Distributed by the Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti http://www.ijdh.org/ on January 26, 2007
Half-Hour for Haiti: Keep Fighting For Lovinsky’s Return!
Human rights activist Lovinsky Pierre-Antoine, abducted on August 12, is still missing. For many of us, the holiday celebrations with family and friends were tempered by Lovinsky’s absence, from his family and from our midst (see the January 13 message from Lovinsky’s wife Michele). But the fight for Lovinsky’s safe return continues. Haiti’s Embassy in Washington reported receiving over 500 letters in response to Amnesty International's Action Alert for Lovinsky and his colleague, Wilson Mesilien. The Petition to Save Lovinsky now has 1803 signatories. This week Vanessa Redgrave signed onto the Free Lovinsky! movement, joining a host of celebrities including Danny Glover, Martin Sheen and Selma James.
This week’s action: Yesterday, United for Peace and Justice, a coalition of over 1,300 groups that came together to oppose the Iraq War, issued an alert for Lovinsky that was drafted by the Haiti Action Committee. The letters generated by UFPJ, on top of the letters for Amnesty International and all the other alerts, could make a turning point in this case. If you have not yet urged the Haitian government to investigate Lovinsky’s disappearance, now is the time:
Demand the safe return of Haitian human rights activist Lovinsky Pierre-Antoine.
Lovinsky was kidnapped on August 12th, 2007 after meeting with a U.S. human rights delegation. He is a member of Fanmi Lavalas and a founding member of September 30th Foundation. He is a psychologist who works with victims of torture, and a fierce activist who stands with his people in the streets.
Shamefully, the United Nations helped legitimize the Bush Administration-backed coup that forced out the democratically elected government of Jean-Bertrand Aristide in 2004. That coup reversed Haiti's ten years of grassroots democracy, and in its aftermath, as documented by reports from the University of Miami, Harvard Law School, and other organizations, UN "peacekeepers" backed up Haitian police as they cracked down on activists with the pro-Aristide Lavalas movement. Lovinsky was among those who worked ceaselessly against all that the 2004 coup brought: killing, torture and exile of thousands; the destruction of schools, health services, markets - the infrastructure which served Haiti's poor; sex trafficking and rape of Haitian women and girls by UN troops and Haitian rightists.
Lovinsky's kidnapping serves to warn Haitian's poor majority that powerful forces can and will do whatever it takes to crush resistance.
Haiti Action Committee joins with organizations and individuals across the globe that are working to keep the pressure on those who hold the power in Haiti - the U.S. and the UN occupying forces - to demand the safe return of Lovinsky Pierre-Antoine.
A petition for Lovinsky has been signed by over 1600 organizations and public figures, including actor/activist Danny Glover, Selma James, actor Martin Sheen, Andaiye, writer George Lamming, playwright John Arden, former Labour Minister Tony Benn, John McDonnell MP, journalist Rickey Singh, Madaraka Nyerere (son of the late Tanzanian president Julius Nyerere), the Walter Rodney Commemorative Committee and many more. To sign the on-line petition, click here http://www.petitiononline.com/august/petition.html
Haiti Action Committee members are fasting on Wednesdays as part of an ongoing rolling fast to highlight the Haiti-based campaign for Lovinsky's safe return. Solidarity activities have been taking place in Los Angeles, London, Boston, San Francisco and Benton Harbor, MI, as well as in the Caribbean.
Support for Haitian democracy in the U.S. Congress has been led by notable progressive Democrats including Representatives Maxine Waters, Barbara Lee, and Jan Schakowsky. Much work needs to be done to pressure other Congresspeople to support Haiti's poor majority, rather than Bush-backed elites.
Join the campaign, and open a discussion with your friends and co-workers about Haiti (learn more at www.haitisolidarity.net and www.haitiaction.net) and about taking action to save Lovinsky's life.
Haitian president René Preval's 2006 election was a victory for the country's poor, but pro-democracy activists maintain that government ministries remain dominated by coup forces, which also control the Haitian police. The Haitian government is also receiving enormous pressure from the Bush Administration to privatize state companies and to pursue even more draconian "free trade" (pro-rich, anti-poor) policies.
Preval needs to hear from supporters of Haiti's pro-democracy movement about the importance of the safe return of Lovinsky, the release of remaining political prisoners, the return of Jean-Bertrand Aristide and ending the occupation.
Please send a letter to Haiti's President René Préval, urging him to ensure that his government does everything it can to investigate Lovinsky's disappearance and ensure his safe return to his family and his community. A sample letter is below, please customize and personalize it if you can.
You may send your letter directly to President Préval by regular mail (.69 postage in U.S., $1.55 in Canada), or by fax: (206) 350-7986 (a U.S. number) or email: firstname.lastname@example.org, and they will be delivered.Thanks for your support and your solidarity in helping us save our brother Lovinsky Pierre-Antoine.
Haiti Action Committee
January __, 2008
His Excellency René Préval
President of the Republic of Haiti
Re: Lovinsky Pierre-Antoine's Disappearance
I am writing because I am extremely concerned about Lovinsky Pierre-Antoine, the human rights activist kidnapped last summer. I sincerely request that you do everything in your power to ensure that your government takes every possible step to ensure Mr. Pierre-Antoine's safe return to his family. Mr. Pierre-Antoine is important to people all over the world that care about Haiti. His safe return is essential to show that Haitians can participate effectively and lawfully in Haiti's democratic process, without fear. I am also concerned about reports from Haitian grassroots human rights activists that the Haitian police are not zealously investigating this case. Please demand that everyone working for your government- from the Ministry of Justice to police leadership to investigators- immediately take every possible lawful step to investigate Mr. Pierre-Antoine's disappearance, pursue the perpetrators and return Mr. Pierre-Antoine safely.