I hardly contemplate the number of times I turn on a water tap in a day or barely appreciate the fortune of flushing the toilet after each use. After spending just a few days in Haiti you come to see water as the "blue gold". Access to safe water for drinking and hygiene prevents disease and dehydration and allows for economic and social growth. The RFK Memorial Center for Human Rights, Partners in Health, and NYU Center for Human Rights and Global Justice are partnering together to assess the right to water in Haiti. The launch of the Right to Water report will take place in NYU School of Law on June 23rd.
Despite a letter signed by 54 members of Congress, the Treasury Department refused to support a Congressional request urging for immediate cancellation of Haiti's debt or a freeze on Haiti's current payments to the World Bank and others. Members of Congress recognize that in a time when Haitians continue to starve it is unethical to receive payments the country could use to feed its own people. A letter released last week from Assistant Secretary of Treasury for Legislative Affairs, Kevin Fromer, stated “there is no provision in HIPC [Heavily Indebted Poor Countries] that would allow Haiti to come to Completion Point now.” The press release below includes the reactions of Congressional and human rights leaders as well as links to the letters.