UN mission to Haiti condemns murder of journalist as attack on society

15 July 2005 – The United Nations mission in Haiti has condemned the “brutal and vile” murder of a journalist in Port-au-Prince, the capital, as a crime against society at large and pledged its full support for efforts to track down the assassins.

“Assassination and kidnapping are always cowardly and abominable crimes,” UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) said of the murder of Jacques Roche, who worked for the newspaper Le Matin and Radio IBO.

“The murder of a journalist is also an attack on freedom of expression and a crime against the whole of society,” it added in a statement. “MINUSTAH will not tolerate any attack against freedom the press, an essential element in any democratic society.”

The UN peacekeeping mission has been stationed in the impoverished Caribbean nation for more than a year since unrest forced President Jean-Bertrand Aristide to leave the country.

More than 300 UN peacekeepers yesterday raided the Bel Air quarter of Port-au-Prince to establish a permanent 40-man control post in an abandoned building that was regularly occupied by gangs. No hostile action occurred during the operation which MINUSTAH said was “on the contrary, welcomed by residents.”

It was the latest of a series of anti-gang raids in the Haitian capital in which several gang members have been killed or wounded.

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