Solidarity With Haiti: Investigate Cholera & MINUSTAH Must Go
The following petition has been issued by the newly-founded UnityAyiti coalition in Boston, Massachusetts. Please sign it and circulate it widely! A Kreyol language version will soon be issued. Find the petition online at http://www.unityayiti.org/ or on CHAN website here.
Sign the petition here: http://www.change.org/petitions/view/solidarity_with_haiti_investigate_cholera_minustah_must_go.
Here is the petition summary. Scroll down for entire petition text.
Targeting: The President of the United States, H.E. Susan E. Rice (Permanent Representative, United States, UN Security Council), Mr. David McKean (Foreign Affairs, Senator John Kerry), see more...The President of the United States, H.E. Susan E. Rice (Permanent Representative, United States, UN Security Council), Mr. David McKean (Foreign Affairs, Senator John Kerry), H.E. Mr. Zhang Yesui (Permanent Representative, China, UN Security Council), Mr. Bill Clinton (Former U.S. President, Clinton-Bush Haiti Fund), H.E. Mr. Jean-Maurice Ripert (Permanent Representative, France, UN Security Council), Mr. Edmond Mulet (MINUSTAH Head of Mission), H.E. Mr. Vitaly Churkin (Permanent Representative, Russian Federation, UN Security Council), Mr. Ban Ki-Moon (Secretary General, United Nations), H.E. Sir John Sawers (Permanent Representative, United Kingdom, UN Security Council), Mr. David Wade (Chief of Staff, Senator John Kerry), and Ms. Hillary Clinton (Secretary of State, United States)
Started by: Kim Borba
For six years, MINUSTAH (the UN "peacekeeping" operation in Haiti) has been a repressive source of violence, human rights abuse, and the suppression of Haitian peoples' sovereignty and self-determination. Haitians have organized and consistently called for an end to MINUSTAH'S occupation, but they are not being heard. They deserve our solidarity.
In recent weeks, evidence has emerged that the deadly cholera outbreak originated at a UN base near Mirebalais, where MINUSTAH troops dumped raw sewage into a Haitian waterway. This revelation, along with the UN's refusal to investigate, has rightfully inspired a new wave of outrage among Haitian groups.
The dumping of fecal matter into Haiti's water sources is a perfect metaphor for the way in which MINUSTAH has treated Haiti throughout its occupation, and the refusal to investigate demonstrates the impunity under which MINUSTAH operates. It is time to put an end to the human rights abuses and stand in solidarity with our Haitian friends.
Join us in the call for:
1) an independent investigation into the source of the cholera outbreak, and
2) an end to MINUSTAH's occupation.
Thanks for signing, and please help us spread the word!
CALLING for an independent investigation into the source of Haiti’s cholera epidemic, and
JOINING Haitian protesters in demanding an end to MINUSTAH presence in Haiti
The United Nations “stabilization” force in Haiti, MINUSTAH, has recently drawn attention as the probable source of the recent cholera outbreak (1). A Nepalese MINUSTAH base near Mirebalais was seen dumping sewage into a nearby river where the outbreak originated, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control announced recently that the emergent cholera strain matches that endemic in South Asia (2). Perhaps more disturbing than this link is the U.N.’s failure to properly investigate the issue. In the one investigation reported to date, the results were reported from labs owned by MINUSTAH itself (3). None of the parties involved have been truly neutral: The CDC commander Scott Dowell is presiding over a sluggish investigation whose results, in his own words, “we may never know.” He also admitted the agency would be cautious about revealing information because “it’s a politically sensitive issue for our partners in Haiti.” The WHO has said an investigation is “not a priority right now” (3).
This insult is actually “one more shameful U.N. betrayal” on the long list of MINUSTAH’s human rights violations in Haiti (4). Five billion dollars were spent on the force between 2004 and 2009, and there are currently 13,331 troops & officers in the country (5). What have been the effects of this plethora of funding and personnel? Since 2004, MINUSTAH has served as an agent of repression, undermining popular movements and political expression through direct violence (6). By keeping a lid on demands for better working wages, food price controls, and an end to foreign domination of Haiti’s economy, MINUSTAH has helped keep Haiti safe for U.S. manufacturing and agribusiness interests (2,6). The force has participated in repression campaigns that killed more than a thousand supporters of the Lavalas party (that of former president Jean-Bertrand Aristide) between 2004 and 2006, and engaged in shootouts in the poor neighborhoods of Cite Soleil and Bel Air, killing hundreds and instigating a climate of fear and violence while undermining the voice and unity of these communities (7,8,9). The wording of its mandate, which claims protection of democratic processes and human rights, has been rashly violated. Even in recent days, MINUSTAH troops have fired upon peaceful demonstrators protesting MINUSTAH’s presence itself, killing at least three people (10).
