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Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti
Updated: 1 hour 35 min ago
The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently announced a plan to ship 500 metric tons of peanuts to Haiti to help with the current hunger crisis resulting from a drought in the country. The problem? Haitians already grow plenty of their own peanuts, which also are a drought-resistant plant. Many nonprofits and aid organizations, including IJDH, have stood up against this plan that would likely devastate Haiti’s economy. As one nonprofit leader says in this article: “When other crops fail, peanuts are what [Haitians are] literally relying on to survive.”
Part of the article is below. Click HERE for the full text.U.S. To Ship Peanuts To Feed Haitian Kids; Aid Groups Say ‘This Is Wrong’
Clare Leschin-Hoar, NPR
May 5, 2016
On paper, sending surplus U.S. peanuts to feed 140,000 malnourished Haitian schoolchildren for a full year sounds like a heroic plan. Instead, it’s united 60 aid groups that are urgently calling on the U.S. Department of Agriculture to halt a shipment containing 500 metric tons of peanuts, preventing the legumes from reaching Haiti.
The aid groups call it “crop dumping” and warn that it will deliver an economic blow to struggling Haitian peanut farmers. Critics say it’s poor aid policy that will have long-term negative impacts on Haitian communities.
“This is a country where peanut production is a huge source of livelihood for up to a half-million people, especially women, if you include the supply chains that process the peanuts,” says Claire Gilbert, spokesperson for Grassroots International, a Boston-based nonprofit that supports food sovereignty.
Click HERE for the full text.
Amnesty International USA is seeking a qualified volunteer Country Specialist to help monitor the human rights situation in Haiti and to mobilize action in response to developing needs to promote and protect human rights there.
This Country Specialist is part of a corps of volunteer leaders who serve as country experts and strategists for Amnesty International USA. These specialists serve as a link between Amnesty’s primary research staff based abroad and the members and staff of the US branch of the organization. Country Specialists develop a solid understanding of Amnesty International’s concerns in the target country, and may be called upon to represent the organization in relevant forums.
In collaboration with others, Country Specialists develop action strategies designed to bring about positive change in the human rights situation in the target country. These strategies may involve rapid responses, media and social media engagement, US and foreign government advocacy, and collaboration with coalitions.
Qualifications considered when recruiting new Country Specialists include:
— extensive knowledge of the country/region
— solid background working with human rights and Haiti
— experience with grassroots campaigning and/or Amnesty International
— strong interpersonal skills
— ability to follow through on projects
— familiarity with international human rights standards
— relevant language skills
Location and Time Commitment:
Applicants must be based in the United States, and most of the volunteer’s work will be conducted from home via email or phone. The average time commitment is 15-20 hours per month, but varies depending on the country in question. Occasional travel, mostly within the U.S., may be requested. Training is provided, and a two-year commitment is requested of all new Country Specialists. The position is unpaid, but certain volunteer-related expenses may be reimbursed.
The application and a detailed job description can be found at: http://www.amnestyusa.org/get-involved/volunteer-positions-and-resources/country-specialists
(Lèt sa-a an kreyòl anba vèzyon anglè-a.)
To: Tom Vilsack, US Secretary of Agriculture, United States Department of Agriculture and Gayle Smith, Administrator, United States Agency for International Development
cc: to Kenneth Merten, Haiti Special Coordinator for State Dept
We, the undersigned, represent a broad range of social movements, human rights and development organizations, food sovereignty and agriculture organizations, foundations, and community groups in both Haiti and the United States.
We stand together in calling for an immediate cancellation of the USDA’s planned shipment of 500 metric tons of peanuts to Haitian schools as part of its “Stocks for Food” program. While the gesture may be well-intentioned, this program stands to become the latest in a long history of U.S-sponsored programs that have destabilized Haiti’s agricultural sector, driving the nation further into poverty while increasing its dependence on foreign aid.
Peanuts play a central role in Haiti’s economy and are a critical foundation of its food security and food sovereignty. The Haitian Platform to Advocate for Alternative Development (PAPDA) reports that 150,000 Haitian farmers currently produce 70,000 metric tons of peanuts annually. There is a long chain to transform peanuts into manba, or Haitian peanut butter, and “a conservative estimate would lead us to conclude that this is a sector which is a regular source of income for more than half a million Haitians most of whom are women. In addition, peanut plants can withstand lack of rain and can be grown in mountainous areas.
Juslene Tyresias, the Program Director of Haiti’s largest peasant organization, the Peasant Movement of Papaye (MPP), describes the USDA plan to send US peanuts to Haiti as “a plan of death” for Haiti’s farmers.
The United States has a long history of exporting highly subsidized agricultural products to Haiti to the detriment of the Haitian agricultural economy. The USDA’s peanut plan could have a similarly devastating effect on Haiti’s peanut market as rice in the mid-1990s. When the U.S. pressed Haiti to lower its tariffs on rice, the Haitian market was flooded with rice mostly from the U.S. and the price of Haitian rice plummeted. Haitian rice farmers (who had previously produced nearly all of the country’s rice) were left with nothing.
The consequences were vast and far-reaching. Many of the farmers had to move to Port-au-Prince in search of some form of work. Thus, the loss of farmers’ livelihoods is one of the factors that led to the overpopulation of Port-au-Prince, which, in turn, is a major reason why the earthquake in 2010 was so devastating. The consequences were so dire former President Bill Clinton famously apologized, saying , “It may have been good for some of my farmers in Arkansas, but…it was a mistake…I have to live every day with the consequences of the lost capacity to produce a rice crop in Haiti…because of what I did.”
Ricot Jean Pierre of the Haitian Platform to Advocate for Alternative Development (PAPDA) argues that the peanut program will create an even larger catastrophe than changes to Haitian rice tariffs and the flooding of markets with cheap, subsidized US rice because the production of peanuts serves as a key livelihood strategy for hundreds of thousands of women and creates a great deal of wealth and activity in the rural areas. The proposed USDA peanut program could destroy that source of income for Haiti’s rural families, and could potentially set off a series of devastating consequences while also preventing the Haitian government from developing policies to support the nation’s agriculture, particularly in the peanut sector.
