THE POLITICAL SITUATION IN HAITI
military coup that overthrew President Aristide on September
29, 1991, was immediately condemned by the Organization of American
States. The Permanent
Council held an urgent meeting on September 30, and voiced its most
energetic condemnation of the events and demanded that the
democratically elected President be restored to power.
6. In a
press release issued on October 1, 1991, the Inter-American Commission
on Human Rights added its voice to others, expressing grave concern
over the events in Haiti, which had caused so many deaths.
It pointed out that the coup in Haiti was a clear
violation of the political rights and other fundamental rights and
freedoms recognized in the American Convention on Human Rights.
of the seriousness of the events in Haiti, the Secretary General, in
exercise of the authority given to him through the "Santiago
Commitment", convened an Ad Hoc Meeting of Ministers of Foreign
Affairs, held in Washington on October 2, 1991.
It approved the resolution "Support to the Democratic
Government of Haiti" (MRE/RES. 1/91), wherein it resolved the
following: "To urge
the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, in response to
President Jean-Bertrand Aristide's request, to take immediately all
measures within its competence to protect and defend human rights in
Haiti and to report thereon to the Permanent Council of the
Organization." Six days later, the Ad hoc Meeting of Ministers of Foreign
Affairs urged the member states of the OAS to freeze the assets of the
Haitian State and to level a trade embargo against Haiti. It created a Civilian Mission (OEA/DEMOC) to reestablish and
strengthen constitutional democracy in Haiti (MRE/RES.2/91).
On December 10, 1991, the Permanent Council of the OAS issued a
resolution titled "Program to support the promotion of democracy."
into consideration resolution MRE/RES.1/91 and the many complaints of
human rights violations, the Inter-American Commission conducted an
exploratory visit to Haiti on December 5 and 7, 1991.
The Chairman of the IACHR, Dr. Patrick Robinson, and its Vice
Chairman, Dr. Marco Tulio Bruni Celli, presented their findings to the
Permanent Council of the OAS on January 9, 1992,
pointing out that the human rights situation in Haiti was highly
volatile and extremely dangerous for a number of reasons:
a very grave institutional crisis had been created; the vast
majority of the Haitian people lived in desperately poor living
conditions; the public was politically polarized; violence was
routinely used to settle social differences, and there was no
tradition of democratic custom and practice.
They also said that such serious problems could only be
resolved by the Haitian citizens themselves, with the cooperation of
the international community.
the second week of December 1991, the OAS Civilian Mission, headed by
the former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Colombia, Mr. Augusto Ramírez
Ocampo, visited Haiti again, to resume the negotiations that had been
suspended since the Cartagena meeting. On that occasion, three names were mentioned as possible
candidates for Prime Minister: Mr.
Victor Benoit, Secretary General of the National Committee of the
Congress of Democratic Movements (KONAKOM) who had the support of
President Aristide; Mr. Marc Bazin, a former presidential candidate
and leader of the Movement to Establish Haitian Democracy (MIDH), and
Mr. René Théodore, Secretary General of the Haitian Communist Party
(PUCH), now called the National Reconstruction Movement (MRN).
Near the end of December, Mr. Théodore agreed to be a
consensus candidate and by mid-February the House of Deputies of Haiti
publicly announced its support for Mr. Théodore's appointment as
the climate was right to undertake negotiations, the Organization of
American States sponsored a meeting in Washington for the second week
of January 1992, a meeting that was not held because the negotiating
parties could not come to an agreement.
Later, the OAS sponsored a meeting on February 23 and 25, 1992,
to work out a compromise so that a political solution could be found
to the Haitian situation. Participating
in that meeting were the deposed President Aristide, who was
accompanied by Mr. Evans Paul, former mayor of Port-au-Prince, Mr. René
Théodore and a parliamentary delegation headed by the presidents of
the two houses of Parliament, Senator Déjean Bélizaire and Deputy
11. At the close of that
meeting, the negotiating parties signed the Protocol of Agreement of
Washington whereby they undertook to guarantee the civil freedoms and
to enable political parties and civilian organizations to function
freely in Haiti, in a context of respect for the Haitian Constitution.
12. The Protocol
acknowledged the need to ensure the return of President Jean-Bertrand
Aristide and to restore him to his functions in government; to prepare
and enact laws that would put into practice the institutions provided
for under the Constitution, such as the law on territorial communities,
the law on the separation of the police from the armed forces, and the
law governing the Citizens' Protection Bureau.
It was further agreed to foster, through laws and regulations,
enforcement of a policy of social peace and economic recovery.
