Human Rights

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Interaction Releases Reports on Improving Protection and Preventing GBV in Haiti

  • Posted on: 3 November 2010
  • By: Bryan Schaaf

Most agree that efforts to protect the safety, dignity and rights of the most vulnerable populations (women, children, the disabled, the elderly, etc.) in post earthquake Haiti could and should have been more effective. Women and children are still vulnerable to a range of protection threats including sexual abuse/exploitation and human trafficking.  Interaction, an advocacy group for American non-governmental organizations (NGOs) has released two reports, on improving protection and on preventing and responding to gender-based violence (GBV) respectively.  Both are thorough, well thought out, and are copied below.      

Haiti Water Challenge Launched at Clinton Global Initiative

  • Posted on: 23 September 2009
  • By: Bryan Schaaf

At the opening plenary of the 2009 Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting, Water.org co-founders Matt Damon and Gary White announced a $2 million commitment to provide 50,000 people in Haiti with safe water and sanitation over the next three years. Water.org has also launched a social media campaign so that anyone can participate in meeting the water challenge in Haiti.  Click here to learn how you can become involved with either your time, financial support, or both.  

Child Slavery in Haiti: CNN Covers Jean Robert Cadet Foundation

  • Posted on: 16 July 2009
  • By: Bryan Schaaf

"Timoun se moun" (children are people too).  In Haiti, far too many children are treated as less than people.  CNN's Sanjay Gupta recently travelled to Haiti to learn more about the restavek practice.  His blog is below.  All social problems have solutions, and while the attention of foreigners to this issue is welcome, lasting change must come from within.  One person fighting to bring about this change is Jean Robert Cadet, who was himself a restavek fourty years ago.  He has gone on to found the Jean Robert Cadet Foundation and has devoted his life to ensuring no one else experiences what he did.  Far from a victim, he is a hero and a change agent.

RFK Center Completes Advocacy Trip to the Dominican Republic

  • Posted on: 6 July 2009
  • By: Bryan Schaaf

Stateless in the DRKerry Kennedy of the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Center for Justice and Human Rights recently completed an advocacy mission to the Dominican Republic.  The racism against those with darker skin can be so intense that travelling there feels like going back in time.  Haitians and Dominicans of Haitian descent are routinely denied citizenship, making them vulnerable to abuse and exploitation.  While meeting with government officials, Kennedy urged them to work with local human rights defenders such as Sonia Pierre, who despite winning the 2006 RFK Human Rights Award, has been treated not as a hero, but a threat.  Her trip summary is copied blow.  

State Department Releases 2009 TIP Report: Haiti and the DR

  • Posted on: 22 June 2009
  • By: Bryan Schaaf

Human trafficking is a global problem that affects every country in the world.  Last week, the U.S. State Department released its 2009 annual report on how well partner governments are preventing and responding to human trafficking. Understanding trafficking in Haiti requires understanding the situation in the Dominican Republic.  Neither country complies with minimum standards for eliminating trafficking, although both governments acknowledge the need to do more. This is an issue that clearly requires cross-border collaboration.

The Long Wait: Reproductive Health Care in Haiti

  • Posted on: 26 May 2009
  • By: Bryan Schaaf

JSI Research & Training Institute, Inc. is a health research/consulting firm dedicated to improving the health of individuals and communities worldwide.  JSI visited Haiti in January 2009 to identify gaps in the availability and accessibility of reproductive health (RH) services and to assess community responses for strengthening quality, accessibility and availability.  Reproductive health is a social issue, a public health issue, a human rights issue, a security issue, and one that is important for countries that are fragile, stable, or in Haiti's case, teetering in between.  The report is attached and deserves to be widely read.

Stay with Me: An Evening of Hope for Haiti’s Restaveks (Friday, June 5)

  • Posted on: 23 May 2009
  • By: Bryan Schaaf

It is a sad irony that child slavery still exists in the only country to have led a successful slave rebellion.  On June 5th, Beyond Borders and the Calvary Baptist Church in Washington DC will host an event to raise awareness (and possible solutions) for the restavek crisis in Haiti.  Sociologist and Pastor Dr. Tony Compolo will speak as well Alina Cajuste and Helia Lajeunesse.  Alina and Helia are former restaveks who went on to become members of grassroots movements against child exploitation.  Below are Alina and Helia's stories and a schedule for the event which is free and open to the public.  If you can participate, please register online

Haiti and the Dominican Republic: Same Island, Different Worlds

  • Posted on: 21 May 2009
  • By: Bryan Schaaf

The relationship between Haiti and the Dominican Republic could be described as schizophrenic.  On one hand, the heads of both governments get along well.  This has opened up opportunities for cross border cooperation in health, business, and infrastructure.  For example, the Dominican government now sells subsidized propane to Haiti.  Recently, the Dominican President even called for the Ibero-American Community to admit Haiti as a gesture of solidarity.  However, the mistreatment of Haitians and Dominicans of Haitian descent in the Dominican Republic prevents both countries from becoming less like adversaries and more like neighbors. 

Haiti's Lost Girls: Sexual Violence in Cite Soleil

  • Posted on: 9 March 2009
  • By: Bryan Schaaf

Thank you to Lindsay Poulton for sending us this investigative video footage by the London Guardian concerning sexual violence in Haiti.  The piece notes how gender based violence has often been used as  a weapon, especially in the slums and during periods of conflict.  Protecting women and children is absolutely essential for countering a culture of impunity and promoting a society that respect human rights - not just for some of us, but for all of us.

State Department Releases 2008 Human Rights Report for Haiti

  • Posted on: 2 March 2009
  • By: Bryan Schaaf
Each year, the State Department Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor is mandated to release country specific human rights reports.  The reports covers internationally recognized individual, civil, political, and worker rights, as set forth in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.  Human rights is fundamental to development.  While some progress was made in 2008, it is clear that we still have a long way to go.  Haiti's report is copied below and you can find the other country reports here.   

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