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Indignation at the renewal of the MINUSTAH in Haiti – Groups Call on Latin American and South governments to withdraw their troops

Argentine Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Adolfo Perez Esquivel expressed indignation at the vote today to renew the mandate of the UN Mission for Stabilization in Haiti (MINUSTAH) for another year, a decision he indicates that fails to take into account the urgency of a profound transformation of international policies towards Haiti.

« This is a vote to continue the military and economic occupation of Haiti, » stated Pérez Esquivel. « It is a decision that undermines the sovereignty and self determination of that country`s people, usurps resources they need for their welfare and fails to address the MINUSTAH’s serious record of murder, rape and other human rights abuses. » Pérez Esquivel further noted that « decisions like this deepen the Security Council’s loss of prestige and legitimacy, by continuing to affirm that Haiti, rather than foreign intervention, is the problem, and by not recognizing that the Haitian people have the ability and the right to build their own country and future. »

Notwithstanding the recent vote, Beverly Keene, a member of Dialogue 2000 Argentina and the international coordination of the Jubilee South network, ratified the call to governments throughout Latin America, and the South in general, to immediately withdraw their troops which constitute almost the entire Mission. « We support the demands of our partner organizations in Haiti, who reject the presence of this occupation force and demand that the UN, instead of bringing new problems such as rape, murder and the cholera epidemic that has so far claimed more than 6000 lives, proceed to apply exemplary sanctions and offer compensation to the victims. »

« We have a ‘debt of gratitude’ to Haiti,” emphasized Nora Cortinas, Mother of May Square- Founders’ Line, echoing the words of Eduardo Galeano during his recent visit to Buenos Aires. « Haitians were the first people in the world to throw off the double yoke of slavery and colonialism – and it is unfathomable that they continue to be trampled on as is now the case. We must support them in the struggle against impunity, to regain what has been stolen from them, to ensure that they are not further indebted and that reparations are made for the historical, social, and ecological debt that is due to them.  »

From Sao Paulo, the secretary of the Jubilee South Brazil Network, Rosilene Wansetto, reinforced the commitment to advancing the Haiti NO Minustah campaign, noting that there will be an important Continental Act for Troop Withdrawal in that city in brief, a hearing with the Brazilian Defense Minister, and in February 2012, the II International Solidarity and Fact-finding Mission to Haiti. « It is not enough to reduce troop levels to what they were before the earthquake – said Wansetto -. The troops are still an occupying force, they continue to train in Haiti to return to the slums and shantytowns of our countries to suppress and control the population, and this is unacceptable. We must redouble our efforts to achieve a true partnership with the people of Haiti, like the kind of solidarity that Cuba has carried out for years, or Venezuela, or what the MST is doing today. Policies of real cooperation are possible.  »

Perez Esquivel, fellow Nobel Peace Prize Laureates Mairead Corrigan Maguire and Betty Williams, the Mothers of May Square-Founder’s Line Mirta Baravalle and Nora Cortinas, writer Eduardo Galeano, the musician Victor Heredia, theologians Leonardo Boff, Frei Betto, and Ofelia Ortega, World Council of Churches’ president for Latin America, among other prominent peace and human rights activists, academics, community leaders, and hundreds of organizations from 45 countries and all regions of the world, including the Jubilee South global network and the Service for Peace and Justice in Latin America, recently addressed an Open letter to UN and OAS Secretary Generals, members of the Security Council and the MINUSTAH and the international community as a whole, calling for an end to the MINUSTAH and the adoption of a new paradigm of cooperation with Haiti. The letter was delivered as part of the GlobalWeek of Action on Debt and IFIs (8 to 16 October), in further recognition of the need to achieve total and unconditional cancellation of the debts still being claimed of that country and the reparation of historic, financial, ecological, and social debts due to the Haitian people.

For additional information:

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