For over three months, the Inter-American Commission on Human
Rights has repeatedly asked the de facto government of Haiti to consent
to a visit to that country to investigate on site the numerous
complaints received pertaining to human rights violations attributed to
repression by the armed forces, the police, and auxiliary civilian
groups operating on their orders. The IACHR advised the Government of its intention to conduct
two visits: an exploratory
one to be carried out from December 13 to 15, 1992, and an on-site visit
to be conducted from January 11 to 15, 1993.
The de facto government still has not given such consent.
On the contrary, on December 8, the IACHR received a message from
the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Haiti advising that the dates on
which such visits were to take place would be reported in the following
days. But it was not until
one month later that the de facto authorities replied that "the
visit by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights did not seem
necessary to the Haitian government".
The complaints lodged by the victims themselves and accounts from
reliable sources indicate that numerous people have been executed
summarily, illegally detained, abused, and tortured by members of the
Armed Forces and the police. In
most cases, the victims have been supporters of deposed President Jean-Bertrand
Aristide. Other victims
have simply been suspected of supporting him.
Demonstrations and meetings have been violently suppressed, and
journalists have not been allowed to report the facts.
Many of the victims of these violations are leaders or members of
people's or human-rights organizations, students, journalists, merchants,
peasants, and members of the Catholic church.
In rural areas, repression and violence have escalated with the reinstatement of "section chiefs," who act with
the acquiescence of the military and absolute impunity. Both in the capital and in the provinces, the population is
subjected to the corrupt practices of the de facto authorities.
And soldiers extort money from civilians as protection against
detention and abuse, or simply for improvement of the conditions under
which they are held in detention centers, or sometimes even for their
The climate of fear and uncertainty in the country has led a
large part of the population, especially those who support the return of
President Aristide, to migrate to the country's interior seeking refuge,
forced to abandon their homes and stay in hiding.
This situation has also compelled a large number of Haitians to
flee the country in precarious boats to request asylum in the United
The practice of "preventive repression" used against
the civilian population and the deterioration of the political situation
have given rise to continual violations of individual rights, such as
the right to life, the right to humane treatment, the right to personal
liberty, freedom of thought and expression, the right of assembly, and
freedom of association, all of which are protected by the American
Convention on Human Rights, to which the Republic of Haiti is a state
The Commission should point out that the American Convention on
Human Rights remains in effect regardless of the political situation
prevailing in a state party. Consequently,
the Commission stresses that those who exercise power in a state, even
in a de facto manner, are obligated to observe the individual
rights recognized by the American Convention on Human Rights.
The ad hoc Meeting of Ministers of Foreign Affairs adopted, on
December 13, 1992, the Resolution "Reinstatement of Democracy in
Haiti" (MRE/RES.4/92), in which it decided to "instruct the
President of the Ad Hoc Meeting of Ministers of Foreign Affairs and the
Secretary General of the OAS to cooperate in the efforts of the Chairman
of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, in light of the
serious and continuing human rights violations in Haiti and the refusal
of the current de facto authorities to allow the Commission to conduct
an on-site visit as soon as possible."
The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights remains steadfastly
determined to travel to Haiti to investigate on site the grave
violations reported. In
view of the de facto government's
refusal to cooperate with it, the Commission renews its appeal to all
nongovernmental human rights organizations, particularly those operating
in Haiti, to the victims and their relatives, and in general to all
those whose individual rights have been violated in any way because of
the political crisis, to forward their complaints to the IACHR.
The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights issues an appeal to
the de facto government, and especially to the Armed Forces, to
cease their systematic human rights violations, of which the Haitian
people are the victim.
D.C., January 8, 1993
The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights is deeply disturbed
by the systematic human rights violations that continue to victimize the
Haitian public. It
strenuously condemns, in particular, the events that took place in front
of the Port-au-Prince cathedral on February 25, 1993.
The Commission was informed of the unlawful arrests and abuse
inflicted upon those who participated in the mass celebrated on February
25, in memory of the victims lost with the sinking of the ferry Neptune. According to reports, as he walking out of the cathedral
Monsignor Willy Romélus, Bishop of Jeremie, was beaten and his surplice
torn by armed men. Among
those arrested were Edride Jean and Julienne Charles, members of the
grassroots ecclesiastical communities (TKL), and Pharnes Jan, who was
beaten and then taken away to the National Penitentiary.
According to the information it has received, Mr. Pharnes had
been so severely beaten that he was in urgent need of medical attention.
Mrs. Arlette Josué, a journalist from Signal FM and the
Voice of America, was also detained, along with a seminarian, as she was
leaving the cathedral. She
was mistreated during her interrogation at the Anti-Gang Investigation
The Commission has also learned of the repression by the military
in Jeremie in early March. According
to reliable sources, a number of young people were arrested and beaten
by the military; only a handful were released.
Mr. Patrick Bourdeau was so badly beaten while in custody that he
was unable to walk. The
detainees are still in prison, in violation of the 48-hour limit that
the Haitian Constitution stipulates in cases of preventive detention.
