The communion of the Church: memory and hope for Haiti five years after the earthquake was the title of the conference which took place today in the Vatican. The event was organized by the Pontifical Council Cor Unum and the Pontifical Commission for Latin America in collaboration with the bishops of Haiti, and was a response to the Holy Father’s wish to maintain close attention to a country that continues to suffer the consequences of the earthquake, and to reiterate the Church’s closeness to the Haitian people during the reconstruction phase. Above all it offered the opportunity to present the balance of aid destined for the country and to analyze the results of the implementation of the projects carried out from 2010 to the present day. Continue reading Vatican conference remembers Haiti earthquake five years
Haitian team recognized for fighting for food democracy by promoting safe, healthy agricultural practices and advocating for peasant farmer rights.
The US Food Sovereignty Alliance announced Aug. 13 that a team of Haiti’s five largest peasant organizations won the fifth-annual Food Sovereignty Prize, an honor granted to grassroots groups for creating projects that create “food democracy” and combat hunger and poverty.
Food democracy refers to “bottom-up, communal and cultural approaches to deal with hunger and poverty,” according to Charity Hicks of the Detroit Food Justice Task Force, a group that sponsors the prize. Selected from 40 applicants, Haiti’s winning team represents more than a quarter million Haitians and fights for food democracy by promoting safe, healthy agricultural practices and advocating for peasant farmer rights.
Continue reading Small farmers win Food Sovereignty Prize
Haitian women workers tell of their experiences in sweatshops. These interviews, gathered over the past two years, are among many dozens that this writer has collected from Haitian sweatshop workers since the early 1980s. Not one has ever diverged from the narrative of miserable working conditions and the inability to feed, shelter, and educate their children on insufficient wages. Below, womentell of their experiences as sweatshop workers and offer their analysis on better types of jobs for Haiti. Continue reading Haitian Sweatshop Workers Speak: Sub-Poverty Wages and Sexual Coercion
By Jane Regan and Milo Milfort
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Feb 26 2013 (IPS) – Angry and frustrated, but also cautiously hopeful, victims, human rights advocates and the Haitian population are waiting for Thursday, Feb. 28, the day former dictator Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier has been ordered to appear at a hearing to determine whether or not he will face charges for human rights abuses committed during his brutal 15-year regime (1971-1986).
The order was issued on Feb. 21 when, once again, the 61-year-old ex-dictator refused to show up at court. The sweltering room was packed with representatives of foreign and local human rights groups, journalists and with some of the 30 victims who are suing Duvalier on the rights violations.
After listening to arguments from Duvalier’s lawyer, the three judges issued an order saying it was “imperative” that Duvalier come to a Feb. 28 hearing, with police escort if necessary. Continue reading All Eyes in Haiti on Duvalier Hearing
Thousands of protestors rally against increased cost of living.
Port-au-Prince was the scene of a massive march Sept. 30 against the administration of President Michel Martelly and the elevated cost of staple foods. The protest, organized by the Fanmi Lavalas party of former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide (1991, 1994-96, 2001-2004), also commemorated the first coup d’état against Aristide in 1991. Fourteen political opposition organizations backed the protest and accused the government of implementing “a demagogic policy against the people and against the country.” Continue reading Red card for Martelly
A new report published by Progressio, in partnership with CAFOD, SCIAF, HIV Aids Alliance and Tearfund, calls for the international community to encourage increased decision making at local level (or “decentralisation”) in Haiti. Haitian civil society voices argue in the report that taking decision at local level whenever possible is key to successfully tackling Haiti’s reconstruction and development challenges for the long term. Continue reading Haiti: new report highlights importance of making decisions locally
Beverly Bell and Alexis Erkert interview YVES-ANDRÉ WAINRIGHT, Haiti’s former two-time Environment Minister*
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Apr 24, 2012 (IPS/Other Worlds) – In honour of Earth Day, we run an interview with Yves-André Wainright, who discusses ways that poor governance and the role of foreign donors have contributed to the country’s environmental catastrophe.
He also lays out a blueprint for what could turn the situation around, effectively mobilising both government and the population to begin restoring the environment.
Yves-André Wainright served twice as Haiti’s minister of environment. Trained as an agronomist, Yves-André’s work has focused on environmental management, especially management of natural resources and waste.
His comments follow:
My approach towards management of the environment is to have Haitians who face (the same environmental) challenges come together. We might not all share the same economic interests, but if we work together, we can reach a compromise where one’s interest won’t trump another’s.
Current poverty levels can’t be used as an excuse for environmental mismanagement, like deforestation of watersheds or the poor construction of rural roads. More than an issue of technology or of funding, the challenge with environmental management in Haiti is a matter of governance. Continue reading Coming Together for Environmental Restoration in Haiti