Haiti, rights denied : a report on human rights in Haiti in 1984 to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights

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Haiti, rights denied : a report on human rights in Haiti in 1984 to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights
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4-tr-LCIHR-1985
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Hooper, Michael S

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HAITI


RIGHTS


DENIED


A Report to the United Nations
Commission on Human Rights


MARCH


1985


National


Coalition for


Haitian


Refugees


Americas Watch


Lawyers Committee for International Human Rights















/loo,: -l, C4 '); O s


HAITI: RIGHTS DENIED



A Report on Human Rights
in Haiti in 1984



to the

United Nations Commission on Human Rights


March 1985








National Coalition for Haitian Refugees
Americas Watch
Lawyers Committee for International Human Rights







Copies of this report are available for $3.00
from each of the following organizations:

National Coalition for Haitian Refugees
275 Seventh Avenue, llth floor
New York, NY 10001

Americas Watch
36 West 44th Street
New York, NY 10036

Lawyers Committee for International Human Rights
36 west 44th Street
New York, NY 10036









c 1985 by the National Coalition for
Haitian Refugees, Americas Watch, and
the Lawyers Committee for International
Human Rights

All rights reserved

Printed in the United States of America






L?3



)Th;i7S-







TABLE OF CONTENTS


Page



Introduction .................................. 1


I. Denial of the Right to Engage
in Political Activity ................... 5


II. Denials of Freedom of Expression
and Press ............................. 10


III. The Persecution of Human Rights Monitors 15

A. The Case of the Haitian League
for Human Rights ................... 15

B. The National Commission of Human
Rights .......... ......... .. .... ..... 16


IV. The Structure and Functioning of the
Haitian Security Forces ................. 19

A. The Crackdown of November and
December 1984 ...................... 23


Conclusions .......... ......................... 24








HAITI: RIGHTS DENIED*/


INTRODUCTION



Today it is Gerard and all those whose names
we do not know. Tomorrow it will be us, you
or I, or someone else. Where a man is
humiliated and tortured it is the whole
of humanity that is humiliated and
tortured.

Public letter from all the Bishops of
Haiti and the Archbishop of Port-au-
Prince protesting the detention without
charge and torture by the Haitian secret
police of Catholic lay worker Gerard
Duclerville.


This report examines human rights conditions in

Haiti in 1984, a year when respect for human rights

continued to be poor, and in some respects deteriorated

significantly. A particularly troubling development

was the arrest of more than 30 agronomists, agricultural

economists and church development workers in November and

December 1984. These arrests signaled the most pronounced

campaign of intimidation since a 1980 crackdown on political

parties, independent press, and human rights monitors by



* This report was prepared by Michael S. Hooper, Esq.,
the Executive Director of the National Coalition
for Haitian Refugees. Mr. Hooper is the author of
nine previous reports on Haiti. This report is based
on information collected in three human rights missions
to Haiti sponsored by the organization publishing
this report.








Haitian security forces.

Basic freedoms continued to be denied by law and in

practice. According to the U.S. State Department Country

Report for 1984, "Constitutionally guaranteed freedoms, such

as freedom of speech, press, and association, are in practice

effectively restricted by other legislation and laws. Due

process guarantees relating to judicial procedures are often

not respected."

The new Haitian Constitution of August 1983

reasserted the primacy of the President-for-Life, Jean Claude

Duvalier, by granting him "full powers" -- as though the

nation were placed under a state of siege during the 8-1/2

months that the legislature is out of session. The execu-

tive's increased powers found expression during 1984 in the

increase of long-term incommunicado detentions. Despite a

constitutional mandate that "no one can be kept under arrest

for more than 48 hours unless he has appeared before a

judge," the State Department reports that "persons detained

for political reasons in Haiti are seldom charged or brought

to trial; some have been held for years. There may be as

many as 40 or 50 persons in this category in Haitian

jails ." Though the Haitian government has repeatedly

promised to issue a list of its prison population, specifying

persons it is holding on suspicion of political offenses, no

such list has ever been produced.


-2-








Throughout 1984 the Haitian government issued a

series of decrees banning political parties, and further

restricting the Haitian press and broadcast media. The

National Commission on Human Rights, a government-dominated

entity, did not speak out publicly on abuses and did not

effectively intervene in any of the most serious cases

involving well-documented human rights violations.

In 1984 the Volunteers for National Security

(formerly known as-the Tonton Macoutes) were given increased

power, and continued to arrest or detain without charge

persons perceived to be opponents of the Duvalier government.

