A political group called "Attaché," including its structure, location, purpose, and abuses committed by its members [HTI42140.E]

No reference to a political group known as "Attaché" could be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate.

However, the term "attaché" is widely used in Haiti to describe armed or unarmed civilians "attached" or working with police or military units3/4an explanation of this term can be found in the May 1997 Research Directorate Issue Paper Haiti: Political Violence and State Protection Since Aristide's Return, available electronically and at Regional Documentation Centres.

A 2000 news report refers to former attachés "biding their time in wealthy suburbs that overlook the slums" while the United States military presence established in Haiti the late-1990s wound down and its forces prepared to leave the country (Manchester Guardian Weekly 19 Jan. 2000).

More recently, the United States Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) Resource Information Center published a brief report that provides an additional description of the attachés (United States 30 Apr. 2002). According to the report, attachés were "attached" to army units, with many attachés being recruited by army Section Chiefs to help maintain control in remote rural areas (ibid.). The report states that attachés were "quasi-official" helpers of military units, with some of them receiving formal military training and guns, while others were informants or "simply had military protection of their rackets" (ibid.). Finally, the report states that, in practice, the term attaché was used to describe "any civilian who collaborated with the military" (ibid.).

More recent reports refer to the continued existence of attachés: An August 2003 report from the Haitian radio station Metropole quotes a source as claiming to have deserted the police because of the presence and actions of attachés at his station in Delmas (Radio Metropole 11 Aug. 2003). The source claims that attachés exercised authority over the policemen and committed a range of abuses, from arrests to theft and killing of individuals (ibid.). The attachés reportedly derive their power from the support of higher authorities, including the head of the local police station and the ruling Lavalas party, bear Interior Ministry authorization cards and have a "police card" issued by Emmanuel Mompremier, Police Superintendent (ibid.).

A more recent report from another Haitian radio station refers to threats alleged to have been made against radio reporters in Mirebalais (Radio Vision 2000 19 Sept. 2003). The report states that several journalists have been threatened by armed persons, or "police attachés," led by Josaphat Civil and Jean Gracia Legerme, Police Superintendent and Police Inspector respectively (ibid.). The report adds that some journalists have gone into hiding since being targeted, because of the above-named police authorities' perception that their reporting was detrimental to the police (ibid.). In regard to the attachés, the source quotes a journalist as saying that "police attachés do what they like at the police station," while a correspondent from a pro-Lavalas radio station is quoted as saying that "the police attaches are more powerful than the policemen" (ibid.).

More recent references to attachés in Haiti, or to their position within a formal organization, could not be found among the sources consulted.

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum.

References


Manchester Guardian Weekly. 19 January 2000. Ed Vulliamy. "US Quits Troubled Haiti." (NEXIS)

Radio Metropole [Port-au-Prince, in French]. 11 August 2003. "Haiti: Further Report on Police Deserter's Allegations of 'Attaches'' Atrocities." (BBC Monitoring 13 Aug. 2003/Dialog)

Radio Vision 2000 [Port-au-Prince, in French]. 19 September 2003. "Haiti: Journalists in Mirebalais Denounce Persecution by Police." (BBC Monitoring 20 Sept. 2003/ Dialog)

United States of America. 30 April 2002. Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) Resource Information Centre, Washington, DC. "Haiti: Information on Risks and Criminal Charges Faced by Former Military and Police Upon Return to Haiti." http://www.immigration.gov/graphics/services/asylum/ric/documentation/HTI02002.htm [Accessed 28 Oct. 2003]