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ORGANIZATION OF AMERICAN STATES
March 9, 1993
f PA ~ ~
ON THE SITUATION
ORGANIZATION OF AMERICAN STATES
( 0 w,,1 t 1, x .
Approved by the Commission at its 83 Session
held from March 1-12, 1993
TABLE OF CONTENTS
CHAPTER I THE POLITICAL SITUATION IN HAITI .................
1. Background ....................................
2. The W ashington Accords ...........................
3. The Villa d'Accueil Accord ..........................
4. The Florida Declaration .............................
5. Parliamentary elections .............................
6. OAS resolutions and overtures to facilitate
the political dialogue ..............................
CHAPTER II HUMAN RIGHTS SITUATION IN HAITI ................
1. Repression .....................................
2. Right to life . . . . . . . . .
3. Right to personal liberty and humane treatment ............
4. Freedom of thought and expression ....................
5. Right of Assem bly .................................
CHAPTER III THE REFUGEES ...............................
Press Releases of the IACHR ................................
Declaration of the IACHR ...................................
Protocol of the W ashington Accords ...........................
1. The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights has continued to
monitor closely the human rights situation in Haiti. It has found that since
February 1992, when the latest follow-up report was presented, the situation
in that country has deteriorated even further. Many people have been
unlawfully detained, executed without benefit of trial, abused and tortured by
members of the Armed Forces, the Police and civilian collaborators.
2. This report covers the period from February 1992 to February 1993.
What follows is a description of developments in the Haitian political
situation, the agreements reached by the parties and the resolutions and
measures adopted by the Organization of American States to find a political
solution to the Haitian crisis. Also described are the various complaints of
human rights violations that the Commission has received from the victims
themselves, from human rights groups active both within and outside the
country and from other reliable sources. These have enabled the Commission
to corroborate the facts from its headquarters in Washington, given the de
facto government's refusal to cooperate with the Commission.
3. The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights has repeatedly
asked the de facto government of Haiti to allow the Commission to conduct
a visit to observe the human rights situation in situ. The Inter-American
Commission on Human Rights informed the government of its decision to
make two visits: the first was to be an exploratory visit, scheduled for
December 13 through 15, 1992, while the second, the actual on-site visit,
was to take place from January 11 through 15, 1993. The de facto
government did not grant the requested permission. Quite the contrary, on
December 8, the IACHR received a communication from the Ministry of
Foreign Affairs of Haiti reporting that notification of the dates for those visits
would be forthcoming within a matter of days, but it was not until one month
later that the de facto authorities replied that "in a good-will gesture, the
Haitian government had agreed to the presence of an OAS Civilian Mission
on Haitian territory, one of whose functions was precisely to evaluate the
human rights situation in the country. It did not, therefore, believe that the
visit by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, scheduled for
January 15, 1993, was necessary."
4. In a press communique dated January 8, 1993,1 the Inter-American
Commission on Human Rights again expressed its interest in visiting Haiti to
investigate, in situ, the very grave human rights violations. However, given
the de facto government's refusal to cooperate with the Commission, it called
upon all nongovernmental human rights organizations, particularly those
working in Haiti, victims and their relatives, and anyone whose individual
guarantees had been violated as a result of the political conflict, to forward
their petitions for the Commission to act upon them.
1 See Appendices, page 48.
THE POLITICAL SITUATION IN HAITI
5. The military coup that overthrew President Aristide on September
29, 1991, was immediately condemned by the Organization of American
States. The Permanent Council held an urgent meeting on September 30,
and voiced its most energetic condemnation of the events and demanded that
the democratically elected President be restored to power.2
6. In a press release issued on October 1, 1991, the Inter-American
Commission on Human Rights added its voice to others, expressing grave
concern over the events in Haiti, which had caused so many deaths. It
pointed out that the coup in Haiti was a clear violation of the political rights
and other fundamental rights and freedoms recognized in the American
Convention on Human Rights.
7. Because of the seriousness of the events in Haiti, the Secretary
General, in exercise of the authority given to him through the "Santiago
Commitment", convened an Ad Hoc Meeting of Ministers of Foreign Affairs,
held in Washington on October 2, 1991. It approved the resolution "Support
to the Democratic Government of Haiti" (MRE/RES. 1/91), wherein it resolved
the following: "To urge the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, in
response to President Jean-Bertrand Aristide's request, to take immediately
all measures within its competence to protect and defend human rights in
Haiti and to report thereon to the Permanent Council of the Organization."
Six days later, the Ad hoc Meeting of Ministers of Foreign Affairs urged the
member states of the OAS to freeze the assets of the Haitian State and to
level a trade embargo against Haiti. It created a Civilian Mission
(OEA/DEMOC) to reestablish and strengthen constitutional democracy in Haiti
2 See resolutions CP/RES. 567 (870/92), AG/RES. 1080 (XXI-0/91).
(MRE/RES.2/91). On December 10, 1991, the Permanent Council of the OAS
issued a resolution titled "Program to support the promotion of democracy."3
8. Taking into consideration resolution MRE/RES.1/91 and the many
complaints of human rights violations, the Inter-American Commission
conducted an exploratory visit to Haiti on December 5 and 7, 1991. The
Chairman of the IACHR, Dr. Patrick Robinson, and its Vice Chairman, Dr.
Marco Tulio Bruni Celli, presented their findings to the Permanent Council of
the OAS on January 9, 1992,4 pointing out that the human rights situation
in Haiti was highly volatile and extremely dangerous for a number of reasons:
a very grave institutional crisis had been created; the vast majority of the
Haitian people lived in desperately poor living conditions; the public was
politically polarized; violence was routinely used to settle social differences,
and there was no tradition of democratic custom and practice. They also said
that such serious problems could only be resolved by the Haitian citizens
themselves, with the cooperation of the international community.
9. During the second week of December 1991, the OAS Civilian
Mission, headed by the former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Colombia, Mr.
Augusto Ramirez Ocampo, visited Haiti again, to resume the negotiations that
had been suspended since the Cartagena meeting. On that occasion, three
names were mentioned as possible candidates for Prime Minister: Mr. Victor
Benoit, Secretary General of the National Committee of the Congress of
Democratic Movements (KONAKOM) who had the support of President
Aristide; Mr. Marc Bazin, a former presidential candidate and leader of the
Movement to Establish Haitian Democracy (MIDH), and Mr. Ren6 Theodore,
Secretary General of the Haitian Communist Party (PUCH), now called the
National Reconstruction Movement (MRN). Near the end of December, Mr.
Theodore agreed to be a consensus candidate and by mid-February the House
of Deputies of Haiti publicly announced its support for Mr. Theodore's
appointment as Prime Minister.
3 Res. OEA/Ser.G, CP/RES. 572 (882/91).
4 See Annual Report of the IACHR for 1991, OEA/Ser.L.V.11.81, doc. 6, rev. 1,
February 14, 1992, pp. 225-247.
1. The Washington Accords
10. Because the climate was right to undertake negotiations, the
Organization of American States sponsored a meeting in Washington for the
second week of January 1992, a meeting that was not held because the
negotiating parties could not come to an agreement. Later, the OAS
sponsored a meeting on February 23 and 25, 1992, to work out a
compromise so that a political solution could be found to the Haitian
situation. Participating in that meeting were the deposed President Aristide,
who was accompanied by Mr. Evans Paul, former mayor of Port-au-Prince,
Mr. Rend Theodore and a parliamentary delegation headed by the presidents
of the two houses of Parliament, Senator Dbjean B6lizaire and Deputy
11. At the close of that meeting, the negotiating parties signed the
Protocol of Agreement of Washington whereby they undertook to guarantee
the civil freedoms and to enable political parties and civilian organizations to
function freely in Haiti, in a context of respect for the Haitian Constitution.
12. The Protocol acknowledged the need to ensure the return of
President Jean-Bertrand Aristide and to restore him to his functions in
government; to prepare and enact laws that would put into practice the
institutions provided for under the Constitution, such as the law on territorial
communities, the law on the separation of the police from the armed forces,
and the law governing the Citizens' Protection Bureau. It was further agreed
to foster, through laws and regulations, enforcement of a policy of social
peace and economic recovery.
13. It was also agreed that President Aristide was to pledge to respect
the instruments presented or ratified by the Haitian Parliament and, in the
event of a disagreement between the Executive Power and the Legislative
Power, either could turn to the Conciliation Commission, pursuant to article
111-5 of the Constitution. It was also agreed that in President Aristide's
absence, the Prime Minister would direct the affairs of State, in accordance
with Article 148 of the Constitution.
14. The parties acknowledged the need to declare a general amnesty,
save for common criminals and to request the OAS and the international
community to provide urgent and substantial assistance to the national
consensus government to enable it to reactivate the Haitian economy,
promote social welfare, transform the Armed Forces and the Police into
professional institutions and strengthen democratic institutions.
15. At that meeting, a Protocol of Agreement was also signed
between President Jean-Bertrand Aristide and the Prime Minister designate,
Ren6 Th6odore, who pledged to create the conditions necessary for President
16. Though the international community reacted very favorably to the
Protocols of Washington, the parties did not demonstrate a willingness to
comply with them. In a television interview some days later, President
Aristide reiterated that he was opposed to the amnesty for the military
involved in the coup d'6tat and that the accords did not specify an exact date
for his return.
17. Moreover, while the Protocols represented an enormous effort to
find a political solution to the Haitian situation, it was very difficult to
translate those agreements into practice. First, the fact that the military and
the de facto government were not parties to those agreements suggested
from the outset that they would not be accepted and that the Army would
be opposed to any type of investigation into the human rights violations that
had occurred during and after the coup d'6tat. Moreover, Parliament was
unable to ratify the agreements because the quorum necessary in the two
houses was lacking. Later, the de facto Government submitted the
Washington Accords to the Court of Cassation for an opinion on their legality.
The Supreme Court declared them unconstitutional and with no legal validity;
it also ruled that the principle of the separation of powers, stipulated in the
Haitian Constitution, was violated when the parliamentarians signed the
document and that, under Article 98, paragraphs 2 and 3, these agreements
could not be submitted to the National Assembly for ratification.
2. The Villa d'Accueil Accord
18. The de facto government did not recognize the Washington
Accords and decided instead to create a Tripartite Commission: the de facto
government was represented in the person of the de facto prime minister, Mr.
Jean-Jacques Honorat; the Legislature was represented by Mr. D6jean
B6lizaire, president of the Senate, and by Mr. Alexandre M6dard, president of
the House of Deputies; and for the first time the Armed Forces were
represented, in the person of Raoul C6dras, their Commander-in-Chief. This
time, President Aristide and his supporters were excluded.
