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25087: (news) Chamberlain: S.Africa's ANC seeks Aristide return to Haiti (fwd)
From: Greg Chamberlain <GregChamberlain@compuserve.com>
By Manoah Esipisu
JOHANNESBURG, May 13 (Reuters) - South Africa's ruling ANC party
intensified its campaign on Friday for the return to Haiti of ousted
President Jean-Bertrand Aristide as part of a drive to restore order and
end bloodshed in the Caribbean country.
Aristide was forced to leave Haiti 14 months ago in the face of an
armed rebellion and pressure from Washington and Paris, and now lives in
exile in South Africa.
He says his expulsion amounted to a coup and failed to bring peace to
his country of 8 million people, the poorest country in the Americas.
"The constitutional order must be restored, which should include the
creation of conditions for the return of all exiles, including President
Aristide, and the organisation of free, peaceful and fair democratic
elections," the African National Congress (ANC) said in its weekly
In a scathing commentary on events in Haiti, the ANC urged the United
Nations to work with regional groups like the Caribbean Community (Caricom)
to end what it said was the persecution of members of Aristide's Lavalas
party, illegal arrests and summary executions.
"Urgent steps need to be taken to end the brutalisation of Haiti's
population and open the way for a meaningful national dialogue towards the
restoration of the country's constitutional order," the ANC said.
"Yet this cannot happen while the remnants of Haiti's military past
are allowed by the international community to continue with their programme
to silence the voices of the Haitian people," it said of the Haiti
The ANC demanded that former Prime Minister Yvon Neptune be released
or charged and said he had been on a hunger strike since last month.
Neptune has been in detention without trial since last June although
Haiti's laws require a court hearing within 48 hours of an arrest, it said.
U.N. Security Council envoys made a four-day visit to Haiti last month
at a time of violence in the streets of the capital Port-au-Prince. The
ambassadors expressed concern about the deep divisions among Haiti's
numerous political parties ahead of elections planned for November.
Aristide, at a rare news conference last month, demanded his
restoration as Haiti's leader and a national dialogue to pave the way for
free and fair elections. He accused the United States, France and others he
blames for his ouster of instigating bloodshed in Haiti and of pursuing a
Three days ago Haiti's supreme court overturned convictions of
military leaders for a 1994 massacre of slum residents in Gonaives,
reversing what human rights groups considered a victory for Haiti's
foundering justice system.
The "Raboteau" trial centred on a dawn attack by gunmen on a
pro-Aristide slum on April 22, 1994, at a time when Aristide supporters
were routinely jailed or killed.