By Haiti Action Committee
The Haiti Action Committee today condemned a July 6 massacre of Haitian civilians in Cite Soleil, Port-au-Prince carried out by UN “peacekeepers”.
Dave Welsh, a delegate with the San Francisco Labor Council who was in Haiti as part of a labor/human rights delegation, said, “This full-blown military attack on a densely-populated neighborhood, which multiple sources confirm killed at least 23 people, is a crime.” Published estimates indicate that upwards of 50 may have been killed and an indeterminate number wounded, and that more than 300 heavily armed UN troops took part in the assault on the neighborhood. The attack took place in Cite Soleil, an extremely poor area that is staunchly supportive of ousted President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. Aristide was forced from office by the U.S. embassy in collusion with U.S.-backed paramilitaries on February 29, 2004 and is now in exile in South Africa.
Seth Donnelly, a California teacher with the same delegation, visited the scene of the massacre and spoke to traumatized survivors of the attack. “This operation started early Wednesday morning at 3am, with Jordanian and other troops on foot and in tanks and helicopters with
machine gun turrets. It was a full-scale attack. Survivors told us that when they saw UN troops they felt that, unlike Haitian police, they would not fire on civilians, but that the ‘peacekeepers’ soon began shooting into houses and at civilians. ”
The Labor/Human Rights Delegation from the United States, sponsored by the San Francisco Labor Council, had been in Haiti since late June to attend the Congress of the Confederation of Haitian Workers (CTH), the country’s largest labor organization, and met with hundreds of
Haitian workers, farmers and professionals, interviewing scores of them about the current labor and human rights crisis in Haiti. Pierre Labossiere of the Haiti Action Committee noted, “MINUSTAH [The United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti] apologized to the Haitian police for its delayed arrival on the scene of an incident where two Haitian police officers were killed on May 22, but it has never once apologized for any of the many documented instances where
UN troops killed Haitian civilians. This latest attack, in which people in their homes and on the way to work were killed for no reason, is beyond the pale. Such atrocities must not be accepted by the international community. Those responsible for these killings of civilians must be brought to trial.”
Labossiere concluded that the U.S.Embassy should immediately refrain from more statements which provide a “green light” for slaughter of civilians. “By recently calling grassroots activists ‘gang members’ and ‘terrorists’, U.S. Ambassador James Foley sent a signal that it’s open season on civilians. This is especially Orwellian, since the real terrorists in Haiti are the UN troops, the Haitian police and the paramilitaries who are killing civilians. Under its most recent
mandate, the UN has supervision of the Haitian police. But instead of stopping the killing of civilians, the UN is stepping up the slaughter,” said Labossiere.