Shocking Lancet Study about Haiti

Linked with Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti, with Thierry Fagart – Haiti & France, The economic development program for Haiti, and with HURAH INC. Human Rights Accompaniment In Haiti. (Write to hurah).

Shocking Lancet Study
: 8,000 Murders, 35,000 Sexual Assaults in Haiti During U.S.-Backed Coup. This article was published by the Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti. A controversy rised up. Here the link to some recent articles.

Here one of these articles:

Jeff Heinrich, The Montreal Gazette, Friday, September 01, 2006:

MONTREAL – A study in the prestigious British medical journal The Lancet suggests that, despite the presence of a Canadian-led United Nations police and peacekeeping force, 8,000 people have been killed and 35,000 women and girls have been raped since the ouster of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide in February 2004.

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Haiti Action Montreal, an advocacy group, yesterday decried the violence and what it says is Canada’s role in perpetuating it. “Canada helped overthrow the elected government (of Mr. Aristide), provided significant aid to the installed regime (of Mr. Latortue) and led the UN police contingent, yet refuses to take any responsibility for the vast human rights abuses in Haiti over the past two years,” the group said in a news release.

In the study, published online in The Lancet yesterday, two researchers at Wayne State University’s School of Social Work, in Detroit, interviewed 5,720 people in 1,260 households across the impoverished Caribbean island nation during December 2005, asking questions about their lives in the 22 months since Mr. Aristide’s ouster.

Of the 1,260 households, 23 had lost family members in assassinations and killings since February 2004, and 94 had experienced sexual assault — in some cases, multiple sexual assault. Extrapolated to the entire country, the survey findings suggest 8,000 Haitians were killed in and around the capital, Port-au-Prince, almost half them killed by government forces or “outside political actors” — mostly armed gangs opposed to Mr. Aristide and his Lavalas political party.

As well, the study estimated 35,000 women and girls were sexually assaulted, more than half of them younger than 18 years old, mostly by criminals, but also by the Haitian National Police (14 per cent) and armed anti-Lavalas groups (11 per per cent). Many of the victims were “restaveks” — unpaid child domestic servants from rural areas who work and live in the city.

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The UN threats were direct and verbal; simply pointing a weapon in someone’s direction in the course of duty was not considered a threat. Of the UN soldiers blamed, half were identified as being from Brazil or Jordan; the study did not indicate whether Canadian personnel were involved. “Our results indicate that crime and systematic abuse of human rights were common in Port-au-Prince,” concluded the researchers, Athena Kolbe and Royce Hutson.

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“UN peacekeepers must no longer add to that suffering.” (Read the whole on Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti).

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