Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti

France dismisses petition for it to pay $17 billion in Haiti reparations

By Robert Marquand, Christian Science Monitor France on Tuesday rejected a petition calling for it to pay $17 billion to help with Haiti earthquake reconstruction as a way to make amends for fees charged Haiti by the French crown 200 years ago. France dismissed a call by left-leaning politicians and others for it to pay the modern equivalent of 90 million gold francs – about $17 billion – to Haiti as reparations for a 200-year-old injustice. A petition signed by 100 artists, scholars, and EU politicians that was released Monday called on France to give Haiti $17 billion for earthquake reconstruction. The money would essentially reimburse a fee French King Charles X charged Haiti after a revolt that ended slavery there. King Charles justified the fee as compensation for the loss of slaves and other property. Such requests are not […]

France Urged to Pay $40 Billion to Haiti in Reparations for “Independence Debt”

Democracy Now! According to the UN-sponsored Haiti Reconstruction Fund, only two countries—Brazil and Estonia—have fully paid the pledged amount. The United States, France, Canada and many others have failed to send their pledged aid. A recent review by CNN found that just two percent of total pledges have been delivered to Haiti. Calls are now growing for another form of payment to Haiti: reparations. This week, a group of prominent academics and activists published an open letter calling on France to repay an “independence debt” it imposed nearly 200 years ago after Haiti successfully won independence from France. Haiti was forced to pay France around 90 million gold francs up until World War II, which after interest and inflation is valued today at up to $40 billion. [includes rush transcript] Click HERE to see the Original Article

An open letter to French President Nicolas Sarkozy (English and French)

August 16, 2010 In an open letter published today in the French national newspaper Libération, more than 90 leading academics, authors and other prominent figures from around the world are publicly calling on the French government to reimburse the 90 million gold francs France extorted from Haitians following Haiti’s independence.   Amongst the signatories are MIT linguist Noam Chomsky, journalist Naomi Klein, authors Eduardo Galeano and Ariel Dorfman, Princeton professor Cornel West, French philosophers Alain Badiou, Étienne Balibar and Jacques Rancière, and several members of the European parliament, including anti-globalization activist José Bové. Members of the national assemblies of France and of Québec, and Walden Bello, author and elected member of the Philippine House of Representatives, have also signed. * * * The French government has indicated that it is pursuing possible legal action against the Committee for the Reimbursement […]

France urged to repay Haiti billions paid for its independence

By Kim Willsher, The Guardian Leading activists write to Nicolas Sarzoky urging president to repay more than €17bn to help earthquake-hit country rebuild A group of international academics and authors has written to Nicolas Sarkozy calling on France to reimburse the crushing “independence debt” it imposed on Haiti nearly 200 years ago. The open letter to the French president says the debt, now worth more than €17bn (£14bn), would cover the rebuilding of the country after a devastating earthquake that killed more than 250,000 people seven months ago. Its signatories – including Noam Chomsky, the American linguist, Naomi Klein, the Canadian author and activist, Cornel West, the African-American author and civil rights activist, and several renowned French philosophers – say that if France repays the money it would be a solution to the shortfall in international donations promised following the earthquake. Despite […]

Haiti’s Independence Debt and the Issue of Restitution

On Wednesday, a website post purporting to be from the French government announced that France would pay Haiti 17 billion euros as compensation for the Independence Debt it extorted from Haiti in 1825. On Thursday, France announced that the website was a fake, and that the country had no intention of paying the debt. A good analysis of the important issues raised by the original announcement is Ezili Danto’s “France will pay Indpendence Debt back to Haiti?” We have more background materials on the restitution section of our website, especially an extensive law-review article by attorney Anthony Phillips.

Commentary: Two percent to Haiti not enough

By Sir Ronald Sanders, Caribbean Net News A fake Internet website caused a stir for at least 24 hours when it purported to be a government of France website announcing that the government “is repaying the historic debt of 90 million gold francs Haiti paid to France following the former’s independence at the dawn of the 19th century”. Even the BBC was taken in, carrying the story on one of its official news websites before hastily withdrawing it. Sir Ronald Sanders is a business executive and former Caribbean diplomat who publishes widely on small states in the global community. Reponses to: More astute followers of French politics clearly wondered about the legitimacy of the announcement since it made the remarkable statement: “For too long, Haiti has been saddled with the burden of foreign debt. Her development crippled by foreign […]

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