PopMuse: Haiti News http://popmu.se Musings of stuff en-us Copyright 2007-2019 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/ José Miguel Vivanco https://www.hrw.org/about/people/jose-miguel-vivanco https://www.hrw.org/about/people/jose-miguel-vivanco Thu, 01 Jan 1970 00:00:00 UTC at Haiti Jos� Miguel Vivanco, director of Human Rights Watch's Americas division, is a general expert on Latin America. Before joining Human Rights Watch, Vivanco worked as an attorney for the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights at the Organization of American States (OAS).� In 1990, he founded the Center for Justice and International Law, an NGO that files complaints before international human rights bodies. Vivanco has also been an adjunct professor of law at Georgetown University Law Center and the School of Advanced International Studies at John Hopkins University. He has published articles in leading American and Latin American newspapers and is interviewed regularly for television news. A Chilean, Vivanco studied law at the University of Chile and Salamanca Law School in Spain and holds an LL.M. from Harvard Law School. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/ Haiti: Investigate Protest Deaths https://www.hrw.org/news/2019/03/22/haiti-investigate-protest-deaths https://www.hrw.org/news/2019/03/22/haiti-investigate-protest-deaths Thu, 01 Jan 1970 00:00:00 UTC at Haiti Expand Men look at protesters marching to demand an investigation into what they say is the alleged misuse of Venezuela-sponsored PetroCaribe funds, in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, November 18, 2018.� � REUTERS/Andres Martinez Casares (Washington, DC) – Haitian authorities should ensure the prompt, thorough, and independent investigation of killings that took place during the February�2019 demonstrations, Human Rights Watch said today.�� Thirty-four people were killed and 102 injured – including 23 police officers – in the course of these demonstrations as police sought to patrol and control the crowds and remove barricades protesters had erected, according to the United Nations Mission for Justice Support in Haiti.� “Haitian authorities should investigate the use of force by police during these protests, and ensure that any police officer who used excessive force is held accountable,” said Jos� Miguel Vivanco, Americas director at Human Rights Watch. Thousands of Haitians took to the streets in October and November 2018, in response to revelations that billions of US dollars meant for infrastructure were missing from the Venezuelan-sponsored PetroCaribe fund. They resumed in early February after the government declared a state of economic emergency, with demonstrators expressing discontent over the cost of living and calling for President Jovenel Mo�se to resign. The UN Mission said that during the October protests, police using excessive force injured 44 protestors and killed 3 others. It also reported allegations that police using excessive force caused 21 casualties, including 6 deaths, during the November protests. The government announced in January that it would pursue civil and criminal action against individuals implicated in the PetroCaribe scandal.� http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/ Haiti https://www.hrw.org/world-report/2019/country-chapters/haiti https://www.hrw.org/world-report/2019/country-chapters/haiti Thu, 01 Jan 1970 00:00:00 UTC at Haiti Political instability continued in 2018 to hinder the Haitian government’s ability to meet the basic needs of its people, resolve long-standing human rights problems, or address humanitarian crises. In July 2018, the government’s announcement that it would eliminate subsidies, allowing fuel prices to increase by up to 50 percent, led to widespread protests and the worst civil unrest the country has seen in years.�A resurgence of gang violence has led to further instability. The National Human Rights Defense Network (RNDDH) researched a November 13 incident in La Saline in which it alleges at least 59 people were killed and called for an official investigation, including into the alleged involvement of members of the Haitian National Police and other officials. Haitians remain susceptible to displacement by natural disasters, including tropical storms and hurricanes. In October, an earthquake left 17 people dead and over 350 injured. More than 140,000 households still need decent shelter, more than two years after Hurricane Matthew in which between 540 to 1,000 people died, according to different estimates. As of May 2018, nearly 38,000 people, 70 percent of them women and children, lived in displacement camps formed after the 2010 earthquake. Authorities have not provided assistance to resettle them or return them to their places of origin. As of May, at least 17 of 26 remaining displacement camps lacked adequate sanitary facilities. The country’s most vulnerable communities continue to face environmental risks, such as widespread deforestation, pollution from industry, and limited access to safe water and sanitation. Low rainfall exacerbates food insecurity in the country. Since its introduction by UN peacekeepers in 2010, cholera has infected more than 800,000 people and claimed nearly 10,000 lives. However, intensified control efforts—including an ambitious vaccination campaign—have resulted in a significant decline in cases, from more than 41,000 suspected cases and 440 deaths in 2016, to just over 3,000 suspected cases and 37 deaths from January through August 2018. Criminal Justice System Haiti’s prison system remains severely overcrowded, with many inmates living in inhumane conditions. In 2016, the United Nations estimated that nearly all inmates in Haiti’s national prison system have access to less than one square meter of space and most are confined for 23 hours a day. According to the former UN Independent Expert on Haiti, overcrowding is largely attributable to high numbers of arbitrary arrests and the country’s large number of pretrial detainees. �In July 2018, Haitian prisons housed nearly 12,000 detainees, 75 percent of whom were awaiting trial. Illiteracy and Barriers to Education Illiteracy is a major problem in Haiti. According to the UN Development Programme (UNDP), approximately one-half of all Haitians age 15 and older are illiterate. The quality of education is generally low, and 85 percent of schools are run by private entities that charge school fees that can be prohibitively expensive for low income families. At least 350,000 children and youth remain out of primary and secondary school throughout the country. Accountability for Past Abuses Accountability for past human rights abuses continues to be a challenge in Haiti. In August, a federal court in the United States ruled that a case alleging torture, murder, and arson—in the rural town of Les Irois in 2017 and 2018—could proceed against a former Haitian mayor now living in the US, Jean Morose Viliena. The lawsuit was filed�on behalf of Haitian media activists and human rights defenders who survived a campaign of violence allegedly led by Viliena and his political supporters. As of November 2018, a re-opened investigation into crimes committed by former President Jean-Claude Duvalier’s collaborators remained pending. Duvalier died in 2014, six months after the Port-of-Prince Court of Appeal ruled that the statute of limitations could not be applied to crimes against humanity and ordered that investigations against him should continue for human rights crimes allegedly committed during his tenure as president from 1971-1986. Allegations of violations include arbitrary detentions, torture, disappearances, summary executions, and forced exile. Women’s and Girls’ Rights Gender-based violence is a widespread problem. Haiti does not have specific legislation against domestic violence, sexual harassment, or other forms of violence targeted at women and girls. Rape was only explicitly criminalized in 2005, by ministerial decree. There has been little progress towards consideration of a criminal code reform submitted to parliament in April 2017 that would address some of these gaps in protection. The draft criminal code would also partially decriminalize abortion, which is currently prohibited in all circumstances, including in cases of sexual violence. Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people continue to suffer high levels of discrimination. In 2017, the Haitian Senate passed two anti-LGBT bills, which were under consideration by the Chamber of Deputies as of November 2018. One bill would regulate conditions for the issuance of the�Certificat de Bonne Vie et M�urs, a document that many employers and universities require. The bill lists homosexuality, alongside child pornography, incest, and commercial sexual exploitation of children, as a reason to deny a citizen a certificate. The other bill calls for a ban on gay marriage, as well as any public support or advocacy for LGBT rights. Should the ban become law, “the parties, co-parties and accomplices” of a same-sex marriage could be punished by three years in prison and a fine of about US$8,000. Children’s Domestic Labor Widespread use of child domestic workers—known as restav�ks—continues. Restav�ks, most of whom are girls, are sent from low-income households to live with wealthier families in the hope that they will be schooled and cared for in exchange for performing household chores. Though difficult to calculate, some estimates suggest that between 225,000 and 300,000 children work as restav�ks. These children often work for no pay, are denied education, and are physically or sexually abused. Haiti’s labor code does not set a minimum age for work in domestic services, though the minimum age for work in industrial, agricultural, and commercial enterprises is 15. In February 2016, the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child called on Haiti to criminalize the practice of placing children in domestic service. Deportation and Statelessness for Dominicans of Haitian Descent At least 250,000 Dominicans of Haitian descent and Haitian migrants working in the Dominican Republic re-entered Haiti between June 2015 and March 2018, after Dominican officials began deportations in accordance with a controversial 2015 Plan for the Regularization of Foreigners in the Dominican Republic. Many deportations did not meet international standards and many people have been swept up in arbitrary, summary deportations without any sort of hearing. In addition to those deported, many people left the Dominican Republic under pressure or threat. Of more than 6,000 under investigation, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) has verified legitimate Dominican nationality for more than 2,800 individuals now in Haiti. During the first six months of 2018 alone, nearly 70,000 Haitians were returned to their country. After being renewed three times, the Plan for the Regularization of Foreigners ended in August 2018, leaving more than 200,000 Haitians who remain in the Dominican Republic without valid paperwork at continued risk of deportation. Mining and Access to Information In the past decade, foreign investors have pursued the development of Haiti’s nascent mining sector. In July 2017, the Haitian government presented a draft mining law to parliament, prepared with assistance from the World Bank. According to the Center for Human Rights and Global Justice (CHRGJ), the draft law grants insufficient time for adequate environmental review, restricting the government’s ability to thoroughly study the documentation and limiting opportunity for public participation or comment, and is silent on the rights of individuals displaced by mining activities. In addition, it contains provisions that could render all company documents confidential for 10 years, preventing affected communities from engaging in meaningful consultation about mining projects. As of November 2018, the draft law was awaiting consideration by parliament. Key International Actors At the end of the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti’s (MINUSTAH’s) mandate in October 2017, the UN adopted a new, smaller peacekeeping mission, the UN Mission for Justice Support in Haiti (MINUJUSTH), intended to contribute to help promote rule of law, police development, and human rights. In April, the Security Council extended MINUJUSTH’s mandate for one year. The council also affirmed its intention to consider the mission's drawdown and transition to a non-peacekeeping mission by October 2019. In 2016, the secretary-general apologized for the UN’s role in the cholera outbreak and announced a new approach to cholera in Haiti. This included intensifying efforts to treat and eliminate cholera and establishing a trust fund to raise $400 million to provide “material assistance” to those most affected by the epidemic. As of November 2018, only $17.7 million had been pledged to the effort. The UN has concluded a pilot consultation in the area where cholera started, but has indicated that funds will be used for community projects, regardless of consultation outcomes. Victim advocates have criticized the UN for failing to put victims at the center of its response. According to figures from the UN Office of Internal Oversight Services, at least 102 allegations of sexual abuse or exploitation were made against MINUSTAH personnel between 2007 and 2017. In December 2017, 10 Haitian mothers of 11 children fathered and abandoned by UN peacekeepers filed the first legal actions in Haiti for child support. In June, Haiti announced that Oxfam Great Britain had lost its right to operate in the country, after a scandal involving sexual exploitation by staff engaged in relief activities following the 2010 earthquake. In its April concluding observations on Haiti, the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities found that adults and children with disabilities face ill-treatment and chaining in institutions and that women with intellectual disabilities may face contraceptive procedures without their consent. The committee also criticized the absence of legislation prohibiting discrimination based on disability; failure to promote independent living in the community; and laws that deny people with disabilities legal capacity. In October, a federal judge issued a preliminary injunction temporarily blocking the decision by President Donald Trump’s administration to terminate Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Haitians effective July 2019, which would affect an estimated 60,000 Haitians who were permitted to stay in the US following the 2010 earthquake. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/ New Americas Treaty Boosts Environmental Rights https://www.hrw.org/news/2018/10/10/new-americas-treaty-boosts-environmental-rights https://www.hrw.org/news/2018/10/10/new-americas-treaty-boosts-environmental-rights Thu, 01 Jan 1970 00:00:00 UTC Human Rights Watch at Haiti A new treaty to deepen the link between environmental protection and human rights in Latin America and the Caribbean has the potential to reduce the conflicts that lead to the murders of so many environmental defenders in the region.� The signing ceremony for the Escaz� Agreement took place at the Headquarters of the United Nations in New York on September 27. Heads of State and ministers of 15 countries arrived to the ceremony: Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Brazil, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Saint Lucia and Uruguay. �� It was a highly symbolic and significant moment for the millions of people in the region who suffer the consequences of pollution and pressure on natural resources. I am thinking of Isidro Baldenegro L�pez, leader of the Tarahumara indigenous people in Mexico’s northern Sierra Madre mountain region. He dedicated his life to defending the Sierra Tarahumara forest and the land that his people had inhabited for centuries and was shot dead in January 2017. Or take the case of Agust�n Wachap�, a Shuar indigenous leader who opposes mining in the Ecuadorian Amazon. He endured a 17-month ordeal after he was charged with inciting violence after a December 2016 clash with the police over a mining project, even though the prosecution presented no meaningful evidence to support the charges. Or the pervasive climate of fear and impunity felt by members of indigenous communities who organize to defend the Amazon forest in the Brazilian state of Maranh�o, and who face threats and intimidation by illegal loggers.