MICIVIH ACTIVITY REPORT



November 1995









Following is a report on MICIVIH activities during the month of November. Detailed analysis of the human rights situation and cases investigated during that period are contained in the monthly report on human rights violations

In the context of the disarmament programme and related street violence subsequent to the assassination of a member of the Haïtian Parliament, MICIVIH activities during the reporting period focused on the verification of observance by Haïtian authorities of human rights and fundamental freedoms, concurrently with the provision of technical assistance to strengthen the Haïtian institutions responsible for dispensing justice and guaranteeing democracy and respect for human rights. MICIVIH monitored and reported on the human right climate of the presidential election campaign. On 15 November, MICIVIH Executive Director Ambassador Colin Granderson was appointed head of the OAS Electoral Observation Mission to Haiti.

During the absence of MICIVIH Executive Director Colin Granderson from Haiti between 30 October and 10 November, Javier Zúñiga Mejía Borja, Deputy Executive Director and Director for Human Rights, served as Executive Director ad interim of MICIVIH.

A meeting of MICIVIH base coordinators, chaired by MICIVIH's Executive Director, was held at Montagne Noire on 24 and 25 November, to define priorities for the mission until 7 February 1996. Discussions also took place on the shape of responsibilities of the Mission if its mandate were to be extended beyond February 1996.

As of 6 November, MICIVIH had 174 observers (84 OAS, 67 UN, 23 UNVs) and six administrative personnel. As of 28 November, MICIVIH had 171 observers (81 OAS, 67 UN, 23 UNVs) and six administrative personnel.













OBSERVATION OF THE HUMAN RIGHTS SITUATION



Haïti experienced a rather chaotic period in mid-November. The speech made by President Aristide on 11 November at the Cathedral subsequent to the assassination of Lavalas deputy Jean Hubert Feuillé and the wounding of deputy Gabriel Fortuné during an armed attack in the streets of Port-au-Prince on 7 November sparked off a large number of incidents that MICIVIH investigated. Demonstrations, roadblocks and searches for weapons got out of hand and turned into street violence, looting and public disturbances in several places. MICIVIH monitored police and judicial authorities activities during that phase with special attention to illegal arrests and the excessive use of force during crowd control exercises.

MICIVIH's Executive Director a.i. visited Gabriel Fortuné at the hospital and attended the funeral of Jean Hubert Feuillé. MICIVIH is investigating the case, and noted that the HNP unit for the investigation of serious crimes has not so far been directed to investigate the case.

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MICIVIH's Executive Director a.i. was part of a delegation headed by General Kinzer which visited Les Cayes on 9 November after violent demonstrations took place in Les Cayes in reaction to the attack against the two deputies. MICIVIH facilitated the resolution of a serious problem which occurred in Les Cayes when 50 threatened persons found a refuge in the prison. To alleviate the situation, MICIVIH coordinated with UNMIH forces who provided a security escort for some of them to leave Les Cayes for Port au Prince.

MICIVIH investigated the raids on home of Prosper Avril and subsequent related events, in particular the arrest and detention of his daughter and son-in-law , Carine Avril-Cineas and Paul Henri Cineas. It also investigated the case of former Colonel Dardompré who was also taken into custody during another raid on his home.

On 17 November MICIVIH's Director of Human Rights and two members of its headquarters staff visited Gonaïves to gather further information about an incident on 13 November which resulted in at least two killings and several injured by bullets. Nepalese UNMIH forces were accused by the population of being responsible for the casualties. A MICIVIH doctor, CIVPOL and several HNP officers attended the autopsy. MICIVIH observers took testimonies from several people injured during the incident.

MICIVIH investigated 13 cases of reported "popular justice" which occurred in Port-au-Prince in November and the MICIVIH medical unit documented three cases of victims of police violence.

The observation of the human rights situation led MICIVIH to investigate a number of arrests and dismissals of judicial and law enforcement officials where proper procedures had not been followed.



