Pere Gerard Jean-Juste (2)

Re: Pere Gerard Jean-Juste

To: Monsieur Gerard Latortue, Primier Ministre

From: Morris A. Chochla

Date: 2005-08-10

LRWC remains concerned for the safety of Pere Gerard Jean-Juste, Pastor of St. Claire’s Catholic Church in Port-au-Prince.

I am writing, as a member of LRWC, in response to information received that Pere Gerard Jean-Juste has been identified as a political prisoner by Amnesty International and other human rights groups. We understand that Pere Gerard Jean-Juste is being held in the Haitian National Penitentiary.

Haiti has acknowledged the United Nations International covenant on civil and political rights. Article 9 of that document states that “everyone has the right to liberty and security of person. No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest or detention. No one shall be deprived in his liberty except on such grounds and in accordance with such procedures as are established by law”. “Any one who is arrested shall be informed, at the time of arrest of the reasons for his arrest and shall be promptly informed of any charges against him.” We are concerned that Pete Gerard Jean-Juste has been arbitrarily arrested and/or detained and wrongfully deprived of his liberty.

Article 19 states that “everyone shall have the right to hold opinions without interference” and “everyone shall have the right to freedom of expressions; this right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art or to any other media of his choice”. We are concerned that these rights are being denied Pere Gerard Jean-Juste.

Haiti has a responsibility to adopt such measures as necessary to guarantee the life and physical safety of Pere Gerard Jean-Juste. This duty arises from Haiti’s membership in both in the United Nations and the Organization of American States. This same responsibility also arises from many UN conventions and covenants including the above noted International Covenant on Civil and Political rights.

Failure to protect and investigate violations of the rights of Pere Gerard Jean-Juste constitutes an egregious breach of Haiti’s duties under binding international laws and principles including the International Covenant on Civil and Political rights to which Haiti is a signatory.

LRWC respectfully urges your Government to act in accordance with the provisions of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the international and regional pacts and covenants ratified by Haiti; and ensure the implementation of the Declaration of Human Rights Defenders adopted by the UN General Assembly on December 8, 1998, and in particular article 1 which provides that “every person has the right, individually or collectively, to prompt the protection and fulfilment of human rights and fundamental liberties at the national and international levels”.

Arbitrary arrest and detention without charge are not legitimate acts of the state.

LRWC calls for the immediate and thorough investigation into the actions taken against Pere Gerard Jean-Juste and for the results obtained to be made public and for those responsible to be brought to justice. LRWC also calls upon the government of Haiti to take swift and effective action to ensure the security of all human rights defenders so that they can continue to carry out their legitimate and important work defending human rights.

Please advise LRWC by mail, email or fax of the actions that the Government of Haiti is taking to:

1. Ensure the present and future safety of Pere Gerard Jean-Juste;

2. Secure the immediate release of Pere Gerard Jean-Juste.

LRWC awaits your response. Thank you for your attention to our concerns.