properly identified and given effective protection from forcible return, it is
essential that the US Government grants all asylum-seekers access to a full and fair
procedure for determining the merits of their asylum claims. Asylum-seekers who were
taken to Guantanamo were "screened" to ascertain whether they were likely to have a
claim for asylum and so might be allowed to proceed to the USA to lodge their asylum
claim. Amnesty International recognizes that under the procedures followed at
Guantanamo a significant proportion (at some stages as high as 39 per cent) of the
asylum-seekers were "screened-in" (judged to have a "plausible claim to asylum").
Nevertheless, Amnesty International is concerned at the inadequate procedures followed
at GuantAnamo. In particular, as far as the organization is aware, and contrary to
international standards, asylum-seekers were given no opportunity to have appropriate
legal advice or to have an effective review of a negative decision. In view of these
concerns, Amnesty International asked the US authorities for permission to send a
delegation to Guantanamo to observe the screening procedures and interview Haitian
asylum-seekers and officials involved in the screening. The request was denied.

Many of those who have fled Haiti have been children; some fled with their
families, but others fled unaccompanied by their parents or immediate family members.
As was explained earlier in this report, children have not been spared the repression
meted out to adults in Haiti, and Amnesty International believes that many of these
minors would themselves be at risk of human rights violations if returned to Haiti. By
early June 270 unaccompanied minors had been "screened in". Some 950 had been
"screened out". They were held at Camp McCalla in GuantAnamo, after they were
separated from the adult members of their extended families or friends many of them
travelled with. They were all subsequently returned to Haiti. Amnesty International is
concerned that these children's cases were assessed according to the same inadequate
procedures as the cases of their adult counterparts, and that, according to reliable
reports, UNHCR's guidelines for assessing the cases of refugee children were not
followed in these cases.

In addition to concerns about the reliability of the screening procedure itself,
Amnesty International is also concerned that, according to reports, there have been
serious administrative errors at GuantAnamo. These have led to some asylum-seekers
who had been "screened in" being returned in error to Haiti. In April 1992 the Director
of Foreign Economic Assistance Issues of the US General Accounting Office (GAO)
testified before the Sub-Committee on Legislation and National Security, Committee on
Government Operations of the US House of Representatives. He stated that the GAO had
found "weaknesses in the administrative procedures that followed the interviews,

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Haiti: Human Rights Held to Ransom

including numerous errors in the INS computer database, which is used in the processing
of individuals for return to Haiti or on to the United States. We found that because of
these weaknesses at least 54 Haitians were apparently mistakenly repatriated. ... At least
seven others returned voluntarily without knowing that they had been found to have
credible claims and could travel to the United States to have their cases adjudicated. ...
Finally, we found that a group of Haitians, possibly about 100, were given reason to
believe they would travel to the United States to have their cases adjudicated, but instead
have been or soon will be returned to Haiti. ... we believe our numbers may understate
the problem. At the time of our visit to Guantanamo on March 29,1992, INS officials
had not yet completed a reconciliation of their records. That process could identify
others ..."

In late May President Bush issued an Executive Order that all Haitians interdicted
at sea should be returned to Haiti; shortly afterwards it was announced that the camp at
GuantAnamo would be closed. This decision denies asylum-seekers any possibility of
having their cases heard, and is contrary to Article 14.1 of the Universal Declaration of
Human Rights, which states that "Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other
countries asylum from persecution".

This group of asylum seekers was intercepted by the US Coast Guard and returned to Haiti with
no examination of their asylum claims. May 1992.
0 Popperfoto

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Haiti: Human Rights Held to Ransom

The US Government maintains that the Haitian asylum-seekers are mostly
"economic migrants" and that there is no indication that people returned by the US are
detained or subject to punishment. It also maintains that these recent measures were
necessary to protect the lives of the Haitians, who would otherwise risk their lives by
fleeing the country in unseaworthy boats. However, Amnesty International is concerned
that the US Government's most recent action has resulted in large numbers of asylum-
seekers being forcibly returned to Haiti where, as this report shows, many of them will
be at risk of serious human rights violations. This is a clear violation of the
internationally recognized principle of non-refoulement and of the obligations of the US
under Article 33 of the UN Convention relating to the Status of Refugees.