�� The first steps on the road to Escaz� - the place in Costa Rica where 24 countries from the region adopted the agreement on March 4 - go back to the UN Conference on Sustainable Development --Rio +20, in 2012. There 10 countries from the region, led by Chile and Costa Rica, initiated a process toward a regional agreement on people’s rights to information, participation and justice in environmental matters. As early as 1992, at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, the participants had proclaimed these environmental rights as the cornerstone of sustainable development. In 1998, Europe incorporated those rights into its treaty, the Aarhus Convention. The Escaz� Agreement follows the Aarhus model. At its core, Escaz� sets standards for informed participation in environmental decisions and access to environmental justice. The agreement guarantees the public's right to information on environmental issues, while at the same time ensuring their right to informed participation in the environmental approval process for investment projects. The agreement also eliminates obstacles to environmental justice, including requiring support for people or groups in vulnerable situations. In certain respects, Escaz� goes beyond Aarhus. For example, it recognizes the right to live in a healthy environment and requires each participating country to guarantee that right in its steps to comply with the treaty. As this right has not yet been recognized at the global level, Escaz� may help push the rest of the world to fill that gap. Reacting to the dramatic increase in environmental conflicts in the region, Escaz� is also the first international treaty that includes specific protections for environmental defenders. As Michel Forst, a United Nations human rights expert, has made clear, the threats, aggression, and fatal attacks on environmental defenders are often a direct result of the exploitation of natural resources that does not take into account the legitimate demands and concerns from local communities. Measures to protect environmental defenders are a step in the right direction, offering hope to individuals and groups that defend the environment and their communities, and that are under threat in the region. The road to Escaz� was marked by more than five years of hard work after Rio +20, marked by an intense dialogue between the countries and nongovernmental groups in the region. Few international negotiations open up like this to allow the public to take the floor in real time and enrich the debate with their ideas and proposals. The dialogue and the effort paid off.� Escaz�’s new tools for international cooperation will strengthen the capacity of countries to achieve global goals, such as the sustainable development goals of Rio +20 and the climate change commitments of the Paris Agreement. However, despite its benefits, an international treaty is not a magic recipe. The acute environmental and human rights problems of a region as diverse and complex as Latin America and the Caribbean require intervention from a variety of angles. However, civil society in these countries has great hopes that a binding agreement such as Escaz�, in which the environment and human rights go hand in hand, can be a milestone on the road to ending the region’s environmental conflicts. The countries of Latin America and the Caribbean should sign and ratify the Escaz� Agreement, and so take advantage of this landmark opportunity to signal a real commitment to sustainable development, human rights and democracy. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/ Haiti https://www.hrw.org/world-report/2018/country-chapters/haiti https://www.hrw.org/world-report/2018/country-chapters/haiti Thu, 01 Jan 1970 00:00:00 UTC at Haiti Political instability in 2017 hindered the Haitian government’s ability to meet the basic needs of its people, resolve long-standing human rights problems, or address continuing humanitarian crises. The United Nations peacekeeping mission operating in Haiti for the past 13 years ended in October. A smaller mission replaced it.� More than 175,000 individuals remained displaced in the aftermath of October 2016’s Hurricane Matthew, and many more faced food insecurity due to widespread damage to crops and livestock. As of September 2017, authorities had failed to assist many of the nearly 38,000 individuals still living in displacement camps since the 2010 earthquake in resettling or returning to their places of origin. The country’s most vulnerable communities continue to face environmental risks, such as widespread deforestation, pollution from industry, and limited access to safe water and sanitation. Almost one-third of people live with food insecurity due to the ongoing drought affecting much of the country. Since its introduction by UN peacekeepers in 2010, cholera has claimed more than 9,500 lives and infected more than 800,000 people. Cholera cases surged in October 2016 in communities most impacted by Hurricane Matthew. There were more than 41,000 suspected cases and 440 deaths in 2016. The number of cases has since declined significantly due to intensified cholera control efforts, including an ambitious campaign in which more than 800,000 people were vaccinated. Only 11,916 suspected cases of cholera and 118 deaths had been reported from January to October 2017. Electoral Crisis In October 2015, elections were deferred indefinitely due to allegations of fraud. To thwart a constitutional crisis when President Michel Martelly’s term ended in February 2016 without an elected successor, the National Assembly selected Jocelerme Privert as a provisional president until a new one could be elected. In June 2016, a special commission confirmed fraud and irregularities in the 2015 presidential and run-off parliamentary elections and scheduled a new first-round presidential election to be held in October. The elections were further postponed due to Hurricane Matthew and finally took place in November 2016. Jovenel Mo�se won 56 percent of the vote. In response to fraud allegations made by opponents, an electoral tribunal conducted a verification process and confirmed Mo�se’s victory in January. Mo�se was sworn in on February 7, 2017. Criminal Justice System Haiti’s prison system remained severely overcrowded, with many inmates living in inhumane conditions. In 2016, the United Nations estimated that nearly all inmates in Haiti’s national prison system have access to less than one square meter of space and most are confined for 23 hours a day. According to the UN, overcrowding is largely attributable to high numbers of arbitrary arrests and the country’s large number of pretrial detainees. In May 2017, Haitian prisons housed more than 10,000 detainees, 71 percent of whom were awaiting trial. Illiteracy and Barriers to Education Illiteracy is a major problem in Haiti. According to the UN Development Fund, approximately one-half of all Haitians age 15 and older is illiterate. The quality of education is generally low, and 85 percent of schools are run by private entities that charge school fees that can be prohibitively expensive for low income families. More than 500,000 children and youth remain out of primary and secondary school. Hurricane Matthew significantly impacted access to education, damaging 1,633 out of 1,991 schools in the most hard-hit areas. Accountability for Past Abuses The Human Rights Committee has called on Haiti to continue investigations into financial and human rights crimes allegedly committed during former President Jean-Claude Duvalier’s tenure as president from 1971-1986. It has called on Haiti to bring to justice all those responsible for serious human rights violations committed during that time. Allegations of violations include arbitrary detentions, torture, disappearances, summary executions, and forced exile. Duvalier died in 2014, six months after the Port-of-Prince Court of Appeal ruled that the statute of limitations could not be applied to crimes against humanity and ordered that investigations against him should continue. As of November 2017, a re-opened investigation into crimes committed by Duvalier’s collaborators remained pending. Violence against Women Gender-based violence is a widespread problem. Haiti does not have specific legislation against domestic violence, sexual harassment, or other forms of violence targeted at women. Rape is only criminalized according to a 2005 ministerial decree. In March 2016, the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women called on Haiti to expedite the adoption of a draft law on violence against women. The political crisis prevented progress towards consideration of the bill or a similarly pending criminal code reform that would address gaps in protection. Destruction from Hurricane Matthew has forced many people to migrate to Port-au-Prince, leaving women and children in temporary shelters and camps, where they are more vulnerable to abuse. Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) persons continue to suffer high levels of discrimination. In June 2017, the Haitian Senate introduced a bill regulating conditions for the issuance of the�Certificat de Bonne Vie et M�urs, a document that many employers and universities require. The bill lists homosexuality, alongside child pornography, incest, and commercial sexual exploitation of children, as a reason to deny a citizen a certificate. In August 2017, the Haitian Senate passed another bill calling for a ban on gay marriage, as well as any public support or advocacy for LGBT rights. The bill states that “the parties, co-parties and accomplices” of a homosexual marriage can be punished by three years in prison and a fine of about US$8,000. The Senate approved both these bills, which were awaiting a vote in the Chamber of Deputies as of November 2017. Children’s Domestic Labor Widespread use of child domestic workers—known as restav�ks—continues. Restav�ks, most of whom are girls, are sent from low-income households to live with wealthier families in the hope that they will be schooled and cared for in exchange for performing light chores. Though difficult to calculate, some estimates suggest that between 225,000 and 300,000 children work as restav�ks. These children are often unpaid, denied education, and physically or sexually abused. Haiti’s labor code does not set a minimum age for work in domestic services, though the minimum age for work in industrial, agricultural, and commercial enterprises is 15. In February 2016, the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child called on Haiti to criminalize the practice of placing children in domestic service. Deportation and Statelessness for Dominicans of Haitian Descent At least 200,000 Dominicans of Haitian descent and Haitian migrants working in the Dominican Republic re-entered Haiti between June 2015 and May 2017, after Dominican officials deported more than 27,000 people, along with another 24,254 who were deported without official documentation—in accordance with a controversial 2015 regularization plan for foreigners in the Dominican Republic. Many others left under pressure or threat. Many deportations did not meet international standards and many people have been swept up in arbitrary, summary deportations without any sort of hearing. Some of the poorest arrivals live in unofficial camps in the Anse a Pitres area, in harsh conditions with little or no access to basic services. Humanitarians relocated 580 families from these camps into housing in April and May 2016. Key International Actors In March, as insisted upon by Haiti, the UN Human Rights Council abruptly discontinued the mandate of the independent expert on the situation of human rights in Haiti, established in 1995. The UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) has been operating since 2004 and has a mandate to contribute to efforts to improve public security, protect vulnerable groups, and strengthen the country’s democratic institutions. Following the end of MINUSTAH’s mandate in October 2017, the UN adopted a new, smaller peacekeeping mission, the UN Mission for Justice Support in Haiti (MINUJUSTH). This successor mission began on October 16, 2017, and was slated to run for an initial six months. In October 2016, the UN deputy secretary-general announced the UN’s new approach to cholera in Haiti, which included intensifying efforts to treat and eliminate cholera, and establishing a trust fund to raise $400 million to provide “material assistance” to those most affected by the epidemic. In a special session of the UN General Assembly in December 2016, the secretary-general apologized on behalf of the UN’s role in the cholera outbreak, calling the provision of material assistance a “concrete expression" of the organization’s "regret" for the suffering of many Haitians. As of November 2017, only $13 million had been pledged to the New Approach from 33 member states. As of November 2017, no consultations had taken place between the UN and victims of cholera on the development of the material assistance package. Meanwhile, the UN has stated a preference for moving forward with community-based assistance projects instead of individual assistance for those whose family members have died from cholera. Victim advocates have criticized this as a departure from the promise to place victims at the center of the development of the new package. In August 2016, a United States federal court dismissed an appeal filed in 2013 by the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti and the Bureau des Avocats Internationaux on behalf of 5,000 victims of the epidemic. In August 2017, a federal judge dismissed the only remaining class-action suit seeking compensation for Haitians from the UN, affirming the organization’s assertion of immunity. According to figures from the UN Office of Internal Oversight Services, at least 102 allegations of sexual abuse or exploitation have been made against MINUSTAH personnel since 2007. The Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Haitians in the US is set to end in July 2019, and would affect an estimated 60,000 Haitians who were permitted to stay in the US following the 2010 earthquake. After that time, they will lose permission to work legally in the US and face deportation back to Haiti. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/ Haiti’s bid to end mandate of Independent Expert abrupt and non-consultative https://www.hrw.org/news/2017/03/21/haitis-bid-end-mandate-independent-expert-abrupt-and-non-consultative https://www.hrw.org/news/2017/03/21/haitis-bid-end-mandate-independent-expert-abrupt-and-non-consultative Thu, 01 Jan 1970 00:00:00 UTC at Haiti Once again, we are pleased to see such a strong focus on economic, social and cultural rights in your discussion of the five key aspects of the human rights situation in Haiti. The five key human rights concerns at focus in your report remain Human Rights Watch’s primary human rights concerns in Haiti as well. We agree that lack of literacy underlines the lack of opportunity many Haitians face. Ensuring gender equality in education outcomes, including for adult education outreach, is of particular importance. Therefore, targeted efforts to keep girls in school and to attain high-levels of education are needed. In addition, we welcome your attention to prolonged pretrial detention and the conditions of detention. Furthermore, we appreciate that your report tackles the ongoing cholera crisis. We also are encouraged by the new approach announced by the Secretary General to address the rights of victims and to eradicate cholera from Haiti. We also hope the Haitian government, with assistance from the UN and donors, take all necessary measures to put in place sanitation infrastructure to address the long-term structural problems related to accessing clean drinking water for the entire population. There are many important human rights issues that we could discuss, and that you could help carry forward. But let’s face it, there’s only one issue on the table today: the new Haitian government wants to axe your mandate.� At the first informal, they offered to create a new position of Minister for Human Rights, as you have recommended. But now even that appears to be off the table. Mr. Gallon, your mandate has consistently provided an important independent role in ensuring that all actors in Haiti with human rights obligations serve the needs of Haitians. The draft Presidential Statement would ask the High Commissioner to help identify goals, actions and timelines, but – bizarrely� - without the input of the one UN representative whose expertise is most relevant. While we recognize the wish of the new government to explore different approaches to technical assistance, there are alternatives to such an abrupt and non-consultative termination. We urge the government of Haiti to support renewal of the mandate so you can contribute to transitional arrangements, we urge the Council to support a process and outcome in which Haitians are consulted and feel ownership, and we urge the President of the Human Rights Council to ensure that any statement issued in his name responds to the needs of Haitians, and draws upon the expertise of the Independent Expert in articulating a vision for the future. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/ Haiti should not leave Civil Society out of decision on mandate https://www.hrw.org/news/2017/03/17/haiti-should-not-leave-civil-society-out-decision-mandate https://www.hrw.org/news/2017/03/17/haiti-should-not-leave-civil-society-out-decision-mandate Thu, 01 Jan 1970 00:00:00 UTC at Haiti We wish to congratulate Haiti on the inauguration of President Jovenel Moise in February of this year and hope that he and his administration will make human rights a priority. Human Rights Watch continues to have deep concerns related to dire public health conditions in Haiti among the most marginalized and vulnerable individuals. Despite accepting recommendations during the 2011 UPR to take steps to ensure access to basic services such as water, housing and health, many problems remain. When tracked in 2012, school- aged children had the highest incidence of cholera in the country, partly because the water and sanitation in schools did not comply with hygienic guidelines. The government’s commitment to enforcing guidelines for water and sanitation in all schools is crucial. Haiti should also address the tragic impacts of the Dominican Republic’s disastrous migration policies. At least 150,000 Haitian migrants and Dominicans of Haitian descent have entered Haiti since the law was implemented in 2015. Thousands in displacement camps receive little aid from the government or anyone else. During our September 2016 visit, many of those interviewed reported high levels of food insecurity, especially pregnant women and children who also suffer from a lack of basic medical care. We recall that in 2011 Haiti accepted UPR recommendations that food security be one its national priorities. While the Dominican Republic should address the arbitrary deprivation of citizenship of Dominicans of Haitian descent, Haiti can help stateless people residing in its own borders by establishing information desks to offer advice about how they can try to reclaim their rights. Haiti’s new administration inherits many human rights challenges: including overcrowding and poor health in prisons; the need to improve protection of child laborers, women, and human rights defenders; and, the imperative to secure justice for victims of the Duvalier administration. We are troubled by reports of threats against human rights defenders and deeply concerned at indications that Haiti may no longer support the important work and mandate of the Independent Expert. We would urge full consultation with civil society before any decision in this regard is taken.