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Haiti-Switzerland-Duvalier : NGOs demand the freezing of funds of “former dictators” as long as necessary

Translated from French by Menno Ernst

Thursday 14th June 2007

P-au-P, June 14 th 2007 [AlterPresse] --- Some twenty organizations and Swiss and international solidarity networks demand from the Swiss authorities the blocking of "the money of former potentates", of whom the Haitian ex dictator Jean-Claude Duvalier, "as long as necessary to allow the legal authorities of the countries concerned to take action”.

This request is stated in a letter addressed to the President of the Confederation, Micheline Calmy-Rey, and to the federal Adviser Christoph Blocher, indicates a note transmitted to AlterPresse.

"Without these measurements, Switzerland could be considered again by the world opinion as a ’ safe haven’ for the capital flight", fear the authors of the letter.

The latter is based on the recent release of frozen assets belonging to the former Malagasy Prime Minister, Tantely Andrianarivo, and the announcement of the freeing of funds of Jean-Claude Duvalier.

The NGOs “are pleased to have taken note of the decision of the Federal Council to prolong the blocking of the assets of the former Haitian dictator Jean-Claude Duvalier for three months”.

“Last May, we understood that the Confederation had foreseen to free, at the beginning of June, approximately 7,6 million franks of Duvalier, as a result of a Swiss legislative gap”.

"The current legal gaps must be filled as soon as possible", declare the NGOs.

They estimate that "it is not beneficial for Switzerland to appear as being the country that finds the guarantee of private property more important than violators of human rights and in doing this contribute to the impunity of former dictators".

They propose, inter alia, that the duration of the freezing of funds should be determined, "even prolonged, until the State concerned is able to carry out a legal procedure of mutual aid".

The NGOs claim, if necessary, "the technical aid" of Switzerland or the World Bank in favour of the countries concerned.

Among the organizations supporting this standpoint, there are : Action Place Financière Suisse, Alliance Sud, Pain pour le prochain, Caritas Suisse, Plate-Forme Haïti de Suisse, Transparency International Swiss Chapter, Broederlijk Delen, Dutch Haïti Platform, Entraide et Fraternité, Haïti Advocacy Platform Ireland-UK, Jubileo Sur, Jubilee USA, Plate Forme française Paradis Fiscaux et Judiciaires and Tiako-i-Madagasikara. [gp apr 14/06/2007 10:40]