13. It was also agreed
that President Aristide was to pledge to respect the instruments
presented or ratified by the Haitian Parliament and, in the event of a
disagreement between the Executive Power and the Legislative Power,
either could turn to the Conciliation Commission, pursuant to article
111-5 of the Constitution. It
was also agreed that in President Aristide's absence, the Prime
Minister would direct the affairs of State, in accordance with Article
148 of the Constitution.
14. The parties
acknowledged the need to declare a general amnesty, save for common
criminals and to request the OAS and the international community to
provide urgent and substantial assistance to the national consensus
government to enable it to reactivate the Haitian economy, promote
social welfare, transform the Armed Forces and the Police into
professional institutions and strengthen democratic institutions.
15. At that meeting, a
Protocol of Agreement was also signed between President Jean-Bertrand
Aristide and the Prime Minister designate, René Théodore, who
pledged to create the conditions necessary for President Aristide's
16. Though the
international community reacted very favorably to the Protocols of
Washington, the parties did not demonstrate a willingness to comply
with them. In a
television interview some days later, President Aristide reiterated
that he was opposed to the amnesty for the military involved in the
coup d'état and that the accords did not specify an exact date for
17. Moreover, while the
Protocols represented an enormous effort to find a political solution
to the Haitian situation, it was very difficult to translate those
agreements into practice. First,
the fact that the military and the de facto government were not
parties to those agreements suggested from the outset that they would
not be accepted and that the Army would be opposed to any type of
investigation into the human rights violations that had occurred
during and after the coup d'état.
Moreover, Parliament was unable to ratify the agreements
because the quorum necessary in the two houses was lacking. Later, the de facto Government submitted the
Washington Accords to the Court of Cassation for an opinion on their
legality. The Supreme
Court declared them unconstitutional and with no legal validity; it
also ruled that the principle of the separation of powers, stipulated
in the Haitian Constitution, was violated when the parliamentarians
signed the document and that, under Article 98, paragraphs 2 and 3,
these agreements could not be submitted to the National Assembly for
18. The de facto
government did not recognize the Washington Accords and decided
instead to create a Tripartite Commission: the de facto
government was represented in the person of the de facto prime
minister, Mr. Jean-Jacques Honorat; the Legislature was represented by
Mr. Déjean Bélizaire, president of the Senate, and by Mr. Alexandre
Médard, president of the House of Deputies; and for the first time
the Armed Forces were represented, in the person of Raoul Cédras,
their Commander-in-Chief. This
time, President Aristide and his supporters were excluded.
19. The negotiations
culminated on May 8, 1992, with the so-called Tripartite Agreement of
Villa d'Accueil which, as one might expect, did not recognize Aristide
as the Constitutional President.
Under the Agreement, a decision was made to create a consensus
government for the purpose of negotiating the lifting of the embargo
and resuming negotiations with the Organization of American States.
Later, Mr. Nérette, president of the de facto
government, resigned his post. Mr. Marc Bazin was designated Prime Minister, with the
approval of the military and a questionable Senate majority.
must be emphasized that these negotiations and the Prime Minister's
designation were in direct contravention of the resolutions of the Ad-hoc
Meeting of Foreign Affairs (MRE/RES 2/91 and MRE/RES 3/92).
20. When the Washington
Accords were abandoned and changes occurred on the political scene in
Haiti, President Aristide launched a new negotiating process and
convoked a meeting, held in Miami, June 26 through 29, 1992.
Present were a number of political leaders who supported the
restoration of democracy in Haiti.
At the end of the meeting, a document entitled "For
National Accord" was adopted. Also known as the "Florida Declaration," it
reasserted the need to find a negotiated political solution and, to
that end, the assistance of the Secretary General of the Organization
of American States and the Secretary-General of the United Nations
were requested. In that
declaration, the OAS was also asked to send a Civilian Mission to
resume the political dialogue in Haiti.
21. On December 28, 1992,
Haiti's Electoral Council announced that the date for elections of new
members of Parliament had been set for January 18, 1993 (One-third of
the Senate. This date
would also be used to fill some non-elected vacant positions in the
Chamber of deputies). The
Permanent Council of the OAS described the announcement as an unlawful
act designed to patently obstruct the most recent efforts that the
Organization of American States and the United Nations are making to
restore democratic institutions in Haiti. (CP/DEC.8 (927/93).
22. At the time of the
elections, the Senate was divided into two groups:
a group called the Constitutionalist Bloc and another called
the Alliance for Parliamentary Cohesion, who were seeking the removal
of the de facto prime minister Marc Bazin.
