From the Worldwide Faith News archives

Church World Service Calls for Investigation of Aristide

From Worldwide Faith News <>
Date Fri, 09 Apr 2004 17:26:59 -0700


Agency Urges Independent Investigation Into U.S. Role in Aristide's


NEW YORK, NY - Fri April 9- Violence in Haiti is waning but still occurring
and the need for immediate emergency relief is still high despite recent
international aid shipments, reports humanitarian agency Church World

The New York based global agency is keeping up the momentum of support with
plans for its second food and medical shipment to the devastated country and
a plea to Secretary of State Colin Powell to promise long term U.S. support
during the construction of a durable Haitian society.

Returning from a weeklong humanitarian assessment in Haiti (ending March
30), Church World Service International Disaster Liaison Don Tatlock reports
that for the present, at least in Port au prince and Gonaive, "thanks to the
presence of international peace keeping forces, in-country travel is open
and the security level is lowered. Daily life seems to be returning to some
normalcy." Tatlock said schools opened again the week the CWS team was

But Tatlock affirmed that anarchic violence among Haiti9s different groups
continues and human rights violations are still occurring.

""Although Haitians are now out looking for food and work," he observes,
"their humanitarian problems are not solved, nor is the future of the

"Haiti is still very fragile and still desperately needs financial
assistance for emergency relief, recovery and development activities."

Church World Service says it plans to send a second shipment of food and
medicines to Haiti within the next two weeks.

Yesterday (Wed 4/7), concerned over historic U.S. policy toward Haiti and
Haitian refugees in this country, CWS Executive Director the Rev. John L.
McCullough issued a formal request to U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell,
voicing serious concerns over the administration9s agenda for Haiti and over
the U.S. role leading to the foreign military intervention in Haiti that
began on February 29.

McCullough noted "a lack of democratic process as a guiding principle for
resolving conflicts in Haiti" and said CWS believes "Haiti9s struggle for
national reconciliation and sustainable development needs long-term
accompaniment from the international community. "

Church World Service requested an independent investigation be held into the
United States' role in President Aristide's departure; "regional
multilateralism for Haiti9s right to self-determination" and CARICOM9s
involvement in a long-term accompaniment role; and a "significant increase
of U.S. humanitarian and development aid as part of a long term strategy for

As vocal advocates for the rights of Haitian asylum seekers and detainees in
the U.S., CWS	also urged Powell for the U.S. to provide protection to
Haitian refugees fleeing the still-volatile country; grant Deferred Enforced
Departures (DED) to immediately stop deportations of Haitians; and grant
Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Haitians now in the U.S. and under
threat of deportation.

In Haiti last week, while overseeing distribution of Church World Service9s
first shipment of food and medicines, CWS9 Tatlock heard accounts of recent
terror from the agency9s partners there.

"Church pastors we visited are now reporting fewer abuses in their regions,
but memories of the very recent violence are fresh," Tatlock said.

In the Artibonite District Tatlock tells of visiting the Association of
Evangelical Leaders and meeting Caroline Joseph and her son Anderson, who
had sought help and sanctuary from their pastor. "Mrs. Joseph told us that
on February 11, several men came to their home, took her husband, beat him
in front of the family, then set him on fire."

Tatlock says CWS9 ecumenical partners in Haiti report similar stories and
say regional radio news reports 50 men have died from torture or beatings in
the area.

As a result of the violence, the Church World Service disaster specialist
notes that priorities for humanitarian agencies responding "should include
trauma counseling, first aid, legal assistance, conflict resolution, and
assistance with reconciliation to help build a new society in Haiti."

We didn9t do this after the Duvalier regime and that was a mistake," said
Ernst Abraham of Service Chretien d9Haiti, a CWS Haitian partner.

Tatlock said CWS9 Haitian partners are reporting "a need not only for
material support, but training in peace-building, help to rehabilitate
schools and health care facility rehabilitation.

"Longer term development support is crucial to the failed state9s capacity
to build a viable, durable society," he adds.

Church World Service is a humanitarian agency and cooperative ministry of 36
Protestant, Orthodox and Anglican denominations, providing sustainable
self-help and development, disaster relief and refugee assistance in
partnership worldwide.

Ann Walle/CWS/New York
Phone: (212) 870 2654

Jan Dragin/New York/Boston - 24/7
Phone: (781) 925-1526

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