In recent years, the US has come to recognize agriculture’s central role in Haiti’s recovery and reconstruction. USAID supports a wide range of projects that increase food production and access to markets, including the cultivation and sale of peanuts. Suddenly importing a large amount of peanuts in a country that already produces their own peanuts negates the very tenets of USAID programs. The USDA’s plan is directly at odds with aid delivery best practice at USAID. For many years, development practice has been moving towards local purchasing and procurement for projects, recognizing that it is a boon to local economies and markets. This has been corroborated by prominent experts in the sector, and consistent with the United Nation’s World Food Program and USAID’s own policy and practice. Bolstering a government’s ability to feed hungry children is a worthwhile cause, but one that should be met through local procurement. Given this contradiction, we question the real objectives of the USAID’s and USDA’s programs in Haiti.
We are extremely concerned that the proposed USDA peanut program will destroy the incomes of vast numbers of Haiti’s rural families, rolling back years of progress and hard work by Haitian farmers.
The US should focus any aid to Haiti on supporting local production and local procurement. We suggest a more comprehensive program that supports the efforts of the Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Education that could help to address the problem of the hunger for the children and youths at school. This program should support small farmers and producers through local procurement.
We therefore call on you to immediately cancel plans to ship U.S. peanuts to Haiti; and instead to prioritize a model of cooperation that respects the self-determination and economic independence of the Republic of Haiti.
Click HERE for a pdf of the letter.
Yon Lèt tou louvri pou USDA ak USAID sou plan pour foure nan gòj Ayiti yon kado pwazon ak pistach
Pou : Tom Vilsack, Sekretè Agrikilti, Etazini Depatman Agrikilti, and Gayle Smith, Administratè, Ajans Etazini pou Devlòpman Entènasyonal
cc: Kenneth Merten, Kòdonatè Espesyal pou Ayiti, Depatman Deta
Nou menm, ki siyen anba lèt sa, nou se reprezantan anpil òganizasyon ak lòt aktè nan mouvman sosyal, dwa moun ak òganizasyon devlòpman, òganizasyon kap travay nan Dwa granmoun nan zafè lamanjay ak agrikilti, fondasyon, ak gwoup kominotè ki ap evolye nan peyi d Ayiti ak Etazini.
Nou leve vwa ansanm pou nou rele anmwe epi pou mande kanpe prese prese sou plan gouvènman ameriken (USDA) genyen pou foure nan gòj peyi d Ayiti yon kado pwazon ak 500 tòn metrik pistach ki ta dwe al distribiye nan lekòl ayisyen yo kòm yon pati nan pwogram “Aksyon pou Manje” li a. Menm si jès sa ta kapab sanble gen bon volonte ladan l, pwogram sa a se youn nan dènye tantativ peyi Etazini ap fè pou l kontinye destabilize sektè agrikòl Ayiti a, epi foure peyi a pi fon nan lamizè pandan y ap ogmante depandans li sou èd etranje.
Pistach jwe yon wòl enpòtan nan ekonomi peyi d Ayiti, epi yo se yon eleman enpòtan pou asire sekirite alimantè ak dwa granmoun peyi a nan zafè lamanjay. Platfòm Ayisyen kap Plede pou yon Devlòpman Altènatif (PAPDA) rapòte gen plis pase 150,000 kiltivatè ayisyen kounyea kap pwodwi 70,000 tòn metrik pistach chak ane. Gen yon bon rezo ak anpil aktè kap travay nan transfòmasyon pistach pou fè manba; yon ti estimasyon montre filyè pistach la se yon sektè se yon sous regilye pou revni pou plis pase 500,000 Ayisyen (pi fò nan yo fanm) Anplis, plant pistach kapab adapte l byen nan sitiyasyon sechrès peyizan yo ap viv epi mete an valè zòn ki nan mòn yo.
Juslene Tyresias, Direktè Pwogram nan youn nan pi gwo òganizasyon peyizan ki ap travay nan peyi d Ayiti, Mouvman Peyizan Papay (MPP), dekri plan USDA a pou voye pistach ki soti nan Etazini an Ayiti kòm “yon plan lanmò” pou kiltivatè Ayisyen yo.
Sa fè lontan Peyi Etazini ap ekspòte nan peyi d Ayiti, pwodwi agrikòl ki resevwa gwo sibvansyon ki kontribye nan kraze ekonomi peyizan yo ak agrikilti peyizan ayisyen yo. Plan pou voye pistach USDA genyen an, kapab pwodui gwo katastwòf sou mache pistach Ayiti a, menm jan sa te pase nan filyè diri a nan mitan ane 1990 yo. Lè peyi Etazini ak enstitisyon entènasyonal yo te oblije Ayiti pou li desann byen ba tarif dwanye sou diri a, mache ayisyen an te anvayi ak diri etranje ki te soti sitou nan Etazini, epi pri diri ayisyen te degrengole. Kiltivatè diri ayisyen (ki te deja pwodwi prèske tout diri nan peyi a jis nan lane 1980 yo) yo vin pèdi tout sous revni yo ak tout mwayen pou yo kontinye pwodui. Konsekans aksyon peyi Etazini yo gran anpil e yo mete ekonomi peyi a ajenou. Anpil nan kiltivatè yo te demenaje ale rete nan Pòtoprens oubyen nan lòt gran vil pou yo al chache travay oubyen yon lavi miyò. Kidonk, se konsekans pwogram peyi Etazini mennen nan peyi d Ayiti ki mennen kiltivatè yo al gwosi bidonvil epi ogmante popilasyon nan Pòtoprens, epi se te youn pi gwo rezon tranbleman tè a ki pase nan lane 2010 te fè tout viktim sa yo.
