Canadian Government Funding for NCHR
As noted above, NCHR is a favoured beneficiary of Canadian government funding agencies and aid organizations. By all accounts, it appears as though both the Canadian and US governments (through CIDA and USAID) have been funding NCHR for many years. In fact, within weeks of the allegations launched against Prime Minister Neptune by NCHR, the Canadian Embassy in Haiti announced that a further $100,000 would be allocated to that group.(44) As already mentioned, it was at exactly the same time as this renewed CIDA funding announcement, NCHR press releases began to challenge the IGH for not arresting Neptune, against whom they claim the evidence of complicity is â€œsubstantialâ€.(45) As shown above, NCHR has never actually produced any evidence, â€œsubstantialâ€ or otherwise.
The impact of these partisan advocacy efforts has been especially felt among Canadian NGOs and aid groups. Rights and Democracy, an otherwise credible (federally-funded) organization previously led by respected former politicians such as Warren Allmand and Ed Broadbent, appears to uncritically accept what groups such as NCHR report. In fact, such trust leads Rights and Democracy down some surprising paths. In a stunningly one-sided report prepared by Rights and Democracy following a one-week investigative tour of Haiti in September 2003,(46) the dominant influence NCHR and other opposition or opposition-linked groups is clear. First of all, they base their report almost exclusively on interviews with active members of the political opposition (many of whom are CIDA and USAID funded). They then conclude â€“ quite ridiculously – that the Group 184, purported to be a â€œgrassrootsâ€ organization established by Haitiâ€™s business elite and led by the notorious sweatshop owner Andre Apaid, represents a “promising civil society movement” that is reflective of a diverse and broad political opposition to President Aristide. Quite amazingly, they do not mention anywhere in their 54-page report that the Group 184 is led and represented by Apaid, one of the wealthiest men in the country who has been actively involved in right-wing Haitian politics for many years. This uncritical acceptance of the characterization of the Group 184 reflects very poorly on the judgement and analysis of Rights and Democracy. Not coincidentally, Rights and Democracy is one of the main voices on Haiti called upon by Canadian parliamentarians.
Likewise, the Quebec-based AQOCI – a network of 53 international development groups â€“ became so swept up in the anti-Aristide and anti-government hysteria generated by groups such as NCHR in the months leading up to the coup that they issued a press release on December 15th, 2003 urging the Canadian government to withdraw all support from the “Lavalas party regime”, and to denounce the Aristide government for being “riddled with abuses of human rights”. One of the few specific accusations made by AQOCI is as follows:
Last December 5th, a group of “chimeres” invaded the local university, injuring students, professors, the Rector and Vice-Rector, and destroying some of the infrastructure.(47)
The Rights and Democracy report refers to these supposed attacks of December 5 in similar terms, apparently accepting the description of the event provided by groups such as NCHR (one of their listed sources). The December 5 incident came to be known as “Black Friday” â€“ the reports of which triggered much outrage, some even expressed by officials of the OAS. It was a major story, and it influenced many observers in Canada.
