Child Slavery

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In Haiti, a 9-year-old girl leaves her poor village to work as a domestic worker for a family in Port-au-Prince, the island’s capital. She will not earn money, but the family will pay for her to go to school. She cooks, cleans and performs whatever domestic responsibilities are required in exchange for a promise of safety and and a better quality of life.

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Unsafe abortions: Haiti’s abortion crisis

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PORT-AU-PRINCE — After one clinic failed to remove the 16-week-old fetus growing inside her, the desperate high school student turned to the “doctor” known to her only as Little Old Father, Ti Le Pè.

 

Standing in her sparse bedroom, the bearded man with a baseball cap first prepared a special bath — a mixture of Haitian moonshine, essential oil and a “special soap.” He then put her in bed, strapped her swollen stomach and disappeared. At 5 the next morning, he returned with a cold, murky herbal concoction.

 

The young woman, who had been secretly hiding her pregnancy, sipped the herbal remedy and waited for her contractions to finally expel the embryo.

 

After three days of vomiting, heavy bleeding and agonizing pain, she stumbled into a maternity hospital. Doctors rushed her into surgery where they stopped the bleeding, and repaired her perforated uterus, botched in the first abortion attempt.

 

“I thought everything would be OK,” said Marie, 20, her voice, like her emaciated body, devoid of strength a month into her two-month hospitalization. “If I knew things would end up like this, I wouldn’t have done it. I nearly died.”

 

Abortion is illegal in Haiti but women and girls are losing their uteruses and their lives as they turn to clandestine, increasingly deadly ways to terminate their pregnancies. These unsafe abortions are leading to a public health crisis in a region with one of the world’s highest rates of unintended pregnancies, experts say.

 

The long hidden crisis has started to emerge publicly as women’s groups, physicians and human rights advocates push for changes in Haiti’s strict ban on interrupting a pregnancy. The push comes as reports of rape and sexual violence increased after the devastating January 2010 earthquake, and as the country’s moribund economy and adolescent pregnancies make taboo practices such as abortion no longer unthinkable.

 

“A woman or girl who has decided she cannot keep a pregnancy will find a way, and will accept the health risks that go with an unsafe abortion,” said Catrin Schulte-Hillen, a reproductive health advisor with Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) in Geneva, Switzerland. “There is a huge gap between the reality and legality of abortion. The price we pay … is the lives of women.”

 

Read more here:

http://www.miamiherald.com/2013/11/23/3775363/unsafe-abortions-haitis-hidden.html#storylink=cpy

 

Hundreds deported to Haiti from DR

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At least 350 people have been expelled to Haiti from The Dominican Republic, or have fled of their own accord, after an elderly Dominican couple was slain in an apparent burglary near the border between the two countries.

 

A mob retaliated by killing a Haitian man, two migrant advocates said on Sunday.

 

 

The Reverend Antoine Lissaint of Haiti’s Jesuit Refugee and Migrant Organization told The Associated Press on Sunday that a group of Dominicans killed the man because they blamed people of Haitian descent for the fatal stabbing of the couple.

 

Dominican police issued a statement saying Jose Mendez Diaz and Luja Encarnacion Diaz, both 70, were killed during an apparent home burglary in which the killers got away with two sacks of coffee.

 

Detectives found a knife and stick at the scene.

 

There was no comment from the Dominican government.

 

A group of Haitians who had been living in the southwestern Dominican town of Neiba the past several years sought refuge at a police station because they feared further reprisals, Lissaint said.

 

Police handed the group over to soldiers who drove them to the border and expelled them to Haiti on Saturday.

 

Migrant advocates said some of the people sent out of the Dominican Republic were eager to leave because they feared there would be more mob violence.

 

Haiti and the Dominican Republic have a long history of acrimony as neighbours on the Caribbean island of Hispaniola.

 

Worsening relations

 

But relations between the two have worsened since a Dominican court decision in September threatened to revoke citizenship for residents of the Dominican Republic of Haitian descent.

 

Jean-Baptiste Azolin, deputy coordinator for the Support Group for Repatriates and Refugees, said not all the people who were repatriated were picked up at the police station.

 

“Some of them were caught in the streets, with their children, and were sent to Haiti, like that, without anything,” Azolin said.

 

Workers for the Haitian government’s National Office of Migration greeted the expelled Haitians and others of Haitian descent, many of them mothers with their children, including a 3-day-old boy.

 

They were taken to a shelter north of the capital, Port-au-Prince, where they received food.

 

They were also each given the equivalent of $22 to help them return to their former Haitian towns.