19. The negotiations culminated on May 8, 1992, with the so-called
Tripartite Agreement of Villa d'Accueil which, as one might expect, did not
recognize Aristide as the Constitutional President. Under the Agreement, a
decision was made to create a consensus government for the purpose of
negotiating the lifting of the embargo and resuming negotiations with the
Organization of American States. Later, Mr. N6rette, president of the de
facto government, resigned his post. Mr. Marc Bazin was designated Prime
Minister, with the approval of the military and a questionable Senate majority.
It must be emphasized that these negotiations and the Prime Minister's
designation were in direct contravention of the resolutions of the Ad-hoc
Meeting of Foreign Affairs (MRE/RES 2/91 and MRE/RES 3/92).
3. The Florida Declaration
20. When the Washington Accords were abandoned and changes
occurred on the political scene in Haiti, President Aristide launched a new
negotiating process and convoked a meeting, held in Miami, June 26 through
29, 1992. Present were a number of political leaders who supported the
restoration of democracy in Haiti. At the end of the meeting, a document
entitled "For National Accord" was adopted. Also known as the "Florida
Declaration," it reasserted the need to find a negotiated political solution and,
to that end, the assistance of the Secretary General of the Organization of
American States and the Secretary-General of the United Nations were
requested. In that declaration, the OAS was also asked to send a Civilian
Mission to resume the political dialogue in Haiti.
4. Parliamentary elections
21. On December 28, 1992, Haiti's Electoral Council announced that
the date for elections of new members of Parliament had been set for January
18, 1993 (One-third of the Senate. This date would also be used to fill some
non-elected vacant positions in the Chamber of deputies). The Permanent
Council of the OAS described the announcement as an unlawful act designed
to patently obstruct the most recent efforts that the Organization of American
States and the United Nations are making to restore democratic institutions
in Haiti. (CP/DEC.8 (927/93).
22. At the time of the elections, the Senate was divided into two
groups: a group called the Constitutionalist Bloc and another called the
Alliance for Parliamentary Cohesion, who were seeking the removal of the de
facto prime minister Marc Bazin.
23. The reaction from political quarters was also immediate. Six
political parties -the National Agricultural and Industrial Party (PAIN), the
Democratic Movement for Haitian Liberation and the Haitian Democrat
Revolutionary Party (MODELH-PRDH), the National Development Mobilization
Party (MDN), the National Reconstruction Movement (MRN), the Haitian Party
of God (PARADIS) and the Movement to Organize the Country (MOP)-
published the "Declaration of a Common Policy" wherein they demanded the
ending of the Ville d'Accueil Tripartite Agreement and nullification of the
process to set up the Special Electoral Council. The Progressive National
Democrats (RDNP) later added their support to that declaration. The Haitian
National Revolutionary Progressive Party (PANPRA) declared that it first
wanted assurances of the trustworthiness of the Senate election before
making any commitment. The Patriotic Nationalist Movement of November
28 (MNP-28) launched its election campaign on January 3. Mr. Gr6goire
Eugene, Chairman of the Haitian Social Christian Party (PSCH), withdrew
from the election campaign alleging numerous irregularities in the election
24. The 64 candidates up for election were for the most part from
parties that supported the de facto government and included the Movement
for the Establishment of Democracy in Haiti (MIDH), the Haitian Christian
Democratic Party (PDCH), the Patriotic Nationalist Movement (MNP-28), the
Haitian Revolutionary Progressive National Party (PANPRA) and a number of
independent candidates. About 15 political parties decided not to put up
candidates for those elections. The opposition, whose numbers included
President Aristide's followers as well as rivals, called for a boycott and a
"closed-door" session on the grounds that the elections were "rigged in
25. Days before the elections, the Haitian Electoral Council reported
a number of terrorist attacks on Registration and Voting Offices (BIV) in the
Southern Department, which left several people wounded. On the day set for
the parliamentary elections, businesses and schools closed, fearing that acts
of violence would break out as they had on previous occasions. In recent
months, a number of bombs had exploded in the capital city, leaving two of
the bombers dead. The police said that the bombings were the work of
sympathizers of the deposed President Aristide, though no one ever claimed
responsibility for them.
26, Voter turnout for the parliamentary elections was very low.
According to official tallies, 561,124 voters exercised their vote. On election-
day night, citing a number of irregularities, the Electoral Council nullified the
voting in the Western Department where the capital city is located.
27. Following the elections on January 18, 1993, listed below are the
names of the new senators and deputies of the Parliament:
Gabriel Ancion (independent), Southeast Department
Rommel Manigat (MIDH), Northern Department
Amos Andr6 (outgoing Senator of PANPRA), Northeast Department
Margaret Martin (MIDH), Southeast Department
Dejean Belizaire (outgoing Senator of the MNP-28)
Serge Gilles (outgoing Senator of PANPRA), Central Department
Yves Rousseau (independent), Southern Department
Luis Ney Gilles (MIDH), Grand'Anse Department
Osni Eugene (MIDH), Northwestern Department
Guillaume Saint Jean (MIDH), Northern Department
Diomede Theodore (MIDH), Northern Department
Arincks Jean Pierre (MIDH), Northeastern Department
Brignole Mond6sir (PANPRA), Grand'Anse Department
28. In a press release, the Haitian Electoral Council announced that
given the final results of the first round of legislative elections, held on
January 18, 1993, the second round of voting, scheduled for January 25,
would not have to be held.
5. OAS resolutions and overtures to facilitate the political dialogue
29. On the occasion of the OAS General Assembly, held in Nassau,
The Bahamas, May 18 through 22, 1992, the Ad Hoc Meeting of Ministers
of Foreign Affairs passed a resolution on "Restoration of Democracy in Haiti"
(MRE/RES.3/92), wherein it reiterated the previous resolutions and urged the
member states to adopt additional measures to extend and step up the trade
embargo against Haiti and increase the humanitarian assistance targeted at
the most impoverished sectors of the Haitian public. The member states
were also urged either not to grant or to revoke, as the case may be, entry
visas extended to the authors of the coup d'6tat and their sympathizers and
to freeze their assets. The Ministers of Foreign Affairs again asked the Inter-
American Commission on Human Rights to continue to monitor closely the
situation in Haiti and to keep the Ad Hoc Meeting informed by way of the
30. In an effort to find new opportunities and to establish new terms
to resume political negotiations, the Organization of American States sent a
mission to Haiti August 18 through 21, 1992, headed by Secretary General
Ambassador Joao Clemente Baena Soares and consisting of several
ambassadors, the Chairman of the Inter-American Commission on Human
Rights, Dr. Marco Tulio Bruni Celli, and representatives of the Caribbean
Community (CARICOM), the United Nations (UN) and the European Economic
31. That mission's efforts led to a new round of talks at the OAS on
September 1, between Father Antoine Adri6n, President Aristide's envoy, and
Foreign Minister Francois Benoit, the envoy for de facto prime minister Marc
Bazin. There, it was decided that an 18-man mission would be sent to help
reduce the violence in general and encourage respect for human rights,
cooperate in distributing the humanitarian assistance and assess the progress
made toward a political solution to the Haitian crisis. The Civilian Mission,
in which the former Prime Minister of Jamaica, Mr. Michael Manley
participated, began its work in mid-September 1992.
32. Even though the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the de facto
government, Mr. Francois Benoit, had authorized the arrival of the 18 OAS
observers, who were to spread out through the geographic departments,
three months later officials in Port-au-Prince told the civilian delegation that
their presence "had no legal basis" and that "there was no way their safety
and their freedom of movement in the country's interior could be
33. Through a resolution passed on November 10, 1992 (CP/RES. 594
(923/92), the Permanent Council of the OAS decided to urge the member
states of the United Nations to renew their support by adopting measures
that were consistent with the previous resolutions approved by the OAS. It
also urged the member states of the OAS and the United Nations to increase
their humanitarian assistance to the Haitian people and asked the United
Nations to participate in the OAS Civilian Mission to bring about a peaceful
solution to the crisis.
34. As serious human rights violations in Haiti persisted and
worsened, and with the repercussions of the increased number of Haitians
seeking refuge in neighboring member countries, the Ad Hoc Meeting of
Ministers of Foreign Affairs decided, through a resolution of December 13
(MRE/RES.4/92), to reaffirm its earlier resolutions and to instruct the
President of the Ad Hoc Meeting and the Secretary General of the OAS to
make an additional effort with all Haitian sectors as a matter of urgency and
in close cooperation with the United Nations Secretary-General, to facilitate
political dialogue among them to restore democratic institutions in Haiti; this
effort should initially be designed to bring about, as soon as possible, a
substantial increase in the OAS civil presence. The OAS Secretary General
was given a mandate so that, in conjunction with the UN Secretary-General,
he might examine the possibility and advisability of bringing the Haitian
situation to the attention of the United Nations Security Council as a means
to bring about global application of the trade embargo recommended by the
OAS. In that resolution, the President of the Ad Hoc Meeting and the
Secretary General of the OAS were also instructed to "cooperate in the
efforts of the Chairman of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights,
in light of the serious and continuing human rights violations in Haiti and the
refusal of the current de facto authorities to allow the Commission to conduct
an on-site visit as soon as possible."
35. A few days after the Ad Hoc Meeting of Ministers of Foreign
Affairs, the United Nations Secretary-General appointed the former Minister
of Foreign Affairs of Argentina, Mr. Dante Caputo, as his personal
representative. The latter immediately made an exploratory visit in Haiti,
seeking a solution to the crisis in that country. The OAS Secretary General
met with Mr. Caputo, after which he announced to the Permanent Council,
on January 13, 1993, that Mr. Caputo had been appointed his personal
36. In late January, the efforts of the UN-OAS representative to reach
an agreement on a Civilian Mission (400 observers) were complicated when
the de facto prime minister, Marc Bazin, rejected the format and methods of
the mission, stating that his government, the Army and the Parliament had
agreed to have the mission sent and help find a negotiated solution to the
Haitian crisis, but that in his opinion the solution risked becoming "a kind of
international caretaker arrangement".
37. In the face of these new events, Mr. Caputo traveled to Port-au-
Prince to meet with the de facto authorities. Upon his arrival, hundreds of
persons gathered to protest the plan to send an international civil mission.
38. As this report was nearing completion, an agreement was reached
between the de facto authorities and the Special Representative of the
Secretary General of the OAS, which would allow deployment of the OAS-UN
Civilian Mission in Haiti. Its priority mandate would be to help guarantee
respect for human rights, thus creating the climate needed to reach a
political solution to restore constitutional democracy in Haiti. Depending upon
events, the Civilian Mission might also help strengthen and modernize
democratic institutions, particularly with efforts to reform the judiciary, raise
the professional calibre of the Armed Forces, create a specialized police force
and get international technical cooperation flowing again, in accordance with
the terms of the resolutions adopted by the Ad hoc Meetings of Ministers of
39. During its 83rd session (March 1 through 12, 1993), the Inter-
American Commission on Human Rights received President Jean-Bertrand
Aristide, who was accompanied by Mr. Ren6 Pr6val, Mrs. Anne Edeline
Francois and Mrs. Mildred Trouillot. President Aristide spoke of the human
rights situation in Haiti, emphasizing that the military were violating those
rights with impunity. He said that the IACHR's presence in Haiti was
essential and asked that the appropriate overtures be made to secure the
member states' support, with a view to compelling the military regime to
agree to the Commission's presence in Haiti.