In some cases, people have made several attempts to escape, or have again tried
to reach the US after being forcibly returned. Forty-two asylum-seekers who were
returned to Haiti by the US authorities in mid-November fled the country again. When
they were interviewed by the US authorities on that second occasion they alleged that
they had suffered serious human rights violations in Haiti after they were returned there.
Following this, INS officials judged that 41 of the asylum-seekers had a "plausible
claim" for asylum. Details of some of these cases reported in the press included
allegations of harassment, arrests and beatings following their return to Haiti. Some
asylum-seekers alleged that they were interviewed at the docks on arrival and that the
information given was then used to arrest them when they returned to their homes.
Another asylum-seeker made allegations of extrajudicial executions of other returned

The US Government announced that the US embassy in Haiti had investigated the
allegations about those returned in November and reported that embassy officials "were
unable to turn up any information to corroborate the story". Amnesty International does
not know which cases US Embassy officials claim to have monitored, nor has it obtained
detailed information about their method of inquiry and their findings.

Amnesty International itself has been unable to obtain precise details about the
allegations made by these 42 asylum-seekers. However, the information obtained is
consistent with a number of other reports which Amnesty International has received on
the human rights situation in Haiti. The organization therefore remains concerned about
these allegations until such time as they are fully investigated by an independent and
impartial body.

In the experience of the Amnesty International delegates, it is impracticable to
effectively monitor the fate of asylum-seekers who have been returned by the US
authorities. During their two-week visit to Haiti the delegates tried on repeated occasions
to investigate the fate of some of those returned. However, they were not able to make

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any direct contact with them, nor had local religious workers or members of human
rights organizations been able to do so, despite repeated efforts.

Several factors contribute to make it almost impossible to verify the fate of the
returned asylum-seekers. One, and perhaps the main, factor is that, because of the
current climate of fear, intimidation and repression in the countryside, many of those
returned do not appear to have gone back to the areas of the country where they
previously lived. Many have chosen to remain in hiding for fear of reprisals. A human
rights organization operating in the Artibonite Department told the delegation that they
had sent word to the different communal sections asking those who had been returned
to contact them, but so far none had done so. In several instances, people who claimed
to know returned asylum-seekers preferred not to act as a contact person, for fear of
reprisals against themselves or the asylum-seekers. The delegation was also conscious
that as strangers to the locality, their attempts to locate those returned might draw
attention to them and therefore put them at risk of repressive measures. Moreover, even
if they had managed to interview some of those returned in the countryside, the delegates
considered, based on previous experience, that it was highly likely that interviews would
be affected by the heavy unofficial surveillance in operation everywhere in Haiti, or by
the opposition of the local authorities. Despite all this, allegations of human rights
violations against returned asylum-seekers repeatedly came to light during the
delegation's visit.

Amnesty International is therefore concerned that, under the present human rights
situation, forcibly returning asylum-seekers to Haiti without first examining the merits
of their claim through a full and fair procedure places them in a great danger of
suffering the serious human rights violations described above.

The US Government has stated that Haitians who fear humah rights violations can
apply for asylum to US consular officials in Haiti, and that the US authorities have taken
steps to establish facilities for this in Port-au-Prince. However, Amnesty International
does not believe that such a measure can, in the present situation, ensure that those most
at risk will be able to contact, let alone obtain the protection of, the US authorities. The
Haitian authorities have established a climate of terror so widespread that many people
fear to make any move at all. The delegates witnessed that fear when contacts called
them by telephone but were unwilling to give their names or meet them at their hotel for
fear that the line was tapped or that they would be followed or identified. It is therefore
likely that those most at risk in Haiti would not dare expose themselves by telephoning
or going to the US consulate. A US embassy official was reported in the international
press as saying that those at risk "can always write" to the US embassy. Quite apart
from the same fear factor, this is a largely impractical suggestion. Haiti has a very high
rate of illiteracy and it is difficult to envisage, for example, a peasant writing from a

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32 Haiti: Human Rights Held to Ransom

place in hiding in the mountains a letter which could convince the US authorities that
protection should be given.

