Arms Proliferation Is Fueling Human Rights Abuses In Haiti, Amnesty Says

Hardbeatnews, LONDON, England, Fri. July 29, 2005: Global rights group, Amnesty International, is urging the interim Haitian government to implement “without delay” a comprehensive disarmament, demobilization and reintegration program across the strife-torn country.

The call comes in a new report, “Haiti: Disarmament Delayed, Justice Denied,” issued this week, which charges that around 170,000 small arms are being used by former military personnel and criminal gangs to commit grave human rights abuses as the country prepares for elections.

“Small arms are being used by illegal armed groups and former military to kidnap, sexually abuse and kill Haitians with absolute impunity,” officials said. “Without disarmament and effective justice for the victims, Haiti will sink further into crisis.”

The report claims that in several parts of the country, state authority remains frail and armed groups and individuals continue to illegally control territory and population and commit criminal acts without being challenged by national authorities, including the National Police, or by MINUSTAH officials.

“Lack of accountability of HNP officers and widespread impunity for human rights abuses by armed groups cannot lead to durable peace in Haiti,” stated Amnesty.

They also urged the government to investigate all reports of human rights violations and bring those responsible to justice while providing reparation for victims of human rights violations.

Amnesty also called for the reform of the judicial system in accordance with international human rights legislation and for an end to illegal arrests and long-term detentions for those awaiting trial.

And they urge the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti to work with the government on those issues. –