HAITI: Summary trip report by Rights Action
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By Rights Action
Rights Action recently visited Haiti and met with people and organizations we have supported since early 2004. We went to deepen our understanding of the issues in the country and to deepen our commitment to supporting community based and grassroots organizations working under very harsh and complex conditions.
Haiti is close to being a perfectly screwed country, but Haiti is not a “failed state”. Haiti is an exploited and crushed state, both historically and on-going today. Powerful actors in the “international community” (including the governments of Canada, United States and France, along with the United Nations, Organization of American States, World Bank, Inter-American Development Bank) are a major part of the problems afflicting Haiti, historically and on-going today.
We understand that this is not an inviting way to appeal to North Americans to get actively involved in efforts to hold our governments and other actors of the “international community” accountable for the terrible situation in Haiti. We know this is not an upbeat way to ask for tax-charitable donations for community-based organizations in Haiti planning and carrying out enviro-protection and conservation work, women’s rights and gender-violence related work, education projects and legal defense work.
But there is no sugar coating the situation in Haiti. It is hard to imagine how it could be worse. Levels of brutality and repression (both State-sponsored and supported by other countries) due to and mixed with racism, exploitation/poverty and enviro-destruction, are extremely high, endemically high. This situation will not change soon.
For background analysis of the situation in Haiti, we recommend:
· “Who Removed Aristide?”, by Paul Farmer; London Review Of Books; April 13, 2004 (along with a long list of other articles and books written by Paul Farmer about Haiti)
· “Haiti Human Rights Investigation: November 11-21, 2004”, By Thomas Griffin, Center for the Study of Human Rights, U. of Miami Law School. Full report available at: www.ijdh.org/CSHRhaitireport.pdf
· “Haiti After the Coup”, by Yves Engler, Z Magazine, October 2005, www.zmag.org, email@example.com
· “Canada in Haiti: Waging War on the Poor Majority”, Fernwood Press, 2005, by Yves Engler and Anthony Fenton
· For regular human rights reports and ‘What You Can Do’ information, join the “Half-Hour For Haiti” program of the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti (www.ijdh.org).
· To find regular articles about Haiti, go to: www.zmag.org.
COURAGEOUS & VISIONARY GRASSROOTS ORGANIZATIONS
Despite the deeply screwed situation, there are – as always, as everywhere – people and organizations courageously performing miracles everyday and they can use more international attention and financial support.
Based on our recent visit, on reading the above-mentioned information (and much more), and on much debate and discussion with friends and colleagues, Rights Action sends this funding appeal. We will continue to channel your donations and grants to the following community based organizations:
· An organization – based in Port au Prince – of women founded by victims of politically motivated rape and gender violence in the 1991-1994 period (after the first coup against a government headed by President Aristide) who now provide a range of emotional, medical, legal and emergency support to women and girls being victimized by on-going politically motivated and widespread rape and gender violence.
· A primary school for children from the impoverished and violent ‘popular neighborhoods’.
· A grassroots environmental and conservation initiative that combines national alliance building, education and training, and direct funding for local enviro- and conservation efforts.
· Emergency response efforts for victims of political repression and for communities and displaced people negatively impacted by the 2004 hurricanes, rains, floods and mudslides, who have received next to no re-building support.
(Full proposals and budgets for the work of our partner groups available on request)
ELECTIONS & THE MIS-LEADING MEDIA
Over the next while, we will distribute a number of e-mailings trying to draw more attention to the over-all situation in Haiti.
Because of national elections, set tentatively for late November, Haiti may soon attract a bit of attention from the generally absent or complicit mainstream media. These elections (supported by the same powerful actors of the “international community” that supported and legitimized the 2004 coup against the democratically elected government of Haiti) will not help the utter lack of democracy; the elections will probably worsen things.
As we distribute articles and urgent actions about the situation in Haiti, Rights Action -a- encourages you and your organization to enter into direct solidarity and funding relations with any number of courageous community based groups in Haiti, and/ or -b- asks for your tax-charitable donations for our partner groups.
Thank-you. Please send questions and comments.
Rights Action, firstname.lastname@example.org / 416-654-2074 / www.rightsaction.org
HOW TO DONATE: tax-charitable donations (in the USA and Canada)
Credit card donations: www.rightsaction.org (on behalf of “Haiti Program”)
Make check to “Rights Action“: Write “Haiti Program” on memo-line and mail to:
– UNITED STATES: Rights Action,
– CANADA: Rights Action, 509 St. Clair Av. W., box73527, TorontoON, M6C-1C0
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