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2012HAITI research report strengthening local capactities

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2012HAITI research report strengthening local capactities

  1. 1. 1 Photo: MINUSTAH: Haitian National Police on Refresher Training Course (2011) Final report: 20th of August 2012 Nathalie van Schagen STUDY Strengthening local capacities In post-disaster Haiti
  2. 2. 2 CONTENTS CONTENTS .................................................................................................................................................................. 2 ABBREVIATIONS ......................................................................................................................................................... 4 1. INTRODUCTION ...................................................................................................................................................... 5 1.1 BACKGROUND........................................................................................................................................................5 1.2 RESEARCH METHODS AND PLANNING ..........................................................................................................................5 1.3 SET-UP OF THE REPORT ............................................................................................................................................6 2. HAITI'S CONTEXT .................................................................................................................................................... 7 2.1 INTRODUCTION TO HAITI'S CONTEXT...........................................................................................................................7 2.2 HAITI’S CONFLICT-POVERTY TRAP ...............................................................................................................................9 2.3 HAITI’S DEBT FOR INDEPENDENCE.............................................................................................................................12 2.4 HUMAN RIGHTS PERSPECTIVE ..................................................................................................................................16 2.4.1 Access to justice and cycle of impunity ............................................................................................................16 2.4.2 Response from Human Rights Organisations ..................................................................................................19 2.4.3 Violence against women..................................................................................................................................21 2.4.4 Response from women’s organisations ...........................................................................................................23 3. MAPPING OF NETWORKS AND LOCAL HUMAN RIGHTS ORGANISATIONS..............................................................26 3.1 INTRODUCTION.....................................................................................................................................................26 3.2 OVERVIEW OF HUMAN RIGHTS NETWORKS.................................................................................................................26 3.2.1 La Plateforme des Organisations Haïtiennes des Droits Humains (POHDH)....................................................26 3.2.2 Haitian Platform to Advocate Alternative Development (PAPDA)...................................................................27 3.2.3 Cadre de Liaison Inter- ONG Haïti (CLIO) .........................................................................................................28 3.3 OVERVIEW OF HUMAN RIGHTS ORGANISATIONS ..........................................................................................................30 3.3.1 Komisyon Episcopal Nasyonal Jistis ak Lapè (JILAP) ........................................................................................30 3.3.2 Centre de Réflexion et d'Action pour le Développement (CRAD) .....................................................................31 3.3.3 Réseau National de Défense des Droits Humains (RNDDH).............................................................................32 3.2.4 Observatoire National contre la violence criminalité ONAVC.........................................................................33 3.4 OVERVIEW OF WOMEN’S RIGHTS ORGANISATIONS .......................................................................................................34 3.4.1 Fondation Toya ................................................................................................................................................34 3.4.2 Femmes et Democratie....................................................................................................................................35 3.4.3 Solidarité Femmes Haïtien (SOFA) ...................................................................................................................35 3.4.4 Lig Pouvwa Fanm.............................................................................................................................................36 3.5 CONCLUDING OBSERVATIONS..................................................................................................................................37 3.5.1 Obstacles in the work of human rights organisations and networks...............................................................37 3.5.2 Strengths and weaknesses of human rights organisations and networks.......................................................40 4. OPPORTUNITIES FOR COLLABORATION .................................................................................................................42 4.1 CORDAID’S HISTORY IN HAITI...................................................................................................................................42 4.2 POTENTIAL FOR STRATEGIC COLLABORATIONS .............................................................................................................44 4.2.1 Justice and Peace Netherlands.........................................................................................................................44 4.2.2 Glencree/ Concern Peacebuilding initiatives Port-au-Prince............................................................................49 4.2.3 Potential partnerships......................................................................................................................................52 5. CONCLUSIONS .......................................................................................................................................................54 5.1 CONTEXT ANALYSIS.......................................................................................................................................................54 5.2 MAPPING OF NETWORKS AND LOCAL HUMAN RIGHTS & WOMEN’S ORGANISATIONS..................................................................55 5.3 OPPORTUNITIES FOR COLLABORATION..............................................................................................................................55 5.4 OBJECTIVES AS FORMULATED IN THE TERMS OF REFERENCE AND RECOMMENDATIONS LINKED TO THESE........................................56 5.5 OVERALL RECOMMENDATIONS .......................................................................................................................................58 ANNEX I TERMS OF REFERENCE .................................................................................................................................59 ANNEX II ITINERARY AND OVERVIEW OF CONTACTS .................................................................................................60
  3. 3. 3 ANNEX III: OVERVIEW OF REFERENCE DOCUMENTS ..................................................................................................62 ANNEX IV: HAITI’S RATIFICATION OF CORE INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS INSTRUMENTS...................................65 ANNEX V: IDENTIFIED NETWORKS IN HAITI ...............................................................................................................66 ANNEX VI: MAPPING OF HUMAN RIGHTS- AND WOMEN’S ORGANISATIONS............................................................67 ANNEX VII: OBSERVATIONS OF A PEACE DIALOGUE MULTI-STAKEHOLDER WORKSHOP............................................68
  4. 4. 4 ABBREVIATIONS 3PSM Partenariat pour la Paix et la Prospérité a Saint Martin (Partnership for Peace and Prosperity in Saint Martin) ANAPFEH Association Nationale de Protection des Femmes et Enfants Haïtiens BAI Bureau d’Avocats Internationaux BAZ Groups of people (groupe de base) often local leaders CERFAS Centre de Recherche, de Réflexion, de Formation et d’Action Sociale CICC Consortium Internationale- Country Coordination CLIO Cadre de Liaison Inter-ONG Haïti COE-H Coordination Europe Haiti CPH Comité Protos Haiti CPFO Centre Promotion des Femmes Ouvrières CRAD Centre de Recherche et d’Action pour le Développement CSO Civil Society Organisations CSPJ DAP GAJ (Conseil Supérieur du Pouvoir Judiciaire) Supreme Court (Direction administrative penintentaire) National Prison Commission Groupe Assistance Judiciaire GRET Professionnels du Développement Solidaire GRIDAP Groupe de Recherche d’Initiatives pour un Développement Alternatif et Participatif HAP Humanitarian Accountability Partnership HDI Human Development Index HoM Head of Mission JILAP Komisyon Episkopal Nasyonal Jistis ak Lapè (Commission Episcopale Nationale Justice et Paix) JetP Justitia et Pax Netherlands MINUSTAH United Nations Stabilisation Mission Haiti (since 2006) MMF March Mondial des Femmes (World March of Women) MOUFHED Mouvement des Femmes Haïtiennes pour l’Education et le Développement ONAVC Observatoire National de la Violence et de la Criminalité PAJ PBC Programme pour une Alternative de Justice Peace Building Committees PICCOH Partners of ICCO Haiti PNH Police National Haiti POHDH Plateforme des Organisations Haïtiennes des Droits Humains REFRAKA Réseau des Femmes des Radios Communautaires RNDDH Réseau National de Défense de Droits Humains RVC Programme de la Réduction de la Violence Communautaire, département au sein de MINUSTAH SAKS Society for Social Mobilization and Communication SOFA Solidarité Fanm Ayisyen SSR Security Sector Reform
  5. 5. 5 1. INTRODUCTION 1.1 Background For more than thirty years Cordaid has been supporting non-governmental organisations in Haiti. These local partners were implementing programmes in the domains of food security, health (focusing on the HIV-epidemic), women’s rights, emergency relief and reconstruction. Then in January 2010 an earthquake hit Haiti and erupted most of the work Cordaid’s partners were doing. The epicentre of the earthquake was Léogane, a rural area two hours south-west of the capital Port-au-Prince. The devastation was enormous in the epicentre as well as in the capital where one third of the population of Haiti is concentrated. Cordaid opened two offices, a central one in the capital and a field office in Léogane. An extensive programme was launched focusing on providing shelter, water and sanitation, (mental) health care and psychosocial care. Cordaid plans to shut their doors by mid 2012. This context, of Cordaid finishing its’ emergency programme, combined with the reality that Cordaid