There are significant problems with the versions of these events told by NCHR and Rights and Democracy. In fact, there is significant evidence that the Black Friday story that was told internationally was actually a reversal of what took place. Independent journalist Kevin Pina has obtained actual video footage of the incident, and has included it in his documentary-in progress, â€œHaiti: The Betrayal of Democracy.â€ Pinaâ€™s footage strongly suggests that the violence at the University, including the attack on University Rector Pacquiot, was in fact carried out by anti-government student demonstrators. These demonstrators are seen on the video inside the University raining rocks down on Lavalas supporters below, who were clearly assembled outside the compound. One segment shows an anxious Lavalas supporter on a street outside the university compound listening to the students inside smashing windows and destroying equipment, and his voice is picked up by the camera, warning that “they are going to blame the police and Lavalas”. It is worth noting that the main student organization involved in this incident, the FÃ©dÃ©ration des Ã‰tudiants Universitaires dâ€™HaÃ¯ti (FEUH), was organized by a USAID-funded NGO known as IFES (the International Foundation for Electoral Systems). One report suggests that IFES staff â€œwant to take credit for the ouster of Aristide, but cannot â€˜out of respect for the wishes of the US Government.â€™â€(48)
Like NCHR, both Rights and Democracy and AQOCI (and most of AQOCI’s constituent groups) receive very large portions of their operating budgets from CIDA â€“ in other words, the Government of Canada. In this regard, it is less surprising that they accept the word of their CIDA-funded sister group in Haiti. However, Canadian citizens, journalists, and even elected leaders are not generally informed of these financial connections, nor are they publicly reported.(49)
Perhaps the most extreme case of a Canadian organization adopting a fiercely partisan anti-Lavalas/anti-Aristide position is an informal coalition of development agencies called Concertation Pour Haiti (CPH) based in MontrÃ©al. When paramilitary groups launched their attacks in Gonaives and St. Marc in early February 2004, CPH joined the attack on Aristide by going beyond the previous appeal for economic sanctions and actually demanding that the government of Canada publicly call for Aristideâ€™s resignation and encourage the international community to do likewise.(50) While CPH had previously used the extreme language normally reserved for a Haitian audience to describe Aristide (i.e. â€œtyrant,â€ â€œdictatorship,â€ a â€œregime of terrorâ€, etc), the groupâ€™s mid-February 2004 call for outright regime change suggests a remarkably partisan position for a coalition of supposedly independent and non-partisan aid agencies. Interestingly, while Foreign Minister Bill Graham initially rejected this call, he changed his mind 9 days later and joined the US and France in calling for Aristideâ€™s resignation on February 26.(51)
The politicization of human rights group funding in Haiti has now reached a point of some absurdity. As a supporter of the February 29 coup dâ€™Ã©tat, the Government of Canada now utilizes some portion of what is called â€œinternational aidâ€ to pay the salary of CIDA employees such as Philippe Vixamar, a senior official in the “interim” Haitian Ministry of Justice.(52) The January 14 2005 University of Miami human rights report cited above describes a peculiar interview conducted with Vixamar, during which he disputes recent reports of grave human rights abuses by the Haitian police, and confidently refers to his government’s practice of having all police activities (including oversight of the prison system) screened and reviewed by the one human rights group that the government fully trusts – NCHR. This means we have a senior CIDA-funded government officialâ€™s work being assessed by a CIDA-funded â€œhuman rightsâ€ group, whose criticisms just happen to be either absent or muted, which in turn just happens to shield Canadaâ€™s recent foreign policy in Haiti from criticism. Even after this perverse relationship was revealed publicly, it appears that Vixamarâ€™s Canadian paycheques continue to flow, despite CIDA officials recently distancing the organization from his â€œviewsâ€.(53)
In this context, it is hardly surprising to find that NCHR has very little to say about the grave human rights violations extensively documented in the University of Miami report. That report, along with material published in recent months by the Associated Press, Reuters, the UK Observer, the Toronto Star, the Miami Herald, Amnesty International, and the International Crisis Group show definitively that the Haitian police have been witnessed carrying out violent raids on poor neighbourhoods where Lavalas support is most concentrated and open.(54) Yet, very few of these attacks and violations have been even mentioned by NCHR in their most recent press releases.
Even where NCHR does admit to the occurrence of summary executions, as they do in a press release of October 28, 2004, they claim that they do not have enough information to confirm police responsibility.(55) In this release, they report quite calmly that a horrifying torture and execution of 15 young people, including ten boys and five girls, had taken place two days before, in an area where a â€œcommando unitâ€ of â€œmasked officersâ€ was seen storming a home where 13 of the young people had been meeting. Nonetheless, NCHR refers to the killings â€“ which appear to constitute an actual â€œmassacreâ€ â€“ with some skepticism as an act â€œattributedâ€ to the Haitian police. In St. Marc, then, NCHR was able to conduct an investigation that quickly concludes that a barbaric â€œgenocideâ€ had been ordered by Yvon Neptune himself, whereas in the case of the Fort National killings, a few victims names are collected, and then a â€œcommission of inquiryâ€ is called for. Such calls ignored, the incident and the victims are promptly forgotten by NCHR.
