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25608: Brianhaiti: (reply) Fwd: Half-Hour for Haiti: Urge the OAS to Apply Its Own Principles to Haiti (fwd)
July 6, 2005
Half-Hour for Haiti: Urge the OAS to Apply Its Own Principles to Haiti
Thanks to everyone who last week urged the UN to release its report on the
December 1, 2004 prison massacre. This weekâ??s action addresses another
international organization that has failed to live up to its stated
with respect to Haiti, the Organization of American States (OAS).
The OASâ??s Secretary General, JosÃ© Miguel Insulza, is in Port-au-Prince
week for a three-day visit. The visit affords Mr. Insulza an opportunity
to see how far Haiti is from the democratic governance required of OAS Member
States. It affords us an opportunity to remind Mr. Insulza that the OAS has
not fulfilled its obligations under the OAS Charter and its Inter-American
Democratic Charter, to take action to restore democracy in Haiti.
The OAS Charter, the organizationâ??s â??Constitution,â?? declares in its
phrase that â??representative democracy is an indispensable condition for the
stability, peace and development of the region.â?? The organizationâ??s
purposes, listed in Article 2, include â??to promote and consolidate
representative democracy,â?? and â??to provide for common action on the part
States in the event of aggression.â?? Article 3 declares that â??[a]n act of
aggression against one American State is an act of aggression against all the
other American States.â??
The OASâ?? Inter-American Democratic Charter contains mechanisms for
responding to the overthrow of a democratic government. Article 19 of the
calls â??an unconstitutional alteration of the constitutional regimeâ?? an â??
insurmountable obstacleâ?? to a countryâ??s participation in OAS activities.
event of such an unconstitutional alteration, Article 20 allows members to
the Permanent Council to take measures â??to foster the restoration of
democracy.â?? Article 21 allows for a vote to suspend a member if these
Secretary-General Insulza will find a Haiti that has suffered an â??
unconstitutional alteration of the constitutional regimeâ?? by any standard.
representative, democratic government was overthrown on February 29, 2004 by
armed uprising, â??an act of aggression.â?? The country is ruled by a Prime
Minister appointed through a procedure with no constitutional or electoral
Even if the interim government had been legally established, the
Constitution required it to hold replacement elections by June 1, 2004.
After sixteen months, the Interim Government of Haiti (IGH) Haiti is no
closer to relinquishing power to a democratic government than when it
The IGHâ??s declarations insist that elections will be held in October,
and December, but its actions have ensured that there will be no democratic
elections this year. Voter registration is supposed to close on August 9,
but less than 5% of eligible voters have registered. The IGH reduced the
of voting registration offices from more than 12,000 to 424 on paper, but in
practice has only opened about 100, none of them in the countryâ??s most
densely populated neighborhoods.
The IGH refuses to fulfill the reasonable condition imposed by the Lavalas
party for participating in the elections, that the IGH stop persecuting its
leaders and supporters. Lavalas has won a landslide victory in every Haitian
election for the last fifteen years. Several top Lavalas officials, and
hundreds of supporters, have been illegally imprisoned for over a year. Many
these sit in prison despite having been ordered freed by judges for lack of
evidence. The Haitian police routinely conduct murderous operations in the
neighborhoods considered Lavalas bastions, or shoot into peaceful
Almost half of the OASâ?? thirty-four members have pushed the organization to
respond to this interruption of the democratic order: the fourteen members of
the Caribbean Community and Venezuela have called for an investigation into
the February 2004 coup dâ??etat. In June 2004, the OAS General Assembly
considered the matter but declined to investigate the coup. It did invoke the
Inter-American Democratic Charter, and resolved to â??take all necessary
initiatives, including good offices, to foster full restoration of democracy
in Haiti.â?? Those initiatives could have been a step towards suspending
Haiti from OAS membership, but a year later there is no sign that the OAS is
contemplating any meaningful sanctions on Haitiâ??s rogue regime.
Action: Fax or Write to OAS Secretary-General JosÃ© Miguel Insulza, urging
him to ensure that the Inter-America Democratic Charter is applied to Haiti.
A sample letter is below. As always, feel free to use the whole letter or
adapt it as you see fit.
Fax No. 202-458-3967
JosÃ© Miguel Insulza, Secretary-General
Organization of American States
17th Street & Constitution Avenue, NW
Washington, DC, 20006
Dear Mr. Insulza:
I appreciate that you took the time to travel to Haiti and assess the
conditions there. I also thank you for your public reiteration that the OAS
be promoting and maintaining democracy in the Americas.
As you saw during your visit, Haiti has had â??an unconstitutional alteration
of the constitutional regimeâ?? by any standard. An honest analysis reveals
that the Interim Government of Haiti (IGH) has no constitutional or electoral
basis and is no closer to handing power to a democratic government than when
arrived sixteen months ago. The IGHâ??s declarations insisting on elections
this year are not matched by its actions- a month before the close of voter
registration less than 5% of voters have registered, less than 25% of
registration centers are even open. The IGH continues to persecute officials
ousted constitutional regime, supporters of the Lavalas government and
political dissidents: many have been killed, hundreds of others sit in jail
formal charges against them, or with a judicial liberation order that the IGH
refuses to execute.
Before your arrival as Secretary-General, the OAS missed an historic
opportunity to fulfill its Charterâ??s promise that â??[a]n act of aggression
one American State is an act of aggression against all the other American
States,â?? by refusing to come to the aid of Haitiâ??s constitutional
when it was under attack in early 2004. Since then, the OAS has ignored the
Inter-American Democratic Charterâ??s insistence that â??an unconstitutional
alteration of the constitutional regimeâ?? is an â??insurmountable
obstacleâ?? to a
countryâ??s participation in OAS activities.
I urge you to use your leadership to ensure that from now on the OAS stands
by its fundamental principles, and supports democracy in Haiti. The
organization should fully implement the Inter-American Declaration by
â??s unconstitutional government from OAS activities. You should publicly
denounce the IGHâ??s persecution of its political opponents; initiate an
investigation of Haitiâ??s February, 2004 coup dâ??etat as requested by the
countries and Venezuela, and work for the immediate restoration of Haitiâ??s
For more information:
Half Hour For Haiti Program:
The Organization of American States: _www.oas.org_ (http://www.oas.org/)
The OAS and Haiti:
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