Education International
Education International

Haiti: political violence claims academic’s life

published 24 February 2016 updated 26 February 2016

The killing of a teacher unionist has exposed the deteriorating political situation in Haiti where the country was left to linger in constitutional limbo following the resignation of President Michel Martelly.

With Chaos descending on Haiti as the country’s powerbrokers scrambled to find a solution to the vacant presidential position, violence struck the education community.

Academic Francky Altinéus was caught in the crossfire as he was traveling from the capital Port-au-Prince to the Gonaives where he taughtat the Law And Economic Sciences School Of Gonaives State University on 6 February. While passing through the coastal town of Arkahaie the public bus was attacked by men in army fatigues, claiming to have belonged to Haiti’s former armed forces under ex-President Martelly. Altinéus and two others were killed when the bus was riddled with bullets and set on fire. Although the attack is believed to have been politically motivated, with reports claiming that the attackers had been demanding the prolongation of Martelly’s mandate, Altinéus was not the target.

“Our trade union is in mourning,” said the Union Nationale des Normaliens/Normaliennes et Educateurs/Educatrices d’Haïti (UNNOEH) Coordinator Georges Wilbert Franck.Altinéus, who was completing a doctorate in geography, had been a UNNOEH member since 2009.

“We have lodged a complaint to a court for an investigation to be run,” said Franck.

He also condemned the fact that the Education Ministry failed to intervene to help the trade union retrieve his body, which was not identified until 15 February.

Altinéus, who received a diploma from the Ecole Normale Supérieure of Haïti in 2010, returned to Haiti less than a year ago from Brazil where he studied at the Cambinas University and received a masters’ degree.

Education International (EI) expresses its sincere condolences to Altinéus’s family, colleagues and friends.