Many of the group that was arrested at year-end were held

incommunicado for months before the government announced in

early February 1985 that sixteen would be brought to trial on

charges of violating national security. Singled out for

particularly harsh treatment by Haitian security forces are

political opponents of the government, political prisoners,

labor leaders, journalists, human rights monitors and those

who have been forced to return to Haiti. The Haitian judicial

system offers little or no protections to these and other

victims of abuses by security forces.

After twenty-seven years of Duvalier family rule,

there have been few institutional changes in Haiti that

suggest sustained movement toward democracy or reform. It


-3-








is in this context that we present this report, and again

urge the Commission on Human Rights to take all appropriate

actions to address forcefully Haiti's ongoing human rights

crisis.







I. DENIAL OF THE RIGHT TO ENGAGE
IN POLITICAL ACTIVITY


For twenty-seven years Haiti has been governed by

two generations of the Duvalier family. Francois Duvalier

(Papa Doc) ruled the country from 1957 until his death in

1971. His son, Jean Claude Duvalier, has been the

President-for-Life of. Haiti for the last 15 years. In 1984,

as in the past, the Duvalier government effectively banned

opposition political activity. Despite Article 43 of the

Haitian Constitution which guarantees all Haitians the right

to associate freely in the political parties of their choice,

on May 8, 1984 the Ministers of the Interior and National

Defense, Information and Justice issued a proclamation

banning "all groupings which call themselves political

parties" pending the promulgation of a new law governing

political parties, to be "submitted at an opportune time."

The one political organization that is allowed to

function freely is the CONAJEC, the National Council for

Jean-Claudiste Action. While the precise goals of this

organization are not clear, it seems to be little more than a

state-financed support group for the President-for-life.

While several other embryonic political parties

have been created, none is allowed to function. All are

subject to continual harassment and intimidation by


-5-








government security forces. Each is small and their members

are generally unprotected. The Haitian Christian Democratic

Party (PDCH) was created in 1979 by Sylvio Claude, a Baptist

minister. Mr. Claude has described the party's goal as

creating "a climate of democracy capable of satisfying the

needs of the masses from a Christian perspective." Since the

PDCH was created, Sylvio Claude has been arrested on eight

separate occasions. During this period he has served almost

three years in jail, where he has been subjected to frequent

mistreatment, including physical torture. A number of

Claude's supporters and PDCH leaders have also been arrested

during this period. The Party's newspaper, Conviction, is

published irregularly because of repeated forced closing by

government agents. It has not been published since May 1984

and its presses were confiscated in July. The PDCH claims to

have the active support of approximately 3,000 people, though

this is impossible to verify.

A second political party, the Social Christian

Party, formed in 1980, was founded and is still headed by

Gregoire Eugene, a law professor and constitutional law

scholar. The Party attempts to publish a newspaper called

Fraternite. This small party and its members also have been

the targets of government persecution. In November 1980


-6-







Professor Eugene was arrested and subsequently forced into

exile. He returned to Haiti in February 1984. Shortly after

his return, Professor Eugene published an article in which he

sharply criticized the


stagnation of political life [which] is
contrary to the concept of democracy,
contrary to constitutional norms, con-
trary to the function of a representative
democracy [and] contrary to the Charter
of the Organization of American States.


On June 19, 1984, just after this article was

published, Professor Eugene was again arrested without formal

charge, and subsequently was placed under house arrest. He

was kept under house arrest for two months, during which

several visiting delegations were denied access to him.

Although the formation of several smaller political

parties was announced in 1984, they have not been allowed to

function. These include one headed by a former deputy,

Alexanche LeRouge, and another by Constant Pognon, and a

third by Dr. Lionel Laine.

On February 12, 1984 legislative elections were

held for all 59 seats in Haiti's Chamber of Deputies.

Observers reported multiple registrations and the sale of

registration cards. None of the 309 candidates who








participated in these elections was completely independent of

the Duvalier government. Indeed, the State Department

Country Report for 1984 acknowledges that "in some localities

the Government resorted to fraud or violence to ensure that

government candidates won." These elections were sharply

criticized by the Congressional Black Caucus of the United

States House of Representatives, whose members expressed

"grave concern and disappointment over the series of human

rights violations that have dominated the environment of the

legislative elections."

Only one candidate campaigned on a platform

somewhat independent of the Duvalier government: Serge

Beaulieu. In the days just prior to the election his head-

quarters were ransacked, his car was riddled with bullets,

and two members of his staff were detained without

explanation. He was not elected.