Konsekans sa yo te tèlman gran, sa te pouse ansyen Prezidan Bill Clinton mande eskiz, pou li di: “Pwogram sa yo te kapab bon pou kèk nan kiltivatè ki nan Arkansas, men se te yon erè … Mwen oblije ap viv chak jou ak regrè lèm gade konsekans aksyon ki fè Ayiti pèdi kapasite pou li kontinye pwodwi diri … akòz aksyon mwen te enpoze yo. ”
Ricot Jean Pierre ki se Direktè Pwogram nan Platfòm Ayisyen kap Plede pou yon Devlòpman Altènatif (PAPDA) fè konnen pwogram pou foure pistach la nan gòj peyi d Ayiti a pral kreye yon katastwòf ki ka pirèd pase konsekans liberalizasyon komèsyal yo paske se pral plizyè santèn milye moun ki pral pèdi tout mwayen pou yo kontinye viv epi kontinye pwodui pou asire dwa granmoun peyi a nan zafè lamanjay(patikilyèman fanm yo ki jwe yon gwo wòl nan filyè pistach la); konsa tou pwogram sa pral kraze tout posiblite pou kreye travay nan milye riral la. Pwogram pistach USDA pwopoze a ka detwi sous revni pou fanmi riral Ayiti yo, anmenm tan lap gen yon seri gwo konsekans sou lavi moun epi retire nan men gouvènman ayisyen an kapasite li genyen pou devlope politik piblik pou sipòte agrikilti nan peyi a, patikilyèman nan sektè pistach la.
Nan dènye ane yo, peyi Etazini rekonèt wòl santral agrikilti a nan rekiperasyon ak rekonstriksyon an Ayiti. USAID sipòte nan yon pakèt domèn pwojè ki ta dwe ogmante pwodiksyon manje ak aksè nan mache, ki gen ladan pwodiksyon ak ak vann pistach. Anvayi britsoukou Ayiti ak yon kantite pistach alòske li deja ap pwodui lakay li, sa ap kontribye nan kraze rezilta pwogram USAID ap mennen yo.. Plan USDA a pa mache ak bon pratik ki gen nan kesyon bay èd yo ki dirije aksyon USAID yo. Pandan dènye ane sa yo, bon pratik nan kesyon devlòpman tap chache pou sipòte “acha lokal”, sa vle di achte pwodui nan men pwodiktè ayisyennan kad pwojè ki ap ekzekite yo; yo te rekonèt pratik sa yon kore ekonomi ak mache lokal yo. Anpil espesyalis nan sektè sa konfime benefis sa yo, takou Pwogram Alimantè Mondyal Nasyonzini epi USAID ak lòt aktè ayisyen. Lè yon gouvènman ap ranfòse kapasite l pou bay timoun ki grangou manje, se yon aksyon ki enpòtan anpil,, men sa ta dwe fèt ak manje ki pwodui nan peyi a. Kontradiksyon ki genyen ant pwogram USAID ap mennen ak objektif ki prevwa anvayi mache peyi d Ayiti ak pistach pèpè a, fè nou ap poze tèt nou anpil kesyon sou reyèl objektif USAID ak pwogram USDA nan peyi d Ayiti.
Nou enkyete anpil devan gwo konsekans pwogram distribisyon pistach USDA pwopoze a pral genyen nan detwi tout sous revni ak kapasite anpil fanmi nan milye riral an Ayiti, yon aksyon ki pral kraze tout gwo jefò ak pwogrè kiltivatè ayisyen yo fè pandan plizyè lane deja..
Peyi Etazini ta dwe priyorize tout èd ki vize sipòte pwodiksyon lokal ak Acha lokal nan peyi d Ayiti. Nou pwopoze pou ta gen yon bon pwogram ki sipòte jefò Ministè Agrikilti ak Ministè Edikasyon Nasyonal nan chache repons ak pwoblèm grangou nan avantaj timoun ak jèn ki nan lekòl yo. Pwogram sa tap bay jarèt ak ti pwodiktè ak ti peyizan Ayisyen yo nan achte pwodwui ki fèt nan jaden yo.
Se poutet sa nou mande w pou ou kanpe prese prese sou plan USDA genyen pou voye pistach ki soti Etazini nan peyi d Ayiti. Nan sans sa, nap mande w tou pou ou privileje yon yon modèl koperasyon ant 2 peyi yo ki respekte otodetèminasyon ak endepandans ekonomik peyi d Ayiti.
Klike ISI pou pdf lèt la.
When the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced its plan to ship 500 metric tons of peanuts to Haiti, a peanut-producing country, there was an immediate backlash. Although the 500 tons only represent 2% of Haiti’s current peanut production, there are other issues: The plan targets Haitian schoolchildren, though they are not the ones most affected by malnutrition. The plan paves the way for foreign peanuts to be sold in Haiti, which would undermine Haitian peanut farmers, leaving them unable to sell their crops and feed their families. Finally, the plan doesn’t address the underlying problem of a massive surplus of peanuts being produced in the United States. Haitian peanut farmers don’t need this kind of outside help. The hunger crisis would be better addressed by buying Haitian crops to feed the people.
Part of the article is below. Click HERE for the full text.U.S. plan to dump peanuts is a potential disaster, aid groups warn
Tom Murphy, Humanosphere
May 3, 2016
The announcement that the U.S. will ship 500 metric tons of packaged, dry-roasted peanuts to Haiti later this year has been met with a swift backlash. The program amounts to a goods dump that could cause more harm than good, more than 60 Haitian and U.S. organizations warned, calling it “a plan of death” for Haiti’s farmers. It hearkens back to policies during the 1980s and 1990s where U.S. goods flooded markets in developing countries and crippled domestic industries.
“We are extremely concerned that the proposed USDA peanut program will destroy the incomes of vast numbers of Haiti’s rural families, rolling back years of progress and hard work by Haitian farmers. The U.S. should focus any aid to Haiti on supporting local production and local procurement,” according to the open letter to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). “We therefore call on you to immediately cancel plans to ship U.S. peanuts to Haiti; and instead to prioritize a model of cooperation that respects the self-determination and economic independence of the Republic of Haiti.”
The deal led by the USDA will bring the peanuts to children with little access to food. It is being described as a humanitarian program that will help to cut hunger and improve nutrition. The peanuts come from government food stocks surpluses, and a program started in 2007 allows for the transfer for humanitarian reasons. The peanuts will help feed nearly 140,000 malnourished children, according to the USDA.
Click HERE for the full text.
For years and years, incidents of sexual abuse by United Nations peacekeepers have been steadily made public. Even so, the perpetrators have very rarely been held accountable for their crimes. Now that some US Senators have proposed cutting funding until the UN deals with the problem, it seems that the UN might start taking it seriously, especially since the US contributes 28% of the peacekeeping budget. Since withholding UN funding has been successful in the past, this could be a good way for big contributors to hold the UN accountable and change the culture of impunity for sexual violence.
