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HUMAN RIGHTS IN HAITI
IUMAN RIGHTS AND INTERNATIONAL
COMMITTEE ON FOREIGN AFFAIRS
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
APRIL 17, 1985
Printed for the use of the Committee on Foreign Affairs
ST. LOUIS UNIVERSITY'
@ U. S. DEPOSITORY
REFc WG 2 5 Q5
U.S. GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE
WASHINGTON : 1985
COMMITTEE ON FOREIGN AFFAIRS
DANTE B. FASCELL, Florida, Chairman
LEE H. HAMILTON, Indiana
GUS YATRON, Pennsylvania
STEPHEN J. SOLARZ, New York
DON BONKER, Washington
GERRY E. STUDDS, Massachusetts
DAN MICA, Florida
MICHAEL D. BARNES, Maryland
HOWARD WOLPE, Michigan
GEO. W. CROCKETT, JR., Michigan
SAM GEJDENSON, Connecticut
MERVYN M. DYMALLY, California
TOM LANTOS, California
PETER H. KOSTMAYER, Pennsylvania
ROBERT G. TORRICELLI, New Jersey
LAWRENCE J. SMITH, Florida
HOWARD L. BERMAN, California
HARRY REID, Nevada
MEL LEVINE, California
EDWARD F. FEIGHAN, Ohio
TED WEISS, New York
GARY L. ACKERMAN, New York
BUDDY MACKAY, Florida
MORRIS K. UDALL, Arizona
ROBERT GARCIA, New York
WILLIAM S. BROOMFIELD, Michigan
BENJAMIN A. GILMAN, New York
ROBERT J. LAGOMARSINO, California
JIM LEACH, Iowa
TOBY ROTH, Wisconsin
OLYMPIA J. SNOWE, Maine
HENRY J. HYDE, Illinois
GERALD B.H. SOLOMON, New York
DOUG BEREUTER, Nebraska
MARK D. SILJANDER, Michigan
ED ZSCHAU, California
ROBERT K. DORNAN, California
CHRISTOPHER H. SMITH, New Jersey
CONNIE MACK, Florida
MICHAEL DEWINE, Ohio
DAN BURTON, Indiana
JOHN McCAIN, Arizona
JOHN J. BRADY, Jr., Chief of Staff
SHIRLEY DAWSON, Staff Assistant
SUBCOMMITTEE ON HUMAN RIGHTS AND INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS
GUS YATRON, Pennsylvania, Chairman
GARY L. ACKERMAN, New York GERALD B.H. SOLOMON, New York
DON BONKER, Washington CHRISTOPHER H. SMITH, New Jersey
TOM LANTOS, California MARK D. SILJANDER, Michigan
EDWARD F. FEIGHAN, Ohio DAN BURTON, Indiana
GEO. W. CROCKETT, JR., Michigan
MARK J. TAVLARIDES, Subcommittee Staff Director
DAVID LONIE, Minority Staff Consultant
BERNADETTE PAOLO, Subcommittee Staff Consultant
KERRY BOLOGNESE, Subcommittee Staff Consultant
John Healey, executive director, Amnesty International, U.S.A., accompanied
by Rona Weitz, Latin America area coordinator, Washington office ............... 3
Michael S. Hooper, on behalf of Americas Watch................................ ........... 11
Michael H. Posner, executive director, Lawyers Committee for International
H um an R ights........................................................................................................ 29
Theodore A. Adams, Jr., president, Unified Industries, Inc................................ 42
Hon. Elliott Abrams, Assistant Secretary of State, Bureau of Human Rights
and H um anitarian Affairs .................................................................................. 53
1. Statement by Hon. Major R. Owens, a Representative in Congress from the
State of New York .......................... 71
2. Text of House Concurrent Resolution 120, expressing the sense of the
Congress that the President should withdraw the determination that the
Government of Haiti is making progress toward improving the human
rights situation in H aiti....................................................... ............................ 72
3. Letter from His Excellency Adrien Raymond, Ambassador of Haiti, to Hon.
Gus Yatron, regarding human rights in Haiti................................... .......... 75
4. Report by Amnesty International entitled "Haiti: Arbitrary Arrests, No-
vember 1984," February 1985 .................................................... ...................... 80
5. Section on Haiti from the 1984 Country Reports on Human Rights Prac-
tices, published by the Department of State, February 1985 ........................... 85
6. Letter dated May 2, 1985, from Hon. Walter E. Fauntroy, Member of
Congress from Washington, DC, to M. Peter McPherson, Director, Agency
for International Development, regarding AID's program in Haiti................... 95
7. Conclusions of the report prepared by the National Coalition for Haitian
Refugees, Americas Watch, and the Lawyers Committee for International
Human Rights entitled "Haiti: Rights Denied," March 1985.............................. 97
8. Statement of the United Haitian Association of the United States of Amer-
ica ............................................... ............. ...... .. ... .......................................... 98
HUMAN RIGHTS IN HAITI
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 17, 1985
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
COMMITTEE ON FOREIGN AFFAIRS,
SUBCOMMITTEE ON HUMAN RIGHTS AND
The subcommittee met at 10:05 a.m., in room 2200, Rayburn
House Office Building, Hon. Gus Yatron (chairman of the subcom-
Mr. YATRON. The Subcommittee on Human Rights and Interna-
tional Organizations will come to order.
The subcommittee meets today to review the human rights situa-
tion in Haiti. Clearly, Haiti is one of the most distressed nations on
Earth. Its citizens are among the world's poorest and economically
distraught. Haitian annual per capital income is approximately
$270, and the prevailing wage for a worker in that country is $2.65
Illiteracy is 80 percent. Unemployment is 50 percent. Life expect-
ancy is only 45 years. Social services are almost nonexistent, and
malnutrition particularly among the young has reached pandemic
Combined with such economic hardships, the Haitian people also
suffer under a repressive regime which tightly controls political ac-
tivity and restricts the fundamental freedoms of speech, press, and
association in violation of its own constitution. In addition, due
process is often denied.
The Foreign Affairs Committee has actively endeavored to pro-
mote respect for basic human rights in Haiti. Legislation which au-
thorizes aid to Haiti requires the State Department to determine
whether the Haitian Government is making a concerted and signif-
icant effort to improve the human rights situation by implement-
ing certain essential political reforms. U.S. assistance has been re-
stricted to that which is, in general, humanitarian in nature.
While there is some evidence to suggest that the U.S. policy is
working to encourage the Duvalier regime to relax its control, the
overall picture remains clouded and uncertain.
In 1984, legislative elections were held, but many prominent op-
position candidates were prohibited from participating, and in
some areas the Government resorted to fraud and violence to
ensure desired results. Last year, President-for-Life Jean-Claude
Duvalier also lifted certain press restrictions and sent letters to rel-
evant Government authorities calling on them to respect human
rights. Unfortunately, when subsequent events tested the new
policy, the Government initiated a crackdown against journalists
and political opponents to silence dissent.
The subcommittee will hear testimony today from some distin-
guished experts to examine recent developments in Haiti and de-
termine the extent to which that country is genuinely attempting
to improve its human rights record.
I would now like to call on the ranking minority member, Con-
gressman Jerry Solomon. Jerry, do you have an opening state-
Mr. SOLOMON. Yes, Mr. Chairman. Thank you very much, and
Mr. Chairman, one of the most important responsibilities of this
subcommittee is to investigate and to monitor the observance of
human rights standards by governments throughout the world.
This is the responsibility that each of us, as members of the sub-
committee, takes very seriously, and it is with the intent to be con-
structive that we have approached this hearing today.
No one derives any particular pleasure from having to examine
human rights conditions in any given country, and that is especial-
ly true when we consider the Republic of Haiti-a country that you
have described, Mr. Chairman, as one of the most distressed in all
I need not repeat the list of problems in Haiti that you have al-
ready cited. Allow me to express the hope that this hearing will
shed light on a number of important issues concerning just how
much leverage does the United States have with a government like
that in Haiti? How much can we really accomplish from here? Has
our economic assistance for Haiti had a positive effect in that coun-
try, or would we all be better off if the Government of Haiti was
isolated again as in the 1960's?
How do Haiti's crushing economic and environmental problems
affect human rights conditions there? And how do these various
problems interact with each other?
I hope this hearing will help provide answers to these and other
questions because, as everyone knows, Haiti's problems have
become America's problems as well.
The plight of the refugees and immigrants from Haiti seeking,
whether legally or illegally, to enter the United States is an issue
of great concern to all of us, and I am thankful that you are calling
this hearing today, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. YATRON. Thank you very much, Mr. Solomon, for an excel-
lent statement. At this point, I would like to submit for the record
a statement submitted by our colleague, Congressman Owens from
New York, as well as a copy of his bill on Haiti.1 I would also like
to submit for the record a letter that I received from the Ambassa-
dor of Haiti regarding the evolution of human rights in his coun-
Our first witnesses today will be testifying as a panel. We are
pleased to welcome Mr. John Healey, executive director, Amnesty
International, U.S.A; Mr. Michael Hooper, who is testifying on
behalf of Americas Watch; Mr. Michael Posner, executive director
See appendixes 1 and 2.
2 See appendix 3.
of the Lawyers Committee for International Human Rights; and
Mr. Theodore Adams, president of Unified Industries, Inc.
It would be very much appreciated if the witnesses would limit
their oral statements to 5 minutes or less. This way we will have
more time for the question and answer period.
The entire text of your written statements will, of course, be in-
cluded in the hearing record.
Our first witness is Mr. John Healey, accompanied by Rona
Weitz, Latin America area coordinator of the Washington office of
Amnesty International, U.S.A. Mr. Healey, we welcome you and
look forward to hearing your statement.
STATEMENT OF JOHN HEALEY, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, AMNESTY
INTERNATIONAL, U.S.A., ACCOMPANIED BY RONA WEITZ, LATIN
AMERICA AREA COORDINATOR, WASHINGTON OFFICE
Mr. HEALEY. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I am pleased once again
to appear before this subcommittee on behalf of the U.S. section of
Amnesty International, U.S.A., commends the holding of these
hearings on Haiti and welcomes the opportunity to present testimo-
ny on the human rights situation in that country.
Mr. Chairman, at this time I would like to request that our writ-
ten statement be submitted for the hearing record, including sever-
al minor changes. I have before me an amended written statement
which I will be happy to submit to the subcommittee.
Mr. YATRON. Without objection.
Mr. HEALEY. Human rights violations in Haiti are by no means a
new phenomenon. During the administration of the late President-
for-Life Francois Duvalier, human rights violations were wide-
spread and indiscriminate. Thousands of people suffered arbitrary
arrest, torture, disappearances, and extrajudicial executions.
In 1971, Francois Duvalier's son, Jean-Claude Duvalier, took
power, and today in Haiti repression is an institution. The policy of
the government is to silence its strongest critics by clamping down
on the opposition. Waves of arrests have swept the country in
recent months. Ill treatment continues to be a common practice.
Arbitrary killings at the hands of the security forces continue, and
in recent years, certain groups have been particular targets of har-
assment and intimidation. Most have been in a position to influ-
ence public opinion. They include trade unionists and those sus-
pected of being potential political opponents or of having links with
exile organizations. Journalists and leaders of newly formed politi-
cal parties, in particular, have faced imprisonment, house arrest,
surveillance, and exile.
While there are obstacles to information gathering on human
rights abuses in Haiti, information does find its way through a
number of channels, the most important of which are relatives of
the victims, churchworkers and families and friends living outside
of Haiti. During those brief periods when press censureship within
Haiti was less stringent, the news media published and broadcast
allegations of human rights abuses. Such reports have been found
by Amnesty International to be consistent with other reports re-
ceived directly by the organizations.
Hundreds of political detainees have been held without charge or
trial in recent years. In many cases, access to lawyers, relatives, or
doctors has been denied. Long-term incommunicado detention is
often unacknowledged by the Government in Haiti. Arrests are
generally carried out without warrant. Prisoners are rarely before
a judge within 48 hours. Both of these practices violate articles of
the Haitian constitution of 1983 as well as international law.
During this period of incommunicado detention, ill treatment fre-
quently occurs. While torture is not as widespread, it does occur.
There are clear indications that the judiciary does not act inde-
pendently of the executive. Decisions on whether and when to hold
trials appear to be decided on political grounds. The few who are
brought before a court have usually benefited from extensive
public and diplomatic pressure on their behalf. Even in cases
where trials do occur, legal proceedings violate Haitian law and do
not generally meet international standards. Those members of the
security forces who are responsible for abuses are generally not
The pattern that emerges is clear. Political detentions continue
outside the framework of the courts, the constitution, and the law,
although the Haitian Government has publicly stated its intention
to ensure that the legal safeguards for detainees embodied in the
constitution are enforced.
The famous Ton Ton Macoutes, renamed the Volunteers of Na-
tional Security [VSN] in 1977, are one of the major agents of re-
pression in Haiti. They are the armed militia directly responsible
to the President. Established in the late fifties, they took on many
of the responsibilities of the Haitian Army and police force. Since
its creation, the VSN has been characterized by their arbitrary
nature and extreme brutality.
Since 1957, thousands of Haitians have been killed, tortured, ar-
bitrarily imprisoned or made to disappear at the hands of the Ton
Ton Macoutes. Amnesty International continues to receive reports
of serious, virtually institutionalized abuses of human rights of the
Haitian population by the VSN.
The ill treatment of detainees in Haiti has been regularly report-
ed to Amnesty International since President Jean-Claude Duvalier
took office in 1971. Testimony received from former detainees and
their families, ex-members of the Haitian Army or security forces,
portray a disturbing picture of the continued use of ill treatment
and torture in Haiti.
According to information in the possession of Amnesty Interna-
tional, there appears to be no legal limits to the length of time a
detainee may be held incommunicado. It is this practice and the
fact that arrests are not generally acknowledged by the Govern-
ment that facilitates ill treatment and torture.
Most allegations of ill treatment and torture cite the Casernes
Desalines military barracks, police stations, and small detention
centers run by local police chiefs as the place where such practices
occur. Despite hundreds of formal complaints and inquiries con-
cerning individual cases, the Haitian Government has never made
public the findings of investigations into reports of ill treatment or
torture brought to their attention.
The two main detention centers for political detainees are the
barracks at Port-au-Prince and the national penitentiary. Condi-
tions in Haiti's political prisons have been known to be harsh. De-
tainees are held in squalid, damp cells, often naked. Diets and med-
ical attention are inadequate, and Amnesty International is aware
of at least one case where a political prisoner died in the national
penitentiary as a result of inadequate medical treatment following
reports of ill treatment in April 1982.
Amnesty International would like to take the opportunity at
these hearings to raise particular concern regarding the arbitrary
arrests in November of last year by Haitian security forces of a
large number of suspected Government opponents in various parts
of the country. While it is difficult to provide exact figures for the
total number of people arrested, Amnesty is aware of the reports of
at least 25 arrests. Some are now thought to have been released.
Others are still believed to be in detention. Among those arrested
were agronomists, a doctor, a minister, a bookkeeper, a journalist
Amnesty believes that the detainees were arrested solely for
their nonpolitical activities on behalf of the poor in Haiti. Further,
to date, the arrest of the majority of the detainees has not been
publicly acknowledged by the Government. The detainees were not
brought before a judge within 48 hours as specified in the constitu-
tion. Their incommunicado detention further heightened the risk of
their being tortured or ill treated while in detention, and I refer
you to the appendix to our written statement which elaborates on
these points further.
Following these arrests, the church in Haiti took a strong stand
in protest of the Government's actions. Since that time, tension be-
tween the church and the state has heightened. Church activists
have been harassed and intimidated. Several priests have reported-
ly been detained for short periods. Others have been insulted and
threatened. In some cases members of congregations have been
As U.S. legislators, you can play a specific role in assuring that
the U.S. Government is faithful to its commitment to human
rights. I urge you to press the Haitian Government to publish im-
mediately a list of detainees arrested in the November roundup.
Request that details of their whereabouts and charges against
them be provided. Urge the lifting of incommunicado detention and
that they be granted access to lawyers and relatives.
You can make a difference. By standing behind the Haitian
people you can make the promise of human rights a reality. Raise
your voice to Haitian officials. Let them know the world is watch-
ing. Mr. Chairman, in conclusion I bring the attention of the sub-
committee to Amnesty's new report on Haiti released last month.
The report is a result of years of research by Amnesty Internation-
al. That report relays our comments concerning human rights vio-
lations in Haiti, and while the report represents a wide range of
concerns, due to time constraints I will refer to them as those
issues which are most significant.
In the course of its research, Amnesty relied extensively on con-
tacts with human rights organizations in Haiti. The work of inde-
pendent human rights groups has virtually been halted due to the
present Government and security forces.
In the area of human rights, I bring to your attention an error
which appeared in the report on the 1979 human rights meeting,
the largest and most significant ever known to be held in Haiti.
The meeting was violently disrupted by Government security
forces. Hundreds were beaten, among them radio journalist George
Initial reports received by Amnesty International indicated that
he had died as a result of the beating that he had received during
the attack. Since the report was released, we have learned that Mr.
Michel, though severely injured, did recover.
We deeply regret this error. At the same time, we emphasize
that that in no way diminishes our concerns at the institutionaliza-
tion of repression in Haiti.
In closing, Mr.' Chairman, I urge you and the members of the
subcommittee to use your influence to promote human rights in
[Mr. Healey's prepared statement follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF JOHN HEALEY, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, AMNESTY
Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I am pleased once again to appear before
this subcommittee on behalf of the U.S. section of Amnesty International.
AIUSA commends the holding of hearings on Haiti and welcomes the opportunity
to present testimony on the human rights situation in that country.
As the members of this subcommittee are no doubt aware, Amnesty International
recently released a new report on Haiti. The release of that report, one month
ago, marked the onset of a campaign initiated by Amnesty International on the
human rights situation in Haiti. Its purpose --to highlight the widespread
nature of human rights abuses under the Government of Jean Claude Duvalier.
The report covers the pattern of abuses in Haiti during the five year period
from 1979 to 1984. Since time constraints do not permit me to elaborate
on all issues covered in the report, I will refer here only to those aspects
of the human rights situation which are most significant.
Human rights violations in Haiti are by no means a new phenomena. During
the administration of the late President for life Francois Duvalier, human
rights violations were widespread and indiscriminate. Thousands of people
suffered arbitrary arrest, torture, "disappearances" and extrajudicial executions.
In 1971 Francois Duvalier's son Jean-Claude Duvalier took power.
Today in Haiti repression is an institution. The policy of the government
is to silence its strongest critics by clamping down on the opposition. Waves
of arrests have swept the country in recent months. Ill-treatment continues
to be a common practice. Arbitrary killings at the hands of the security
forces continue. In recent years, certain groups have been particular
targets of harassment and intimidation. Host have been in a position to
influence public opinion. They include trade unionists, and those suspected
of being potential political opponents or of having links with exile organizations.
Journalists and leaders of newly-formed political parties, in particular, have
faced imprisonment, house arrest, surveillance and exile.
There are a number of geographical, political and economic obstacles to the
flow of information on human rights abuses in Haiti. There are few roads which
are open all year round;only eight towns are part of a telephone network;
and the Haitian press rarely publishes stories relating to human rights
violations in the country.
Witnesses and victims are often unwilling to speak out for fear of reprisals.
However, information does find it way through a number of channels, the most
important of which are: relatives of the victims, church workers, and family and
friends living outside Haiti. During those brief periods when press censorship
within Haiti was less stringent, the news media published and broadcast allegations
of human rights abuses. Such accounts have been found by Amnesty International
to be consistent with other reports recieved directly by the organization.
Hundreds of political detainees have been held without charge or trial
in recent years. In many cases access to lawyers, relatives or doctors has
been denied. Long-term incommunicado detention, often unacknowledged by the
government in Haiti. Arrests are generally carried out without a warrant.
Prisoners are rarely brought before a judge within 48 hours. Both of these
practices violate articles of the Haitian Constitution of 1983 as well as
international law. During the period of incommunicado detention, ill-treatment
frequently occurs. Torture is not uncommon.
There are clear indications that the judiciary does not act independently
of the executive. Decisions on whether and when to hold trials appear to be
decided on political grounds. The few who are brought before a court have
usually benefited from extensive public and diplomatic pressure on their
behalf. Even in cases when trials do occur, legal proceedings violate Haitian
law and do not generally meet international standards. Those members of the
security forces who are responsible for abuses, are generally not punished.
The pattern that emerges is clear. Political detentions continue outside
the framework of the courts, the constitution and the law. Although the Haitian
Government has publicly stated its intention to ensure that the legal safeguards
for detainees embodied in the constitution are enforced.
The Volunteers of National Security (VSN) are one of the main agents of
repression in Haiti. Also known as the tonton macoutes, they are an armed
militia directly responsible to the President. Established in the late
1950's, the VSN took on many of the responsibilities of the Haitian armay
and police force. Since its creation, the VSN have been characterized by
their arbitrary nature and extreme brutality. Since 1957, thousands of
Haitians have been killed, tortured, arbitrarily imprisoned or made to
"disappear" at the hands of the tonton macoutes. Amnesty International
continues to receive reports of arbitrary arrests, ill-treatment and occasional
killings by the VSN.
The ill-treatment of detainees in Haiti has been regularly reported to
Amnesty International since President Jean Claude Duvalier took office in 1971.
Testimonies received from former detainees, their families, ex-members of the
Haitian army or security forces, portray a disturbing picture of the
continued use of ill-treatment and torture in Haiti. According to
information in the possession of Amnesty International, there appears
to be no legal limits to the length of time a detainee may be held
incommunicado. It is this practice and the fact that arrests are not
generally acknowledged by the government, that facilitates ill-treat-
ment and torture.
Most allegations of ill-treatment or torture cite the Casernes Desalines
military barracks, police stations and small detention centers run by
local police chiefs as the place where such practices occur. Despite
hundreds of formal complaints and inquiries, the Haitian Government
has not, to our knowledge, made public the findings of investigations
into reports or ill-treatment or torture brought to their attention.
The two main detention centers for political detainees are the military
barracks at Port-au-Prince, known as the Casernes Dessalines, and the
National Penitentiary. Conditions in Haiti's political prisons are known
to be harsh. Detainees are held in squalid, damp cells, often naked.
Diets and medical attention are inadequate. Amnesty International is
aware of at least one recent case of a political prisoner who died in
the National Penitentiary (as a result of inadequate medical treatment)
following reports of ill-treatment in April 1982.
AIUSA would like to take the opportunity of these hearings to raise
particular concern regarding the arbitrary arrests in November of last
year by Haitian security forces of a large number of suspected government
opponents in various parts of the country. While it has been difficult
to provide exact figures for the total number of people arrested, Amnesty
International is aware of reports of at least 25 arrests. Some are now
thought to have been released; others are still believed to be in detention.
Among those arrested were agronomists, a doctor, a minister, a bookkeeper,
a journalist and engineers. Amnesty International believes that the detainees
were arrested solely for their non-political activities on behalf of the
poor in Hiati. Further, to date the arrest of the majority of the detainees
has not been publicly acknowledged by the government. The detainees were
not brought before a judge within 48 hours as specificed in the constitution
Their incommunicado detention further heightened the risk of their being
tortured or ill-treated while in detention (see appendix).
Following these arrests, the church in Haiti took a strong stand in protest
of the government's actions. Since that time, tension between the church and
state has heightened. Church activitists have been harassed and intimidated.
Several priest have reportedly been detained for short periods. Others have
been insulted and threatened. In other cases members of congregations have
As U.S. legislators you can play a special role in assuring that we are
faithful to our commitments to human rights. I urge you to press the Haitian
Government to publish immediately a list of detainees arrested in the November
round-up. Request that details of their whereabouts and charges against them
be provided. Urge the lifting of incommunicado detention and that they be granted
access to lawyers and relatives.
You can make a difference. By standing behind the Haitian people you
can help make the promise of human rights a reality. Raise your voice to
Haitian officials. Let them know the world is watching. Thank You.
Mr. YATRON. Thank you very much, Mr. Healey, for your state-
Our next witness is Mr. Michael Hooper, who is testifying on
behalf of Americas Watch.
You may please proceed with your statement.
STATEMENT OF MICHAEL S. HOOPER, ON BEHALF OF AMERICAS
Mr. HOOPER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman and Mr. Solomon for
your continuing interest in the important subject of the Haitian
Government's respect for the human rights of its own citizens, and
for holding these oversight hearings.
My name is Michael Hooper; I am an attorney, and the executive
director of the National Coalition for Haitian Refugees, and a regu-
lar consultant to Americas Watch.
Since 1979 I have written 14 reports on the subject of human
rights in Haiti and organized nine missions of inquiry to Haiti. The
most recent report is before you entitled, "Haiti: Rights Denied,"
recently submitted to the U.N. Commission on Human Rights. I
would like to request that it be included in the hearing record
along with my amended written statement, Mr. Chairman.1
Mr. YATRON. Without objection.
Mr. HOOPER. Mr. Chairman, those of us concerned with human
rights in Haiti are particularly grateful that these hearings come
at this time as the person most responsible for bringing the human
rights situation in Haiti to the attention of the American people-
Father Antoine Adrien-was struck by a severe heart attack this
past weekend. Your subcommittee's concern with the human rights
abuses in his beloved country should speed his recovery.
Mr. Chairman, there is uncontroverted documentation by inter-
national human rights organizations, essentially not disagreed with
by the State Department, concerning the history of egregious viola-
tions of human rights during the 27 years of Duvalier family rule
in Haiti during which almost one-eighth of the population has fled
This situation has been summarized effectively in the Haitian
Refugee Center v. Civiletti in which a district court judge in Florida
found that "Haitians have flocked to the shores of south Florida
over the past 20 years fleeing the most repressive government in
This year the State Department report produced a detailed and
relatively candid analysis of human rights practices on which they
should be complimented.
Mr. Chairman, once you peel away the onion skin of rhetoric we
disagree with the State Department on primarily one issue alone:
whether or not demonstrable reforms have occurred in specific in-
stitutions during the last 5 years.
The State Department notes and honestly admits there have
been significant setbacks, yet without citing specific examples, they
detect an overall improvement.
I See appendix 7.
We believe it is clear that there has not been an improvement.
We believe rather that 1984 has witnessed the most significant de-
terioration in the Haitian Government's respect for the fundamen-
tal human and legal rights of its own citizens since the massive
crackdown by Haitian security forces in late 1980 and early 1981.
Overall, there has been in 1984 increased disregard for the rule
of law, increased incommunicado detentions without legal proce-
dure, the banning of political parties, and the further repression of
the Haitian press and broadcast media.
Mr. Chairman, it accomplishes little to discuss an improvement
or deterioration in human rights in the abstract. Rather, observers
of Haiti agree there are four principal areas repeatedly emphasized
that are fundamental to demonstrating improvements or deteriora-
tion in the overall situation.
They include improvement in the right to engage in political ac-
tivity; improvement in freedom of expression; an end to abuses by
the security forces and increased respect for the rule of law gener-
ally, and improvements in the ability of human rights monitors to
Our written testimony briefly examines developments in each of
these areas which I will highlight for you only briefly now, and we
respectfully urge your subcommittee to consider whether credible
specifics are presented this morning to indicate any substantive im-
provement in any of these four basic areas.
I would note additionally that the February 12, 1984, legislative
elections have been a subject of some controversy. We believe that
the serious abuses which surrounded them prevent us from finding
any progress here because in the words of Secretary of State
Shultz, "an election just as an election doesn't mean anything. The
important thing is that if there is to be an electoral process, it be
observed not only at the moment when the people vote but in all
the preliminary aspects that make an election really mean some-
thing." Similarly, quoting Congressman Fauntroy, the former U.S.
Ambassador to Haiti, Ernest Preeg has noted, quote, "For elections
to be more than meaningless formalities, there must be functioning
political parties and free press and open political discussion. Unfor-
tunately, the election process in Haiti demonstrated no forward
movement toward meeting these criteria."
Mr. Chairman, instead of fostering improvement in the rights of
Haitians to engage in political activities and despite article 43 of
their own constitution, which guarantees to all Haitians the right
to associate freely in political parties, on May 8, 1984, the Minis-
ters of Interior and National Defense issued a proclamation ban-
ning "all groupings which call themselves political parties" pend-
ing a new law to be submitted at "an opportune time." During
early 1984 the Haitian embryonic political parties have been in-
timidated into inactivity and their leader harassed.
Second, Mr. Chairman, instead of fostering improvement in the
right of the Haitian citizens to free expression and free press, on
May 7, 1984, the same Minister of State for the Interior and Na-
tional Defense issued a communique ordering the suspension of all
newspapers and periodicals not approved in advance in direct viola-
tion of article 40 of the Haitian constitution that guarantees the
right of free expression and outlaws any prior censorship.
Haiti's independent press received a mortal blow on June 18,
1984, when three of the most important independent editors were
detained without explanation, their newspapers confiscated, and
their printing presses seized. One was relegated to unexplained
house arrest for 3 months. One was beaten during interrogation
and had a finger broken all in the presence of the Haitian Minister
of State for the Interior, Mr. Lafontant.
Third, Mr. Chairman, instead of improving respect for the rule of
law by Haiti's myriad of the security forces, the Haitian Govern-
ment conducted the most significant series of arrests since the
crackdown of November to December 1980. When in early Novem-
ber 1984, over 30 church development workers and agricultural ex-
perts were detained in clear violation of article 24 of the constitu-
tion. The simple truth is that in 1984 the security forces continue
to detain without explanation all persons perceived to be opponents
of the current President-for-Life. They are frequently held for long
periods of time incommunicado without explanation.
Throughout 1984, the Haitian security forces continued their
campaign of intimidation against lower level officials of the Catho-
lic Church. This campaign began, as you are well aware, just prior
to the visit of Pope John Paul II on March 9, 1984, with the deten-
tion and torture of Catholic lay worker, Gerard Duderville.
Similarly, there has been no progress, Mr. Chairman, in improv-
ing the independence of the Haitian judiciary or in granting de-
fendants the right to know the charges against them, or granting
them the right to counsel.
In fact, the only change of substance in the Haitian legal proce-
dure that has occurred recently was the formation of an Internal
Security Tribunal with jurisdiction over all "matters relating to
the internal and external security of the Haitian State." Apparent-
ly, the persons arrested in November and December will be the
first to be brought to trial before this tribunal whose procedures
have never been made public. The Haitian Government, despite re-
peated requests, steadfastly refuses to announce the dates when
these people will be tried or any of the specifics that form the basis
for why they have been accused.
Mr. Chairman, instead of allowing the constitutionally protected
activities of human rights monitors throughout 1984, independent
human rights groups continue to be subjected to considerable har-
assment by the Haitian security forces. I would summarize this by
saying that just last week I met with the President of the Haitian
League for Human Rights in my office in New York, Law Professor
Gerard Gourgue. He confirmed categorically there have been no
improvements in the Haitian League's ability to engage in constitu-
tionally protected and permitted activities.
The Haitian Government created several years ago a National
Commission on Human Rights. It is entirely dominated by the Gov-
ernment. It is not even mildly independent of the Government. By
its own admission, it will not act on, quote, "political cases," cases
involving "national security," or other cases that, quote, "are of
immediate importance to the government."
Mr. Chairman, the most fitting way to conclude this portion of
the testimony is to inform your subcommittee these abuses by the
Haitian Government are not restricted to victims considered to be
political opponents. As we have previously noted, many, many
members of the Catholic Church, workers, priests, and nuns, have
been victims of this series of crackdowns during the year 1984
The previous witness has mentioned some of the details concern-
ing the arrests of November and December 1984. I will not elabo-
rate on that at this time except to say that the only thing that
links these persons together even indirectly is their work for a
community development organization sponsored by the archdio-
Mr. Chairman, again this month on April 5, 1985-Good
Friday-five persons belonging to a Catholic youth organization
working on development projects were detained without explana-
tion. The next day, April 6, 1985, a UPI wire confirmed that 10 ad-
ditional persons were detained without charge. They had been
members of a local Catholic community organization and had re-
fused to join the political organization of the current President-for-
Mr. Chairman, let me just ask the subcommittee in concluding
what does it mean when priests and nuns, agronomists and econo-
mists, are considered enemies of the Haitian State? You have noted
yourself, sir, the absolutely deprived, miserable state of the Haitian
economy at this time; in addition to this misery and chaos, you
have referred indirectly to the extreme inequality of personal
income. You did not mention the severe corruption and the depend-
ence on foreign aid which are striking in the case of Haiti. You
mentioned a $2.65 an hour daily wage, sir. That wage is not earned
by over 82 percent of the Haitian population, so it is not a mini-
mum. It is not a floor. It is only an abstract goal in the case of
Because my time is up-I anticipated 10 minutes of remarks as
you can tell-I would just like to add that we believe it is particu-
larly serious that in a country in the economic difficulties of Haiti,
with the income levels, with the corruption, the mismanagement of
public funds, and the unequal and inefficient system of taxes that
exist in Haiti, it is particularly serious that such a government
continues to crack down harshly and illegally on development
workers working on just the kind of development projects that the
U.S. Government has urged upon their country.
Mr. Chairman, we have in our written testimony elaborated on a
series of very specific recommendations for your consideration, and
I believe that Mr. Posner will suggest similar conclusions in his
oral remarks today.
Again, we thank you and Mr. Solomon, very much, for your time
and your interest.
[Mr. Hooper's prepared statement follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF MICHAEL S. HOOPER FOR THE AMERICAS WATCH
Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for your continuing interest
in the important subject of human rights in Haiti, and for
inviting the Americas Watch to testify at this morning's
hearing. My name is Michael Hooper. I am an attorney
and Executive Director of the National Coalition for
Haitian Refugees, and am a regular consultant to the Americas
Watch concerning the situation of human rights in Haiti.
Since 1979, I have written numerous reports 'and articles
on this subject and have organized nine missions of
inquiry to Haiti. I have attended the three most important
mass political trials since the Duvalier family came to
power. My most recent analysis of the human rights situation
in Haiti entitled Haiti: Rights Denied, was submitted to
the United Nations Commission on Human Rights last month.
(Mr. Chairman, you have before you this March 1985 report
and I would like to request that it be included in the hearing
record along with this statement.)
Those of us concerned with human rights in Haiti
are particularly grateful that these hearings have come
at this time. The person most responsible for bringing
the human rights situation in Haiti to the attention of
the American people, Father Antoine Adrien, was struck by a
severe heart attack this past weekend. Your Committees'
concern with the human rights abuses in his beloved country
should speed his recovery.
The Americas Watch is a Committee of the Fund for Free Expression and t is affiliated with the Helsinki Watch Committee
The Lawyers Commttee tor Inlernational Human Rights s Counsel tor the Americas Watch
ST. LOUIS UNIVERSITY
U. S. DEPOSITORY
Mr. Chairman, there exists extensive and conclusive documen-
tation by respected human rights organizations of egregious violations
of human rights during the 27 years of Duvalier family rule.
The nearly three decades of repression have resulted in almost one
eighth of Haiti's people fleeing their homeland since 1959. This
tragic situation was effectively summarized by the landmark judicial
opinion rendered in the case of Haitian Refugee Center v. Civiletti
where the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida
found that "Haitians have flocked to the shores of south Florida
over the past twenty years fleeing the most repressive government
in the Americas." Judge James Lawrence King found that the evidence
presented in his court concerning conditions in Haiti was "stark,
brutal and bloody". He concluded that "the treatment of returnees
in Haiti is part of a systematic and pervasive oppression of
political opposition which uses prisons as its torture chambers
and the Tonton Macoutes as its enforcers."
The 1984 State Department Country Report on human rights in
Haiti characterized Haiti as having suffered "alternating periods
of authoritarian rule and political instability", and described
"significant human rights abuses." The State Department's detailed
and relatively candid report on human rights practices in Haiti
is an important document and a commendable effort. The Americas
Watch disagrees primarily with the report's conclusion that
demonstrable reforms have occurred in specific institutions during
the past five years. The Country Report honestly admits that there
have been significant setbacks to furthering respect for
human rights in Haiti recently, yet they detect "an overall
improvement" without providing specific examples of what steps have
Unfortunately, no such "overall improvement" took place
in Haiti in 1984. In fact, 1984 witnessed the most significant
deterioration in Haitian human rights conditions since the massive
crackdown by the Haitian security forces in late 1980 and early
1981. Overall, in 1984 official disregard for the rule of law
and the elementary protections of due process increased as did
long-term incommunicado detentions without legal procedure.
Formal decrees were issued banning political parties and further
restricting the Haitian press and broadcast media, and reforms
promised at the time of last year's certification did not
occur. The Haitian Government-created National Commission on
Human Rights took no affirmative public positions and did not
intervene seriously in any of the most serious human rights
cases last year.
It accomplishes little to discuss "improvement" or "deterior-
ation" in fundamental human rights in the abstract. Observers of
contemporary Haiti agree that there are four principal areas
which must improve to truly demonstrate improvements in the
overall situation. These areas are:
1) The right to engage in political activity
2) Freedom of expression and the press
3) An end to abuses by the Haitian security forces and an
increased respect for the rule of law generally
4) Improvements in the ability of human rights monitors to
Our testimony briefly examines developments in each of these
The Right to Engage in Political Activity: Despite Article
43 of the Haitian Constitution which guarantees all Haitians the
right to associate freely in the political parties of their choice,
on May 8, 1984 the Ministers of the Interior and National Defense,
Information and Justice issued a proclamation banning "all
groupings which call themselves political parties" pending the
promulgation of a new law governing political parties, to be
"submitted at an opportune time."
During 1984, all of Haiti's embryonic political parties had
been intimidated into inactivity and their leaders harassed. The
leaders of the two most important parties, the Haitian Christian
Democratic and Social Christian Party, were detained without
explanation and their party's newspapers were repeatedly seized.
The March 1985 report, Haiti: Rights Denied includes a
discussion of the February 12, 1984 legislative elections and
the serious abuses which occurred at that time. The Americas
Watch agrees with the words of Secretary of State Shultz, who,
in commenting on elections in Nicaragua stated that "an election
just as an election doesn't mean anything... The important
thing is that if there is to be an electoral process, it be
observed not only at the moment when people vote, but in all the
preliminary aspects that make an election really mean something."
We believe that this standard should also be applied to Haiti.
Freedom of Expression and the Press: On May 7, 1984, Haiti's
Minister of State for the Interior and National Defense, Dr. Roger
Lafontant, issued a communique ordering the suspension of all news-
papers and periodicals not approved by the government in advance
of publication. This communique directly violated Article 40 of the
Haitian Constitution of August 27, 1983 which guarantees the right
of free expression and outlaws any prior censorship. To make
matters worse, the Press Law of 1979 amended in 1980, and the
Anti-Communist Law of 1969 are open-ended laws that make it possible
for the government to prosecute anyone for doing or saying virtually
anything. Both laws have been severely condemned by international
journalists associations such as the Inter-American Press
Association because of their harsh provisions, sweeping scope,
and the total control they allow the Haitian Government to
exercise over all printed, spoken, and broadcast media.
Haiti's fledgling independent press received a serious
blow on June 18, 1984 when the three most important independent
editors, Gregoire Eugene, Pierre Robert Auguste, and Diedonne
Fardin, were detained without explanation and their newspapers
seized. Eugene was released after three days and confined to
three months unexplained house arrest. Auguste was mistreated and
had his finger broken during interrogation at the Casernes Dessalines
in the presence of the Interior Minister, Roger Lafontant. Additionally
the press of Fraternite editor, Gregoire Eugene, was seized and
he was fired from his position as Professor of Constitutional
Law at the State University of Haiti.
Abuses by the Security Forces: In November 1984, the Haitian
Government conduced the most significant series of arrests since
the massive crackdown of November-December 1980. Over 30 church
development workers, agronomists and agricultural economists were
detained in Haiti's security prisons without explanation, and in
clear violation of Article 24 of the Haitian Constitution.
The structure and function of the Haitian security forces
remained the same throughout 1984 except that the Volunteers
For National Security (the Tonton Macoutes) were given increased
prominence. Overall, the various security forces continue to
detain without explanation and to charge persons perceived to be
opponents of the current President-for-Life. As in the case of
those still detained without charge from November 1984, prisoners
are often held incommunicado for lengthy periods. Throughout
1984, the Haitian security forces continued their campaign
of intimidation against lower-level officials of the Catholic
Church and against church community development workers. This
campaign began just prior to the visit of Pope John Paul II on
March 9, 1984, with the detention and repeated beatings during
interrogation of Catholic lay worker, Gerard Duclerville.
Similarly, there has been absolutely no progress in the area
of improving the independence of the Haitian Judiciary or granting
defendants the right to know the charges against them or rights
to counsel. When a rare trial is actually held, the decisions
commonly come from the Presidential Palace or the Ministry of
the Interior rather than from the jurors' deliberations. The only
change of substance in Haitian legal procedure that occurred in
1984 was the formation of an Internal Security Court with
concurrent jurisdiction over all "matters relating to the internal
and external security of the Haitian state". Apparently, the
detainees from the November 1984 crackdown will be the first
to be brought to trial by this tribunal. The procedures for
the tribunal's operations have not been announced publicly.
Despite repeated promises, the Haitian Government steadfastly
refuses to announce the date when these persons will be tried or
any of the specifics regarding why they have been accused.
Human Rights Monitors: Throughout 1984, independent human
rights monitors continued to be subjected to considerable
harassment by Haitian security forces. A National Commission
on Human Rights was created by the Haitian Government, but has
failed to take any action or position that is even mildly independent
or critical of the government. By its own admissions, the Commission
will not act on "political cases", cases involving "national
security" or other cases of "immediate importance to the
government". Additionally, since the formation of the National
Commission, a number of government officials now assert that there is
no need for private human rights monitors.
The Haitian League for Human Rights is Haiti's only remaining
human rights group and its officers and members continue to be
harassed and have effectively been intimidated into inactivity.
I met at length just last week with the President of the League,
Law Professor Gerard Gourgue, and he confirmed unequivocally
that there have been no improvements in the League's ability
to engage in constitutionally permitted activities.
Mr. Chairman, I would like to summarize this portion of my
testimony by providing recent information about Government
repression of individuals associated with the Catholic church.
In addition to the more than 30 individuals associated with the
Archdiocese of Port-au-Prince's community development organization,
the IDEA (Institut Diocesain d'Education d'Adultes), on April 5,
1985, five persons belonging to a Catholic youth organization
working on development projects were detained without charge
and are now being held at the Cassernes Dessalines in Port-au-
Prince. On April 6, according to a UPI wire from the Haitian
capital, another 10 persons were detained without charge in
Cavaillon. Most were members of the local Catholic church "base
communities" and they appear to have all refused to join the
President's political organization, the CONAJEC (National Council for
Jean Claudiste Action).
There exists a direct relationship between repression of
politicians, journalists, church and community development workers
and Haiti's deteriorating economic situation. Today, Haiti is
the poorest country in our hemisphere, with an average annual per
capital income of $235 $270. This absolute misery i:: agpravatcd by
severe and continuing problems of government corruption, mismanage-
ment of public funds, and a dramatically unequal and inefficient
system of taxation.