needs to review its’ global development programmes and decide on a renewed focus for Cordaid for the next decade, gave lead to this research. The research request came from the department for Conflict Transformation (CT). In Cordaid this department had inherited different partners, from different sectors (food security, health, livelihoods etc) sometimes in Cordaid’s portfolio for over 15 years. Now could be a time, when Cordaid’s global programmes are being concluded and its’ emergency programme in Haiti is coming to an end, to collect recent data on civil society organisations in Haiti, and to gain closer insight of what assets and networks the Cordaid emergency programme has generated and how these contacts might be utilised for a new programme. The objectives of this research were therefore twofold. On one hand to provide a mapping of human rights organisations and women’s rights organisations that have activities related to democracy building and access to justice in their programmes, including the identification of one or two potential partners for Cordaid. And on the other hand to identify potential opportunities for a new programme in Haiti, that complements the activities and networks the emergency programme has achieved in the past two years. Ideally it would also contribute to a more coherent and complementary programme of all Cordaid sectors that intervene in Haiti. Haiti is one of the few countries for Cordaid where all sectors are represented, which highlight both the need and the challenge to make Cordaid’s programmes more coherent. 1.2 Research methods and planning Before the actual travel to Haiti in January, literature on Haiti’s context and Cordaid’s programme history and policy was collected. From mid January to mid March field work was conducted in Haiti. This consisted of a wide variety of interviews with members of civil society organisations, partners and non-partners of Cordaid, representatives of networks, field office staff of Cordaid and identified resource persons. Following fieldwork the research was complemented with a literature study to complement the context of Haiti which will be provided in the next chapter. Adding to the literature study several resource persons and human rights organisations were interviewed during a round table in Brussels, and in Antwerp and Leuven. Several in-depth interviews were held to double- check the main underlying causes for poverty in Haiti.
  6. 6. 6 The first two weeks of June a research assistant was sent to Haiti to interview two well-known human rights networks, local human rights and women’s organisations. Furthermore she was involved in establishing a link between contacts of the Cordaid emergency programme in a suburb of Nan Cocteau and with a potential partner, the Glencree Institute, to further explore possibilities of a new programme in which Cordaid may play a substantial role. It is important to note that the different interviews and more informal conversations with Haitians have been leading in this report, not only in the mappings but first and foremost with establishment of Haiti’s context. Their perspectives and opinions have been integrated in determining the primary factors and underlying causes of poverty in Haiti. Also their views have been integrated in a human rights perspective, and what the main obstacles to the full enjoyment of human rights are from their points of view. In the process of the research it became clear that an analysis of the context, one that is accepted by Haitians themselves was of great importance to understanding the situation as it is today, and what issues lie ahead, that Cordaid for example could take into account. The researcher together with Cordaid’s programme officer agreed that more specific attention would be put on the context, in addition to the initial Terms of Reference. 1.3 Set-up of the report Following this introduction, a context analysis is provided. This context is based on a literature study and complemented with insights based on interviews conducted in Haiti and in Belgium. After having provided a context in general, this will be situated in a human rights perspective. Focus will be put on the human rights situation of access to justice and the actual situation of women’s rights (violations) in Haiti. This analysis is also an integrated effort of both literature and interviews and reports from human rights organisations’ representatives that have been interviewed in Haiti. In chapter three a mapping will be provided of the main human rights networks in Haiti and their activities and human rights’ and women’s rights organisations. Their objectives and activities will be summarised as well as with whom they collaborate. Also some of their weaknesses and strengths are shared. In chapter four answers will be found to the second objective of this research which is to identify potentials for collaboration of Cordaid. Firstly the added value of Cordaid important to the programme of Haiti is outlined, and in the following paragraphs, potentials for partnership with both international and local organisations will be proposed. In chapter five the objectives of the Terms of Reference will be discussed and general conclusions of this report are summarised then. It contains a broad overview of the main needs and challenges of local NGOs in strengthening their organisations to tackle the prior problems of Haiti, and what potential roles there might be for Cordaid to contribute. Both in terms of building upon their track record and history of partnerships suggestions will be made, as well as identifying opportunities that strive at coherence between the different departments and focus points of Cordaid’s mandate as a relief/development organisation.