40. President Aristide also said that were the IACHR to remain in Haiti
for some time, strategies could be devised for projects and programs to
protect human rights and, in the process, to professionalize the army and
police and strengthen the courts. Paralleling this, he said, could be a civic
education campaign for the entire Haitian population.
41. Before concluding the meeting, the Commission received a
communication from Haiti's Permanent Mission to the OAS, by means of
which it formally presented the points expressed by President Jean-Bertrand
Aristide on the problems of human rights. Because of its importance the
Commission decided to include this communication in extenso:
PERMANENT MISSION OF HAITI
TO THE ORGANIZATION OF AMERICAN STATES
The Permanent Mission of Haiti to the Organization of American States
presents its compliments to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights
and has the honor to submit in support of the speech of President Jean-
Bertrand Aristide the points of the Government of the Republic on the prob-
lem of human rights in Haiti and on its prevention.
The Mission wishes first of all to recall the first resolution on the role of
the Commission in the present crisis in Haiti. In paragraph 4 of its first resolu-
tion (MRE/RES.1/91) the ad hoc Meeting of Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the
OAS renews the request of the President of the Republic on the presence of
the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights in Haiti.
The International Civilian Mission was requested by the second resolu-
tion (MRE/RES.2/91), yet it is already deploying in Haiti, whereas the Inter-
American Commission on Human Rights has not yet been able to gain
admittance there. The Civilian Mission is in Haiti only because of the
expression of the political will of the member States. And only this political
will can enable the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights to secure
respect for its mandates by the military dictatorship in Haiti.
In view of the importance of participation by the Inter-American Com-
mission on Human Rights in the resolution of the political crisis in our country
arid in setting up a stable democratic system, the Government reiterates its
request for a presence of the Commission in Haiti and avails itself of the
opportunity to specify the components of its request.
a) The Government of the Republic requests the Commission to take all
political steps needed to enlist the support of the member States in
compelling the military regime to accept the presence of the
Commission in Haiti.
b) The Government requests the Commission to install a permanent
presence in Haiti for three months with the task of preparing a
package of projects and programs for securing respect for human
rights in Haiti.
c) The Government requests the Commission to establish terms for
close collaboration with the International Civilian Mission, and most
particularly with the members of the Mission that belong to the
Organization of American States.
The Government recalls paragraph 6 of resolution MRE/RES.3/92, in
which the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the Organization request the Com-
mission to fulfill its mandates in regard to Haiti.
The Government requests the Commission to take account of all viola-
tions as reported by the different international and national organizations.
The Government draws the attention of the Commission to the holding
of elections by the military regime in violation of the articles of the Haitian
Constitution on the establishment of territorial assemblies, the establishment
and composition of the Electoral Council, and measures guaranteeing the
exercise of civil and political rights.
The Government requests the Commission not only to proceed with its
current work, but to emphasize evaluation of the conditions of imprisonment,
of investigations and other judicial procedures, the conduct of trials, and the
independence of the judicial branch.
The Government requests the Commission to give special attention to
violations of the rights of women and children.
The Government asks the Commission to consider ways to end the tradi-
tional impunity that surrounds the crimes committed by the Armed Forces of
Haiti. It would like to insist on the rights of the victims and of their assigns
to reparations, damages and interest.
The Commission must also focus on the protection of human rights and
the prevention of violations and abuses. The Government of the Republic
wishes to thank the Commission and its Executive Secretariat for their parti-
cipation in the workshop organized by ourselves under its sponsorship and
that of the United Nations in New York from 18 to 20 November 1992.
The Government wishes the Commission to set up, and to find the fund-
ing needed to launch in conjunction with the national nongovernmental organ-
izations, a broad adult education program targeted at specific groups: the
economic and political elites, public officialdom, the military and the police,
teachers and students. This program must make use of all available
audiovisual aids, and eventually develop its own.
The Government of the Republic requests the Commission to evaluate
the irregularities engendered in the administration of justice by the country's
particular sociolinguistic structure and to frame a set of proposals for
achieving increasing transparency in the management of social disputes by
the judicial branch.
The Permanent Mission of Haiti to the Organization of American States
thanks the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights for its attention to
the above and avails itself of the occasion to proffer renewed assurances of
its very high consideration.
Washington, D.C., March 10, 1993
Inter-American Commission on Human Rights
1889 F Street, N.W.
HUMAN RIGHTS SITUATION IN HAITI
42. After the coup d'6tat in Haiti, the human rights situation continued
to deteriorate. The Commission has learned of the repression exercised by
the military against the Haitian public. As pointed out in the introduction,
many people have been unlawfully detained, summarily executed, mistreated
and tortured by members of the Armed Forces, the Police and civilian
collaborators. In the majority of the cases, the victims have been followers
of the deposed President Jean Bertrand Aristide; in other cases, the victims
are people who were simply suspected of being Aristide supporters. Any
type of demonstration or meeting has been violently suppressed and
journalists have not been allowed to learn the facts. Many of these victims
are members of grassroots and human rights organizations, students,
journalists, peasants, merchants and members of the Catholic Church.
43. The illegal searches of homes and inspections of vehicles that the
military conduct at any hour of the day have created a climate of fear among
the people, who feel defenseless in the face of abuses of every possible type.
One example is the case of Monsignor Romelus, who on several occasions
was stopped so that the vehicle in which he was travelling could be
inspected. He also received threats at his residence.
44. In rural areas, the repression and violence have become worse
with the reinstatement of the "section chiefs" who act with the
acquiescence of the military and with complete impunity. In the capital city
and in the provinces, the people are victims of the corruption of the de facto
authorities and of the extortion practiced by military personnel against
civilians, demanding that they hand over money to avoid being arrested or
mistreated, or simply to improve their living conditions in detention centers
and sometimes even to secure their release. The corruption in the
administration of justice has prevented the victims of these abuses from
being able to exercise their judicial guarantees.
45. The climate of fear and insecurity that exists in Haiti have has
caused a large percentage of the population to move, seeking refuge in the
country's interior, thereby being forced to abandon their homes and go into
permanent hiding. In its earlier report, the IACHR noted that some 300,000
individuals had been affected by this massive displacement.5 In other cases,
many Haitians have been forced to flee the country aboard unsafe boats, to
seek asylum in the United States.
46. The practice of "preventive" repression used by the Armed Forces
against the civilian population and the deterioration of the political situation
have fostered a series of violations of individual guarantees, among them the
right to life, to humane treatment, to personal liberty, to freedom of thought
and of expression, and the right of assembly and association, all protected
under the American Convention on Human Rights to which the Republic of
Haiti is a State Party. This section contains a description of some of the
cases that the IACHR has received during the period covered by this report.
5 See Annual Report of the IACHR 1991, op.cit, pp. 225-247.
2. Right to life
47. The right to life is recognized in Article 4 of the American
Convention on Human Rights as follows:
1. Every person has the right to have his life respected. This right
shall be protected by law and, in general, from the moment of
conception. No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his life.
2. In countries that have not abolished the death penalty, it may
be imposed only for the most serious crimes and pursuant to a final
judgment rendered by a competent court and in accordance with
a law establishing such punishment, enacted prior to the
commission of the crime. The application of such punishment shall
not be extended to crimes to which it does not presently apply.
3. The death penalty shall not be reestablished in states that have
4. In no case shall capital punishment be inflicted for political
offences or related common crimes.
5. Capital punishment shall not be imposed upon persons who, at
the time the crime was committed, were under 18 years of age or
over 70 years of age; nor shall it be applied to pregnant women.
6. Every person condemned to death shall have the right to apply
for amnesty, pardon, or commutation of sentence, which may be
granted in all cases. Capital punishment shall not be imposed
while such a petition is pending decision by competent authority.
In articles 19 and 20, the 1987 Haitian Constitution establishes the
guarantees of the right to life. They read as follows:
The State has the absolute obligation to guarantee the right to
life,health, and respect of the human person for all citizens without
distinction, in conformity with the Universal Declaration of the
Rights of Man.
The death penalty is abolished in all cases.
48. As for the right to life, the Commission has observed that
extrajudicial executions have not stopped. Numerous sources have reported
that it is very difficult say exactly how many people have died by summary
execution. In some cases the bodies of the victims are immediately taken
away by the military to avoid any possible investigation. In other cases the
executions are not reported, since the media are being constantly intimidated.
However, some human rights groups that operate in Haiti estimate that
between October 1991 and August 1992, there were 3,000 extrajudicial
executions and that 89% of them were in Port-au-Prince.
49. The summary executions are clearly politically motivated. Most
of them occurred in the poorer neighborhoods of Port-au-Prince, particularly
those where support for the deposed President Aristide is strongest. At the
present time, as part of a campaign of "preventive repression" being waged
by the military, the victims have been individuals who are merely suspected
of being his supporters.
50. In February 1992, four young men from the Platoon (Bel-Air)
area of Port-au-Prince were detained by two military men identified as being
attached to the "Fort Dimanche" garrison. The day following their detention,
the parents of one of the young men, Odner Lamitie, went to the city's
various detention centers in an effort to locate his son. Finally, his body was
found at the morgue of the General Hospital, along with the bodies of his
other three companions. The four bodies had bullet wounds.
51. In May, extrajudicial executions increased. Military,
accompanied by armed civilians, made late-night incursions into poor
neighborhoods of Port-au-Prince, searching houses and beating and shooting
their inhabitants. Dozens of bodies were found, particularly in the Carrefour
and Cit6 Soleil neighborhoods. On May 19, after an airplane flew over the
city of Port-au-Prince showering pamphlets with a photograph of President
Aristide, five people were shot to death.
52. On May 26, Georges Izm6ry, brother of a well-known follower
of President Aristide, was shot in the back in front of hundreds of witnesses,
by a group of soldiers in civilian dress. After the shooting, the men fled into
the Police Station known as the "Cafeterfa", located a short distance from the
scene of the events. When the police came, they did not allow the relatives
to go near him or take him to a hospital for treatment. The police took Mr.
Georges Izm6ry to the General Hospital. The family doctor was not allowed
to enter the morgue, and was only allowed to reclaim the body three days
later, after an attorney intervened.
53. Prior to the events, the home of Mr. Georges Izm6ry was
searched by police who did not have a legal warrant. A domestic was beaten
and taken to prison for no reason; that night she was released. Mr. Izm6ry's
funeral was interrupted by a group of heavily armed men who were carrying
a sophisticated communication system. The people in the funeral cortege
were scattered and some were arrested and beaten.
54. In the last weeks of May and in the month of June, there were
a number of student demonstrations supporting President Aristide's return.