� http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/ Haiti https://www.hrw.org/world-report/2017/country-chapters/haiti https://www.hrw.org/world-report/2017/country-chapters/haiti Thu, 01 Jan 1970 00:00:00 UTC at Haiti The continuing political crisis in Haiti, spurred by contested presidential elections in 2015, led to a power vacuum at the head of state. President Michel Martelly’s term of office expired in February 2016, and the 120-day term of provisional President Jocelerme Privert expired in June, though he remained in office at time of writing. A new parliament took office in January 2016, after effectively shutting down in 2015, but continued protracted stalemates over presidential and remaining parliamentary elections hampered legislators’ ability to tackle pending priorities. The crisis hindered the Haitian government’s ability to meet the basic needs of its people, resolve longstanding human rights problems, or address continuing humanitarian crises, even as a new crisis emerged. In October 2016, Hurricane Matthew, a devastating storm, hit Haiti’s southwest. President Privert estimated the losses surpassed the entire national budget and warned of an impending serious food crisis, driven by the loss of crops from the storm. As of August, authorities had failed to assist many of the 61,000 individuals still living in displacement camps since the 2010 earthquake to resettle or return to their places of origin, and many continued to face environmental risks and the threat of forced evictions. An ongoing drought affecting much of the country pushed the number of people living with food insecurity to one-third of the population. Haiti’s cholera epidemic has claimed more than 9,300 lives and infected more than 780,000 people in five years. There were more than 21,000 suspected cases and, as of July, 200 deaths in 2016. Cholera cases surged in October in the communities most impacted by Hurricane Matthew. In November, an ambitious campaign aimed to vaccinate more than 800,000 people in seven days. Electoral Crisis Presidential and run-off parliamentary elections in October 2015 were contested, and second-round elections were deferred multiple times. To thwart a constitutional crisis when President Martelly’s term ended on February 7 without an elected successor, Martelly signed an agreement with the president of the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies that established a short-term solution. Prime Minister Evans Paul served in the presidency until the National Assembly selected a provisional president, Jocelerme Privert, to serve for a 120-day term, during which new presidential elections were scheduled. But the April elections were postponed, and Privert’s term expired before a successor was elected. At time of writing, Privert was still acting as president. In June, a special commission confirmed fraud and irregularities in the 2015 presidential and run-off parliamentary elections and scheduled a new first-round presidential election to be held in October. Presidential campaigning began in September. Due to Hurricane Matthew, the elections were further postponed and finally took place November 20. They proceeded without major reported incidents. At time of writing, the outcome of the November elections was not known. If none of the 27 candidates received more than 50 percent of the vote, a run-off election was scheduled for January 29, 2017. Criminal Justice System Haiti’s prison system remained severely overcrowded, with many inmates living in inhumane conditions. According to United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, nearly all of the almost 11,000 inmates in Haiti’s national prison system have access to less than one square meter of space and most face 23 hours of confinement a day. Overcrowding is attributed to high numbers of arbitrary arrests and overuse of pretrial detention. According to Ban, more than 70 percent of suspects are held pending trial. Although the UN and international donors have supported several initiatives to reduce the percentage, it barely budged in 2016. Illiteracy and Barriers to Education Approximately one in two Haitians age 15 and older is illiterate. The UN independent expert on Haiti said in 2015 that action to eradicate illiteracy is one of the top human rights priorities in Haiti. More than 200,000 children remain out of primary school in the country. The quality of education is generally low, and 90 percent of schools are run by private entities that charge school fees that can be prohibitively expensive for low-income families. In March, the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child called on Haiti to establish a comprehensive regulatory framework for—and to monitor regularly—private education providers, to ensure that, among other recommendations, they comply with quality standards and regularly report to relevant authorities on their financial operations, including on school fees and salaries. Accountability for Past Abuses The Human Rights Committee and the UN independent expert on Haiti have both called on Haiti to continue investigations into financial and human rights crimes allegedly committed during former President Jean-Claude Duvalier’s tenure as president from 1971 to 1986. They have called on Haiti to bring to justice all those responsible for serious human rights violations committed during Duvalier’s tenure. Allegations of violations include arbitrary detentions, torture, disappearances, summary executions, and forced exile. Duvalier died in 2014, six months after the Port-of-Prince Court of Appeal ruled that the statute of limitations could not be applied to crimes against humanity and ordered that investigations against him should continue. At time of writing, a reopened investigation into crimes committed by Duvalier’s collaborators remained pending. Violence against Women Gender-based violence is a widespread problem. Haiti does not have specific legislation domestic violence, sexual harassment, or other forms of violence targeted at women. Rape is only criminalized according to a 2005 ministerial decree. In March, the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women called on Haiti to expedite the adoption of a draft law on violence against women. The political crisis prevented progress towards consideration of the bill or a similarly pending criminal code reform that would address gaps in protection. Children’s Domestic Labor Widespread use of child domestic workers—known as restav�k—continues. Restav�ks, most of whom are girls, are sent from low-income households to live with wealthier families in the hope that they will be schooled and cared for in exchange for performing light chores. Though difficult to calculate, some estimates suggest that between 225,000 and 300,000 children work as restav�ks. These children are often unpaid, denied education, and physically or sexually abused. Haiti’s labor code does not set a minimum age for work in domestic services, though the minimum age for work in industrial, agricultural, and commercial enterprises is 15. In March, the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child called on Haiti to criminalize the practice of placing children in domestic service. Deportation and Statelessness for Dominicans of Haitian Descent At least 135,000 Dominicans of Haitian descent and Haitian migrants working in the Dominican Republic reentered Haiti between July 2015 and August 2016, after Dominican officials deported more than 27,000 people and another 24,254 were deported without official documentation, others fled under pressure or threat. This occurred in accordance