Lovinsky Pierre-Antoine has Disappeared!
By Richard Sanders, editor, Press for Conversion!
Lovinsky Pierre-Antoine has disappeared! One of Haiti’s most outspoken human rights activists was last seen on August 12, 2007, and is presumed kidnapped.
For many years, Lovinsky was
“a grassroots leader, member of the Lavalas Party, and the head of Fondayson Tran Septanm [September 30 Foundation], a Haitian human rights organization that advocates for victims of the 1991 and 2004 coups against the democratically elected governments of Jean-Bertrand Aristide.”1
He helped create several groups in aid of Haiti’s poor. For instance:
“As a young psychologist... Lovinsky helped establish Fondasyon Kore Timoun Yo (Foundation for the Support of Children)..., Foyer pour Adolescentes Mères, a center for teenage mothers and Map Viv (“I Live”), [giving] psychological and medical aid to the victims of the first coup against Aristide in 1991.”2
Following the U.S./Canada/France-backed coup in 2004, Lovinsky went into exile but returned in early 2006. Since then, he has helped the
“campaign for the return of former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide to Haiti, an end to the UN occupation, economic and social justice, and the freeing of all political prisoners. His work helped bring 10,000 people into the streets of Port-au-Prince on July 15 , commemorating Aristide’s birthday. He has been outspoken in denouncing the continued presence of coup participants and supporters within the current government.”3
Just weeks before his disappearance, Lovinsky helped a protest to
“oppose Canada’s involvement in the February 29, 2004 coup d’etat of elected Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, as well as Canada’s continued interference in Haitian politics.”4
How many Canadians know that on July 20, 2007, just hours before Prime Minister Stephen Harper did his much-heralded photo op in Cité Soleil,
“Forty Haitian demonstrators were arrested by UN soldiers.... The protest had been organized by residents of Cité Soleil in response to the visit of the Canadian Prime Minister.”5
Speaking of this protest, Lovinsky said
“our comrades went out into the streets with placards, banners and megaphones.... At that moment... MINUSTAH [i.e., UN] soldiers began to make arrests for no reason.... What MINUSTAH is doing is not a mission of stabilization; it is not engaging in peacekeeping.... It is a mission that engages in operations of massacres, of assassinations, of destabilization...”6
Not surprisingly, the Canadian Embassy in Haiti, CIDA and the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), have all remained silent on Lovinsky’s disappearance. Roger Annis, a Vancouverite who worked with Lovinsky in Haiti this August, asked officials at Canada’s embassy in Haiti to issue “a clear statement...condemning the kidnapping.”7 They refused point blank. Annis contrasted their response with Canada’s persistent and outraged concerns prior to the Canadian-backed coup in 2004:
“Canada never ceased to complain about alleged human rights violations by [Aristide’s] government [which]...faced a total cut-off of aid and development funds from Canada, the U.S. and France in response to complaints from Haiti’s wealthy elite that it was systematically violating human rights. Canada funded a so-called human rights agency, the National Coalition of Human Rights (NCHR) that issued biased and sometimes fraudulent reports.”8
The website of NCHR-Haiti (now the National Network for the Defense of Human Rights) contains no references to Lovinsky’s decades of activism, let alone his recent abduction.9
Call for Lovinsky’s Return
Roger Annis is urging all concerned Canadians to call the Department of Foreign Affairs (toll-free at 1-800-267-8376) and to ask
“that all necessary resources that Canada can bring to the investigation...be made available, and that Canada go on record against any form of violence or intimidation against Haitians for expressing political views.”10
He also suggests11 that people should:
International Education Division of Foreign Affairs Canada
Contact the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH)
Fax the New York office of the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon:
1. "Where is Lovinsky Pierre-Antoine?" Haiti Action Committee Alert. <www.spartacuslives.org/node/12790>
4. Stuart Neatby, "UN Arrested 40 Ahead of Harperi?s Haiti Visit," The Dominion, August 3, 2007. <www.dominionpaper.ca/articles/1298>
7. Roger Annis, "Human rights for Haitians 'Not our concern,'
says Canadian embassy," CHAN email list, Sept. 3, 2007.
9. Google search of RNDDH website <www.rnddh.org> on September 4, 2007.
10. Annis, Op. cit.
11. "A call to lift the silence surrounding Lovinsky Pierre Antoine's disappearance," CHAN email list, Sept. 14, 2007. <lists.cupe.ca/mailman/listinfo/chan>
This article was published by the Coalition to Oppose the Arms Trade in Press for Conversion! (issue #61) September 2007.
HTML version: http://coat.ncf.ca/our_magazine/links/61/6-7.htm
PDF version, as it appears in the magazine: http://coat.ncf.ca/our_magazine/links/61/3-19.pdf
This issue of Press for Conversion! is entitled: "CIDA's Key Role in Haiti's 2004 Coup d'etat: Funding Regime Change, Dictatorship and Human Rights Atrocities, one Haitian 'NGO' at a Time." Here is the table of contents: <http://coat.ncf.ca/our_magazine/links/61/61-TOC.htm>
The previous issue of Press for Conversion! (#60) was called:
"A Very Canadian Coup d’état in Haiti: The Top 10 Ways that Canada’s Government helped the 2004 Coup and its Reign of Terror."
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