The police used violence to break up the demonstrations and a number of
students were killed. On August 19, the bodies of three young men who had
been hanging posters of President Aristide in connection with the forthcoming
visit of the OAS Mission, were found in the Port-au-Prince morgue. The
young men had been arrested the day before by members of the Armed
Forces. One of the victims, Martine Remilien, was co-founder of the new
political party called "Open the Doors".
55. On August 3, the IACHR received a petition concerning the
death of Mr. Robinson Joseph, former director of "Radio Lumi6re". He was
killed on a busy street in Port-au-Prince when, according to police, Mr. Joseph
tried to evade an automobile check-point and they fired on him.
56. Another case was that of Mr. Marcel Fleurzil, an active member
of KONAKOM. On September 3, his bullet-ridden body was found near the
national telephone company. In the second week of September, the
Commission received a report denouncing the abduction of Marcel Touillot,
who was abducted by armed men and taken away in a military jeep for some
unknown destination. His body was found later in the capital city morgue.
That same month, the body of Marcel Almonacyl, Mayor of Anse d'Hainault,
was found. It showed visible signs of torture. The victim's brother was a
priest and his death was thought to be linked to the harassment and threats
targeted against members of the Haitian Catholic Church.
57. In late November, the army and paramilitary forces continued
the repression. Petitions were received concerning the abduction and
subsequent murder of Jacques Derenoncourt and Wesner Luc, and the
disappearance of Justin Br6sil, all members of the KONAKOM political party.
Another petition concerned an attack on students at the Agronomy School
who were conducting a peaceful demonstration. Some had bullet wounds
and twelve were missing. In cases like these, it has been very difficult to
determine whether the victims have died or are in hiding out of fear of being
arrested by military authorities.
58. On December 5, Jean-Sony Philogene and six other young men
were detained by a group of armed men. They were taken away in a jeep to
Titaynen, a common grave into which corpses are thrown,6 where they
were shot. Philogene was the lone survivor of the massacre and managed to
get as far as the national highway, where he was helped by a driver and
taken to the St. Francois de Salles Hospital. The hospital refused to admit
him. Thanks to a doctor, however, Philogene was immediately taken to the
6 The IACHR's 1992 Annual Report speaks of these common graves, where many
bodies are found with bullet wounds and visible signs of torture.
Canap6 Vert Hospital. The next day, after undergoing surgery, a number of
military men in uniform appeared at the hospital asking for him. Later, his
grandmother was present in his hospital room when a group of five armed
men entered and riddled him with bullets.
59. The Commission has forwarded these cases but in not one of
them have the de facto authorities replied.
3. Right to personal liberty and humane treatment
60. The right to personal liberty is recognized in Article 7 of the
American Convention on Human Rights, as follows:
1. Every person has the right to personal liberty and security.
2. No one shall be deprived of his physical liberty except for the
reason and under the conditions established beforehand by the
constitution of the State Party concerned or by a law established
3. No one shall be subject to arbitrary arrest or imprisonment.
4. Anyone who is detained shall be informed of the reasons for
his detention and shall be promptly notified of the charge or
charges against him.
5. Any person detained shall be brought promptly before a judge
or other officer authorized by law to exercise judicial power and
shall be entitled to trial within a reasonable time or to be released
without prejudice to the continuation of the proceedings. His
release may be subject to guarantees to assure his appearance for
6. Anyone who is deprived of his liberty shall be entitled to
recourse to a competent court, in order that the court may decide
without delay on the lawfulness of his arrest or detention and order
his release if the arrest or detention is unlawful. In States Parties
whose laws provide that anyone who believes himself to be
threatened with deprivation of his liberty is entitled to recourse to
a competent court in order that it may decide on the lawfulness of
such threat, this remedy may not be restricted or abolished. The
interested party or another person in his behalf is entitled to seek
7. No one shall be detained for debt. This principle shall not limit
the orders of a competent judicial authority issued for
nonfulfillment of duties of support.
The right to humane treatment is upheld in Article 5 of that Convention,
which provides the following:
1. Every person has the right to have his physical, mental and
moral integrity respected.
2. No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman, or
degrading punishment or treatment. All persons deprived of their
liberty shall be treated with respect for the inherent dignity of the
3. Punishment shall not extended to any person other than the
4. Accused persons shall, save in exceptional circumstances, be
segregated from convicted persons, and shall be subject to
separate treatment appropriate to their status as unconvicted
5. Minors while subject to criminal proceedings shall be separated
from adults and brought before specialized tribunals, as speedily as
possible, so that they may be treated in accordance with their
status as minors.
6. Punishments consisting of deprivation of liberty shall have as
an essential aim the reform and social readaptation of the
Articles 24, 25, 26 and 27 of the 1987 Haitian Constitution contain the
individual's legal guarantees in respect of personal liberty and humane
treatment. They read as follows:
Individual liberty is guaranteed and protected by the State.
No one may be prosecuted, arrested or detained except in the
cases determined by law and in the manner it prescribes.
Except where the perpetrator of a crime is caught in the act, no
one may be arrested or detained other than by written order of a
legally competent official.
For such an order to be carried out, the following requirements
must be met:
a) It must formally state the reason in Creole and in French
for the arrest or detention and the provision of the law
that provides for punishment of the act charged;
b) Legal notice must be given and a copy of the order must
be left with the accused at the time of its execution;
c) The accused must be notified of his right to be assisted by
counsel at all phases of the investigation of the case up to
the final judgment;
d) Except where the perpetrator of a crime is caught in the
act, no arrest by warrant and no search may take place
between six (6) p.m. and six (6) a.m.;
e) Responsibility for an offense is personal, and no one may
be arrested in the place of another.
Any unnecessary force or restraint in the apprehension of a person
or in keeping him under arrest, or any psychological pressure or
physical brutality, especially during interrogation, is forbidden.
No one may be interrogated without his attorney or a witness of
his choice being present.
No one may be kept under arrest more than forty-eight (48) hours
unless he has appeared before a judge asked to rule on the legality
of the arrest and the judge has confirmed the arrest by a well-
In the case of a petty violation, the accused shall be referred to a
justice of the peace, who shall then hand down a final decision;
In the case of more serious offenses or crimes, an appeal may be
filed, without prior permission, simply by addressing a petition to
the presiding judge of the competent civil court, who, on the basis
of the oral statement of the prosecutor, shall rule on the legality of
the arrest and detention, in a special session of the court, without
postponement or rotation of judges, all other cases being
If the arrest is judged to be illegal, the judge shall order the
immediate release of the arrested person and that order shall be
enforceable immediately, regardless of any appeal to a higher court
or the Supreme Court for an order forbidding enforcement of the
Any violation of the provisions on individual liberty are arbitrary
acts. Injured parties may, without prior authorization, appeal to
the competent courts, to bring suit against the authors and
perpetrators of these arbitrary acts, regardless of their rank or the
body to which they belong.
61. The legal system of Haiti provides for officials whose functions
are to serve the State by prosecuting criminals and safeguarding the rights of
individuals: the district court prosecutor (commissaire du gouvernement) and
62. As for violations of the rights to personal liberty and humane
treatment, the Commission continues to receive numerous petitions involving
individuals who have been arbitrarily arrested by members of the security
forces. The majority of these arrests are carried out without a court order
and after the hours stipulated by law. The detainees remain in prison for
days and even months, without being brought before a judge. This is a
violation of the Constitution, which stipulates that all persons who are
detained are to be brought before a judge within 48 hours. In some cases the
victims are released without ever being charged.
63. The many pieces of testimony provided by the victims indicate
that the arrests are always accompanied by mistreatment and even torture.
At present, the practice of extorting money from detainees is widespread.
Money is demanded of them to avoid being taken to prison or tortured.
64. The arbitrary arrests are particularly common among people
suspected of being supporters of President Aristide and of participating in
opposition activities. The mere fact of possessing a photograph of Aristide
is grounds for arrest. In the capital and in the countryside, leaders of
grassroots organizations, of human rights groups, priests, nuns and journalists
have been unlawfully arrested. Many of them have been forced to abandon
65. Human rights groups operating in Haiti have recorded 5,096
cases of unlawful arrests between October 1991 and November 1992.
Thirty-four percent of these cases occurred in Port-au-Prince, 16.30% in the
Department of Artibonite, 13.35% in the Northern Department, 12.79% in
the Central Plateau region and 9.02% in the Southern Department; the other
cases were divided among the country's other regions.
66. On March 21, 1992, Dully Ox6va and D6rose Eranor, peasants
from the Thomonde region (Central Department), were arrested by members
of the security forces in Mirebalais, where they lived until soldiers burned
down their home and silo. Ox6va and Eranor, members of the "Mouvement
Paysan de Papaye" (MPP), were severely beaten and held in custody at the
Mirebalais garrison. According to witnesses, soldiers asked their relatives for
$31.00 in exchange for their release. The two men were released on April
23 and immediately arrested again.
67. Henry Nicolas, an active member of various grassroots
organizations, was arrested on March 29, 1992, in Cap-HaTtien. A justice of
the peace and four soldiers appeared at his home and proceeded to inspect
it, apparently without having a proper court order. Even though there was
nothing there to compromise Mr. Nicolas, they took him to the Cap-HaTtien
prison. One month later he was released, without ever having been charged.
68. Again in March, Elv6us Elissaint and Dorzius Benniss6, two
catechists, and Piersaint Piersius, prominent in the Protestant Church, were
arrested without a warrant for having attended two meetings with Father
Gilles Danroc, the Verrette priest. The three people were beaten and the
section chief who had arrested them broke the barrel of his rifle on Elv6us
69. On April 27, Sister Clemencia Ascanio, a Venezuelan religious,
was detained along with two Dominican women when the military discovered
that the bus in which they were travelling was carrying boxes containing
calendars with President Aristide's photograph. The arrest was made at
Mallepasse, near the Dominican border, from whence the three women were
travelling. The passengers on the bus were taken to Croix-des-Bouquets
Garrison; most were released when they said that the nun was the one
carrying the calendars. Two days later, the three women were brought
before the Public Prosecutor's Office in Port-au-Prince and released on May
70. That same month, Mol6on Lebrun, a leader of the Bois de Lance
Young Farmers' Association, was detained by police without a warrant and
beaten after he participated in a demonstration in Bois de Lance (Northern
Department). Five other people were arrested with him, Marc Magloire, Jean
Magloire, Appolis Lebrun, Yves Lebrun and Jean Luma, but later released,
once each had paid $600.00. Mol6on Lebrun remained in prison when he
was unable to pay the sum of $800.00 for his release. He was later
transferred to the Cap-HaTtien prison, in a very bad state of health because
of the beatings and mistreatment he endured on the day of the arrest.
71. Patrick Morisseau, a teacher and member of the "Komit6 Jen
Kafou Peyan" Youth Association of Carrefour P6an and follower of Lavalas,
was arrested by police near Delmas, in Port-au-Prince, on May 25. Morisseau
was beaten at the time of his arrest and transferred to the Anti-gang
Investigation Service, where he remained until he was released on June 10.
