The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights has appointed William O’Neill as an independent expert on human rights in Haiti He will monitor the human-rights situation in Haiti and provide advice and technical assistance to the Haitian government, national human rights institutions and civil society organisations. Promoting respect for human rights should be an important aspect of re-establishing security, and one hopes, longer term development in Haiti. The full article by Jacqueline Charles of the Miami Herald is linked and follows.
As Haiti's largest city, what happens in Port-au-Prince impacts the whole country - including hospitals which are unable to acquire fuel for their generators. Hospitals with solar power have been better able to cope. Konbit Sante helped the Hopital Convention Baptiste d’Haiti (HCBH) in Cap Haitien purchase solar panels which, in this sunny country, ensures at least some power is available. Below is an update from Konbit Sante on the situation in Cap Haitien. Updates from NGOs outside Port-au-Prince remind us that Haiti's struggles are nationwide.
Last month, the U.S. State Department released the 2014 Trafficking in Persons Report. As in previous years, the report noted serious shortcomings in the Haitian government's efforts to prevent and respond to human trafficking. There is some good news, though - in 2014 the Haitian government enacted a law to criminalize human trafficking which is a welcome and much-needed step. The country narrative for Haiti follows below.
As a result of Constitutional amendments published Tuesday, Haitians abroad now have the right to own land and run for lower levels of offices. Another amendment specifies that 30% of all government workers should be women. A new electoral council is also to be created. The hard work now comes in implementing these changes. An Associated Press article by Evens Sanon concerning the amendments follows below.
The U.S. State Department Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor (DRL) is mandated to release annual country-specific human rights reports that address individual, civil, political, and worker rights, as set forth in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The 2011 Haiti Human Rights Report is copied below. Haiti's development depends in large part upon the extent to which human rights are protected, especially for the vulnerable. That takes the engagement of civil society and a government with the capacity and political will to do so. As the report makes clear, much remains to be done before we get there.
The response to the Haiti earthquake in 2010 was exceedingly complicated and much did not go well. According to ALNAP, over 45 evaluations to date have examined why. The attached report by the Brookings Institution examines one shortcoming in particular - the failure to protect women and children in an urban environment. Haitian cities remain vulnerable to natural disasters - women and children should be at the forefront of prevention and response.
Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) conditions in Port-au-Prince were not good even before the devastating January 2010 earthquake. Perversely, the poor often paid the most for drinking water. Against this backdrop, a number of international organizations and non-governmental organizations are working with the Haitian government to help establish a more effective and equitable water system. One of these non governmental organizations, International Action, has been involved with water related issues in Haiti since 2006. Below is an update as to their latest activities.
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.
Fonkoze, Haiti's most successful micro-lending institution, has released its annual report. After a year of growth in 2009, the earthquake was a major blow to its operations. Ten Fonkoze branches were severely damaged or destroyed. Four hundred and fifty staff lost their homes and over 19,000 clients lost homes and/or businesses. Fonkoze responded by expanding support to earthquake affected clients, including the use of micro-insurance as a tool to help rebuild their livelihoods. Attached is both the annual report and an impact analysis. Below is a summary of their 2009 and 2010 activities.
This week marked six months since the earthquake. According to President Preval, it also marked the week that the emergency phase ended and reconstruction began. Yet at the same time residents of the Corrail Cesselesse camp were struggling with the consequences of a rain storm that destroyed up to 300 tents and caused 1,700 to seek emergency shelter. With the rainy season underway, the situation is precarious for the displaced. Security, especially for women and children, is still a major concern. Is this an emergency operation, a reconstruction effort, or both?