"Baby Doc" Duvalier Must Face Justice for Haiti Rights Violations

Update:  In response to the arrest of Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier in Haiti, Amnesty International’s Senior Advisor and Haiti expert, Javier Zuñiga, said:

“The arrest of Jean-Claude Duvalier is a positive step but it is not enough to charge him only with corruption. If true justice is to be done in Haiti, the Haitian authorities need to open a criminal investigation into Duvalier’s responsibility for the multitude of human rights abuses that were committed under his rule including torture, arbitrary detentions, rape, enforced disappearances and extrajudicial executions.”

Former Haitian president, Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier, returned suddenly to Haiti this past weekend after living in exile for nearly 25 years in France.  We are calling on Haiti to use this opportunity to bring Duvalier to justice for human rights abuses committed during his regime in the 1970s and 80s.

Jean-Claude Duvalier was president of Haiti for 15 years, between 1971 and 1986 © AP GraphicsBank

The widespread and systematic human rights violations committed in Haiti during Duvalier’s rule amount to crimes against humanity. Haiti is under the obligation to prosecute him and anyone else responsible for such crimes.

Duvalier returned to Haiti expectantly on January 16th. He fled Haiti in 1986 after a popular uprising which was violently repressed by the former Haitian Armed Forces and a local militia known as the “tonton macoutes”.

Throughout his 15 years in power (1971-1986) systematic torture and other ill-treatment were widespread across Haiti.

Hundreds of people “disappeared” or were executed. Members of Haiti’s armed forces and the militia National Security Volunteers – also known as the “tonton macoutes” — played a primary role in repressing pro-democracy and human rights activists. The “tonton macoutes” were disbanded in 1986 after Jean-Claude Duvalier went into exile.

Media reports today have indicated that Duvalier will be questioned by Haitian police.  We’ll be monitoring the situation as it unfolds.

The Haitian authorities must break the cycle of impunity that prevailed for decades in Haiti. Failing to bring to justice those responsible will only lead to further human rights abuses.

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8 thoughts on “"Baby Doc" Duvalier Must Face Justice for Haiti Rights Violations

  1. Appreciating my older Amnesty USA since a long period.No response from them!!!Awaiting for some favor. Majid,Hazaribag,BDR 1 No gate,
    Dhaka,Bangladesh.

  2. Appreciating my older Amnesty USA since a long period.No response from them!!!Awaiting for some favor. Majid,Hazaribag,BDR 1 No gate,
    Dhaka,Bangladesh.

  3. It is so funny to see many of you, who are probably not even real Haitian, so quick to remember the so call "bads or evil things' that Duvalier had done in the past, while you seem to forget everything good he has done for the country. I am not a fan, and I was just born during his regine; but as Haitian who love Haiti, I have seen, heard and know the goods he has done for the country. We had running water, electricity, food and Haitian did not use to get a small boat, dying while trying to get to either miami, or puerto-rice. There was a sence of pride in Being Haitian. I am just sick and tired of you people, pointing fingers. Tell me a place or country on earth where the government did not take place in murdering or killing or massacre people? United States? France? England? You need to find something else to do with your time or educate yourself..

  4. Dan, there is nothing funny with the Duvaliers murderin haitians, looting the country and then fleeing it YOU must educate yourself…. NEVER in those years there was a sense of pride among haitians. Pure lies

  5. It is so funny to see many of you, who are probably not even real Haitian, so quick to remember the so call “bads or evil things’ that Duvalier had done in the past, while you seem to forget everything good he has done for the country. I am not a fan, and I was just born during his regine; but as Haitian who love Haiti, I have seen, heard and know the goods he has done for the country. We had running water, electricity, food and Haitian did not use to get a small boat, dying while trying to get to either miami, or puerto-rice. There was a sence of pride in Being Haitian. I am just sick and tired of you people, pointing fingers. Tell me a place or country on earth where the government did not take place in murdering or killing or massacre people? United States? France? England? You need to find something else to do with your time or educate yourself..

  6. Dan, there is nothing funny with the Duvaliers murderin haitians, looting the country and then fleeing it YOU must educate yourself…. NEVER in those years there was a sense of pride among haitians. Pure lies

  7. Dan, you must inform and educate yourself. Your statement shows a lot of ignorance about the Duvalier era. Haiti's current condition is a direct result of the 30 year Duvalier reign. It is simple cause and affect. I am telling you this as a Haitian. A people without memory has no future. If you ignore history you are doomed to repeat it. Haiti cannot afford to repeat this era in history. I can assure you that every year under Duvalier Haiti became worse and worse. There was less and less water, electricity, and food every year which led to Haiti's condition now. More Haitians left Haiti during that period than at any other time (that is the most ignorant of all your statements). If fact, Duvalier made an unprecedented agreement with the US to allow them to circumvent interntional law when it came to Haitian refugees. Duvalier allowed the US to repatriate Haitians without evaluating their requests for for asylum. Please, please educate yourself. This is very important. Don't take the word of people who have been brainwashed and blinded. I beg of you!

  8. Dan, you must inform and educate yourself. Your statement shows a lot of ignorance about the Duvalier era. Haiti’s current condition is a direct result of the 30 year Duvalier reign. It is simple cause and affect. I am telling you this as a Haitian. A people without memory has no future. If you ignore history you are doomed to repeat it. Haiti cannot afford to repeat this era in history. I can assure you that every year under Duvalier Haiti became worse and worse. There was less and less water, electricity, and food every year which led to Haiti’s condition now. More Haitians left Haiti during that period than at any other time (that is the most ignorant of all your statements). If fact, Duvalier made an unprecedented agreement with the US to allow them to circumvent interntional law when it came to Haitian refugees. Duvalier allowed the US to repatriate Haitians without evaluating their requests for for asylum. Please, please educate yourself. This is very important. Don’t take the word of people who have been brainwashed and blinded. I beg of you!