Haitian Social Organizations Demand Dissolution of Reconstruction Commission

Call to not renew the mandate of the HIRC

The following appeal (Google translation from French original) was issued April 15. It is a follow up to the March 31 appeal of 40 Haitian social organizations calling for the dissolution of the Haiti Interim Reconstruction Commission. The English translation of that original appeal is enclosed in this posting, below.  For the original in French, see here.

Friday, April 15, 2011
A few days before the start of a new legislature (the 49th) and installing a new head of state in Haiti, the organizations signing this note, call to parliamentarians and those who compose Executive to take all necessary measures to restore the state a set of essential functions without which the fundamental rights of the population, such as the right to food, education, health, housing worthy, will never be guaranteed.

More specifically, we demand the withdrawal of the law passed April 15, 2010 by the Haitian Parliament granting a parallel organization to the State, namely the IHRC (Interim Commission for the Reconstruction of Haiti), the power to " implement the Development Plan for Haiti in response to the consequences of the earthquake that devastated the country January 12, 2010.

Information and ideas generated here and there to suggest an extension of the mandate of the IHRC is being planned. How to accept the renewal of an illegal institution and which moreover has totally failed? In this case, what is the validity of this approach of the next prime minister of the future government to present its policy by the two front rooms? This whole exercise is meaningless because the IHRC has its own strategic plan.

Note that since the establishment of this Commission, emerges the clear impression that the state of Haiti, already seriously weakened by decades of ultra-liberal policies, no longer exists. For almost all the fundamental questions of national life and for any action to respond to the plight of people affected by the earthquake, officials refer to international organizations and / or IHRC. Despite the presence within it of 12 "representatives" of Haitian society, the HRIC has built no legitimacy given the designation process of these people and the lack of organic links aves sectors they purport to represent. Besides these representatives have formally confessed in December 2010 their marginalization from decision-making process.

Recent statements by Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive, suggesting that the IHRC and the state would operate in parallel, can only increase the concerns already expressed by various sectors in the creation of this commission, April 15, 2010, Exactly one year ago.

On the first anniversary of this important decision of the Haitian Parliament creating the IHRC, we, members of Haitian society organizations signed the note, reaffirm our position on this commission asking her disappearance pure and simple. We recommend that the coordination of aid linked to the process called "reconstruction" is assured by the Prime Minister's Office together with the Presidency and that funds are channeled through the ministries and other state structures and managed seamlessly with vigilance and participation of civil society in Haiti.

For this, we urge MPs not to come back in this game is to extend this structure unconstitutional what the IHRC. We encourage them in preference to do everything possible to help the country move in the lanes leading to the recovery of its sovereignty in all its dimensions.

For the committee to follow up resolutions of 26 March 2011:

Colette Lespinasse, Coordinator GARR
Camille Chalmers, Executive Director of the PAPDA
Antonal Mortimer, Executive Secretary POHDH


Statement of 40 Haitian Organizations: "We demand the removal of the HRIC"

The following is an unofficial translation of an article that appeared in Le Nouvelliste, April 1, 2011: http://lenouvelliste.com/article.php?PubID=1&ArticleID=90907&PubDate=2011-04-01. The full text of the statement, in French, is here: http://www.papda.org/article.php3?id_article=751.

For failing to keep its promises one year after the international donors' conference in New York City, friends of Haiti are invited to discount from their plans for aid and development any place for the Haiti Interim Reconstruction Commission, the body created to oversee Haiti's reconstruction. Forty organizations, including POHDH, PAPDA and GARR, are raising their voices and denouncing the lack of progress of this organization.

Port au Prince, Haiti--"A double exclusion is being practiced by the Haiti Interim Reconstruction Commission (HIRC), of state institutions and the social movements." That is the conclusion drawn by some forty organizations calling for the dissolution of the HRIC. In a position paper issued March 31, 2011, the organizations, including some working in the field of human rights, consider that after a year of promises of reconstruction, with billions of U.S. dollars, "nothing significant has really been undertaken. "

"We reaffirm that an alternative construction of our country and the viability of a future different from today's process involves a radical break with current practices," says the oranizations' statement.

