August 24, 2005
Update on previous actions: Support for justice for�Fr. Jean-Juste, Yvon Neptune and other political prisoners continues to build, including a strong editorial in the�Miami Herald.But they all remain in jail.�Fr. Jean-Juste Collapsed in his cell on August 14, and according to a nurse practitioner who visited him this week,�his health is deterioriating .
Last week�s action to Juan Gabriel Vald �s, the head of the UN Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH), bore some fruit: on Thursday his spokeperson denounced�denounced summary executions by civilians. But that was not enough to stop a series of horrible killings over the weekend, most notably two attacks by police working with machete-wielding death squads in the neighborhood of Grande Ravine. The first took place at a football (soccer) match on Saturday at a Catholic church/school complex, where death estimates range from 10-50. The next day the attackers raided a residential neighborhood in Grand Ravine, burning at least 4 homes and killing at least 5 young men. See IJDH�sPreliminary Report,�Haitian Press Association Report.
MINUSTAH�s response to these atrocities is inadequate because it ignores the fact that the Haitian police, over whom MINUSTAH has authority, are involved in the killings. The policedistribute machetes to the killers, and in the�August 10 attack in Bel-Air and the weekend raids, the police accompanied the killers. The UN Mission has a Security Council�mandateto “restructure and reform the Haitian National Police, consistent with democratic policing standards.” It should use that mandate to make sure that the police are not organizing massacres.
MINUSTAH�s response also ignores its own Security Council�mandate to �protect civilians under imminent threat of physical violence.� All this killing is happening openly in Port-au-Prince. MINUSTAH has over 7,000 soldiers and police officers in Haiti, including�two bunkers full of soldiers in Bel-Air , and a post in Grande Ravine across the street from Saturday�s football game massacre.
MINUSTAH promised�journalists it would investige the August 10 killings. But the UN has announced investigations into several police killings over the last year, including the December 1, 2004 Prison Massacre, and a series of police killings in October 2004. Despite these promises, not a single UN investigation of any human rights violations by Haitian police has been made public to date.
Action: If MINUSTAH will not fulfill its mandate, other UN organs should step in. The UN Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions is a special unit under the High Commission for Human Rights with a mandate to respond to reports of summary executions by police and civilians cooperating with them. Seehttp://www.ohchr.org/english/issues/executions/. The current Special Rapporteur is Philip Alston, a respected human rights advocate from Australia.
IJDH has sent a�Complaint urging the Special Rapporteur to respond to the Grande Ravine executions. Please support this complaint by urging the Special Rapporteur to investigate the atrocity, and ensure that the Interim Haitian Government and MINUSTAH stop further attacks by police and death squads. A model letter is below. Letters may be sent by email (firstname.lastname@example.org), fax ( : (+41 22) 917 90 06 ) or regular mail.
Mr. Philip Alston
Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary, or Arbitrary Executions
1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland
Dear Mr. Alston:
I am writing to urge you to make an urgent appeal to the Interim Government of Haiti (IGH) and the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) regarding the recent series of extrajudicial executions by Haitian police and associated civilians, including attacks in Bel-Air on August 10 and in Grande Ravine over the past weekend.
Witnesses report that dozens of people were shot or hacked to death with machetes at a football game on Saturday, August 20, and that 5-6 were killed on Sunday at their homes. The August 10 Bel Air massacre claimed ten lives. This violence appears to be escalating as Haiti�s elections scheduled for this fall approach.
MINUSTAH reported that it would investigate the Bel Air killings. But the Missionhas announced investigations into several police killings over the last year, including a Prison Massacre on December 1, 2004, and a series of police killings in October 2004. Despite these promises, not a single UN investigation of any human rights violations by Haitian police has been made public to date.
You should also urge MINUSTAH to take a stronger role in stopping these killings. The Mission has a Security Council mandate to �protect civilians under imminent threat of physical violence,� and has two posts in Bel Air and one across the street from Saturday�s football massacre, but it failed to intervene in any of these massacres.
For more information about the Half-Hour For Haiti Program, the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti or human rights in Haiti, see www.ijdh.org.