  7. 7. 7 Demography of Haiti Population: 9.8 million Ethnicity: 95% black, 5% mulatto and white Religion: Roman Catholic 80%, Protestant 16% Languages: Creole and French are both national languages Urban population: 52% (urbanisation rate is 3.9%) Population in capital Port au Prince : 2.1 million Source : CIA World Factbook 2012 2. HAITI'S CONTEXT If the purpose of development is improving the chances for a people and following generations to lead happy lives, development needs most of all the basic human freedoms from violence, from disease from hunger and the freedom of belief and expression Joris Voorhoeve, at a The Hague Conference on Security & Development, 2006 2.1 Introduction to Haiti's context Haiti holds a unique place in modern world history for being the first independent black republic that freed itself from colonial rule in 1804. Geographically, Haiti has a strategic place in the region, being in a triangle from South America and the United States. Politically Haiti is known for years of unrest, violence and poor governance, which is visible in its weak institutions. These are struggling to provide the basic services. Politics are dominated by elite that has never prioritised investments that benefit the population. Haiti does not fit into a specific box easily. For example it cannot be framed simply as a “fragile state”. Though it does fulfil many of the indicators attributed to fragile states, it is different from fragile contexts such as Afghanistan and South Sudan that suffered violent conflicts for many years. History plays an important role, as will be demonstrated in the following paragraphs. Haiti seems an island of extremes. It has the highest regional score in terms of violence and criminality. Together with Jamaica, Haiti has the highest homicide rates of the Caribbean1 . It is said that, were Haiti and Jamaica to reduce their rates of homicide to the level of Costa Rica, both countries would see an enormous rise in economic development2 . Haiti is also known for being the poorest country in the western hemisphere, one of the most corrupt countries in the world sharing its position with Iraq. In terms of Human Development3 , it is comparable with the least developed countries in the world (see text box for details Haiti). Haiti’s Gini-coefficient is rated amongst the top ten worldwide which signifies that the income inequality is extreme. At the same time Haiti has a vibrant and lively society that has shown unimaginable resilience to the many shocks it has endured over time. The country has a history in which the destruction of civil society and of social capital have been a conscious strategy of foreign nations but also from the Haitian elite in power. The revolution that led to independence in 1804 from France is widely perceived as both unique as well as a struggle in which Haiti is still caught today. Later interference by foreign powers and the highly unfavourable trade position of the nation also undermined the 1 Crime, Violence and Development: Trends, Costs and policy options in the Caribbean (World Bank: 2007) 2 (ibid) 3 Education levels, income and life expectancy
  8. 8. 8 development of social fabrics and civil society. The occupation by the United States paused some of the progress the country had seen in the latter part of the 20th century. Nature has also had an influence on the setback but also of the resilience of Haitians: The Island is struck by hurricanes and flooding frequently. The earthquake of 2010 was another shock, in a long line of many. According to the famous development economist Paul Collier, Haiti is in a unique position for economic development, despite the set-back of the earthquake and the political fragility of the state and its society. He states that besides the strategic geographic position, Haiti is not part of a troubled region, like the Great Lakes or Central Asia. The fact that labour in Haiti is not only cheap but also of good quality, makes Haiti very attractive for the garment industry, as it can compete with China. Also in terms of time-to market Haiti is favourable. Finally uniquely in the world, Haiti has duty-free, quota access to the American market guaranteed for the next nine years, which makes Haiti the world’s safest production location for garments4 . Haiti has been challenged demographically, economically, politically and environmentally over a long period of time. This has contributed to the fact that Haiti is known as one of the countries caught in a conflict-poverty trap. According to the World Bank, Haiti cannot escape this trap without taking serious action to fight widespread poverty, income inequality and urban violence and to invest in the state’s capacity to provide basic services to its population. Providing security and rule of law are seen as crucial public goods, not only to provide justice and safety but also as preconditions to create an environment in which development, investments and economic growth can take place5 . Since the earthquake of Haiti in 2010, the international community has been omnipresent with extensive reconstruction programmes. It has brought along