Even more disturbing are cases where NCHR sees fit to completely ignore widely reported and recognized police executions. On January 14 of this year, a young journalist and law student named Abdias Jean was executed by Haitian police after he had witnessed them carrying out other killings. Reported by Reuters Haiti correspondent Joseph Guyler Delva and Jamaica Observer columnist John Maxwell, Abdias Jeanâ€™s execution was subsequently condemned by the Association of Haitian Journalists, the International News Safety Institute, the Inter American Press Association (IAPA), and eventually even by UNESCO Director-General Koichiro Matsuura. It is revealing that NCHR has not seen fit to even mention this especially ugly killing, perhaps its most glaringly obvious partisan omission.(56)
By all accounts, these stark problems with the integrity of NCHR appear to pose no problems for officials at CIDA or within the Government of Canada. In fact, it would appear that NCHR stands to gain further funding from Canadian taxpayers as the importance of â€œhuman rightsâ€ reporting increases in the the months leading up to the elections scheduled for October and November, 2005.
After sharp condemnations of Yvon Neptuneâ€™s imprisonment from a number of human rights organizations, he was finally brought before a judge on May 26 2005. In an especially farcical scene, Neptune was brought before the judge lying on a stretcher, so weakened by his hunger strike that he was barely able to speak.(57) Neptuneâ€™s legal and human rights continue to be treated with contempt, all under the approving eyes of CIDAâ€™s supposed human rights watchdog NCHR, whose representative referred callously to the hearing as a â€œgood occasionâ€ for the ailing Neptune to â€œdefend himself.â€(58)
It is difficult to read in detail through international media reports of the violence in St. Marc on February 11, 2004, compare them to the (fluctuating) descriptions of these events within the sketchy press releases published by NCHR, and maintain any conviction that NCHR operates under a non-partisan and independent organization. While in the years leading up to the February 29 coup the organizationâ€™s activities were focused almost exclusively on what they claimed were victims of human rights abuses committed by Haitian police, supporters of President Aristideâ€™s Lavalas party, or the Haitian government itself, their orientation has shifted qualitatively since the February 29 coup. As the above brief review shows, NCHRâ€™s criticism of the post-coup attacks carried out by the Haitian police is muted, and qualified by the suggestion that when innocent civilians are killed by the police, now it is an instance of â€œcollateral damageâ€.
The above analysis raises very serious questions about the potential debasement of the very concept of human rights and human rights advocacy by partisan politics â€“ particularly when foreign-government financing is a major influence as we see in Haiti and many other Latin American countries. It strongly reinforces the concern that wealthy, militarily powerful countries are in certain instances utilizing their enormous financial power to undermine highly dependent developing country governments whose policies they seek to influence.
To the questions posed here, the evidence reviewed above confirms the conclusions reached by an increasing number of independent observers: there was no genocide, and not even a â€œmassacreâ€, but rather a series of violent confrontations that resulted in a number of deaths â€“ possibly as many as 10 or 12 â€“ on both â€œsidesâ€ of the conflict in Haiti that led to the February 29 coup. Our review strongly suggests that NCHRâ€™s confident allegation that Prime Minister Yvon Neptune was implicated in these killings was political in nature, and in any case remains completely unsupported by evidence. When these conclusions are viewed alongside the fact that Neptune has now been illegally jailed for almost a year (provoking his hunger strike), it becomes obvious that any conception of the fundamental human rights enshrined in the UN and OAS systems require his immediate release.
Finally, the issues raised by this episode also suggest that a serious review of CIDAâ€™s human rights programming is in order, with the aim of ensuring that Canadian-funded and supported organizations that are ostensibly working in defense of human rights or in support of democracy are not being manipulated into serving very narrow Canadian foreign policy or trade policy interests. Clearly, Canadians do not want their government to join the list of countries best known for manipulating a rhetoric of human rights and democracy toward self-serving political and economic objectives that are in fact hostile to both.
Kevin Skerrett is active in the Canada Haiti Action Network (CHAN). To join the CHAN email list, or for more information, email him at [email protected].
1. See Jacqueline Charles, â€œHaiti: Meek sees ex-leader in prison,â€ Miami Herald, May 17, 2005. See also Marina Jimenez, â€œFormer PM of Haiti said to be near death from hunger strike,â€ Globe and Mail, May 5, 2005, p. A18 On the gravity of the recent human rights crisis, see Thomas Griffin, â€œHuman Rights Investigation: November 11-21, 2004,â€ University of Miami Law School, Centre for the Study of Human Rights, January 14, 2005. See: http://www.law.miami.edu/news/368.html Also see Harvard Law School Clinical Assistance Project, â€œKeeping the Peace in Haiti? An Assessment of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti,â€ March 15, 2005.