Claire Edouard, mother of Patrick Morisseau, was murdered in her home the
night after her son's arrest. Several neighbors said that she was killed by
members of the security forces; the neighbors had been forced out of their
homes and made to witness the execution.
72. Also during the month of May, R6my Amazon, director of the
Frantz Guillit school and former assistant to the Mayor of Cayes (under the
Aristide Government), was arrested along with a number of other people in
Cayes. The arrests were in retaliation for an armed attack on a military
facility in Camp Perrin, by unidentified men carrying banners bearing the
inscription "Democracy or Death". Some of those arrested, Amazan among
them, were taken to detention facilities in Port-au-Prince and then released.
73. In Cayes, priests were a particular target of arbitrary arrests,
and had sometimes been mistreated, threatened, had their homes searched
and their files destroyed. In June, Father Denis Verdier, director of Caritas,
Father Gilles Danroc, coordinator of the National Commission for Justice and
Peace, Father Sony D6coste, Father Marcel Bussels and Brother Jean-Baptiste
Cass6us were arrested by security forces and released two days later. Mr.
Milo Batista and Carl Henri Richardson were arrested under similar
74. Starting in August 1992, arbitrary arrests by police and section
chiefs and their adjutants increased. The Commission received numerous
petitions, all of them involving individuals who supported President Aristide's
return or who were found to have photos of Aristide in their homes. In most
such cases, the arrests were accompanied by mistreatment and torture. The
victims are the following:
Name Place of arrest Date
Altide Louisdor Hinche 06/07/92
Liliane Pierre-Paul Mallepasse 08/07/92
Hubert Pascal Petit-Goave 08/11/92
Vonel St-Germain Jacmel 08/12/92
Brunel Jacquelin Port-au-Prince 08/31/92
Father Valery Rebecca Port-au-Prince 08/26/92
Moises Jean-Charles Cap-HaTtien 08/22/92
Yolette Etienne Port-au-Prince 09/01/92
Jean Kedner Bazelais
Saut d'Eau Plateau Central
75. In mid January 1993, the Commission was informed of the arrest
of Mr. Antoine Izm6ry. According to the police, he was arrested because he
was driving without a license. He was held in prison for three days.
Normally this type of traffic violation means a fine, and not imprisonment.
According to reports received, the arrest was made after Mr. Izm6ry helped
with Rev. Jesse Jackson's visit to Haiti.
76. Again in January, Mr. Jean Emile Estimable, a reporter for Radio
Cacique, was arrested by the Marchand Dessalines Police and taken to the
Saint Marc prison. While he was in custody, Mr. Estimable was mistreated
and his health was described as disturbing.
77. The arbitrary arrests have continued in the provinces as well. Since
January 1993, the IACHR has received reports concerning the arrest of Vans
Neudet Ch6ry (Gona'ves), Jean Claude Marsan (Cayes), Dieulan Borgeta (Jean
Rabel), Gisele St. Fermin (Cayes) and Father Joseph Simoli (Hinche).
78. The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights acted swiftly to
begin processing those cases. Later, Haitian human rights groups informed
the Commission that only some of the individuals in question had been
released. It is very difficult to confirm that information and to establish the
precise number of individuals who are still in prison, given the de facto
government's refusal to provide any information in that regard.
79. Before this report was closed, the Commission was informed of the
unlawful arrests and abuse inflicted upon those who participated in the mass
celebrated on February 25, in memory of the victims lost with the sinking of
the ferry Neptune. According to reports, as he walking out of the cathedral
Monsignor Willy Romelus, Bishop of Jeremie, was beaten and his surplice
torn by armed men. Among those arrested were Edride Jean and Julienne
Charles, members of the grassroots ecclesiastical communities (TKL), and
Pharnes Jan, who was beaten and then taken away to the National
Penitentiary. According to the information it has received, Mr. Pharnes had
been so severely beaten that he was in urgent need of medical attention.
Mrs. Arlette Josu6, a journalist from Signal FM and the Voice of America,
was also detained, along with a seminarian, as she was leaving the cathedral.
She was mistreated during her interrogation at the Anti-Gang Investigation
80. The Commission also learned of the repression by the military in
Jeremie in early March 1993. According to reliable sources, a number of
young people were arrested and beaten by the military; only a handful were
released. Mr. Patrick Bourdeau was so badly beaten while in custody that he
was unable to walk. The detainees are still in prison, in violation of the 48-
hour limit that the Haitian Constitution stipulates in cases of preventive
4. Freedom of thought and expression
81. Article 13 of the American Convention on Human Rights stipulates
1. 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.
2. The exercise of the right provided for in the foregoing
paragraph shall not be subject to prior censorship but shall be
subject to subsequent imposition of liability, which shall be
expressly established by law to the extent necessary to ensure:
a. respect for the rights or reputations of others; or
b. the protection of national security, public order, or public
health or morals.
3. The right of expression may not be restricted by indirect
methods or means, such as the abuse of government or private
controls over newsprint, radio broadcasting frequencies, or
equipment used in the dissemination of information, or by any
other means tending to impede the communication and circulation
of ideas and opinions.
4. Notwithstanding the provisions of paragraph 2 above, public
entertainments may be subject by law to prior censorship for the
sole purpose or regulating access to them for the moral protection
of childhood and adolescence.
5. Any propaganda for war and any advocacy of national, racial,
or religious hatred that constitute incitements to lawless violence
or to any other similar actions against any person or group or
persons on any grounds including those of race, color, religion,
language, or national origin shall be considered as offenses
punishable by law.
Article 28 of the 1987 Haitian Constitution provides for freedom of
expression as follows:
Every Haitian has the right to express his opinions freely on any
matter by any means he chooses.
Journalist shall freely exercise their profession within the
framework of the law. Such exercise may not be subject to any
authorization or censorship, except in the case of war.
Journalists may not be compelled to reveal their sources.
However, it is their duty to verify the authenticity and accuracy of
information. It is also their obligation to respect the ethics of their
82. As for freedom of expression, the Commission continues to receive
complaints about the methods used to restrict this right and the repression
of journalists and owners of radio stations, many of which have stopped
broadcasting. Some radio stations have been closed by the military, others
have opted instead to suspend any further broadcasts out of fear for the
safety of their staff. In rural areas, section chiefs have arbitrarily arrested
anyone who attempts to circulate news about the repression in Haiti. Those
who continue to work do so clandestinely and at risk of their lives.
83. Journalist Guy Delva of the Voice of America in Port-au-Prince,
received a death threat by phone and was told that he would be killed if he
did not stop his broadcasts. According to Delva, the threats were because
of his news reports abroad about human rights violations, especially the lack
of freedom of the press in Haiti. In late February 1992, a group of armed
men appeared in Delmas, the area where Delva lives, and were asking for
him. Like many other people who have been threatened, Delva moved. In
May 1992, Guy Delva was beaten by the Port-au-Prince police as he was
covering a student demonstration.
84. On May 7, journalist Merle India Augustine and a United States
colleague went to the Public Prosecutor's Office to find out about the case
of Sister Clemencia (mentioned earlier). During the interview, the agent with
the Public Prosecutor's Office had a violent reaction against Augustine, who
was interpreting. He threatened to send her to prison. When Augustine
replied that he could put her in prison only if she committed a crime, the
agent ordered his soldiers to arrest her. Agustine was held in custody for
several hours and was eventually released when a number of friends
85. On April 12, Sony Est6us, a journalist with Radio Tropic FM, was
arrested by police and severely beaten. Both his arms and several ribs were
broken. Police accused Est6us of distributing anti-government propaganda
and beat him until he was forced to confess to the charges. Six hours later
he was released and had to be hospitalized. The violence used against Est6us
is part of an intimidation campaign against Radio Tropic. After being
threatened several times, Radio Tropic suspended his local news program.
86. During a student demonstration in Port-au-Prince, in support of
ratification of the Washington Accords, police arrested a number of students
and photographer Thony Belizaire and confiscated his camera equipment.
After being questioned at the Investigations and Anti-gang Service, Belizaire
87. In August, the repression of the news and communications media
increased. One of the victims of these attacks was Mr. Clifford Larose, a
journalist with the magazine Balance and director of the regional office of the
Ministry of Information (under the Aristide government), who was shot and
seriously wounded by a group of armed men in Port-au-Prince. That same
month, Radio Lumiere stopped broadcasting when its former director,
Robinson Joseph, was murdered in a police station.
88. On January 22, 1993, Jean Emile Estimable, a reporter for Radio
Cacique, was arrested by the rural police in Marchand Dessalines. According
to the information received, Section Chief Geles allegedly placed in the
journalist's pocket flyers in favor of the deposed President Aristide in order
to have an excuse to arrest him. Mr. Estimable was mistreated and taken to
the Saint Marc's headquarters, in a condition that sources described as
89. On January 27, Mr. Elder Alm6us, director of a private radio station
in Jeremie called Radio Visi6n, was arrested by local authorities on charges
of having "incited the public to rebellion". Some days before, Mr. Alm6us
had aired a broadcast called "La verit6", which was an analysis of Haiti's
political situation. Authorities considered that broadcast to be subversive.
After one night in custody, Mr. Alm6us was released.
90. On February 2, the disappearance of Colson Dorm6 was reported.
Dorm6 is a Haitian journalist with Radio Tropic. One day earlier he had
covered a demonstration at the Port-au-Prince airport on the occasion of the
visit by the UN-OAS Representative, Mr. Dante Caputo. He was never seen
again, either at his place of work or at his home. His disappearance has been
linked to the repression by military against the news media. During that
demonstration, journalists Clarens Renois of Radio Metropole, Hans Bazar of
Le Rouleau Weekly, and correspondents in Port-au-Prince with the Associated
Press and France Press were attacked and insulted.
91. Police were on hand at the demonstrations that occurred in early
February to protest, in the name of "national sovereignty", the sending of an
OAS-UN Civil Mission to Haiti, but did nothing to disrupt the demonstrations,
even when a number of demonstrators attacked the vehicles, which had
diplomatic or OAS plates. They let the air out of the tires on some of the
cars and a number of the diplomats were verbally harassed.
5. Right of assembly
92. Article 15 of the American Convention on Human Rights reads as
The right of peaceful assembly, without arms, is recognized.
No restrictions may be placed on the exercise of this right other
than those imposed in conformity with the law and necessary in a
democratic society in the interest of national security, public safety
or public order, or to protect public health or morals or the rights
or freedoms of others.
Article 31 of the 1987 Haitian Constitution recognizes the right of
assembly and association as follows:
Freedom of unarmed assembly and association for political,
economic, social, cultural or any other peaceful purposes is
Political parties and groups shall compete with each other in the
exercise of suffrage. They may be established and may carry out
their activities freely. They must respect the principles of national
and democratic sovereignty. The law determines the conditions for
their recognition and operation, and the advantages and privileges
reserved to them.