 

The Haitian government objected to the deportation.

 

Salim Succar, an adviser to Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe, said in an email: “We have taken certain measures to welcome these people and disapprove of the way this repatriation was done.”

 

Human rights advocates say the Dominican citizenship ruling could disenfranchise more than 200,000 people, many of whom have lived there for years or decades.

 

Factory opens to help Haiti’s peanut farmers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — The nonprofit group of public health pioneer Dr. Paul Farmer and a health care company have teamed up to open a factory to produce a nutritional supplement in the heart of Haiti.

 

The 18,000-square-foot plant in the Caribbean nation’s Central Plateau is making “Nourimanba,” which is used to treat children for severe malnutrition.

 

The main ingredient in Nourimanba is peanuts grown by Haitian farmers.

 

The first shipments produced at the facility have been distributed to clinics run by Farmer’s Boston-based Partners In Health.

 

A pilot program will provide support for about 300 farmers to improve the quality and quantity of the peanut supply. This also seeks to increase farmers’ incomes.

 

Partners In Health and health care company Abbott Laboratories Inc. and its foundation, the Abbott Fund, made the announcement Wednesday.

 

UN human rights official urges compensation for Haiti cholera victims

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — A United Nations official on Tuesday made a rare case for compensation for the thousands of Haitians who have died of a cholera outbreak in the Caribbean nation.

 

U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay didn’t say who she thought should pay, but activists have demanded the world body provide compensation to the victims of a disease believed brought in by U.N. peacekeepers.

 

 

“I have used my voice both inside the United Nations and outside to call for the right — for an investigation by the United Nations, by the country concerned, and I still stand by the call that victims of — of those who suffered as a result of that cholera be provided with compensation,” Pillay said at an awards ceremony for human rights activists in Geneva.

 

The U.N. maintains it has legal immunity from such compensation claims.

 

Pillay’s remarks, streamed live on the Internet, were a rare admission by a U.N. official about the need to provide compensation following a complaint filed by the Boston-based Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti and the Haiti-based law firm run by Haitian attorney Mario Joseph, one of the finalists at the Geneva ceremony.

 

The complaint came in the aftermath of a cholera outbreak in Haiti that surfaced in 2010 and health officials say has killed more than 8,000 people. Scientific studies have shown that cholera was likely introduced to the country by U.N. troops from Nepal, where the disease is endemic.

 

Pillay said she raised the compensation issue almost a year ago when she was asked a question at a lecture at Oxford University

 

Asked about Pillay’s comments, U.N. associate spokesman Farhan Haq, said it is not the “United Nations’ practice to discuss in public claims filed against the organization.”

 

Nicole Phillips, lawyer for the Boston-based IJDH, said that Pillay’s “public support for the cholera victims’ claims could be a game changer in their claims against the U.N.”

“Fault Lines” Author Discusses Rifts, Challenges of Haiti

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

READ MORE ….

http://truth-out.org/news/item/18310-fault-lines-author-discusses-rifts-challenges-of-haiti

Tragic deaths, tragic debt

 

 

 

 

 

 

The UN must finally acknowledge its role in Haiti’s cholera epidemic

A scientific analysis has come close to concluding beyond all doubt what the United Nations has long strenuously and heartlessly denied, namely that UN peacekeepers were responsible for importing cholera to earthquake-torn Haiti.

 

The revelations must finally awaken the world body to its moral responsibility to aid families of the more than 8,000 Haitians killed by the man-made epidemic.

 

After the devastating 2010 quake killed more than 150,000 people and brought the island nation to its knees, the UN upped its presence to answer crying needs.

 

This was a humanitarian mission, one for which Haitians remain deeply grateful.

 

But it soon became clear that cholera, the terrible bacterial illness that annually kills 100,000 worldwide, had appeared in the country and was spreading rapidly.

 

Despite the fact that, for over a century, there had been no reported cases in Haiti, men, women and children were suddenly dying of dehydration and diarrhea, hallmarks of the infection.

 

The ailment soon spread to towns across the countryside.

 

It turned out that a group of UN peacekeepers came from Nepal, where cholera is common. Powerful anecdotal evidence tracked the outbreak back to their camp, from which sewage had leaked into a river.

 

As Haitian deaths mounted, so did the accusations. The UN hid behind a characteristic wall of diplomatic mumbo jumbo, insisting that its people were faultless — and that, in any case, they had legal immunity from prosecution.

 

UN brass, all the way up to Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, sent a supposedly independent panel to investigate; two years ago, the group concluded that a link between cholera and the peacekeepers could not be definitively established.

