Milostène Castin is a defender of the rights of subsistence farmers who have suffered land seizures, displacement, corruption and violent attacks in north-eastern Haiti. Due to his activism, Mr. Castin has been attacked and intimidated numerous times. In late 2020, armed men repeatedly fired gunshots and smashed the windows of his home. An unidentified man also attempted to repeatedly pick up one of his children from school in what Mr. Castin believes was a kidnapping attempt. On May 12, 2021 Mr. Castin received a death threat. We demand the authorities protect him, according to his wishes.
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President of the Republic of Haiti
1, Rue de la République
Email: [email protected]
Ambassador Bocchit Edmond
Embassy of the Republic of Haiti
2311 Massachusetts Ave. NW,
Dear Mr. President,
I write to you to raise my concern about the safety of Mr. Milostene Castin
, a human rights defender and coordinator of AREDE (Action pour la Reforestation et la Défense de l’Environnement), an organization based in Trou-du-Nord, that defends the rights of subsistence and small-scale farmers from land seizures, forced displacement and violent attacks.
For nearly a decade, Mr. Castin has been the subject of repeated attacks and intimidation, which he believes are due to his activism. Such attacks intensified in the last two months of 2020, when a group of armed men repeatedly went to his house and fired gunshots. They smashed the windows on two occasions, once causing injury to one of his children. An unidentified man also went to the school of one of his children, in an apparent kidnapping or intimidation attempt. As a result, Mr. Castin and his family have been forced to leave their home, fearing for their safety.
Despite reporting the attacks to the authorities, Mr. Castin has received no protection and the attacks continued. Most recently on May 12, 2021, Mr. Castin was told that government officials “want him dead” in reaction to his defence of farmers in a community facing expropriation.
I therefore demand that your government, along with the National Police of Haiti, fulfil their obligation to protect Mr. Castin in accordance to his wishes so that he may feel safe and return to his home and legitimate activities as a human rights defender. I also demand an immediate and independent investigation to find and prosecute those responsible for the recent acts of intimidation against him and his family. I remind the Haitian authorities of your duty to guarantee that human rights defenders can carry out their work without fear of reprisals, as established in the 1998 UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders.