samedi, avril 22, 2006

Actualité - Jean-Pierre Kingsley Must Resign Now!

Franc-Parler publie un communiqué du Ottawa-Haiti Solidarity Committee à propos du rôle du Canada et plus précisément d'Élections Canada dans l'ingérence et la fraude électorale en Haïti.

(Ottawa, 21 April, 2006) - In June 2005, Canada’s Chief Electoral Officer Jean-Pierre Kingsley was appointed to the chair of an international “monitoring mission” mandated to assess the fairness of an election process in Haiti. The elections that Kingsley’s mission has been monitoring conclude today with a second round of voting following a first round that was held on 7 February. Kingsley’s appalling silence in the face of grave human rights violations and political repression throughout Haiti’s election process demonstrate a profound partisan bias that is simply unacceptable. His performance is a disgrace, and he should resign immediately.


On 29 February, 2004, the Government of Canada provided military, financial, and diplomatic support for a coup d’état that overthrew Haiti’s elected government. The imposition of a Canadian-backed and unelected coup regime led to two years of horrifying human rights violations. Amnesty International, the National Lawyers Guild, and other human rights investigators have reported that uncounted thousands have been killed, hundreds of political leaders and activists have been jailed without charge, and police and UN military attacks have resulted in a grave climate of political persecution.

Over the past several months, those responsible for this outrageous attack on democracy (Canada, the U.S. and France) have been attempting to cover their tracks by engineering a rigged election process designed to put into power a president and a parliament that would suit their own economic and political interests. One key part of this plan involved the establishment of a monitoring mission for the election that was ostensibly responsible for assessing the election's fairness. Incredibly, 5 of the 8 countries invited to participate in this mission were themselves involved in the military occupation of Haiti that followed (and supported) the 2004 coup. The individual named to chair this mission was Jean-Pierre Kingsley.

Looking back over the events of the period leading up to the elections, it is now clear beyond doubt that Jean-Pierre Kingsley and his monitoring mission had no intention of fairly assessing the election process and the overall context in which it unfolded. Throughout the four reports published by Kingsley, the commentary is limited to a very narrow set of procedural issues, and utterly ignores a series of serious violations of democratic process. These violations include:

• Government-sponsored violence directed at political activists and leaders of the party acknowledged to be the most popular in the country - Fanmi Lavalas;

• Illegal and politically motivated detentions, without charge; this includes the detention of Father Gérard Jean-Juste, a likely candidate for the presidency (and still an Amnesty International 'prisoner of conscience');

• Serious reductions in the number and geographic distribution of both voter registration offices and polling stations; whereas in the year 2000 elections more than 12,000 polling stations were established, this year’s elections are featuring less than 900;

• Open campaigning by individuals known to be part of the illegal paramilitary group responsible for killings and other crimes in the lead-up to the coup d'état of 2004, including Guy Philippe and Louis-Jodel Chamblain.

Jean-Pierre Kingsley’s silence in the face of such repression is clearly unacceptable. But the failings of the Kingsley mission actually deepened when the first round of the elections took place on 7 February. Serious manipulations - unusually high numbers of blank ballots, improperly secret vote counts, and the discovery of large numbers of marked ballots burning at a city dumpsite – were reported in the press. The problems were so serious that 2 of the 9 members of Haiti’s Electoral Council openly accused their own Executive Director, Jacques Bernard, of “fraud” and “manipulation”. Yet, Jean-Pierre Kingsley’s April 6 report completely ignores these accusations and minimizes the importance of the burning ballots. It hails the election as a “laudable democratic exercise”.

In fact, a “laudable democratic exercise” did take place when the Haitian people chose to mobilize in defense of their democratic choice. Following days of demonstrations involving hundreds of thousands of people, the presidential candidate with the overwhelming majority of popular support, René Préval, was confirmed as the winner. This remarkable victory was won despite the repression, and despite the manipulations and pressures coming from the governments responsible for the coup.

Today, the second round of these profoundly flawed elections will take place, and a new set of parliamentarians will be finalized. We gather today at the office of Jean-Pierre Kingsley in order to demand his immediate resignation, and to appeal again to the Government of Canada to publicly call for the release of Haiti's hundreds of political prisoners.


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