In sum, Haiti is an impoverished country with limited
resources, but in 1983-1984 period, the Duvalier Government actively
neglected the most pressing economic problems and actually exacerbated
them through pervasive corruption that siphons off public funds and
foreign assistance and through the systematic campaign against
development workers and the Catholic church.
U.S. POLICY: The Duvalier Government's refusal to allow
even the smallest democratic political participation and its
prosecution of rural development and educational projects as a
"conspiracy" pose a particular problem for United States policy
towards Haiti. The poorest country in the hemisphere certainly
needs assistance, and few policy makers could comfortably deprive
the needy and dependent Haitian poor because of the frequent
transgressions of their government. Nonetheless, foreign aid hand-
outs are no substitute for authentic rural development, community
organizing, adult education, and free trade union activity.
The Haitian Government's systematic destruction of the Haitian
people's own efforts to better their economic and social well-
being doom the country to continued and deepening deprivation
and despair, no matter how much foreign aid our government might
The United States Congress, under the leadership of concerned
members of the Congressional Black Caucus and members of this
Committee, has attempted to address this problem by conditioning
U.S. assistance to Haiti on specific human rights improvements.
P.L. 98-473 required that the executive branch certify that the
Government.of Haiti had made a "concerted and significant effort"
to improve the human rights situation, and that it had implemented
political reforms "essential to the development of democracy",
including the establishment of political parties, free elections,
and freedom of the press. This year, the Foreign Affairs Committee
again included these conditions on U.S. aid to Haiti, but added
"free labor unions" as one of the reforms that the Haitian Government
is expected to undertake.
The House Foreign Affairs Committee also took the important
step of "earmarking" $1 million for each of fiscal years 1986 and
1987 for literacy programs. The Committee report accompanying
the bill states that "The purpose of this provision is not only
to assist the literacy program, but also symbolically to associate
the United States with the program in an effort to protect Haitian
literacy workers from further harassment and repression by
the government." The Western Hemisphere Subcommittee and the
full Foreign Affairs Committee are to be commended for their
attention to human rights conditions in Haiti and for linking
U.S. assistance to improvements by the Haitian Government.
Unfortunately, the State Department certified on two occasions
in 1984 that the human rights conditions of the law had been met,
thus allowing U.S. assistance to Haiti to go forward. This
willingness to certify improvements when, in fact, there had been
none, has had the effect of squandering what little influence
the United States possessed to improve Haitian human rights
The Americas Watch does not recommend a cut-off of humanitarian
assistance to Haiti if the Government fails to meet the certification
requirement. Nonetheless, this Committee should make it clear
that specific steps are required if economic assistance to the
Haitian Government is to go forward. We recommend that the
Chairman and members of this Committee amplify the human rights
conditions included in H.R. 1555 by writing to Secretary Shultz
and requesting that aid be conditioned on specific steps by
the Haitian Government to implement the reforms described in the law.
We propose that the assistance for fiscal years 1986 and
1987 be contingent upon the Haitian Government taking the
following steps. If such concrete actions have not been
taken, economic assistance to Haitian Government entities should
cease and all humanitarian assistance should be administered
through private voluntary organizations.
1) The Government of Haiti should formally announce the
repeal of its universally-condemned press censorship law of 1979
(amended in 1980) and repeal its anti-communist law of 1969.
The guarantees contained in Article 40 of the Haitian Constitution
regarding the right of all Haitians to freely communicate and
express themselves should be honored.
2) The Government of Haiti should indicate its respect for
the rule of law by publishing a list of all persons currently held
in detention, including the charges against them, the dates of their
arrests, and their trial dates. In accordance with Haitian law,
all future detentions should be announced immediately, and all
detainees should have immediate access to family members, counsel,
and be held in humane conditions.
3) The Haitian Government should invite the formation of
political parties as provided in Article 43 of the Haitian Constitutio,
and instruct its security forces that political activities are
protected under Haitian law.
4) The Government of Haiti should invite the formation of
free and democratic trade unions, and abolish Article 236 of the
Constitution which requires virtually unobtainable police permission
for any meeting larger than 20 persons. The Government should
announce that the members of CATH (Centre Autonome des Travailleurs
Hatien) who were forcibly exiled in 1980 and 1981 are now free
to return home and resume their trade union activities.
5) The Government of Haiti should announce that all persons,
including journalists, lawyers, and political figures who were
forcibly exiled from Haiti in the past are invited to return
home and to live and work in security.
6) The Government should announce that Haitian citizens
are free to form human rights organizations and legal rights
organizations, and that existing organizations may function
7) The Government should announce to its security forces
that the protections granted by the Haitian Constitution
apply to all citizens and that no violence or intimidation against
church groups, civic organizations, political groups, or
journalists will be tolerated.
This Committee has had long experience with placing human
rights conditions on U.S. aid to countries with poor human rights
records. It is clear that only precise and quantifiable conditions
can be measured and evaluated by the executive branch and the
Congress, and only such precise conditions are taken seriously
by the recipient government. For example, the withholding of
30% of U.S. aid to the Government of El Salvador pending a trial
and a verdict in the case of the U.S. churchwomen provided the
needed leverage for such a trial to go forward. Similarly, specific
recommendations to the Government of Haiti will provide the
U.S. Embassy with additional leverage to encourage human rights
In conclusion, Mr. Chairman, I would like to thank you
for holding these hearings and for your attention to our
recommendations. I would like to commend to you the words of
the the bishops of Haiti in a letter responding to the arrest
and torture of Gerard Duclerville, a Catholic lay worker.
"Today it is Gerard and all those whose names we do not know.
Tomorrow it will be us, you or I, or someone else. When a
man is humiliated and tortured it is the whole of humanity
that is humiliated and tortured."
Mr. YATRON. Thank you very much, Mr. Hooper, for your state-
Now our next witness is Michael Posner. Mr. Posner, we are
pleased to have you back before the subcommittee. You may pro-
ceed with your statement.
STATEMENT OF MICHAEL H. POSNER, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR,
LAWYERS COMMITTEE FOR INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS
Mr. POSNER. Thank you. It is a pleasure to be here. I also want to
join in thanking you, Mr. Chairman, for having these hearings on
what I consider to be a very serious human rights situation and
one that has been sadly neglected in recent years.
I won't repeat the conclusions that I make in my written testi-
mony about human rights in Haiti except to say a few words.
The two previous witnesses have identified two types of problems
that I think we need to address in Haiti. One is that for over 27
years the Haitian Government, through two generations of the Du-
valier family, have institutionalized human rights problems in
Haiti, and essentially created a society where dissent is not tolerat-
Both prior witnesses have identified the ramifications of this de-
velopment. I think it is fair to say that if journalists or political
leaders or trade unionists or other human rights monitors seek to
challenge the Government in any significant way, any legal way,
the State tends to respond violently and in a very harsh and brutal
manner. The pattern of institutionalization of these abuses has
simply not changed, and Haiti continues to be a country where
human rights are violated on this systematic basis.
The second point I want to make is that these abuses that occur
are never remedied. It is rare that a Haitian court will have the
courage and the independence to even consider prosecuting viola-
tions that have been committed by security forces. It is unheard of
for members of the security forces to be disciplined. I note in his
written statement Assistant Secretary Abrams makes the point
that the President of Haiti in March last year issued a series of let-
ters to Haitian officials urging an end to torture and a number of
other illegal practices. Certainly that is a step in the right direc-
tion, but we have seen time and again superficial actions taken,
commissions created, letters sent, proclamations enunciated, but
rarely seen those words put into practice. My response to those
who say that there is moderate progress on human rights in Haiti
is that the experience of the past indicates quite clearly that the
Haitian Government is not willing to institutionalize protection for
human rights, and is not willing to allow dissent. We have to view
U.S. policy in terms of this continuing situation.
With regard to U.S. policy, there is one positive element that I
want to mention which is that U.S. Ambassador McMannoway and
his staff have done an outstanding job. They are committed to
human rights concerns. They have gone out of their way to meet
with victims of human rights abuses, and I think they have prob-
ably prevented even more abuses from occurring. On this front, I
think the Embassy and the State Department deserve praise.
I am concerned, on the other hand, that the State Department's
overall position on human rights in Haiti is much less positive. The
Haitian Government has heard our private admonitions for a
number of years, and yet I believe they remain impervious to pres-
sure unless that pressure has a dollar sign attached to it.
I am pleased and we support the actions taken by the Foreign
Affairs Committee and others to require the President to certify
human rights progress which has been done in the last 2 years. We
find it incredible that this administration or any could say that
there has been progress on human rights issues as they have done
again in their January certification, but we do view this effort as
needing to be strengthened.
What we propose in the written testimony and what we ask the
committee to consider is that for fiscal year 1987 Congress put
some more teeth into that requirement. Our proposal includes five
specific areas-detention practices, press freedom, trade union
rights, political freedom, and protection of human rights monitors.
In each of these areas there are specific steps that can be taken.
I should say in this regard with reference to a point that Congress-
man Solomon made in his opening remarks, in making these sug-
gestions, our aim is to be constructive. I think we have a serious
problem in Haiti. It is a problem that should not be taken out of
context. We also recognize, as I know you do, the severity of Haiti's
economic situation. We recognize and share with you a concern
that we not isolate Haiti as was the case, perhaps, in the sixties.
We certainly don't want to return to that period. In answer to the
question you posed at the outset of these hearings, I believe we do
have considerable leverage and that we can utilize that leverage in
an effective and constructive manner by particularizing our con-
cerns. The five points that we have outlined address the human
rights issues in Haiti within that context.
If the Haitian Government is not willing to satisfy these condi-
tions, we have to look to alternative sources, alternative means to
meet humanitarian and economic aid to people in need. What we
propose is that if the five human rights conditions are not met,
that aid be given to Haiti but only through private voluntary orga-
Let me just summarize the five points very quickly.
With regard to detention practices, the Haitian Government has
been resistant to allowing the International Committee of the Red
Cross into every prison and military detention facility.
In this context there is a basic demand that we should and can
make. The Haitian Government has been unwilling to list in a
public way those who are in its prisons and identify the crimes
with which they are being charged.
With regard to press freedom, as two prior witnesses have de-
scribed, there have been serious restrictions resulting from both a
press law and anti-Communist law that severely curtail and re-
strain the press. I think Congress could ask for the lifting of those
Independent trade unions also have not been allowed to function
in Haiti. We have a tradition in this country of promoting free
trade unions. I think that time has proven that an independent
trade union movement protects human rights. As a further condi-
tion on U.S. aid, Congress could ask for the Government of Haiti to
give public assurances that, as a matter of official policy, free trade
unions will be allowed to exist in Haiti and its members not har-
With regard to political freedom, we join with Secretary Abrams
in looking forward to the announcement of a new law governing
political parties. On the other hand, there are other elements re-
garding political rights that I think need be addressed. Political
parties haven't in the past been given access to mass media,
haven't been given permission to hold political rallies. I think the
Government of Haiti, as a matter of state policy, should make
public statements stating that independent political parties without
ties to the government should be allowed to function and function
And finally, as Mr. Hooper said a moment ago, independent
human rights monitoring capacity is essential to protect human
rights. The Haitian League for Human Rights has tried to fulfill
that promise in the last several years with great difficulty. A
number of its members have been harassed and its activities seri-
Again, I don't think it is an unreasonable request or requirement
for U.S. law to say that people who are legally monitoring human
rights should not be arrested and harassed and tortured.
Those are the five points that we believe could be appropriate
conditions for future aid. I appreciate your attention.
[Mr. Posner's prepared statement follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF MICHAEL H. POSNER, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, LAWYERS
COMMITTEE FOR INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS
Ewlseh Holum n
irgiiaAi.y Mr. Chairman, thank you for inviting me to
BE-mnD. P .kJ. testify. Since 1978 the Lawyers Committee for Interna-
BarbAoSchau tional Human Rights has closely monitored the human rights
orvie H Schel
SieRSapoo situation in Haiti. We very much welcome the initiative
Jerorne Seck you have taken in convening these hearings. We believe
TdordTaor that this is a particularly appropriate time for Congress
to pay renewed attention to Haiti, a nation where'grave
AMSO*BOARD human rights abuses continue to occur -- problems that have
JoseW.D~oo been sadly neglected in recent years.
GerrdGourgui In my testimony this morning, I will briefly
Eo gone summarize the human rights situation in Haiti. I will also
Herman M ealegre
LeeMuhoga address the U.S. Government's position on Haiti, and make
WafterTarnapoiky several suggestions as to potential steps that should now
J. GQ Thooen
Raren N. Tnved.
be taken by Congress and the Administration in response to the
Haitian Government's inadequate efforts to improve the human
Last month, the Lawyers Committee, Americas Watch and
the National Coalition for Haitian Refugees published a 25-page
Report on Haiti entitled Haiti: Rights Denied. I have
attached a copy of this report to my testimony and ask that the
report or its summary of conclusions be included in the record
of these hearings.
Our report concludes that the Haitian Government bears
direct responsibility for a continuing pattern of gross abuses
of human rights. After 27 years in power, two generations of
the Duvalier family have established and institutionalized a
system under which political dissent is not tolerated and
perceived political opponents of the government are dealt with
in a harsh and often brutal manner.
In carrying out this policy in the last year, Haitian
security forces have continued to detain without charge or
explanation persons perceived to be opponents of the government.
These detainees are held incommunicado and often severely beaten
by members of the security forces.
Among those arrested by the Haitian Government in the
last year have been a number of independent journalists, among
them Pierre Robert Auguste, the editor of L'Information, who was
arrested in June. Mr. Auguste was beaten with a wooden rod and
had one finger broken. These actions took place while Mr.
Auguste was being interrogated in the presence of the Haitian
Minister of the Interior, Roger Lafontant, and Col. Albert
Pierre of the Haitian Secret Police.
The Haitian Government's campaign of intimidation has
also included the arrest of prominent politicians, labor
leaders, human rights monitors, lawyers and church workers. In
November and December, Haitian security forces detained without
charge approximately 35 persons including a number of church and
community development workers. Several agronomists and
economists were also detained. In February, the government
announced that it would put 16 of these people on trial for
"conspiracy against the internal security of the Haitian State."
To date, no trial has been scheduled. Documents describing the
charges still have not been made public. The arrests and
threatened prosecutions of these people has a chilling effect on
others in the country who seek to become involved in community
work, such as literary or other educational programs.
In 1984, Haitian police also arrested Hubert
DeRonceray, Haiti's representative to UNESCO. DeRoncerey and
his wife, Michele Gailland, work with the Haitian Center for
Investigative Social Sciences. Following his arrest, Mr.
DeRonceray was questioned about interviews that he allegedly
gave to the foreign press. Haitian security forces also
threatened to beat his wife. After he was released, DeRonceray
was placed under house arrest for the remainder of 1984.
These and other arrests are carried out by a network
of government security forces that includes the infamous Ton
Ton Macoutes now officially called the Volunteers for National
Security (VSN). Today this paramilitary unit has approximately
12,000 members. Among the other security forces are the 3,000
man Military Police: the Presidential Guard, an elite unit of
700 whose commander is directly responsible to the President:
and the civilian secret police, the Service Detectif. Based in
the Casernes Dessalines, a military barracks, the 400-member
Service Detectif has primary responsibility for detaining and
interrogating persons suspected of political offenses.
Abuses committed by these forces are rarely
investigated and virtually never punished. Haitian courts lack
the independence necessary to respond to these violations and
almost no one in Haiti dares even to raise these issues
publicly. Those who do so are themselves subject to harsh
reprisals by the government. There is only one independent
human rights monitoring group in Haiti, the Haitian League for
Human Rights. Since it was first organized in 1977 by law
professors and lawyers, virtually all of the League's active
members have been harassed and in some cases arrested and
subjected to physical abuse. Today, because of this treatment,
the League is extremely limited in what it can say and do
publicly to protect human rights.
In the last year, despite some vague promises by
government officials concerning their desire to promote
democracy, the Haitian Government continues to effectively
suppress political opposition. In May 1984, the Government
issued a proclamation banning "all groupings which call
themselves political parties" pending the promulgation of a new
law governing political parties. The proclamation noted that
the new law will be "submitted at an opportune time." After 11
months the government apparently still has not found an
"opportune time" to do so. Instead, as it has done in the
past, the Haitian Government continues to effectively prohibit
any real political opposition from operating effectively.
The U.S. Response
It is in this context that the Reagan Administration
certified to Congress in January that "the Government of Haiti
has made a concerted and significant effort to improve the human
rights situation by implementing political reforms which are
essential to the development of democracy." This audacious
finding represents the Administration's third statement of human
rights progress in Haiti in the last sixteen months.
The first certification was on January 30, 1984, two
weeks before Haiti's legislative elections were held. Neither
of the two embryonic opposition political parties in Haiti was
permitted to participate in those elections. The leader of the
Haitian Christian Democratic Party, Sylvio Claude, had been
imprisoned the previous October, beaten in prison, and was under
house arrest during the election. The leader of the Social
Christian Party, Gregoire Eugene, was denied permission to
return to Haiti from involuntary exile until the election was
A follow-up report on human rights in Haiti was
presented to Congress by Secretary of State Shultz on May 14.
It came one week after Haiti's Interior Minister ordered the
suspension of all periodicals not approved in advance. The
report was submitted to Congress six days before the Minister
issued the order banning opposition political parties.
The Reagan Administration's policy toward Haiti relies
on quiet diplomacy to urge reform. At the same time, the
Administration opposes any actions by Congress that would place
limits or conditions on future U.S. aid. The Administration's
policy is based on an assumption that at some point its quiet
admonitions will be heard and process will be forthcoming. No
such progress is taking place. In the last four years human
rights have not improved in Haiti -- in some respects conditions
have actually deteriorated.
While the Haitian Government devotes considerable
resources to improving its image abroad, and occasionally
consents to undertake token reform measures, on basic human
rights issues it remains impervious to pressure. Fifteen years
after Jean Claude Duvalier first came to power, there is .no
democracy in Haiti, independent journalists are harassed and
constrained by draconian laws, free trade unionism does not
exist and the security forces continue to operate as though they
are above the law.
One positive element in a generally dismal picture has
been the energetic performance of U.S. Ambassador Clayton
McManaway and his staff -- they remain well-informed on human
rights developments and maintain close contacts with many of the
victims of the Haitian Government's campaign of persecution. In
so doing, the Embassy has probably helped to prevent even more
abuses from occurring.
What the U.S. Can Do
For the Embassy's actions to be fully effective, the
U.S. Government must be prepared to stand behind its words with
firm, unambigious actions. We support initiatives taken by
Congress in the last few years to tie some future U.S. aid to
specific steps to improve Haiti's human rights situation.
The certification requirement serves to focus'debate
on specific human rights issues. It also lets the Government of
Haiti know that Congress is concerned about these issues and
will examine future aid requests in the context of these
concerns. We believe that for these measures to be effective
they should be amended to be as specific and concrete as
possible. Specifically, we propose that the current provision
with regard to Haiti, be amended with regard to aid requests for
FY 1987. If the human rights situation has not improved
significantly, we suggest that specific conditions be incor-
porated into the law, and that aid to Haiti be tied directly to
compliance with these conditions. If the Government of Haiti
does not comply with these provisions, direct U.S. aid to Haiti
would be terminated, except for economic and humanitarian aid
administered directly by private voluntary organizations. The
point of these human rights conditions is not to terminate aid
to people in need, but to apply pressure on the Haitian
Government to encourage positive measures to improve its
performance on human rights. Several areas in which specific
conditions could be imposed include:
1. Detention Practices and Conditions --
To date the Government of Haiti has
refused to publish a complete list of
everyone in its prisons and detention
facilities. The Government also refuses
to grant access to certain prisons and
military detentions facilities, even by
representatives of the International
Committee of the Red Cross. Future U.S.
aid provisions could require full access
to prisons by neutral international
humanitarian organizations and the
provision of a complete list of those in
detention and the charges under which
they are being held.
2. Press Freedom --
The Press Law and the Anti-Communist law
place severe restrictions on press
freedom. In addition, prominent
journalists continue to be harassed and
sometimes detained -- such as Pierre
Robert Auguste, who was detained last
year. These actions have a chilling
effect on the press. Future U.S. aid
provisions could require the repeal of
these restrictive press laws and an end
to government harassment of journalists.
3. Trade Union Rights --
Fully independent trade unions still are
not able to function in Haiti. Several
independent trade unions have been
disbanded in recent years and their
leaders forced into exile. Future aid
legislation could require the Haitian
Government to give public assurances, as
a matter of official policy, that trade
unions will be allowed to function freely
without government control or interference
in future aid legislation.
4. Political Freedom --
A new law governing political parties is
likely to be announced in the near
future. It remains unclear, however, to
what extent free political activity will
be allowed. An important criterion of
progress in this area is whether
political parties will be allowed to meet
and work freely without fear of
harassment or arrest by government
security forces. For democratization to
occur, opposition political parties should
be ensured access to mass media and the
right to hold open political rallies and
to publish their views in uncensored
publications. Future U.S. legislation
could require the Government of Haiti to
publicly declare its willingness to abide
by these conditions and to allow genuine
opposition parties to field candidates
for elective office without fear of
official reprisals or harassment.
