Haitian Human Rights Activist
Accuses UN of Killing Dozens in Recent Attack
Haiti Action Committee, www.haitisolidarity.net/
Democracy Now interview, December
[The following is a transcript
of the Friday, December 29, 2006 Democracy Now interview with
Lovinsky Pierre-Antoine, Haitian human rights activist and head
of the September 30th Foundation.]
In Haiti, more than 1000 people marched
through the streets of Port-au-Prince last Thursday to protest
the presence of UN forces in the country, and to call for the
return to power of the democratically elected former President
Jean-Bertrand Aristide. Thursday's march followed the deaths of
as many as 17 civilians who were shot by UN troops in the capital
city's impoverished Cite Soleil neighborhood last week.
Demonstrators expressed outrage at what
witnesses called indiscriminate firing by UN forces. Many suggested
that the UN's intention was to suppress popular support for Aristide
and his Lavalas political party.
The UN has denied charges that it fired
indiscriminately, saying that it was targeting armed gangs involved
in recent kidnappings in the city. Under control of the UN force,
Cite Soleil has been plagued by kidnappings and crime.
AMY GOODMAN: Well, to discuss the situation,
we are joined by Lovinsky Pierre-Antoine and Kim Ives. Lovinsky,
is a Haitian human rights activist and Head of the September 30th
Foundation, an advocacy group for coup d'etat victims. Kim Ives
is an independent journalist who specializes in Haiti and he'll
also be translating for Lovinsky. We thank you both for joining
us. Lovinsky Pierre-Antoine, what happened? Were you in Haiti
at the time or were you here when this happened last week?
LOVINSKY PIERRE-ANTOINE: Yes, I was in
AMY GOODMAN: You were in Haiti. Tell us
LOVINSKY PIERRE-ANTOINE: Yes. I'm going
to speak Creole
KIM IVES:Yes, go ahead.
LOVINSKY PIERRE-ANTOINE: [TRANSLATED]What
happened in Haiti is a continuation of a war of genocide against
the poor population. And that is an expression in fact of the
class struggle in Haiti. What happens is that the United Nations
by what is called the MINUSTAH (United Nations Stabilization Mission
in Haiti) is an accomplice of this war against the poor in Haiti.
We can see what happened in Cité-Soleil on the 6th of July
of 2005--what happens every day in Cité-Soleil where soldiers
kill the poor for nothing, and what happened this past 21st, 22nd
of December of this year. This campaign against the poor in Haiti
where they give them some kind of pejorative name. The way that
the United Nations soldiers were trying to resolve the insecurity
problem in the country, even if this is a real problem, the way
they resolve it is not appropriate.
JUAN GONZALEZ: I'd like to ask, in all
my years as a journalist in terms of seeing how the United Nations
operates in peacekeeping missions, I've never seen such periodic
reports of the UN troops involved in aggressive, violent actions
against populations as there has been in Haiti over the last few
years. Do you--any sense of, on your part, why the UN is playing
such a role in Haiti, so different from what it's done around
LOVINSKY PIERRE-ANTOINE: The problem is
that the United Nations is supposed to maintain peace, it's supposed
to be a force of stabilization. In fact, the presence of the United
Nations forces is just an expression of the continuation of the
2004 coup d' etat. Because all the people who were doing crimes
at the end of 2003 and all the former military, they don't have
any problem. They are just circulating freely in the country.
But the people who are victims today of the United Nations forces,
are compatriots who are in Cité-Soleil and the other popular
quarters who stood up to Guy Philippe. The MINUSTAH cannot play
the role of peacekeeper because they're not neutral.
AMY GOODMAN: MINUSTAH being the UN Forces?
KIM IVES: Yes, it's the mission to stabilize
LOVINSKY PIERRE-ANTOINE: And we feel in
the situation there's too much influence from the U.S. Embassy,
and the Special Representative of the United Nations Edmond Mullet.
And to our mind the United Nations represents an occupation force,
which is pursuing repression against the population and weakening
institutions of state's such as the police and justice--and putting
the country under tutelage.
AMY GOODMAN: The BBC just did an expose
on the rape and abuse of kids in Haiti by the UN Forces. Before
that we did the Wayne State University report on the massive number
of rapes in Haiti and specifically looking at UN forces. Now the
UN forces say they went into Cité-Soleil in this last shooting
because of the gangs there and the kidnappings. Your response?
LOVINSKY PIERRE-ANTOINE: It is not that
they were looking for gangs in Cité-Soleil doing kidnappings.
The phenomenon of security and kidnapping in the country is purely
a political phenomenon. One of the last acts of kidnapping in
the country was a guy-a Senator called Andris Riche, and this
was a complete piece of theater. And they did this precisely so
that they could target Cité-Soleil, to give the impression
that they were trying to fight against insecurity. But in other
areas where there's insecurities, such as in Carrefour-Feuilles
where you have the Little Machete Army, neither the National Police,
or the minister soldiers did anything to stop that.
JUAN GONZALEZ: Can't the, what power does
the legal elected government of Haiti have now to -- can't they
just request that the UN troops leave? Why haven't they?
LOVINSKY PIERRE-ANTOINE: Presently there's
a campaign that we've undertaken, which will go between the first
and15th of February to demand that the Security Council remove
the UN Troops from Haiti. And where the Haitian government has
not taken the responsibility to stop the genocide there, we in
the population, in the democratic sector, have taken on the responsibility.
AMY GOODMAN: I'm looking at the press
release from the United Nations, and they say they are working
with the security forces of Haiti, and in their press release
that was released last Friday after the killings in Cité-Soleil,
they say the operations have resulted in the arrests of 24 kidnap
suspects and the liberation of six victims, a number of weapons
were also seized. Final comment?
LOVINSKY PIERRE-ANTOINE: Last killing
that was done in Cité-Soleil, the people who died were
not people with guns in their hands. They were pregnant women
and children among them. According to journalists on the ground,
there were between 30 and 40 people who died. But we think it's
between 60 and 80 people because the people when they run, they
take the people who fell to run with them.
AMY GOODMAN: We want to thank you very
much for being with us. Lovinsky Pierre-Antoine, the Haitian human
rights activist and Head of the September 30th Foundation, who
just came back from Haiti, and Kim Ives. Thank you very much for
joining us. That does it for today's broadcast, the last of the
year. We want to thank all of you because you are at the heart
of this broadcast, the largest public media collaboration in this
country as it continues to grow in this country and around the
world. I am Amy Goodman with Juan Gonzalez. We wish you a very
happy new year.