2. The only detailed review of the evidence provided and the media coverage of the episode reviewed here is found in the 67-page book by journalist and human rights activist Ronald St. Jean, â€œA propos du â€œGenocide de la Scierieâ€: Exiger de la NCHR Toute La Verite,â€ ComitÃ© de DÃ©fense des Droits du Peuple HaÃ¯tien (CDPH), Edition SÃ©li, July 2004.
3. See NCHR-Haiti, â€œEvents of the First Weeks of February 2004,â€ Human Rights Situation Report, NCHR, February 15 2004. See: http://www.nchrhaiti.org/article.php3?id_article=175. A press release from the Canadian Embassy in Haiti distributed after the coup announced a Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) grant of $100,000 for NCHR, allocated for their â€œhuman rightsâ€ work. See Canadian Embassy in Haiti, â€œCanada Gives $2 million for Humanitarian Aid to Haiti,â€ Undated, site last updated April 19, 2005. See: www.dfait-maeci.gc.ca/haiti/wn-04-humanitarian-aid-en.asp. NCHR-Haiti has recently changed its name, following an apparent dispute with its parent organization, NCHR (or NCHR-New York). See NCHR-Haiti, â€œName Change â€“ NCHR-Haiti becomes RNDDH,â€ Press release, May 9, 2005. See: http://www.nchrhaiti.org/article.php3?id_article=222. As NCHR is still the name that this group is best known by, this name will continue to be used throughout the text, except where specification is relevant.
4. â€œ2 Ex-Haitian Officials Returned to Prison,â€ New York Times, Feb. 20, 2005, p. 16 While many reports, including those by Radio-Canada, characterized this â€œbreakoutâ€ incident as an â€œescapeâ€ by Neptune and others, this report cites a prison insider who indicated that Neptune and (former Interior Minister) Jocelerme Privert had been taken â€œat gunpointâ€ by the squad of armed men who had broken into the prison.
5. NCHR-Haiti, â€œHuman Rights Situation Report: Events of the first weeks of February 2004,â€ Posted February 15, 2004; URL: http://nchrhaiti.org/article.php3?id_article=175 Accessed May 10, 2005.
6. NCHR-Haiti, â€œMassacre in Scierie (St. Marc): Three (3) Suspects Behind Bars,â€ Press Release, March 2, 2005 (posted March 3, 2004). URL: http://www.nchrhaiti.org/article.php3?id_article=150) Accessed March 5, 2005.
8. Ibid. Emphasis added. The other Haitian human rights group identified, POHDH (Plateforme des Organisations Haitiennes des Droits Humains), is not considered here to be a substantially independent actor. While theoretically POHDH is a â€œcoalitionâ€ of nine Haitian groups that includes NCHR, the reality is that POHDH does not appear to publish material or reports and is essentially an appendage of NCHR. In fact, NCHR Director EspÃ©rance appears to often simply add the name to various NCHR press releases that he has composed. EspÃ©rance also serves as POHDH treasurer, creating an inter-connection that casts doubt on any claims of independence. It is also worth noting that at least 5 of the 9 constituent groups of POHDH are recipients of CIDA funding. On NGO funding, see Anthony Fenton, â€œCanadaâ€™s Growing Role in Haitian Affairs,â€ Haiti Progres, March 22, 2005.
9. Ian James, â€œRebel Uprising Spreads to 11 Towns in Haiti,â€ Associated Press, distributed by Canadian Press Newswire, February 9, 2004
10. NCHR-Haiti, â€œLa Scierie Genocide: NCHR advocates for the organization of a model trial,â€ Press release, March 30, 2004. The provision of Canadian funding for the legal case is discussed later in the text.
12. NCHR-Haiti, â€œBoniface-Latorture: The First 45 Days,â€ April 15, 2004 (posted April 22, 2004). See: http://www.nchrhaiti.org/article.php3?id_article=161 Accessed May 24, 2005.
