The U-17 Haitian soccer team arrived in Jamaica on February 3, 2011 to participate in the qualifying matches for the World Cup. They played their first match on Monday, February 14th. After two players fell ill and sought medical treatment, Jamaican officials decided to quarantine and eventually eject the entire Haitian delegation.
According to Jamaica's Ministry of Health, several members of the Haitian team displayed symptoms of malaria. The Ministry therefore recommended that the team not participate in the tournament and return to Haiti. However, only two cases of malaria within the Haitian delegation have been confirmed. Furthermore, malaria is not spread through person-to-person contact, but, rather, is transmitted by mosquito.
As recounted by Yves Jean-Bart, the Haitian delegation, the majority of which was comprised of the adolescent players, was ostracized and humiliated by Jamaican authorities. Several members of of the team were sequestered in a sub-par medical facility, with no access to food or water for several hours. Armed escorts were used to take the entire team back to the hotel. Security guards were placed in front of their hotel room doors to ensure that they did not leave until an airplane was available to fly them back to Haiti. They were thus forced to disqualify from the tournament and forfeit a spot in the upcoming World Cup.
Such behavior is not acceptable and a violation of the delegation's human rights, as well as a violation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. They were not accused of any crime or of being in the country illegally. Please join us in demanding that Jamaican authorities apologize to the Haitian delegation and the Republic of Haiti. We also ask that Jamaica not be allowed to host any further Concacaf or FIFA games until such apology is issued.
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