[Translations of two articles from Agence Haïtienne de Presse for May 21.]
FIDH admits fear of violence in survivors’ camps
Four months after the earthquake that ravaged the country, the Fédération Internationale del Ligues des Droits de l’Homme (FIDH – International Human Rights Federation) fears a wave of violence may sweep through the survivors’ camps in Haiti “if poor living conditions are not changed.”
“The people’s capacity for adaptation during and after the earthquake could turn into desperation and eventually into violence if the survivors don’t see that measures are being taken soon to remove them from the degrading conditions, even if it’s only a matter of temporary solutions,” the FIDH wrote in a report made public this week on the situation in Haiti.
The January 12 tremor that shook Haiti, one of the poorest countries in the world, resulted in between 250,000 and 300,000 dead and 1.9 million homeless, according to the UN.
The Federation, which has conducted a mission in Haiti since the end of March, stated that thousands of survivors in the camps visited were “completely on their own.” “For hundreds of thousands of families who have lost their homes, jobs and sources of income during the earthquake… survival still depends on emergency measures,” the FIDH stresses and urges continuation of the distribution of food in the camps.
Concerning reconstruction, FIDH and member organizations have recommended to Haitian authorities that they make sure that all public reconstruction policies aim at protecting and promoting the fundamental rights of Haitians. It also recommends that the mouvement associatif haïtien [organizations of Haitians living abroad] and NGOs be integrated into the Commission Internationale de la Reconstructin d’Haïti (CIRH) with the right to vote.
Among its recommendations, the FIDH urges that reconstruction allow Haiti to escape from economic dependence by favoring a development model that stimulates and protects domestic production.
It also asks for the cancelation of Haiti’s foreign debt so as not to worsen the already very precarious financial situation of the country.
More anti-government demonstrations announced
Port-au-Prince, May 21 – The Tèt Kole Collective of popular opposition organizations announced on Friday two days of demonstrations in Port-au-Prince on Tuesday, May 25 and Thursday, May 27.
Bateau Junior, a member of the collective, declared that the purpose of the demonstrations is to continue demanding the resignations of members of the government in order to halt the president’s anti-constitutional project.
“The head of state should leave because he has violated the citizens’ confidence and seeks to prolong his time in office until May 14, 2011,” Bateau Junior said and asked for the return to the country of former President Aristide and for better conditions of life for the victims of the January 12 earthquake, for whom conditions under the tents has deteriorated during the more than four months since the tremors.
On his own behalf, Serge Jean Louis, also a member of the collective, recalled that the head of state’s mandate includes a mission and when he fails to carry it out, the citizens have the right to take to the streets to demand his departure.
He holds the head of state responsible for the anti-government demonstrations.
“René Préval has no affinity for free, honest and democratic elecitons, but rather for conflicted elections,” Jean-Louis stated, stressing that it will not be the resignation of the president that will plunge the country into instability.
“On the contrary,” he suggests, “René Préval is a source of instability.”
The Conférence Nationale des Candidats Agrées (CONACA – National Conference of Recognized Candidates), announced the organization on Wednesday of a sit-in at the new location of the Conseil Electoral Provisoire (CEP – Provisional Electoral Board) to demand the resignations of all its members.
According to Nickel Pierre, a member of CONACA, candidates who had been authorized by the electoral authority to take part in the contest to be held on February 28, 2010, still want to participate in the elections but question the the credibility of the CEP, the arbiters.
“We want to hold the elections but not with a CEP in bondage to the ruling power,” Nickel Pierre said, and called on all sectors to take part in the sit-in to force the members to leave.
The leader of the Conférence Nationale de Candidats Agrée (CONACA) also calls on the population to participate in civil disobedience.
Meanwhile, according to diplomatic sources in Port-au-Prince, the international community has been hindered in its efforts by the series of demonstrations demanding the resignation of the head of state.
“The international community is more interested in seeing the problem solved through elections, considering experiences of the past, in order to avoid more chaos after that of January 12,” one source stated, adding that the government should avoid adding fuel to the flames.