Part of the article is below. Click HERE for the full text.HERE’S HOW TO END UN PEACEKEEPING’S HISTORY OF SEXUAL VIOLENCE
Jeni Whalan, Global Peace Operations Review
May 2, 2016
After years of moral outrage and stern official rhetoric, the odious scandal of sexual abuse by UN peacekeepers of the vulnerable people they are sent to protect may finally attract tangible penalties for the organisation. US senators this month threatened to withdraw funding from the UN over its leaders’ failure to prevent sexual violence by peacekeepers and to hold perpetrators to account when it occurs. Given that the US funds 28% of the US$8.3 billion annual peacekeeping budget, it’s a threat with teeth.
This latest legitimacy crisis for UN peacekeeping has been brewing a long time. Since the first widely publicised abuses by peacekeepers in Cambodia in 1992, allegations of sexual abuse and exploitation have followed the UN’s deployments to crises around the world: Bosnia, Timor-Leste, Kosovo, Burundi, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Haiti, the DRC, Côte d’Ivoire, Sudan and Mali.
But it is stories of widespread sexual violence against women and children in the Central African Republic (CAR) that have captured global media attention and which may finally prompt meaningful reform.
Click HERE for the full text.
Right now, Haitians are speaking out against US intervention in two major sectors: agriculture and elections. In agriculture, the US Department of Agriculture plans to ship 500 metric tons of Haiti to help with the hunger crisis, despite the fact that Haiti is already self-sufficient in the peanut industry. If carried out, this plan will destabilize Haiti’s agricultural sector, just like similar programs have done in the past. Regarding elections, U.S. proconsul Kenneth Merten has been making many trips to Haiti to meet with Haiti’s political leaders. While most Haitians demand a verification of the previous rounds of elections, Merten has asked that the verification be very quick and not change the results (though the verification is expected to find rampant fraud).
Part of the article is below. Click HERE for the full text.Don’t Dump Peanuts on Haiti, Campaigners Tell the US
May 2, 2016Ostensibly a donation, flooding Haiti with peanuts could wipe out the country’s struggling domestic producers.
As part of its “Stocks for Food” program, the U.S. Department of Agriculture plans to ship 500 metric tons of peanuts to Haitian schools, which could destroy Haiti’s peanut market and the livelihood and income of 150,000 peanut farmers and their families, warned the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti, a non-profit based in Boston, Massachusetts.
“This is the latest in a long history of U.S.-sponsored programs which have destabilized Haiti’s agricultural sector, further impoverishing the nation and increasing its dependence on foreign aid,” the group said in a statement, noting that “President Clinton had to apologize for one such misguided program in the 1990s.”
Click HERE for the full text.
Plus de 145 personnalités et organismes au Canada appuient les victimes du choléra en Haïti dans une lettre ouverte au Premier ministre Justin Trudeau. Dans la lettre, ils énumèrent appels à la justice faite par les initiés des Nations Unies. Puis, ils demandent au Canada de prendre l’initiative en appelant à la responsabilité des Nations Unies.
Une partie de la lettre est ci-dessous. Cliquez ICI pour le texte complet.
Over 145 Canadian individuals and organizations support Haiti’s cholera victims in an open letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. In the letter, they list calls for justice made by UN insiders. Then, they demand that Canada take the lead in calling for UN accountability for cholera. Click HERE for the English version of the letter.Lettre ouverte au très honorable Justin Trudeau, Premier ministre du Canada
Monsieur le Premier ministre,
Nous, soussignés, vous écrivons pour exprimer notre profonde inquiétude face au refus de l’Organisation des Nations Unies de reconnaître pleinement sa responsabilité avérée dans l’introduction de l’épidémie du choléra en Haïti. Dans la mesure où le Canada entend se réengager au sein des missions de maintien de la paix de l’ONU, votre gouvernement se trouve devant une opportunité unique de rendre la structure de maintien de la paix plus responsable et plus respectueuse de la souveraineté des peuples et des droits humains dans ses opérations de maintien de la paix et notamment en Haïti qui, depuis 2004, accueille une importante mission onusienne, la MINUSTAH.
La Mission des Nations-Unies pour la stabilisation d’Haïti (MINUSTAH) est à l’origine d’une grande tragédie, une épidémie meurtrière de choléra. En effet, le choléra a déjà fait plus de 9 200 morts et a rendu malades plus de 770 000 personnes depuis que des troupes de l’ONU ont introduit la maladie en octobre 2010. Entre janvier et mars 2016, plus de 6 000 personnes ont dû être hospitalisées, et les décès reliés au choléra ont augmenté de plus de 43% par rapport à la même période de l’année précédente.
De nombreuses preuves scientifiques accablantes, incluant un rapport d’un groupe d’experts indépendants choisis par l’ONU elle-même, attribuent la responsabilité de l’introduction de l’épidémie en Haïti à un contingent de militaires de la MINUSTAH originaires du Népal. Aucun cas d’épidémie de choléra n’avait été observé en Haïti avant que ce contingent de l’ONU ne décharge ses eaux usées et contaminées dans le système fluvial le plus important d’Haïti, l’Artibonite. Aujourd’hui, Haïti connaît la plus grande épidémie de choléra au monde.
Cliquez ICI pour le texte complet.
Click HERE for the English version of the letter.
A few weeks ago, the US Department of Agriculture announced a new plan to send 500 metric tons of US peanuts to Haiti to help with Haiti’s hunger crisis. The problem with this plan is that Haitians already grow their own peanuts and have a large peanut industry. In the past, US products like rice have undercut the Haitian market and left Haitian farmers unable to sell their crops and feed their families. Partners in Health has joined calls for the USDA to drop this plan and find a better way to help Haiti.
Part of the post is below. Click HERE for the full text.No to ‘Dumping’ Peanuts in Haiti
Partners in Health
April 29, 2016
A statement from Partners In Health:
The U.S. Department of Agriculture recently announced a deal to ship 500 metric tons of peanuts grown in the United States to school children in Haiti later this year. We believe this action is wrong. Shipping excess U.S. peanuts to Haiti—known as “crop dumping”—will be a disaster for Haitian peanut farmers, and ultimately won’t help the people USDA intends to serve.
Levels of food insecurity and hunger are extremely high in Haiti, and we have a responsibility to act. We agree that providing assistance to hungry people is critical, but it shouldn’t come in the form of food that is currently being produced by local farmers.
