Citizen Organizing & Politics

Home: From Displacement Camps to Community in Haiti

January 4, 2012

By Alexis Erkert and Beverly Bell

As 2012 begins, a growing movement of displaced people and their allies in Haiti is actively claiming the right to housing, which is recognized by both the Haitian constitution and international treaties to which Haiti is signatory.

Haitians displaced by the earthquake two years ago face many crises, but perhaps none worse than ongoing homelessness. One of the 520,000 people still living in displacement camps, [i] Dieula Croissey describes conditions where she lives in Cité Soleil: “We’re living in insecurity, our lives are threatened, our daughters are used.” In addition to insecurity and violence, especially against women, people living in camps face deteriorating shelter materials – shredding plastic tarps and tattered tents – hunger, and lack of adequate water or toilets. Despite Haiti’s declining rates of cholera infection,[ii] the dearth of sanitation options leaves real risk for contracting the disease. 

Reading Dangerously the Writings of Beverly Bell & Edwidge Danticat to End Violence Against #Haitian Women

December 22, 2011

By Karen Ansara

Originally posted here by the Ansara Family Fund at the Boston Foundation.

I am a “blan” and will always be a “blan.”  As a white woman of privilege I have to work at absorbing the souls, the laments, and the cries of triumph of my Haitian sisters.  Unless I do, I know that my meager gestures of solidarity will always be off the mark.  This past weekend which coupled Thanksgiving and the International Day to End Violence Against Women, I was grateful for the soul-witnessing of Haitian emigre Edwidge Danticat and “Blan” Beverly Bell, who is indeed Haitian in her soul after a lifetime of living and struggling on behalf of her people of Haiti.

Jubilee South: Indignation at the renewal of the MINUSTAH in Haiti, Press Release

October 17, 2011

Dialogue 2000 - Jubilee South

PRESS RELEASE by Jubilee South

Indignation at the renewal of the MINUSTAH in Haiti – Groups Call on Latin American and South governments to withdraw their troops

Buenos Aires, October 14, 2011 – Argentine Nobel Peace Prize LaureateAdolfo Perez Esquivel expressed indignation at the vote today to renewthe mandate of the UN Mission for Stabilization in Haiti (MINUSTAH)for another year, a decision he indicates that fails to take intoaccount the urgency of a profound transformation of internationalpolicies towards Haiti.

“MINUSTAH: Keeping the peace, or conspiring against it?”

October 12, 2011

By Deepa Panchang, Education and Outreach Coordinator, Other Worlds

Nou dwe sèl mèt bout tè sa a: We should be the only owners of this land.

This was Haitian protesters’ message at a demonstration last month against the UN peacekeeping mission in Haiti, known by its French acronym, MINUSTAH. October marks an upswing in press coverage and anti-MINUSTAH activity in Haiti in anticipation of Friday’s UN Security Council meeting, during which officials will vote on renewing the mission’s term for another year. Protests against the 7-year-old force have intensified since fall 2010, with heightened mobilization by grassroots groups calling for the withdrawal of the foreign troops from Haiti. Meanwhile, Brazil’s foreign minister, representing the country that contributes the largest troop contingent to MINUSTAH, has publicly announced a reduction in the number of troops amid mounting discussion in diplomatic circles about downsizing the force.

“We Are Tired of Living under Tents”

October 6, 2011

By Alexis Erkert, Another Haiti Is Possible Co-Coordinator, Other Worlds

On Monday morning, October 3, ten women stood across the street from the Ministry of Social Affairs, waving their arms, wailing and chanting. They were calling on Osany, of the pantheon of vodou lwa, or spirits, for assistance. The lyrics of their chant, repeated over and again, were patently simple:

Stop stealing this country’s money
This country’s money belongs to the poor.

For the immediate withdrawal of MINUSTAH troops from Haiti (letter to Ban Ki-Moon)

September 26, 2011

The following open letter was released last week calling for the immediate withdrawal of the United Nation's stabilization mission in Haiti, known by its French acronym, MINUSTAH. The mission is largely seen as an occupying force within Haiti given its record of human rights abuses and the political aims with which it was instituted by foreign powers, and it has been under mounting opposition in recent months.

Take Action to Support Haitians Facing Forced Evictions from Tent Camps

September 26, 2011

For a year and a half, Haitians, under the scarce protection of makeshift plastic shelter, have battled storms and sun, physical assault and food insecurity. Moreover, they’ve had to fight for their shelter itself – for the right to remain in the camps they’ve been obliged to call home. People left homeless by the earthquake have no other lodging beside camps. Yet faced with the inaction of the UN and large foreign NGOs in relocating displaced people and providing proper shelter, landowners, the government, and police increasingly resort to pushing people out of their camps and off the land.

Read on for Amnesty International's action alert.

Haiti: the responsibility of intellectuals is to give visibility to the creativity of the people

September 1, 2011

Camille Chalmers, the coordinator of the Haitian Platform for Alternative Development, was interviewed recently in Havana. 

The land of Toussaint L’Overture, shattered by the earthquake of January 12, 2010, scourged by a deadly cholera epidemic and occupied by international organisations – operating under the banner of humanitarian aid -- brings to mind one word: Help!, like the title of a poem by Anton Arrufat, in which the author refers to terrifying loneliness and asks the question: are there no more hands in the world?

In Haiti, “Homes and Land are the Source of Life”: International Forum on the Crisis of Housing in Haiti

May 31, 2011

Below are excerpts from the International Forum on the Crisis of Housing, held in Port-au-Prince May 19-21, 2011. During the forum, hundreds of Haitians, plus allies from around the Americas, developed strategies to force a solution to Haiti’s greatest crisis: homelessness. Almost 17 months after the earthquake, more than one in nine remain displaced in camps and in other dangerous and inhumane lodging. Neither the government nor the international community has offered any viable plan for resettlement of this population. On the contrary, government officials and private landowners are stepping up violent evictions of people in camps.


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