The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights asks the de facto
authorities to immediately release the individuals who are being
unlawfully held and to respect their physical integrity.
It once again calls upon the Armed Forces, pursuant to the
American Convention on Human Rights, to stop the systematic human rights
violations being committed against the Haitian people and to respect the
individual freedoms upheld in that international agreement, of which
Haiti is a State Party.
The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights is still determined
to go to Haiti for an on-site investigation of the grave violations
D.C., March 5, 1993
Because of the grave internal situation in Haiti and in response
to the complaints and requests it has received asking for emergency
measures to safeguard the fate, safety and integrity of the increasing
number of Haitian boat people, the Inter-American Commission on Human
Rights is calling upon the governments of the hemisphere,
pursuant to the obligations established in the American Declaration of
the Rights and Duties of Man and the American Convention on Human Rights,
as appropriate, the Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and
the principles and rules of international humanitarian law, to take the
emergency measures necessary to prevent the dangers and suffering
experienced by those Haitians who, although forced to flee their country
because of their repression and persecution by agents of the de facto
authorities, have been or are being repatriated.
On May 24, 1992, because of the great increase in the number of
Haitians trying to reach the United States by sea, then United
States President George Bush issued an executive order
authorizing the United States Coast Guard to intercept the Haitian
emigrants on the high seas and return them directly to Haiti. According to figures supplied by the United States Government,
as of late January 1993, 30,340 people had been returned to Haiti.
On numerous occasions, nongovernmental human rights groups have
informed the Commission that under international law and United States
domestic law as well, it is unlawful to return refugees and expose them
to the danger of reprisals without giving them an opportunity to prove
the merits of their petition of asylum.
As pointed out in the reports of the Commission and of other
human rights organizations, since the coup d'etat in September 1991, the
preventive repression has been continual.
This repression is calculated not to punish for an act being
committed or already committed, but to prevent possible public
demonstrations or protest movements.
The people in the poor neighborhoods and rural areas, who
together represent the vast majority of the Haitian population, live not
only in dire poverty but also in constant fear of being detained,
tortured or murdered. Compounding
this is extortion: many of
these people have to pay the security forces in order not to be
persecuted and mistreated, to make their imprisonment less painful, or
simply to obtain their release after being arbitrarily arrested.
This is doubly cruel for the poor people of Haiti:
while their rights to life, humane treatment and personal liberty
are being violated, they are also being forced to turn over or sell
everything they own, leaving them completely destitute.
The Commission believes that apart from the urgent measures that
the governments of the hemisphere must take to deal with the emergency
situation created by the Haitian boat people, the presence of a joint
UN/OAS Civilian Mission in Haiti must be used to advantage; its
investigatory and informative functions should include careful
monitoring of the facts involved in the problem of the Haitian boat
The IACHR again confirms its willingness to cooperate closely
with the Special Envoy of the Secretaries General of the OAS and the UN,
with the Civilian Mission that has been and is being deployed in Haitian
territory and with all the other international organizations and
agencies in order to find a solution to the political crisis,
reestablish legitimate democratic government and full respect for human
rights in Haiti.
D.C., March 11, 1993
the parliamentary negotiating commission to find a definitive
to the Haitian crisis
The signatory parties to this protocol recognize and acknowledge
the principle of the urgent necessity for a concerted and negotiated
solution to the political and institutional crisis which Haitian society
has been experiencing since President Jean-Bertrand Aristide went into
exile on 30 September 1991, and that this solution, in order to be
viable and lasting, must be sought within the context of respect for the
Haitian Constitution and for national sovereignty and must lead to:
The establishment and consolidation of democratic institutions;
The implementation of measures to guarantee civil liberties, halt
repression and prevent any attempts at revenge or settling of accounts.
With all these aims in view the signatory parties undertake to:
Encourage, consolidate and respect the principle of the
separation of powers in accordance with the Constitution and, within
that context, to work to set in place mechanisms for harmonization and
collaboration so as to facilitate the establishment of the institutions
provided for in the basic Charter;
Guarantee civil liberties and facilitate the free functioning of
political parties and civic organizations in respect for the
Constitution and the laws governing said organizations.
The Parties recognize the necessity for the Haitian Parliament,
which is the co-depository of national sovereignty, to:
Reinstate Jean-Bertrand Aristide in the exercise of his function
as the constitutionally-elected President of the Republic of Haiti and
undertake to assist the Government of national consensus to bring about
the conditions for the return of Jean-Bertrand Aristide to Haiti;
Draw up and pass laws to set in place the institutions provided
for in the Constitution, inter alia:
The Act concerning territorial groups;
The Act concerning separation of the police and the armed forces;
The Act concerning operation of the Citizens' Protection Bureau;
To facilitate by laws and regulations, implementation of a policy
of social peace and economic revival.
The parties recognize the necessity for President Jean-Bertrand
Respect the decisions taken and acts ratified by the Haitian
Parliament. In the event of
disagreement between the executive and the legislature, it shall be
possible for either party to refer to the Conciliation Commission, in
accordance with article 111-5 of the Constitution;
Agree that, during his absence, the Prime Minister shall take
over management of the affairs of State, in accordance with article 148
of the Constitution.