The police authorities must be notified in advance of assemblies
outdoors in public places.
No one may be compelled to join any association of any kind.
93. The military have banned meetings in urban and rural areas.
Peaceful meetings by grassroots organizations, students, peasants and clergy
have been violently disrupted and their participants arrested and beaten. The
offices of the organizations have been burned and their property looted.
Numerous members of these organizations have fled to other cities in the
country and some have left Haiti altogether.
94. Groups of farmers in the northeast sector of the country have
stopped meeting. The military have said that "the peasants have no place in
politics, so that they don't need to meet." Late in 1991, military authorities
told the residents of the communities that if they wanted to hold a meeting,
they had to give the nearest garrison three days' advance notice; furthermore,
a soldier had to be present during the meetings. In keeping with that policy,
on April 28 and 29, 1992, the soldiers from the town of Desarmes in the
Artibonite held many of its residents under a kind of "house arrest", because
the local commandant had not been given prior notice of the meeting. In
another town, the army killed three members of a peasant farm cooperative
and destroyed the meeting place. The Papay Peasant Farm Movement has
been one of the groups subjected to the most harassment since the coup
d'etat of September 1991 and has not been allowed to meet. Most of its
members have sought refuge in other communities.
95. On April 29, 1992, students from the Port-au-Prince Advanced
Normal School held a meeting to discuss the country's political crisis. Just
as the meeting got under way, five uniformed policemen appeared and
arrested student Cantave Gerson. After a day in custody at the Anti-gang
Service, Gerson was released without being told the reason for the arrest.
Some students who visited him reported that he had been severely beaten by
the soldiers and that he needed immediate medical attention.
96. In early March, Gona'ves high-school students assembled to begin
a demonstration at the entrance to the city. Moments before the march
began, a group of soldiers dispersed the crowd, beating a number of the
students present and arresting forty of them.
97. On May 13, 1992, a group of soldiers and armed men in civilian
dress burst into the School of Sciences of the University of Haiti in Port-au-
Prince and beat the students who were holding a meeting at the time. On
June 19, dozens of soldiers surrounded the Advanced Normal School, where
approximately 250 students had assembled to protest the appointment of
Marc Bazin as de facto prime minister. The soldiers threatened the students
and confiscated the keys to the school, leaving them locked inside; hours
later, the soldiers began to throw stones, breaking the windows on the
building. In fear of being attacked, the students and four professors refused
to leave. It was not until the next night that the students were able to leave
with the help of a priest, who acted as an intermediary to ensure that they
would not be attacked.
98. On July 15, sixty policemen used force to break up a meeting of
students from the Medical School in Port-au-Prince. The meeting followed a
peaceful march to the capital. Some people who witnessed the events said
that the police beat up a number of students, among them Roosevelt Millard,
Ronald L6on, Claude Lucien, D6sir Rosette, Canez Pr6vault and Esner Blaise.
They fired their weapons, but were unable to determine whether anyone had
been wounded. Journalists who later went to the scene of the events,
however, saw bloodstains on the floor.7 Approximately 20 students were
arrested and taken to the Anti-gang Service where they were held for several
days, without ever being charged.
7 "Police Disperse Students in Haiti", Washington Post, July 16, 1992, Section A-18.
99. The members of the Church have been a particular target of the
crackdown in Haiti. Permission was sometimes given to hold meetings to
prepare for religious ceremonies the following day. On June 6, Father Gilles
Danroc and others were detained, as he was giving his catechism class in the
town of La Chapelle, even though one day earlier, he had informed the local
authorities of where and when his class would be given. As the class was
beginning, two soldiers appeared and told them that the meeting was
unlawful and that he and 14 students, one of whom was pregnant, were
under arrest. Even though no arrest warrant was shown, Father Danroc and
the students were taken to the La Chapelle garrison and later to the Verrettes
garrison where they were questioned for several hours. The next day, the
detainees were transferred to the Saint Marc prison, where soldiers continued
the questioning and labeled them communists and followers of the Lavalas
movement. Seven of the students, including the young pregnant woman,
were beaten. Father Danroc and seven students were released on June 7,
and the other students some days thereafter. They were never brought
before a judge and no charges were ever filed against them. On June 9,
Father Danroc left the country.
100. Other cases are that of Elv6us Elissaint, Dorzius Benniss6 and
Piersant Piersius, who were arrested and subjected to mistreatment for having
participated in two meetings with the Verettes priest. Also, Mrs. Liliane
Pierre-Paul, a long-time correspondent with Radio Haitf Inter, was arrested
and accused of being a terrorist for attending a meeting of the Latin American
Association of Journalists in Santo Domingo.
101. On January 6, 1993, as mass was being celebrated, a group
of military men and armed civilians burst into the church of La Nativit6 in
I'Acul-du-Nord, destroying doors and religious objects. The military men
stopped the mass, hurled insults at the parishioners and accused Father
Renaud Francois of having criticized the government of Marc Bazin. Two
days later, the military stopped a procession in Jeremie. Monsignor Willy
Romelus and 25 other priests had just conducted an ordination ceremony in
Jeremie's cathedral, and the procession followed the ordination. The military
used nightsticks to break up the participants, some of whom were so badly
beaten that they had to be taken to hospital.
102. Since the coup d'6tat of September 29, 1991, thousands of
Haitians have fled the country, setting out by sea aboard small and unsafe
craft. One of the reasons for the massive exodus of Haitians is the harsh
crackdown against groups that support President Aristide, which was
particularly brutal in certain neighborhoods of Port-au-Prince. Another reason
for the massive exodus has been the very bad economic situation, which was
exacerbated by the predictable shortages resulting form the trade embargo.
103. The crackdown and the deteriorating political and economic
situation forced many people to flee the country, many across the border into
the Dominican Republic, others aboard small boats bound for the United
States. Other boats headed for Belize, Cuba, Honduras, Jamaica, Trinidad
and Tobago and Venezuela, their passengers seeking asylum. While the
United States Coast Guard intercepted many of these boats, it is suspected
that many others have sunk and their passengers drowned.
104. Prior to the coup d'6tat in Haiti, the United States Government,
based on a bilateral agreement with Haiti, had a policy of intercepting Haitian
vessels on the international waters of the Caribbean Sea and returning their
passengers to their country of origin. Over a ten-year period (September
1981-September 1991) approximately 20,000 Haitians had been intercepted
under the terms of that agreement. Since the coup d'6tat, estimates are that
some 40,000 Haitian nationals have been intercepted by the Coast Guard,
and 30,000 of them returned to Haiti.
105. Once the boats were intercepted, the Haitians were taken to the
United States Naval Base at GuantAnamo Bay, Cuba, where they were
interviewed by representatives of the United States Immigration and
Naturalization Service to determine whether, under international law, they
were eligible for refugee status.
106. The United States Government had argued that the Haitians'
reasons for fleeing their country were mostly economic in nature and not
political, so that they had to be screened before asylum could be granted. On
November 18 and 19, 1991, the United States authorities returned to Haiti
over 500 people who had requested asylum. As a result of these events,
many suits were filed in the United States federal courts in Florida, by
nongovernmental organizations representing the refugee "boat people". The
suits were based on the possible physical danger to which these people
would be exposed if they were forcefully repatriated.
107. The U.S. district court issued a preliminary injunction to suspend
the enforced returns. At the same time, the news media and attorneys for
the boat people were authorized to visit Guantanamo Bay. It was said that
some 33% of the cases involved people who were eligible for refugee status.
108. On January 31, 1992, the Solicitor General requested a stay of
the preliminary injunction issued by the U.S. district court, which the United
States Supreme Court granted. The Inter-American Commission on Human
Rights twice requested the United States Government to suspend the practice
of returning the Haitians on humanitarian grounds.
109. As the massive exodus of Haitians continued, on May 24, 1992,
the United States Government enacted the "Interdiction of Illegal Aliens"
Executive Order which revoked and replaced the 1981 order. It would allow
any Haitian intercepted on the high seas by the United States Coast Guard to
be returned immediately to Haiti. Under the terms of that executive order,
the Attorney General requires Haitians seeking asylum in the United States
to apply through the United States Embassy in Port-au-Prince. It was said
that the purpose of the executive order was to protect the lives of Haitians
who set out to reach the United States in unsafe crafts.
110. Some argued that the executive order was based on the premise
that the principle of non-refoulement contained in the United Nations
Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees did not apply because Article
33 was not self-executing as to persons situated outside United States
territory. The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees,
on the other hand, stated that paragraph 1, Article 33 of the 1951
Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, concerning the principle of
non-refoulement, was self-executing both within and outside United States
111. On July 29, 1992, the Federal Court of Appeals declared that
United States laws prohibited the government from returning Haitians who
were fleeing the country in vessels without determining first whether they
were being persecuted. The Court added that the current United States
policy of intercepting all vessels that would appear to be carrying Haitian
refugees prevented those refugees from seeking asylum in other countries
such as the Bahamas, Jamaica, or Cuba. On August 1, after the Government
appealed that decision, the Supreme Court, by a vote of seven to two,
suspended the injunction, thus allowing the government to continue its policy
of intercepting and returning Haitian refugees.
112. The Supreme Court set August 24, 1992, as the deadline for the
Government to submit its case, while attorneys for the Haitian refugees
would have until September to argue their points. The outcome of this legal
proceeding is not yet known. It is possible that the process will go on until
all remedies have been exhausted, which means that Haitian refugees will
continue to be repatriated without being given a hearing to make their case
113. Earlier it was announced that the refugee facilities at Guantanamo
Bay Naval Base had reached maximum capacity. The Immigration and
Naturalization Service reported that 10,736 Haitians had been moved to the
United States so that their applications might be processed, except for some
274 people who turned out to be HIV-positive and would therefore remain at
the Guantanamo Bay facilities; their applications for asylum would continue
to be processed from there.
114. The first week in January 1993, 45 Haitian refugees went on a
hunger strike at the Krome Detention Center (located on the outskirts of
Miami) to protest the immigration policy, which they claimed gave preference
to Cuban refugees. The hunger strike began two days after the release of 48
Cubans who had arrived in Miami on December 29, 1992, aboard a
commercial airliner that had been rerouted.
115. As January 20, 1993, approached, departures of refugees
resumed and it was feared that when the new administration took office in
the United States, there would be a massive exodus of 200,000 refugees.
