For Immediate Release
Jean-Claude Duvalier Rights Violations Must Be Investigated, Assert Amnesty International
WASHINGTON - Amnesty International has urged the Haitian
authorities to investigate alleged human rights violations committed by
former president Jean-Claude Duvalier, also known as 'Baby Doc,’ following
his detention today in Port-Au-Prince.
Jean-Claude Duvalier, who has been accused of presiding over numerous human
rights violations during his rule from 1971 to 1986, was detained after
being questioned by police. It is not yet clear which charges he will face.
“This landmark arrest is a welcome first step toward bringing to justice
a leader whose security apparatus carried out widespread and systematic
human rights violations including torture, arbitrary detentions and enforced
disappearances," said Javier Zuñiga, Special Advisor at Amnesty International.
"Haiti must investigate Jean-Claude Duvalier, and anyone else
allegedly responsible for such crimes, some of which amount to crimes against
humanity, in a trial that is thorough, independent and fair."
Jean-Claude Duvalier returned to Haiti on January 16 after nearly 25 years
in exile in France. He fled Haiti in 1986 after a popular uprising that
was violently repressed by the former Haitian Armed Forces and a local
militia known as the “tonton macoutes.” Throughout his 15 years
in power (1971-1986), systematic torture, extrajudicial executions and
enforced disappearances were widespread across Haiti and affected hundreds
of people, including pro-democracy and human rights activists.
"A cycle of impunity has prevailed for decades in Haiti, with victims
of abuses and their families denied justice for way too long - now the
opportunity has come for justice, truth and reparations," said Javier
Amnesty International is a Nobel Peace Prize-winning
grassroots activist organization with more than 2.8 million supporters,
activists and volunteers who campaign for universal human rights from more
than 150 countries. The organization investigates and exposes abuses, educates
and mobilizes the public, and works to protect people wherever justice,
freedom, truth and dignity are denied.
Javier Zuñiga, Special Advisor at Amnesty International, currently in London,
and Gerardo Ducos, Haiti researcher at Amnesty International, currently
in Port-au-Prince, are available for comment.
We are people from across the world standing up for humanity and human rights. Our purpose is to protect people wherever justice, freedom, truth and dignity are denied. We investigate and expose abuses, educate and mobilize the public, and help transform societies to create a safer, more just world.