There is precedent that supports our concern. Flooding local markets with outside crops has a profoundly negative impact on the Haitian economy and the well-being of the Haitian poor. It undermines local food production and forces farmers whose livelihoods have failed into rapid and uncontrolled urbanization to city slums. Perhaps most importantly, crop dumping has not produced a positive outcome in the nutritional status of Haitians who are poor.
Click HERE for the full text.
After months of Haitians calling for an election verification because of massive fraud in the first two rounds of elections, a verification commission has finally been put in place. The opposition to a verification is still fierce though, from both the international community and supporters of PHTK, former president Martelly’s party. PHTK supporters have been protesting in the streets to demand that the elections proceed as they are. US Secretary of State John Kerry has warned that the US is losing patience with the election delays. Haiti’s interim president and those in support of a verification, however, are clear that this is an important step in making sure the elections are democratic.
Part of the article is below. Click HERE for the full text.New Haiti commission has 30 days to verify elections results
Jacqueline Charles, Miami Herald
April 28, 2016
Acknowledging the opposition by some Haitians and foreign diplomats to any recount of last year’s disputed elections, Haiti’s interim president on Thursday installed a five-member commission to help determine who should serve in parliament and who should head into a presidential runoff.
“The commission is indispensable to assure the credibility of the electoral process,” President Jocelerme Privert said during a ceremony at the National Palace.
The former head of the Haitian Senate, Privert was elected by a joint session of parliament on Feb. 14 to resume Haiti’s interrupted elections by April 24 and transfer power to a new president on May 14. But the failure to meet either of those deadlines has made him a target of criticism from foreign diplomats, the international community, the opposition, and former President Michel Martelly. Martelly, who did not hold one election during his four years in office, stepped down on Feb. 7 without an elected successor because of the disputed vote.
Click HERE for the full text.
As Haiti prepares for the long-awaited election verification, the U.S. State Department’s special coordinator for Haiti has been meeting with Haitian officials. The U.S. stance is to complete the verification process as soon as possible and not change any of the previous election results. But what if the verification discovers the massive fraud that those in favor of verification have alleged?US official visits Haiti to assess progress toward elections
David McFadden, The Washington Post
April 28, 2016
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — The U.S. State Department’s special coordinator for Haiti arrived in the troubled Caribbean nation Thursday seeking to help resolve a political standoff that has left elections in limbo.
Kenneth Merten began talks with Haitian officials and international partners focusing on steps needed to conclude a stalled electoral cycle that began last year. The U.S. was careful in its language, saying Merten was sent only to assess the situation, not wanting to appear to meddle in the country’s affairs.
While Merten held meetings with lawmakers, partisans of rival political factions threw rocks at each other in front of Parliament and riot police dispersed demonstrators with rubber bullets.
An early February accord negotiated by legislators and then-President Michel Martelly in his final hours as Haiti’s leader had set April 24 as the latest date for a presidential runoff already postponed twice. But it quickly became apparent Haiti would miss that deadline, too, as a caretaker administration failed to ease deep divisions. Some legislative elections also haven’t been completed.
Now, a five-member verification panel is preparing to evaluate balloting that was contested last year due to fraud allegations. The commission was installed by the interim administration Thursday and has 30 days to conclude its work.
Interim President Jocelerme Privert, who was selected by lawmakers in February to lead a government that was supposed to hand over power to an elected leader May 14, has recently said Haiti cannot restart balloting without first restoring confidence in the electoral machinery.
Before his trip, Merten told The Associated Press that Haiti’s verification process needs to be as straightforward as possible. He said there is some U.S. concern that Haitian political actors whose factions didn’t do well in last year’s balloting could try to “manipulate the process” away from what voters authorized.
“We hope it is very, very quick and does not change the results of the election,” Merten said.
Washington will have to “look very carefully at what we do moving forward” if there appears to be any manipulation, he said. So far, U.S. taxpayers have contributed some $33 million for impoverished Haiti’s current electoral cycle.
International monitors who observed Haiti’s October presidential first round said official results putting government-backed candidate Jovenel Moise in the leading position for a two-candidate runoff appeared to be a genuine reflection of voters’ will.
But the tally was derided as a sham by virtually all the other candidates, most notably the No. 2 finisher, Jude Celestin. He called results showing political newcomer Moise with nearly 33 percent of the Oct. 25 vote a “massive fraud.”
Growing allegations of electoral fraud brought violent street protests and many concerns from civic groups, religious and opposition parties.
Haitian observer groups assert fraudsters used some of the roughly 900,000 accreditations issued for political party representatives to facilitate multiple voting. There have also been accusations that electoral council officials accepted bribes to secure spots in legislative runoffs.
In recent weeks, a new Provisional Electoral Council was formed. It plans to publish an election calendar sometime next month.
Privert recently suggested the presidential runoff could be held in October to coincide with a vote for some Senate seats. Lawmakers who are part of Moise’s Tet Kale faction accuse Privert of dragging out the process to hold onto power.
Click HERE for the original article.
CALL CONGRESS TO STOP PEANUT DUMPING IN HAITI BY THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE!
Please join the Haitian diaspora in demanding action against this initiative: As part of its “Stocks for Food” program, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) plans to ship 500 metric tons of peanuts to Haitian schools, which could destroy Haiti’s peanut market and the livelihood and income of 150,000 peanut farmers and their families. This is the latest in a long history of U.S.-sponsored programs which have destabilized Haiti’s agricultural sector, further impoverishing the nation and increasing its dependence on foreign aid. President Clinton had to apologize for one such misguided program in the 1990’s.
Please call Congress today to ask your congressperson to urge the USDA to immediately cancel this plan to dump U.S. peanuts on Haiti despite the devastating consequences!
Take Action: Calling is easy!
- 1. Dial the Capitol Switchboard – 202-224-3121. Ask to be connected with your Representative’s office. (Click here to find your Representative by name or zip-code).
- 2. You will be connected with Your Representative’s receptionist. Ask to speak to the staff person who handles foreign affairs.
- 3. Whether you speak to that staffer in person, or just leave a message on their voicemail, here’s what you can say:
“My name is ___________ and I am a constituent from __(your city)___. I am calling to ask that Representative ___________ urge US Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack to immediately cancel USDA plans to ship 500 metric tons of peanuts to Haiti’s schools as part of its “Stocks for Food” program. Peanut production is key to the livelihood of hundreds of thousands of people (particularly women) in Haiti, creating wealth, activity, and income which the proposed program threatens to destroy, with devastating consequences for Haiti’s people and economy.”
Please use your own words if you prefer and keep it brief. You needn’t be prepared for a long discussion; the staff member will just take your message without asking for more details.
- 4. If for any reason the receptionist can’t connect you with the staff person who handles Haiti, simply ask the receptionist to take your message and relay it to both the staff person and to your Representative.
- 5. Be sure to thank everyone for their time.
Please call! This issue is very important to the Haitian diaspora and to development leaders. Please also tell your friends and family to call, and share this with others! Thank you!
Assassinat de trois sourdes-muettes par des proches d’une des victimes : Le RNDDH exige le jugement des coupables
Réseau National de Défense des Droits Humains
26 avril 2016
Le 18 mars 2016 à Haut Damier, localité dépendante de Cabaret, les corps de trois (3) jeunes femmes mutilées et brûlées ont été retrouvés dans un canal au bord de la route.
La population de la zone affirme qu’il s’agit de trois (3) sourdes-muettes qui, accusées d’être des loups-garous, ont été assassinées.
Interpellé par cet acte odieux, le Réseau National de Défense des Droits Humains (RNDDH), engagé dans la lutte pour le respect des Droits Humains, s’est fait le devoir de diligenter une enquête et se propose de partager avec tous ceux que la question intéresse, les conclusions de ses investigations.
Dans le cadre de l’enquête qui s’est déroulée du 7 au 19 avril 2016, le RNDDH s’est entretenu avec :
-Des autorités judiciaires
-Des autorités policières
-Des membres de la communauté géographique des victimes
-Des parents et des membres des familles des victimes
-Les auteurs présumés de l’acte, arrêtés et incarcérés
-Des proches des victimes
III. PRESENTATION DE CABARET ET DU CAMP LEVEQUE
Situé dans le Département de l’Ouest, Cabaret est une commune de l’arrondissement de l’Arcahaie. Elle s’étend sur une surface de 211.7 km2 .
Selon un recensement par estimation réalisé par l’Institut Haïtien de Statistiques et d’Informatiques (IHSI) en mars 2016, la commune de Cabaret accueille soixante deux mille soixante trois (62.063) habitants.
En 1961, sous le règne de la dictature des DUVALIER, elle était baptisée Duvalier-ville ce, jusqu’à la chute du dictateur président à vie Jean Claude DUVALIER.
Le Camp LEVEQUE, où habitaient les victimes, est situé à Cabaret, dans la Localité Levêque. Il est constitué d’une communauté de deux cent (200) personnes sourdesmuettes environ. Il est dirigé par le Pasteur Williams ST-ELOI qui est aussi responsable de l’Eglise Mission de l’Espoir de Levêque, accueillant les sourds-muets.
Cliquez ICI pour le rapport complet.
People with disabilities are often stigmatized and vulnerable in society, particularly in developing countries. Haiti is no exception and this was recently highlighted by the brutal murders of three deaf women who were walking home together at night. This triple murder has sparked protests and other advocacy from disabled rights groups who are trying to change the perceptions of disabled people in Haiti. Nicole Phillips, an IJDH Staff Attorney who is now working on this case, is quoted in this article.Slaying of 3 deaf women in Haiti highlights vulnerability
David McFadden, AP
April 25, 2016
LEVEQUE, Haiti (AP) — The three friends had spent the day stocking up on food in the Haitian capital when they left for their village, setting off on the 20-mile trip home by foot because the minibuses known as tap-taps weren’t running after a bridge collapse.
Their bodies were found the next morning in a ditch along the way. They had been beaten, stabbed and burned, and relatives who identified them in a morgue said their tongues were cut out in an apparent act of ritualistic savagery.
The women’s family and friends suspect they were targeted because they were deaf in a country where experts say a pervasive stigma isolates people with disabilities such as deafness and can spark superstitions leading to horrific cruelty. Disabled women and girls are particularly vulnerable.
Due to cultural prejudices and the weakness of the justice system, past crimes against disabled citizens have been largely ignored. But the slayings of Jesula Gelin, Vanessa Previl and Monique Vincent have galvanized Haitians with disabilities and prompted rare public protests by their advocacy groups.
Outrage is particularly acute in the village of Leveque, where the women lived in a community of 168 homes established by U.S. religious organizations for deaf people displaced by the 2010 earthquake. Gelin’s husband, Micheler Castor, now struggles there to raise their six kids alone.
“I can’t understand it,” Castor, also deaf, said in sign language of his 29-year-old wife’s killing. “She served the Lord and was a good wife and mother.”
Advocates for the disabled in Haiti say they hope what happened can chip away at the obstacles to justice and social inclusion faced by these most vulnerable citizens of the hemisphere’s poorest nation.
Around the globe, treatment of the disabled varies widely from country to country, but discrimination and barriers to inclusion are commonplace. Those problems are most severe in the developing world, where the World Health Organization says 80 percent of disabled people live.
“This case is very important. The disabled have made advances in Haiti, but there’s still far, far too much stigma and impunity,” Michel Pean, a blind activist who was Haiti’s first secretary of state for the integration of disabled people.
With pressure from that government agency, police have arrested three members of a family suspected of murdering the deaf women. Investigators say two women and a man are in custody, while the two men who are the main suspects are still being sought.
“We won’t rest until we get them all,” said Jentullon Joel, police commander in Cabaret, where the women were butchered in a cinderblock house off the main road.
The three women often prayed together, sold rice and popcorn in their community and regularly went to Port-au-Prince to buy supplies. Gelin and her two unmarried neighbors, both in their 20s, might have stayed overnight in the capital if they had known the bridge was out. But as darkness fell, they tried walking home instead.
Neighbors around the Cabaret property where they were killed said they didn’t hear any commotion that night. Associated Press journalists found the house locked from the outside, a skinny dog growling in the yard.
Joel said one suspect told investigators that the deaf women were killed by her husband because the family feared that they were werewolf-type creatures called “lougawou,” their disabilities the product of a hex.