23. The reaction from
political quarters was also immediate.
Six political parties -the
National Agricultural and Industrial Party (PAIN), the Democratic
Movement for Haitian Liberation and the Haitian Democrat Revolutionary
Party (MODELH-PRDH), the National Development Mobilization Party
(MDN), the National Reconstruction Movement (MRN), the Haitian Party
of God (PARADIS) and the Movement to Organize the Country (MOP)-
published the "Declaration of a Common Policy" wherein they
demanded the ending of the Ville d'Accueil Tripartite Agreement and
nullification of the process to set up the Special Electoral Council. The Progressive National Democrats (RDNP) later added their
support to that declaration. The
Haitian National Revolutionary Progressive Party (PANPRA) declared
that it first wanted assurances of the trustworthiness of the Senate
election before making any commitment.
The Patriotic Nationalist Movement of November 28 (MNP-28)
launched its election campaign on January 3.
Mr. Grégoire Eugene, Chairman of the Haitian Social Christian
Party (PSCH), withdrew from the election campaign alleging numerous
irregularities in the election process.
24. The 64 candidates up
for election were for the most part from parties that supported the de
facto government and included the Movement for the Establishment
of Democracy in Haiti (MIDH), the Haitian Christian Democratic Party (PDCH),
the Patriotic Nationalist Movement (MNP-28), the Haitian Revolutionary
Progressive National Party (PANPRA) and a number of independent
candidates. About 15
political parties decided not to put up candidates for those elections.
The opposition, whose numbers included President Aristide's
followers as well as rivals, called for a boycott and a "closed-door"
session on the grounds that the elections were "rigged in advance".
25. Days before the
elections, the Haitian Electoral Council reported a number of
terrorist attacks on Registration and Voting Offices (BIV) in the
Southern Department, which left several people wounded.
On the day set for the parliamentary elections, businesses and
schools closed, fearing that acts of violence would break out as they
had on previous occasions. In
recent months, a number of bombs had exploded in the capital city,
leaving two of the bombers dead.
The police said that the bombings were the work of sympathizers
of the deposed President Aristide, though no one ever claimed
responsibility for them.
26, Voter turnout for the
parliamentary elections was very low.
According to official tallies, 561,124 voters exercised their
vote. On election-day
night, citing a number of irregularities, the Electoral Council
nullified the voting in the Western Department where the capital city
27. Following the
elections on January 18, 1993, listed below are the names of the new
senators and deputies of the Parliament:
Ancion (independent), Southeast Department
Manigat (MIDH), Northern Department
André (outgoing Senator of PANPRA), Northeast Department
Martin (MIDH), Southeast Department
Belizaire (outgoing Senator of the MNP-28)
Gilles (outgoing Senator of PANPRA), Central Department
Rousseau (independent), Southern Department
Ney Gilles (MIDH), Grand'Anse Department
Eugene (MIDH), Northwestern Department
Saint Jean (MIDH), Northern Department
Théodore (MIDH), Northern Department
Jean Pierre (MIDH), Northeastern Department
Mondésir (PANPRA), Grand'Anse Department
28. In a press release,
the Haitian Electoral Council announced that given the final results
of the first round of legislative elections, held on January 18, 1993,
the second round of voting, scheduled for January 25, would not have
to be held.
29. On the occasion of the
OAS General Assembly, held in Nassau, The Bahamas, May 18 through 22,
1992, the Ad Hoc Meeting of Ministers of Foreign Affairs passed a
resolution on "Restoration of Democracy in Haiti"
(MRE/RES.3/92), wherein it reiterated the previous resolutions and
urged the member states to adopt additional measures to extend and
step up the trade embargo against Haiti and increase the humanitarian
assistance targeted at the most impoverished sectors of the Haitian
public. The member states
were also urged either not to grant or to revoke, as the case may be,
entry visas extended to the authors of the coup d'état and their
sympathizers and to freeze their assets.
The Ministers of Foreign Affairs again asked the Inter-American
Commission on Human Rights to continue to monitor closely the
situation in Haiti and to keep the Ad Hoc Meeting informed by way of
the Permanent Council.
30. In an effort to find
new opportunities and to establish new terms to resume political
negotiations, the Organization of American States sent a mission to
Haiti August 18 through 21, 1992, headed by Secretary General
Clemente Baena Soares and consisting of several ambassadors, the
Chairman of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, Dr. Marco
Tulio Bruni Celli, and representatives of the Caribbean Community
(CARICOM), the United Nations (UN) and the European Economic Community
31. That mission's efforts
led to a new round of talks at the OAS on September 1, between Father
Antoine Adrién, President Aristide's envoy, and Foreign Minister François
Benoit, the envoy for de facto prime minister Marc Bazin.