large sums of money. This presence, however, has further exacerbated aid-dependency. Today Haiti is almost entirely dependent on foreign aid. This year (2012), many large international donor organisations, including Cordaid, are withdrawing their emergency assistance from the country. For many organisations this means that they will leave Haiti for the full 100%. Generally speaking, it is precarious to draw a line in deciding when an emergency phase is over, and when a country is ready to continue reconstruction and development in a longer term perspective. There is consensus, though, that the hard-core emergency phase of supplying first aid relief (tents, water and medical support) should be as short as possible as to minimize the outside, top-down, general support. It is important to start as soon as possible, or to link it to wherever feasible, to a community-driven, demand-driven and participatory approach that respects local structures. Cordaid has been present in Haiti since the ’80s, with different developmental and longer-term programmes. When the earthquake hit Haiti in 2010, the decision was made that Cordaid would start and coordinate an emergency programme with field presence. As the programme comes to an end, one challenge is to phase out the emergency programme while linking the expertise gained to existing programmes. Another challenge is to link opportunities to use the assets gained (knowledge, networks, organisational experience, reputation) for new programmes. 4 Collier, “Haiti: from natural disaster to economic security”: a report for the UN-secretary of the United Nations, January 2009 5 Social Resilience and State Fragility in Haiti: a World Bank Country Study (2007)
  9. 9. 9 Haiti stands 158 out of 187 countries on the Human Development Index (2011). Maternal mortality rate: 523/100.000 deliveries which is nearly 10 times higher than average in Latin America. Infant mortality 80/1000 live births, four times the regional average. Life expectancy was 62.1 years. There is a severe uneven distribution of wealth (10% highest income quintile has more than 54 times the income than the poorest 10%; the Gini-coefficient of Haiti is 60, which is among the 10% highest in the world. Literacy rates are estimated to be 48, 7% Access to drinking facility services 46% (UNDP: 2011) The next paragraphs give an analysis of the context of Haiti. The World Bank’s aforementioned analysis helps provide insights into the causes of Haiti’s conflict-poverty trap. Its historic political fragility, as well as socio-economic factors, will be discussed. This will then be complemented by a short overview of history in which three factors are mentioned as important to the situation Haiti finds itself in today. 2.2 Haiti’s conflict-poverty trap According to the World Bank, fragile states are characterised by a conflict poverty-trap. They feature poverty, inequality, economic decline, unemployment, institutional weakness, poor governance, violence, lawlessness and persistent conflict. Resulting from extensive research, the World Bank has identified three determining components that constitute a poverty-conflict trap. These are: (1), demographic and socio-economic factors, (2), the capacity of core state institutions to provide basic services including security and rule of law, and (3), the agenda’s and strategies of political actors. A closer look into those components is essential in order to reveal some of the underlying causes that prevent Haiti from changing into a prosperous country. Demographic and socio-economic factors Haiti has a fast growing population which increases pressure on the scarce resources. Since the late nineteen eighties the urbanisation rate of Haiti has increased rapidly. Youth and children account for 50 percent of the population. And youth unemployment, at 50 per cent, is the highest level in Latin America. It is also nearly three times greater than the unemployment rate of the older generation (35-44 years). Half of households in Haiti live in extreme poverty, with wide differences among and within regions. Haiti is the world’s most remittance- dependent country. Social protection in Haiti is highly dependent on remittances from Diaspora. These remittances are accountable for 30% of household income 6 . The other side of the coin is that it comes mostly from highly qualified people who have left Haiti and thus not supporting Haitian’s economy directly. The rural-urban divide in terms of access to services is extremely unequal. Whereas 28 percent of the population has access to safe drinking water, this is not even 8 percent in the rural areas. The same goes for electricity, health care and education. In several interviews with resource persons, it 6 These transfers total about $800 million annually and account for about 30 percent of household income. Page xv: in Social Resilience and State fragility in Haiti. World Bank Country Study (2007)