Nicole Phillips, a human rights lawyer representing the victims’ families, said the trio only felt safe approaching the house in Cabaret that night because one of the deaf women was apparently a distant relation of a person who lived there.
There’s another suspected superstitious motive that detectives are investigating. Some soothsayers claim they can mystically increase chances at winning bets at ubiquitous Haitian lotteries if they are brought body parts like tongues from fresh corpses.
“I believe they picked them to cut their tongues to play the lottery,” Castor signed in his tiny home, shaking his head beneath a poster of the Ten Commandments and holding a well-worn family photo showing his wife.
Whatever the motive, the killings have left many shocked and shamed in Haiti, where advocates estimate that roughly 10 percent of the population, or about 1 million people, have some disability.
Although life has never been easy for Haiti’s disabled, the 2010 earthquake that toppled buildings across Port-au-Prince and surrounding areas increased awareness and empathy for amputees as it greatly expanded the disabled ranks with those who lost limbs. There has been some progress making more public buildings accessible to disabled people and strengthening rehabilitation therapy.
But some Haitians believe other disabilities are contagious or caused by a hex. Those who are deaf, blind, or developmentally or mentally disabled are still marginalized and face neglect and abuse. They are routinely called “cocobe” — a Haitian Creole insult that implies they are worthless.
Haiti has legal protections for the disabled on paper, but the laws are poorly implemented. Disabled Haitians have few opportunities to work and too many youngsters with disabilities languish out of sight at home instead of going to school. Some impoverished parents abandon disabled kids outside state institutions or farm them out as domestic servants.
Kathryn Montoya, a U.S. woman who founded a ministry called the Haiti Deaf Academy, said locals initially protested the relocation of deaf families to Leveque in 2012. Since then, hearing villagers have learned some sign language and interactions have improved.
“The greatest challenge is to have Haitians understand that deafness is not a curse or a disease, that deaf people are just as intelligent as hearing people and often even smarter,” Montoya said from the U.S. state of Idaho.
Deaf residents of Leveque feel so vulnerable after the women’s slayings that a number are considering abandoning their homes. They now sleep with machetes by their beds.
“I’m afraid that what happened to them could happen to me,” hearing-impaired Fedeline Saint Previl said below a hilltop church where other deaf residents prayed in near silence.
Click HERE for the original article.
In 2010, United Nations peacekeepers brought cholera to Haiti. That is the same year that UN camps for Romas in Kosovo were demolished because the toxic land was making the residents sick. Thousands of Haitians and Romas have died or become ill through UN negligence and the UN is now beginning to take responsibility for what happened in Kosovo. Does this mean it will soon take responsibility for what happened in Haiti as well? There are many parallels between the two cases, as this article describes.
Part of the article is below. Click HERE for the full text.Will the UN ever accept responsibility for Haiti’s devastating cholera epidemic?
Rosa Freedman & Nicolas Lemay-Hébert, The Conversation
April 25, 2016
What happens when a humanitarian organisation meant to protect people instead causes them grave harm? That has long been the question where it comes to the UN’s peacekeeping operations. From sexual violence to looting, from deaths caused by drink-driving to property damage, a great many individuals have been harmed by peacekeepers, and the structures to provide protection and remedy range from threadbare to non-existent.
But it’s another thing altogether when the harm done is attributable not to individual peacekeepers, but to UN operations in general. Two of the gravest examples of this have occurred in recent years: the Haiti cholera epidemic, and the poisoning of Roma in displaced persons camps in Kosovo.
For years, there have been fights to secure justice for both sets of victims. But while Haiti’s struggle goes on, in the Kosovan case, it looks like a major breakthrough has been made.
Click HERE for the full text.
Haiti’s final round of elections has been postponed once again as the interim government prepares to verify the previous rounds. Former president Martelly’s party, PHTK, has joined the international community in standing against a verification with Martelly going so far as to write a letter to interim president Privert. In response to Martelly’s condemnation of the continued election delays, Privert’s supporters reminded Martelly that he played a major role in the elections being so badly delayed in the first place.
Part of the article is below. Click HERE for the full text.As Haiti misses presidential runoff deadline, protests scheduled
Jacqueline Charles, Miami Herald
April 23, 2016
Once more, Haiti is missing an election deadline Sunday — and will not have an elected president in office by May 14, the date stipulated in a Feb. 5 political accord to transfer power from the country’s current caretaker government to an elected one.
According to the political accord, Haiti’s 5.8 million voters should be heading to the ballot box. But a weeks-long political battle over the formation of the interim government, the late seating of a new elections body and the calls for a vote recount led to no official scheduling of the date by the Provisional Electoral Council, and no presidential decree officially calling voters to the polls.
“Today for the elections to happen you have to ask ‘Do the conditions exist?’ ” provisional President Jocelerme Privert told the Miami Herald during a visit to the United Nations where Haiti was among 175 countries Friday that signed the Paris climate agreement. He expects an elections calendar to be published by the end of May, he said.
Click HERE for the full text.
Enfin, il y aura une commission de vérification des élections, que de nombreux Haïtiens demandent depuis des mois. Le président du conseil électoral (CEP), cependant, dit que la commission ne peut pas ordonner à la CEP de mener à bien ses recommandations. Selon lui, il appartient à la branche exécutive, et la formation de la commission est une décision politique, donc le CEP travaillera séparément pour exercer ses fonctions.
Partie de l’article est ci-dessous. Cliquez ICI pour le texte complet.« Aucune recommandation n’est imposable au CEP », a tranché Léopold Berlanger
22 avril 2016
Contrairement aux termes de référence portant création de la Commission de vérification électorale, le président du Conseil électoral provisoire a déclaré que le CEP n’était pas tenu d’appliquer les recommandations de cette structure. A l’issue d’une rencontre vendredi au Parlement avec les sénateurs, Léopold Berlanger a fait savoir que le BCEN allait vérifier la véracité des recommandations de la commission avant que l’institution électorale décide de l’appliquer ou pas.
