CUPE 3907 speaks out in support of Haitian Political Prisoner Ronald Dauphin

By admin, July 3, 2009 12:48 pm

On July 3, 2009, CUPE 3907 urged Minister Kent to immediately contact the Haitian Government to express Canada’s concern over the violations of Ronald Dauphin’s civil and healthcare rights, and recommend that Mr. Dauphin be immediately transported to a hospital for full treatment of his illness. Read the full letter below:
252 Bloor Street West, Room 8-104, Toronto ON, M5S 1V6
Phone: (416) 978-2403; email: cupe3907@oise.utoronto.ca

Sent by email (hard copy to follow)

July 3, 2009

Honourable Peter Kent
Minister of State of Foreign Affairs (Americas)
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada
125 Sussex Drive
Ottawa, ON, Canada
K1A 0G2

Dear Minister Kent:

Re: Haitian Political Prisoner Ronald Dauphin

CUPE Local 3907 would like to express its urgent and great concern about Mr. Ronald
Dauphin, a seriously ill political prisoner in Haiti who is being denied medical treatment.
Mr. Dauphin, a grassroots activist for the Fanmi Lavalas party, has spent some five
years in prison without trial.

A recent US-based human rights delegation from the state of California saw Mr.
Dauphin during a visit to the National Penitentiary on April 16. The delegation included a
nurse and an emergency medical technician, who examined Mr. Dauphin and
concluded that he suffered from multiple serious and perhaps life-threatening health
problems. Mr. Dauphin even lost consciousness during the examination.
Mr. Dauphin’s family and his attorney have tried to obtain medical treatment for Mr.
Dauphin, but the prison authorities have failed to provide authorization. His lawyer wrote
to the prison authority’s headquarters on April 23, and visited on April 24, 27 and 30,
asking for authorization for a private Haitian doctor to visit and treat Mr. Dauphin.
Mr. Dauphin was arrested by paramilitary forces, without a warrant, on March 1, 2004,
the day after President Aristide was forced into exile from Haiti. He was charged in 2005
with participating in a massacre, but on April 13, 2007, the Appeals Court ordered the
Trial Court to correct the “grave procedural errors,”  “violations of the right to defense,”
and “deplorable thoughtlessness” of the charging document. For the last two years, the
case has been stuck in legal limbo and has not advanced – it does not even have a Trial
Court judge assigned to it. Mr. Dauphin’s legal situation is explained in more detail in the
attached Background Paper prepared by human rights lawyers working in Haiti and the
US.
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Five years’ imprisonment without trial is a great injustice in itself, but the injustice may
be converted to a death sentence soon if Mr. Dauphin does not get to a hospital. This
risk is real — one of Mr. Dauphin’s co-defendants, Wantales Lormejuste, died of
untreated tuberculosis, in the ambulance from the prison to the hospital in 2007. A few
weeks later, the Haitian court issued an order for Mr. Lormejuste’s provisional release.
The organization trust that you are aware of the fact that Amnesty International and
many other human rights organizations have documented repeated cases of human
rights violations against leaders and activists associated with the same Fanmi Lavalas
party with which Mr. Dauphin is associated.  The continuing mistreatment of Mr.
Dauphin indicates that this pattern of human rights violations in Haiti continues.
CUPE Local 3907 respectfully request that you instruct the Canadian Embassy in Haiti
to immediately contact the Haitian Government to express Canada’s concern over the
violations of Ronald Dauphin’s civil and healthcare rights, and recommend that Mr.
Dauphin be immediately transported to a hospital for full treatment of his illness. I also
request that the Canadian Embassy urge the Haitian Government to take all appropriate
measures to ensure that Mr. Dauphin is granted pre-trial release from prison, and that
his case is either dismissed or promptly brought to trial.
CUPE Local 3907 is requesting that you share with it the actions that your office or
Canada’s Embassy in Haiti will be taking on this human rights case.
Sincerely,

Ajamu Nangwaya
Chair External

Cc:  Ambassador Gilles Rivard, Port-au-Prince
prnce@international.gc.ca

Paul Dewar, NDP Foreign Affairs critic
dewarp@parl.gc.ca

Bob Rae, Liberal Foreign Affairs critic
raeb@parl.gc.ca

Paul Crete, Bloc Foreign Affairs critic
cretep@parl.gc.ca

Niraj Joshi, Canada-Haiti Action Network
niraj_joshi@sympatico.ca

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