  10. 10. 10 “The Haitian National Police Force is insufficiently trained, equipped and staffed. The ratio is 1 police officer for every 1000 citizens”. In the Netherlands this ratio is 3 to 4 to a 1000 citizens. Pierre Espérance- RNDDH was mentioned that in some provinces there is very little, if any, police representation7 . Another difference between the rural and the metropolitan areas is the tradition of social cohesion. In rural areas less than one quarter of the population notes that he or she feels unsafe. In urban areas this is much higher as more than one half of the urban population say they feel unsafe most of the time. Trust and fear have been measured as indicators of social cohesion. Crime and violence are on the increase, especially in the urban areas8 . The social cohesion, traditionally part of rural society gets undermined by the migration of people to urban areas, where cohesion is less visible and less effective, but even more wanted. This puts more pressure on state institutions that are struggling already. It is presumed that better access to basic services in rural areas will reduce the wish of people to move to urban areas. Governance and institutions Institutions are important for social and economic development and are crucial for state building. They have the potential to mitigate risk factors of violence and conflict. Weak as they are in Haiti, they might also contribute to ignite violence and crime, for example by not being able to provide justice. Impunity is omnipresent in Haiti, and will remain so as long as the justice system will not prosecute perpetrators of violence. Haiti’s revenue system has been in decline since the 1980's. In 2005 it was only 9 percent of the GDP, compared to 18 percent in other low-income countries. The volatility of international external assistance, combined with a weak domestic revenue base and poor expenditure targeting have left spending on education, health and infrastructure below the average of other low-income countries. Public education in Haiti is in a deplorable state. More than 80 percent of the children are enrolled in non-state schools. The same goes for health services. More than 70 per cent of health services in rural areas are provided by non-governmental organisations. The population of Haiti hardly has access to justice. Security is fragile, especially in the urban areas. Under the presidency of Martelly (May 2011- present), old commanders have organised themselves in current barracks and governmental buildings. They are armed, and put Martelly under pressure to invest again in a national army. This is against the precept of the international community on which the government heavily depends financially. A national army in Haiti is a sensitive issue. The armies in the past have been accountable for several coup d’états with an impact that Haiti still has to live with today. Security forces in general in Haiti have mainly served as tools of oppression, and as extensive arms of the elite rather than serving the public. The Dominican Republic has a strong army of about 60.000 soldiers. Investing in an army competitive to the Dominicans’ would not 7 ibid 8 Crime, Violence and Development: Trends, Costs and policy options in the Caribbean (World Bank: 2007)
  11. 11. 11 "Haiti actually has three elites. There is the intellectual elite, what I would call the old Haitian elite of powerful families who have money and education, a political elite, and then business elite. Together, they are at the top of the 5 per cent of the population who control, I would say, at least 80 per cent of the wealth." Interview with Ralph Chevy, one of Haiti’s best-known entrepreneurs in the Independent on the 23rd of January 2010 only be unaffordable for Haiti, it would also not serve the populations security. As one interviewee9 stated clearly: “An army is installed to protect your population from foreign threats and the police is to protect the population from internal insecurities”. Threats Haiti faces historically are from the ruling parties and the elites, not so much from outside. One could argue that the MINUSTAH has become a form of occupation, an argument that is often used when discussing the issue of a national army. But the decision for a “UN Stabilisation Mission" was made when lack of political control in the capital of Port Au Prince before the elections in 2004, led to structural violence. The international community is unanimous that priority should be given to building a strong legitimate domestic police force that will ensure public security, and contribute to the broader process of restoring state legitimacy. Together with a civilian unit of MINUSTAH they have invested in the structural reform of the Police. Some positive changes are visible; though trust in the integrity and capacity of these forces remains questionable. Haiti’s judiciary system has been weakened by corruption and frequent political interference. This has undermined the institution’s independence and trust of the population in institutions. The physical infrastructure is weak (it has suffered even more during the earthquake, as the human resources, judges and judicial officers are under qualified underpaid, and the courts are understaffed). As a result, access to justice is not only difficult; it is based on chance for many people. Powerful