Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti

ON EVE OF HAITI’S ELECTIONS, HAITIAN CITIZENS AND FOUR HUMAN RIGHTS GROUPS FILE PETITION AGAINST UNITED STATES FOR OVERTHROWING HAITI’S DEMOCRACY IN 2004 COUP D’ETAT

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                   
Date: January 31, 2006
Contact: Brian Concannon, Esq., (541) 432-0597, brian@ijdh.org

ON EVE OF HAITI’S ELECTIONS, HAITIAN CITIZENS AND FOUR HUMAN RIGHTS GROUPS FILE PETITION AGAINST UNITED STATES FOR OVERTHROWING HAITI’S DEMOCRACY IN 2004 COUP D’ETAT

Audio Press Conference Call on February 2, 2006, 11:00 am ET
 To participate, email brian@ijdh.org, or call 541-432-0597

Complaint cites US support for systematic campaign to undermine democratic government, funding and military support of opposition and paramilitary groups, and the kidnapping of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide by U.S. forces.

Washington, D.C. – Haitian citizens and four human rights organizations — The Allard K. Lowenstein International Human Rights Clinic at Yale Law School, TransAfrica Forum, the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti, and the Haiti-based Bureau des Avocats Internationaux — will file a landmark Petition on February 2nd before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) in Washington, D.C.  On behalf of Haitian citizens, whose democratic rights were violated by the February 2004 overthrow of Haiti’s constitutional government, and the installation of an illegal, unelected regime, the petition names the governments of the United States, the Dominican Republic and the Interim Government of Haiti.

“This documents the systematic attack on Haiti’s democracy by the three governments which included undermining the Aristide government through illegal embargoes on development assistance and police supplies, supporting both unarmed and armed groups in the overthrow of the government and kidnapping the democratically-elected President on February 29, 2004,”  says Brian Concannon, Director of the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti.

Further, explained James J. Silk, Director of the Allard K. Lowenstein International Human Rights Clinic at Yale Law School, “The petition seeks to break new ground in establishing that international law protects citizens’ democratic choice of government, not only from the violence of domestic opposition, but also from the intervention of powerful states.  It relies on a number of international agreements, including the Inter-American Democratic Charter and the OAS Charter, to establish that Haitians have the right to participate in government by voting, running for and holding office, and expressing their political views.”

The petition establishes that:

•           The Bush administration destabilized the democratically-elected government of Haiti by conspiring to cut off all assistance and to prevent the Haitian police to arm themselves while assisting so-called rebels to overthrow the government;

•           The Dominican Republic assisted the overthrow of the democratic government by allowing so-called rebels to train in that country and to launch strikes against the democratically-elected government of Haiti;

•           The Interim Government of Haiti, placed there by US Marines and the Bush Administration, is illegal and has engaged in massive repression of the Haitian people.

WHO:  Congresswoman Maxine Waters, (D-CA); Brian Concannon, Esq., Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti; Prof. Jim Silk, Allard K. Lowenstein International Human Rights Clinic/Yale Law School; Ira Kurzban, Esq., Kurzban, Kurzban, Weinger and Tetzeli PA;            Nicole Lee, Director of Operations, TransAfrica Forum, Inc.

WHEN:  Thursday, February 2, 2006, 11:00 a.m. to – 12:00 p.m.

WHERE: Audio Press Conference:  For details email brian@ijdh.org, or call 541-432-0597
– 30 –

Contact IJDH

Institute for Justice & Democracy In Haiti
15 Newbury St
Boston, MA

Telephone: (617) 652-0876
General Inquiries: info@ijdh.org
Media Inquiries: media@ijdh.org