 

Those very same experts, no longer on the UN payroll, have now changed their tune.

 

Last week, citing new evidence, including microbiological samples, the scientists reported that “the preoponderance of the evidence and the weight of the circumstantial evidence does lead to the conclusion that personnel associated with the” UN facility “were the most likely source of introduction of cholera into Haiti.”

 

Haiti has suffered enough. The United Nations has stonewalled enough. It is past time for the world body to acknowledge its role in creating this disaster upon a disaster — and begin paying victims’ families the compensation they are due.

 

 

New hospital in Haiti proves that aid done right can change lives

 

 

 

 

 

Port-au-Prince- The gleaming white hospital appears out of nowhere in the bustle of this impoverished city in the Central Plateau of Haiti. It seems even more out of place when you consider what’s inside: 300 beds — more than All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg. Six operating rooms. A neonatal intensive care unit. A CT scanner, the only one available to the public in Haiti.  Most important, patients. More than 10,000 have seen clinicians since the hospital opened this spring.

 

It’s one of the few visible signs of progress since the 2010 earthquake leveled Port-au-Prince.

 

More than half of American households donated after the earthquake to help a poor country with bad luck. But for the most part, the grand plans of building back better have not materialized. The 1.5 million people living in tents after the earthquake are fewer, but many were forcibly evicted. A garment factory and a luxury hotel, both underwritten by aid, opened with fanfare. These milestones hardly amount to a resounding victory for the people of Haiti.

 

Against this disappointing effort, University Hospital stands out as a testament to how much can be accomplished in Haiti. It can teach us how to achieve rebuilding and development with effective aid that endures, and better deliver on the generosity of the American people.

 

The popular narrative would tell you the recovery fell short because Haiti is difficult, unstable, dangerous and corrupt. Just a few days after the quake, New York Times columnist David Brooks blamed Haiti’s trouble on “progress-resistant cultural influences.” It’s a facile explanation of a complex place, but a lot of people found it convincing.

 

My experience has led me to believe something else. I lived in Port-au-Prince for nine months and now work in Boston at Partners in Health, the global health nonprofit that built L’hopital Universitaire de Mirebalais under the guidance of Brooksville native Dr. Paul Farmer. In my view, the problem lay not with the Haitians but the aid industry that came to their rescue.

 

The earthquake recovery was largely composed of nonprofit organizations that are more eager to please donors than the people they purport to serve. Too often, they pay lip service to working with communities while largely ignoring them in designing their programs. Many of the so-called experts on alleviating poverty had little experience in Haiti and no plans to stay long term.

 

 READ MORE…

http://www.tampabay.com/opinion/essays/new-hospital-in-haiti-proves-that-aid-done-right-can-change-lives/2132969

 

Miamians build a bakery for Haiti’s abandoned children

 

 

 

 

 

PORT-AU-PRINCE — The six-foot stainless steel tables were supposed to fit together like Lego pieces, creating a work station to roll out the 300 loaves of bread to be made every morning for the children whose families had perished in the earthquake or who had been abandoned at birth.

 

For Gene Singletary, who has spent years toiling in kitchens as a top Miami caterer, and Albert Ramirez, the guy chefs call when their ovens aren’t topping 800 degrees for their wood-burning pizzas, a little thing like a load-bearing column wasn’t going to stop them.

 

It took only a moment or two for one of the Haitian men to run off and return with a circular saw and one of those school-bus-yellow-sheathed extension cords, the kind for stringing Christmas lights. Singletary and Ramirez quickly went to work. They measured the column, marked a square on the table, moved the table outside, plugged in the saw, and cut through the steel, sparks flying like a knife slicing day-old bread. Ramirez, his right arm wrapped in a sling from recent rotator cuff surgery, used his left to bend the steel upwards, flush against the column as if it had been custom made. And this is how four Miamians — Singletary and Ramirez along with sisters Laurie Weiss Nuell and Jennie Weiss Block — are helping to transform the lives of 61 Haitian children by building a bakery.

 

These are children who were orphaned or discarded by parents who couldn’t handle their children’s disabilities.The children have found a haven in Zanmi Beni Children’s Home (“Blessed Friends’’ in Creole), with its leafy setting, Crayola-colored playground and hand-chiseled stone chapel flanked by mango and sugar apple trees.

 

“It really is a special place,’’ said Nuell. “I want for these children what I want for my own children.’’

 

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2013/05/04/3380438/miamians-build-a-bakery-for-haitis.html#storylink=cpy