Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Troops 'treat Haitians like animals'

UN troops in Haiti fired tear gas at a group of women waiting for food and generally treat the population 'like animals', it was reported this week.

Reports IPS: "On an empty road in Cite Militaire, an industrial zone across from the slums of Cite Soleil, a group of women are gathered around a single white sack of U.S. rice. The rice was handed out Monday morning at a food distribution by the Christian relief group World Vision.

"According to witnesses, during the distribution U.N. peacekeeping troops sprayed tear gas on the crowd. 'Haitians know that's the way they act with us. They treat us like animals,' said Lourette Elris, as she divided the rice amongst the women. 'They gave us the food, we were on our way home, then the troops threw tear gas at us. We finished receiving the food, we weren't disorderly'.

"Some 9,000 U.N. peacekeepers, known by the acronym MINUSTAH, have occupied Haiti since 2004, including 7,000 soldiers of which the majority are Brazilian. The mission has been dogged by accusations of human rights violations."