13. Dominique Levanti, â€œSituation tendue en HaÃ¯ti, au moins deux morts Ã St-Marc,â€ Agence France-Presse, February 11, 2004, my translation. All translations in this text are mine unless otherwise indicated. This report should be viewed with some caution, given that it appears as though the reporter had collected the information about â€œoppositionâ€ members being burned to death through a telephone report from an unnamed â€œlocal journalistâ€.
14. Michael Norton, â€œRock-throwing Aristide militants force opponents to cancel protest march,â€ Associated Press, Canadian Press Newswire, February 12, 2004; This article is also interesting as it reports US Secretary of State Colin Powellâ€™s comments before the US Senate Foreign Affairs Committee: â€œThe policy of the administration is not regime changeâ€¦President Aristide is the elected president of Haiti.’ Within 12 days of these comments, Powell would be openly encouraging President Aristideâ€™s resignation, soon to be joined by French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin and Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Bill Graham.
16. Dominique Levanti, â€œSituation tendue en HaÃ¯ti, au moins cinq morts Ã St.Marc,” Agence France-Presse, February 11, 2004. My translation.
17. Bertrand Rosenthal, â€œDeath, fear and silence in Haitian city,â€ Agence France-Presse (English), Thursday, February 12, 2004. Rosenthal adds to his description of the dead the phrase â€œaccording to witnessesâ€, indicating that he was not present and did not himself see these bodies first-hand.
18. Lydia Polgreen, â€œWeakened Haitian Police Forces Overwhelmed by Rebel Violence,â€ New York Times, February 22, 2004 (filed February 19, 2004).
19. Le Nouvelliste, â€œChasse aux insurgÃ©s Ã Saint-Marc,â€ February 11, 2004. My translation.
20. Michael Norton, Ibid.
21. Michael A. W. Ottey, â€œThree gang leaders hatched plot for a revolt,â€ Miami Herald, February 15, 2004, p. 1. Emphasis added.
23. Ibid. Emphasis added.
24. Ibid. In fact, as even a brief scan through these media reports indicate, the actual response by Haitian authorities was slow and uncertain, partly due to its utter lack of logistical capacity, but also in keeping with the stated preference not to launch any aggressive or militarized counter-attacks against this death-squad insurgency. It is worth comparing this response to that of US/UK occupation authorities in Iraq to the anti-occupation resistance, particularly in zones such as Fallujah (April and November, 2004). The difference, of course, is that the resistance in Iraq is rising up against a foreign occupation, whereas the foreign government-funded and supported â€œinsurgencyâ€ in Haiti was rising up against a democratically elected government recognized by the US, Canada, and the entire international community.
25. Ian James, â€œFood, medical crisis hits rebel-held city: As the rebel uprising continues, roadblocks are halting food shipments,â€ Associated Press (Vancouver Sun), February 14, 2004, p. A15.
26. Michael Norton, Ibid.
27. Ian James, Ibid.
29. Trenton Daniel and Michael A. W. Ottey, â€œCrisis in Haiti: Police won’t fire on rebels, Aristide says; Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide says he will not take drastic actions in trying to return peace to towns seized by armed groups demanding his resignation,â€ Miami Herald, February 12, 2004, p. 1.
30. Michael A. W. Ottey and Trenton Daniel, â€œViolence mars protest; carnival joy dampened,â€ Miami Herald, February 16, 2004, p. 11
31. NCHR-Haiti, Press release, March 3, 2004. Emphasis added.
32. Anne Fuller, â€œLa Scierie Killings,â€ Le Nouvelliste, April 9-10. Fuller admits frankly that she has â€œno informationâ€ regarding who might have â€œorderedâ€ violence in St. Marc. It is also worth noting that this writerâ€™s current employer, Human Rights Watch, had a formal working relationship with NCHR, to the extent of co-publishing reports on human rights in Haiti in the 1990s. Given these connections, it is even more interesting that Fullerâ€™s report lends no support to NCHRâ€™s claims.
33. For some details on Charlienor and RAMICOS, see Gary Marx, â€œHaiti stuck in bog of uprisingâ€™s bloodshed,â€ Chicago Tribune, May 17, 2005.
34. Haiti Progres, â€œLâ€™arrestation dâ€™Yvon Neptune: Sous le signe de quelle justice?â€, June 30, 2004. My translation.