On January 14, President-elect Bill Clinton went on radio with a message
asking Haitians to remain in their country and informing them that when he
was sworn into office, the "boat people" would continue to be intercepted
and returned to Haiti. The new administration announced a global plan to
restore democracy in Haiti and secure the return of deposed President
Aristide. It also reported that operation "Able Manner", involving 20 United
States Navy vessels and 10 aircraft, was being launched just off the Haitian
coastline to prevent hundreds of Haitians from perishing at sea. Human rights
groups representing the Haitian refugees condemned the announcement,
saying that the action was a violation of international law and United States
law, which make it unlawful to return the refugees and expose them to
reprisals without giving them an opportunity to establish their eligibility for
116. Some 236 Haitians were intercepted and taken directly to Haiti
during the first week of this year. Another 102 refugees, among them eight
survivors of the sinking "Vierge Mirage" which had 400 Haitians on board,
returned from Cuba via the air-bridge between Cuba and Haiti. That bridge
was the initiative of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, in
cooperation with the Red Cross of both countries. Some sources say that
since January 12, 1,298 refugees have decided to return to Haiti voluntarily.
117. Once the refugees are returned to Haiti, they are met by customs
officials, who fingerprint and photograph them, and take their general data.
Members of the International Committee of the Red Cross and diplomats from
the United States Embassy have said that the refugees are not mistreated
upon their arrival. However, human rights groups have said that the
exhaustive identification made of each one of the refugees has created
certain fear of what could happen to them later.
118. In certain cases it was indicated that a number of repatriated
haitians were arrested at their homes and later some of them were found
dead. Others were beaten in public by soldiers who forced them under threat
of arms to identify other repatriated persons. In other cases it was indicated
that some repatriated individuals were taken to the National Penitentiary
where they were subjected to torture and denied food.
119. During the period covered by this report, the human rights
situation in Haiti has deteriorated badly. The incidence of such human rights
violations as extrajudicial executions, enforced disappearances, arbitrary
detentions, torture, abuse, extortion and repression of the press has greatly
increased. Most of these violations were engendered in a political scenario
created by the de facto government in its desire to consolidate its power.
120. Human rights violations perpetrated in a variety of ways by the de
facto government have become a routine part of the Haitian people's daily
life, creating disorder and leaving them totally defenseless against the tactics
used by State agents against them. The de facto government's practice has
been to arrest members of the political opposition and anyone it suspects of
supporting the restoration of democracy. The charge of "terrorism" is
commonly used by the military to justify summary executions, arbitrary
arrests and violent, unannounced searches.
121. The institutionalized violence and corruption practiced with
impunity by members of the army and police whose function is to protect the
citizenry, has caused a series of abuses against the Haitian people. The
section chiefs and their aides -the old repressive system that the de facto
authorities have reinstated- are far overstepping their functions as police,
terrorizing a rural population that is utterly helpless and completely at their
mercy. At the same time, the judicial authorities have been neither efficient
nor decisive in prosecuting investigations into these violations.
122. Again, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights must
point out that regardless of the prevailing political situation, the American
Convention on Human Rights continues to be in force for the Haitian State.
Consequently, those who exercise power, though it be de facto power, have
the obligation to respect the rights and freedoms contained in the Convention
and to guarantee their free and full exercise.
123. It has been the position of the Commission that of the varied
forms of government recognized under constitutional law, the democratic
system must be the overriding element so that a society can fully exercise its
human rights. As has been shown, to deny political rights or to disregard the
will of the people begets violence. The Commission is fully aware that until
the interested parties share a genuine political resolve to find a solution to the
Haitian crisis, the human rights situation will continue to deteriorate.
124. The Commission therefore hopes that the efforts made by the
Organization of American States and the United Nations will help find a
political solution that will restore the democratic system of government,
where human rights can be respected to the fullest.
125. The Commission will continue to monitor the human rights
situation in Haiti in furtherance of its duties as established by the American
Convention on Human Rights.
For over three months, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights has
repeatedly asked the de facto government of Haiti to consent to a visit to that country to
investigate on site the numerous complaints received pertaining to human rights violations
attributed to repression by the armed forces, the police, and auxiliary civilian groups
operating on their orders. The IACHR advised the Government of its intention to conduct
two visits: an exploratory one to be carried out from December 13 to 15, 1992, and an
on-site visit to be conducted from January 11 to 15, 1993. The de facto government still
has not given such consent. On the contrary, on December.8, the IACHR received a
message from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Haiti advising that the dates on which
such visits were to take place would be reported in the following days. But it was not
until one month later that the de facto authorities replied that "the visit by the Inter-
American Commission on Human Rights did not seem necessary to the Haitian
The complaints lodged by the victims themselves and accounts from reliable sources
indicate that numerous people have been executed summarily, illegally detained, abused,
and tortured by members of the Armed Forces and the police. In most cases, the victims
have been supporters of deposed President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. Other victims have
simply been suspected of supporting him. Demonstrations and meetings have been
violently suppressed, and journalists have not been allowed to report the facts. Many of
the victims of these violations are leaders or members of people's or human-rights
organizations, students, journalists, merchants, peasants, and members of the Catholic
In rural areas, repression and violence have escalated with the reinstatement of
"section chiefs," who act with the acquiescence of the military and absolute impunity.
Both in the capital and in the provinces, the population is subjected to the corrupt
practices of the de facto authorities. And soldiers extort money from civilians as
protection against detention and abuse, or simply for improvement of the conditions under
which they are held in detention centers, or sometimes even for their release.
The climate of fear and uncertainty in the country has led a large part of the
population, especially those who support the return of President Aristide, to migrate to the
country's interior seeking refuge, forced to abandon their homes and stay in hiding. This
situation has also compelled a large number of Haitians to flee the country in precarious
boats to request asylum in the United States.
The practice of "preventive repression" used against the civilian population and the
deterioration of the political situation have given rise to continual violations of individual
rights, such as the right to life, the right to humane treatment, the right to personal liberty,
freedom of thought and expression, the right of assembly, and freedom of association, all
of which are protected by the American Convention on Human Rights, to which the
Republic of Haiti is a state party.
The Commission should point out that the American Convention on Human Rights
remains in effect regardless of the political situation prevailing in a state party.
Consequently, the Commission stresses that those who exercise power in a state, even
in a de facto manner, are obligated to observe the individual rights recognized by the
American Convention on Human Rights.
The ad hoc Meeting of Ministers of Foreign Affairs adopted, on December 13, 1992,
the Resolution "Reinstatement of Democracy in Haiti" (MRE/RES.4/92), in which it decided
to "instruct the President of the Ad Hoc Meeting of Ministers of Foreign Affairs and the
Secretary General of the OAS to cooperate in the efforts of the Chairman of the Inter-
American Commission on Human Rights, in light of the serious and continuing human
rights violations in Haiti and the refusal of the current de facto authorities to allow the
Commission to conduct an on-site visit as soon as possible."
The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights remains steadfastly determined
to travel to Haiti to investigate on site the grave violations reported. In view of the de
facto government's refusal to cooperate with it, the Commission renews its appeal to all
nongovernmental human rights organizations, particularly those operating in Haiti, to the
victims and their relatives, and in general to all those whose individual rights have been
violated in any way because of the political crisis, to forward their complaints to the
The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights issues an appeal to the de facto
government, and especially to the Armed Forces, to cease their systematic human rights
violations, of which the Haitian people are the victim.
Washington, D.C., January 8, 1993
The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights is deeply disturbed by the
systematic human rights violations that continue to victimize the Haitian public. It
strenuously condemns, in particular, the events that took place in front of the Port-au-
Prince cathedral on February 25, 1993.
The Commission was informed of the unlawful arrests and abuse inflicted upon
those who participated in the mass celebrated on February 25, in memory of the victims
lost with the sinking of the ferry Neptune. According to reports, as he walking out of the
cathedral Monsignor Willy Rom6lus, Bishop of Jeremie, was beaten and his surplice torn
by armed men. Among those arrested were Edride Jean and Julienne Charles, members
of the grassroots ecclesiastical communities (TKL), and Pharnes Jan, who was beaten and
then taken away to the National Penitentiary. According to the information it has
received, Mr. Pharnes had been so severely beaten that he was in urgent need of medical
attention. Mrs. Arlette Josu6, a journalist from Signal FM and the Voice of America, was
also detained, along with a seminarian, as she was leaving the cathedral. She was
mistreated during her interrogation at the Anti-Gang Investigation Service.
The Commission has also learned of the repression by the military in Jeremie in early
March. According to reliable sources, a number of young people were arrested and beaten
by the military; only a handful were released. Mr. Patrick Bourdeau was so badly beaten
while in custody that he was unable to walk. The detainees are still in prison, in violation
of the 48-hour limit that the Haitian Constitution stipulates in cases of preventive
The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights asks the de facto authorities to
immediately release the individuals who are being unlawfully held and to respect their
physical integrity. It once again calls upon the Armed Forces, pursuant to the American
Convention on Human Rights, to stop the systematic human rights violations being
committed against the Haitian people and to respect the individual freedoms upheld in that
international agreement, of which Haiti is a State Party.
The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights is still determined to go to Haiti
for an on-site investigation of the grave violations denounced.
Washington, D.C., March 5, 1993
DECLARATION OF THE INTER-AMERICAN COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS
Because of the grave internal situation in Haiti and in response to the complaints and
requests it has received asking for emergency measures to safeguard the fate, safety and
integrity of the increasing number of Haitian boat people, the Inter-American Commission
on Human Rights is calling upon the governments of the hemisphere, pursuant to the
obligations established in the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man and
the American Convention on Human Rights, as appropriate, the Convention relating to the
Status of Refugees and the principles and rules of international humanitarian law, to take
the emergency measures necessary to prevent the dangers and suffering experienced by
those Haitians who, although forced to flee their country because of their repression and
persecution by agents of the de facto authorities, have been or are being repatriated.
On May 24, 1992, because of the great increase in the number of Haitians trying
to reach the United States by sea, then United States President George Bush issued an
executive order authorizing the United States Coast Guard to intercept the Haitian
emigrants on the high seas and return them directly to Haiti. According to figures supplied
by the United States Government, as of late January 1993, 30,340 people had been
returned to Haiti. On numerous occasions, nongovernmental human rights groups have
informed the Commission that under international law and United States domestic law as
well, it is unlawful to return refugees and expose them to the danger of reprisals without
giving them an opportunity to prove the merits of their petition of asylum.
As pointed out in the reports of the Commission and of other human rights
organizations, since the coup d'etat in September 1991, the preventive repression has
been continual. This repression is calculated not to punish for an act being committed or
already committed, but to prevent possible public demonstrations or protest movements.
The people in the poor neighborhoods and rural areas, who together represent the vast
majority of the Haitian population, live not only in dire poverty but also in constant fear of
being detained, tortured or murdered. Compounding this is extortion: many of these
people have to pay the security forces in order not to be persecuted and mistreated, to
make their imprisonment less painful, or simply to obtain their release after being arbitrarily
arrested. This is doubly cruel for the poor people of Haiti: while their rights to life,
humane treatment and personal liberty are being violated, they are also being forced to
turn over or sell everything they own, leaving them completely destitute.