5. Protection of Human Rights Monitors --
Several years ago the government of Haiti
created a National Conmission on Human
Rights. By its own admission, this
Commission will not act on political
cases. For human rights to be protected
in Haiti, there need to be freely
functioning, independent human rights
organizations that can gather facts and
represent those charged with political
offenses. Another condition of future
aid could be to require the Government of
Haiti to publicly commit itself to
allowing, as a matter of official policy,
independent human rights monitoring
activity to take place, and to discipline
those who interfere with such
Mr. Chairman, these criteria address some, though
certainly not all, of the principal human rights problems in
Haiti today. Utilizing these or similar measuring rods,
Congress can evaluate the Haitian Government's willingness to
improve its very poor record of performance on human rights
issues. For too long Congress and the Executive Branch have
passively accepted assurances of the Haitian Government's
commitment of future compliance with basic human rights
standards. Time and again in recent years these promises have
been broken, and Haitian citizens have continued to suffer. In
order to reverse this pattern the United States can and must
take a more assertive role in Haiti. These hearings represent
an important step in that direction. We urge you and this
Subcommittee to keep Haiti high on your agenda, and to carefully
scrutinize the Haitian Government's actions on these issues in
the months ahead.
49-764 O 85 4
Mr. YATRON. Thank you very much, Mr. Posner, for your state-
ment. I also want to thank you for the recommendations that you
are proposing to the subcommittee.
Our final witness in this panel is Mr. Theodore Adams, president
of Unified Industries, Inc.
Mr. Adams, please proceed with your statement.
STATEMENT OF THEODORE A. ADAMS, JR., PRESIDENT, UNIFIED
Mr. ADAMS. Mr. Chairman, members of the subcommittee, I wel-
come this opportunity to submit my testimony at your hearing on
human rights in Haiti.
My name is Lt. Col. Theodore A. Adams, Jr., U.S. Army, retired,
and I am president of Unified Industries based in Springfield, VA.
It is a black-owned company with over 500 employees.
I am also the past president of the National Association of Black
Manufacturers. I am the cochairman of the Minority Business
Legal Defense and Education Fund. The chairman is one of your
colleagues, Congressman Parren Mitchell, and I am the treasurer
of the National Black Leadership Roundtable whose chairman is
Congressman Walter Fauntroy.
In the capacity of president of a company and a military officer,
I have traveled extensively throughout the Caribbean, Africa,
South Africa, Asia, and the Middle East, and I have formulated
business judgments regarding the stability, economic viability, and
economic development prospects in those regions.
Presently my company is exploring the prospects of organizing a
number of major business ventures in Haiti. First, Mr. Chairman,
let me state for the record that I am no expert on human rights,
nor do I propose to make any such representations to that effect.
Therefore, I will not address my testimony to the specific points
raised in the various reports as submitted by my colleagues here at
However, I will state that it seems that a lot of things that I
have heard mentioned here could pertain to many sections of the
country (the United States) insofar as blacks are concerned. Need-
less to say, these same conditions exist in other countries that are
supported extensively by the United States.
I think it more important that those points be reflected in the
record by correspondence from official channels, though. However,
as a businessman involved in establishing substantial operations in
Haiti, I am intimately familiar with the day-to-day circumstances
which affect the commercial and the political functions of a coun-
try such as Haiti. As such, I have had the chance to witness the
human rights situation from a slightly different vantage point than
those groups which have provided testimony in the past.
I have witnessed the evolution of the government's attitude
toward the progress under the leadership of its current President,
Jean-Claude Duvalier, in a number of areas, including the opening
of job opportunities for all Haitian citizens.
Although I am not an apologist for Haiti's past problems with
regard to human rights, I think it necessary that Congress estab-
lish and be open to a realistic perspective. Haiti is by all accounts
the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, as you have men-
tioned, Mr. Chairman. It suffers from a paucity of natural re-
sources, a high illiteracy rate, and insufficient infrastructure, but
to a proud people's credit, it is desperately seeking to change these
conditions which have hindered its economic progress.
The Government's deliberate effort to increase the standard of
living for its citizens, its effort to ensure freedom of press and as-
sembly, and factors with respect to that progress was evident to me
on my recent visit.
In addition to opening its doors to foreign investment, Haiti has
aggressively pursued commercial relationships with the United
States and other businesses for increased economic development.
Most recently Haiti's overtures to minority business enterprise and
other industries have been signals of its willingness to accept the
values which we in business adhere to with regard to human
rights. From the perspective of a businessman, Haiti is a stable
country in which to conduct business.
More importantly, Mr. Chairman, I think we all must recognize
that in order for political changes to occur, there must be some cor-
responding or preceding economic improvements. They go hand in
glove. A country in such dire economic straits as Haiti can ill
afford to jeopardize the political stability it has established thus
far. This is not to say that political reform is unnecessary, but we
must keep in mind that there has been measured progress in terms
of elections, judicial reforms, the right of labor unions and political
parties under the current President.
I am convinced that as Haiti's economic situation improves, so,
too, will its record on human rights. Human rights observers have
been critical of the pace of Haiti's progress, often rightfully so.
However, these criticisms are not always made within the proper
For example, I noted with interest that Amnesty International's
March 1985 report contained a cover photograph which was taken
back in 1980. The dramatization of alleged human rights violations
in Haiti in such terms does not portray an accurate picture as it is
Moreover, Haiti's progress has not been duly noted by the tradi-
tional overseers of human rights who have chosen to accentuate
the negative over the positive and not include such recommenda-
tions for economic assistance which is direly needed if there is
going to be any improvement in human rights.
If we understand that Haiti is one of the oldest and most stable
governments in this hemisphere, that it plays important and stra-
tegic roles against the expansionism of the Soviet Union and influ-
ence in the Caribbean, then we might begin to understand the cau-
tious but steady progress the republic has made. This measured
progress can certainly be distinguished from the record of its
neighbors in Central America and the Caribbean which despite sev-
eral internal problems somehow continue to be rewarded with addi-
tional economic and military assistance.
Haiti's improvements have occurred at a time when Haiti despite
its present social and economic needs continues to receive only
modest increases in assistance from the United States, often with
burdensome conditions attached. The State Department has noted
and I think correctly so that the Government has made steady
progress despite a few setbacks.
To be sure, Mr. Chairman and members of the subcommittee,
Haiti today is not perfect. There remains remnants of a regime
which was based on, from our perception, what seems to be insensi-
tivity to political freedoms. But the Haiti of today is not the Haiti
of yesterday either. Recently there have been a number of legisla-
tive, institutional, and administrative measures aimed at greater
liberalization which represents significant steps. There has been
progress in Haiti, although there remains more to be accomplished.
As policymakers, you and your colleagues have a great deal of
leverage in shepherding the pace of human rights in Haiti.
In pursuing U.S. foreign policy objectives with our neighbor, I
urge the members of this subcommittee and the Congress to be sen-
sitive to the unique needs and the unique democracy which charac-
terizes the Republic of Haiti.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for affording me this opportunity to
testify before the subcommittee.
[Mr. Adams' prepared statement follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF THEODORE A. ADAMS, Jr., PRESIDENT, UNIFIED INDUSTRIES,
Mr. Chairman, members of the subcommittee, I welcome this opportunity to
submit the following testimony at your hearing on human rights in Haiti. My name
is Theodore A. Adams, and I am president of Unified Industries, a minority firm
based in Springfield, Virginia which conducts business in a number of foreign coun-
tries. In this capacity, I have traveled extensively throughout the Caribbean, Latin
America, Asia and the Middle East and have formulated business judgments about
the stability, economic viability and economic development prospects in those re-
gions. Presently, our company is exploring the prospects of organizing a number of
major business ventures in Haiti.
First, Mr. Chairman, let me state for the record, that I am no expert on human
rights, not do I purport to make any such representations to that effect. Therefore, I
will not address my testimony to the specific points raised in the various reports. I
think it more appropriate that those points be reflected in the record by correspond-
ence from official channels. However, as a businessman involved in establishing sub-
stantial operations in Haiti, I am intimately familiar with the day-to-day circum-
stances which affect the commercial and political functions of a country such as
Haiti. As such, I have had the chance to witness the human rights situation there
from a slightly different vantage point than those groups which have provided testi-
mony in the past. I have witnessed the evolution of the Government's attitude
toward progress under the leadership of President Jean-Claude Duvalier in a
number of areas, including the opening of job opportunities for all Haitian citizens.
Although I am no apologist for Haiti's past problems with regard to human
rights, I think it necessary that the Congress establish, and be open to, a realistic
perspective. Haiti is, by all accounts, the poorest country in the Western Hemi-
sphere. It suffers from a paucity of natural resources, a high illiteracy rate and in-
sufficient infrastructure. But to Haiti's credit, it is desperately seeking to change
these conditions which have hindered its economic progress. The Government's de-
liberate efforts to increase the standard of living for its citizens, its efforts to ensure
freedom of the press and assembly are factors which reflect that progress.
In addition to opening its doors to foreign investment, Haiti has aggressively pur-
sued commercial relationships with United States and other businesses for increased
economical development. Most recently, Haiti's overtures to minority businesses en-
terprises and other industries have been signals of its willingness to accept the
values which we in business adhere to with regard to human rights. From the per-
spective of a businessman, Haiti is a stable country in which to conduct business.
More importantly, Mr. Chairman, I think we all must recognize that in order for
political changes to occur, there must be some corresponding or preceding economic
improvements. A country in such dire economic straits as Haiti can ill afford to
jeopardize the political stability it has established thus far. This is not to say that
political reform is unnecessary. But we must keep in mind that there has been
measured progress in terms of elections, judicial reform, and the rights of labor
unions and political parties under President Duvalier. I am convinced that as
Haiti's economic situation improves, so too will its record on human rights.
Human rights observers have been critical of the pace of Haiti's progress, often
rightfully so. However, those criticisms are not always made within the proper con-
text. For example, I noted with interest that Amnesty International's March 1985
report contained a cover photograph which was taken in 1980. The dramatization of
alleged human rights violations in Haiti in such terms does not portray an accurate
picture as it is today. Moreover, Haiti's progress has not been duly noted by the tra-
ditional overseers of human rights who have chosen to accentuate the negative over
If we understand that Haiti is one of the oldest, and most stable governments in
this hemisphere, and that it plays important and strategic roles against the expan-
sionism of Soviet-Cuban influence in the Caribbean, then we might begin to under-
stand the cautious, but steady progress the republic has made. This measured
progress can certainly be distinguished from the record of its neighbors in Central
America and the Caribbean which, despite severe internal problems, somehow con-
tinue to be rewarded with additional economic and military assistance.
Haiti's improvements have occurred at a time when Haiti, despite its pressing
social and economic needs, continues to receive only modest increases in assistance
from the United States, often with burdensome conditions attached. The State De-
partment has noted, and I think correctly so, that the Government has made steady
progress, despite a few setbacks.
To be sure, Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, Haiti today is not per-
fect; there remain some remnants of a regime which was insensitive to political
freedoms. But the Haiti of today is not the Haiti of yesterday either. Recently there
have been a number of legislative, institutional and administrative measures aimed
at greater liberalization which represent significant steps. There has been progress
in Haiti although there remains more to be accomplished. As policymakers, you and
your colleagues have a great deal of leverage in shepherding the pace of human
rights in Haiti. In pursuing U.S. foreign policy objectives with our neighbor, I urge
the members of this committee and the Congress to be sensitive to the unique needs
and the unique democracy which characterizes the Republic of Haiti.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman for affording me this opportunity to testify before the
Mr. YATRON. Thank you very much, Mr. Adams, for your state-
ment. I would like to point out that our subcommittee has held
hearings on many various countries; we are not singling out Haiti.
The people who are here testifying from the human rights organi-
zations are considered experts in the field of human rights, and
they and their organizations have testified not only on Haiti, but
also on other nations on which we have held hearings. But we do
appreciate your being here and giving us your input.
Mr. Healey, since you do not believe Haiti is making significant
progress on human rights, how do you view the 1984 legislative
elections, the March 1984 letters from President Duvalier to the se-
curity forces directing them to respect human rights, and the de-
cline in killings and disappearances which some have claimed rep-
resent positive developments?
Ms. WEITZ. If I might respond on behalf of Amnesty Internation-
al. With respect to the elections, the point has been made earlier
by some of the other witnesses that while elections in themselves
may be seen as a positive step, the preconditions that are necessary
to ensure a democratic process do not exist in Haiti. Freedom of
political expression, freedom of assembly, the rights of trade union-
ists-all of these have been virtually denied in Haiti. While Am-
nesty does not take a position on the electoral process itself, we are
concerned that elections are not seen in a vacuum.
With respect to your reference to the directive from President
Jean-Claude Duvalier to other Government officials on the ques-
tion of torture and ill-treatment, Amnesty International certainly
welcomed that initiative. As a matter of fact, that initiative was
followed by a letter from the highest levels of our organization to
the Haitian President welcoming that initiative. At that time, how-
ever, we raised concerns as to what resources were available for
victims of potential ill-treatment and torture. No response was re-
The fact that ill-treatment continues to be a problem in Haiti
and that those directives were followed by harassment and intimi-
dation and the continuing practice of ill-treatment and torture are
In one case brought to our organization's attention two priests
were detained simply for trying to translate those letters into
Creole. So, while those are positive initiatives, they must be fol-
lowed by other indications that human rights are being promoted
and preserved in Haiti.
Mr. YATRON. Thank you very much, Ms. Weitz. Mr. Hooper, if
Haiti is not making meaningful progress on human rights, that
seems to imply that congressional policy of conditioning certain as-
sistance on such progress has not been very effective.
What effect has congressional policy had on Haiti, and why
should we believe any additional restrictions would work?
Mr. HOOPER. That is a very, very important question obviously,
sir. I believe your policy has worked. I believe your subcommittee's
policy has been very positive.
Congress has attached specific conditions which are eminently
reasonable. Some of us would urge further conditions on you. I
myself will urge further conditions on you, but the conditions are
understandable and they are clear. It is our belief that it is only
this kind of firm categorical standards that will push the Haitian
Government to bring about the reforms which are well within its
power to bring about.
In that regard, sir, I would like to add one thing on a question
which you directed principally to the previous witness, regarding
the recent letters, the missives from the President for Life to the
various security forces last year if I might.
It is the following. The things that he urged, sir, were things that
were already guaranteed by Haitian law. The protections that he
urged were already in the Haitian constitution and criminal and
civil codes and procedural codes.
One needs to ask, sir, what is the effect of, No. 1, a country that
has ignored its own laws to the point where the President has to
act in this, if you will, extralegal way to urge upon his own securi-
ty forces behavior according to his own constitution?
And second, isn't this in a way the very indication we need to
look at if this is the most positive development we can find in the
past year along with the elections which we have responded to al-
ready? And I think if you look at Secretary Shultz' criteria, that
the importance of the elections are clear. Is this kind of a letter
from a President urging something that is already guaranteed by
the Haitian constitution and laws progress? Particularly, sir, if just
a month after that those same security forces cracked down on all
of Haiti's journalists, if political parties are banned, if free press is
further restricted and only 4 months later the largest arrest wave
takes place that has taken place in the last 5 years, so I feel that it
is very important to keep that in mind, sir, but in direct response
to your initial question, I believe your policy has worked. I believe
your subcommittee's interest and particularly the interest, the ad-
ditional interest of the Congressional Black Caucus, has been of
tremendous importance, importance that we in this country might
not appreciate in terms of encouraging the Haitian Government to
understand that we are in a new era. We are not in a time when
the U.S. taxpayer is going to continue to throw good money after
Rather the Congress wants to know what is going on in countries
that are recipients of extensive American foreign aid.
You are asking to get an objective report and objective evalua-
tions as your constituency demand on what is going on, and I think
the Haitian Government is well aware of the need for that, and I
think they are eminently persuadable, sir.
I would urge you to keep up the careful pressure that you have
already put on them.
Mr. YATRON. Thank you, Mr. Hooper.
Mr. POSNER. Could I add a word to that? It seems to me that the
main benefit of the legislation that has been enacted so far is to
focus attention both here and in Haiti on the seriousness of the
concern of Congress. I am not sure that I would say that you have
succeeded entirely yet, but I think that there has clearly been some
greater attention paid to these issues in Haiti since Congress said,
as a matter of law, that we are going to take a look at these prob-
lems and try to particularize our concerns. It seems to me that that
process needs to continue and be made even more specific.
What you need to be aware of is that the Haitian Government
has begun to understand the way we operate in this country. They
have become very good at presenting themselves in packages that
look very attractive, citing new decrees and commissions and pre-
senting lots of window dressing if you will.
If the Haitian Government were willing to put as much money
into repairing its judicial system as it is to improving its image
with professional help in the United States, then I think we would
begin to see some real progress occurring.
I am not convinced, though, that we really have turned a bend in
this regard. I do not think that we really are on the way toward
seeing progress in the institutionmaking that I have talked about. I
think that this is the task for Congress to turn attention to in the
Mr. YATRON. Thank you, Mr. Posner. You have discussed some
steps the Haitian Government should take to qualify for U.S. as-
sistance. How legitimate are fears that a too rapid movement
toward reform will lead to chaos and instability in Haiti?
Mr. POSNER. I share the concern that we don't want to upset the
apple cart, and I share with Congressman Solomon a concern that
we must understand the context in which we develop policy.
At the same time I don't think that it is asking too much to have
the Haitian Government prepare a list of people who were in de-
tention in the country. I don't think it is asking too much to allow
the Red Cross, the International Committee of the Red Cross, into
military barracks to see if prisoners are alive or dead. I don't think
it is asking too much to put an end to incommunicado detention,
and I don't think it is asking too much to allow free press, free
trade union, and free political parties to function.
We are not asking for a revamping of a system in a way that
would create radical and detrimental change. We are asking for
steady, slow progressive steps to make the country more of a de-
mocracy, and to bring it in line with the values that we hold
It seems to me that the things we have outlined are relatively
modest steps but steps that can be taken, while at the same time
stability is maintained.
Mr. YATRON. Thank you. Would you care to comment Mr.
Mr. HOOPER. Yes, sir, thank you very much. Your question is an
What indication is-there of any, quote, instability, unquote, in
Haiti? There is none, despite the problems that are extensive and
institutionalized that we have spoken to, and because of in many
ways the abuses of the past 27 years, this regime based on its
secret police and military forces is totally in control of the country.
There is absolutely no validity to these abstract notions that some-
how if we require humane practices on the part of countries which
are recipients of extensive American aid that it will, quote, upset
the applecart, unquote, or produce detrimental changes, sir.
The people that put forth this notion are the same people that
remind us insubstantially that Haiti is only 90 miles away from
Cuba. I don't know what that is supposed to mean. The military
regime of this country is squarely in place. We must insist that it
abide by elementary principles of fundamental human rights, and
the suggestions that we have put forth that parallel the sugges-
tions of Mr. Posner's in our written testimony are a beginning, sir.
They could not upset this regime in any sense.
Its refusal to go along with these is an indication to Congress of
what is in store for the Haitian people in the future.
Mr. YATRON. Thank you. Mr. Adams. I have a question for you,
then I will turn the floor over to my colleague, Mr. Solomon.
Mr. Adams, which factor or factors, besides economics, constrain
the Haitian Government from moving faster to implement addi-
Mr. ADAMS. Mr. Chairman, it is very difficult for me to sit here
because as a businessman try not to get involved in the policies es-
tablished by foreign countries where we are doing business, as long
as we are treated fairly and we can do business.
I applaud the gentleman's attempt to insist that human rights
edicts and factors are considered. However, to do this in a vacuum
without detailed examination of the infrastructure and infrastruc-
ture's ability to support its people is a waste of time. If you have a
country which has the lowest ability to furnish water to its citi-
zens, it is difficult to say to them you must obey all of these human
rights issues when there is another issue that could develop into a
time bomb-the lack of water, the lack of infrastructure.
The reason we chose to look at Haiti is because as businessmen-
and believe me before I went there I did not want to go, because I
had been bombarded by the bad literature that has been published
about Haiti. Everything was bad but after going there, meeting
with, talking to, and looking at the workers, I found they were
probably the most industrious people I have ever observed in any
country. The hardest working because their output was phenome-
nal and we decided that, what we must do is not impose more con-
ditions but increase our aid, aiming at improving those life-support
functions that will cause the Government to feel more solid in its
control over the situation so that there can be progress.
You just can't impose restrictions on a country or on a people
without giving them the means, economic means, to achieve those
things that need to be done to overcome those restrictions.
Mr. YATRON. Mr. Adams, I am sure that as a businessman, you
are concerned about human rights. Now are you saying that im-
proving the sewage system, for example, is necessary before the
Government can stop terrorizing people?
Mr. ADAMS. I think that probably is one of the most important
things you can do. You see, economic-let's look at another coun-
try. Let's look at Japan or let's look at Korea. Korea has become a
great country industrially because of the U.S. presence there. I
have served in the military, as have many others, and we assisted
in building the infrastructure in Korea. We gave them an industri-
al base to work from.
You don't have that in Haiti. When you have the lack of a
sewage system, the lack of water, and the lack of communications,
all of these things tend to ensure a climate of revolution. You are
always on the state or on the edge of anarchy, so that any group in
power will be forced by the lack of these services to its citizens to
take actions that may appear extreme from our vantage point, but
from their vantage point, it might not be so.
Not only have I spoken to the people of Haiti, but to other busi-
nessmen who were there also, and they, too, see Haiti as a country
that is on the rise. They see Haiti as a place full of people who are
hard working, diligent and very, very proud. They see more of our
products being comanufactured in Haiti along with U.S. plants,
and I think that in the next 5 or 10 years this will happen.
Together we see a government that is stable, and making efforts
to improve its condition.
Mr. YATRON. Thank you. I would just like to say you mentioned
the country of Korea. There are still human rights problems in
that country, and we have held hearings on Korea. This is one of
the countries to which I alluded earlier in the hearing.
Thank you, Mr. Adams.
Mr. SOLOMON. Mr. Chairman, you have covered most of the ques-
tions of my concern.
