Diaspora

Haiti- Rights Group To Mark April 26 Massacre – New York Carib News – NYCaribNews

Tuesday, April 26, 2022

PORT AU PRINCE, Haiti – The Office for the Protection of the Citizen (OPC), Monday urged the Haitian authorities to do much more to commemorate the 59th anniversary of the massacre perpetrated at Fort Dimanche on April 26, 1986, when many people, including women, children and elderly citizens were shot and killed by forces loyal to the then Francois Duvalier regime.
In a statement, the OPC, an independent organization that promotes human rights in the French-speaking Caribbean Community (Caricom) country, said that much more must be done despite the presidential decree published on April 21, 2015, declaring April 26 as the “National Day of Remembrance in memory of the victims of Fort Dimanche”.
According to the decree, the national flag will be flown at half-mast on that day, and radio and television stations are called upon to deliver programs on the occasion while “the private and public sectors, the families, educational, social, commercial, religious and other institutions are encouraged to observe periods of recollection”.
But the OPC said that since the publication of the decree, the date of April 26 has never been commemorated in accordance with legal provisions, reminding the authorities that “this date represents a pivotal date in the history of our country which reminds us of the bloody and painful moments of the Duvalier regime.
“No society can be built on oblivion and impunity. Teaching rising generations to know the sad moments of our history is a patriotic duty,” the OPC said, recommending that the state and other stakeholders “take all necessary measures to ensure that the day of April 26 is respected and commemorated with dignity, with special attention for this year, dedicated to the centenary of the birth of the writer Jacques Stephen Alexis, one of the martyrs of the Duvalier regime”.
Haitians regard Fort Dimanche, as a brutal prison where inmates were subject to claustrophobic conditions, tortured, sexually assaulted, dehumanized, and was used during Duvalier’s regime for any Haitian, who dared to criticize his policies.
The prison also served as a place for political dissenters for over 30 years. In 1987 it was turned into a memorial. (CMC)
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