STRENGTHENING THE JUDICIAL AND PENAL SYSTEM



a. The penal system

On November 16 and 17, the members of the unit responsible for prison work, together with the UNDP prison experts, the Deputy Director of the Administration Pénitentiaire Nationale (APENA) visited the Jeremie prison to verify the rehabilitation work in process. On November 23, the same group conducted a visit to the Aquin prison to evaluate its conditions and current overpopulation problems. A study of the prison's poor physical condition and the prisoner's legal status was completed and addressed to the Ministry and APENA's director to request action on the matter.

On November 28 and 29, the Prison Unit and five MICIVIH observers from base 1 participated in a UNDP project to conduct a nominal count of all the prisoners at the Fort National. The purpose of the project was to interview all prisoners in order to establish a complete list of the current prison population, and to evaluate the prisoners' legal situation. Observers followed up each individual case. MICIVIH continued to assist the Fort National prison in the organization of its records.

Together with APENA and the ICRC, MICIVIH continued to monitor the health status of detainees in the National Penitentiary. The medical unit also documented cases of mistreatment and followed up the actions undertaken by the APENA in response to MICIVIH's concern about the poor health status of certain prisoners.

During the reporting period, MICIVIH also participated in the steering committee meeting for the Legal Reform Project. At the meeting, the first results of the PNUD-APENA-MICIVIH study on the prisons situation in Haïti was presented to the representatives of the project's donors.

MICIVIH staff also met with Marc Brownly, member of the National Coalition for Haïtian Rights, in order to exchange information regarding the activities of both organizations in the area of prisons.

b. Haïtian National Police

On 8 November, MICIVIH's Executive Director a.i. Javier Zúñiga met for the first time with HNP Director General, Maître Rameau.

The 750 police cadets of the sixth class of the HNP graduated on 25 November. MICIVIH provided most of them with a 2-hour course on the code of conduct of the police, and particularly on the principles related to the use of force and firearms. The course started on 23 November and was prematurely ended because of a strike on 25 November. About 200 presidential security agents also attended the training sessions.

MICIVIH investigated several allegations that escaped minor prisoners were beaten after being recaptured by HNP or APENA guards. The latter denied these allegations.

c. The judicial system

To help with the judicial reform, MICIVIH undertook several training activities. MICIVIH legal staff participated in a training session for a first group of Juges de Paix organized by the Ministry of Justice from 13 to 24 November at the Ecole Nationale de la Magistrature. The session was meant to be a retraining course and will be offered to all Juges de Paix countrywide. MICIVIH had two training sessions at the Ecole de la Magistrature with 35 justices of the peace on the following topics: the independence and impartiality of judicial authorities, the equality before the law, the judicial guarantees in penal procedure and the methods of investigation into serious human rights violation of human rights.15 examining magistrates (Juges d'instruction) were also lectured on the independence and impartiality of judicial authorities, the respect of human dignity, the equality before the law and the rejection of impunity.

On 25 November, in the framework of assistance to the non-governmental organization "Haïti-Solidarité International", MICIVIH gave a 2-hour presentation to about 20 legal assistants (law graduates who will undertake an internship with a justice of the peace) of the NGO on international human rights instruments and particularly on the American Convention on Human Rights.

A document providing a table of violations of individual rights in the Haïtian administration of criminal justice was elaborated by the legal department.

MICIVIH provided information and legal advice to the Ministry of Justice. In the context of discussions on disarmament, a study of Haïtian law relative to the possession of weapons and focusing on the protection of human rights was forwarded to the Ministry.

MICIVIH investigated several illegal arrests or dismissals of judiciary authorities and met with judicial authorities in the case of juge de paix Alcant Joseph of the Tribunal de l'Est, dismissed and arrested after having ordered the release of several individuals implicated in the mistreatment and death of Haitian boat people.

ASSISTANCE TO THE NATIONAL COMMISSION OF TRUTH AND JUSTICE

On 16 November, a fifth group of files was transferred to the National Truth and Justice Commission. Since 4 October, a total of 70 files containing information on human rights violations documented by MICIVIH were officially transmitted to the National Truth and Justice Commission at its request and after receiving consent of the victims.