And I just have a comment now and perhaps one question:
Mr. Adams brought up an interesting point. I think one of the
problems in years past is the fact that most of the U.S. aid, wheth-
er it is bilateral or multilateral, has gone primarily for social serv-
ices. In other words, we have given countries like Haiti and others
money and food, and a year later, 2 years later, 10 years later, or
20 years later the situation hasn't changed any. I think that is be-
cause of some of the things Mr. Adams has mentioned, that we
have not focused on helping those people to help themselves, and
by that I mean economic aid that is going to help them to build an
economy that is going to allow them to raise the value of life in
And I really am somewhat confused because when we look at the
map, the location of Haiti, I just have to ask a question of anyone
or all of you: Why has Haiti been so troubled historically over the
years, in comparison with the other half of the island, with the Do-
The Dominican Republic has had its problems and certainly its
record is uneven as well, but it is a far cry better and certainly
more stable than Haiti, and I just have to ask why? What is it
about Haiti that has produced this deplorable situation over the
Maybe both, one of you and Mr. Adams could just comment on
Mr. POSNER. I am sure that there is a complex series of factors
that account for Haiti's historical difficulties. One element that is
quite important is the lack of development of a government struc-
ture that provides incentives to individuals to better themselves.
There is not a system in Haiti that promotes fiscal responsibility,
that is to say, money that we give in foreign aid often doesn't wind
up in the hands of the people it is intended for and on to the
human rights issue that we have discussed this morning, the Gov-
ernment of Haiti doesn't encourage and/or foster the development
of a strong, stable political structure in the country and the results
are extremely negative.
This administration, the Reagan administration has made a
point of saying that the United States needs to foster democracy in
the world in part as a matter of our own self-interest. If we can
replicate or at least begin to replicate democratic structures in
other parts of the world, we are creating long-term stability in
countries where economic development of the type you described is
more possible and certainly where conditions are more conducive
I would say that Haiti is a classic case where institutions, eco-
nomic and political, have collapsed and where the Government, the
Haitian Government has to be held at least partially responsible.
Twenty-seven years under a very autocratic government is just too
long a time under the present circumstance without the incentive,
without an opportunity for other interests, other economic inter-
ests to prevail.
It seems to me that we are at the end of a long period where in-
stitutions have been allowed to decay.
Mr. HOOPER. I would like to respond to your question as well if I
Just previous to asking the specific question, you indicated your
feeling that what the United States should be doing is helping the
Haitian people to help themselves. That is specifically why we and
many other organizations have regrettably made the recommenda-
tion that unless the Haitian Government is willing to take a few
specific good-faith steps that are eminently reasonable, then,
henceforth, all aid should be channeled exclusively through inde-
pendent private voluntary organizations. We completely agree with
you, sir, that aid must continue to go to the Haitian people, and it
is just that kind of real development project that you have men-
tioned and, that have been alluded to by a number of speakers,
that we completely support.
We believe that the priority concern is that aid not be funneled
into the pockets of a government, the characterization of which we
all basically agree on. So, I would preface my comment by saying
that we completely agree with your sentiment and urge you not to
consider a cutoff in aid but that it be funneled exclusively to pri-
vate voluntary organizations unless demonstrable improvements
can be made on a specific timetable.
Your specific question related to the difference between the Do-
minican Republic and Haiti. Of course, there are many, many, rea-
sons for this difference, and the Dominican Republic in the last
several decades certainly has not been a place without significant
tensions. I think the most significant difference between these na-
tions was alluded to by Mr. Posner, and that is that the Haitian
Government has made no effort, and I underline no effort, to facili-
tate the development of the preconditions that would make life in
Haiti decent for a majority of its citizens and that might encourage
the development of democratic institutions.
In Haiti there are an absolute minimum of the most essential de-
velopment projects. In fact, it is very interesting to note that fully
90 percent of the development budget in Haiti comes from foreign
aid. There are not domestic revenues of any extensive nature at all
devoted to meaningful development projects.
Sir, I would also add that it might be very productive for the sub-
committee to look into why is Haiti, of all the countries in the
hemisphere, the country where the highest percentage of the for-
eign aid budget goes into salaries and other compensation for local
employees? So we would again note that we need development.
However, the Haitian Government has pursued a policy of malign
neglect for 27 years, and we must encourage them to either fish or
cut bait, either begin some real development project planning and
that will be able to come to predictable conclusions, or we need to
take a very hard look at continuing such a close bilateral relation-
ship. To conclude, sir, there has been an emergency that affected
both countries, both the Dominican Republic and Haiti, and the
differential treatment of these emergencies in some ways indicates
the best answer possible to the question you have articulated.
There has been in both countries in recent years an economic
crisis of amazing proportion that seems perhaps not too important
to us. It involves a virus infection which has decimated the swine
of both countries and this so-called African swine fever, in the
opinion of most experts in the Department of Agriculture, demands
the elimination of the affected stock.
This blight is something that has affected many countries in
Africa at various times as you are well aware. When the Domini-
can Republic had this problem, they instituted, of course with some
problems, an eradication program and replacement program, with
a lot of outside assistance, including very, very important assist-
ance from the U.S. Government. The peasants got replacement pigs
and the economy was not disrupted.
In Haiti, what has happened? There was an uneven eradication
program. The U.S. Government is pumping in more and more
money. The peasants are not getting significant numbers of re-
placement pigs. The money for the program is disappearing down
the same black hole that it has disappeared down for 27 years.
We need to ask what does it mean when in a country where the
pig is an absolute buffer between economic disaster and viability
for peasant families, that a government is so bereft of feeling for
its own people that it would absorb the aid moneys for the replace-
Mr. ADAMS. Mr. Chairman, Mr. Solomon, I would answer the
question in a slightly different way. We look at Haiti as in the
same way that we look at the experience of black America. In the
history of Haiti, in 1804 they were slaves over there. The white
rulers probably prevented us from speaking French because they
denied Napoleon a base by which to attack the lower eastern 48
We also see that up until the 1960's the United States did not
recognize black Americans as citizens, and as we look at Haiti we
see it as a country that had no godfather. They had none. There
was no colonial power over it. They were only allowed in France if
they spoke the same language. They were in this hemisphere, and
in fact after the revolution in 1804 they were ostracized by the rest
of the world until the slaves in the United States were freed, so as
a businessman looks at Haiti as a country that has blacks actually
in control of the economic situation in that country, as bad as it
We do not see that in many, or I have not seen that in many
other countries, and I am talking about countries in Africa where
you go to do business. It would be easier to go to Paris or to
London, in some cases New York, because that is where the eco-
nomics is really controlled.
We find the economics controlled in Haiti is, as meager as it may
be, by the citizens of Haiti and by no other foreign government.
We find the system of capitalism that is built into the human
fabric of the people in Haiti. They are entrepreneurs in the truest
sense, and if they had natural resources, I am sure that we would
see a growth.
Now to Mr. Solomon, I agree with you. These aids that we pro-
vide for Haiti must be that which allows them to solve their own
problems. We cannot sit here in this conference room in Washing-
ton, DC, and legislate or solve the problems of Haiti without their
full participation, without understanding the time bomb that the
President and the Government is certainly living on.
Insofar as graft and corruption, we make a big deal out of it.
You have graft and corruption right here in the United States.
Look in any newspaper any day. We are even charging some of our
defense contractors with corruption, so that really doesn't bother
me, but I do say that the reason they are different is because they
are black. They have been isolated. They have not had a godfather.
They have not had a big brother. They have been forced to go it on
I think that what we should do is take Haiti and say here is a
country that has achieved what it has on its own power. It has
problems. Clean them up the best way you can, but in the mean-
time, here is how we can help you to help yourself. Tie the money
maybe to projects that are measurable like water, sewer, and infra-
structure, so that we as businessmen can go in with joint venture
projects that will allow them to pull themselves up by their own
bootstraps and employ their own people.
They have a big problem in feeding their own people, and that is
a major problem. As far as the swine problem, I don't know any-
thing about pigs, but I know that any food problem that is critical
today is only going to get worse in the future. It is not going to get
Mr. SOLOMON. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. YATRON. I have no further questions, so I want to thank the
witnesses who took time out of their busy schedules to come here
and give us the benefit of their views.
Thank you very much.
Mr. POSNER. Thank you.
Mr. YATRON. Our final witness today is the Honorable Elliott
Abrams, the Assistant Secretary of State for Human Rights and
Mr. Secretary, please come to the table. It's a pleasure to have
you before the subcommittee once again. Whenever you are ready,
you may proceed.
STATEMENT OF HON. ELLIOTT ABRAMS, ASSISTANT SECRETARY
OF STATE, BUREAU OF HUMAN RIGHTS AND HUMANITARIAN
Mr. ABRAMS. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. It's a pleasure to be
here before you again. Our overall views of the situation in Haiti
were supplied in the annual country report. I see you have got a
copy of our volume there in front of you, and I would like to
submit for the record the full country report on Haiti.'
Mr. YATRON. Without objection.
Mr. ABRAMS. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Listening to the previ-
ous witnesses, it occurs to me that in a way, there isn't all that
much of a disagreement about the difficulties of Haiti.
For one thing, the economic situation; for another, the human
rights situation-we have heard a great deal which we all would
agree on the history of Haiti. I think it is worth pointing out that
President Duvalier who is styled President for life, is the ninth
President for life that Haiti has had. There is no history of democ-
There is one change that we think is worth noting very much,
and that is that the wanton violence and systematic killings of the
sixties and seventies that one associates with the regime of Fran-
cois Duvalier, the unchecked brutality of the famous Ton Ton Ma-
coutes, are virtually gone now. That we think is a really significant
There have been no confirmed reports in the past few years of
political killings or disappearances in Haiti compared to previous
accounts of hundreds of people being killed, sometimes entire vil-
lages being wiped out.
'See appendix 5.
In acknowledgement of that change which is not something that
took place in a week or a month but has taken place really over
the past few years, and other moderating trends, I recently recom-
mended to the Interagency Working Group on Human Rights that
the longstanding requirement under section 116 that all develop-
ment assistance, DA, projects for Haiti directly benefit the needy
should be lifted.
The human rights certification requirement for Haiti under sec-
tion 540 of the Foreign Assistance and Related Programs Appro-
priation Act remains in force. While we were cautiously encour-
aged by President Duvalier's more measured responses to Haiti's
political and economic problems, we are always mindful that these
steps of moderation could easily give way to more heavy-handed
The Haitian Government's inconsistent record on human rights
bears out our caution on this score. I think we do have to recall, as
you have and the witnesses have, that we are talking about the
poorest country in the hemisphere. GNP per capital under $300 a
year; the next country that is the second poorest country is twice
as rich, has per capital GNP that is twice as high. That is Hondu-
ras. Haiti is the only country in the Western Hemisphere which is
ranked by the United Nations as one of the least developed coun-
tries in the world and as has been noted, it has an incredibly low
literacy rate-20 percent.
The question was posed I think rather interestingly just now of
what is the difference between Haiti and the Dominican Republic?
One difference which I think the previous witnesses did not
bring out is that in 1962 as a result of human rights concerns
largely, the United States cut all assistance to Haiti. As a result,
Haiti missed out on the Alliance for Progress. It still is the case
that our aid to the Dominican Republic is twice as high as our aid
to Haiti. It is also true that over the years the amount of money
that the World Bank has poured into the Dominican Republic has
been greatly higher than that for Haiti, so while it is true that
there are a lot of internal explanations for the failure to develop,
there are other explanations as well in terms of natural resources,
that is, what is the percentage of arable land, and in terms of the
aid flows that have come in from outside.
With respect to political liberalization and the development of
democratic institutions in Haiti, I would say that I really don't dis-
agree much with the previous witnesses. Some of them have noted
that our country report was, they thought, a good one and an accu-
rate one, and of course those do represent our views. Progress is
slow and a number of problems continue. There are significant re-
strictions on freedom of speech, freedom of press, freedom of asso-
ciation. There are constitutional guarantees in a lot of areas, in-
cluding due process, that are pretty much ignored.
The legislative elections last year had positive and negative as-
pects. There were also abuses and interference by the Government.
A number of opposition candidates-Sylvio Claude and Gregoire
Eugene-were not allowed to participate in the process. In several
districts it is quite clear that there were incidents of intimidation
and manipulation. You will have to forgive me for the next sen-
tence. I will read it. "On the positive side, two-thirds of all incum-
bents who ran for reelection were defeated. * *" I hope you
won't take that personally.
There is a sense in which that is a positive development, al-
though you might not be expected to share that view.
Mr. YATRON. That possibility always exists.
Mr. ABRAMS. There was a record number of candidates, and
again two-thirds of all incumbents who ran were defeated.
Despite these problems, and they were very serious, these elec-
tions were we thought more positive, more open, fairer, than the
1979 legislative elections or the 1983 municipal elections.
In March of 1984, as you know, President Duvalier announced
his intention to reform the judicial system, and he wrote these let-
ters that have been discussed to the heads of the police and the mi-
litia and the armed forces, Ministers of Defense and the Interior,
Justice and so forth, commanding them to pay greater respect to
law and legal procedure and to refrain from physical abuse or tor-
I would have to disagree with the previous witness, I think Mr.
Hooper, who indicated that that is not meaningful because those
guarantees are in the Haitian constitution or laws.
The Soviet constitution guarantees freedom of religion, but it
would be an enormous step forward if that constitutional guaran-
tee were actually followed.
Similarly in Haiti, if the constitutional guarantees were in fact
enforced, it would be a great step forward. I would disagree also
with the characterization of Haiti as a kind of place in which there
is total government control, where there is a lot of clicking of heels
going on on the part of government officials. It is a much more re-
laxed government atmosphere than that, and I think that these let-
ters can be quite helpful in getting the message from the central
government throughout the provinces and into the towns as to how
the President wants officials to behave.
In May of last year, riots broke out in several Haitian cities. The
root causes were no doubt partly found in Haiti's current economic
plight, but our sense is that the President's letters, those March
letters, or the expectation raised by them, also contributed to the
disruption. In the aftermath, three people died. The Government
by most accounts reacted to the riots with general restraint using
as little force as possible, and it did also respond to the major new
effort to provide jobs in secondary cities throughout the country.
With respect to press freedom, we think some progress has been
made. There are two new independent publications, L'Information
and Fraternite, which have joined the traditional independent
weekly, Le Petit Samedi Soir in introducing an independent tone
and editorial line seldom seen in Haiti. There are also stories about
pluralism and political parties and activities of opposition figures.
On a couple of occasions, Sylvio Claude's publication, La Convic-
tion, also appeared. It has been underground, and it was on the
streets. Then the Government invoked the statute to prevent its
The Catholic radio station, Radio Soleil, continued its independent
commentary and denounced human rights abuses.
There are no doubt continuing limitations on freedom of the
press in Haiti. There is no question about that, but our sense is
that those limitations have become reduced in the past couple of
Now last May the Government of Haiti announced it would
submit to the National Assembly legislation to regulate political
parties and allow the establishment of political parties. The exist-
ing ban on political parties would continue until the law is passed.
President Duvalier is expected to make an important announce-
ment in that regard on the 22d of this month, just a few days from
I can go into more detail on the particular individual opposition
figures, but if you permit me, Mr. Chairman, I would like to submit
most of the testimony for the record.
Mr. YATRON. Without objection, it will all be included in the
record, Mr. Secretary.
Mr. ABRAMS. Thank you. Let me just conclude by saying that we
think there is an "uneven record. We think there are significant
human rights violations in Haiti, but we think there is progress es-
pecially on the question of reduction of violence and brutality, and
it is generally our view that it is a mistake to overrate progress,
but it is an equal or perhaps even greater mistake to underrate it
and to deny progress when it does take place. That is what dis-
turbed me a little bit about the Amnesty report. It seemed to say
things indicating there is a lot of violence in Haiti and you look at
the incidents described and they are all from 1980, nothing later
I think that is a mistake to take that kind of a picture rather
than giving credit to the Government of Haiti for those improve-
ments which have taken place.
We would like to see, of course, in this tragically poor country
greater political reforms. We would like to see more and a greater
pace, and we will continue to emphasize to the Government of
Haiti our desire for continuing progress toward greater respect for
human rights. Much more clearly remains to be done.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
[Mr. Abrams' prepared statement follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF HON. ELLIOTT ABRAMS, ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF STATE,
BUREAU OF HUMAN RIGHTS AND HUMANITARIAN AFFAIRS
Dear Mr. Chairman:
I am pleased to have this opportunity to appear before the
Subcommittee to discuss the overall human rights situation in
Our most recent general assessment of the human rights
situation in Haiti was provided in the Department of State's
annual country report on human rights released in February of
this year. With your permission, I would like to submit a copy
of this report for the record.
As we all know, Haiti has had a violent and troubled history
characterized by alternating periods of authoritarian rule and
political instability. Jean Claude Duvalier is the ninth
president-for-life in Haitian history. The human rights record
of Haiti today is mixed. Although physical abuse of persons by
Haitian authorities continues to be a concern, the wanton
violence and systematic killings of the 1960's and 1970's under
Francois Duvalier, and the unchecked mayhem and brutality
carried out by the infamous "Ton Ton Macoutes," are virtually
absent. There have been no confirmed reports in the past few
years of political killings or disappearances in Haiti as
compared to previous accounts of thousands being killed and,
in some cases, entire villages being wiped out. In
acknowledgement of this significant reduction in violence and
other recent moderating trends, I recently recommended to the
Interagency Working Group on Human Rights and Foreign
Assistance that the longstanding requirement under Section 116,
that all Development Assistance (DA) projects for Haiti
"directly benefit the needy" be lifted. The human rights
certification requirements for Haiti under Section 540 of the
Foreign Assistance and Related Programs Appropriation Act, of
course, remain in force. While we are cautiously encouraged by
Jean Claude Duvalier's more measured responses to Haiti's
political and economic problems, we are always mindful that
these steps of moderation could easily give way to more heavy
handed tactics. The Haitian Government's inconsistent record
on human rights bears out our caution on this score.
With respect to political liberalization and the development of
democratic institutions in Haiti, progress is slow and a number
of problems continue. Constitutionally guaranteed freedoms
such as freedom of speech, press, and association, continue to
be significantly restricted by other legislation.
Constitutional guarantees of due process are often ignored or
In February 1984, legislative elections were held in Haiti.
The elections had positive aspects, but the process also was
marred by abuses and interference by the Government. The
authorities did not allow opposition candidates Sylvio Claude
and Gregoire Eugene to participate in the process,'and in
several districts the Government took clear steps to ensure
that its candidate won. In some other districts the
authorities resorted to intimidation and manipulation of
election results. In particular, the Government arrested the
poll watchers of the only independent candidate, Serge
Beaulieu, which contributed to his defeat. On the positive
side, two-thirds of all incumbents who ran for reelection were
defeated and there was a record number of candidates. Despite
the problems, these elections were more positive, more open,
and more fairly conducted than either the 1983 municipal
elections or the 1979 legislative elections.
In March 1984, President Duvalier announced his intention to
reform the Haitian judicial system and wrote public letters to
the heads of the police, militia, and armed forces, and to the
Ministers of Defense and the Interior, and Justice, commanding
them to pay greater respect to Haitian law and legal procedure
and to refrain from using physical abuse or torture of
prisoners. These letters received wide publicity in the
Haitian media. In late September 1984, the Government at last
brought to trial five of six detainees suspected of setting off
bombs in Port-au-Prince. They had been held without charges in
jail for a year ana a half. One was released without trial.
The remaining five were found guilty in an open trial and
sentenced to life imprisonment. The defense has appealed
successfully and the.Haitian Supreme Court has ordered a new
In May of last year riots broke out in several Haitian cities.
Though the root causes of these riots were partly found in
Haiti's current economic plight, the President's March letters,
or expectations raised by them, also contributed to the
disruption. Although three people died, the Government, by
most accounts, reacted to the riots with general restraint,
using as little force as possible. Moreover, the Government of
Haiti responded with a major new effort to provide more jobs in
secondary cities throughout the country.
With respect to general press freedoms, some progress has been
made. Two new independent publications, "L'information" and
"Fraternite," joined the traditional independent weekly "Le
Petit Samedi Soir" in introducing an independent tone and
editorial line seldom seen in Haiti. Articles discussing
pluralism, political parties, and the activities of
oppositionists proliferated. Sylvio Claude's "La Conviction,"
previously an underground newsletter, also appeared on the
streets on several occasions, though the Government invoked a
statute to prevent its distribution. "Radio Soleil" the
Catholic radio station, continued its independent commentary
and denounced human rights abuses. On June 18, however, the
Government detained the publishers of the three independent
weeklies, though it released them all within 48 hours. This
incident and the beating of one of the publishers while in
custody served as a reminder of Haiti's continuing press
limitations. By late 1984 two of the publications had begun to
recover some of their earlier candor and a third independent
magazine, "Inferno" began appearing weekly. "Fraternite" has
not reappeared since June, however.
Last May, the Government of Haiti announced that it would
submit to the national assembly legislation to regulate the
establishment and operation of political parties. The existing
ban on political activity by political parties reportedly will
continue until the law is passed. President Duvalier is
expected to make an important announcement regarding this
legislation on the 22nd of this month.
With regard to the opposition in Haiti, leading opposition
figure, Gregoire Eugene, was allowed to return to Haiti in
February 1984, but from June to September he was under house
arrest. Oppositionist Sylvio Claude was released from house
arrest in March 1984, but went into hiding in July, after his
printing press was taken and his daughter beaten by a soldier.
He remains in hiding today. Haiti's representative to UNESCO,
Hubert De Ronceray, was detained for questioning by the
Government on July 14,.released after 48 hours, and like
Eugene, placed under house arrest without charge until
In June 1984, a representative from the International Committee
of the Red Cross visited Haiti and was allowed to see prisoners
in Haitian jails for the first time since 1981. He returned in
October, where he was received by the President. The ICRC
Representative intends to return to Haiti periodically. The
Government of Haiti has received other human rights groups over
the past year, such as the United Nations Human Rights
Commission, the Committee to Protect Journalists, America's
Watch, and in March 1985, the Department's Human Rights Bureau
regional officer responsible for Haiti.
