March 2, 1993
Hon. Warren M. Christopher
Secretary of State
United States Department of State
Washington, D.C. 20520
Dear Mr. Secretary,
One human tragedy seems to follow another in Haiti. Compounding the horror of the sinking of the Neptune, with a loss of life estimated at up to 900 persons, even those mourning the dead have now been assaulted by what are reported to have been armed supporters of the de facto government.
Of the hundreds who attended the February 25 funeral Mass for the victims at the capital's Cathedral of the Assumption, several were set upon and beaten, including the principal celebrant of the Mass, Bishop Willy Romelus of Jeremie, and others were reportedly arrested. This is hardly the worst of the numerous human rights violations reported from Haiti over the past year and a half, but it is one that clearly calls for some response by our government.
I ask you to consider this latest event in the context of the report presented last week by the United Nations investigator for human rights, Mr. Marco Tullio Celli, in which executions, torture, arbitrary arrests and attacks by Haiti's armed forces are described as daily occurrences.
No more than in Bosnia or Somalia, can such outlaw behavior be tolerated by the world community. And no nation has greater capability or greater moral responsibility than the United States to hasten Haiti's transition to democracy and the restoration of the rule of law.
I ask you to redouble the efforts already going forward under the aegis of the United Nations and the Organization of American States to secure these goals, so that the Haitian people may begin again to forge a democratic society.
Most Reverend John R. Roach
Archbishop of Minneapolis and St. Paul
Chairman, Committee on International Policy