35. Ronald St. Jean, â€œA propos du â€œGÃ©nocide de la Scierieâ€, Ibid. p 24. My translation.
37. NCHR-Haiti, Press release, March 3, 2004.
38. See â€œUS Delegation Visits Jailed Haitian Prime Minister,â€ Haiti Progres, March 9, 2005.
39. NCHR-Haiti, Press Release, â€œPolitical Troubles in Haiti: NCHR invites belligerents to respect the principles of international humanitarian law,â€ October 28, 2004 (posted November 12, 2004). Accessed May 24, 2005. See: http://www.nchrhaiti.org/article.php3?id_article=203
40. Joseph Guyler Delva, â€œUN says former Haitian PM jailed illegally,â€ Reuters, May 4, 2005. See also Joseph Guyler Delva, â€œHaitiâ€™s jailed former PM resumes hunger strike,â€ Reuters, April 29, 2005.
41. See Joseph Guyler Delva, May 4.
42. See National Coalition for Haitian Rights, â€œNCHR-Haiti Does Not Speak for the National Coalition for Haitian Rights (NCHR),â€ Press release, March 11, 2005.
43. Ibid. This â€œdisavowalâ€ was eventually followed by the formal re-naming of NCHR-Haiti, as reported above in NCHR-Haiti, â€œName Changeâ€¦â€ This release was followed by another on May 17, titled â€œUnwavering Dedication in the Face of Constant Adversity,â€ in which a feeble defense of its denunciations of Neptune are offered, along with a belated attempt to express outrage at the sham trial of FRAPH paramilitary and coup leader Louis-Jodel Chamblain in August 2004, outrage that was much more muted and ambiguous in their published reaction. For NCHR-Haitiâ€™s reaction to the widely denounced Chamblain trial, see Viles Alizar, â€œVerdict Rendered in the Antoine Izmery Murder Trial: Chamblain and Joanis Acquitted,â€ Press Statement Summary, August 2004. (All NCHR-Haiti press releases available at: www.nchrhaiti.org)
44. Canadian Embassy to Haiti, â€œLe Canada soutient des organisations humanitaires en Haiti,â€ April 14, 2004. See: http://www.dfait-maeci.gc.ca/haiti/wn-04-humanitarian-aid-fr.asp Accessed May 24, 2005. This financial support was reiterated three weeks later in a CIDA press release, which did not identify the amounts involved. See CIDA press release, â€œCanada Reaffirms its Commitment to the People of Haiti,â€ May 6, 2004. This release also refers to renewed funding support to the Fondation Paul Lajoie, an organization that has had an ongoing relationship with NCHR-Haiti. For details, see also Anthony Fenton, â€œCanadaâ€™s Growing Role in Haitian Affairs,â€ Ibid.
45. NCHR-Haiti, Press release, â€œBoniface-Latortureâ€¦â€ Ibid.
46. Philippe Tremblay et al., â€œHaiti: A Bitter Bicentennial,â€ A Report of a Mission by Rights and Democracy, January 2004 (see: www.rd-dd.ca). The full name of Rights and Democracy is the International Centre for Human Rights and Democratic Development, or ICHRDD.
47. AQOCI press release, â€œThe Canadian Government must stop supporting a president contested by his own people,â€ Dec. 15, 2004, my translation. See: http://www.aqoci.qc.ca/actualite/haiti_dec_2003.html)
48. This report based on screening of â€œHaiti: Betrayal of Democracyâ€ as a work-in-progress in Ottawa, February 8, 2005. For more detail on the role of IFES in organizing not only the FEUH but also the Group 184, jurists, â€œhuman rightsâ€ groups, and others, see Griffin, â€œHuman Rights Investigationâ€¦â€ Ibid. pp. 27-30.
49. For a more detailed examination of the Government of Canadaâ€™s politically selective funding of Haitian NGOs, see Anthony Fenton, â€œCanadaâ€™s Growing Roleâ€¦â€ Ibid.