The rage that vast numbers of Haitians are expressing towards MINUSTAH is more than justified. They are responding to years of subversion and violence, and now obfuscation of the source of a deadly epidemic. The poor sanitary conditions exacerbating the epidemic are themselves linked to U.S. political intervention which blocked funds for water infrastructure in 2001, as well as the recent all-out failure of the humanitarian response (also run by the United Nations) which has left more than 1.3 million people still living under plastic in Port-au-Prince, in mud-clogged camps with hardly any sanitation or potable water (11, 12, 13).
Those of us who are residents of the United States, the largest voting member of the United Nations, reject complicity with the crimes being committed in Haiti. All of us as citizens of the world stand in solidarity with Haitians fighting the foreign domination of their country, in demanding the following:
1. MINUSTAH should agree to an independent investigation of the base in Mirebalais. We mirror Haitian demands in requesting this, and believe that Haitians deserve to know the facts surrounding this imported pathogen (14). Dr. Paul Farmer, U.N. deputy special envoy for Haiti, has called for an “aggressive investigation,” saying the refusal to look into the matter is "politics to me, not science” (2). The investigation should be conducted by an independent commission composed of professional scientific examiners and Haitian human rights groups, and not affiliated with the U.N. or organizations that have supported MINUSTAH (such as WHO or CDC). Previous examples of such include collaborations with independent research institutions/university groups that have successfully investigated MINUSTAH in the past (7).
2. In light of the absence of any credible efforts at reform and accountability, much less attempts to enter into a dialogue with the large numbers of Haitians who take issue with MINUSTAH's presence, we join the Haitian protesters in demanding MINUSTAH's departure from the country.
1. The Associated Press, “UN Probes Base as Source of Cholera Outbreak,” October 27, 2010.
2. Cholera in Haiti Matches Strains Seen in South Asia, U.S. Says. New York Times, November 1, 2010. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/02/world/americas/02haiti.html
3. Jonathan Katz.U.N.Worries its Troops Caused Cholera in Haiti. Washington Post, November 19, 2010. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/11/19/AR20101…
4. Peter Hallward. Haiti: one more shamefulU.N.betrayal. The Guardian (UK). November 23, 2010. http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/nov/23/haiti-shameful-un-b…
5. Camille Chalmers. Rejection of MINUSTAH. Alterpresse. October 15th, 2010. http://www.papda.org/imprimer.php3?id_article=695 and
Security Council, Renewing Haiti Mission Mandate in Resolution 1944 (2010), Looks to Review of Situation after Pending Elections, New Government. SC/10054. October 14, 2010. http://www.reliefweb.int/rw/rwb.nsf/db900sid/MUMA-8A99XQ?OpenDocument
6. Hallward, Peter. Damming the Flood: Haiti, Aristide, and the Politics of Containment. 2007: Verso, London.
7. Thomas M. Griffin, Haiti Human Rights Investigation: November 11–21, 2004 (Center for the Study of Human Rights, University of Miami Law School).
8. Harvard Law Student Advocates for Human Rights and Centro de Justiça Global, Keeping the Peace in Haiti? (Cambridge, Massachusetts; São Paulo, March 2005);
9. The Cite Soleil Massacre Declassification Project. http://www.cod.edu/people/faculty/yearman/cite_soleil.htm and
UN in Haiti Accused of Second Massacre. Haiti Action. January 21, 2007. http://www.haitiaction.net/News/HIP/1_21_7/1_21_7.html and
Maria Luisa Mendonca.U.N.Accused of Human Rights Violations in Haiti. http://www.worldpress.org/Americas/3056.cfm. January 29, 2008.
10. Ansel Herz. Anger Erupts at U.N. as Cholera Toll nears 1,000. November 16, 2010 http://ipsnews.net/newsTVE.asp?idnews=53567 and
Ansel Herz. “All Elements of Society are Participating” – Impressions of Cap Haitien’s Movement Against the UN. November 19, 2010. ://www.mediahacker.org/2010/11/all-elements-of-society-are-participating-i…
11. NYU School of Law Center for Human Rights and Global Justice, Partners in Health, RFK Memorial Center For Human Rights, and Zanmi Lasante, Wòch nan Soley: Denial of the Right to Water in Haiti (2008), rfkcenter.org/node/66.
12. Al Jazeera. Hurricane Tomas Drenches Haiti. November 5, 2010. http://english.aljazeera.net/news/americas/2010/11/201011535326487805.h…
13. Mark Schuller. “Unstable Foundations: Impacts of NGOs on Human Rights for Port-au-Prince’s Internally Displaced People,” report published by CUNY and the Faculté d’Ethnologie, Université d’État d’Haïti: http://ijdh.org/archives/14855
14. Epidémie de Choléra: L'Etat Haitien doit fixer la responsabilité de la MINUSTAH. (Cholera Epidemic: The Haitian State Must Determine MINUSTAH’s Responsibility). Réseau National de Défense des Droits Humains (National Human Rights Defense Network). November 3, 2010. http://rnddh.org/article.php3?id_article=462