There, it was decided that an 18-man mission would be sent to
help reduce the violence in general and encourage respect for human
rights, cooperate in distributing the humanitarian assistance and
assess the progress made toward a political solution to the Haitian
crisis. The Civilian
Mission, in which the former Prime Minister of Jamaica, Mr. Michael
Manley participated, began its work in mid-September 1992.
32. Even though the
Minister of Foreign Affairs of the de facto government, Mr.
François Benoit, had authorized the arrival of the 18 OAS observers,
who were to spread out through the geographic departments, three
months later officials in Port-au-Prince told the civilian delegation
that their presence "had no legal basis" and that
"there was no way their safety and their freedom of movement in
the country's interior could be guaranteed".
33. Through a resolution
passed on November 10, 1992 (CP/RES. 594 (923/92), the Permanent
Council of the OAS decided to urge the member states of the United
Nations to renew their support by adopting measures that were
consistent with the previous resolutions approved by the OAS.
It also urged the member states of the OAS and the United
Nations to increase their humanitarian assistance to the Haitian
people and asked the United Nations to participate in the OAS Civilian
Mission to bring about a peaceful solution to the crisis.
34. As serious human
rights violations in Haiti persisted and worsened, and with the
repercussions of the increased number of Haitians seeking refuge in
neighboring member countries, the Ad Hoc Meeting of Ministers of
Foreign Affairs decided, through a resolution of December 13
(MRE/RES.4/92), to reaffirm its earlier resolutions and to instruct
the President of the Ad Hoc Meeting and the Secretary General of the
OAS to make an additional effort with all Haitian sectors as a matter
of urgency and in close cooperation with the United Nations
Secretary-General, to facilitate political dialogue among them to
restore democratic institutions in Haiti; this effort should initially
be designed to bring about, as soon as possible, a substantial
increase in the OAS civil presence.
The OAS Secretary General was given a mandate so that, in
conjunction with the UN Secretary-General, he might examine the
possibility and advisability of bringing the Haitian situation to the
attention of the United Nations Security Council as a means to bring
about global application of the trade embargo recommended by the OAS.
In that resolution, the President of the Ad Hoc Meeting and the
Secretary General of the OAS were also instructed 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."
35. A few days after the
Ad Hoc Meeting of Ministers of Foreign Affairs, the United Nations
Secretary-General appointed the former Minister of Foreign Affairs of
Argentina, Mr. Dante Caputo, as his personal representative.
The latter immediately made an exploratory visit in Haiti,
seeking a solution to the crisis in that country.
The OAS Secretary General met with Mr. Caputo, after which he
announced to the Permanent Council, on January 13, 1993, that Mr.
Caputo had been appointed his personal representative.
36. In late January, the
efforts of the UN-OAS representative to reach an agreement on a
Civilian Mission (400 observers) were complicated when the de facto
prime minister, Marc Bazin, rejected the format and methods of the
mission, stating that his government, the Army and the Parliament had
agreed to have the mission sent and help find a negotiated solution to
the Haitian crisis, but that in his opinion the solution risked
becoming "a kind of
international caretaker arrangement".
37. In the face of these
new events, Mr. Caputo traveled to Port-au-Prince to meet with the de
facto authorities. Upon
his arrival, hundreds of persons gathered to protest the plan to send
an international civil mission.
38. As this report was
nearing completion, an agreement was reached between the de facto
authorities and the Special Representative of the Secretary General of
the OAS, which would allow deployment of the OAS-UN Civilian Mission
in Haiti. Its priority mandate would be to help guarantee respect for
human rights, thus creating the climate needed
to reach a political solution to restore constitutional
democracy in Haiti. Depending
upon events, the Civilian Mission might also help strengthen and
modernize democratic institutions, particularly with efforts to reform
the judiciary, raise the professional calibre of the Armed Forces,
create a specialized police force and get international technical
cooperation flowing again, in accordance with the terms of the
resolutions adopted by the Ad hoc Meetings of Ministers of Foreign
39. During its 83rd
session (March 1 through 12, 1993), the Inter-American Commission on
Human Rights received President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, who was
accompanied by Mr. René Préval, Mrs. Anne Edeline François and Mrs.