In October 1984, the Government of Haiti announced changes in
the command structure of the Haitian militia, the Volunteers
for National Security (VSN), otherwise known under Francois
Duvalier as the "Ton Ton Macoutes." The VSN, which was
supervised by Supervisor General Madam Max Adolphe before the
changes, is now supervised by a 12 member commission which
includes five career military officers who are not VSN
members. These changes were reportedly taken in order to curb
abuses and corruption in the VSN. The VSN, however, continues
to be an organization with a potential for human rights
Last November the Government of Haiti arrested about 30
individuals on suspicion of being involved in a plot to
overthrow the Government. Some of them were released after
questioning. Senior Government officials have assured us that
the 19 men still being held will be brought to trial as soon as
the case can be prepared. These same officials have told us
the suspects were brought before judges within 48 hours, in
compliance with Haitian law, and that they have not been
mistreated. We repeatedly expressed our concern to Haitian
officials about the well-being of these arrested persons who
were held incommunicado until March. During March these
prisoners were seen in the National Penitentiary by two foreign
officials of different international human rights
organizations. These officials report that the detainees have
not complained of mistreatment.
Despite the uneven record in human rights I have noted, the
Government of Haiti on balance has made some progress. The
most striking example of this progress is the appreciable and
significant reduction in violence and brutality from earlier
years. The Government also appears to be taking steps, albeit,
slow and measured, toward implementing political reforms, which
are essential to the development of democracy in this
tragically impoverished country. We will continue to emphasize
to the Government of Haiti the need for continuing progress
toward greater 'respect for human rights in Haiti, for much
remains to be done.
Mr. YATRON. Thank you very much, Secretary Abrams. Last
month an administration witness testified before our subcommittee
that Haiti falls under the restriction of 116(a) of the Foreign Assist-
What has transpired since that time to justify the lifting the re-
strictions as you discussed in your testimony?
Mr. ABRAMS. I do not think that any event in Haiti has tran-
spired to make us really undertake that change now. Rather than
say a month ago or 6 months ago or 3 months from now, it isn't a
response to any discrete event in Haiti. It is in our view a response
to two things.
On the one hand, it is anomalous. The only other country which
had this absolute ban on development assistance going to anything
other than really basic human needs was Uganda, and as you re-
member, when we went through the situation in Uganda last
summer it was our estimate at that time that between 100,000 and
200,000 people have lost their lives.
It seems to us when one looks at the imperfect human rights sit-
uation in dozens of countries around the world, Haiti is unfortu-
nately typical of many of them and should not be separated in this
class with Uganda as a country in which there has been now cur-
rently a very significant loss of life.
I suppose the other factor was there were some proposals up for
foreign aid projects which would be barred by that limitation, and
so when we thought about it, at the urgings of the Embassy, it
seemed to us the situation was anomalous and that it should t be
allowed to continue given that there is certification legislation, so
that for example, if there is a real deterioration now in the next 6
months in Haiti, the legislation would not only permit but demand
a cutoff. We thought that we were, in a sense, protected on that
end from the message going forward to the Government of Haiti
that we don't care about human rights and that deterioration
would not be met by action on the part of the U.S. Government.
Mr. YATRON. The State Department's own Country Reports on
Human Rights Practices detail that a significant number of deplor-
able abuses continue, including beatings, torture, degrading treat-
ment of political prisoners, arbitrary arrests, detention, denial of
due process, routine searches without warrant, continuation of the
press censorship, a ban on opposition political parties and others.
The Country Reports also record how the Government has retreat-
ed from many of its reform initiatives.
Now couple this with what has been stated by the human rights
organizations which testified here today, cannot one reasonably
conclude that there has been no real progress in human rights in
Haiti in the past year?
Mr. ABRAMS. We would not reach that conclusion. I think your
description of the pattern is correct, that is, steps forward and
steps back, promises that are made and sometimes broken; but
your question was whether taken overall, there was progress or no
Our sense was that there was nevertheless a move forward again
on the question of violence and brutality, less of it, and then on the
general political scene, lots of false starts and stops, but our sense
is that there continues to be a loosening of the political scene.
Mr. YATRON. Mr. Secretary, can you cite some specific long-term
institutional changes that the Haitian Government has initiated
which suggests a sustained movement toward democracy and
Mr. ABRAMS. Well, the first I guess would be a loosening again,
and this is clearly reversible at the will of the President, but a loos-
ening on the question of press freedom. That is, you go from a situ-
ation in which there wasn't any, in which there was really no dis-
cussion to speak of, criticism of government, to a situation in which
there is let's say more than zero. There is some.
Although that is not institutional change in terms of establishing
political institutions such as political parties, the rumor is that
there will be some announcement in a few days by political parties,
but I don't want to disagree in this sense. I would certainly not
characterize what has happened in Haiti as firm strides toward es-
tablishing a democratic structure. I don't think that has happened.
I think what there has been, on the other hand, is firm strides
away from a government that essentially exists on the basis of vio-
lence and brutality toward more of a normal day-to-day bureau-
cratic structure. The steps that you would like to see toward de-
mocracy and we would like to see toward democracy I would say
have not been taken, but we would still maintain that the question
really is what kind of aid program we are going to have there if
there is any progress, and our sense is that we, we and the Hai-
tians, are better off if we can move to a broader kind of program.
It does get you into the question then of philosophies of aid and
what kind of aid you want to give, but I do not think that there
has been what we would consider to be fundamental institutional
change leading toward democratization.
Mr. YATRON. The point is, as you mentioned, these steps are at
the whim of the President.
Mr. SOLOMON. Yes, Mr. Chairman. Mr. Secretary, it's nice to
have you with us again. I commend you on the excellent job that
Mr. ABRAMS. Thank you.
Mr. SOLOMON. Mr. Secretary, I had asked the question earlier
about why Haiti had been so troubled historically compared to the
Dominican Republic, and certainly you gave us some answers. But
in a followup to that, just what are the priorities that have been
established by the Haitian Government itself?
In other words, what does the government there spend its money
on that we give it? And second, what projects or concerns do they
think are important for national development that we have been
talking about? And what about the problem of corruption? Is cor-
ruption really a serious problem in Haiti?
Mr. ABRAMS. I think there was one point that was missed by the
previous witnesses that is worth noting. Their general argument
about aid was they are not for cutting off. They are for giving it
through private voluntary organizations [PVO's].
Well, you know, half of it is. They didn't seem to be aware of
that. Already half of the aid we give to the Government-not to
the Government-we give to the country of Haiti, goes through the
PVO's for a variety of reasons, and one of them is that the struc-
ture there is really not good enough in many cases to handle the
aid and make sure it gets through to the ultimate recipients, and
also, of course, when we do it through the PVO's there cannot be
corruption on the part of the Government because it doesn't go
through the Government.
Second, I think it is a mistake to think that AID's own proce-
dures, its inspection procedures, its auditing procedures, are so lax
that in the small amount of money-and it is small-that we give
Haiti, that half that goes through the Haitian Government just
sort of disappears and we never know where it goes and AID
cannot track it and has no conception what happened to it. That is
not right. That is not the way that AID does business, so while I
have no doubt, I mean I don't think anyone who is moving on the
scene would doubt there is corruption in the Government of Haiti
as in many other governments, I would disagree with the notion
that corruption affects our AID program.
Half of it doesn't go through the Government of Haiti, and the
other half is carefully monitored.
Now you are dealing with a situation of such dire poverty that
virtually everything is needed. You know, it is not a situation such
as that in some countries where basic infrastructure is there and
you are now selecting out specific programs. There are projects-
the basic projects are things like agricultural development and re-
forestation in a country with very little arable land; public health
training and education, and I would just like to mention training
and education as being quite important because the lack of trained
personnel is a tremendous limit on the economic development, and
it is a limit on the amount of foreign aid that can be usefully han-
dled, too, because there isn't that large a number of people who
can run programs at the Haitian end.
Mr. SOLOMON. And it doesn't. I don't see how you can funnel all
of the aid through PVO's either when you talk about economic de-
velopment. You know, if they need powerplants, if they need roads,
if they need water systems, sewage systems, PVO's can't do that.
That has got to be done through, it would seem to me, through the
government. You can funnel it through them.
Let me just ask you how much real leverage does the United
States have with Haiti? Our aid programs for Haiti are fairly large,
given the size of that country. What are we actually trying to ac-
complish there and how close can we actually get to President Du-
valier? Do we have an input there?
Mr. ABRAMS. Oh, yes, probably more than any other government.
There are other countries that have aid programs. France does.
Canada does, but I wouldn't doubt that we have more influence
than any other outside government.
We have two sets of goals, one of them on the economic front and
one on the political front. The economic one is again easy to state.
It is to help develop and help alleviate the effect of their dire pov-
On the political front, it is to encourage democratization, but
again, I don't think we need, can have any illusions about the
degree of democratization that there has been. Perhaps liberaliza-
tion, loosening up, a turn away from violence and brutality is a
better description of what has been happening.
Those really are the goals we have, and how much leverage do
we in the State Department have or do you have in Congress?
There is always a limit in any of these situations regarding
human rights, and the way I like to put it is no government is
going to commit suicide even if you ask them nicely. Neither Presi-
dent Duvalier nor the President nor Prime Minister of any other
country is going to take actions that he considers threatening to
his hold on power.
Now we try and in many cases do convince the head of state that
what we are proposing in terms of political reforms, human rights
reforms, doesn't threaten his hold on power, and that is true in
dozens of countries where we make the argument that a loosening-
up, a liberalization, doesn't necessarily produce chaos. It can be a
way of letting steam off and producing a more stable society in
which people are able to express their grievances against the gov-
ernment, but I think there is a point clearly, I mean undoubtedly,
there is a point at which President Duvalier even in a country of
that poverty, would turn away from the United States if he were
convinced our basic goal was to get him out.
I remember a discussion with some Haitian officials about a year
ago when I said, if you would do the things that we are pushing
you to do, you would find that so many of your critics would give
you credit, and the Haitian official responded, oh, no, they
wouldn't, because so many of those critics just want to get rid of
my government and they won't be happy until they do.
That perception, of course, limits our influence. If they think you
are not really here to reform, you are trying to get rid of us-but I
do think that within the limit, that the regime is not going to just
get up and walk away and is not going to take actions that it con-
siders threatening to its survival, that we do have influence, and
that the kind of legislation that notifies the Government of Haiti of
how much you care about this is very useful, and the Department
of State, we are opposed to the kind of micromanagement that
some of the previous witnesses recommended where you legislate a
list of 10 things they have got to do by August 1.
We don't think that is any way to run a foreign policy, but the
registering of concern, including for example, visits to Haiti such
as the one that Representative Fauntroy made we think are ex-
tremely valuable in showing the Government of Haiti that if it
does not make some progress, you just might take further steps.
Mr. SOLOMON. Just one last question, Mr. Chairman-Mr. Secre-
tary, concerning the flow of illegal immigrants to the United States
from Haiti. The information seems to be that it is accelerating
again. How does the interdiction agreement we negotiated with
Haiti-was it 1981-how is that working? Is there an acceleration
now taking place again?
Mr. ABRAMS. The program continues to work. There are fluctua-
tions. It does go up and down, and I don't have this most recent
The problem, of course, is that you don't know who you catch
and you don't know who you don't catch. People sometimes come
up with the rule of thumb that for every person that is found, for
example, in Florida, 10 others have landed or 3 others have landed.
No one really knows.
I think it is fair to say, though, that the program is generally re-
garded as having held down the level of illegal immigration very
I just want to add that we continue to interview people who
return to Haiti. We have talked to a fourth of all of those who have
been returned, which in survey terms is a mammoth portion, and
that we continue to be quite convinced that the Government of
Haiti does not in any way persecute those who do return.
Why would they want to persecute people who are just poor and
leaving to try to find work? But the program is working, and I
think we have to resign ourselves to the fact that there will be fluc-
tuations as the weather changes.
Mr. SOLOMON. One just last further question, Mr. Chairman,
Haiti is located less than 100 miles from Cuba I believe.
Is there any indication that there is a Cuban influence as far as
any instability is concerned in Haiti that you know of?
Mr. ABRAMS. Our sense is that there has been to this point really
quite limited Cuban involvement. I think personally the reason is
language, that there is this insulation. The Cubans have been very
active in places where they speak the language, where they can
fade in. You are never quite sure in a place like Nicaragua who is
a Cuban and who is a Nicaraguan.
In the case of Haiti, it is really difficult. It is a foreign country,
and I think that has very significantly limited the amount of
Mr. SOLOMON. That's all I have, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. YATRON. Thank you, Mr. Solomon. Mr. Secretary, human
rights groups maintain that the powers of the VSN were actually
increased in 1984 and that abuses still continue despite the changes
announced by the Haitian Government in this militia organization.
Have the reforms of the VSN been meaningful, and can you cite
specific examples of improved discipline and increased respect for
human rights by the security group?
Mr. ABRAMS. Our sense is that really the best way of describing
what has happened is that the Government changed the way in
which the VSN is run.
Previously it had been a sort of separate force, separate from the
armed forces, really a law unto itself, and a new governing proce-
dure was set up. A committee now governs the VSN. Several of the
people on that committee are military officers who do not come
from VSN and therefore have no interest at all in seeing it run
amuck, rather have an interest in bringing it under the control of
the normal security forces.
I don't think that one can cite incidents in the past year in
which the VSN has in fact gone out terrorizing people, and our
sense is that it is the intention of the Government to bring it under
Now that said, part of that is again an intention to bring it
under control and steps that have been taken to normalize the con-
trol of it by the security forces. Those have not been by a long shot
completed, and I think we have to recognize that the VSN still
exists and has a tremendous potential for human rights abuse and
remains in that sense, if it isn't a problem today, certainly it re-
mains a potential problem for tomorrow and needs to be watched
Mr. YATRON. Can you cite any specific cases where the Haitian
Government has investigated complaints made about torture, ill-
treatment or violations of human rights committed by members of
the security forces? If so, have there been any prosecutions of those
who are culpable?
Mr. ABRAMS. They certainly investigated cases when we and I
would imagine other governments have asked, particularly some of
the leading cases of people like DeRonceray and Claude and
Eugene, and have come back to us with their version of the facts.
I am not aware of any case in which any security officer has
been punished to our knowledge for human rights abuse, and that
is an important test always of the seriousness of any government,
not just to report afterward that they regret the incident, but to
find out who did it and make sure there has been punishment.
You know, we have been fighting for years to get that done, for
example, in El Salvador. As I say, I am not aware of any case in
which the Haitian Government has punished a security official for
Mr. YATRON. I have one final question. What evidence do you
have that President Duvalier intends to follow through on plans to
end the ban on political parties?
Mr. ABRAMS. Well, I would say that there is widespread specula-
tion in political circles and diplomatic circles in Haiti that that is
the step that he plans to take.
Mr. YATRON. Thank you. Do you have any more questions, Mr.
Mr. SOLOMON. No, I don't.
Mr. YATRON. I would also like to include in the record a state-
ment from the United Haitian Association of America regarding
the concerns about human rights.'
Mr. YATRON. Mr. Secretary, as always you have been very coop-
erative, and we genuinely appreciate having you come before our
subcommittee. We thank you for taking the time to be here with us
today and giving us the benefit of your views.
Mr. ABRAMS. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, very much.
Mr. YATRON. We commend you on the good job that you are
Mr. ABRAMS. Thank you.
Mr. YATRON. The subcommittee stands adjourned, subject to the
call of the Chair.
[Whereupon, at 11:52 a.m., the subcommittee was adjourned.]
' See app. 8.
STATEMENT BY HON. MAJOR R. OWENS, A REPRESENTATIVE IN
CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF NEW YORK
Mr. Chairman, I want to commend the Committee for convening this hearing to
review what is one of the oldest, unbroken record of violations of human rights in
the Western Hemisphere. The government of Haiti is unyielding in its refusal to
hold free elections where true opposition candidates are allowed to participate with-
out threats and intimidation. The government of Haiti refuses to allow the estab-
lishment of political parties. The government of Haiti has ruthlessly stamped out
freedom of the press.
Mr. Chairman and members of the Committee, the 12th Congressional district of
New York which I represent probably has the largest Haitian community in the
United States. For this reason I very much appreciate your response to my last
minute request to participate in these hearings. I regret the fact that I did not re-
quest permission at an earlier date for representatives of my Haitian constituency.
While I respect your policy of limiting the witnesses to representatives of observing
organizations, I strongly believe that an acceptable case could have been made for
an exception. A large percentage of my constituents are American citizens who are
concerned about the continuing denial of Human Rights in Haiti. Although there
are a number of groups representing varying points of view, they all speak with one
voice on this critical issue. All freedom loving Haitians want to see greater pressure
applied by the United States Government on the government of Haiti to guarantee
free elections, free political parties and freedom of the press.
Mr. Chairman, along with this statement I am submitting a copy of a draft Con-
current Resolution which I will be introducing this week. The resolution is a revi-
sion of a similar resolution which I introduced in the last session of Congress. It is a
resolution "Expressing the sense of the Congress that the President should with-
draw the determination that the Government of Haiti is making progress toward
improving the human rights situation in Haiti .. ."
I am also submitting for the record additional relevant items including testimony
from representatives of Haitian organizations in New York City.
STS CON S H. CON. RES. 120
Expressing the sense of the Congress that the President should withdraw the
determination that the Government of Haiti is making progress toward
improving the human rights situation in Haiti and progress toward imple-
menting political reforms which are essential to the development of democra-
cy in Haiti, such as progress toward the establishment of political parties,
free elections, and freedom of the press.
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
APRIL 17, 1985
Mr. OWENS submitted the following concurrent resolution; which was referred to
the Committee on Foreign Affairs
Expressing the sense of the Congress that the President should
withdraw the determination that the Government of Haiti is
making progress toward improving the human rights situa-
tion in Haiti and progress toward implementing political
reforms which are essential to the development of democra-
cy in Haiti, such as progress toward the establishment of
political parties, free elections, and freedom of the press.
Whereas the President determined in January 1985, pursuant to
section 540 of the Foreign Assistance and Related Pro-
grams Appropriations Act, 1985 (contained in section 101
of Public Law 98-473), that the Government of Haiti "is
making progress toward improving the human rights situa-
tion in Haiti and progress toward implementing political re-
forms which are essential to the development of democracy
in Haiti, such as progress toward the establishment of politi-
cal parties, free elections, and freedom of the press";
Whereas increasing numbers of Haitians have disappeared, in-
cluding some who have been deported to Haiti by the
Whereas in the February 1984 legislative elections, the Govern-
ment of Haiti did not allow opposition candidates, resorted
to intimidation and altering of results to secure victories in
some areas, and arrested poll watchers of Serge Beaulieu,
the only independent candidate, who was defeated;
Whereas riots began in May 1984 after a pregnant woman was
beaten to death, and although 3 other people were killed,
the Department of State found that the Government acted
Whereas two new independent publications, L'Information and
Fraternite, joined the weekly LePetit Samedi Soir, but on
June 18, 1984, the publishers of all three of these publica-
tions were jailed for 48 hours, the publisher of L'Informa-
tion was beaten during that 48 hours and his arm was
broken (which, as the Department of State observed, served
as a reminder of the limits of freedom of the press), and
Fraternite has not been published since June 1984;
Whereas Gregoire Eugene, a leading opposition figure, returned
to Haiti in February 1984 but was not allowed to run in
the election and was under house arrest from June through
September 1984, and oppositionist Sylvio Claude was not
permitted to run in the February 1984 elections, was put
under house arrest and released after the elections, and
went into hiding in July 1984 after his printing press was
taken and his daughter beaten by a soldier; and
Whereas Haiti's representative to the United Nations Educa-
tional, Scientific and Cultural Organization, Hubert De
Ronceray, was detained on July 4, 1984 for 48 hours and
was then placed under house arrest and not released until
September 23, 1984: Now, therefore, be it
1 Resolved by the House of Representatives (the Senate
2 concurring), That it is the sense of the Congress that the
3 President should withdraw the determination that the Gov-
4 ernment of Haiti is making progress toward improving the
5 human rights situation in Haiti and progress toward imple-
6 meeting political reforms which are essential to the develop-
7 ment of democracy in Haiti, such as progress toward the es-
8 tablishment of political parties, free elections, and freedom of
9 the press.
L_ _~_ _____~_ _
LETTER FROM HIS EXCELLENCY ADRIEN RAYMOND, AMBASSADOR OF
HAITI, TO HON. GUS YATRON, REGARDING HUMAN RIGHTS IN HAITI
April 16, 1985
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, D.C. 20515
Dear Congressman Yatron:
I have the honor of communicating to you the following
information concerning the evolution of human rights in Haiti.
The President of the Republic of Haiti, Jean-Claude Duvalier, has
personally committed himself to the defense and promotion of the human
rights of Haiti's citizens. Breaking with a long political tradition
which had until this time neglected the fundamental rights of
citizens, President Duvalier inaugurated his mandate by introducing an
"Economic and Social Revolution" with the objective of creating
hundreds of thousands of jobs through major investments in Haiti's key
economic sectors. President Duvalier, in continuing his program of
political liberalization, will propose later this month historic
legislation authorizing the creation of political parties. This
legislation, which will be considered by Parliament, will speed the
development of a pluralistic society in Haiti.
As you well know, the right to work is one of the most important
to the individual, as well as the right to good health and education.
