Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti

Human Rights Situation: Port-au-Prince, Haiti

Violence continues after police attack against demonstrators kill at least 9 persons on Wednesday April 27, 2005.

Wednesday, 27 April

At least nine persons have been confirmed dead and several others wounded after police shot at demonstrators near UN headquarters in Port-au-Prince on Wednesday April 27.

According to a witness, two police vehicles arrived near where the crowd was gathered in the neighborhoods of Bourdon, near Christ Roi and Rue Monplaisir. Police officers in black uniforms from one of the vehicles started shooting indiscriminately at the crowd, killing and wounding several persons. That vehicle then left the crime scene while police officers from the other vehicle shot in the air, dispersing the crowd. They then proceeded to have the bodies of those killed (5) removed. One police officer was seen pulling out a gun attached to his left leg and putting it near the body of one of the persons killed.

Different sources, of whom a cameraman from a local TV stations and a radio journalist, have corroborated the above information.

The following persons have been reported killed. Some were killed during the demonstration while others died later as a result of their wounds:

?Reginald Colon (32), from Rue Saint Martin, Bel Air. He was a father of 4 children. According to his relatives, he was shot in the back, shoulder and foot. He was found at the morgue wearing only his trousers while his personal possessions including a necklace, ring, money and shoes were missing;

?Stevenson St Cloud (21) from Rue Dr Aubry, Bel Air. He was a friend of Reginald and was with him at the demonstration. His body had similarly been robbed of his personal possessions;

?James Lahens from Rue Tiremasse, Bel Air;

?Delange Mesnel. His parents have reported that his body was found at Delmas 24;

?Roland Gustave from Carrefour;

?Nelson Auguste from Carrefour;

?Mackenzie Andr� from La Saline;

?Ti J� (alias) from Fort National; and

?Claudine Joseph from M�n Felix, Bel Air.

At least five other persons were wounded by gunshots as a result of the attack by the police.

Thursday April 28

The attack against demonstrators on Wednesday has fuelled the commission of further violence in the capital. On Thursday, early in the morning, car tires were burned at several spots in Bel Air and continuous shootings were heard. Police and armed groups exchanged fire on several occasions during the day resulting in numerous casualties in the civilian population. One woman street vendor near the Cathedral at Rue Dr. Aubry was shot in the face while another was wounded in both legs at Rue Macajoux.

Latest reports reveal that at least one person was killed when police invaded Rue Saint Martin and Rue Tiremasse in the afternoon, attacking indiscriminately. Some sources claim that many more have been killed and that there are several wounded who are in dire need of medical treatment.

In a separate incident, a young woman (18) was shot in the head when members of the armed group in Bel Air entered the alley where she lives and started shooting. She stays in a very critical condition.

Security Situation and Human Rights Abuses
The ongoing violence in Bel Air and other neighborhoods of Port-au-Prince is terribly affecting the lives of ordinary residents. They are at increasing risks of further being victimized as a result of police attacks and related armed conflicts between the different armed groups involved.

On Thursday, no unit of the UN�s peacekeeping mission was seen in the neighborhoods where the shootings took place earlier. Streets were almost empty and at Rue Dr. Aubry, a usually busy market street, there were practically no street vendors present.

The continuing abuses to the civil and political rights of poor Haitians, in particular the right to life, the right to the physical integrity of the person and the right to freedom of expression, must be stopped immediately. Otherwise they can only result in the furtherance of many more abuses which in turn will directly increase economic and social rights violations thus perpetuating a vicious circle.

In these circumstances it appears inevitable that the security situation in Port-au-Prince will further deteriorate. Bearing in mind that the prime responsibility and duty to promote and protect human rights and fundamental freedoms lie with the State and that MINUSTAH has the mandate to provide a secure and stable environment as well as promote and protect human rights, the following actions are recommended:
?It is imperative that MINUSTAH�s troops resume patrols and provide protection to the civilian population;

?That a full and independent investigations are carried out, and their findings published, to determine and bring to accountability the actors involved in past abuses and more recently, in the killings and wounding of demonstrators at Bourdon on Wednesday Apr 27 and other civilians in Bel Air on Thursday April 28;

?That all efforts are made to ensure that the human rights guaranteed by the UN and other regional bodies are enforced in Haiti;

?That all parties assume responsibility for the commission of past and current abuses; and

?That conflict resolution programs involving all parties are immediately put into action to defuse the situation of ongoing violence and bring an end to the conflict.

Judy Dacruz



April 28, 2005

See news articles: Reuters (Guy Delva), �At least five die in gunfire at Haiti demo�, April 27, 2005 and AP (Michael Weissenstein), �Gunfire Kills 1 in Pro-Aristide Haiti Slum�, April 29, 2005.

Article 2, Declaration on the Right and Responsibility of Individuals, Groups and Organs of Society to Promote and Protect Universally Recognized Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, UN General Assembly, A/RES/53/144, 8 March 1999.

Resolution 1542, UN Security Council, 30 April 2004.

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