Mildred Trouillot. President
Aristide spoke of the human rights situation in Haiti, emphasizing
that the military were violating those rights with impunity.
He said that the IACHR's presence in Haiti was essential and
asked that the appropriate overtures be made to secure the member
states' support, with a view to compelling the military regime to
agree to the Commission's presence in Haiti.
40. President Aristide
also said that were the IACHR to remain in Haiti for some time,
strategies could be devised for projects and programs to protect human
rights and, in the process, to professionalize the army and police and
strengthen the courts. Paralleling
this, he said, could be a civic education campaign for the entire
41. Before concluding the
meeting, the Commission received a communication from Haiti's
Permanent Mission to the OAS, by means of which it formally presented
the points expressed by President Jean-Bertrand Aristide on the
problems of human rights. Because
of its importance the Commission decided to include this communication
MISSION OF HAITI
THE ORGANIZATION OF AMERICAN STATES
The Permanent Mission of Haiti to the Organization of American
States presents its compliments to the Inter-American Commission on
Human Rights and has the honor to submit in support of the speech of
President Jean-Bertrand Aristide the points of the Government of the
Republic on the problem of human rights in Haiti and on its
The Mission wishes first of all to recall the first resolution on
the role of the Commission in the present crisis in Haiti.
In paragraph 4 of its first resolution (MRE/RES.1/91) the
ad hoc Meeting of Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the OAS renews the
request of the President of the Republic on the presence of the
Inter-American Commission on Human Rights in Haiti.
The International Civilian Mission was requested by the second
resolution (MRE/RES.2/91), yet it is already deploying in Haiti,
whereas the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights has not yet been
able to gain admittance there. The
Civilian Mission is in Haiti only because of the expression of the
political will of the member States.
And only this political will can enable the Inter-American
Commission on Human Rights to secure respect for its mandates by the
military dictatorship in Haiti.
In view of the importance of participation by the Inter-American
Commission on Human Rights in the resolution of the political crisis
in our country and in setting up a stable democratic system, the
Government reiterates its request for a presence of the Commission
in Haiti and avails itself of the opportunity to specify the components
of its request.
Government of the Republic requests the Commission to take all political
steps needed to enlist the support of the member States in compelling
the military regime to accept the presence of the Commission in Haiti.
Government requests the Commission to install a permanent presence in
Haiti for three months with the task of preparing a package of projects
and programs for securing respect for human rights in Haiti.
Government requests the Commission to establish terms for close
collaboration with the International Civilian Mission, and most
particularly with the members of the Mission that belong to the
Organization of American States.
The Government recalls paragraph 6 of resolution MRE/RES.3/92, in
which the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the Organization request the
Commission to fulfill its mandates in regard to Haiti.
The Government requests the Commission to take account of all
violations as reported by the different international and national
The Government draws the attention of the Commission to the
holding of elections by the military regime in violation of the articles
of the Haitian Constitution on the establishment of territorial
assemblies, the establishment and composition of the Electoral
Council, and measures guaranteeing the exercise of civil and political
The Government requests the Commission not only to proceed with
its current work, but to emphasize evaluation of the conditions of
imprisonment, of investigations and other judicial procedures, the
conduct of trials, and the independence of the judicial branch.
The Government requests the Commission to give special attention
to violations of the rights of women and children.
The Government asks the Commission to consider ways to end the
traditional impunity that surrounds the crimes committed by the Armed
Forces of Haiti. It would
like to insist on the rights of the victims and of their assigns to
reparations, damages and interest.
The Commission must also focus on the protection of human rights
and the prevention of violations and abuses.
The Government of the Republic wishes to thank the Commission
and its Executive Secretariat for their participation in the workshop
organized by ourselves under its sponsorship and that of the United
Nations in New York from 18 to 20 November 1992.
The Government wishes the Commission to set up, and to find the
funding needed to launch in conjunction with the national nongovernmental
organizations, a broad adult education program targeted at specific
groups: the economic and political elites, public officialdom, the
military and the police, teachers and students.
This program must make use of all available audiovisual aids, and
eventually develop its own.
The Government of the Republic requests the Commission to
evaluate the irregularities engendered in the administration of justice
by the country's particular sociolinguistic structure and to frame a set
of proposals for achieving increasing transparency in the management
of social disputes by the judicial branch.
The Permanent Mission of Haiti to the Organization of American
States thanks the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights for its
attention to the above and avails itself of the occasion to proffer
renewed assurances of its very high consideration.
Washington, D.C., March 10, 1993
Commission on Human Rights
F Street, N.W.