Amnesty International has also received allegations from at least three asylum-
seekers who had good grounds for fearing for their safety, that they felt intimidated by
the US consular officials who interviewed them. In all three cases, their requests were
rejected. Two of these asylum-seekers had reportedly been conditionally accepted as
refugees, but their acceptance was overturned when the results of their medical tests
were known and they were found to be HIV positive. Also dismissed was the claim of
Harry Nicolas, a member of a literacy and popular organization, even though he had
been illegally arrested and detained for about one month, after several months in hiding
(see page 5).

In any case, an asylum application lodged at an embassy cannot provide the
fundamental safeguards that would be provided in an asylum procedure outside Haiti's
territory, established in conformity with the US Government's obligations under
international standards dealing with refugee protection; in particular, the right of every
asylum-seeker to appropriate legal advice and, if their application for asylum is rejected,
the right to have an effective review of their case. Therefore, any arrangements made
by the US Government for people to apply for protection to their consular officials
cannot be regarded in any way as a satisfactory substitute for the right to seek and enjoy
asylum, which has effectively been denied to them by the US authorities' action in
intercepting and summarily returning to Haiti those who leave the country by sea.

Amnesty International is also concerned at the treatment of Haitian asylum-seekers
by the French authorities. In November 1991 five Haitians were detained upon arrival
at Charles de Gaulle airport and held by the authorities for several days; they were
notified that they were to be returned to Port-au-Prince. After the intervention of lawyers
and a French organization working on behalf of refugees, four of them were recognized
as refugees and granted asylum in France. Amnesty International has also received
details of a number of cases in which the French authorities have refused to allow
Haitians to enter the country and have sent them to third countries without any
examination of their claims for asylum and indeed, so far as is known, without even
ensuring that those third countries would offer them effective and durable protection
against forcible return to Haiti.

For some years France has required Haitians to obtain entry visas, but Amnesty
International is concerned at measures taken in recent months by France and Switzerland
in order to place further restrictions on the entry of Haitians into those countries.
Amnesty International recognizes that governments are entitled to control immigration
and entry to their territory, but it calls on them, in doing so, to ensure that asylum-

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seekers wishing to seek their protection can do so, and that any restrictions on entry,
such as visa requirements or any other similar restrictive measures, do not obstruct
access to their asylum procedures. In the months following the coup in September 1991,
numerous Haitians wishing to seek asylum in France travelled there via Switzerland,
which did not require them to have visas. In February 1992 Switzerland imposed entry
restrictions on Haitians and later, on 1 July a full visa requirement; in March France
itself imposed a transit visa requirement on Haitians travelling via French airports to
other destinations. According to reports, in February Air France instructed its office in
Port-au-Prince to observe the new Swiss entry restrictions, and a few days later 90
Haitians travelling to Zurich via Paris were refused permission to board an Air France
flight. Amnesty International is concerned at such measures being taken at a time when
severe human rights violations are taking place in Haiti and when some Haitians have
to flee their country for their own safety.