The Government of Haiti, with the assistance of foreign governments
and international organizations, including the United States, has
begun to systematically improve to achieve these goals.
Haiti confronts serious economic problems. This has resulted in
a slowdown of economic activity and a decrease in the number of jobs
created, accentuated by the dire need to foster economic stability.
I an sure, that you share the concern of my government to place
priorities on the creation of jobs and on the improvement of the
health and education of my fellow citizens in a stable and peaceful
environment conducive to attracting foreign investment and to
promoting private initiative.
Far from exploiting these econanic difficulties to limit human
rights, President Duvalier has undertaken an ambitious program of
political modernization. As long as six years ago, in 1979, the
Haitian government created the National Ccmmission for Human Rights
linked to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, charged with coordinating
with the government on human rights issues, and serving as center of
liaison between the government agencies and the local and
international organizations devoted to the protection of these rights.
On August 4, 1982, the law, creating this commission, was sanctioned
by the Legislative Chamber convened in the National Assembly.
In addition, the Constitution of 1983 prohibits the death penalty
for political offenses. In fact, the death penalty has not been
exercised for many years. Furthermore, as instructed in the official
letters of President Jean-Claude Duvalier, dated March 3, 1984,
addressed to the Minister of Justice and to the Chief of Staff of the
Armed Forces of Haiti, measures are now taken to protect prisoners'
rights and to guarantee proper treatment. Economic restraints
-tPC~LL-- -L --r-
confronting our government limit the resources available to guarantee
satisfactory sanitary conditions and adequate food in all facilities.
In Haiti, as opposed to in many other countries of the Americas,
former inmates upon their release fran prison, are able to resume a
normal lifestyle without physical or mental incapacitation.
It is totally reprehensible and unfortunate that Amnesty
International has unjustifiably provoked questions resulting in
hostility and doubt about the integrity and competence of Haiti's
justice system instead of offering support to it.
In this regard, we present the following:
1) The verdict rendered by a high tribunal against Sylvio Claude and
his associates, pronounced guilty of subversion and of an assault on
the security of the state, was overruled in February of 1982 by
Haiti's Supreme Court. In a separate hearing, the sentence of the
afore-mentioned was reduced in August of 1982 before they received a
Presidential pardon on September 21, 1982.
2) The verdict handed down September 22, 1984, condemning Frantz
Herauz and his accomplices to forced labor for life for acts of
subversion and terrorism, was overturned by the Supreme Court on
January 23, 1985 after an appeal by attorneys Constantin Mayard Paul,
Ernest Mallebranche and Edouard Pierre. The case is being re-tried by
another tribunal which went to court on the 8th of April.
Contrary to the impression given by Annesty International,
freedom of the press does exist in Haiti. The press benefits from
all the guarantees assured by the Constitution of August 27, 1983,
and the law of March 31, 1980. Article 21 of this law provides for
full freedom of the press which currently does not hesitate to openly
criticize the government. Enclosed are photocopies of two magazines
published in Port-au-Prince which prove that no "censorship
committee" exists in the country. Government officials as well as
citizens become aware of information published in newspapers at the
same time. Furthermore, the magazine Fraternite is not the object of
restriction; nor is-Pierre Auguste's "Information," or Dieudonne
Fardin's magazine, "Le Petit Samedi Soir," which appears weekly.
The Volunteers for the National Security (VSN) created by law of
1962, is responsible for contributing to the maintenance of peace and
order, but also acts to administer programs of economic and social
development on behalf of the government. Unfortunately, Amnesty
International, instead of acknowledging accomplishments, has
concentrated on a period of difficulty in the country as it adjusted
to a series of attacks against its national sovereignty, leading to
Finally, I can attest that Sylvio Claude, Gregoire Eugene, and
Hubert de Ronceray enjoy their full and complete liberty in the
context of the Constitution and the laws. In this vein, the
activities of concerned groups originating in the United States with
non-traditional views, occupy an important position in the development
of the urban and rural communities of Haiti.
Their activities, which are supported by the Government, concentrate
on campaigns of literacy, the diffusion of agricultural techniques,
the methods of sanitation, and administration of medical care.
I hope the aforementioned facts will aid you in addressing the
realities of Haiti, and to understand the sincere efforts of the
Haitian government for improvement. You should acknowledge also "the
general absence of government-inspired violence plus the extremely
low level of crime in Haiti, stood in sharp contrast to the
concurrent killings and civil disorder prevalent in Central America
and elsewhere in the world," according to former U.S. Ambassador
Ernest H. Pregg, who also stated, "the recent years make follow-up
institutional reform a somewhat less formidable challenge than in the
I sincerely hope that the members of various committees and
subcommittees on human rights not allow themselves to be influenced
by the testimony of certain organizations known for their hostility
in regard to the Haitian government, particularly with regard to the
issue of human rights. As few countries in the world have
democracies similar to that of the United States of America, Haiti is
certainly not in last place on the subject of human rights.
Dr. Athien Ra
Ambassador of Iaiti
to the United States
REPORT BY AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL ENTITLED "HAITI: ARBITRARY
ARRESTS, NOVEMBER 1984," FEBRUARY 1985
ARBITRARY ARRESTS: NOVEMBER 1984
At the beginning of November 1984, Haitian security forces carried out a
round-up of suspected government opponents in different parts of the country.
Though it is impossible to give exact figures for the total number of people
arrested because of the difficulties in obtaining information from Haiti and
because the government gave no details about those held, Amnesty International has
received reports of at least twenty-five arrests. Some are now thought to have
been released, others are believed to be still in detention.
It was not until 7 December that the government gave any public indication that
the arrests had been carried out. The Interior Minister issued the following
"j.Government Police Services, having discovered the existence of a
marxist-leninist plot against internal State security, proceeded to
arrest the main instigators and detained for questioning other citizens
suspected of collusion. The latter were immediately released as soon
as their innocence was established at the preliminary investigation.
The following activists, LIONEL LAINE of the PNDP*, engineer
INNOCENT and LEDAN of the Communist Party, guilty of preparing arn'd
resistance to overthrow the Constitutional Government of His Excellency
President for Life Jean-Claude Duvalier and to murder the Head of State,
have been arrested, as have their accomplices from the Diocesan Adult
Education Institute [IDEA] and other Haitian Communist militants who have
returned to the country with false travel documents, POLLUX SAINT JEAN
The area where these leaders and their accomplices intended to carry
out the armed resistance included the following regions of the country:
Port-de-Paix, Cap Haltien, Gonaives, Port-au-Prince, areas where the
police have succeeded in dismantling the network.
The Interior and National Defence Ministry wish to announce that the
participants in this subversive movement which is against public order and
State security have been referred to the Cabinet d'Instruction in
accordance with the law."
The statement gave no other names of people who are reported to have been
arrested, and did not say where they were being held. The PNDP subsequently
issued a statement denying that Lionel Laind had been arrested and reports from
PNDP thought to refer to the National Progressive Democrat Party, based
other sources indicated that Ledan was not in Haiti. Further doubts were cast
on the accuracy of the statement when Amnesty International received a letter
from the National Human Rights Commission (Commission Nationale des Droits
de L'Homme) informing it that the case had been referred to the examining
magistrate only on 21 December.
Official church organizations in Haiti reacted strongly to the arrests. The
Holy Cross Fathers, who founded and run IDEA in Cap Haltien, wrote to the Minister
of Worship rejecting the Interior Minister's allegations that the Institute was
involved in subversive activities. IDEA is one of a number of church run organ-
isations which are involved in projects helping the poorest sectors of the
community, particularly in rural development, adult literacy programmes and
other educational work. Several of chose arrested in the round-up in November
were working on projects linked to IDEA.
On 13 and 14 November the Haitian Bishops* Conference (CEH Conference
Episcopale d'Haiti) and the Haitian Conference of Religious Orders (CHR -
Conference Haitienne des Religieux) issued statements criticising the way the
arrests had been carried out and the failure of the government to acknowledge the
arrests and respect constitutional requirements. A communique issued by the CEH
was broadcast on the radio and distributed to churches to be read out the following
Sunday during Mass.
Harassment of the Church
The action taken by the church was followed by several incidents of harassment
and intimidation. During one of the services on 18 November, in Cap Haltien
cathedral, immediately after the priest had read out the CEH statement, the local
prefer (administrator) took hold of the microphone and accused the bishops of not
telling the truth. In response, on 24 November, hundreds of church officials
converged on the cathedral for a day of fast and prayer as a form of "cleansing"
after the "sacrilege" committed by the prefet.
Armed members of the Volontaires de la s4curite national ("SN National
Security Volunteers, more commonly known as tontons macouces made their
presence known at services in some areas by caking up positions inside the church.
A service in Dessalines was discontinued after VSN members refused to leave their
weapons outside. Church activists are reported to have received threats to their
lives. The Bishop of Cap Haltien denounced a "campaign of threats and intimidation
against grass roots church communities [known as the Communautis Ecclhsiales de
Base CEB], the diocesan synod and CARITAS [the Catholic relief agency]..."
Harassment of church activists is not uncommon in Haiti, but over the past
year there have been increasing reports, particularly around June 1984 when riots
occurred in Conaives and Cap Haltien to protest at food shortages and police
brutality. Several priests are reported to have been arbitrarily detained for
short periods, insulted, threatened and accused of inciting people to rise against
the government because of their work informing people of their basic rights. Two
priests are reported to have been arrested for translating into creole public
letters written by the President issuing instructions to the Chief of the Armed
Forces and the Minister of Justice to end torture and ensure that constitutional
guarantees are respected. A statement by the CEH on 13 June 1984 reported a
"climate of insecurity in which several of our priests and layworkers engaged in
the pastoral work of the Church find themselves." In several parishes, "civilian
and military authorities have been responsible for issuing serious threats and
false accusations... These authorities have openly shown their hostility towards
certain venerable institutions of the church such as the Diocesan synods and the
CEBs." The statement went on to stress the Bishops' support for those working
"for the promotion of the Haitian people in the framework of the social doctrine
of the church and the laws in force."
Individuals Arrested November 1984
Amnesty International has information about a number of people believed to be
still in detention following their arrest last November. In most cases, their
arrest has not been acknowledged publicly by the Haitian Government. However, in
a letter addressed to the Secretary General of Amnesty International and dated
11 January 1985, the National Human Rights Commission gave a list of names of
people against whom proceedings had been initiated before the courts for crimes
against State security. The letter stated that on 21 December 1984, the case was
referred to the examining magistrate (juge d'instruction) "in accordance with
article 6.1 of the law of 22 November 1984 which created within the Civil Court
of Port-au-Prince a section called the State Security Court, competent to deal
in peace time with crimes and offences against internal and external State
security." The letter went on to give a list of names of people detained, some of
whom are already known to Amnesty International. In other cases, Amnesty Inter-
national has no information other than the name given by the CNDH.
Neither the Government nor the CNDH has stated where the men are being held.
However, most political suspects are taken to the Casernes Dessalines military
barracks where they are placed in solitary confinement until their release or
transfer to the National Penitentiary.
The following people are thought to be in detention:
Pierre Andri GUERRIER: an agronomist working in development projects. He was
arrested in the morning of 5 November at his home in Limbo by military personnel
in civilian clothing. First taken to the local barracks, he is then believed to
have been transferred first to Cap Haltien military barracks and then to Port-
Fred JOSEPH: an agronomist. He was arrested at 1O.OOh on 5 November in Cap Haitien
where he worked for the Bureau de Cr4dit Agricole. First taken to Cap Haltien
barracks, it is believed he was then transferred to Port-au-Prince. Amnesty
International has received reports that he was beaten while in detention.
Jean-Paul DUPERVAL: agronomist. Said to have been arrested on 6 November.
Dr Joseph Turneb DELPE: thirty-three year old doctor who had been working in the
USA but returned to Haiti. It is believed that he is the "DELPE" referred to in
the Interior Ministry's 7 December statement, where he is accused of being involved
in a plot to overthrow the government and of returning to the country with false
travel documents. He was reportedly arrested in Port-au-Prince on 11 November.
Pollux SAINT JEAN: Accused by the government of being involved in the plot to
overthrow the Haitian Government and of returning to Haiti with false travel
documents. Amnesty International has no details of his arrest.
Reverend Antoine LEROY: forty-three year old Protestant minister of the Mission
La Foi Apostolique and founder of several churches and schools in Haiti. He is
particularly known for his work as founder and director of the Centre d'Amour
Chretien, an adult education centre in Port-au-Prince for people of limited or no
financial resources. He was arrested at Port-au-Prince airport on 7 November when
he returned from a visit to Miami.
ITUYU-~' Ur~BLcr -r-~-~-r --. --
Marc LAMOUR: an agronomist working on development projects. He was arrested in
Petit Bourg du Borgne on 9 November by two army officers who went to his home and
said they had a message for him. When he went to the door, he was taken away by
the two men.
Danel JOSEPH: bookkeeper for a development organisation in Bombardopolis. A
statement by local people which was read out over the radio alleged that he had
been arrested without warrant on 3 November by three armed men travelling in a
jeep without lights or registration number in Bombardopolis. Two other people,
Medinor STINFIL (or STENPHAL) and Henri Michel STINFIL (or STENPHAL)**, were
also arrested. However, only Danel JOSEPH's name was on the list of detainees which
was sent to Amnesty International by the CNDH.
Henri Claude INNOCENT: engineer and journalist. Believed to be the "engineer
INNOCENT" referred to by the Interior Ministry, who accused him of being
involved in a plot to overthrow the government. He was arrested on 6 or 7 November
Nsma SARETTE: a tax office employee. Thought to have been arrested on 27 November
in the north of the country.
Mirtilien JOSEPH: agronomist. Believed to have been arrested in the north of the
country. Amnesty International has received unconfirmed reports that he was
released. He was not included in the CNDH list of detainees.
Estive RENE: Believed to have been arrested on 6 November. Not included in the
CNDH list of detainees.
Hebert SAINT LOUIS: an agronomist involved in development projects. He was arrested
at his home on the evening of 5 November and taken to the local barracks before
being taken to the army barracks in Cap Haltien. The CNDH informed Amnesty Inter-
national that legal proceedings had begun against a Hubert Saint Louis but his name
was not included in the list of detainees.
Maurice PHILIPPE: an engineer resident in Miami who had returned to Haiti. He is
believed to have been arrested in Port-au-Prince. Not included in the CNDH list
Ernst BRUNO: no other details available. The CNDH refers to a detainee called
Lunes Bruno but it is not known if it is the same person.
Included in the CNDH list of detainees are the following people about whom
Amnesty International has no other information:
Beliard NORMIL, Guillaume DENIS, Fequiire CHERY, Lunes BRUNO, Ulrick THEME
Also included in the CNDH letter were a number of people against whom legal
proceedings have begun, who are said not to have been arrested and who will be
tried in absentia:
Jacques BERNADIN; Claude JOSEPH; Lyonel (sic) LAINE (mentioned in the Interior
Ministry's statement as having been arrested); Edouard DEMETRIUS;
Claude JEAN-FRANCOIS; Fenelon AUDAIN; Michel SOUCARD (a well-known teacher and
writer he went into hiding after security forces went to his home in Port-au-
Prince on 12 November to arrest him. In an interview with a Haitian newspaper in
the USA, he said that while in hiding he learnt that police had also gone to the
school where he was a director. It was placed under surveillance until 27
November when he took refuge in the Panamanian Embassy [he is now in Panama].
One of his colleagues at the school who is similar in appearance was arrested and
detained briefly until police realized their mistake); Victor BENOIT (also a
teacher and now in exile. He went into hiding after police went to arrest him);
Edgard LEDAN (probably the Ledan mentioned in the Interior Ministry's statement):
Robert SAINT LOUIS.
Amnesty International is concerned that:
- as far as the organisation is aware, the majority of the detentions were not
acknowledged publicly by the government for several weeks.
- most of the detainees are reported to have been arrested solely for their non-
political activities on behalf of the poor in Haiti.
the detainees were not brought before a judge within 48 hours as specified
by the Constitution:
- no information has been given as to where the detainees are being held and
their families have not, to Amnesty International's knowledge, been informed
of their whereabouts:
they are apparently being held in incommunicado detention and risk being
tortured or ill-treated while detained;
The organisation is urging the government to publish immediately a list of
detainees giving details of where they are being held and the charges against
them, to lift the incomunicado detention and allow the detainees access to lawyers
**S TO P PR E S S
Medinor STINFIL (or STENPHAL) and Henri Michel STINFIL (or STENPHAL) have
reportedly been released. However, no details of the circumstances or date of
the releases are available at present.
SECTION ON HAITI FROM THE 1984 COUNTRY REPORTS ON HUMAN
RIGHTS PRACTICES, PUBLISHED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF STATE,
Haiti has had a turbulent history characterized by alternating
periods of authoritarian rule and political instability.
Haiti's current ruler, Jean-Claude Duvalier, is the ninth
president-for-life in Haitian history. The current president
has eliminated such conspicuous violence as the killings and
disappearances that marked the rule of his father, Francois
Duvalier (1957-71). Although Haiti has made slow and
inconsistent progress under Jean-Claude Duvalier toward
greater respect for human rights, significant human rights
abuses continue. Constitutionally guaranteed freedoms, such
as freedom of speech, press, and association, are in practice
effectively restricted by other legislation and laws. Due
process guarantees relating to judicial procedures are often
Haiti remains the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere.
Though the Government has instituted tax and budgetary
reforms, Haiti's economic problems remain serious. The
Government has actively sought foreign assistance from Western
government and private organizations, and has succeeded in
bringing more foreign economic assistance to Haiti.
Constitutionally, Haiti is a republic-with executive authority
vested in the President. The legislature is unicameral, with
members elected for six-year terms. Although the judicial
system is independent of the executive branch in theory, this
is not the case in reality. In practice, all government
powers are concentrated in the presidency. Article 136 of the
1983 Constitution names the President "guarantor of the
independence of the judicial power." He also has the power to
dissolve the legislature, and during the nine months when the
legislature is not in session he rules by decree. Haiti's
small regular military force and its militia the Volunteers
for National Security play little or no direct role in the
In 1984, the Government made human rights progress in some
areas but there were setbacks as well. In February,
legislative elections were held. The elections attracted a
record number of candidates, and two thirds of all incumbents
were defeated. In some areas these were the freest elections
to take place under the Duvaliers, but there were also abuses
and interference by the Government. Some well-known
opposition candidates were not allowed to participate, and in
some localities the Government resorted to fraud or violence
to ensure that government candidates won. In March, President
Duvalier wrote public letters to the heads of the police,
militia, armed forces, and the Ministers of Justice and the
Interior calling on them to respect the law and human rights.
These letters began a three-month period during which an
atmosphere of liberalization existed. In late May, partly
caused by economic conditions but also affected by the
President's letters, riots broke out in a number of northern
provincial towns. On June 18 the Government detained three
prominent journalists for periods of up to 48 hours, one of
whom was beaten in the presence of a Minister of State. Two
of the three independent weekly publications ceased
publication in June; one of these resumed publishing in
August. On July 4, police detained Haiti's UNESCO
Representative, Hubert De Ronceray, and attempted to detain
oppositionist Sylvio Claude. De Ronceray and oppositionist
Gregoire Eugene were placed under house arrest in July, but
this was Lifted in late September. Claude remained in hiding,
even though the Government had given assurances to foreign
diplomats that he was free to return home. In September the
Government brought to trial five persons who had been accused
of participating in bombings in early 1983 and who had been
held more than a year without charges. They were found guilty
and sentenced to life imprisonment. One other detainee was
In early 1984 the hopes and expectations of many were raised
by President Duvalier's March letters, a degree of greater
press freedom, and other actions by the Government. The
June-July crackdown then proved to be a setback. Late in
1984, however, the Government took some steps which began to
recapture the Pebruary-May movement toward democratization.
Nevertheless, the events of June 18 served as a vivid reminder
that, at best, only a beginning has been made toward
democratization in Haiti.
RESPECT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS
Section 1 Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including
a. Political Killing
Tnere were no reports of politically-motivated killings by the
Government or opposition in 1984. Three persons died in late
May when security forces opened fire to suppress riots in the
northern city of Cap Haitian, but most objective observers
believed that government forces had handled the incident with
There were no confirmed disappearances in 1984. Some reports
of "disappearances" were received, but in all cases the person
in question was ultimately accounted for.
c. Torture, and Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or
In one case of torture, Pierre Robert Auguste, a journalist
for an independent weekly, was detained by police June 18.
During his questioning and in the presence of high ranking
government officials, he was beaten with a wooden rod and one
finger was broken. In July, Jocelyne Claude, daughter of
oppositionist Sylvio Claude, was beaten about the head and
body at her home uy police attempting to locate her father.
The practice of beatings, however, is not believed to be
widespread. Most released prisoners report no abuse;
international observers who visited Haitian prisons and
detention centers in 1984 reported that those with whom they
spoke indicated no physical mistreatment.
Prisoners and detainees are normally permitted to receive
visitors, food,'and medical treatment. However, particularly
in the early stages of an arrest, or when prisoners are taken
to the Casernes Dessalines barracks, prisoners are often kept
in degrading circumstances, such as stripped to their
underwear in crowded and unsanitary conditions. Visitors are
often not allowed into the Casernes and fpod is not always
provided. Dr. Hubert De Ronceray, detained from July 4-6 ,
was kept stripped in a small cell'with no toilet facilities
other than a small bucket. In the provinces,'abusive
treatment by local authorities is not uncommon. In February,
in the town of Berrettes, a loan collector was allegedly
beaten by a local official after objecting to the official's
misappropriation of a loan payment. In Gonaives in May, one
woman reportedly was beaten by the police authorities when she
refused to be taken in for questioning. This beating was a
contributing factor to the riots in that northern city.
