Pax Christi USA

New Action Alert! Human Rights Appeal to U.S. Citizens and the International Community Regarding Haiti
Issued by the April 18-24 EPICA delegation

After a week of meeting with a wide range of individuals and organizations in Haiti, we urge you to denounce the vast number of human rights violations being systematically carried out against Aristide supporters and unionists. Under an illegal occupation and the existence of an illegitimate government, a grave situation of human rights abuses continues on a daily basis. These include massacres, disappearances, summary executions, beatings, mass illegal arrests, and political repression.

Of particular concern are the many accounts of Aristide supporters and unionists who have been disappeared, as well as the great number of people forced into hiding. Since February 29, 2004 these people have had to flee their homes, becoming separated from their families, unable to work, and having to depend on others for food, clothing, and shelter. Many had already been victims of political rape and violence perpetrated under the previous coup period of the early 1990's. Their voices have been silenced by the forces of military and media oppression.

Despite the US government's proclamation of peace in Haiti, the economic elite, in collusion with the Haitian media, are orchestrating a climate of vigilante justice. The US- led multinational force itself has been implicated in at least two massacres in civilian neighborhoods, and we have heard almost unanimously that Haitians feel betrayed yet again by the international community.

We will issue a comprehensive report in the coming weeks, but today we request that the following urgent actions be taken:

• Call and write your local congressperson, the United Nations: 212-963-2486, presidentga58@un.org, and CARICOM: 011-592-226-9280, webmaster@caricom.org and tell them to immediately investigate the circumstances surrounding the removal of President Jean Bertrand Aristide from Haiti on February 29, 2004.

• Demand the right to asylum for persecuted Haitian citizens by calling your local congressperson. Call Amnesty International at 212-807-8400 and Human Rights Watch at 212-290-4700 to demand that their counterparts in Haiti, especially the National Coalition for Haitian Rights (NCHR) investigate and denounce human rights abuses perpetuated against Lavalas supporters.

• Call Secretary of Defense Powell: 202-647-6575, and President Bush: 202-456-1111/202-456-1414 and your local congressperson to demand that the multinational and US forces immediately stop committing human rights abuses. The United Nations must provide a human rights observer team!

• Donate money to support the rebuilding of persecuted unions, human rights organizations, and legal assistance programs that have had their infrastructures dismantled.

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