WASHINGTON - March 3 - Green Party leaders joined Human Rights Watch and Oxfam in sharp criticism of the Bush Administration's decision to return Haitian refugees fleeing by boat from their country's turmoil.
Greens called on the White House and the U.S. State Department to honor the formal request from the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees that neighboring countries suspend all forced returns to Haiti and afford fleeing Haitians temporary protection.
"The United States has an obligation to ensure the safety of Haitians who face death and violence if forced to return to their country," said Diane White, Pennsylvania Green and member of the steering committee of the Green Party's Black Caucus. "The well-being of the Haitian people must be our chief concern. The chaos that has erupted during the rebellion, which is being led by thugs from the CIA-connected terror and death squads Tonton Macoute and Le Front pour l'avancement et le progrés d'Haiti (FRAPH), places thousands of Haitians in great danger. One of the thugs, Guy Phillippe, reportedly controls the Haitian military now, a sign that all of Aristide's supporters will face bloody reprisals."
Greens also note a vicious double standard in the Bush Administration's willingness to accept refugees from Cuba while blocking escapes from Haiti.
"Given the historical treatment of Haiti by the U.S., marked by generations of colonial exploitation, racism, and support for the dictatorial Duvalier dynasty, we owe a debt to the Haitian people," said Jonathan Oriole, New Jersey Green and member of the International Committee of the Green Party of the United States. "Instead of humanitarian aid, the Bush Administration wants to condemn the Haitian people to further misery and punishment."
Greens have also called for an investigation into allegations that the U.S. forces abducted President Aristide from Haiti and that the U.S. has aided the insurgents in their coup, in violation of the U.S. Constitution and international law.