with a controversial 2015 regularization plan for foreigners in the Dominican Republic. Many deportations did not meet international standards and many people have been swept up in arbitrary, summary deportations without any sort of hearing. � Some of the poorest arrivals live in unofficial camps in the Anse a Pitres area, in harsh conditions with little or no access to basic services. Humanitarians relocated 580 families from these camps into housing in April and May 2016. Key International Actors The UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) has been operating since 2004 and has contributed to efforts to improve public security, protect vulnerable groups, and strengthen the country’s democratic institutions. The UN Security Council has extended MINUSTAH's mandate through April 15, 2017. In August, prompted by a report of the UN special rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, a spokesperson for the UN secretary-general said that MINUSTAH needed "to do more regarding its own involvement in the initial outbreak and the suffering of those affected by cholera.” In October, the special rapporteur formally issued his report, criticizing the UN’s Office of Legal Affairs and alleging that the office came up “with patently artificial and wholly unfounded legal pretense for insisting that the [UN] must not take responsibility for what it has done.” The same month, the UN deputy secretary general announced the UN’s new approach to cholera in Haiti, which included both an intensification to treat and eliminate cholera, and plans to develop a framework for material assistance to those most affected by cholera. In a special session of the UN General Assembly in December, the UN secretary-general apologized on behalf of the UN. "We simply did not do enough with regard to the cholera outbreak and its spread in Haiti. We are profoundly sorry for our role,” he said. He called the provision of material assistance a “concrete expression" of the UN's "regret" for the suffering of many Haitians. Initial responses from victims were positive, although they highlighted that consultations for implementing the UN plans needed to be robust. In August, an appeal filed in 2013 by the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti and the Bureau des Avocats Internationaux on behalf of 5,000 victims of the epidemic was dismissed in United States federal court. At time of writing, no petition to the US Supreme Court had been filed. To date, there has been no independent adjudication of the facts surrounding the introduction of cholera and the question of the UN’s involvement.� According to figures from the UN Office of Internal Oversight Services, at least 102 allegations of sexual abuse or exploitation have been made against MINUSTAH personnel since 2007.� http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/ Haiti: Stateless People Trapped in Poverty https://www.hrw.org/news/2016/11/29/haiti-stateless-people-trapped-poverty https://www.hrw.org/news/2016/11/29/haiti-stateless-people-trapped-poverty Thu, 01 Jan 1970 00:00:00 UTC at Haiti Expand A pregnant woman rests on the floor while attending a Sunday mass at a camp for Haitians and Dominicans of Haitian descent returning or deported from the Dominican Republic on the outskirts of Anse-a-Pitres, Haiti, September 6, 2015.� � 2015 Reuters (New York) – Pregnant women and young children, many stripped of their Dominican citizenship before being pushed across the border into Haiti, are living in deplorable conditions, Human Rights Watch said today. They are among thousands of Dominicans of Haitian descent who, since mid-2015, have been forced to leave the country of their birth, including through abusive summary deportations by the Dominican government. “Not only have many been deprived of their right to nationality, they are not getting the assistance they so desperately need,” said Skye Wheeler, women’s rights emergencies researcher at Human Rights Watch. “Neither the Haitian nor the Dominican government is helping some of the most vulnerable undocumented people.” As of November 3, 2016, almost 150,000 Haitian migrants and Dominicans of Haitian descent have entered Haiti since mid-2015, according to the International Organization for Migration. After a court ruling in 2013 that retroactively stripped tens of thousands of people of Dominican citizenship, the government paused deportations while it worked to mitigate that ruling’s impact and register people with irregular migration status. Those registration efforts were badly flawed, but the Dominican government resumed deportations to Haiti in July 2015. Although some deportees were migrants without valid claims to stay in the Dominican Republic, others were Dominicans of Haitian descent, including some who were summarily deported and others who left in the belief that their deportation was inevitable, regardless of the strength of their claims to Dominican citizenship. � Not only have many been deprived of their right to nationality, they are not getting the assistance they so desperately need. Neither the Haitian nor the Dominican government is helping some of the most vulnerable undocumented people. Skye Wheeler Women’s Rights Emergencies researcher No government or agency has tracked where most of these people have settled in Haiti. However, at least 3,000 of the poorest have lived in camps near the southern Haitian town of Anse-�-Pitres where many still live, struggling to find enough to eat. People live there in makeshift shelters of cardboard and stitched-together clothing. Although Hurricane Matthew hit other areas of Haiti harder, the flimsy shelters of the camps could not withstand the flooding from the October 4, 2016, storm. Nongovernmental groups have called access to water and sanitation in the camps “deplorable.” Local government officials told Human Rights Watch they have not received any extra funds from the central government to support the camp residents. Human Rights Watch visited the Anse-�-Pitres camps in September to research availability of reproductive health care, as it has done in other camp settings in Haiti. Human Rights Watch interviewed 18 women and girls who were pregnant or had recently given birth and found that many could not afford or otherwise access basic care. Human Rights Watch also interviewed local aid workers, local government officials, medical officials, and representatives of nongovernmental groups. In 2015, Human Rights Watch found that the Dominican government’s efforts to ameliorate the 2013 court ruling, while helpful in principle, were flawed in practice. Undocumented Dominicans of Haitian descent now in Haiti, including many children, whose nationality was taken away, have no clear, accessible path to establish their lawful claims to Dominican citizenship, leaving many stateless in violation of their right to nationality. The Haitian government, including the new administration following the November 20 elections, should address the problem and make clear the options for these stateless people to stay in Haiti and get Haitian citizenship and whether they can still protect their claims to Dominican nationality, as well as the Haitian government’s commitment to work to facilitate either choice The arrival of thousands of people in Anse-�-Pitres increased demand for scarce resources in a region that was already short of food. The Haitian government and international donors should find ways to respond to these increased needs, including by supporting the increased availability of reproductive health care for women, which is harder to find in the town and surrounding areas compared to other parts of Haiti. Women interviewed said they had to bribe or beg Dominican guards to allow them to cross the border into the Dominican Republic for essential care, such as caesarean sections and sonographies that are not available in the Haitian town. And none were sleeping under a mosquito net, despite widespread malaria, which is especially dangerous to pregnant women, and now the Zika virus, which can impair fetal development. “Women forced out of the Dominican Republic repeatedly said that they had had better access to maternal care back home,” Wheeler said. “Almost all living in the camps also said that they were constantly hungry, especially when pregnant.” Six of the women Human Rights Watch interviewed had been deported by Dominican officials, apparently arbitrarily. They said that uniformed officials they thought were immigration officers did not make even cursory attempts to determine whether they should be deported, aside from checking whether they had national identity or work documents, and some were not even asked their names. All had been separated from some of their children for days or weeks after they crossed the border and had no