Cap-Haitian, 2 May 2003
On Tuesday 29 April, Ronald Toussaint and Vilcius Lainés, the two arbitrarily beaten and arrested workers at the Brasserie of the North due to their complaint of a salary adjustment last week, were released by the Public prosecutor's office of Cape - Haitian. This liberation didn't follow any judgment, even the minutes of the arrest having remained virgin. Simply, the two workers having engaged a lawyer, the order of liberation was given out.
One should note that, arrived at the Jail of the Cap-Haitian, on top of the flogging they had endured at the Brasserie du Nord, they were subjected to an even more important one, from the same members of the anti-riot unit (UDMO). It is this same Unit that had attacked workers of the World Food Program in October 2001, arresting them illegally in addition. Numerous plaints have been recorded about its abusive brutality, in particular repressing the people in their legitimate claims.
Also note that on Monday 28th, a high delegation of the Brasserie Nationale come from Port-au-Prince with lawyer and presented itself at the Cape-Haitian Tribunal; a series of of audiences took place between it and the Court behind closed doors. At their conclusion, the prisoners were sent back to jail until the following day, Tuesday. The Brasserie du North is part of the powerful conglomerate of the Brasserie Nationale of Haiti, whose owner, Michael Madsen, of Danish origin, counts among the wealthiest families of this country, also owning Madsen Import-Export and other companies. The Brasserie Nationale produces the local beer «Prestige». The family, arrived in Haiti at the end of the 19th century, represents the Consulate of Denmark since many years in Haiti.
On May Day, the Plateforme of Haitians Organizations of Human Rights Defense denounced the repression of Tuesday 22 April in these terms:
«May First marks the international day of workers. Is it the opportunity for us, of the PODH, to take position on rights and conditions of worker life through the country… could it be that, as soon as in the factory, these human beings stop being citizens? Could these factories therefore constitute 'Zones of no - right '? The repression there is pitiless. Let's take in example the events of April 22nd at the ‘Brasserie du Nord ' in Cape - Haitian, where the bosses called on the UDMO to repress workers in their movement of protest in view of a salary adjustment of the 35 gourds per day… As we denounce these workers rights violations by the bosses and the state, we seize the opportunity to reaffirm with force the workers' rights as stipulated in Article 35 of the Constitution».
The May First Batay Ouvriye Union Federation joins its voice to those of the two released workers, of the other workers silenced by fear of the company's reprisals, to that of the PODH and the Haiti Support Group, to demand maximal sanctions against the criminals-authors of these abuses and repair for the workers so unjustly treated as well as their families.
Read here the first note released concerning this abuse.
Read here the Plateform's position.