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The Haitian authorities' response

Amnesty International's delegates had a two-hour meeting with then de facto Prime
Minister Honorat, the former executive director of the Centre Haltien des droits et des
libertis publiques (CHADEL), Haitian Centre for Human Rights and a vocal strong
advocate of the rule of law during his period as director of that institution. They
explained their concerns in the aftermath of the coup. Prime Minister Honorat did not
deny the occurrence of human rights violations, but maintained that his government had
not ordered arrests or killings. Delegates pointed out that gross human rights violations
were still being committed by the security forces, and that the government could still be
considered responsible for them. Prime Minister Honorat pointed out that the judicial
system was inefficient and riddled with corruption and lacked adequately trained
personnel. When questioned about measures planned by the government to end human
rights violations, particularly in the countryside by the chefs de section, the de facto
Prime Minister explained that this constituted a "structural problem", and that "even if
we replaced them with Jesus Christ, he would be repressive" ("meme si on les
remplafait avec Jesus Christ, il serait repressif'). The delegates also discussed the high
occurrence of torture and ill-treatment. Prime Minister Honorat denied that torture exists
in Haiti. Beatings, a common occurrence in detention centres are not torture but, he
said, simply services (physical cruelty), even in cases where such treatment resulted in
death. Prime Minister Honorat tried to assure Amnesty International that the opposition
was not repressed, and went as far as saying that anyone could carry photographs of
President Aristide. Evidence collected before and during Amnesty International's visit
to the country indicated that this is the opposite of the truth.

Visit to Petit-Gobve

Soon after they arrived in Haiti, the delegates went to the south western town of Petit-
GoAve, where journalist Jean-Mario Paul was being detained. Jean-Mario Paul, in his
mid twenties, worked with the privately-owned Radio Antilles Internationale in Grande-
GoAve. He was also active in popular organizations, such as Komilfo, which he helped
found but later left, and the Coordination d'organisations democratiques, (COD),
Coordination of Democratic Organizations. His sister, Magdaline Paul, had been
appointed Justice of the Peace in Grand-Goave in early September 1991. Jean-Mario
Paul, whose family home in Grand-Goave was burned down in early October, was
arrested on 9 November and charged with burning down the local military post and the
court house. He and others close to him consistently denied these allegations. Jean-Mario
Paul was severely tortured and twice needed hospital treatment. Amnesty International
was seriously concerned about the state of his health.

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Haiti: Human Rights Held to Ransom 35

On arrival at the barracks, the delegation was told that the commander was not
there and that no visits could be carried out without his consent. The delegates asked to
speak to the official in charge, but the same answer was given. They went to the Public
Prosecutor's house, and requested an authorization to visit Jean-Mario Paul, which the
Public Prosecutor issued and signed. The delegates returned to the barracks, but their
request was again denied because of the commander's absence.

The delegation sought written permission from Prime Minister Honorat to visit the
prison, and despite Prime Minister Honorat's assurances that the prison visits could be
carried out freely on his oral instruction, such visits in practice required authorization
of the military authorities. Amnesty International was therefore not able to see Jean-
Mario Paul.

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Recent developments

Since the Amnesty International delegation left Haiti, reports of human rights abuses
have continued to be systematically reported. Scores of illegal and arbitrary arrests,
again in most cases accompanied by torture or other severe ill-treatment, have been
reported. From mid-May to early June (the time of writing) popular protests have been
followed by increased repression, including extrajudicial executions, arrests, harassment
and intimidation particularly of students and residents of poor districts. The following
are a few examples of the serious human rights violations that have occurred in April,
May and early June.

Arbitrary or illegal arrests and ill-treatment

Clemencia Ascanio, a Venezuelan nun, was arrested together with two Dominican
women, when the military found several boxes of calendars bearing former President
Aristide's photograph in the bus they were travelling in. The arrests took place on 27
April in Mallepasse, West Department, near the border with the Dominican Republic,
where they were travelling from. All the passengers were taken to the Croix-des-
Bouquets military detachment. Most were released after they accused Sister Clemencia
of being responsible for carrying the calendars. Two days later the three women
appeared before the parquet (government procurator's office), in Port-au-Prince. One
of their lawyers, Counsellor Julien, who went to the parquet with them, was nearly
arrested, without a warrant, in front of the Public Prosecutor by agents of the Service
d'investigation et de recherches anti-gang, after one of the agents announced that the
lawyer was to be arrested. The Public Prosecutor was obliged to intervene to prevent the
arrest, reportedly at the moment Counsellor Julien was about to be handcuffed. The
three women were eventually released uncharged on 2 May.

