Brazil’s Minister of the Special Secretariat for Human Rights, Nilmário Miranda, had a meeting with NGO Centro de Justiça Global, who wrote a report requesting changes in UN’s peacekeeping mission in Haiti.
After the meeting, the Minister said that the report doesn’t refer solely to the participation of the Brazilian government, but to that of all elements of the MINUSTAH.
The mission consists of three pillars: military troops from several countries (led by Brazil), international civilian police, and a human rights defense commission.
“It is not Brazil’s prerogative to answer the report issued by NGO Justiça Global and Harvard Law School’s Human Rights Program,” said the Minister.
In his opinion, MINUSTAH´s coordinator and representative of UN Secretary-General, Juan Gabriel Valdez, is the one to respond to the report’s comments and recommendations.
Brazilian troops arrived in Haiti June 2004. UN troops in that country are currently being commanded by Brazilian General Augusto Heleno Pereira.
Minister Miranda is considering sending a Brazilian group to monitor the situation in that country.
“Even understanding that there is little Brazil can do, we will discuss the report with Itamaraty’s Human Rights Division. I’ll send a Human Rights group to Haiti to make an evaluation,” he promised.
“What I am saying is that peacekeeping forces act correctly, with dignity and respect to human rights. But we will evaluate possible problems.”
The NGO’s 57-page document reveals alleged cases of human rights violation, and makes 12 recommendations for the MINUSTAH in that country.
“The report recognizes that most violations are made by the Haitian National Police (HNP). But we have found out that in some operations in which human rights were violated, Brazilian troops were also present, even though they did not violate any right,” says James Cavallaro, the NGO’s director.
“What worries us is that, within the mandate, there is the possibility of controlling and supervising the HNP, and this is precisely what we want Brazil to do.”
Some of the report recommendations are: the promotion of disarmament, production of human rights violation reports, use of peace troops to warrant hospital security (where allegedly some people have disappeared after being wounded by the HNP).
Other recommendations include immediate interruption of logistic support for the HNP during operations that clearly will result in human rights violations (such as arbitrary arrests), and carrying out of independent investigations, particularly in an area to the North of Port-au-Prince, known as Titanyen, where HNP supposedly buries its victims.
“Brazil has a great importance in this operation and has the possibility to change the mission’s course,” believes Cavallaro, who may have a meeting with representatives of the Ministry of Justice.
Translation: Andréa Alves