Throughout November and December 1983 Professor of

Constitutional Law Gregoire Eugene, the head of one of

Haiti's only significant opposition parties tried

unsuccessfully to obtain a visa to return to Haiti to contest

the legislative elections. Dr. Eugene had initially been

forced into exile along with some 25 other lawyers,

politicians and journalists in November-December 1980. After

four refusals, Eugene was finally allowed to return to Haiti

-- after the elections were over.

-8-







Following the election U.S. Ambassador Clayton

McManaway stated:

We were disappointed that in some areas
such as Cavaillon and Gros Morne the
electoral process was not respected, that
some candidates were not allowed to
freely campaign, and that in some
instances foreign observers were
restricted in their access to the
electoral process.


In March 1984 the Committee on Foreign Affairs of

the U.S. House of Representatives expressed "serious concern

over the unwarranted intimidation of the nascent political

opposition in Haiti and other human rights violations

attributable to the government." The Committee took the

virtually unprecedented step of "eliminating any new

authorization for military assistance for the government of

Haiti for fiscal years 1984 and 1985 in order to appraise the

government of Haiti of the implications of the lack of

progress in the promotion and protection of human rights."

In early May the government issued a proclamation

banning "all groups which call themselves political parties"

pending promulgation of a new law governing political

parties, which was to be "submitted at an opportune time."

The law gives a hollow ring to the Haitian Constitution's

guarantee that all Haitians can associate freely in political

parties of their choice.


-9-









II. DENIALS OF FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION AND PRESS


Everyone has the right to express his
opinion on any matter by any means within
his power. The expression of thought,
whatever form it takes, may not be
subject to prior censorship except when a
state of war has been declared.

Art. 26, Haitian Constitution

Everyone has the right to freedom of
thought and expression. This right
includes freedom to seek, receive, and
impart information and ideas of all
kinds, regardless of frontiers, either
orally, in writing, in print, in the form
of art, or through any other medium of
one's choice.
Art. 13, American Convention on
Human Rights


Though freedom of the press is guaranteed by

Haiti's Constitution, it is effectively restricted by other

legislation. Article 22 of the Press Law, enacted in

March 1980, prohibits the press from "offending the Chief of

State or the First Lady of the Republic" and from "making

any attack against the integrity of the people's culture."

Another provision prevents the press from writing "defamatory

allegations" against members of the legislative or executive

branches of government, a magistrate, or the memory of a

deceased person." Under this law the Director of the

Government's Department of Information and Public Relations


-10-







selects only those stories that are considered appropriate

for print. Newspapers or journalists that print articles

prior to such clearance may be called in by the Department

and forced to disclose their sources and reasons for printing

the articles.

Another provision that severely curtails press

freedom is the 1969 "Loi Anti-Communiste." Under its terms

the government has the opportunity to charge almost anyone

with crimes against the security of the State. A 1982

resolution adopted by the Inter-American Press Association

strongly condemned this and other forms of political

censorship in Haiti:

Whereas the Duvalier family dictatorship
in Haiti -- despite its control of the
communications media -- continue to seek
other means to assure that the Haitian
people receive only news approved by the
government and suppress free and
independent thought: whereas the latest
measure of thought control has been the
creation of an official agency to
monopolize the distribution of informa-
tion inside the country and control the
flow of news abroad, the Board of
Directors resolves to protest to the
Haitian government against the creation
of an official monopoly agency and to ask
members of the IAPA to oppose the
repressive measures of the Duvalier
dictatorship that deny truthful informa-
tion and diverse opinions to the Haitian
people.


-11-








In March 1984 President Duvalier sent to top

government leaders a series of letters urging respect for

fundamental human rights, an end to arbitrary detentions

without charge and an end to certain restrictions on the

press. By April several publications had appeared or

reappeared in Haiti, each testing the journalistic waters

following the President's pronouncements. Professor Gregoire

Eugene renewed publication of his party's newspaper

Fraternite. In the May 27 issue of Fraternite, Alexandre

LeRouge announced the creation of another publication to be

called L'Etincelle (The Spark). Another publication,

Conquerico, an indepedant Haitian sociological review, was

announced by Constant Pognon. In early May PDCH leader

Sylvio Claude renewed publication of the Party's newspaper,

Conviction. The initial issue contained letters from three

members of the United States Congress that were critical of

the Haitian government's performance with respect to the

conditions of U.S. bilateral aid to Haiti.

