EXTERNAL (for general distribution) AI Index: AMR 36/36/93
UA 429/93 Fear for Safety 9 December 1993
HAITI Antoine MOMPLAISIR NOEL
Pierre RODRIGUE JEAN
St Alert JULES
Pierre Wilner JEAN-BAPTISTE
Amnesty International is concerned for the safety of the ten above named Haitian
asylum seekers who were reportedly arrested by the armed forces on 7 December
According to reports, they were among 28 people forcibly returned to Haiti
by the United States Coast Guard, after attempting to flee the country by boat.
On disembarking at Port-au-Prince they were arrested and taken to the police
station, accused of organising the boat journey. The other 18 people were
returned to their homes, most of which are in Cap-Haitien and Gonaïves.
Since May 1992, when the US government began a policy of forcibly returning
all Haitian asylum-seekers, thousands of Haitians have been intercepted by
the US Coast Guard and returned to Haiti. The only option presently available
to Haitians seeking asylum in the USA is the in-country processing (ICP) system.
However they risk drawing attention to themselves by going to the US Embassy
and may wait months for an interview date. In the past Amnesty International
has received reports of arrested asylum-seekers being tortured or ill-treated
whilst held in detention in Haiti.
President Jean-Bertrand Aristide was due to return to power on 30 October 1993,
according to the 3 July 1993 agreement signed by him and Commander-in-Chief
of the Armed Forces, General Raoul Cédras. However, this did not happen and
no other date has been set for his return. General Cédras and Police Chief
Michel François are effectively ruling the country. Widespread threats and
attacks against President Aristide's supporters continue to afflict the
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