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Context of 'February 26, 2005: State Department Reports Human Rights Violations ‘High’ in Haiti'

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Haitian Prime Minister Gerard Latortue drops a demand that former president Jean-Bertrand Aristide had made to France—that the country’s former colonizer pay reparations to Haiti in the amount of $21 billion (see November 2003). “This claim was illegal, ridiculous and was made only for political reasons,” Prime Minister Gerard Latortue claims, adding that Haiti wants to have good relations with France. “This matter is closed. What we need now is increased cooperation with France that could help us build roads, hospitals, schools and other infrastructure.” France, significantly, had called for Aristide’s resignation before his ouster (see February 25, 2004), leading many to speculate that its involvement in the intervention had been motivated by its interest in ending the reparations demand. During a visit earlier in the month, Defense Minister Michele Alliot-Marie denied this allegation, saying that French involvement had been motivated solely by a desire to help Haiti. [Reuters, 4/18/2004]

Entity Tags: Gerard Latortue, Michele Alliot-Marie

Timeline Tags: Haiti Coup

Gerard Latortue, Haiti’s Interim Prime Minister, defends his government by denying that Haiti is a failed state. In his defense, Latortue states that he won’t “stay one minute in this job if there are flagarant cases of human-rights violations.” Latortue also blames former president Jean-Bertrand Aristide for orchestrating violence from his exile in South Africa. [Globe and Mail, 2/8/2005]

Entity Tags: Jean-Bertrand Aristide, Gerard Latortue

Timeline Tags: Haiti Coup

The US State Department releases a report on human rights in Haiti one year after the ouster of Jean Bertrand Aristide. The report concludes that human rights violations have remained high under the interim government but that the interim government is not responsible for the abuses. [US Department of State, 2/28/2005]
bullet The report condemns members of the former military (FAd’H), members of the paramilitary Revolutionary Army for the Progress of Haiti (FRAPH), and the Haitian National Police (HNP) for using “deadly-force.” [US Department of State, 2/28/2005]
bullet The report also provides numerous examples of the HNP arresting Lavalas supporters without warrant and detaining them for extended periods of time without charge. The report condemns these actions as being in direct violation of the Haitian Constitution which states that a detainee cannot spend longer than 48 hours without hearing a charge before a judge. Of the people detained without charge, the report lists So Anne (Lavalas activist, folk singer, imprisoned May 2004, still imprisoned as of February 28, 2005), Father Gerard Jean-Juste (a well-known Catholic bishop, pro-Aristide activist, imprisoned October 13 and released November 29), and various members of the Lavalas Party in the Senate and Municipal government. The highest profile prisoner mentioned in the report is former Prime Minister Yvon Neptune, who as of February 28, 2005, has yet to hear a charge against him. [US Department of State, 2/28/2005]
bullet The report documents various killings of Aristide/Lavalas supporters that have taken place over the past year. The report assigns blame for some of the killings to the HNP. For others, the report concludes that the perpertrators of the killings could not be determined. [US Department of State, 2/28/2005]

Entity Tags: Jean-Bertrand Aristide, Gerard Latortue, Haitian National Police, US Department of State

Timeline Tags: Haiti Coup

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