119.    During the period covered by this report, the human rights situation in Haiti has deteriorated badly.  The incidence of such human rights violations as extrajudicial executions, enforced disappearances, arbitrary detentions, torture, abuse, extortion and repression of the press has greatly increased.  Most of these violations were engendered in a political scenario created by the de facto government in its desire to consolidate its power.


         120.    Human rights violations perpetrated in a variety of ways by the de facto government have become a routine part of the Haitian people's daily life, creating disorder and leaving them totally defenseless against the tactics used by State agents against them.  The de facto government's practice has been to arrest members of the political opposition and anyone it suspects of supporting the restoration of democracy.  The charge of "terrorism" is commonly used by the military to justify summary executions, arbitrary arrests and violent, unannounced searches.


         121.    The institutionalized violence and corruption practiced with impunity by members of the army and police whose function is to protect the citizenry, has caused a series of abuses against the Haitian people.  The section chiefs and their aides -the old repressive system that the de facto authorities have reinstated- are far overstepping their functions as police, terrorizing a rural population that is utterly helpless and completely at their mercy.  At the same time, the judicial authorities have been neither efficient nor decisive in prosecuting investigations into these violations.


         122.    Again, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights must point out that regardless of the prevailing political situation, the American Convention on Human Rights continues to be in force for the Haitian State.  Consequently, those who exercise power, though it be de facto power, have the obligation to respect the rights and freedoms contained in the Convention and to guarantee their free and full exercise.


         123.    It has been the position of the Commission that of the varied forms of government recognized under constitutional law, the democratic system must be the overriding element so that a society can fully exercise its human rights.  As has been shown, to deny political rights or to disregard the will of the people begets violence.  The Commission is fully aware that until the interested parties share a genuine political resolve to find a solution to the Haitian crisis, the human rights situation will continue to deteriorate.


         124.    The Commission therefore hopes that the efforts made by the Organization of American States and the United Nations will help find a political solution that will restore the democratic system of government, where human rights can be respected to the fullest.


         125.    The Commission will continue to monitor the human rights situation in Haiti in furtherance of its duties as established by the American Convention on Human Rights.



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