Citizen Organizing & Politics

Social Movements' Letter to UNASUR Demands Withdrawal of MINUSTAH Troops from Haiti

June 21, 2012

Last week, Latin American social movements sent the following letter to defense ministers of UNASUR member states, demanding accountability from the UN and withdrawal of MINUSTAH troops from Haiti. Distributed by our friends at Jubilee South.

Dear Sirs:

We commend the Ministers of Defense and the High Representatives for Foreign Relations of UNASUR’s Member States for the consideration given at their meeting at Asunción, Paraguay, on June 5, to the situation in our fellow country Haiti, and we support the recognition expressed in their Declaration of the importance of consolidating a policy, on behalf of UNASUR, of a sustained cooperation which “respects the sovereignty and the self-determination of the Haitian people” and which achieves “a tangible improvement in the living conditions” as the necessary basis of security and lasting peace.

We therefore urge UNASUR’s member states to take firm and effective measures in that direction, including the immediate withdrawal of the 4,929 occupying troops (including both soldiers and military police) currently deployed in Haiti by 10 of UNASUR’s 12 Member States; an end to the MINUSTAH mission and of all other foreign military presence; and furthermore an end to the impunity and absence of justice that have allowed the continued toleration of violations of human rights by these forces.

BIRTHING JUSTICE: And You, What Are You Waiting For?: A World without Slavery

June 16, 2012

 By Beverly Bell
June 16, 2012

Helia Lajeunesse |Port-au-Prince, Haiti

The restavèk system is modern slavery. When a family takes in a restavèk to live with them, they stop doing any work in the house. The restavèk child has to do everything. If the child doesn’t work hard enough, they beat them. The child can’t eat with the family, and usually doesn’t even eat the same food – just scraps. He or she sleeps on the floor, often in the kitchen. They don’t pay the child; they just give them a little food. They never send him or her to school. The family views that child as an animal.

Fighting Fire in Haiti

March 28, 2012

By Alexis Erkert
March 28, 2012

When police and the landowner commanded Michelène Pierre to vacate her tent on a Sunday afternoon so that they could light it on fire, she responded: “If you want to light me on fire along with this entire camp, go ahead. I’m not leaving.” The police bypassed her tent, but continued to threaten other residents of Camp Kozbami, setting flame to six tents.

Camp Kozbami is the fifth camp to be arsoned in two months. As landowners and the government push to close camps inhabited by those displaced by the earthquake that rocked Haiti 26 months ago, a reported 94,632 individuals are facing forced eviction.

“When it rains, we will grow again”: Haitian women observe International Women’s Day

March 14, 2012

 

by Alexis Erkert, photos by Ben Depp

March 14, 2012


“As activists, we commemorate this as a day of struggle, a day to make our voices heard until someone pays attention and helps provide solutions to our problems." Facing the Haitian parliament with a throng of banner-waving and singing women at her back, Rachelle Fondechaine of Women Fighting for the Development of Haiti continued, "Today is March 8th! It's a day when women workers in New York first took to the streets in to demand their rights in 1857. This day is marked in our memories, and as women in Haiti, we have no support, we are left in the street, our children don't have access to school...”

New Survey Shows Residents of Haiti’s Capital Have Negative View of UN Troops and Feel They Should Compensate Victims of Cholera

March 6, 2012

February 15, 2012
Contact: Mark Schuller, mschuller@york.cuny.edu

A newly published survey indicates that a majority of residents of Haiti’s capital have a negative opinion of UN troops stationed in Haiti. The survey of over 800 households throughout Port-au-Prince shows that less than a quarter of respondents considered that the presence of the U.N. Stabilization Mission in Haiti (or MINUSTAH) is a “good thing” while a majority feel that the troops aren’t providing adequate security.  A large percentage (43.9%) of respondents believed that MINUSTAH agents are or have been engaged in criminal activities such as violence, theft and rape.

Open Letter for the Prosecution of Jean-Claude Duvalier

January 26, 2012

Before the end of the month, a Haitian judge will decide whether or not "Baby Doc" Jean-Claude Duvalier will face trial for the crimes against humanity committed during his 15-year dictatorship. Charges include corruption, embezzlement, murder, torture, exile, arbitrary detention and destruction of private property. Duvalier, who for 15 years succeeded his father "Papa Doc" Duvalier's brutal regime, returned to Haiti in January 2011 and was charged three days later.

A coalition of Haitian human rights organizations and individuals have written an open letter urging President Martelly to take the Duvalier case seriously.

Haiti’s New Industrial Park Hailed by Officials, Condemned by Local Activists

January 25, 2012

From NotiCen
January 20, 2012

As government officials, diplomats, and representatives of international finance institutions celebrated at a groundbreaking ceremony for a new industrial park in the north of the country, Haitian grassroots media organizations have published a report that casts serious doubt on the wisdom of the project.

New Book & Upcoming Events: "Tectonic Shifts: Impacts of Haiti’s Earthquake"

January 11, 2012

 

We’d like to introduce a new book, Tectonic Shifts: Impacts of Haiti's Earthquake (Mark Schuller and Pablo Morales, Eds., Kumarian Press), an anthology in which two Other Worlds staff have chapters. In Tectonic Shifts, Haitian and international activists, journalists, and scholars lay out the politics of aid and disaster capitalism, and civil society efforts to reshape reconstruction in a way that prioritizes human rights and Haitian leadership.

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.

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