legal recourse or opportunity to challenge the deportations before a judge. The Haitian government, and the office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), which has a statelessness mandate as well as a refugee one, should establish a helpline or accessible information desks for people looking for assistance with their nationality. The Haitian government should work with the Dominican government to normalize migration between the two countries. Haitians also need reliable access to Haitian identity documents. The Dominican government should immediately restore the full nationality of all those affected by the 2013 ruling, find a way to ensure all children born in the country before January 26, 2010, have access to civil registries, and issue corresponding documents to ensure they are protected from arbitrary expulsion to Haiti. The Dominican government should also actively find and recognize as Dominican the denationalized citizens in Haiti, allow them to promptly move back to the Dominican Republic, and issue corresponding documents. Any obstacles preventing birth registration by Dominican parents of Haitian heritage should be lifted. The Dominican Republic should immediately end arbitrary deportations, and ensure that all lawful deportations are carried out in a manner that respects the rights of those concerned. Deportations should be assessed on an individual basis, and anyone deported should be provided with a copy of the deportation order and the opportunity to challenge it before an independent court of law that can suspend it. Deportations should do no harm to family unity. Human Rights Watch also found that the International Organization for Migration and UNHCR, both of which have important mandates to assist people in this situation, reduced their monitoring of the population movement across the border in mid-2016, including abusive deportations, at least in part because of funding shortages. In September, UNHCR had only been able to help return five Dominicans to the Dominican Republic out of what it believes to be thousands with legitimate claims, again in part because of funding shortfalls. “The arbitrary removal of citizenship of thousands of Dominicans has led to unnecessary suffering and yet no effective steps are being taken to try and rectify the situation,” Wheeler said. Deportation and Statelessness In 2013, a Dominican court stripped tens of thousands of children of undocumented Haitian workers in the Dominican Republic of their Dominican citizenship, based on a retroactive reinterpretation of the country’s nationality law. The changes were widely condemned and called discriminatory and an “arbitrary deprivation of nationality” by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. UNHCR expressed concern about the statelessness created by the decision. In 2014, the Dominican government passed a law intended to ameliorate the impact of that decision by allowing those affected to secure their citizenship rights. However, a 2015 report by Human Rights Watch found that efforts by the Dominican government to carry out that law were badly flawed, leaving tens of thousands of Dominicans stripped of their nationality. Government agencies refused to restore full citizenship to many people who had already been registered with the government as citizens before the ruling. The 2014 law created a registration process for these Dominicans who had never registered, or who had never been registered when babies, but tens of thousands were blocked by too-short deadlines and often unworkable bureaucratic obstacles. Officials and police heavily profiled people of Haitian descent, and deported many summarily. The Dominican government admitted that over 44,000 Dominicans had been unable to register, and nongovernmental groups believe the number may be higher. Some of the women Human Rights Watch interviewed in Haiti said they had been unable to navigate the registration process and were summarily deported or felt that they had no choice but to leave the country. C.P., 29, was born in the Dominican Republic. She did not register under the 2014 process, she said, because: “All I saw were people like me being maltreated, so I didn’t try to register.” Dominican officers wearing a uniform she did not recognize deported her in mid-2015. She said that she was not given any opportunity to appeal and was deported the same day. No one took her name or gave her any paperwork during the deportation. “I didn’t have any clothes except what I was wearing, or anything for the baby,” she said. N.B., 37, was also born in the Dominican Republic. She said that her half-sister tried to help her register. “It was hopeless,” she said. “The officers asked a lot of questions, said we had to find the midwife who cut my umbilical cord, or get someone well-known in the village to come and vouch that I was born there.” She was deported in mid-2015 by men she described as being “from immigration.” She said that she was not provided with any paperwork, and was deported the same day, without any opportunity to appeal. “They just asked: ‘Do you have papers?’ and when I said ‘No’, they said, ‘Get in the truck.’” Other women said they were unable to register their children because they themselves lacked identification documents. Many did not understand the registration process or assumed they couldn’t afford to register. Women also faced problems in registering their Dominican-born children because they did not have birth certificates for them. This is consistent with what Human Rights Watch found in 2015, when researchers identified 59 people who were unable to register the births of their children because the parents had documentation problems or because officials refused. G.J., 38, lived in the Dominican Republic for 22 years as a plantation worker. All of her nine children were born there, the first when she was 15. But none of her children have Dominican birth certificates. “There was no way to register their births as we did not have papers,” she said. Since she was deported in 2015 G.J. has obtained Haitian birth certificates for her children so they can attend school. The birth certificates incorrectly state that the children were born in Haiti. She had to sneak back into the Dominican Republic to pick up five of her children who had remained there when she was deported, and bring them to a camp at Anse-�-Pitres. In Anse-�-Pitres anyone who has Haitian parents can get a birth certificate from a local registrar. In part because children need to have a birth certificate to register for school, many parents have sought this documentation even if their child has a claim to Dominican nationality. Others have managed to get Haitian birth certificates for children that list the Dominican Republic as the place of birth. It’s not clear whether these children may face administrative hurdles later in life, or even statelessness, if they try to get a Haitian national ID when they reach 18. Haitian law banned dual citizenship until 2012, when a law was passed to allow it. However, it is unclear whether children born before the law was passed can have dual nationalities, or can claim Haitian nationality if they are in fact Dominican. I.N, 27, had lived in the Dominican Republic since she was 12. She had four children, all born in the Dominican Republic, but none of their births were registered there. “My children’s father was a Dominican man,” she said. “But it was too complex to get them registered as it would have had to be him to do it, and he already had a wife and other children and was unwilling.” I.N. left in mid-2015, fearing deportation. I.N.’s children, some whom live in Haiti and some with her relatives in the Dominican Republic, still lack any papers to establish their citizenship. Of the six women who said they had been summarily deported, five said that they were deported while holding their babies. All six were separated from at least some of their children during the deportation process, in one case for about two weeks. A.A., 30, was born in Haiti but had been living in the Dominican Republic for 21 years without registering as a migrant. She said that men she thought were immigration agents took her by truck with her baby to somewhere near the Ajimani border point, then ordered her to get out of the truck and walk across the border. “It was hard,” she said. “The baby was crying, we were hungry and I did not even know really where they had taken us.” A lack of national documentation is not only a problem for people who have been living in the Dominican Republic. Between one million and two million Haitians may be undocumented, according to the UNHCR. Independent border monitors, funded by the International Organization for Migration, have documented 149,493 people crossing the border into Haiti since