Haiti: Vanessa Redgrave joins appeal for kidnapped human rights activist
GWS – London, UK — Acclaimed actress Vanessa Redgrave joins a growing list of prominent people worldwide who have expressed concerned with the safe return of Lovinsky Pierre-Antoine, the missing human rights activist kidnapped in Haiti on 12 August 2007 after meeting with a visiting US human rights delegation.
Others include: actors Danny Glover, Martin Sheen and Andrew Lincoln (‘This Life’), playwright John Arden, poets Benjamin Zephaniah and Linton Kwesi Johnson, writer George Lamming, Claudette Werleigh (secretary of Pax Christi International and former Prime Minister of Haiti), Tony Benn, Bruce Kent (Pax Christi International), Canon Nicholas Sagovsky, journalist Andrew Gilligan, Madaraka Nyerere (son of Julius Nyerere, Tanzania’s former President),
Michelle Pierre-Antoine, Mr Pierre-Antoine’s wife, his sons, family members and colleagues, and concerned people and organisations around the world, are increasing pressure for his immediate safe return.
Amnesty International has issued an urgent report about the safety of Lovinksy as well as his close colleague, Wilson Mésilien. Mr Mésilien, who has been co-ordinating Fondasyon Trant Septanm (30 September Foundation) in Mr Pierre-Antoine’s absence, has been forced underground after receiving death threats and narrowly escaping abduction. There is increasing concern that members of that organisation are being targeted.
The petition for Lovinsky Pierre-Antoine has gathered nearly 1,800 signatures that include many prominent people.
To sign visit: http://www.petitiononline.com/august/petition.html
Prayers and services for Mr Pierre-Antoine continue to be held in UK churches. MP John McDonnell’s Early Day Motion for his release is circulating in Parliament. Fasts and Vigils have taken place in Guyana outside the headquarters of CARICOM (the Caribbean Community Secretariat), and weekly outside the Brazilian embassies in Barcelona and London. Vigils in Los Angeles and San Francisco have also appealed to the Brazilian authorities as Brazil heads the UN forces in Haiti which are responsible for law and order.
Lovinsky Pierre-Antoine is important to people everywhere who care about Haiti and who acknowledge our enormous debt to the Haitian people. Their 1804 revolution overthrew the most powerful empire of the time, the first victory in the struggle to end slavery in the Americas. This strengthened everyone resisting exploitation and injustice. Haiti directly aided South American liberator Simon Bolivar. Yet this enormous contribution to human liberation is hardly credited.
Selma James, co-ordinator the Global Women’s Strike, widow and close colleague of CLR James, will be speaking in London at a conference marking the 70th anniversary of The Black Jacobins, James’s classic study of the Haitian Revolution. Ms James who has been taking part in the weekly Fast & Vigil commented: “We have an obligation to Lovinsky. We can’t just stand by. We have to ask the Commissioner for Human Rights and Forced Disappearances of the United Nations to take action. What is Brazil, which heads the UN forces in Haiti, doing? What is the United States doing? It has enormous power. It was quick to go in and force President Aristide’s government out. Let us ask them what they are doing now to find Lovinsky with the great resources that they have always had at their disposal. We must leave no stone unturned.”
The Vigil in London is every Wednesday at 5-6pm
in front of the Brazilian Embassy,
32 Green Street,
W1K 7AT (Nearest Tube: Marble Arch)
click this link for map Call 020 74822496 to confirm!
Lovinsky Pierre-Antoine is the founder of Fondasyon Trant Septanm, which advocates for victims of the 1991 and 2004 coups d’états against Jean-Bertrand Aristide; and co-founder of Fondasyon Kore Timoun Yo for street children in Port-au- Prince, and FAM, a centre for teenage mothers. The Fondasyon was named after the date of the military coup, 30 September 1991 during which President Jean-Bertrand Aristide was ousted. At least 3,000 persons were killed during the military regime between 1991 -1994. Ever since its creation in 1996, the Fondasyon members carry out weekly human rights vigils in central Port-au-Prince and several other Haitian towns to press for an end to impunity for past abuses and reparation for victims of the 1991-1994 military coup and for the victims of the transitional government of 2004-2006. The Vigil has now been devoted to Lovinsky’s safe return. The Fondasyon also campaigns for the total abolition of the Haitian army through reforming the Constitution by gathering signatures via a photo-exhibition of victims of past human rights abuses.
Further details from: Global Women’s Strike
Crossroads Women’s Centre, 230a Kentish Town Rd, London NW5 2AB http://www.globalwomenstrike.net/
Tel: 020 7482 2496
Global Women’s Strike
020 7482 2496