HAITI: Haitian Government Must Mount an Investigation into Abduction of Lovinsky Pierre-Antoine

Posted on August 12, 2008


US Marines Point Guns at Un-armed Haitian demonstrators in 2004

US Marines Point Guns at Un-armed Haitian demonstrators in 2004

Today marks the first anniversary of the disappearance of prominent Haitian human rights activist, Lovinsky Pierre-Antoine. Pierre-Antoine is believed to have been abducted in the hours following a meeting he attended with an US investigative delegation focused on human rights abuses in Haiti on the evening of August 12, 2007. He has not been seen since.

In spite of many pleas from human rights groups around the world, neither the Government of Haiti nor the UN peacekeeping force currently occupying Haiti has felt compelled to pursue an investigation. When I asked the Haitian ambassador to the US a few months ago about an investigation into Lovinsky’s disappearance, among other things, he suggested that Lovinsky might be on “vacation.”

Below is an open letter to President Preval that I wrote in October 27, 2007, about Lovinsky. Sadly, because nothing has changed since this letter was written, I reissue it today. A French version of the letter follows.

October 18, 2007

His Excellency René Préval
President of the Republic of Haiti
Palais National
Port-au-Prince, Haïti

Re: Lovinsky Pierre-Antoine’s Disappearance

Your Excellency:

I am writing to you to express my concern about the disappearance of human rights activist, Lovinsky Pierre-Antoine, who was kidnapped over two months ago

As you know, Mr. Pierre-Antoine is an ardent supporter of human rights and has provided great service to the people of Haiti for over 20 years. His human rights work is known in many parts of the world and his safety is important to many people.

I know that Lovinsky is important to you as well, Mr. President. I accompanied my friend and colleague, Lovinsky, to a speech you made to the Haitian community here in Washington, DC, shortly after your election to the presidency. As you gazed over the crowd your eyes met Lovinsky’s and you motioned for him to approach the stage. You embraced him in such a warm and fraternal manner, I felt reassured that Lovinsky’s imminent return to Haiti from exile in the US would be to an environment more tolerant to human rights activism than that of the de facto government of Gerard Latortue.

Lovinsky’s safe return is essential to show that Haitians can participate effectively and lawfully in Haiti’s democratic process, without fear. Yet, I am not encouraged by reports from Fondasyon 30 Septanm which suggest that police have taken a less than vigorous approach to investigating Lovinsky’s disappearance.

I ask you to use your considerable power to make it known, from Haiti’s Ministry of Justice to the police, that finding Lovinsky is a priority. I think we all know that without your personal and direct intervention, finding Lovinsky is going to be close to impossible.

Sincerely,

Shirley Pate

Washington, DC

Son Excellence René Préval
Le President de la Republique d’Haiti
Palais National
Port-au-Prince, Haïti

Re : Lovinsky Pierre-Antoine

Monsieur le President de la Republique,

C’est avec desespoir de cause que je vous ecris, faisant appel a la fois a votre coeur et a votre sens inne de la justice.

Je voudrais vous exprimer mon inquietude pour la disparition de l’activiste des droits de l’homme, Lovinsky Pierre-Antoine, qui a été enlevé il y a plus de deux mois. Comme vous le savez, M. Pierre-Antoine est un partisan ardent de droits de l’homme qui a rendu de grands services au peuple haitien pendant plus de 20 ans. Son travail sur les droits de l’homme est connu dans beaucoup de pays du monde et sa sécurité est importante pour beaucoup de personnes.

Je sais que le bien-etre de Lovinsky est importante pour vous aussi, M. le Président. J’ai accompagné mon ami et collègue, Lovinsky, à une rencontre que vous avez eue avec la communauté haïtienne ici à Washington, DC, peu après votre élection à la présidence. Quand vous avez regardé la foule vous avez reconnu Lovinsky et vous lui avez fait signe pour qu’il se joigne a vous. Vous l’avez embrassé tres chaleureusement et fraternellement. Je me suis sentie rassurée que le retour imminent de Lovinsky en Haïti de l’exil aux EU trouverait un environnement plus tolérant pour l’activisme des droits de l’homme que celui du gouvernement de Gerard Latortue.

Le retour sûr de Lovinsky etait essentiel pour demontrer que les Haïtiens peuvent participer efficacement, légalement et sans crainte dans le processus démocratique de leur pays.

Je ne suis cependant pas encouragé par des rapports de la Fondasyon 30 Septanm qui suggèrent que la police ait pris une approche moins que vigoureuse et meme nonchalante pour enqueter la disparition de Lovinsky.

Je vous prie d’utiliser votre considerable pouvoir pour exiger du Ministère de la Justice et de la la police haitienne de retrouver Lovinsky dans les plus brefs delais. Je pense que nous savons tous que sans votre intervention directe et personnelle, il serait presqu’impossible de le retrouver.

Je vous prie d’agreer, monsieur le President de la Republique, l’expression de mon plus profond respect.

Washington, DC

Le 18 octobre 2007

Shirley Pate