Haiti: National Tragedy, International Scandal (HB2)

Haiti: National Tragedy, International Scandal (HB2)
March 2, 1991 admin
scandal

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"The dogs eat the bodies very quickly" - Haitian peasant at Titanyen body dump

"This is unique, horrifyingly unique. It's the only case where we are forcibly turning people back to the custody of a regime which we have branded a gross violator of human rights" - Bill O'Neill, US Lawyers Committee for Human Rights

What has happened in Haiti in the past year is a national tragedy - a popular, democratically elected president overthrown in a brutal military coup. But it has been compounded by an international scandal - the world has done nothing about it.

The facts are simple:

  • During the night of September 29-30 President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, Haiti's first elected head of state for more than 30 years, was overthrown in a bloody coup. Since then, more than 3,000 have been killed, tens of thousands have tried to flee and hundreds of thousands have gone into hiding
  • Aristide won power with 67% of the vote in a United Nations supervised poll. It was one of the most internationally monitored elections of all time. His victory was recognised by every single member of the United Nations. Yet within 16 months of President Aristide's inauguration, the country's de facto rulers had effectively replaced him as head of state with Marc Bazin who came second in the December 1990 election with only 13%
  • This is the first time in history that a United Nations sponsored election result has been overturned. Yet the organisation has turned its back, refusing to consider mandatory economic sanctions. Management of the crisis has been sub-contracted out to the Organisation of American States (OAS), a powerless regional body dominated by its biggest and most powerful member, the United States
  • Britain is one of the worst sanctions busters. According to research by Senator Edward Kennedy's office, 8 ships loaded with British goods left Liverpool for Haiti betweenNovember 25th 1991 and March 3rd 1992. Although there is no legal obligation to enforce sanctions, British officials seemed to accept a moral responsibility when they assured President Aristide's representatives in June that they were doing everything possible to enforce sanctions
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