Moleon Lebrun, leader of Association de Jeunes Paysans de Bois de Lance, Bois
de Lance Young Peasants' Association, a branch of the Federation de Jeunes de
Limonade, Federation of Limonade Youth, was arrested without a warrant and beaten
on 28 April, following a demonstration at Bois de Lance, 2nd Section of Limonade,
North Department. Five others were arrested with him Marc Magloire, Jean Magloire,
Appolis Lebrun, Jean Luma and Yves Lebrun. The five were released shortly
afterwards, after they reportedly paid $600 dollars each. Moldon Lebrun, who was said
to have been asked to pay $800 to obtain his release, remained in detention. He was later
transferred to Cap Ha'tien prison in very bad health due to the ill-treatment he had
received in Limonade. He was reportedly denied access to a doctor or lawyer.

Patrick Morisseau, known as Eric, a teacher and member of the Komite Jen
Kafou Peyan (KJKP), Carrefour P6an Youth Committee, was arrested on 25 May 1992

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in Port-au-Prince. He is also a supporter of Lavalas, a political front backing ousted
President Aristide. He was reportedly arrested without a warrant by heavily armed police
near the area of Delmas 4. He had gone into hiding after the security forces reportedly
launched an operation in the area following the killing of a soldier on the night of 23
May. He was allegedly beaten upon arrest and transferred to the Service d'investigation
et de recherches anti-gang, where he remained in detention until his release on 10 June.
Claire Edouard, Patrick Morisseau's mother, was reportedly killed at her home on the
night of 26 May, one day after her son's arrest. Several of her neighbours have alleged
she was killed by the security forces, who made them all come out of their houses to
witness the killing as a means of intimidation.

Evans Paul, the elected mayor of Port-au-Prince, who was arrested and brutally
beaten in October 1991 at Port-au-Prince airport, was briefly detained again at Port-au-
Prince airport on 27 May. He was about to leave Haiti to attend the UN Conference on
the Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Evans Paul was reportedly
told that there was an official order banning him from leaving the country. He was then
quickly surrounded by soldiers and armed civilians who attempted to take him away.
Foreign diplomats intervened, however, and he was released several hours later.

On 30 May several people were reportedly arrested in the city of Les Cayes.
Many were allegedly beaten. Most were released shortly afterwards. Among those
arrested were R6my Amazan, a school headmaster, and Frantz Guillit, the assistant to
the mayor of Les Cayes during the Aristide administration. The arrests occurred
allegedly in retaliation for an attack on the military post earlier that day in the nearby
town of Camp Perrin by unidentified men bearing white banners with the inscription
"Democratie ou la mort", "Democracy or death". Several people, including R6my
Amazan and Frantz Guillit, were subsequently taken to detention centres in Port-au-
Prince on 31 May and were released several days later.

Priests did not escape the retaliation of the security forces in Les Cayes. On 1 June
the home of Bishop Verrier, the bishop of Les Cayes, was searched by soldiers, who
were reportedly searching for "armed priests hiding there" ("des pares qui se cachent
avec des armes"). Earlier that day Father Denis Verdier, the director of the regional
office of Caritas in Les Cayes, was arrested along with his driver in the city of Les
Cayes by members of the armed forces. According to information received by Amnesty
International, Father Verdier and his driver were beaten during the arrest. Witnesses
reported that both men's clothes were torn and that they were taken to the military
barracks in Les Cayes. Father Verdier is a member of the Fraternitg des Peres du Sud
(Fraternity of Priests from the South) and has publicly stated his opposition to the
September 1991 coup. On 2 June Father Sony D6coste, another Roman Catholic priest
from the Les Cayes district, was arrested in the village of Torbeck, approximately 30

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38 Haiti: Human Rights Held to Ransom

kilometres east of Les Cayes. On the same day the security forces also arrested Brother
Jean-Baptiste Cassius, from the Sacred Heart (Sacrd Coeur) order, in Les Cayes. The
three priests were released several days later.

