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A decade later, mystery still shrouds Lovinsky Pierre-Antoine’s kidnapping

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By Kim Ives, Haiti Liberté, August 16, 2017

Aug. 12, 2017 marked the 10th anniversary of the disappearance of Haitian human rights activist Lovinsky Pierre-Antoine, then 52, who had days earlier announced his candidacy for Senator under the banner of the Lavalas Family party of then-exiled former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide.

Lovinsky had just finished a busy day of meetings and travel to Haiti’s countryside with an international human rights delegation, whose members he had dropped off at their guest-house further up the Delmas Road from his home behind the studios of Haitian National Television (TNH) on Delmas 33. Alone, he drove away from them in a jeep that night of Aug. 12, 2007 and was never seen again.

Hearing of the disappearance, Haïti Liberté journalist Kim Ives called Lovinsky’s cell phone about 36 hours later, on the afternoon of Aug. 14.

“At that time, it was not known that Lovinsky was kidnapped, just that he had disappeared,” reported Haïti Liberté on Oct. 21, 2007. “The man who answered the cell phone told Ives that Lovinsky had indeed been kidnapped. ‘I am responsible for this affair [the kidnapping],” the man told Ives. ‘Why have you kidnapped him?” Ives asked. ‘For money,” the kidnapper responded.

O Canada: A call for equal opportunity outrage over weapons sales to human rights abusers

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By Hadani Ditmar, The New Arab, August 16, 2017

Canadian politicians have rightly raised concerns over arms sales to Saudi Arabia, in light of new evidence that combat machines made by Terradyne Armored Vehicles, based in Newmarket, Ontario, have been used to quell a Shia uprising in the Saudi Arabia's volatile Eastern province. 

Experts have identified the vehicles featuring armour cladding and weapons turrets as Terradyne Gurkha RPVs. "We shouldn’t be selling any more arms to Saudi Arabia," an outraged Irwin Cotler, who served as justice minister under former Liberal prime minister Paul Martin, told The Globe and Mail last week. "I don't think we should be [undertaking] arms sales with a country that is engaged in major human rights violations," he added.

Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland, in the Philippines for the ASEAN-Canada ministerial meeting, said she had instructed her officials to "urgently" investigate the matter and that she was "deeply concerned" over the reports of Canadian weapons being used against Saudi citizens.

Freeland also said she had raised the matter with EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini while in Manila.

And well-meaning activists here have been holding up the Swedish example - they tore up lucrative arms contracts with Saudi Arabia a few years ago ostensibly over human rights concerns, and are considering an outright ban by 2018 - as something to which Canada should aspire.

But if you look beneath the surface of this apparent outrage at Canadian arms sales to Saudi Arabia, there are so many elephants in the room that this international weapons circus is too crowded for one big top.

First of all, as per usual, no one has mentioned any of the other perpetrators of human rights abuses we enthusiastically sell arms to, including Israel.

Amnesty International: Weaponizing hypocrisy for the U.S., NATO

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By: Tortilla Con Sal, teleSUR, August 13, 2017

Over the last year, in Latin America, Amnesty International has taken their collusion in support of NATO government foreign policy down to new depths of falsehood and bad faith, attacking Venezuela and, most recently, Nicaragua. The multi-million dollar Western NGO claims, “We are independent of any government, political ideology, economic interest or religion.” 

That claim is extremely dishonest. Many of Amnesty International’s board and most of the senior staff in its secretariat, which produces the organization’s reports, are individuals with a deeply ideologically committed background in corporate dominated NGOs like PurposeOpen Society InstituteHuman Rights Watch, and many others.

Mexico has over 36,000 people disappeared and abuses by the security forces are constant. Colombia has over four million internally displaced people with over 53 community activists murdered just in 2017. Amnesty International generally puts that horrific reality in context by including criticism of forces challenging those countries' authorities. By contrast, its reporting on Venezuela and Nicaragua, like those of other similar Western NGOs, reproduces the false claims of those countries’ minority political opposition forces, all supported one way or another by NATO country governments.

Haiti to ban public support for LGBTIQ rights, criminalise same-sex marriage

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By Frederico Fuentes, Green Left, August 12, 2017

Haiti’s Senate has passed a bill that makes same sex marriage a crime and bans public displays of support for LGBTI rights. The bill — which would affect Haitian nationals and foreigners — will now go to the Chamber of Deputies, although a date for a vote has not been set.

Haitian law already defines marriage as being between a man and woman. But this bill seeks to expressly criminalise same sex marriage, with “parties, co-parties, and accomplices” to a same-sex marriage  — meaning even those who simply attend — facing potential jail terms of up to three years and an $8000 fine.

The bill also prohibits any “public demonstration of support for homosexuality and proselytising in favour of such acts.”

Do UN peacekeepers do more harm than good?

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By Azad Essa, Al Jazeera, August 9, 2017

UN peacekeepers are sent to some of the most war-ravaged countries on Earth, ostensibly to help them transition to peace. But some stand accused of committing crimes against the very people they are supposed to protect. 

According to a recent investigation by the Associated Press (AP), between 2004 and 2016, the United Nations received almost 2,000 allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse against its peacekeepers. 

The UN says it has a zero tolerance policy on sexual exploitation and abuse, but survivors, activists, lawyers and human rights organisations say such crimes have been allowed to continue with impunity. 

Through conversations with UN peacekeepers and officials, gender experts, academics, researchers and activists, as well as through an investigation of UN data, in this four-part series, we try to navigate these competing accounts to answer the question: How did some peacekeepers become predators? 

Montrealers rally to welcome refugees

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By Travis Ross, CHAN Co-editor, August 7, 2017

On August 6, approximately 300 people attended a rally outside the Olympic Stadium to welcome refugees to Montreal.

The rally, named the “Rassemblement de bienvenue aux réfugiés haïtiens” (Rally to welcome Haitian refugees)  was organized as a counter-rally to a planned event by Quebec-based white supremacist groups La Meute, Storm Alliance, and Soldiers of Odin. This anti-immigrant rally was canceled less than 24 hours before it was scheduled to begin. As of 4pm August 5, the event had only attracted 29 attendees on Facebook.

The rally was organized by two organizations, Comité d'action des personnes sans statut et Cité sans frontières / Solidarity City / Ciudad Solidaria (Montréal). Translated: The Action Committee of Non-status People & Solidarity Across Borders.

Several people spoke at the event including: Maguy Métellus, a Montreal-based radio host; Jean Saint-Vil, an Ottawa-based Haiti Solidarity activist and Radio host; Serge Bouchereau, a Montreal based community organizer; Jaggi Singh, an activist and organizer for No One is Illegal Montreal, and Claire Fatima Oriol, a Haitian refugee facing deportation.

Haitian Senate passes bill that will make it a crime to support gay rights

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By Nick Duffy, Pink News, August 3, 2017

The Haitian Senate has approved a law that makes it a crime to “publicly demonstrate support” for gay rights.

The law, greenlit by lawmakers in the Caribbean country this week, would make it a crime to take part in or be witness to a same-sex union.

People who take part in same-sex weddings can also face criminal charges, with a maximum of three years in prison for “the parties, co-parties and accomplices” to a same-sex marriage. However, it goes a lot further than simply outlawing banning gay weddings, by also attempting to stamp out all public support for equality.