50. See Concertation pour Haiti, â€œPourquoi Aristide Doit-il Partir? Recommendations de la Concertation pour Haiti au gouvernement canadien,â€ February 12, 2004. This 8-page documents recounts a litany of accusations against the Aristide government, many similar in nature to those of NCHR. In some cases, NCHR is cited explicitly (see p. 2). This document also includes strident references to Aristide himself as having â€œDuvalier as his model,â€ resting on â€œterror and corruption,â€ etc. Most interesting however is CPHâ€™s endorsement of the political oppositionâ€™s Dec. 31 2003 proposal for â€œresolvingâ€ the crisis in Haiti, which they indicate includes: Establishing a â€œtransitionâ€ government presided over by a member of the Supreme Court and establishing a non-constitutional Conseil des Sages [Council of the Wise] that brings together representatives from various social sectors. This is precisely what took place following the February 29 coup.
51. On Concertationâ€™s call for resignation see Canadian Press, â€œCanada must pressure Aristide to resign, human rights group urges,â€ 16 February 2004. On Grahamâ€™s initial defense of Canadian policy against Concertationâ€™s attacks, see Presse Canadienne, â€œOttawa de defend de manquer de fermetÃ© Ã lâ€™endroit du president Aristide,â€ February 17, 2004. For Grahamâ€™s abrupt change of heart one week later, and within 24 hours of the US and French call for Aristideâ€™s resignation, see Bruce Campion-Smith, â€œGraham wants Aristide to consider resigning,â€ Toronto Star, February 27, 2004. The lead editorial in the same paper (the Toronto Star, which was Canadaâ€™s only mainstream newspaper to condemn the eventual coup), bitterly commented: â€œAristide, freely elected in 1990 and 2000, is being hounded out of office again by violent thugs posing as liberators while Washington Paris and yes, Ottawa choose not to intervene.â€ It is worth noting as well that CPH has organized two Canadian speaking tours since the coup in Haiti, organizing meetings for YolÃ¨ne Gilles, of NCHR, and DaniÃ¨le Magloire, a member of the Conseil des sages â€“ the governing body that named Haitiâ€™s interim cabinet.
52. See Thomas Griffin, â€œHuman Rights Investigation: November 11-21, 2004,â€ University of Miami Law School, Centre for the Study of Human Rights, January 14, 2005, p. 24-25.
53. See Stuart Trew, â€œCanadaâ€™s New Foreign Policy,â€ Ottawa XPress, February 24, 2005. Trew cites CIDAâ€™s Director of the Haiti Program, who argued that Vixamar â€œâ€¦was not speaking for CIDA. And we donâ€™t endorse anything of what he said. I cannot comment on his personal point of view.â€ Of course, it was not Vixamarâ€™s personal point of view that was under discussion, it was Vixamarâ€™s professional point of view as a representative of Haitiâ€™s Ministry of Justice.
54. For just one of many examples, see Amnesty International, â€œHaitian Police Must Be Held Accountable for Killing of Civilians,â€ Press Release, April 29, 2005.
55. NCHR-Haiti, â€œPolitical Troubles in Haiti,â€ Press release, October 28, 2004.
56. See Joseph Guyler Delva, â€œUN says former Haitian PM jailed illegally,â€ April 5, 2005. Also see Association Haitienne de la Press (AHP), â€œThe AJH Secretary General believes he has reliable information that the police did indeed execute journalist Abdias Jean,â€ January 19, 2005. For more details, see â€œThis Week in Haiti: New Police and Occupation Tactics â€“ Evacuations and Executions,â€ HaÃ¯ti Progres, January 26, 2005. This particular omission is noticeably matched by the silence of the organization Reporters Without Borders (Reporters Sans FrontiÃ¨res), an organization that openly expressed support for the February 29 coup, and has since praised a â€œreturn of press freedomâ€ in Haiti. A recipient of significant funding from the Government of France, RSF appears to be yet another example of foreign-financed partisan â€œhuman rightsâ€ organizations. A complete search of the websites of both NCHR and Reporters Without Borders finds no mention of Abdias Jean.
57. On Neptuneâ€™s May 25 hearing, see unsigned Reuters article, â€œHaiti: Ex-Premier Goes Before Court,â€ New York Times, May 27, 2005 and Associated Press article, â€œJailed former premier in Haiti goes before judge to hear charges of political killings,â€ May 25, 2005.
58. See Associated Press, â€œJailed former premierâ€¦â€ Ibid.