Priests in other Departments were also the victims of abuses. On 2 June Father
Marcel Bussels, a Belgian national and priest, was taken into custody without a warrant
after the rectory in Ballan near Cap-Haitien in northern Haiti was reportedly searched
by soldiers accompanied by a Justice of the Peace. When Father Bussels asked for a
search warrant, the soldiers replied that they did not need one, and proceeded to search
the rectory, the nuns' home and the church. Father Bussels' house was ransacked, with
most of its contents destroyed or stolen by the military. All of Father Bussels' files and
archives, including reports of meetings, address books related to his religious affairs,
and papers dealing with his involvement with the Mouvement Honneur et Respect Ballan,
Ballan Movement of Honour and Respect, were removed. During his interrogation in
detention, members of the armed forces reportedly stated that they were going to seek
out those who collaborated with Father Bussels, using the information they had taken
from his house. Several of his associates have since gone into hiding, fearing reprisals,
and Amnesty International is concerned for their safety. In November 1991 Father
Bussels had gone into hiding after he was shot at by soldiers when he was driving a sick
man from hospital. He also reported receiving repeated threats directly from the armed
forces or from those working with them.

Father Gilles Danroc, a French national -who is the coordinator of the national
Justice and Peace Commission and who has played an active role in popular
organizations in the Artibonite Department, was detained without a warrant on 6 June.
He was arrested when he was holding a catechism class in his parish in La Chapelle, a
small town in the central Artibonite valley. Fourteen of his parishioners were arrested
with him. Father Danroc and seven others were released the next day, after the
intervention of the French Consul and the Bishop of Gona'ives, Monsignor Emmanuel
Constant. The rest were released on 8 June. Three men had been arrested in March 1992
after they were accused of attending meetings organized by Father Danroc.

Extrajudicial execution

Georges Izmery, the brother of an outspoken supporter of ousted President Aristide,
was shot dead on 28 May. He was crossing the Grand Rue main street in Port-au-Prince,
near the store he co-owned with his brother Antoine Izm6ry, when an unidentified man
first shouted insults at him and then shot him. According to the testimony of his brother,
passers-by ran to inform Georges Izm6ry's step-mother of the incident. His step-mother
went to the scene and apparently found uniformed police surrounding the body. She was
reportedly not allowed to approach Georges Izm6ry and could not see whether he was

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Haiti: Human Rights Held to Ransom 39

still alive. A grey pick-up van eventually reportedly took Georges Izm6ry to hospital
and his body was later sent to the morgue. The family doctor was allegedly prevented
from seeing him. The morgue was guarded by soldiers.

Sources in Port-au-Prince believe that the actual target of the attack was Antoine
Izm6ry. Antoine Izm6ry had been detained in January 1990 by the forces of General
Prosper Avril in a crackdown against the democratic opposition. He was then detained
for nearly a month in October 1991. On 25 October 1991, Georges Izmdry's home was
reportedly ransacked by soldiers and his family threatened. In mid-December 1991
Antoine Izm6ry's name headed a tonton macoute death list broadcast by a pirate radio
station. At the beginning of April 1992, police searched the homes of both brothers.

Georges Izm6ry's funeral march on 2 June was broken up by heavily armed
police, and at least ten people were arrested and beaten. As the march turned into an
anti-government demonstration, with some marchers chanting "Aristide or death",
uniformed police and men in civilian clothes reportedly moved into the procession,
shooting in the air and grabbing at least eight men and two women. According to eye-
witnesses, four of the men were beaten with rifle butts, sticks and a rubber hose until
they bled from the head. They were then taken away in a vehicle. A German journalist
had her video camera seized by a policeman, who reportedly threatened to arrest her if
she did not hand it over. Several news photographers were chased away by police who
pointed their automatic weapons at them and ordered them not to take pictures.

