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Startseite Urgent Actions 2021 08 Justice for activists, protect relatives
UA 090/21
Haiti
Aktiv seit 5. August 2021 | Noch 7 Tage Laufzeit

Justice for activists, protect relatives

AI-Index: AMR 36/4550/2021

On 30 June, reporter Diego Charles and activist Antoinette Duclaire were shot dead by unknown armed persons outside Diego Charles’ home in Port au Prince. Both had been previously threatened and intimidated. A day after the killings, armed individuals fired gunshots outside the homes of the two victims to intimidate relatives and potential witnesses. Anonymous callers threatened relatives and told them, «the worst is yet to come». We demand that authorities hold an immediate, independent, and impartial investigation to find and prosecute those responsible for Diego and Antoinette’s killings and for acts of intimidation against them, their families, and witnesses.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Diego Charles was a reporter for Radio Vision 2000 and the website Larepiblik Magazine, which he co-founded with Antoinette Duclaire, a political and human rights activist, vocal government critic and member of the opposition movement Matris Liberasyon. Around the early hours of 30 June, they were shot dead by unknown armed persons outside Diego Charles’ house as he was being dropped off by Antoinette Duclaire. Due to their work, they had both received threats and were subjected to acts of intimidation.

Antoinette Duclaire, 33, was a vocal government critic who spoke out against corruption and human rights violations under the government of President Jovenel Moïse, himself assassinated a week after she was killed. Among the issues she was vocal about was the misuse of funds associated with Venezuela’s PetroCaribe oil alliance programme that was meant to give Haiti oil at discounted rates to, in turn, facilitate development projects. Duclaire, who was part of the protest movement that sprung up since 2018 in response to that corruption scandal, was shot dead behind the wheel of her car as she was dropping off journalist Diego Charles. According to a report by a judicial police officer, she was shot seven times, including in her head.

Diego Charles, who was also 33 at the time of his death, was shot twice. One of the last articles he had written and published on Larepiblik Magazine was about the 2020 killing of the president of the Port-au-Prince Bar Association, Monferrier Dorval – a topic widely described as sensitive. The article contended that «authorities have shown no willingness to move the [case] file forward» almost a year after the prominent lawyer’s killing.

In recent years, Ms Duclaire was the subject of threats and intimidation, which she and her family believe was due to her activism. These threats had intensified in recent months, causing Ms Duclaire to separate in December 2020 from family members she had been living with and two young boys she had been raising in her household. Acts of intimidation against her included throwing garbage and sacks of faeces into her house yard. The family said they had not formally reported these threats, but that Ms Duclaire publicly spoke about them in the media. In February 2021, Ms Duclaire’s house was shot at by unknown armed persons; no one was injured but the bullets went through doors and hit walls and belongings. An investigating judge filed a report about that shooting. Ms Duclaire was not fazed and defiantly used media interviews to urge people not to bow down to fear. «Every day you face death, you go out and you don’t know if you will go back home, they can assassinate you, kidnap you, etcetera. So, for me, living this reality and being scared to talk is inconsistent», she had said in a television interview.

Mr Charles, too, had received threats in recent months including calls from anonymous numbers, according to individuals close to him who linked these threats to his journalism. He had not gone public about these threats.

Antoinette Duclaire’s brother, Frede, said threats against the family have continued, including calls warning that «the worst is yet to come». Unknown armed persons showed up on motorcycles outside the houses of Ms Duclaire and Mr Charles the day after their killing and shot in the air in what neighbours and family members said was a clear act of intimidations against relatives and potential witnesses.

Take action

  • Write an appeal in your own words or use the model letter below.

  • Please take action before 29 September 2021.

  • Preferred language: French. You can also write in your own language.

Model letter

Dear Prime Minister,

I write to you to express my condemnation for the killing of Diego Charles, a reporter for Radio Vision 2000 and Antoinette Duclaire, an anti-corruption activist, spokesperson for the opposition movement Matris Liberasyon and co-founder of the news website Larepiblik Magazine in Port-Au-Prince around the early hours of 30 June outside Diego Charles’ home.

They had been harassed and threatened for their work exposing corruption and demanding accountability for human rights abuses. After the killings, their relatives reported several threats and acts of intimidation against them and potential witnesses.

Justice in your country cannot afford to replicate the same path of impunity seen in its recent past. For instance, the investigation into the killings of three journalists since 2018 are still subject to undue delays.

I therefore demand you order an immediate, effective, independent, and impartial investigation to find and prosecute those responsible for the killings of Diego Charles and Antoinette Duclaire, for the threats against them prior to their killing, and subsequent acts of intimidation against their families and potential witnesses.

You have an obligation to respect, protect and fulfil the right to life, including an obligation to ensure accountability for its violation by bringing alleged perpetrators to justice, through fair trials. You also have the important duty to guarantee that human rights defenders can carry out their work without fear of reprisals, as established in the 1998 UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders.

Yours sincerely,

Appeals to

Mr. Ariel Henry
Prime Minister of the Republic of Haiti
33, Boulevard Harry Truman
Port-au-Prince
Haiti

Email: communication@primature.ht

Salutation: Dear Prime Minister,

 

 

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Copies to

Ambassade de la République d'Haïti
Rue Théodule-Ribot 10
F-75017 Paris
France

Fax: 00331 / 42 27 02 05
E-mail: ambhaitiparis@orange.fr

 

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