Most copies of Claude's paper were seized by

government agents the same day. On May 7, 1984, Roger

Lafontant, the Haitian Minister for the Interior and National

Defense, issued a communique ordering the suspension of all

newspapers and periodicals that were not approved by the

government in advance. The authority that Lafontant cited


-12-







for this action was the widely condemned Press Law of

March 1980.

In early July 1984 Claude went into hiding when he

learned that members of the Haitian security forces were

coming after him. According to the State Department's

Country Report for 1984, when these forces reached his home

and did not find him, his daughter Jocelyn Claude was "beaten

about the head and body." Members of the Haitian security

police also seized the galleys for a forthcoming issue of

Conviction. Since the raid, Conviction has ceased

publication.

Another publication that was disrupted in the

spring was L'Information, edited by Pierre Robert Auguste.

In mid-June Mr. Auguste was arrested and questioned by the

Minister of the Interior, Roger Lafontant and Colonel Albert

Pierre of the secret police while in detention at the

Casernes Dessalines. "During his questioning and in the

presence of high ranking government officials, he was beaten

with a wooden rod and one finger was broken" according to the

1984 State Department Country Report.

During this period another prominent Haitian

journalist, Dieudonne Fardin, was also arrested. Mr. Fardin

is the editor of a popular Haitian weekly, La Petit Samedi


-13-







Soir. After being interrogated for nearly three hours Fardin

was released without charge.

On June 18 the Haitian secret police seized

Professor Eugene from his home and took him to the Casernes

Dessalines. While there, Eugene was questioned by Minister

LaFontant, and two commanders of the secret police, Colonel

Albert Pierre and Colonel Emmanuel Orcel. Professor Eugene's

printing press was confiscated by authorities, as was the

latest issue of Fraternite. Two days later, Professor Eugene

was released, but was immediately placed under house arrest

and denied the right to receive visitors. His car was

inexplicably seized by the police and he was fired without

explanation from his post as Professor of Constitutional Law

at Haiti's National University.

Finally, on July 4, police arrested without charge

Hubert DeRonceray, Haiti's representative to UNESCO and the

President of UNESCO's Committee on Conventions. DeRonceray

and his wife Michele Gaillard also work with the Haitian

Center for Investigative Social Sciences. DeRonceray was

questioned about interviews that he had allegedly given to

foreign newspapers and Gaillard was threatened with a

beating. After DeRonceray's release he was placed under

house arrest for the remainder of 1984.


-14-







III. THE PERSECUTION OF HUMAN RIGHTS MONITORS


Throughout 1984, independent human rights monitors

continued to be subjected to considerable harassment by

Haitian security forces. This pattern of harassment has

accelerated since the government created a National

Commission for Human Rights in 1982. A number of government

officials in Haiti now assert that with the formation of a

national commission there is no longer any need for private

human rights monitors.


A. The Case of the Haitian League for Human Rights


The Haitian League for Human Rights was organized

in 1977 by law professors and defense attorneys from the

private bar. It was created to promote and defend the

principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and

the Haitian Constitution.

On November 9, 1979, sixty security force members

disrupted the first public meeting of the Haitian League.

More than fifty of those present were beaten, including the

League's president, Gerard Gourgue, and representatives of

the French, Canadian and West German embassies. In late 1980

and 1981, several members of the League were arrested without

charge, including League General Secretary Lafontant Joseph.


-15-








In January 1981, Joseph was forcibly abducted as he was leav-

ing court in Port-au-Prince, and was taken to the Casernes

Dessalines, where he was interrogated and severely beaten.

Thereafter, at least three League members, including a

founding member of the League, Joseph Maxi, went into exile

or hiding. Maxi had been urging members of the Port-au-

Prince Bar Association to represent prisoners held without

charge in the National Penitentiary and the Casernes

Dessalines. The government's harassment of League members

continued in 1984. Today only the League's president,

Maitre Gourgue, is able to voice human rights concerns in

public, and even he is severely limited in doing so.


B. The National Commission on Human Rights


The National Commission on Human Rights was created

in 1982 by the Haitian government. President-for-Life Jean

Claude Duvalier announced the creation of the Commission in a

speech before the Chamber of Deputies in April 1982, stating

that it was part of his "revolutionary vision" for a legal

culture "designed to [sic] the promotion and protecting of

human rights in Haiti."

In November 1979, the President had announced the

creation of a similar body, a Human Rights Division in the

Ministry of Foreign Affairs. This announcement was made just


-16-








two weeks after Tonton Macoutes had broken up the meeting of

the Haitian League for Human Rights. There is no record of

that Division ever taking an official position on any human

rights case or issue.

