Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti

Fr Michenet Duportal: ‘UN recognizes that it harms us, now, there has to be reparation’

Fr. Duportal to BAI and IJDH team: “We thank you for  the fight you are leading. It’s not easy, but it is a fight for God, because he improves the living conditions of the poor because, God is a god of the poor.” Watch the video below:


See transcript below:

Feast of St. Michel Archange, Boucan Carré 

Father Michenet Duportal: ‘UN recognizes that it harms us, now, there has to be reparation’

Lawyer, Mario Joseph who is advocating throughout the  Fête Patronales (Patronal Festivities) for all the cholera victims and all those who continue to be victimized by cholera.

We cannot be silent on this issue, because everytime it rains especially for us here in Boucan Carré, in the highlands of Boucan Carré, Petit Montagne (Little Mountain/Hill), and many other places, there are a lot of people dying as we speak, quietly. With this being said, we tell the Bureau des Avocats Internationaux (BAI) to continue the fight.

We heard the President addressed [the cholera issue] at the United Nations General Assembly. As a fact, they recognized that they did harm to us, they harmed us. Now, there has to be reparations, continue—for the people who have been impacted by this disease, the people who continue to deal with this disease throughout their lives so that they have opportunity to rebuild so that

people can have access to potable water that they need through the national sanitation work. Therefore, we thank you for  the fight you are leading. It’s not easy, but it is a fight for God, because he improves the living conditions of the poor because, God is a god of the poor.

Abel Descollines, Deputy of Mirbalais

…He did not have courage to logically see this as a continuity. So, we have to remind him that the issue [cholera ] was first addressed by the 49th congress (National Assembly) despite they said (argued) that it was a shameful Congress. Thereafter, the Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe and [President] Michel Martelly in 2014 addressed the cholera at the United Nations General Assembly. Therefore, [former UN Secretary General] Ban Ki-moon recognized  the moral responsibility of the United Nations in this issue. We congratulate President Jovenel Moïse for continuing in the same path whether at the United Nations or elsewhere.

Clearly, Plateau Central and Boucan Carré and other places are badly effected by the disease.  We commend that there is law firm that is coming to work with the victims, but we don’t that this law firm simply brings professionals from Port-Au-Prince. There must be an integration of the local professionals. There you will find  notable people, leaders who may be lawyers, but whether in Petit Montagne (Little Mountain/Hill), in the second section of Boucan Carré or other localities, and whether in Mirbalais, my home town or other localities, you will find people that can be integrated in this committee. I want… and I support the this initiative. But the Bureau des Avocats Internationaux under the leadership of Lawyer Mario Joseph has to integrate the local people in this initiative in order for people to really get remedy in this time comes.

Jude Jean, Deputy of Boucan Carré:

There are two things that need to be done in the cholera case. The first one is advocacy that we, as the lawmakers already started and will continue to press the government. Because, us, as lawmakers, we are not the direct interlocutors of the people in the international stage, particularly at the United Nations who recognized its responsibility in this issue. But as lawmakers from the Parliamentary Alliance for Haiti [Alliance Parlementaire pour Haïti (APH)] bloc, have started think about ways to indentify the pressure on the government. Because, in fact, what I want you to know that we, as the people who are supportive of the president, we are not only to obey or vote the proposed laws (bills) submitted by the executive, but we meet with the president to make propositions and suggestions to him. So, we will continue to advocate in order for the government in its relation with…Haiti is a member of the United Nations…United Nations must take responsibility to compensate the victims.

The second thing that needs to be done, and this is something that I, myself, engage in. While we are advocating for the United Nations to compensate the victims, but as we speak cholera continue to rage on throughout the country.

There many localities in Boucan Carré where there are many people who died. That is why we are talking to DINEPA [National Directorate of Drinking Water and Sanitation ( Direction Nationale de l’Eau Potable et de l’Assannissement )] and the Ministry of Public Health and Population [Ministère de la Santé Public et de la Population known as MSPP] to make sure there is access to healthcare. Because when a person who lives in Petit Montagne (Little Mountain/Hill)  or in Deside where you have to work between 12-15 hours to get to a in 2017…it’s really an injustice.

This is one of the reasons we are advocating for clinics to be built in the main localities in order to provide healthcare for the people. When someone has cholera, in general they carry the person on a door [using wooden door as a stretcher] to go down the mountain…so there has to be access to healthcare for the victims.

Additionally, we can’t only keep watering the leaves of flowers, we have to water the flower from its roots: [I meant to say people get] cholera from [contaminated] water and the way people behave. Therefore, the sensibilization campaign of must be continued. So we are looking ways to work with DINEPA.

There are Councilors (CASEC) who are engaging in water catchment in different localities. It’s true that we are parliamentarians [lawmakers], I am a deputy (lawmakers), but I always call myself a peasant deputy because I am peasant, [and] I am in touch with the peasants.

So in the cholera issue, we are working with the local authorities and with the mayoral office to provide potable water for the people because if they have access to potable water and healthcare that will prevent them dying from cholera.

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