OAS condemns violence in Haiti

The Organisation of American States (OAS) today strongly condemned the violence in Haiti and expressed its support for constitutional order in that country, while renewing its firm support for the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) initiative to promote a peaceful resolution of the Haitian political crisis.The OAS Permanent Council, in special session, adopted a resolution underscoring its “firm support for the government of the President of Haiti, Jean-Bertrand Aristide, in its efforts to restore public order by constitutional means.” The Council called on the government “to fulfill all commitments and adhere to the timeframes outlined in the CARICOM initiative, including commitments arising from relevant resolutions of the OAS.”

Member states also called on the democratic political opposition and civil society to “act responsibly, denounce the use of violence, fulfill their responsibilities and engage in the democratic process in accordance with the CARICOM proposal.” The resolution called on all parties involved in the current crisis to ensure the “full, safe, and unhindered access of humanitarian personnel and assistance to all civilians who need it.”

Urging the Haitian government to “respect the rights, especially the human rights, of all citizens and residents of Haiti,” the OAS resolution also called on all Haitians to respect the rule of law, and urged the government to take all appropriate measures to strengthen its support for the effective implementation of the mandate of the OAS Special Mission for the Strengthening of Democracy in Haiti.

In updating the Council on the latest developments in his country, where dozens of people have been killed in violent uprisings in recent days, Haitian Ambassador Raymond Valcin said the government had, among other steps, renewed its invitation for the opposition to engage in dialogue to prevent a total collapse of the country’s democracy. Valcin said his government had sought OAS support because the Organisation has been assisting his country since the beginning of its political crisis and because it is the leading hemispheric defender of democracy.