I object to the recent increase in acts of intimidation against lawyers representing those critical of the government in Haiti, as highlighted by the recent Amnesty International Action Alert.
I am particularly concerned about the news emerging of a ‘hit-list’ of government opponents targeted for arbitrary and illegal arrest. On this list are the names of lawyers who have filed claims against the family of President Michel Martelly, the lawyers Newton St. Juste and André Michel. Another name on this list belongs to the well-known human rights lawyer Mario Joseph, best known for leading the calls to prosecute former dictator Jean-Claude Duvalier (Baby Doc) for crimes against humanity and for heading the campaign for justice for the victims of the UN-induced cholera epidemic ravaging Haiti.
I condemn such harassment of honourable members of the legal profession carrying out their duties as attacks against the foundations of democracy and human rights in Haiti.
By signing this petition, I call upon:
1) the Haitian government to respect the independence of lawyers, to immediately cease harassment against them, and to ensure that any intimidation of lawyers by private actors is duly investigated and prosecuted;
2) the U.S. government, which is the Martelly Administration’s largest financial and diplomatic supporter and which played an active role in securing the election of President Martelly in 2011, to ensure that the Haitian government does not persecute government critics or the lawyers who represent them; and
3) the United Nations, particularly the U.N. Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH), which provides substantial financial, diplomatic, and security support to the Martelly Administration, to provide protection to threatened dissidents and to help build the capacity of the Haitian government to respect the rights of all people in Haiti, including government critics and their lawyers.