Originally: Haitian Thuggery Revived, Rights Group Charges
By MICHAEL NORTON
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Aug 20 (AP) — A human rights group on Wednesday accused
Haitian authorities of using police auxiliaries to intimidate the public
and discourage opposition to the government of President Jean-Bertrand
The special brigades of auxiliaries commit robberies, rapes and murder
and create a climate of fear that is reminiscent of past dictatorships in
the impoverished Caribbean nation, according to an 11-page report by the
National Coalition for Haitian Rights.
“If something is not done, Haiti risks being turned into a bandit
state,” said a spokeswoman for the group, Marie-Yolene Gilles.
The report follows months of allegations by government opponents, human
rights groups and the U.S. State Department that police have aided armed
supporters of Aristide in disrupting opposition protests and meetings.
The government denied the report’s findings, calling it a “partisan”
“There are no police auxiliaries,” government spokesman Mario Dupuy
said, adding that rights group the National Coalition for Haitian Rights
was “attempting to destabilize the government by undermining the morale of
The auxiliaries sometimes wear uniform, use weapons and vehicles
provided by authorities or carry official identification, the report said.
The report called the agents a “revised, corrected, and augmented” form
of the dreaded Tonton Macoute militia used during the 29-year Duvalier
family dictatorship that ended with the 1986 ouster of Jean-Claude
In 1994, U.S. troops restored Aristide to office, and dismantled the
army that had ousted him three years earlier. Aristide deployed a civilian
police force in 1995, but many members have since been accused of brutality
and drug trafficking.
The government and opposition had been in a stalemate since Aristide’s
Lavalas Family party swept 2000 elections that observers said were flawed.