In the tradition of the Human Rights Division, the

government-sponsored Human Rights Commission has also shied

away from taking any action or position that could be

interpreted as even mildly independent or critical of the

government. The Commission is currently headed by Pierre

Jeannot, who also serves as a permanent assistant to the

Haitian Ministry of Justice. According to the Commission's

own statements, it does not get involved in "political

cases," cases involving "national security" or other cases of

"immediate importance to the government." Similarly, the

Commission does not get involved in a case that "is being

properly processed by the criminal authorities" (i.e., the

police of port-au-Prince), nor will it become involved in any

case without receiving a complaint from a domestic source

requesting that they actively intervene with the case. While

the Commission does keep international letters of inquiry on

file, it has informed international visitors that it responds

only to domestic complaints. By the Commission's own

admission its "hands were tied" in the highly-publicized

torture and two-month incommunicado detention of Catholic lay

worker Gerard Duclerville.


-17-








In addition to these significant restrictions, many

of the members of the Commission are government employees and

few possess legal training. Most have never worked with a

civil or human rights group before. It is obvious that the

Commission is not independent from the Duvalier government,

and thus far has not been effective in advancing the cause of

human rights.

Four particularly important government violations

appropriate for the intervention of a national human rights

commission include: the incommunicado detention without

explanation and torture of church worker Gerard Duclerville;

the unexplained detention of three independent editors and

publishers on June 18, 1984 and the beating of one, Pierre

Robert Auguste; the unexplained detention since 1980 and

subsequent disappearance of Roc Charles Derose (alias Jerome

Jean); and the crackdown in November-December 1984 that

resulted in the detention of 35 persons without explanation.

By its own admission, the Haitian National Commission on

Human Rights has simply done nothing substantive in any of

these cases. Apparently they have not ever made injuries,

as these cases are "too controversial".


-18-







IV. THE STRUCTURE AND FUNCTIONING
OF THE HAITIAN SECURITY FORCES


From Haiti's independence in 1804 until 1957, the

army was the supreme arbiter of Haitian politics (with the

possible exception of the period between 1914-34 when the

United States Marines occupied Haiti). Within five years

of coming to power, President Francois Duvalier almost

completely undermined the authority of the regular army in

favor of para-military forces, known as the Tonton Macoutes

and the secret police. Minister of.State Roger Lafontant

gave increased power to the Tonton Macoutes, now called the

Volunteers for National Security, increased recruitment for

the VSN, and announced plans for a VSN academy to train

younger recruits aged 11 to 18. "Papa Doc" Duvalier described

the Volunteers for National Security in his memoirs:

This organization has only one soul:
Duvalier: recognizes only one chief:
Duvalier; fights for only one destiny:
Duvalier in power.


The current President has repeatedly reasserted the

primacy of the security forces in the reconstruction of his

version of Haitian society. At the massive celebration of

the twenty-second year of Duvalier rule, on September 29,

1979, Jean-Claude Duvalier stressed that the security forces


-19-





were absolutely essential to eliminating instability from

Haiti.

Men and women of the militia, you are the
linchpin of my government, the major
force on which I base myself in order to
realize the objectives of democracy and
to impose respect for law and order and
activist discipline.


In 1984 the structure and functioning of the

Haitian security forces remained the same, except for the

increased prominence given to the VSN (the Macoutes).

Although officially disbanded in 1971, the VSN are still

commonly referred to as the Tonton Macoutes. They number

approximately 12,000. The VSN has recently been placed under

the command of a six-person Counsel of Directors dominated by

Major Christophe Dardonere. The principal role of the VSN

has not changed: it exists to eliminate opposition to the

President. This para-military unit is composed of

"volunteers" who are dependent on their fellow Haitians for

their livelihood, thus encouraging wide-scale corruption,

extortion and, sometimes, violence.

There are a number of other government-controlled

security forces that may be counted among the more than

7,500 members of the Haitian armed forces. The military

police under the command of the Army Chief of Staff General

Namphy number approximately 3,000. They perform general

intelligence work under the day-to-day command of secret

police chief Albert Pierre. The Presidential Guard is

-20-






composed of approximately 700 elite troops under the command

of General Garcia Jacques who reports directly to the

President. The Presidential Guard is primarily responsible

for monitoring the activities of all the other security

forces. The "Leopards" are nominally better trained and

equipped than the other armed forces and are composed of one

batallion of approximately 650 under the command of Major Luc

Cabrol of the Presidential Palace.