actors and strategies Under “Baby Doc” Jean Claude Duvalier in 1986, the Constitution was adapted and includes a clear separation of executive, judicial and legislative powers, as well as the so desired decentralised structures of governance. This has remained theory unfortunately, although the current government has promised to put these laws into practice. Chronic deprivation of basic rights and lack of socio-economic opportunities, especially for the youth, generate frustrations that can easily be exploited by those willing to undermine the ruling government for their personal gains. Institutions that suffer from severe breakdown of their physical infrastructure, poorly trained officials who are often underpaid and prone to corruption as well, further strengthens opportunists to undermine state authority. It is an enormous challenge for political leaders to prove their leadership, especially with the few resources available. They have to deal with class forces that have historically been part of the political socio economic elite and that will fight to keep their dominant position in society. The elite does this at the cost of others. On the 9 Rhoddy Petit, former policy officer for Haiti and the Caribbean for Broederlijk Delen and he is resource person for the context of Haiti. He has lived in Haiti for many years (in the ‘80/’90)
  12. 12. 12 other hand the leaders need to tackle populism that seems to acknowledge the population’s grievances but does not pay attention to the longer term socio-economic and institutional investments which are needed for development so badly. This analysis of the World Bank gives quite a clear insight in the socio-economic and political context of Haiti. It explains some of the root causes that have to be tackled in order to escape the dire situation that Haiti finds itself in. However, this is not the full picture. Haitians mention underlying causes of the poverty trap that their country finds itself in. By giving a short outline on the history of Haiti since it became the first country in the world free from slavery, I will argue that Haiti is subject to (at least) three underlying causes that have kept Haiti in its poverty trap. As they might still pose a potential obstacle to change in Haiti it appears important to take these into account in the analysis of Haiti’s context. 2.3 Haiti’s debt for independence After a struggle of centuries between different European nations, Haiti was confiscated from the Spanish and turned into French hands around 1660. Léogane is the first French settlement on the West Coast. In 1697 a Treaty is signed where the Western part of the Island is officially handed-over from the Spanish into French hands. At that time plantations of cacao, cotton and tobacco are in full swing. The importation of African slaves was needed to increase produce, and profit. Later the production of sugar and coffee became important export products. By the 1780s, Saint-Domingue became known as the “Pearl of the Antilles” producing about 40 percent of all the sugar and 60 percent of all the coffee consumed in Europe. This single colony, roughly the size of Belgium, produced more sugar and coffee than all of Britain's West Indian colonies combined. The slaves working on these plantations and who were accountable for these profits reached around 800.000 (accounting for a third of the entire Atlantic slave trade)10 . Thousands of slaves managed to escape their patrons. They raided isolated plantations, forming communities of maroons11 . In 1791 the Haitian revolution marked the start of what would become the first slave-free country in the world. In the north groups of slaves were well organised setting plantations in flames and this spread out through the whole colony. The former slaves have defeated armies from the three most powerful nations on earth (Spain, France, and England)12 . On January 1st, 1804 independence was declared by the first Head of State of Haiti: Jean- Jacques Dessalines13 . He was the military commander and successor of Toussaint L’Ouverture, the military leader who instigated the revolution for independence. France refused to recognise Haiti until 1825 and only recognised Haiti after it was agreed that the nation paid14 indemnity for the loss of French property during the revolution. To pay for this, Haiti was put into debt, which they only managed to repay in 1947. Diplomatically Haiti was not recognised by the US until 1862, meaning that it took nearly 60 years for Haiti to gain recognition. Haiti was perceived a threat by many nations, knowing that Haiti supported independence movements and would help to free Latin America’s slaves. 10 Wikipedia: history of Haiti 11 Maroon is derived from the Spanish word “fugitive,” or “runaway”, literally it means “top of the mountains”, and is used throughout the entire Caribbean to refer to freed slaves that moved to the mountain areas to farm. ( source Wikipedia) 12 New Internationalist, “beyond relief, beyond belief”, by Phillip Wearne, January-February 2012 13 He was emperor not president 14 150 million golden francs should be paid to the French Republic.
