Human Rights

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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.   

Heifer International: Long-Term Solutions

  • Posted on: 7 September 2008
  • By: Bryan Schaaf

The food crisis has caused a lot of organizations to reevaluate their approach to food assistance. Moving further away from providing only short-term relief and investing in long-term agricultural development. Heifer International has been confronting hunger in more than 50 countries over the past 64 years, including Haiti. They adopted an innovative approach of "Passing on a Gift"-give an animal to a local family and they pass on the offspring to other families. Their projects in Haiti are definitely worth sharing.

Justice from Lot Bo Dlo?

  • Posted on: 22 May 2008
  • By: Bryan Schaaf


Last week, Haitian survivors of a brutal 1994 massacre by paramilitary leaders at last received a measure of justice. Unfortunately, it wasn't a Haitian court that dispensed it. It was a federal court in Florida. The Raboteau Massacre was a joint military/paramilitary attack on a pro-democracy neighborhood in a seaside slum during Haiti's 1991-1994 de facto military leadership, carried out on April 22, 1994. Up to 100 people were slaughtered, many of them as they ran toward the sea to escape. The next day, survivors of the attack filed complaints in Haiti with a local judge. In 2000, they won the convictions of 53 paramilitary leaders, some of them in absentia, and a damages award of $1 million gourdes. The trial was praised by international observers as fair to victims and defendants alike, and was one of the most important human rights trials ever in the Western Hemisphere.

America's Role in Haiti's Hunger Riots (Bill Quigley Report)

  • Posted on: 21 April 2008
  • By: Bryan Schaaf

Haiti Innovation expressed disappointment and irritation with last week's New York Times article describing a solution to Haiti's hunger. Today, circulating through blogs all over cyber space, human rights lawyer Bill Quigley released a compelling report: "America's Role in Haiti's Hunger Riots". He goes beyond the trite phrases describing Haiti and delves into the truth behind high food costs. So although Haiti "needs to better feed itself", countries such as the US need to allow this to happen. Mr. Quigley raises the question, "Thirty years ago, Haiti raised nearly all the rice it needed. What happened?".

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