Haiti: Civil servants unjustly fired take to streets of Port-au-prince to call for their reintegration

Haitian Civil servants unjustly fired take to streets of Port-au-prince to call for their reintegration and for the liberation of all political prisoners. The elected government of Rene Preval begins commission of inquiry into the massive lay offs that took place under the Latortue government, which had warm relations with the IMF and World Bank.

Port-au-Prince, July 10, 2006 - (AHP) Employees who were unjustly dismissed from the public administration over the last two years organized a non-violent march in the streets of Port-au-Prince to urge the new authorities to reintegrate them and to liberate all political prisoners.

The march, organized by the Plateforme résistence populaire du Bel-Air (Bel- Air Popular Resistance) along with the "greater Lavalas movement" and the "coordination of progressive organizations", set out fromn the populist district of Saint-Martin and finished up at Constitution Square near the National Palace. Participants called on President René Préval to understand the necessity to urgently reverse the injustices and severe wrongs inflicted on hundreds of people and their families for political reasons. These citizens were fired solely because they were deemed partisan to the Aristide government following his forced departure on February 29, 2004, the demonstrators said.

Several of those dismissed from their positions with the national telephone service (Téléco), the national old-age insurance officer (ONA), the national port authority (APN), were subsequently arrested when they asked for damages. "We are not against the outreach policy of the president, but this policy cannot be accompanied by a strategy to close off all those who were sacrificed and who were used as cannon fodder to promote a new future," cried the demonstrators at the Constitution Square. Others called on the new government to "resist the opportunistic schemers who want to marginalize their voices as was done so skillfully under the Aristide government." A spokesperson for Fanmi Lavalas, René Monplaisir, gave his support for the rights of those employees unfairly laid off by the former Latortue regime who wish to assert their rights. They nevertheless applauded the new authorities for creating commissions to study the employees¹ files in an effort to come to a solution.

René Monplaisir announced an important meeting with various representatives of the popular sectors to help advance this struggle, he said. "We will continue to mobilize to ensure the rights of all citizens," said Lavalas activists. Activists at the July 10, 2006 demonstration also called for the release of hundreds of citizens, including former Prime Minister Yvon Neptune, who has been in detention for almost the entire two years of the interim regime led by Gerard Latortue because of their political views. AHP July 10, 2006, 12:30 PM

To read more on the layoffs and failed solidarity of foreign labor institutions to stand up for layed off Haitian civil servants read: http://labornotes.org/archives/2006/06/articles/f.shtml

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