The parties recognize the need to:
Proclaim a general amnesty, save for common criminals:
Refrain from any ambiguous statement which could be interpreted
as an incitement to violence;
Accept the new consensus Prime Minister chosen by President Jean-Bertrand
Aristide in consultation with the President of the Senate and President
of the Chamber of Deputies;
Request the lifting of the embargo and the sanctions provided for
in chapter I, paragraph 4, of resolution MRE-2/91 of the Organization of
American States, immediately after confirmation of the Prime Minister
and installation of the Government of national consensus;
Recognize their obligation to undertake all necessary measures
with a view to putting national institutions in a context that will
enable them to take all decisions within their competence, in complete
freedom, without having to suffer violent intervention, threats of
violence from any force whatever;
Recommend to Parliament that it should, as a matter of urgency,
approve the request of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide to OAS to send
the civilian OEA-DEMOC mission to Haiti;
Request the Organization of American States and the international
community to provide the Government of national consensus with
substantial assistance as a matter of urgency so as to revitalize the
Haitian economy, promote social well-being, professionalize the armed
forces and the police and strengthen the democratic institutions.
Reject and condemn any intervention by foreign armed forces in
the settlement of Haitian affairs.
DONE in good faith, in triplicate at Washington D.C., on 23
This protocol of agreement shall enter into force immediately
after ratification by the National Assembly at the convocation of its
President of the Republic of Haiti
President of the Senate and of the
Parliamentary Negotiating Commission
President of the Chamber of Deputies
and Vice-President of the
of agreement between President Jean-Bertrand Aristide
Prime Minister- Designate René Théodore under the auspices
the Organization of American States (OAS)
In order to establish a climate of confidence, restore the
democratic order, stimulate the national economy, consolidate the
institutions and facilitate the return to power of President Jean-Bertrand
The undersigned parties recognize, in setting in motion the
restoration of the constitutional order in Haiti, the importance of
resolutions MRE/RES.1/91 and MRE/RES.2/91 of the Ad Hoc Meeting of
Ministers for Foreign Affairs of member countries of the Organization of
American States and resolution CP/RES.567 (870/91) of the Permanent
Council of the Organization.
They recognize, in setting in motion the restoration of the
constitutional order in Haiti, the importance of the "protocol
between President Jean-Bertrand Aristide and the parliamentary
negotiating commission to find a definitive solution to the Haitian
The recognize also that President Jean-Bertrand Aristide enjoys
fully and completely his constitutional prerogatives as Head of State.
The parties pledge to take all necessary measures to guarantee
public liberties and to halt all repression and reprisals.
To that end, they recognize the necessity for the deployment, as
quickly as possible, of the civilian OEA-DEMOC mission and of
representatives of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.
They urge international organizations, in particular the United
Nations, the organizations for the defense of human rights and the
international press to spare no effort in their contributions to that
The parties recognize the need to form a Government of national
unity, whose programme will be drawn up -with the political parties
represented in Parliament and which support this Government- by the
Prime Minister together with the President.
In order not only to respect the vote of 16 December 1990 and the
mandate relating thereto but also to guarantee the Prime Minister's
responsibility for forming the government team, the parties agree that
the President and the Primer Minister shall proceed, in agreement, to
choose the persons to fill the ministerial posts.
The parties recognize the need, once he has been confirmed, for
the Prime Minister to work to create the conditions for the return of
President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. In
the meanwhile, the Prime Minister undertakes to meet the President of
the Republic, as far as possible every two weeks, to evaluate the
functioning of the Government and the conditions of return.
For this meeting, they shall request a report from the Secretary
General of the Organization of American States to enable them to
evaluate the assistance of that institution with regard to the progress
of the return process. One month after ratification, the President of the Republic,
the Prime Minister and the Secretary General shall meet to determine the
modalities of the return of the President of the Republic.
The President undertakes to provide the Prime Minister with all
necessary collaboration and political support for the accomplishment of
his task in accordance with the provision of the Constitution.
The parties recognize the need to request the lifting of the
embargo and other sanctions contained in chapter I, paragraph 4, of
resolution MRE/RES.2/91 of the Ad Hoc Meeting of Ministers for Foreign
Affairs of member countries of the Organization of American States at
the official request of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, once the Prime
Minister has been confirmed and the Government installed.
The parties undertake to give particular attention to the
military with a view to professionalizing it and establishing better
conditions, materially and as regards morale, that should enable it to
participate in the democratic process and carry out its constitutional
The parties recognize the need to approach member countries of
the Organization of American States and the United Nations,
international organizations and the international community in general,
in order to obtain emergency assistance for the reconstruction of
Haiti's economy and the technical and financial means required to
strengthen its institutions.
Done in good faith in triplicate at Washington D.C. on February
(Signed) Jean-Bertrand Aristide
President of the Republic of Haiti
(Signed) René Theodore
Signed under the auspices of the Organization of American States
(Signed) João Baena Soares