Perhaps the most feared of the Duvalier security

forces are the civilian secret police, known as the Service

Detectif, who are based in the Casernes Dessalines and the

Presidential Palace. These 400 or so officers and agents are

responsible for the detention and interrogation of all

persons suspected of political offenses. They are commanded

by Colonel Albert Pierre (who is also Chief of Police of

Port-au-Prince) and Major Emmanuel Orcel.

Despite the overlapping and conflicting roles of

these security forces, they enable the President to limit the

power of the regular army and maintain control over Haitian

society.

Throughout 1984 the Haitian security forces

continued their campaign of intimidation against lower level

officials of the Catholic church and church community

development workers. This campaign began just prior to the

visit of Pope John Paul II on March 9, 1984 with the


-21-







detention and repeated beatings under interrogation of a

Catholic lay worker, Gerard Duclerville. After considerable

international protest and an unprecedented display of united

protest by the Catholic Bishops of Haiti, Duclerville was

released under the care of the Archbishop of Port-au-Prince.

He required an operation and extended convalesence and has

still not been able to resume his duties. The Bishops

responded to the torture of Duclerville with a public letter

to be read in all churches in the country that began:


Today it is Gerard and all those whose names
we do not know. Tororrow it will be us, you
or I, or someone else. Where a man is
humiliated and tortured it is the whole
of humanity that is humiliated and
tortured.


Arbitrary arrest and imprisonment is not always

restricted to Haitian citizens. Henri Lamarque a permanent

resident of the United States was imprisoned without charge

on January 2, 1984, and held in the Casernes Dessalines for

52 days. Frahc Blaise a 72-year old U.S. resident was

detained on August 25, 1983 and was held in the Casernes

Dessalines until November 19, 1983 when he was released

without explanation.


-22-








A. The Crackdown of November and December 1984


Beginning in the second week of November 1984, the

security forces detained at least 35 persons without any

explanation, with unverified reports placing the total number

of those detained without charge at twice this figure. There

appears to be little to link those detained except that a

number are directly or indirectly linked to an agricultural

and community development organization sponsored by the

Archdiocese of Port-au-Prince, IDEA (Institut Diocesain

d'Education d'Adultes). Several other agronomists and

economists working for the Department of Agriculture were

also detained. After several weeks of requests it was

possible to determine the identities of only 19 of those

arrested, and the Haitian government steadfastly refused to

provide any explanation for these continued detentions

without charge.

In February, 1985 it was revealed that 16 of those

detained in November will be tried together for "conspiracy

against the internal security of the Haitian state." No

trial date has been announced, the charging documents have

not been issued nor have other details been revealed. In

November the Haitian Minister of the interior Roger Lafontant

dismissed criticisms of the arrests, noting simply that those

arrested were part of a "communist plot."


-23-







CONCLUSIONS


1. Haitian security forces continue to detain without

charge or explanation persons perceived to be opponents of

the current President-for-Life, Jean Claude Duvalier.

Detainees are held incommunicado and are often severely

beaten during interrogation by security force officials.


2. In 1984 the Haitian government engaged in the most

pronounced campaign of intimidation since the November 1980

crackdown on independent journalists, human rights advocates,

lawyers, politicians and trade union officials. In November

and December 1984 the security forces detained without

explanation or charge approximately 35 persons, primarily

church and community development workers. Many were held

incommunicado and no trial dates have been announced,

although it appears that some 16 of these persons may be

brought to trial for "conspiracy against the internal

security of the Haitian state."


3. Throughout 1984 independent human rights monitors

continued to be subjected to considerable harassment by

Haitian security forces. A National Commission on Human

Rights was created by the Haitian government, but has failed

to take any action or position that is even midly independent

or critical of the government. By its own admissions the


-24-







Commission will not act on "political cases," cases involving

",national security," or other cases of "immediate importance

to the government."


4. The Haitian government continues to effectively

suppress political opposition. A 1984 communique

indefinitely banned political parties and other "political

groupings," and the activities of the Haitian Christian

Democratic Party and the Haitian Social Christian Party were

subject to increased harassment and intimidation.


5. Freedom of the press in Haiti has been

significantly curtailed through the Press Laws of 1979 and

1980 and through state security legislation. In 1984

censorship and other restrictions were increased through a

communique ordering the suspension of all newspapers and

periodicals that were not approved in advance by the

government. Haiti's few remaining independent editors were

detained by the security police in 1984 without explanation

and one was injured during interrogation by secret police

officials.


-25-