For the first time, MICIVIH transferred to the National Truth and Justice Commission a group of files containing information on human rights violations documented by the medical unit of MICIVIH. The files contain information on several cases of assault against women. On 23 November, MICIVIH's medical unit provided recommendations regarding the processing of the cases, in the form of a working document and preliminary report addressed to the Commission, and participated in discussions with the Commission's specialist on violence against women.

As part of the technical assistance in forensic matters given by MICIVIH to the National Truth and Justice Commission, MICIVIH's expert, having completed scientific exhumations of six bodies, started during the last week of November with the laboratory analysis of the remains at Port-au-Prince General Hospital. It is expected that the analysis will take about four weeks.



HUMAN RIGHTS EDUCATIONAL ACTIVITIES



During November, MICIVIH started to implement a programme aimed at training personnel of Haïtian NGOs with an interest in human rights. In collaboration with observers in charge of human rights education in each regional base, the Unit of Human Rights Education organized workshops in five regions of the country and trained 108 members of NGOs in a large variety of subjects including the Haïtian Constitution, judiciary system, rights and responsibilities of the state, relations between elected candidates and their constituencies.

During the reporting period, MICIVIH continued to prepare promotional and training materials such as leaflets, posters, audio-video spots for the Human Rights Education Programme to be distributed to regional bases.



FACILITATING COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT



Food For The Poor invited MICIVIH to visit their hospital under construction and the orphanage for street children. MICIVIH also visited GTZ who expressed interest in community groups involved in artisanat activities. PIRED donated civic education information.

Following the receipt of information on twenty-four new organizations which recently obtained status as an ONG, MICIVIH attempted to contact them.Two of the organizations wanted additional information on the Project Development Unit and visited the office. MICIVIH was able to give information on funding organizations, and help them in the review of their proposal. MICIVIH also reviewed five community projects, two from Petit Goave, one from Port Salut, two from Port-au-Prince.

The following documents have been added to the matrix Lists of Bailleurs de Fonds, French translation of the List, guidelines on obtaining status as an ONG, guidelines on project monitoring and evaluation, monitoring and evaluation tools, demographic information, guidelines on project presentation and writing skills, and a sample of the statute of a non profit organization.

PLAN International, Inc. donated fifteen solar radio tapes to the Civic Education Unit, PIRED also contributed training materials to the Education Unit. MICIVIH also acquired five Video tapes in Creole about Project Management, which were made available for the Medical Unit.



PRESS AND INFORMATION ACTIVITIES/PUBLIC RELATIONS



On 8 November, MICIVIH issued a press release condemning the attack of 7 November on the two LAVALAS deputies and expressing the hope that a proper investigation would bring the perpetrators to justice in accordance. On 15 November, MICIVIH issued a press release condemning the acts of violence which had taken place in various parts of the country after the 7 November incident. MICIVIH's office in Cap Haïtien issued a press release on 18 November welcoming the peaceful and ordered manner in which the demonstration had taken place and the role of the Haitian National Police, together with UNMIH, in ensuring that there were no incidents. At the same time the press release condemned an attack on Radio Ave Maria on 14 November and the death threats made against staff of Radio Cap Haïtien. On 22 November, MICIVIH issued a press release condemning all attacks on the right of freedom of expression and in particular any infringement of the right to freedom of the press.

The Press Unit of MICIVIH produced a third newsletter for public information on the Human Rights situation in Haïti today, the work of United Nations Volunteers and a presentation on the new Director of Human Rights.

Interviews and production items were undertaken to prepare a second radio programme. On 11 November, MICIVIH sent a feed to the United Nations radio in New-York. This Radio Programme was also distributed to four radios in Port au Prince.

The second part of the TV programme on judicial reform and popular justice was distributed to Port-au-Prince TV stations. The filming for a sixth TV programme was carried out.

The Executive Director of MICIVIH gave interviews to the Miami Herald, Signal FM, the Figaro, World News, Caribbean Broadcasting Union, German News Service. The head of the legal department of MICIVIH gave an interview to Radio Signal.

[Image belonging to the U.N Mission in Haiti]
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