[mgj-discuss] Sign on letter to World Bank re. Haiti
debi at riseup.net
debi at riseup.net
Wed Aug 10 18:18:19 GMT 2005
Please sign the following letter to the World regarding their recent outrageous
statement on Haiti.
*Please return signatures by August 22 to tomr at quixote.org with World
Bank/Haiti Sign-on in the Subject heading*
Open letter to the World Bank regarding recent statement on Haiti:
Paul Wolfowitz, President
The World Bank
1818 H Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20433
Dear Mr. Wolfowitz,
We, the undersigned, write in response to the World Banks recent statement on
On July 27, the World Bank posted on its web site an article titled Haiti: One
Year Later that grossly misrepresents the current reality in Haiti.
To lead readers to the article, the World Bank posted a banner headline at the
top of its home page reading: Haitis Recovery, A Year of Progress and the
teaser: New schools, roads, and jobs are among the achievements of the Interim
Cooperation Framework, Haitis economic, social and political recovery program.
This is an inexcusable whitewash of the terrible nightmare that most Haitians
have suffered through since their democratically elected government was
overthrown on February 29, 2004.
Haitis economic situation remains dire. The countrys GDP declined by 3.8%
during the last fiscal year, which ended September 2004, and there is little
evidence to suggest that there has been substantial improvement since then. The
past year has been one of sharp decline in living standards for the vast
majority of Haitians. The Haitian people have had to endure arbitrary,
politically motivated detentions by the state, police violence including extra
judicial killings (particularly directed towards residents of Haitis slums),
and a sharp increase in kidnappings, rapes, and murders. Under the interim
government of Haiti human rights conditions have deteriorated so dramatically
that United Nations Undersecretary-General for Peacekeeping Jean-Marie Guehenno
stated at the end of June that Haitians in Cap Haitien
are in [a] worse
situation than some of the IDPs [Internally Displaced Persons] I saw in
The Bank touts recruiting 2,300 new police officers as one of Haitis
achievements since the coup. It is well known that former members of death
squads and of the military, which was disbanded by Aristide in a widely popular
move, have been reincorporated into the police. According to the Catholic
Institute for International Relations, many members of the Haitian National
Police (HNP) have links to the previous military or have been involved in drug
rackets, kidnappings, extrajudicial killings or other illegal activities.
Since the incorporation of former military personnel in its ranks the HNP has
been accused of numerous human rights abuses from a variety of sources
including: the Bureau of International Lawyers, the Center for the Study of
Human Rights at the University of Miami School of Law, the Harvard University
Law School Advocates for Human Rights, and Amnesty International.
An investigation of human rights in Haiti published in January 2005 by the
University of Miami Law School Center for the Study of Human Rights found Cité
Soleil and Bel Air (two of Haitis largest slums) to be under siege by the HNP
and UN forces. The report found that UN forces and Haitian police enter these
neighborhoods, which are filled with supporters of the elected former
government and the Famni Lavalas political party, and mount violent attacks
that routinely kill residents. The report also described numerous attacks on
unarmed demonstrators and residents of these neighborhoods by the Haitian
police including the shooting of unarmed demonstrators in downtown
Port-au-Prince on September 30, 2004.
Cases of summary executions of unarmed civilians have also surfaced. Haitian
police are accused of executing 12 young men on October 25, 2004 in Fort
Liberte and 5 men on October 27, 2004 in broad daylight in Delmas. The
Bureau of International Lawyers has documented eyewitness accounts of summary
executions of at least 32 unarmed people by the police between October 2004 and
The security situation is not improving, due in part to collaboration between UN
and police - in fact, the situation has been made worse. A July 6, 2005 raid in
Cité Soleil left at least 23 people dead (including women and children).
According to residents who witnessed the raid, UN troops were the chief
perpetrators of the violence. Although the UN initially denied reports of
unarmed civilian deaths, it later admitted to this possibility and announced an
Currently hundreds of political prisoners are being detained throughout
Haiti. Haitis two most high profile political prisoners are former Prime
Minister Yvon Neptune and more recently Father Gerard Jean-Juste, a popular
Catholic priest. In both cases these men were arrested for crimes despite an
apparent lack of evidence of their involvement. Yvon Neptune was charged with
allegedly orchestrating a massacre of anti-Aristide protestors, which to date
the government has not been able to prove actually occurred. Father Jean-Juste,
who has been an outspoken supporter of former president Jean-Bertrand Aristide
and a critic of the present government, was illegally arrested without a
warrant on July 21, 2005 for supposedly murdering a journalist whose death
occurred while Jean-Juste was himself abroad. Amnesty International has
declared Jean-Juste to be a prisoner of conscience and has raised a health
and legal concern over Neptune, urging the interim government to abide by
its own constitution and grant Neptune a fair trial. The UN Special Envoy
to Haiti, Juan Gabriel Valdes, has also called for Neptunes release.
The World Bank reports that Haitis interim government is launching an
ambitious electoral registration process. The Banks claims were at odds with
the findings of a report the International Crisis Group issued the next day,
which found that only one-fifth of eligible voters some 870,000 people - had
been registered by July 29, none had yet received their new national identity
cards required for voting, and only 327 registration centers were open.
Because of deficiencies in the electoral process and the violent repression of
many of its members and supporters, Haiti's largest political party, Fanmi
Lavalas, is boycotting the proposed elections. But the Bank gives only the
unelected government's view of the situation.
The Bank also misrepresents the economic situation in the country, painting of
picture of economic progress since last year's coup. The article cites the
creation of tens of thousands of jobs. But since the labor force has been
growing by 60,000- 80,000 people per year, it is not clear that the jobs cited
have even been enough to keep Haiti's massive unemployment rate from growing
(some two-thirds of the population do not have formal employment).
The World Bank's whitewash of Haitis dire situation is especially troubling in
light of the Banks own role in helping to topple Haiti's democratically
elected government by suspending aid, under vague instructions from the US,
according to Columbia Universitys Jeffrey Sachs, special adviser to the UN
Secretary General, Kofi Annan.
We call upon the World Bank to cease taking sides in Haiti's civil conflict, and
to conduct an independent investigation into its own role in helping to
destabilize the prior elected, constitutional government.
Bill Fletcher, President
Co-Director, Haiti Reborn/Quixote Center
Brian Concannon Jr., Esq., Director
Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti
Olivia Burlingame-Gounmbri, Director
Ecumenical Program on Central America and the Caribbean (EPICA)
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