President Duvalier's March letters called on government
officials not to engage in abusive practices. The Government
also increased the budget for the Ministry of Justice in 1985
and is attempting to make all officials aware of their
responsibilities under the law.
d. Arbitrary Arrest, Detention, or Exile
Under the Haitian legal system, arrests must be based on a
charge of violation of a law. A warrant is legally, though
not in practice, necessary for arrest. Once a person has been
taken into custody, the arresting authority is required by law
to obtain a ruling on the validity of the arrest from a judge
within 48 hours. Although this procedure is open to
considerable abuse, there are indications that the Government
has begun to adhere to it, at least in non-security, non-
Preventive detention is practiced most noticeably in cases
related to political opposition acitivites and state security
matters. In 1984 the Government detained a number of people
for questioning about their political activities. Serge
Beaulieu, the only independent candidate in the legislative
elections, was detained in March. Three prominent journalists
were detained on June 18, and some of their associates a few
days later. In July, Hubert De Ronceray, a former minister
and prominent social scientist was questioned.
All of the above were released within the 48 hour limit.
However, persons detained for security or political reasons
are often held incommunicado for indefinite periods. Five
persons, all associates of Hubert De Ronceray, were picked up
by security forces July 1 and not released until early
October. Five associates of Sylvio Claude were arrested in
late 1983 and have not yet'been tried or released. There are
others in tne same situation; the total number of persons
detained in Haiti without charge is not known. The Government
released nine persons regarded as detainees in 1984.
Haitian law requires that charges against arrested persons be
filed at least two weeks before a trial. In practice, this is
often not the case. The law allows legal counsel for
defendants. However, a client is sometimes not allowed to
meet with counsel until immediately before the trial. There
is no system of bail, though "provisional liberty' can be
obtained in some cases. Expulsion of persons who pose a
political challenge or security threat to the regime has been
used frequently in the past. However, there are no reports of
any expulsions in 1984. Gregoire Eugene, who was expelled
along with other journalists and labor leaders in November
1980, was permitted to return to Haiti in February 1984.
e. Denial of Fair Public Trial
Legally the Haitian judiciary is a separate institution. In
practice, however, it does not operate independently of the
executive branch. The accused are permitted counsel and to
know the charges against them. Both juries and judicial
tribunals are permitted to hear cases, render decisions, and
impose sentences. Defendants have the right to appeal their
conviction, which must be done within three days.
In September 1984 five persons who had been held without
charges for over a year were tried for involvement in a series
of politically motivated bombings in 1982 and 1983. Another
person arrested was released for lack of evidence, and two
persons believed to be in the U.S., were tried in absentia.
The defendants were informed of the charges against them only
about one week prior to the trial. The trial itself, which
was public, lasted about 14 hours and was in accordance with
Haitian legal procedure. Defense lawyers were permitted to
call witnesses and generally mounted a strong defense. The
defendants were able.to testify on their own behalf. They
claimed to be involved in smuggling narcotics, rather than
attempting to overthrow the Government. All five were found
guilty of "plotting against the security of the state' and
were sentenced to life at hard labor. The defense has
Persons detained for political or security reasons in Haiti
are seldom charged or brought to trial; some have been held
for years. There may be as many as forty or fifty persons in
this category in Haitian jails, though the actual number is
probably lower. Amnesty International had earlier identified
21 political prisoners being held in Haiti. Some of them
appear to have been released during 1984 and it is estimated
that from eight to twenty-seven detainees are currently held
because of political and/or security reasons.
f. Arbitrary Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or
Searches and monitoring of homes routinely take place without
warrants or other judicial authorization. In late 1983 and
early 1984 oppositionist Sylvio Claude was placed under house
arrest. In July, Gregoire Eugene and Hubert De Ronceray were
also placed under house arrest for about three months. This
procedure is not legal under Haitian law except in times of
national emergency. In July 1984, police entered Sylvio
Claude's home without a warrant. Before leaving, they took
Claude's printing press and copies of his magazine. A
policeman struck Claude's daughter, Jocelyne, on the head with
A national militia, the Volunteers for National Security
(VSN), performs security functions and serves as an informer
system reporting on political opposition and threats to the
regime. These forces are often poorly disciplined and
sometimes abuse their local position through intimidation and
interference in police and judicial activities. In his March
13 letter addressed to the militia, President Duvalier
specifically called for an end to such practices, as well as
to the abuse of power for extortive purposes. In October, the
Government appointed a twelve-man commission--five of whom.
were non-VSN military officers--to oversee the VSN.
Section 2 Respect for Civil Rights, Including:
a. Freedom of Speech and Press
Article 40 of the Constitution of 1983 guarantees each citizen
*the right to express his thoughts in all matters and by every
means at his power.' The press is actually governed by the
1980 press code, which requires that all publications be
submitted for governmental review 72 hours prior to
publication, that all journalists (including foreigners) be
accredited by the Ministry of Information, and that no
material critical of the Duvalier family be published. While
the first two of these requirements are not always enforced,
the spirit of the press code and governmental actions do serve
to restrict freedom of the press.
In 1984, two independent publications, often critical of the
Government, appeared for the first time the new weeklies,
L'Information and Fraternite joined the long-established
independent weekly Le Petit Samedi Soir, in introducing an
independent tone and editorial line seldom seen in recent
years. Articles discussing pluralism, political parties, and
the activities of oppositionists proliferated. Sylvio
Claude's La Conviction, previously a clandestine newsletter,
also appeared on the streets a couple of times, although the
Government-moved on legal grounds to prevent its distribution
in May. In addition, the Catholic station, Radio Soleil,
continued its outspoken commentary, denouncing election
irregularities in February and speaking out on human rights
during the course of the year. From January to June there was
some movement toward a freer press in Haiti. On June 18,
however, Haiti's fledgling independent press received a severe
blow when the Government detained the publishers of the three
independent weeklies. Subsequently, Fraternite's Gregoire
Eugene was placed under house arrest for three months.
L'Information and Fraternite ceased publishing after the
incident, though L'Information reappeared in August. Both
L'Information and Le Petit Samedi Soir adopted a milder
editorial tone after the incident, though by October they had
begun to recover some of their prior outspokenness.
Fraternite has not appeared since June, when it featured an
article by Eugene criticizing the constitutional provision for
a presidency for life. There are several pro-government
newspapers in addition to the official daily. The Government
also owns a radio station and a television station. There is
one private television station, and a number of private radio
stations operate throughout the country. These exercise
self-censorship and refrain from criticizing the Government.
Public criticism is allowed in discussions of the Haitian
economy, international affairs, and Haitian history before
1957. Too strident a criticism of the present Government, and
criticism of the President or the First Lady, however, is not
tolerated. In June, a deputy delivered a speech in the
National Assembly attacking high level corruption in the
Government. The Government reacted by organizing a petition
to recall the deputy, the deputy has since refrained from
criticizing the Government. After Fraternite's Gregoire
Eugene was detained on June 18, he was removed from his
position as professor of constitutional law at the National
University. Hubert De Ronceray's Center for Investigation of
Social Studies was forced to suspend its activities after De
Ronceray was detained in July.
Although foreign publications and broadcasts are received in
Haiti, most publications are reviewed by the Government upon
arrival to determine whether there are any articles critical
of it. If there are, the offending publication is usually
confiscated. Publications openly critical of the Government,
such as those published by exile groups in the U.S., are not
permitted to circulate in Haiti.
b. Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association
The Constitution grants Haitians the right to-assemble
peaceably and the right to form unions, political parties, and
cooperatives. Haitian law requires that any public assembly
of more than 20 persons have police authorization and that all
formal organizations have governmental sanction. Professional,
cultural, religious, trade, and similar non-political
organizations operate freely in Haiti, and such organizations
are free to maintain ties with related groups outside of
Haiti. However, and in spite of the constitutional guarantees
of the right to form political parties, the Government
continues to ban activities by parties pending the passage of
legislation to regulate the operation of political parties.
Tne Government took a number of important steps in 1984 to
improve the situation of labor in Haiti. A federation of
union workers of Haiti was founded January 12, 1984, with nine
active unions in Port-au-Prince as charter members. The
Federation, which represents 2500 workers, has assumed the
leading role in union activity in Haiti. Under the
sponsorship of the Federation, representatives from its nine
affiliates.develop joint resolutions to union problems and
coordinate assistance to workers throughout Haiti who request
aid in forming new unions. The Federation has invited
representatives from the AFL-CIO and the Inter-American
Regional Organization of Workers to visit Haiti in the near
future. The Government has publicly stated it does not object
to international labor organizations visiting Haiti.
In March, the Government revised the labor code by making it
easier for employees to form unions, protecting the right of
Haitians who work abroad, and revising provisions on forced
labor to comply with International Labor Organization
conventions on forced labor. In May, Federation and union
officials met with members of the ILO delegation and discussed
the possibilities of international assistance. In June, for
tne first time in many years, the President of the Federation
traveled to the ILO conference in Geneva as the labor union
representative on the official Haitian delegation.
While limitations on labor activity continue to exist, such as
de facto restrictions on the right to strike, the creation of
a federation, the revised labor code, and other measures
undertaken by the Government in 1984 have provided for an
expansion of the role of labor in Haitian society.
c. Freedom of Religion
Roman Catholicism is the official religion of Haiti. Voodoo,
a religion combining Christian and African animist elements,
is also practiced by a majority of the population. Other
religions are freely practiced; proselytizing, conversion,
missionary activity, foreign ties, building of churches, and
religious education and publishing all take place without
government interference. In addition to the Protestant sects
which are active throughout the country, non-Christian faiths,
such as the Bahai and Judaism, are practiced in Haiti. There
is no religious persecution or discrimination.
d. Freedom of Movement Within the Country, Foreign
Travel, Emigration and Repatriation
The Government does not generally restrict travel within Haiti
for ordinary citizens or foreigners. A network of police
checkpoints does exist throughout the country, and foreigners
and inter-city transport vehicles are required to register
before entering some towns. Persons are free to change their
residence or place of work as they wish. In 1984 some critics
of the Government were restricted in their movements within
Haiti. Both Gregoire Eugene and Hubert De Ronceray were told
after their house arrest was lifted they would have to seek
police permission if they wished to leave the Port-au-Prince
area. Foreign travel and the right to emigrate are
unrestricted. Emigrants are free to return to Haiti, and many
do so. Haitian exit and entry visa and passport regulations
and fees do not generally impose an undue hardship on persons
desiring to travel. Immigration officials at the
international airport do maintain a list persons who may not
enter or exit the country because of criminal, security, or
political reasons. For the most part, political expellees in
recent years have not been allowed to return to Haiti,
although Gregoire Eugene was permitted to return in February
matter three years in exile.
Illegal emigration from Haiti continued to increase in 1984.
In accordance with the U.S.-Haitian bilateral agreement on
migrant interdiction, 2,501 migrants were returned to Haiti by
the U.S. Coast Guard in 1984. This represents fully 73
percent of all migrants returned (3,415) over the 39-month
life of the 1981 interdiction agreement. Based on the
migrants' own statements, U.S. immigration officers
determined that all were intending economic migrants and
ineligible for refugee status. Embassy officers have
inteviewcd one fifth of all interdictees as part of the
continuing program to monitor the treatment of repatriated
migrants. These interviews generally take place within six
months of the return of the attempting illegal migrant. None
of the interdictees reported official mistreatment or
harassment by Haitian officials as a result of their attempt
to emigrate. In accordance with the agreement, the Haitian
Government has not prosecuted nor arrested any repatriates for
their illegal departure. However, also in accordance with the
agreement, the Government has arrested several persons
suspected of organizing clandestine voyages, persons crewing
such vessels, and persons found in possession of illegal drugs.
Section 3 Respect for Political Rights: The Right of Citizens
to Change Their Government
Haiti is ruled by President-for-Life Jean-Claude Duvalier,
assisted and counseled by a small group of advisors. The
Constitution grants the President the right to name the
cabinet and all important officials (in the executive and
judiciary) and to designate his own successor, all without
legislative approval. When the legislature is not in session,
the President can make laws by decree. The 1984 legislature
was virtually powerless and followed the lead of the
President. Legislative elections were held in February 1984.
On the positive side, there were a record number of candidates
and, in some districts, these were the freest elections under
the Duvaliers. However, the Government did not allow such
opposition leaders as Sylvio Claude and Gregoire Eugene to
participate in the process, and in some districts the
Government interfered with the process to ensure that its
candidate won through intimidation and altering of the
results. In general, however, these elections were less
flawed than either the 1983 municipal elections or the 1979
There are no officially recognized political parties in
Haiti. In May, the Government announced that it would submit
to the National Assembly legislation to regulate the operation
of political parties, but would continue to ban political
activity by political parties until the law was passed.
Although it was not submitted to the legislature in 1984, in
October President Duvalier announced the establishment of a
commission to examine the first draft of such a law.
Section 4 Governmental Attitude Regarding International and
Non-governmental Investigation of Alleged Violations
of Human Rights
The Government is sensitive to its international image in
human rights matters. In recent years the Government has
augmented its cooperation with international human rights
organizations. In June 1984, the Government allowed an
International Committee of the Red Cross representative to
visit prisoners in Haiti's jails. The representative was able
to visit prisoners in the Port-au-Prince national penitentiary
as well as the Casernes Dessalines. In October, the
representative returned to Haiti and gave President Duvalier a
list of recommendations for improvement of the conditions of
prisoners in Haitian jails.
During the past year the Government has sought to develop a
closer working relationship with the International Labor
Organization (ILO). .An ILO mission visited Port-au-Prince in
May to consider a Government request for new ILO technical
cooperation programs. The team met with officials from
several ministries, labor unions, the labor federations and
international donor organizations. The Government and ILO are
engaged in a continuing dialogue concerning Haiti's requests
for increased technical assistance and the situation of labor
Two human rights organizations operate in Haiti. The first is
the government-sponsored National Human Rights Commission
created in 1982. The nine-member Commission meets to
investigate citizens' complaints of government abuses.
However, the Commission has only advisory powers and does not
get involved in 'political" cases (Claude, Eugene, De
Ronceray). The Commission usually acknowledges receipt of
requests from international human rights organizations, but
does not respond to all. The Haitian Human Rights League,
founded by a local attorney and educator in 1979, is
affiliated with the International Federation of the Rights of
Man. While articles by individual members of the League
appear in the local press, the League was not active in 1984.
In September the League published a communique in the local
press praising the Government for bringing to trial five
individuals accused of participating in a bombing incident in
1983 and calling on the Government to lift the house arrest of
Gregoire Eugene and Hubert De Ronceray.
There were other visits of international human rights groups
in 1984. A representative of the Lawyers' Committee for
International Human Rights visited Haiti in January and met
with Sylvio Claude--who was under house arrest at that time--
and government officials. Representatives from the United
Nations Human Rights Commission also visited Haiti in January
and were received by government officials. In'September,
three representatives of the Committee to Protect Journalists
came to Haiti to investigate the June 18 arrests of the three
publishers. They met with journalists and government
Freedom House rates Haiti as "not free'. Amnesty
International's 1984 report (which covered events during 1983)
focused on allegations of torture and other forms of
mistreatment of prisoners, detention without trial, including
unacknowledged detention for long periods of political
prisoners, and cases of disappearances.
ECONOMIC, SOCIAL, AND CULTURAL SITUATION
Haiti is the poorest and, in most terms, least developed
nation in the Western Hemisphere with an annual GNP per capital
of about $300. A small elite and a growing middle class in
Port-au-Prince control most of the wealth of the country,
while 78 percent of the. rural population and more than half of
the urban population exist in dire poverty. Such extreme
poverty has caused massive migration from Haiti. Foreign
remittances, estimated to exceed $50 million per year, are a
crucial element of survival for many families.
Haiti's population is estimated to be 5.7 million, with over
one million in the greater Port-Au-Prince area. Haiti suffers
from a lack of natural resources and a terrain which is 70
percent mountainous. In addition, erosion of the topsoil
resulting from destruction of the forest cover on the
hillsides and the frequent droughts and floods in various
parts of the island have lowered agricultural production and
the income of peasant families. Coffee, essential oils from
vetiver, and mangoes are the primary agricultural exports.
Most farming is done on small plots owned by peasant families
and subdivided through inheritance over generations, resulting
in inefficient agricultural practices. The Government has
endorsed the development of agricultural cooperatives to
improve productivity and access to markets for farmers in
remote areas. Food imports are necessary, and even with them
Haitians receive only 93 percent of their caloric supply
requirements. More than 60 percent of children under five
suffer from some malnutrition, and nearly 10 percent of these
are characterized as seriously malnourished.
The most dynamic sector of the Haitian economy is the assembly
industry, which has created over 50,000 jobs in the past ten
years. This has been due primarily to favorable Government
investment policy, high laoor productivity, and a low minimum
daily wage (currently $3.00), which have attracted foreign
businessmen either for direct investment or for subcontracting
of assembly operations. Spurred by a growing U.S. economy,
which receives over 90 percent of the total output of the
assembly industry, and the benefits of duty-free entry into
the United States for many products under the Caribbean Basin
Initiative (CBI), the assembly industry is expected to grow
rapidly in the future.
Haiti has an extremely complex society. Conflicts and
suspicions among the various social groups have left little
tradition of national service. Mass education, for example,
has seldom been encouraged and at times has been actively
discouraged. The same has applied to agricultural and
infrastructural development, health care, and openness to the
world. A consequence of this social disorganization has been
lack of respect for political and civil rights by those in
positions of authority.
The role of women in Haitian society is limited by the
nation's traditionalism. Since 1982 there has been no legal
discrimination against women as compared to men. Women enjoy
full rights to education and property ownership and such
social rights as divorce. Nevertheless, especially among the
peasantry, women are limited to traditional domestic
occupations. Middle class women quite often work, but
generally out of economic necessity. Women comprise a large
part of the assembly work force. Secretarial, teaching, and
nursing positions are dominated by women. Few women, however,
rise to prominent positions in the Haitian business world. As
a rule, greater opportunities are available to women in the
civilian government bureaucracy. There are two women
secretaries of state, and several women of upper- and mid-
level managerial rank are in the Government. Women are not
permitted in the armed forces, except as nurses.
LETTER DATED MAY 2, 1985, FROM HON. WALTER E. FAUNTROY,
MEMBER OF CONGRESS FROM WASHINGTON, DC, TO M. PETER
MCPHERSON, DIRECTOR, AGENCY FOR INTERNATIONAL DEVELOP-
MENT, REGARDING AID's PROGRAM IN HAITI
CONGRESS OF THE UNITED STATES,
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
Washington, DC, May 2, 1985.
Hon. M. PETER MCPHERSON,
Director, U.S. Agency for International Development, Washington, DC.
DEAR MR. MCPHERSON: Too often, Members of Congress, critical of the Agency for
International Development's programs, do not compliment the Agency when an AID
Mission has done a good job. I want to break that pattern by commending your Mis-
sion in Haiti for the work it's doing.
I have just returned from a Congressional fact-finding mission where I had the
opportunity to personally interact with a number of AID staff. My staff and the
staff of Congressman Ed Towns (D-NY) were also able to meet a number of your
staff (Vince Cusumano, Bob Gellson, John Lewis) and to visit some projects that we
had not seen on previous visits. The Mission has continued the excellent record es-
tablished by its former director, Harland Hobgood. I am particularly impressed with
the AID Mission Director Jerome French's interest in the literacy program. With an
80% illiteracy rate, AID support for literacy projects would be an important step
towards boosting existing development. The pig repopulation efforts were very im-
pressive. I certainly hope that you will be as supportive of an extension of this pro-
gram as I am. I am convinced that AID's efforts through IICA is the only way to
ensure that pigs will actually reach the small farmers of Haiti.
The staff was equally impressed by the trip to the south of Haiti where AID has a
number of crop improvement, irrigation and soil conservation programs. They were
particularly enthusiastic with AID's success in working with both private voluntary
organizations and government extension agents in this region. The rice project,
headed by Amal Charerjee, and the corn project, directed by Richard Swanson, were
directly improving the lives of peasant farmers by helping them to increase produc-
tion in a very short period of time. These kinds of efforts demonstrate that AID can
effectively reach and assist the neediest farmers.
The Mission shared with us plans for new programs to support a coffee coopera-
tive and women factory workers in Port-au-Prince. These are programs that I sup-
port and I am confident that the Mission will do a good job in their implementation.
While I recently joined in a letter sent by the Subcommittee on Human Rights
and International Organizations stating that human rights conditions warrant
Haiti's retention under Section 116 of the Foreign Assistance Act, I think that spe-
cific projects with the private sector are within the social and economic context of
Haiti, of direct assistance to the poor, and should be permitted to go forward.
This is particularly the case with the proposed Management Productivity Center
designed to train Haitian middle managers. My understanding is that Section 116 is
being applied to this project by the Office of Policy and Program Coordination. I
believe that is a serious error.
Finally, despite continuing human rights problems, it seems fairly certain that we
will continue to have a strong AID program in Haiti. In this regard, I would hope
that we would maximize our programs there. One of your staff, Abdul Wahab, sug-
gested an excellent strategy for development which I believe is not only applicable
to Haiti but one which can be used in other developing countries. Mr. Wahab's
strategy of reinforcing "projects of opportunity" clearly seems the way to go in
Haiti. Where the Mission has found both cooperation and a commitment to develop-
ment, we should try to reinforce this interest with a number of our projects. I be-
lieve that the pig repopulation model can be used to replicate other development
successes in Haiti. Certainly, those groups who successfully participated in the pig
project should be looked to for other "development opportunities".
Again, let me offer my compliments on the work of the Haiti Mission and I am
sure we can continue to work together to enhance development in Haiti.
WALTER E. FAUNTROY,
Member of Congress.