deportations re-started in mid-2015. Of these, 32,211 had been officially deported by Dominican officials, 25,819 more told monitors they had been unofficially deported, and more than 91,000 people were registered as having left the Dominican Republic “spontaneously.” More than 67 percent of those who answered the International Organization for Migration’s questionnaire did not have any national identity papers at all, neither Haitian nor from the Dominican Republic. Children, including those who were born in the Dominican Republic before 2010, had to be smuggled over the border to join their mothers in Haiti. They are now stateless or have instead acquired Haitian birth certificates. Access to Reproductive Health Care in Anse-�-Pitres All 18 of the women Human Rights Watch interviewed said that they had worse access to reproductive health care in Haiti than if they had not left the Dominican Republic. Anse-�-Pitres is in a particularly under-resourced region of Haiti. The largest clinic in the area, serving about 32,000 people, has only two full-time doctors, neither a specialist. Because of a lack of staffing, equipment, and medicines, it is unable to perform surgery. It has a new maternity ward, constructed by an international organization, but cannot use it because of a lack of staff. Medical officials and aid workers in the area said they believe that most women in the area give birth at home. Haitian Department of Health Services data from 2012 ranks the Southeast department, the region where Anse-�-Pitres is located, as having one of the highest percentages of at-home births in the country. The closest place in Haiti to get a caesarian section is roughly seven hours away. Many women with labor complications beg or bribe their way across the nearby border to Dominican towns where they can receive care. Several of these women, as well as local women rights activists, described this as “humiliating.” Women said they also bribe officials to allow them to cross the border for better prenatal care, including sonograms, not available in Anse-�-Pitres. A nurse with counseling skills who had been stationed in Anse-�-Pitres and left in 2013, said no mental health services are available, including for rape victims, although emergency contraception and post-exposure prophylaxis against HIV transmission are available. The Anse-�-Pitres clinic provides free family planning but several of the women and girls said they did not know they could get contraception there. Seeing a doctor is inexpensive (about 25 Haitian gourdes/US$0.38), but many of the camp residents interviewed said that they could not afford medicine, and so did not visit the doctor, even when unwell, or have checkups during their pregnancy. The Haitian government does not provide free drugs. Instead, clinics buy them and then sell them to patients. The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) used to provide obstetric medicines and other forms of assistance but has not done so since 2014, a medical official at the clinic said. He said that the clinic has severe shortages of drugs, including of basic antibiotics, and has not received significant government or other support since mid-2015. All the women interviewed said that they often experienced severe hunger during their pregnancies, sometimes eating only once a day or every two days. No systematic food aid is provided to the camp residents, including to babies, and there is no maternal feeding program. None of the women could afford vitamins to take during their pregnancy. The International Organization for Migration provided about 580 families living in these camps with rent and cash support for a year in April 2016, in an effort to clear the camps. Women who received the assistance said that their families’ lives had improved since they relocated. Other families have returned to the camps, or were never registered for the assistance and are not able now to get any support. Aid organizations and government agencies stopped providing even intermittent aid to the camps in May, and it does not appear that any new plans to provide aid are on the horizon. “I went to Dominican Republic for a sonogram, because there’s none here,” said C.M., 25. “I had to pay 500 pesos for that and I also had to pay a bribe to cross the border because I have no papers. I know that you had to pay to get papers to stay in the Dominican Republic and I had no money. No one explained anything to me, how I was someone [who would have to register to begin the process of nationalization]. It’s common in this camp to have to have sex for food or money, I’ve done it many times, but most often with my current partner.” She said she was born in the Dominican Republic but did not register as she did not understand the process or have any documents, and was three months pregnant when she moved into the camp in mid-2015.� “I had complications,” said N.A., 24. “I went to the clinic in Anse-�-Pitres but they could not help me so I had to bribe 500 pesos to get across the border. And then I had to go on to Baharona because they could not help me in Pedernales and so that was another 4,000 pesos. I am really worried because I borrowed all this money and I have still not paid it back. I have a partner here but it is just an economic thing.” �She was born in Haiti, and deported from the Dominican Republic when pregnant in mid-2015, after living there for two years. She has been in the camp since June 2015 and is now pregnant again.� http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/ Helping Haiti – Have Lessons Been Learned? https://www.hrw.org/news/2016/10/20/helping-haiti-have-lessons-been-learned https://www.hrw.org/news/2016/10/20/helping-haiti-have-lessons-been-learned Thu, 01 Jan 1970 00:00:00 UTC Human Rights Watch at Haiti It’s hard to imagine another disaster on the scale of the 2010 earthquake and the subsequent cholera epidemic in Haiti. Yet the latest reports on the devastation wrought by Hurricane Matthew, which hit Haiti on October 4, suggest its devastating effects, like those of the earthquake, will linger. Of the 2.1 million people affected throughout the country, 1.4 million need humanitarian aid, half of them urgently.�Ten thousand�children have been identified as in need of protection and 800,000 people face extreme food insecurity. Expand People make a line as they wait for food to be handed out after Hurricane Matthew hit Jeremie, Haiti, October 19, 2016.� � 2016 Reuters Haiti has been particularly susceptible to disasters, and each new one brings new panic and confusion. The international community has played a crucial role over the past decade in responding to natural and man-made catastrophes. Actions by public and private aid groups undoubtedly saved lives and averted suffering. Yet lack of coordination and data sharing by donors and nongovernmental organizations�after previous disasters have made it hard to assess progress and identify potential human rights risks. In the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake, new and related crises emerged, including the cholera epidemic and forced evictions from camps for the displaced. These underscore how serious the need for effective monitoring is. Yet Human Rights Watch research conducted after the 2010 earthquake found aid efforts – and their shortcomings – were not properly monitored. And while aid agencies worked hard, Human Rights Watch found that the most vulnerable Haitians had little voice in relief efforts. Many women who were the intended recipients of healthcare services did not benefit from them at all. Gaps in protection against gender-based violence, often a risk in emergency situations, were also identified. Accountability is key. So in the wake of Hurricane Matthew, the aid agencies and�nongovernmental groups�that respond to the crisis should not only help Haiti build a lasting capacity to meet immediate humanitarian needs, but also to promote human rights for all Haitians. That’s easy to say, but in past crises, it hasn’t been easy to execute. Well-intentioned funding hasn’t always reached the most vulnerable or allowed them to access services for the long-term. Hurricane Matthew hit Haiti at a fragile period for human rights. In part because it has been reeling from disaster to disaster, Haiti has not properly tackled long-standing issues like a public education system that’s inaccessible to many, or overcrowded prisons that are disease-ridden and dangerous. Haiti’s ambassador to the United States, Paul Altidor – who was born in the town of J�r�mie, where the hurricane hit hard – implored international aid agencies to coordinate carefully with local authorities and groups to “avoid mistakes from the past.” It remains to be seen if they will heed his call. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/