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Haiti: Vanessa Redgrave Joins Appeal For Kidnapped Human Rights Activist

Haiti Action | 26.01.2008 19:08 | Globalisation | Repression | Social Struggles | London | World

Acclaimed actress Vanessa Redgrave joins a growing list of prominent people worldwide who have expressed concerned with the safe return of Lovinsky Pierre-Antoine, the missing human rights activist kidnapped in Haiti on 12 August 2007 after meeting with a visiting US human rights delegation.

Others include: actors Danny Glover, Martin Sheen and Andrew Lincoln ('This Life'), playwright John Arden, poets Benjamin Zephaniah and Linton Kwesi Johnson, writer George Lamming, Claudette Werleigh (secretary of Pax Christi International and former Prime Minister of Haiti), Tony Benn, Bruce Kent (Pax Christi International), Canon Nicholas Sagovsky, journalist Andrew Gilligan, Madaraka Nyerere (son of Julius Nyerere, Tanzania's former President),

Michelle Pierre-Antoine, Mr Pierre-Antoine's wife, his sons, family members and colleagues, and concerned people and organisations around the world, are increasing pressure for his immediate safe return.

Amnesty International has issued an urgent report about the safety of Lovinksy as well as his close colleague, Wilson Mésilien. Mr Mésilien, who has been co-ordinating Fondasyon Trant Septanm (30 September Foundation) in Mr Pierre-Antoine's absence, has been forced underground after receiving death threats and narrowly escaping abduction. There is increasing concern that members of that organisation are being targeted.

The petition for Lovinsky Pierre-Antoine has gathered nearly 1,800 signatures that include many prominent people.

Prayers and services for Mr Pierre-Antoine continue to be held in UK churches. MP John McDonnell's Early Day Motion for his release is circulating in Parliament. Fasts and Vigils have taken place in Guyana outside the headquarters of CARICOM (the Caribbean Community Secretariat), and weekly outside the Brazilian embassies in Barcelona and London. Vigils in Los Angeles and San Francisco have also appealed to the Brazilian authorities as Brazil heads the UN forces in Haiti which are responsible for law and order.

Lovinsky Pierre-Antoine is important to people everywhere who care about Haiti and who acknowledge our enormous debt to the Haitian people. Their 1804 revolution overthrew the most powerful empire of the time, the first victory in the struggle to end slavery in the Americas. This strengthened everyone resisting exploitation and injustice. Haiti directly aided South American liberator Simon Bolivar. Yet this enormous contribution to human liberation is hardly credited.

Selma James, co-ordinator the Global Women's Strike, widow and close colleague of CLR James, will be speaking in London at a conference marking the 70th anniversary of The Black Jacobins, James's classic study of the Haitian Revolution. Ms James who has been taking part in the weekly Fast & Vigil commented: "We have an obligation to Lovinsky. We can't just stand by. We have to ask the Commissioner for Human Rights and Forced Disappearances of the United Nations to take action. What is Brazil, which heads the UN forces in Haiti, doing? What is the United States doing? It has enormous power. It was quick to go in and force President Aristide's government out. Let us ask them what they are doing now to find Lovinsky with the great resources that they have always had at their disposal. We must leave no stone unturned."

Haiti Action
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