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Context of 'February 28, 2004: US Delays Extra Protection for Aristide'

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US officials delay a small group of additional bodyguards from the Steele Foundation on their way to Haiti. [Democracy Now!, 3/2/2004]

Timeline Tags: Haiti Coup

A National Lawyers Guild human rights delegation visits the offices of two Haitian “human rights” organizations, Comite des Avocats pour le Respect des Libertes Individuelles (CARLI) and National Committee for Haitian Rights (NCHR). During the visits, the delegation’s members become convinced that the two organizations are working with the opposition. [Griffin, 4/11/2004 pdf file]
Comite des Avocats pour le Respect des Libertes Individuelles (CARLI) - In the case of CARLI—which publishes lists of alleged human rights organizations, which it disperses to the public, the police, other government agencies, USAID, and the US Embassy—there are several factors which cause suspicion among the delegation’s members: [Griffin, 4/11/2004 pdf file]
bullet Though the group insists that it thoroughly investigates “each of the 60 to 100 monthly calls and verifies all information beyond a reasonable doubt before publicly condemning a person by naming him/her,” CARLI “has no full time staff”—only two volunteer lawyers. [Griffin, 4/11/2004 pdf file]
bullet “Hotline” forms completed by the group include terms like “a supporter of the dictator Aristide.” [Griffin, 4/11/2004 pdf file]
bullet The delegation finds “no evidence that CARLI conducts any investigation before condemning the named person.” [Griffin, 4/11/2004 pdf file]
bullet “The person ‘condemned’ to the list is never contacted to answer to the allegations.” [Griffin, 4/11/2004 pdf file]
bullet The lists have contained only Lavalas supporters. [Griffin, 4/11/2004 pdf file]
bullet The leaflets dispersed to the public are written only in French, which is spoken and understood mainly by the educated elite. Most Haitians speak Creole. [Griffin, 4/11/2004 pdf file]
bullet CARLI has never investigated cases involving Lavalas victims. [Griffin, 4/11/2004 pdf file]
bullet “CARLI was asked if it would consider ceasing the publication of the ‘list’ because it was forcing innocent people into hiding and to fear for their lives, preventing people from returning to their jobs and schools,and, as a non-judicial forum, was creating the possibility of a extra-judicial execution squads, and non-judicial arrest warrants. CARLI refused.” [Griffin, 4/11/2004 pdf file]
National Committee for Haitian Rights (NCHR) - The well-funded NCHR claims to represent victims of human rights abuses, regardless of their political affiliation. But the organization demonstrates an obvious bias in favor of the opposition. [Griffin, 4/11/2004 pdf file]
bullet The NCHR cannot name even one incident where a Lavalas supporter was a victim of a human rights abuse. [Griffin, 4/11/2004 pdf file]
bullet “NCHR took the delegation into a large meeting room where the wall was adorned with a large ‘wanted’ poster featuring Aristide and his cabinet, in small photos, across the top. It named Aristide a ‘dictator’ guilty of human rights abuses. Among a long list of other charges, it condemned him for the murder of John Dominique and included a large photo of Dominique’s dead body. The poster calls for the arrest and imprisonment of Aristide and his associates.” [Griffin, 4/11/2004 pdf file]
bullet “The Delegation suggested that NCHR’s neutrality and inclusiveness might be better expressed with additional posters condemning, for example, FRAPH, Jodel Chamblain, Jean ‘Tatoune’ Baptiste, Ti Kenley, etc. While the Director and the staff acknowledged the existence of all of those named, they laughed at the suggestion of adding other wanted posters to the office.” [Griffin, 4/11/2004 pdf file]
bullet Many of the newsletters, “open letters,” and advisories that were in the NCHR waiting room refer to Aristide as a “dictator.” None of the literature addresses abuses against supporters of Aristide. [Griffin, 4/11/2004 pdf file]
bullet “NCHR was asked if they would investigate the 1000 bodies dumped and buried by the morgue during the last few weeks at Titanye (see March 7, 2004) (see March 28, 2004), and the alleged malfunctioning of the refrigeration at the morgue. The director and his staff denied ever knowing about these events, laughed, and said none of it was true.” [Griffin, 4/11/2004 pdf file]
bullet “NCHR was asked if it would investigate the dumped bodies at Piste D’Aviation (see March 22, 2004) (see March 23, 2004). The director and his staff laughed and denied that it was true. The Delegation then showed NCHR the photographs we had taken of the ashes and fresh human skeletons. In response, the NCHR director told us that the General Hospital routinely dumps bodies at the Piste D’Aviation.” [Griffin, 4/11/2004 pdf file]

Entity Tags: Comite des Avocats pour le Respect des Libertes Individuelles (CARLI), USAID, Tom Griffin, Edward Carlson, March 2004 National Lawyers Guild Human Rights Delegation to Haiti, National Committee for Haitian Rights (NCHR), Judy DaCruz

Timeline Tags: Haiti Coup

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