Terror in Haiti

[E]stimates suggest that about 8000 individuals were murdered, with almost half of the perpetrators identified as political actors. Sexual abuse, especially among children, was also a frequent occurrence. [The] data suggest that 35 000 women and girls were raped during the time period examined; more than half of the victims were children. Death threats, threats of sexual violence, and threats of physical violence were also common occurrences. Criminals, the Haitian National Police (and other governmental security forces), and UN peacekeepers were the most identified perpetrators of threats of bodily harm….The frequency of human rights violations, and especially the prevalence of sexual violence against women, demands a serious and thorough response from the international community, the new Haitian government, and non-govermental organisations working in the region.

—- "Human rights abuse and other criminal violations in Port-au-Prince, Haiti: a random survey of households," Athena R. Kolbe and Dr. Royce A Hutson, The Lancet, September 2, 2006

I've just run multiple searches across several bundles of English-language news media, both U.S. and foreign. 

Amazingly (to me, anyway), nobody else within the English-language print media appears to have reported the existence of The Lancet's study, other than the Jeff Heinrich byline up in Canada.  (Though Heinrich's two reports did appear in multiple Canadian print dailies via the CanWest News Service.)

Not even the wire services seem to have discovered The Lancet's study.

Through September 3, this also holds true of the U.S. print media: Nothing. 

Pretty remarkable.  Wouldn't you say?

But—how do we explain it?


Update (September 4): Aside from the September 1 and 2 reports that circulated under Jeff Heinrich’s byline via the CanWest News Service and were published in multiple Canadian print dailies, the September 4 report by Andrew Buncombe for The Independent ("Police and political groups linked to Haiti sex attacks") constitutes but the third overall to have appeared in the English-language print dailies.  (Though the Buncombe also was reprinted in the September 4 Belfast Telegraph.)   In short, the Kolbe – Hutson attempt to assess the grave levels of violence (including sexual violence against women along class or caste and racial lines) in post-Aristide Haiti has been barely noticed by the English-language news media.  Until these past few days, I had not realized how thoroughly successful the Washington regime's democracy-building mission to Haiti has been.  Not a single U.S.-based print daily–and certainly none of the majors–has published one peep about the Kolbe – Hutson study.

Update (September 8): In calling this article to my attention, a friend observes: "Finally, the Guardian covers the Lancet report on Haiti – but the focus is on alleged problems with the report rather than the violence."

"Lancet caught up in row over Haiti murders," Duncan Campbell, The Guardian, September 8, 2006



The Lancet, Vol. 368, No. 9538
September 2, 2006

"Human rights abuse and other criminal violations in Port-au-Prince, Haiti: a random survey of households," Athena R. Kolbe and Royce A. Hutson (Wayne State University, School of Social Work, Thompson Home, 4756 Cass Avenue, Detroit, MI 4802, USA)
UN peacekeepers in Haiti," Editorial, The Lancet, Vol. 368, No. 9538, September 2, 2006  

"Open season on Haiti's poor, study finds: UN soldiers often identified as perpetrators," Jeff Heinrich, Montreal Gazette, September 1, 2006
"Canadian troops in Haiti accused of making death, rape threats," Jeff Heinrich, Montreal Gazette, September 2, 2006
"Police and political groups linked to Haiti sex attacks," Andrew Buncombe, The Independent, September 4, 2006
Latortue’s disturbing legacy,” Ira Kurzban, Miami Herald, September 7, 2006 (as posted to the website of the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti)
"Military police probe claims troops threatened Haitians," Jeff Heinrich, Montreal Gazette, September 7, 2006
Author of Lancet article on Haiti investigated,” Marina Jimenez, Toronto Globe and Mail, September 7, 2006
"Lancet caught up in row over Haiti murders," Duncan Campbell, The Guardian, September 8, 2006

Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti (Homepage)
Canada-Haiti Action Network (Homepage)

News Focus: Haiti, UN News Center
United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH
Report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (S/2006/592), UN Secretary-General, July 28, 2006
The question concerning Haiti" (S/PV.5513), UN Security Council, August 15, 2006
UN Security Council Resolution 1702 (S/RES/1702), August 15, 2006
Security Council Extends United Nations Mission in Haiti Until February 15, 2007" (SC/8811), News release, UN Security Council August 15, 2006
Stressing crime prevention, Security Council extends UN mission in Haiti by 6 months," UN News Center, August 15, 2006

"Haiti – The Traditional Predators," Media Lens, September 11, 2006

"Terror in Haiti," ZNet, September 2, 2006 


Table 1. Estimated crude rate and number of victims by type of violation for greater Port-au-Prince area 

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Table 2. Perpetrators of human rights violations 

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n=5720 (1259·36 for weighed analyses). Rates are percentages (95% CI) of specified violations committed by specified group, extrapolated to the greater Port-au-Prince area. Numbers of occurrences are absolute frequencies derived from the sample. n/a=not applicable.
* Respondent only (weighted).


Table 3. Post-stratification analysis 

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Data are proportion of individuals in zone that were victimised during the period assessed, extrapolated to entire population for the zone (95% CI).







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