Brian Concannon / Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti – 2005-04-20 09:00:45
Today international human rights lawyer Brian Concannon described Goldman Award winner Chavannes Jean Baptiste as “a strong organizer behind the political end of the coup which drove Haitian President Aristide from power” Concannon added that Baptiste’s organization also directly supported paramilitaries that waged terror campaigns leading up to the February 29, 2004 coup. The current coup government is conducting an ongoing campaign of violent repression that rivals the terror of the 1991-1994 coup, when at least 3000-5000 Haitians were killed.
Robert Roth of the Haiti Action Committee noted, “As director of Peasant Affairs Chavanne has assisted in the coup government’s persecution of thousands of pro-Arisitide peasants, resulting in many hundreds of killings of dissidents.”
Robert Roth continued, “Chavanne and other members of the MPP hosted members of the former military when they began their terror campaign against Haitian civilians in the Central Plateau in January 2004.”
Peasants from Mirabalais in the Central Plateau, as well as union organizers and priests, have shown human rights observers evidence that most of the weapons and men moved from the Dominican Republic to start the terror campaigns in Gonaives and Cap Haitien in early February 2004, came through Chavannes’ territory, and received his support.
Numerous elected officials from the Central Plateau including the mayor of Hinche and the director of the area’s literacy program are now in hiding due to false allegations Chavanne has made against them over Haitian radio and encouraged the notoriously brutal Haitian police to arrest them. These officials now live in hiding, unable to return to their communities.
Scores of US human rights leaders and lawyers have documented and denounced repression carried out by Haiti’s current illegal coup regime, including representatives of the Quixote Center, EPICA (Ecumenical Program in Central America and the Caribbean), The National Lawyers’ Guild, The Black Lawyers’ Association, and Amnesty International.
For more information:
• University of Miami Law School Human Rights Report:
• Haiti’s Disappeared by Tom Reeves,
• April 18 KPFA Flashpoints report on Goldman award to Baptiste:
• Contact: Brian Concannon, Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti [www.ijdh.org] (541) 432 0597 Robert Roth, Haiti Action Committee [www.haitiaction.net] 415-297-7869.
• For the complete list of Goldman Environmental Award winners, go to: www.goldmanprize.org