They blame the HRIC for a lack of results after one year of operation and for not breaking with the failed development approaches and practices of the past. "Quite the contrary, we are witnessing an acceleration of all the indices of a widespread decline and regression", they complain, stressing that these approaches have, over the years, impoverished and rendered vulnerable the Haitian population.

"Our analysis and evidence leads us to conclude that Haitian society continues to be locked into the same traps of exclusion, dependency, and ignorance of our strengths, our resources, our identity. All this was outlined in our statement issued March 19, 2010. The structures of domination and dependence have been reproduced and reinforced by the constellation of agencies including MINUSTAH, the HRIC and large international NGOs,"notes the group that includes the Platform of Advocacy for an Alternative Development (PAPDA), the Platform of Haitian Human Rights Organizations (POHDH), the Support Group for Refugees and Returnees (GARR), Popular Organization of Small Peasants (Tet Kole Ti Peyizan ayisyen), the Zanmi Timoun Foundation, and SAJ- Veye yo.

The statement notes the harrowing testimony about the deterioration of living conditions in the country by people residing in the displacement camps, the rural poor, women, journalists and writers, faith organizations, and people active in health care health that was delivered to a meeting that took place in Port au Prince on March 26. "Everyone pointed to the lack of response from the state to the most urgent social problems, precarious living conditions particularly of displaced persons, forced evictions and the growing trend towards privatization of health services, education, drinking water," says the statement.

According to the signatories of the statement, dominant forces have completely marginalized the extraordinary outpouring of solidarity that was manifested among Haitians in the wake of the earthquake.

"We demand the removal of the HRIC, whose existence is an affront to our collective dignity," say these organizations, who are joined by several peasant organizations. Budgets for specific projects for the rehabilitation and development of new infrastructure should be managed by the competent organs of the state in each of the areas concerned. We must put an end to the creation of parallel bodies that accelerate the destruction of the state. We call instead for the introduction of new and effective mechanisms under social control that would ensure the participation of majority sections of the populaltion in decision-making and strategic direction. "

The signatories of the statement explain some of the recurring problems facing the nation. "It is unacceptable that in the early 21st century, nearly 50% of the population is illiterate, almost 700,000 children are not enrolled in school, and 630 women die per 100,000 live births, they say, rejecting a model of growth that is hyperconcentrated, foreign-oriented, anti-peasant and against the national interest, based as it is on sweatshop labor investments, super-exploitation, speculation and monopoly control.

The organizations denounce the relations between Port-au-Prince and the rest of the country, between men and women, and the lack of will to build social services that are accessible and universal. They argue for a break "with the colonial legacy of the country and rejection of attitudes that convey utter contempt for our culture and our historical path."

CONCLUSION OF THE STATEMENT:

In the name of all the victims of the earthquake on January 12, 2010, we demand the elaboration and implementation of a new social project in Haiti. The current plan called the Action Plan for National Recovery and Development (PARDN), concocted by experts without the involvement of vital sectors of the nation, does lead us in that direction.

We signatories of this declaration commit ourselves more than ever to a process of proposals and mobilization in order to achieve a genuine alternative construction plan for Haiti.

March 31, 2011

For organizations that participated in the meeting:

Colette Lespinasse, GARR
Camille Chalmers, PAPDA

Signatory organizations:

1. APWOLIM
2. CMD-OD
3. Vedek
4. MOPP
5. KONSA
6. KPSKBM
7. RACPABA
8. MITP
9. SOFA
10. MOREPLA
11. TET KOLE TI Peyizan ayisyen
12. SAKS
13. KLK
14. SM
15. GREDESH
16. PAPDA
17. GARR
18. SAKA
19. AJMDH
20. ASCOEH
21. SAJ / Veye Yo
22. POHDH
23. Foundation Zanmi Timoun
24. FGPB
25. ARDFD
26. CAMP tABARRA ISSA
27. ICKL
28. DEER
29. Sek Gramsci
30. Camp Juampi - Lascohabas
31. CEAAL-Haiti
32. DARC