Originally: Peaceful occupation of OAS office in Haiti
Port-au-Prince, November 25, 2003
Ambassador David Lee, Representative of the Organization of American States in Haiti
The Group of 184, by the physical presence of a delegation representing the 13 sectors that it comprises, hereby solicits the OAS?s urgent intervention to protect the lives of two of its members, detained illegally by the Lavalas regime.
On Friday, November 14, 2003, Mr. Charles-Henri Baker and Mr. David Apaid, respectively Vice President and member of the Haitian Association of Industries (ADIH), were arbitrarily arrested by the police while they were accompanying a convoy that was on its way to a peaceful rally, duly authorized by the appropriate authorities. Given the circumstances of their arrest?and the unfortunate precedent of the inexplicable demise of opponents of the regime in various prisons around the country?we are extremely concerned that the National Penitentiary not be permitted to serve, once again, as the venue for the physical elimination of two more of our citizens.
Moreover, that same day, Miss Carline Duclair, member of a civic organization in Savane Pistache, was attacked and then kidnapped in the presence of witnesses, by armed men circulating in a police vehicle without license plates. This happened when she was leaving the Champs de Mars where the group rally were held, wearing a 184 T-shirt, along with her family and friends. After nine days in captivity, she was released without any explanation by the police, on November 23, 2003.
These actions bear the undeniable hallmark of a regime which has willfully chosen to ignore the repeated calls of the Haitian people, the OAS, and of accredited diplomats, in order to systematically violate the basic rights of peaceful citizens.
All recourse to legally remedy this injustice undertaken thus far has been met by either the fear or the complicity of functionaries; themselves intimidated by the highest authorities, or subservient to the Lavalas cause.
Yet we are firmly convinced that the OAS Special Mission?governed by the universal principles enshrined in the Interamerican Charter of Human Rights, and in virtue both of its mandate and of its actual presence within the HNP and the justice system?disposes of the necessary authority and the capacity to intervene in this matter and to obtain from the government the immediate release of our compatriots, who are in danger, as well as that of the many other political prisoners currently being held illegally. Given the urgency of the situation, we have determined to remain here in your offices until your intercession with the Lavalas regime in this regard has born fruit.
Our peaceful action today is being undertaken by a non-partisan, civil society organization as part of a program of non-violent but active resistance against dictatorship. It is justified by our fundamental right to utilize any and all peaceful means to bring pressure to bear when our rights and the rule-of-law are being violated by the very people who are charged with protecting and upholding them. By coming to your offices, our delegation is also seeking your protection.
Confident in the OAS?s attachment to the cause of democracy and human rights, the Group of 184 assures you, Mr. Ambassador, of its continued collaboration.
The 13 sectors having signed that petition and present at the OAS office
Private sector Socio Professional
Trade unions Human Rights organizations
Women?s organization Students and Youth organizations
Education Peasants sector
Popular organizations NGOs
Civic sector Cultural Sector