Thursday, December 28, 2006

Complicity with pre-Christmas massacre in Haiti?

Montreal Groups call on government to denounce UN violence

MONTREAL, Tuesday, December 26 - At 3am on December 22nd, UN troops entered the Cité Soleil neighbourhood in Haiti's Port-au-Prince, and opened fire with heavy weapons. Reuters reported that at least 13 died, and 30 were wounded in the assault, all "believed to be civilians".

Today, Resistance Haitienne au Québec (RHQ) and Haiti Action Montreal (HAM) condemned the indiscriminate slaughter of civilians in one of Haiti's most impoverished neighbourhoods. RHQ and HAM call on the Canadian government to denounce the killing of civilians and ensure that those responsible for this massacre are brought to justice.

"If Stephen Harper wants to distinguish himself from the worst of the Liberal Government, he should work to bring those responsible for the massacre to justice," said Yves Engler of Haiti Action Montreal.

"Canada holds key roles in the UN mission in Haiti--ignoring the most recent Cité Soleil massacre will be another blow to the country's credibility," Engler added.

"This isn't the first time UN troops have killed indiscriminately in Cité Soleil," said Serge Bouchereau. "When UN troops killed 23 civilians on July 6, 2005, the Liberal Government was silent. Will Stephen Harper continue their quiet support for human rights abuses?"

Canada heads up the 1700-member UN police force in Haiti (CIVPOL), and has officers throughout the command structure of the UN military in Haiti. The UN mission in Haiti began after US, French and Canadian forces landed in Port-au-Prince and Marines removed elected President Jean Bertrand Aristide from the country.

"While Hillier was serving Christmas turkey in Afghanistan, UN forces were delivering a different kind of present to Haiti's poor," said Nik Barry-Shaw of Haiti Action Montreal.

"Is this the kind of foreign policy Canadians want?"

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