Since mid-May, as opposition to the de facto authorities became more orchestrated
and as students demonstrated almost daily against the regime, repression by the police,
the army and their civilian collaborators increased. An unknown number of students
were reportedly arrested and several of them shot during demonstrations in schools,
colleges and faculties in Port-au-Prince. Many were beaten during these demonstrations.
Journalists attempting to report these incidents were intimidated, arrested or even beaten.
Amnesty International also received tens of reports of extrajudicial executions in the last
two weeks of May and early June. According to these reports, uniformed military and
police forces, as well as heavily armed men in civilian clothes, made nightly incursions
into some neighborhoods, such as Delmas, Carrefour, Cit6 Soleil and Waney. The
military reportedly shot in the air to intimidate residents, and on occasions entered their
homes, sometimes reportedly stealing their belongings. Sometimes they shot straight into
houses. On 25 May a grandmother and her two grandchildren, a girl aged 11 and a boy
aged two, were wounded by bullets as they were slept in their home in Delmas 4. The
grandmother reported that at least three people had been killed that night. On 27 May,
again in Delmas 4, Rodolphe Lominy was reportedly killed in his home by a group of
uniformed soldiers. He was reportedly talking with two women when the military group
arrived and shot at them, killing Rodolphe Lominy and wounding the two women, who

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40 Haiti: Human Rights Held to Ransom

were reportedly pursued by soldiers while being taken to the General Hospital and then

Amnesty International also received information about the apparent extrajudicial
execution of at least three members of the military. The killings happened shortly before
a public appeal by soldiers for the resignation of de facto President Joseph Ndrette.
which was broadcast by Radio Soleil, the Roman Catholic radio on 25 May. On 21 May
a sergeant, apparently known as a Lavalas sympathizer, was shot by a group of heavily
armed civilians, at St Martin Street, near the district of Carrefour PNan. On the night of
23 May, Corporal Augustin Silvaire and his civilian cousin were shot and killed at
Corporal Silvaire's home in Port-au-Prince. A soldier, Alexi Vicaine, was reportedly
killed in the St Martin Street area the same night in similar circumstances. Some
accounts of the killings have indicated that the perpetrators were uniformed military.
According to military sources quoted by the press, the victims were killed by men armed
with Uzi machine guns. Two other soldiers were shot and wounded on the night of 23
May by a similar group of armed men at their home in the Cite militaire, military

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The examples of human rights violations described in this report are but a fraction of
what the delegates were faced with when they visited the country. Lawlessness pervades.
Human rights abuse in its different forms is part of most Haitians' daily life. The
security forces and the thousands of civilians acting in collusion with them carry out a
wide range of abuses with total impunity. The old repressive structures, which the
deposed government had partly succeeded in dismantling, are back in place. The civilian
authorities are totally unwilling or powerless to stop these abuses, while the military,
which is practically the sole authority in many areas of the country, is clearly
spearheading the repression. In only one case of human rights violations have those
responsible been arrested, despite the fact that in many instances the victim or witnesses
have been able to identify the perpetrators. Rampant corruption of the judicial system
and its connivance with the executive and the military makes it impossible for the
population to seek reparation before the courts. The ordinary citizen is left with no
recourse but simple denunciation to local or international human rights organizations,
and no other protection than hiding or paying ransom money.

Since the delegation's return, and particularly since mid-May, Amnesty
International has been receiving increasing reports of human rights violations, following
popular unrest and increased demonstrations against the government. Numerous instances
of arrest, ill-treatment and extrajudicial executions have been reported. A new Prime
Minister, Marc Bazin, was sworn in on 19 June. Several days before he took office, he
had pledged before the Haitian Senate to "stop repression and restore freedom of the
press" (faire cesser la repression et retablir la liberty de la presseD. However,
repression continues, and the opportunity to seek asylum abroad has been thwarted by
the actions of the US authorities. Haitians still live in a permanent state of fear, while
their oppressors are free to kill, torture and terrorize them with inipunity, and continue
to make money out of repression.

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