Human rights group says Duvalier sold Haitian “slaves” to Dominican Republic
Haiti’s Refugee and Repatriate Support Group (GARR) yesterday requested a criminal trial against the ex dictator Jean Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier for “having sold” Haitians laborers to the Dominican Republic.

“In the name of all the laborers who were sold as slaves for the exploitation of their sweat” in sugar cane production “in the Dominican cane plantation villages (colonized with laborers), the GARR demands justice and redress,” the organization said in a statement sent to the local press.

“The first scandal after the fall of Jean Claude Duvalier in 1986 was the claim by the Dominican Republic of two million dollars paid to Haitian officials for the contracting of laborers, just days before the end of the regime,” GARR said.

GARR also cites the thousands of boatpeople who left Haiti in rickety crafts and “were killed at sea in the coasts of Florida and the Bahamas to escape the dictatorship’s violence."

According to the GARR, Duvalier should also be held accountable for “all those who were exiled and couldn’t provide their youth or knowledge to benefit their country’s development."

The humanitarian group notes that “the systematic violations of civil and political rights of the Haitian people during many years prevented the citizens from remaining in Haiti and forced them to join the diaspora in several parts of the planet."

Duvalier arrived unannounced in Haiti on Sunday, after a 25 year exile in France, and has been accused of diverting funds capitals, judicial sources say, and for corruption and conspiracy, according a human rights defense source, while his lawyers deny such charges against the former dictator.



Haitian President Preval says ex-dictator 'Baby Doc' Duvalier must face justice

ANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic — Haitian President Rene Preval said Saturday that ex-dictator Jean-Claude "Baby Doc" Duvalier had every right to return home from exile, but must now face an investigation of alleged abuses during his reign.

Preval's first public comment on Duvalier since the former strongman's astonishing arrival in Haiti a week ago came at a news conference during a surprise trip of his own to the neighbouring Dominican Republic.

Accompanied by Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive, Preval said they met with Dominican President Leonel Fernandez for four hours to discuss Haiti's political crisis and a cholera epidemic. He spoke briefly and fielded only three questions.

"Duvalier had the right to return to the country, but under the constitution, he also must face justice," Preval told reporters. "If Duvalier is not in prison now, it is because he has not yet been tried."

Preval added that by law, Haitians cannot be barred from their homeland — and that applies to both Duvalier and former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, who has been in exile in South Africa since his ouster in 2004 but recently spoke of wanting to come back.

"They do not depend on my decision," Preval said. "It is the nation's constitution that prohibits (forced) exile."

Preval declined to say whether he knew ahead of time about Duvalier's sudden appearance in the country Jan. 16, after 25 years in exile.

Duvalier says he came to help his shattered nation rebuild from last year's massive earthquake, which killed an estimated 316,000 people.

However the former leader, who ruled Haiti from 1971 to 1986 through terror and the regime he inherited from his father, has found himself under investigation for corruption, embezzlement, torture, arbitrary imprisonment, crimes against humanity and other alleged abuses during his reign.

On Friday, the 59-year-old, who is in frail health, said he was prepared to face "persecution."

In the Dominican capital Saturday, Preval did not comment on his country's disputed Nov. 28 presidential election, which was marred by widespread fraud, or on growing international pressure for Haiti to accept an Organization of American States recommendation that his favoured candidate be left out of a runoff.

According to preliminary results, Preval-backed candidate Jude Celestin finished in second place and would square off against top vote-getter Mirlande Manigat in a second round.

However OAS election observers found problems with the count. Their calculations indicated that Michel Martelly, a singer known as "Sweet Mickey," beat Celestin and should be in the runoff.

The U.S. and other foreign forces have been pushing the government to accept that ruling.

Haiti's electoral commission has said it will consider the OAS recommendation.

The runoff was originally scheduled for Jan. 16 but postponed amid the wrangling. Some critics have argued that the entire election was flawed and should be thrown out and done over.

Source: The Canadian Press

Slavery conditions and child labor is still a problem in the sugar cane fields - Pls read:


Stop Sugar Purchases from the Dominican Republic

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