Governance

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U.S. State Department Releases 2010 Human Rights Report for Haiti

  • Posted on: 11 April 2011
  • By: Bryan Schaaf

Each year, the U.S. State Department Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor  is mandated to release country specific human rights reports that address individual, civil, political, and worker rights, as set forth in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The 2010 Human Rights Report for Haiti, attached and copied below, indicates much remains to be done.  Protecting human rights is a critical element of governance and one which the new administration must take on as institutions and infrastructure are reformed and reconstructed.   Protecting human rights will help Haiti become a country that is more fair and just for the whole population, not just the rich and powerful.

Overseas Development Institute: Learning From the Haiti Response

  • Posted on: 4 November 2010
  • By: Bryan Schaaf

Without a doubt, post earthquake Haiti was a complex and difficult humanitarian situation.  However, the response could have been much better.  Below is a blog by Simon Levine which asks why we have not learned from past emergencies and why it is that we may not learn from this one as well.  Immediately after is a special issue of Humanitarian Exchange, published by the Overseas Development Institute (ODI), which explores the experiences of humanitarian actors involved in the earthquake response.  

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.      

Refugees International: Haiti Still Trapped in an Emergency

  • Posted on: 7 October 2010
  • By: Bryan Schaaf

Refugees International (RI) researchers Melanie Teff and Emilie Parry traveled to Haiti in September to assess the needs of Haitians displaced by the earthquake.  Attached and below are their findings.  For the displaced, this is still clearly an emergency.  Less than 30% of camps have managers, a serious problem given insecurity and the fact that the majority of the displaced are not going anywhere until the Haitian government develops a systematic approach for determining land ownership and resolving property disputes.  Most agree that the response of UN agencies could have been improved with better surge capacity, clarity over who is responsible for protection and a concerted effort to include Haitians in coordination efforts instead of shutting them out. 

 

Haitian Government Taps External Support to Reconstruct Port au Prince

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

A lack of clarity concerning land tenure, limited enforcement of architectural standards, and haphazard urban planning made Port au Prince a city that was both difficult to manage and highly vulnerable to natural disasters.  The Haitian government has reached out to an architectural planning charity, the Prince's Foundation for the Built Environment, founded by Britain's Prince Charles, for assistance in reconstructing the historic center of Port au Prince.  The Reuters article below provides further details about this new partnership.   

USAID Opens Apparel Training Center in Port au Prince

  • Posted on: 11 August 2010
  • By: Bryan Schaaf

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has announced the opening of an apparel training center in Port au Prince.  The intent is to help Haiti take advantage of expanded trade preferences under the Haiti Economic Lift Program (HELP) Act that passed the Senate in May 2010.  My main concern is that foreign investment, while sorely needed, will primarily occur in Port au Prince.  Building a better Haiti depends in large part on building a decentralized Haiti where agriculture is viable and profitable.  Rural development has been all too often neglected in Haiti, but is critical for the future.       

Recovery and Education in Haiti

  • Posted on: 31 July 2010
  • By: Bryan Schaaf

In the weeks to come, I’ll provide updates on recovery efforts in Haiti sector by sector.  Why start with education?  After an emergency or a natural disaster, schools provide an opportunity to protect children physically and psychologically.  It re-establishes a sense of routine, stability, and above all, hope for a better future.  Technical and vocational education will be critical for developing a new generation of skilled workers and leaders. Without educational reform, Haiti’s recovery and long term development will be held back.

Ten Critical Issues for Rebuilding Haiti

  • Posted on: 22 June 2010
  • By: Bryan Schaaf

Below is a report released by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on the current state of reconstruction efforts in Haiti.  It identifies ten critical issues for rebuilding Haiti.  A recurring theme is the tension between the desire for the Haitian government to lead and the reality that, without increased human and technical resources, it will not be able to do so.  Financial resources alone will not be sufficient.  The report also emphasizes the United States Government must do a better job of coordinating with the broader international donor community and ensure that it supports Haitian plans/priorities.  For now, Haiti remains at a crossroads between relief and development.  

U.S. State Department Releases 2010 Human Trafficking Report

  • Posted on: 14 June 2010
  • By: Bryan Schaaf

The U.S. State Department released its 2010 Annual Report on Human Trafficking today.  Haiti remains a source, transit, and destination country for human trafficking.  The most significant trafficking issue concerns restaveks – forced domestic servitude of young children given to (mostly) urban families by parents (mostly) from rural areas with larger families.  An estimated 225,000 children were enslaved as restaveks prior to the 2010 earthquake.  Even more children are vulnerable to exploitation in the earthquake’s aftermath.  Below is the Haiti section of the report, which includes recommendations for the Haitian government and the international community.

IDB to Increase Support for Renewable Energy in Haiti

  • Posted on: 18 April 2010
  • By: Bryan Schaaf

The Inter American Development Bank (IDB) has announced that it will significantly expand investment in renewable energy throughout Latin America and the Caribbean.  The IDB intends to spend one billion in Haiti to help develop a new energy infrastructure powered by wind, solar, and hydroelectricity.  The current fuel shortage in Haiti underscored the importance of renewable, domestic energy for the country's long term development.  Click here for a video clip of IDB President Moreno explaining the new initiative.  A fact sheet is also attached.  I'll include more information as I find it.

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