The Commission believes that apart from the urgent measures that the governments
of the hemisphere must take to deal with the emergency situation created by the Haitian
boat people, the presence of a joint UN/OAS Civilian Mission in Haiti must be used to
advantage; its investigatory and informative functions should include careful monitoring
of the facts involved in the problem of the Haitian boat people.
The IACHR again confirms its willingness to cooperate closely with the Special
Envoy of the Secretaries General of the OAS and the UN, with the Civilian Mission that
has been and is being deployed in Haitian territory and with all the other international
organizations and agencies in order to find a solution to the political crisis, reestablish
legitimate democratic government and full respect for human rights in Haiti.
Washington D.C., March 11, 1993
Protocol between President Jean-Bertrand Aristide
and the parliamentary negotiating commission to find a definitive
solution to the Haitian crisis
The signatory parties to this protocol recognize and acknowledge the principle of the
urgent necessity for a concerted and negotiated solution to the political and institutional
crisis which Haitian society has been experiencing since President Jean-Bertrand Aristide
went into exile on 30 September 1991, and that this solution, in order to be viable and
lasting, must be sought within the context of respect for the Haitian Constitution and for
national sovereignty and must lead to:
The establishment and consolidation of democratic institutions;
The implementation of measures to guarantee civil liberties, halt repression and
prevent any attempts at revenge or settling of accounts.
With all these aims in view the signatory parties undertake to:
1. Encourage, consolidate and respect the principle of the separation of powers
in accordance with the Constitution and, within that context, to work to set in place
mechanisms for harmonization and collaboration so as to facilitate the establishment of
the institutions provided for in the basic Charter;
2. Guarantee civil liberties and facilitate the free functioning of political parties
and civic organizations in respect for the Constitution and the laws governing said
The Parties recognize the necessity for the Haitian Parliament, which is the co-
depository of national sovereignty, to:
1. Reinstate Jean-Bertrand Aristide in the exercise of his function as the
constitutionally-elected President of the Republic of Haiti and undertake to assist the
Government of national consensus to bring about the conditions for the return of Jean-
Bertrand Aristide to Haiti;
2. Draw up and pass laws to set in place the institutions provided for in the
Constitution, inter alia:
(a) The Act concerning territorial groups;
(b) The Act concerning separation of the police and the armed forces;
(c) The Act concerning operation of the Citizens' Protection Bureau;
3. To facilitate by laws and regulations, implementation of a policy of social
peace and economic revival.
The parties recognize the necessity for President Jean-Bertrand Aristide to:
1. Respect the decisions taken and acts ratified by the Haitian Parliament. In
the event of disagreement between the executive and the legislature, it shall be possible
for either party to refer to the Conciliation Commission, in accordance with article 111-5
of the Constitution;
2. Agree that, during his absence, the Prime Minister shall take over
management of the affairs of State, in accordance with article 148 of the Constitution.
The parties recognize the need to:
1. Proclaim a general amnesty, save for common criminals:
2. Refrain from any ambiguous statement which could be interpreted as an
incitement to violence;
3. Accept the new consensus Prime Minister chosen by President Jean-Bertrand
Aristide in consultation with the President of the Senate and President of the Chamber of
4. Request the lifting of the embargo and the sanctions provided for in chapter
I, paragraph 4, of resolution MRE-2/91 of the Organization of American States,
immediately after confirmation of the Prime Minister and installation of the Government
of national consensus;
5. Recognize their obligation to undertake all necessary measures with a view
to putting national institutions in a context that will enable them to take all decisions
within their competence, in complete freedom, without having to suffer violent
intervention, threats of violence from any force whatever;
6. Recommend to Parliament that it should, as a matter of urgency, approve the
request of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide to OAS to send the civilian OEA-DEMOC
mission to Haiti;
7. Request the Organization of American States and the international community
to provide the Government of national consensus with substantial assistance as a matter
of urgency so as to revitalize the Haitian economy, promote social well-being,
professionalize the armed forces and the police and strengthen the democratic institutions.
8. Reject and condemn any intervention by foreign armed forces in the
settlement of Haitian affairs.
DONE in good faith, in triplicate at Washington D.C., on 23 February 1992.
This protocol of agreement shall enter into force immediately after ratification by the
National Assembly at the convocation of its President.
(Signed) Jean Bertrand-ARISTIDE
President of the Republic of Haiti
(Signed) D6jean BELIZAIRE
President of the Senate and of the
Parliamentary Negotiating Commission
(Signed) Alexandre MEDARD
President of the Chamber of Deputies
and Vice-President of the
Parliamentary Negotiating Commission
Protocol of agreement between President Jean-Bertrand Aristide
and Prime Minister- Designate Ren6 Th6odore under the auspices
of the Organization of American States (OAS)
In order to establish a climate of confidence, restore the democratic order, stimulate
the national economy, consolidate the institutions and facilitate the return to power of
President Jean-Bertrand Aristide:
1. The undersigned parties recognize, in setting in motion the restoration of the
constitutional order in Haiti, the importance of resolutions MRE/RES.1/91 and
MRE/RES.2/91 of the Ad Hoc Meeting of Ministers for Foreign Affairs of member countries
of the Organization of American States and resolution CP/RES.567 (870/91) of the
Permanent Council of the Organization.
2. They recognize, in setting in motion the restoration of the constitutional order in
Haiti, the importance of the "protocol between President Jean-Bertrand Aristide and the
parliamentary negotiating commission to find a definitive solution to the Haitian crisis".
3. The recognize also that President Jean-Bertrand Aristide enjoys fully and completely
his constitutional prerogatives as Head of State.
4. The parties pledge to take all necessary measures to guarantee public liberties and
to halt all repression and reprisals. To that end, they recognize the necessity for the
deployment, as quickly as possible, of the civilian OEA-DEMOC mission and of
representatives of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. They urge
international organizations, in particular the United Nations, the organizations for the
defense of human rights and the international press to spare no effort in their contributions
to that endeavor.
5. The parties recognize the need to form a Government of national unity, whose
programme will be drawn up -with the political parties represented in Parliament and which
support this Government- by the Prime Minister together with the President.
6. In order not only to respect the vote of 16 December 1990 and the mandate relating
thereto but also to guarantee the Prime Minister's responsibility for forming the
government team, the parties agree that the President and the Primer Minister shall
proceed, in agreement, to choose the persons to fill the ministerial posts.
7. The parties recognize the need, once he has been confirmed, for the Prime Minister
to work to create the conditions for the return of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. In the
meanwhile, the Prime Minister undertakes to meet the President of the Republic, as far as
possible every two weeks, to evaluate the functioning of the Government and the
conditions of return. For this meeting, they shall request a report from the Secretary
General of the Organization of American States to enable them to evaluate the assistance
of that institution with regard to the progress of the return process. One month after
ratification, the President of the Republic, the Prime Minister and the Secretary General
shall meet to determine the modalities of the return of the President of the Republic.
8. The President undertakes to provide the Prime Minister with all necessary
collaboration and political support for the accomplishment of his task in accordance with
the provision of the Constitution.
9. The parties recognize the need to request the lifting of the embargo and other
sanctions contained in chapter I, paragraph 4, of resolution MRE/RES.2/91 of the Ad Hoc
Meeting of Ministers for Foreign Affairs of member countries of the Organization of
American States at the official request of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, once the Prime
Minister has been confirmed and the Government installed.
10. The parties undertake to give particular attention to the military with a view to
professionalizing it and establishing better conditions, materially and as regards morale,
that should enable it to participate in the democratic process and carry out its
11. The parties recognize the need to approach member countries of the Organization
of American States and the United Nations, international organizations and the
international community in general, in order to obtain emergency assistance for the
reconstruction of Haiti's economy and the technical and financial means required to
strengthen its institutions.
Done in good faith in triplicate at Washington D.C. on February 25, 1992.
(Signed) Jean-Bertrand Aristide
President of the Republic of Haiti
(Signed) Ren6 Theodore
Signed under the auspices of the Organization of American States
(Signed) Joio Baena Soares
THE ORGANIZATION OF AMERICAN STATES
The Organization of American States (OAS) is the world's oldest regional organization, dating
back to the First International Conference of American States, held in Washington, D.C., on April 14,
1890. This meeting approved the establishment of the International Union of American Republics.
The Charter of the OAS was signed in Bogota in 1948 and entered into force on December 13, 1951.
The Charter was subsequently amended by the Protocol of Buenos Aires signed in 1967, which en-
tered into force on February 27, 1970, and by the Protocol of Cartagena de Indias, signed in 1985,
which entered into force on November 16, 1988. The OAS currently has 35 Member States. In addi-
tion, the Organization has granted Permanent Observer status to 27 States in Europe, Africa and
Asia, as well as to the Holy See and the European Economic Community.
The basic purposes of the OAS are as follows: to strengthen the peace and security of the con-
tinent; to promote and consolidate representative democracy, with due respect for the principle of
nonintervention; to prevent possible causes of difficulties and to ensure the pacific settlement of dis-
putes that may arise among the Member States; to provide for common action on the part of those
States in the event of aggression; to seek the solution of political, juridical and economic problems
that may arise among them; to promote, by cooperative action, their economic, social and cultural
development, and to achieve an effective limitation of conventional weapons that will make it possi-
ble to devote the largest amount of resources to the economic and social development of the Mem-
The OAS accomplishes its purposes through the following organs: the General Assembly; the
Meeting of Consultation of Ministers of Foreign Affairs; the Councils (the Permanent Council, the
Inter-American Economic and Social Council and the Inter-American Council for Education, Sci-
ence, and Culture); the Inter-American Juridical Committee; the Inter-American Commission on
Human Rights; the General Secretariat; the Specialized Conferences; the Specialized Organizations
and other entities established by the General Assembly.
The General Assembly holds regular sessions once a year. Under special circumstances it
meets in special session. The Meeting of Consultation is convened to consider urgent matters of
common interest and to serve as Organ of Consultation under the Inter-American Treaty of Recipro-
cal Assistance (Rio Treaty), the main instrument for joint action in the event of aggression. The Per-
manent Council takes cognizance of such matters as are entrusted by the General Assembly or the
Meeting of Consultation and implements the decisions of both organs when their implementation
has not been assigned to any other body, it monitors the maintenance of friendly relations among
the Member States and the observance of the standards governing General Secretariat operations
and also acts provisionally as Organ of Consultation under the Rio Treaty. The purpose of the other
two Councils is to promote cooperation among the Member States in their respective areas of com-
petence. These Councils hold one annual meeting and meet in special sessions when convoked in
accordance with the procedures provided for in the Charter. The General Secretariat is the central
and permanent organ of the OAS. The headquarters of both the Permanent Council and the General
Secretariat is in Washington, D.C.
MEMBER STATES: Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, The Bahamas (Commonwealth of),
Barbados, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominica
(Commonwealth of), Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Grenada, Guatemala, Guyana,
Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, St. Kitts and Nevis, Saint
Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, United States,
Uruguay and Venezuela.