« Personne ne peut faire des injonctions au CEP qui est une instance indépendante », a fulminé le président du CEP à l’issue de sa rencontre avec les sénateurs. Selon Léopold Berlanger, on ne peut pas demander à l’institution électorale d’exécuter le travail de la commission de vérification électorale. Avec cette déclaration, M. Berlanger rejette la dernière partie de termes de référence disant que la commission de vérification recommandera « des mesures d’ordre exécutoire au pouvoir exécutif et au CEP susceptibles de rétablir la confiance dans le processus électoral et de garantir la sincérité des résultats ».
Pour Léopold Berlanger, de même que n’importe quel citoyen peut faire des recommandations, la commission de vérification peut faire aussi des recommandations. « Une fois que le président de la République fait acheminer le rapport de la commission au CEP, l’institution électorale va actionner un BCEN qui aura à vérifier la véracité du travail », a déclaré le numéro un du CEP. Le BCEN, atil ajouté, délibérera sur le travail de la commission avant de le transmettre à nouveau au Conseil électoral.
Cliquez ICI pour le texte complet.
Once again, Haiti’s final round of presidential elections has been delayed. This time, the delay is meant to allow a verification of the results from previous rounds of elections, which supporters of a verification deem absolutely necessary for Haitians to regain confidence in the electoral process. The international community on the other hand, led by the United States, has been consistently anti-verification and has begun to withhold aid to Haiti in hopes of speeding the electoral process.
Part of the article is below. Click HERE for the full text.Haiti Update: The Political Impasse That’s Delaying the Presidential Runoff
Elizabeth Gonzalez, Americas Society/Council of the Americas
April 21, 2016
Sunday, April 24, marks the third time that Haiti’s presidential runoff election will be postponed. On April 17, the country’s Provisional Electoral Council (CEP) officially announced that the elections for the presidential runoff, six senatorial seats, and 27 congressional deputies will be delayed indefinitely, after earlier attempts to hold them on December 27 and January 24. Meanwhile, an interim government headed by President Jocelerme Privert and Prime Minister Enex Jean-Charles has 120 days, as of February 7, or until June 6, to carry out elections.
At the same time, international supporters are growing weary, as U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry made clear this month: “The Haitian players, the so-called leaders, need to understand there’s a clear limit to the patience and the willingness of the international community to condone this process of delay.”
The Political Impasse
At the heart of the political impasse is Privert’s call to create a verification commission, a move that some international and domestic players oppose. With ongoing protests since the first round of the presidential election on October 25, 2015, Privert says a review of the original results is necessary to regain voters’ trust.
Click HERE for the full text.
Sir Ronald Sanders, Antigua and Barbuda’s ambassador to the United States and the OAS, made a statement to the Miami Herald earlier this month, in support of an election verification in Haiti. Now, he’s added an op-ed to the conversation, further explaining how the legitimacy of Haiti’s next government is at stake if the verification doesn’t happen. Sanders makes a valid point that: “If Jovenel Moïse and Jude Célestin, who emerged from the first round as contenders, have faith in their electability, they should have no fear of verification.”
Part of the article is below. Click HERE for the full text.Don’t rush Haiti’s presidential vote
Sir Ronald Sanders, Miami Herald
April 20. 2016
Peace and development will be endangered in Haiti if the United States and other nations insist that the interim government holds the second round of a truncated election for president without a verification process of last October’s round of voting.
The secretary-general of the Organization of American States, Luis Almagro, who visited Haiti last week, was right to say that the Haitian authorities should be given time to organize the elections. He had invited me to accompany him to Haiti because I had led an earlier OAS mission that oversaw an agreement between the political players that led to the creation of an interim government after former President Michel Martelly left office in February when his term expired. Although I could not join him on this visit, I fully endorse his statement.Among the observer groups at the Oct. 25 elections was the OAS. At the time, we faced continuous claims from Haitians that the OAS contributed to foisting flawed election results by declaring them acceptable. Of course, this allegation was robustly resisted not only because it was absolutely untrue, but also because we knew it had become a convenient political crutch for all the candidates who had performed badly at the polls.…Click HERE for the full text.
In March, the United Nations Security Council adopted a resolution meant to respond to the growing scandal of peacekeepers raping and sexually abusing civilians. Unfortunately, the resolution only seems like a band-aid on the problem, given that it is not legally binding, relies on those who are responsible for the current culture of impunity to take action, and has vague terms that likely won’t lead to justice. It might be time for the UN to look for outside help to solve this problem.
Part of the article is below. Click HERE for the full text.Predatory Peacekeepers: The UN Responds to Sexual Exploitation and Abuse in CAR
Kathleen Bergin, The Disaster Law Page
April 19, 2016
In March, the UN Security Council adopted Resolution 2272 in response to ongoing revelations that French and west-African peacekeepers raped and sexually exploited civilians they were deployed to protect in the Central African Republic. The Resolution endorses a proposal by the Secretary General to return home the peacekeeping contingent of a country whose peacekeepers sexually abuse civilians.
Hold your applause.
The problem of predatory peacekeepers is decades old, having plagued operations in Kosovo, Sierra Leone, East Timor, Cambodia, Haiti, the DRC, and Liberia – to name just a few countries. More than a thousand accusations have surfaced since 2007 alone. It’s easy then, to shrug off the Resolution as a last-minute attempt to restore the UN’s damaged reputation – at least until it delivers concrete results.
Click HERE for the full text.
For the first time, the United Nations is trying to make the process of choosing a new Secretary General more transparent by welcoming public questioning of the candidates. This article lists some crucial questions for the candidates to think about regarding UN accountability for sexual abuse and the Haitian cholera epidemic brought by peacekeepers, climate change, having the first-ever female Secretary General, and more.
Part of the article is below. Click HERE for the full text.7 questions we want the candidates for U.N. secretary-general to answer
Tom Murphy and Lisa Nikolau, Humanosphere
April 15, 2016
Yesterday wrapped up the first-ever public questioning of the candidates vying for the post as the next head of the United Nations. The once completely opaque process is changing thanks to public campaigns and pressure from member countries. Declared candidates fielded questions from members of the U.N. General Assembly over the past three days.
Given the fact that the U.N. is taking steps to open up, we thought it might be worth sharing a few of the questions we’d like to see the next U.N. secretary-general answer. Weigh in with your questions in the comments.What will you do to stop the problem of sexual abuse among peacekeeping units?
There is a pretty major problem with the U.N.’s peacekeeping missions, especially in the Central African Republic.
Click HERE for the full text.