by Amnesty International
Thursday, October 31, 2019 ((rezonodwes.com)) – Haitian authorities must end the illegal use of force against protesters and guarantee the right to life of these people, Amnesty said International on October 31, 2019, after confirming several instances of police using excessive force for six weeks of anti-government demonstrations, in which 35 people died, including several at the hands of the national police.
“The images we examined highlighted human rights abuses by the Haitian authorities. Security forces under the command of President Jovenel Moses used excessive force. These facts must be promptly and thoroughly investigated, “said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas Program Director, Amnesty International,
” President Jovenel Moses must take urgent measures to to ensure that those demonstrating against his government can do so safely, without putting their lives in danger. Police must stop using live ammunition as part of protests, and specific measures must be implemented to ensure the safety of journalists working on the political and human rights situation in Haiti .
Researchers and Amnesty International's Digital Audit Service examined videos of several cases in which police used lethal weapons without discrimination and unlawfully, including tear gas at protesters. from a moving police vehicle, shooting lethal bullets at protesters at close range, and beating a protester.
Amnesty International also confirmed that police officers, equipped with semi-automatic weapons, fired live during demonstrations, thus flouting international human rights law and standards relating to the use of force.
Between 16 September and 17 October, the National Network for the Defense of Human Rights (RNDDH) , a Haitian NGO, recorded at least 35 deaths in the context of the demonstrations, including nine attributable to the police. During the same period, the NGO reported that 200 people had been injured, including at least eight journalists.
Problem 1: Use of Reduced Lethal Weapons
- Under international human rights law, human rights and related standards, weapons with reduced lethality, such as tear gas, water cannons or rubber bullets, should only be used in specific situations, after careful consideration, and only when their use is necessary and proportionate to the attainment of a legitimate policing objective, as these weapons can cause serious injury or even death.
Example 1: Police launch suspected tear gas at peaceful protesters since a police car in motion
On October 11, near the Delmas road, in Port-au-Prince, police launched a moving car alleged tear on peaceful protesters, causing them to disperse.
Example 2: Police open fire on two men at close range
October 4, during protests in Port-au-Prince Prince, Haiti, law enforcement officers armed with semi-automatic rifles fired rubber bullets at two men fleeing and climbing a barrier.
Example 3: A police officer knocks a protester fleeing the water cannon
On October 11, near the Kenscoff road in Port-au-Prince, a police officer hit a protester in the stomach while he was trying to flee the water cannon.  Problem 2: Use of live ammunition in demonstrations
- Under international law and related standards, live ammunition should be used only as a last resort, when absolutely necessary to protect themselves from an imminent threat of death or serious injury
- The weapons loaded with live ammunition are not suitable for use during public demonstrations or other gatherings. If the use of force is necessary to disperse violent gatherings, it must respect the principles of strict necessity and proportionality.
Example 1: The General Security Unit of the National Palace uses military weapons for demonstrations
On 16 October, in Place Dessalines, in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, members of the General Security Unit of the National Palace, a special unit of the Haitian National Police charged with ensure the safety of the President and the National Palace, have interrupted the burial of a person who was killed during the demonstrations. According to media reports, there were other similar burials that day in the country.
Armed with an Israeli-designed Galil ACE rifle, a weapon for combat operations and not for maintenance During the demonstrations, a policeman fired live ammunition close to the location of the protesters
Two people were injured during these events according to the RNDDH. Amnesty International could not confirm how these people were injured.
Example 2: Police fired live ammunition at protesters on the run
On October 11, at least one police fired live ammunition with a pistol at protesters who were fleeing to Petion-Ville, while he was not running any obvious or immediate risk, which would have been the only situation making the use of such a proportionate and legitimate force . Another video of the zone suggests that the demonstrations were peaceful.
Demonstrations were held throughout the year in Haiti, triggered mainly by accusations that senior officials the state, and especially President Jovenel Moïse, could be involved in the hijacking of up to $ 2 billion from a Venezuelan oil program for Haiti.
In February, 41 people died and Approximately 100 were injured in similar protests, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
In September, the Committee to Protect Journalists condemned the shooting of journalist Chery Dieu-Nalio, injured when a senator shot in the air near the Senate building.
On October 10, Nehemiah Joseph, journalist of Radio Mega, was shot in his car.