Despite Eyewitness and Media Accounts, MINUSTAH Denies Firing Tear Gas Into Camps, Forcing People to Flee
|Wednesday, 26 May 2010 14:29|
As heavy rains threaten to flood camps, UN troops fired volleys of tear gas at a demonstration that spilled out from a university and into the surrounding makeshift camps. Ansel Herz reports for Inter-Press Service that after UN troops entered the campus, students began to flee to the surrounding camps, where a "barrage of tear gas and rubber bullets" sent "masses of displaced Haitians running out of tent camps into the streets". Herz writes:
Edmond Mulet, the head of the peacekeeping mission - known by the acronym MINUSTAH - issued a statement blaming an unnamed student for "the provocation" of throwing stones at a patrol, but apologising for the troops' intrusion on university grounds to seize him.Partners in Health told IPS that they treated at least six patients with wounds from rubber bullets, including a young girl who needed ten stitches. One resident of the Chanmas camp where the altercation took place, and a member of the Haitian women's gorup KONFAVIV, told IPS:
"How can they shoot it in the middle of the camp, where we have children and families? They say they're here for security in the country, but how can the government work with them now when they do this?"Herz writes that, "U.N. troops have been dogged by persistent accusations of abuse since their mission was established in 2004 after the ouster of Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide."
On February 26, we wrote about some of the past abuses of the UN troops:
The most notorious incident was the July 6, 2005 assault on Cité Soleil by UN troops, with the stated goal of eliminating gang leader “Dred” Wilme, which resulted in dozens of civilian residents killed or wounded, including children and infants. Eyewitness claim that UN troops were directly responsible – not police or anyone else. Cité Soleil residents showed photographs of victims to New York Times reporters, and the Haiti Information Project gathered video footage and conducted interviews with witnesses just after the massacre.