Haiti: Marines arrest woman leader on Mother’s Day

U.S. Marines invaded the home of renowned entertainer and community leader Annette Auguste after midnight May 9, arresting and detaining everyone present including four great-grandchildren, TransAfrica said, citing reports from Haiti.

While the others were later released, Ms. Auguste, known as So Ann, was interrogated throughout the night without counsel or anyone present except herself and the Marines. She was then transferred to the Haitian National Police where she was still detained late last week.

The Marines breached her gate with explosives, shot and killed the household dogs and ransacked the home, searching for non-existent weapons.

TransAfrica said it believes Ms. Auguste was arrested because “she is a prominent leader of Haitians who understand and object that the right-wing elite has returned to Haiti behind the guns of convicted criminals and death squad thugs, with the blessing of their right-wing allies here in the United States.”

China: Massive treatment program for HIV/AIDS

China plans to provide treatment for 100,000 HIV/AIDS patients by the end of next year, as part of a global initiative to treat the killer disease, the World Health Organization said in a report released May 11.

China has the embraced the WHO’s “3 by 5” initiative to make effective antiretroviral therapy available to 3 million people worldwide by the end of 2005.

It is estimated that over 800,000 people in China are living with HIV-AIDS.

The WHO says tackling HIV/AIDS is regarded as the world’s most urgent public health challenge and the disease is now the leading cause of death for young adults worldwide.

Iraq: WFTU condemns torture

In a May 11 statement the World Federation of Trade Unions expressed its “great sorrow, concern and indignation” at the revelations of tortures and inhuman repression unleashed by U.S. and British occupation forces at Iraqi prisons.

The WFTU expressed “its indignation and surprise that these acts were committed by two Great Powers who claimed that their illegal aggression on Iraq was to defend liberty, democracy and human rights.”

It warned that “the continuation of this ugly behavior and the occupation itself will only increase the hatred and revenge” and worsen the security situation faced by the Iraqi people.

The WFTU demanded the “immediate restoration of sovereignty to the Iraqi people, to enable them to govern themselves and to build their national parliamentary and administrative institutions, to defend security and national sovereignty.”

Chad/Sudan: Militias ‘out of control’

Militias fighting alongside the Sudanese government against rebels in Sudan’s western Darfur Province are being blamed for repeated ceasefire violations within Darfur and have also started terrorizing villages across the border in eastern Chad, the UN Integrated Regional Information Networks said last week.

UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan is urging Sudan’s President Omar Hassan al-Bashir to disarm the militias, whose attacks on civilians in Darfur have caused over 800,000 people to flee their villages – many of them crossing the border into Chad.

Speaking to journalists earlier this month, Acting UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Bertrand Ramcharan characterized the situation in the area as “a reign of terror … a scorched earth policy … repeated war crimes and crimes against humanity.”

The Sudanese government has provided the Arabic-speaking Janjawid militias with modern weapons. It has been accused by international human rights organizations of using the militias for ethnic cleansing against non-Arabic-speaking Black Muslim communities in Darfur.

Greece: Former military officers speak for peace

As part of the World Peace Council Assembly held in Athens earlier this month, eight former high-ranking military officers from Greece, Cyprus, Portugal, Russia, Germany and Bulgaria spoke at a May 7 public meeting sponsored by the Greek Committee for International Peace and Detente.

The meeting highlighted issues including new aggressive doctrines and tasks of armed forces including preemptive war, mercenary armies, and rapid deployment forces as well as the role and responsibilities of military personnel and retired officers in the struggle for peace and democratic rights. It launched the initiative, “Former Military Officers Speak,” with publication of an appeal with nearly 400 initial signers.

The Appeal expresses “concern and disagreement” with the “wars being unleashed by the leaderships of the USA and its allies on peoples and states that refuse subservience and the exploitation of their countries’ wealth and their own labor by foreigners,” and with the violations of human rights and liberties in the countries whose governments are perpetrating the wars.

International Notes are compiled by Marilyn Bechtel (mbechtel@pww.org).