US deportations illegal
A US federal appeals court has declared President George Bush's policy of repatriating Haitian refugees illegal. The appeals court in New York said on July 29 that the government cannot return the Haitians without a hearing, adding that US law prohibited the US Coast Guard from sending back anyone whose life or freedom would be threatened on their return.
Tens of thousands of Haitians refugees have tried to escape repression in their country since last September's coup. Thousands of them have been sent back by the US Coast Guard.
UN Secretary General Boutros Boutros-Ghali has offered to participate in a joint commission with the Organisation of American States to tackle Haiti's social and political problems. Deposed Haitian President Jean Bertrand Aristide had recently proposed the creation of such a commission.
Meanwhile, a Haitian radio station charged on July 30 that, on the previous weekend, army soldiers gunned down 35 people who were trying to escape to the United States.
The station's director, Fr Pedro Rokur, told journalists that the bodies rescued from the sea had already been buried on the outskirts of Port-au-Prince. Rokur said that the 35 Haitians had paid $500 each to the soldiers to get on board the boat, and were later killed. [From Radio Havana/Pegasus.]