  13. 13. 13 “The state does not know how to cohabit with the population. They are not used to it” Father J. Hanssen- Director of the National Justice and Peace Commission in Haiti (Jilap) After a turbulent political period in which many presidents followed each other in a short period, the Unites States occupied Haiti, justified to their saying by the complaints from American Banks to which Haiti was highly in debt. The occupation lasted from 1915-1934. This period is marked as self-interested by the US and generally as a brutal period. The US retained control of Haiti’s external finances until 1947. Adding on this history in a nutshell, there are three main factors throughout Haiti’s history that still have an impact on Haiti as it is today, and that were emphasized by different respondents in formal and lesser formal meetings. These are: 1) the presence of armed forces, whether to liberate Haiti from slavery or to oppress the population, 2) influence and interference of foreign powers, 3) deeply rooted inequality between the elites and the majority of the population. From armed resistance to armed oppression Since Haiti’s revolution for independence an army had been formed. Firstly to be liberated from France, the army consisted of commanders that were liberated slaves and later commanders with in mind to rule Haiti to their vision. During US occupation (1915-1934) the army was reformed, and renamed “the Garde”. What was meant to turn into an apolitical and professional army, turned out to become an arm of the people in power. The army consisted mainly of black Haitians, trained by a black American commander; the officers were mainly mulattoes15 though, further strengthening the power imbalances. Under Duvalier in 1959, the Tontons Macoutes were created: a paramilitary group that enforced his repressive regime and was given a virtual licence to torture, extort and kill all opponents of the regime. Their official name was the National Security Volunteers16 , but soon they received the nickname of Tontons Macoutes17 . The military was discarded only after Aristide came into power in 1994. The National Haitian Police is now fully responsible for the internal security of its population. This recent military history has evaded all trust of the population in security forces who have committed the worst violations. For their victims there has never been justice until today. The executor of political power, that the security forces have been over the years, still has an enormous impact on the population. It is crucial in the process of gaining trust of the population that these forces have no links to the elite that committed violations, and that it really serves the public rather than the ruling elites18 . Foreign interference & influence The role of foreign nations over the years has kept Haiti in a poverty trap, with debts and export barriers put on to them. It was feared that Haiti would become an example for other countries in the Caribbean, which would then also fight for independence. To the United States Haiti was geo- politically important as a counter-balance to the wind of communism that blew over the islands. The fact that Haiti has been forced to pay an enormous debt to France for their independence shows that Haiti was never forgiven for the fact they obtained their independence19 . Besides France, the United States have played an important role in keeping Haiti fragile. The debts Haiti owed to the US were legitimising its invasion in 1915, and 15 Mulattoes were historically seen as from a higher social class than indigenous Haitians, as they were half slave descendent, half from white slave owners. This provided them with a natural status. 16 Volontaires de la Sécurité Nationale (V.S.N.) 17 Conversation with Claudette Werleigh about the official name of the Macoutes. 18 Back to square one: The politics of Police Reform in Haiti, Timothy Donais ( 2005) 19 Interview with Jagoda Paukovic who lived in Haiti from 1982-1984, under the regime of baby Doc, May 2012
  14. 14. 14 they remained in control over their foreign expenses until 1947. Several embargos were put on Haiti, and the dumping of US-AID rice in Haiti has partly destroyed Haiti’s local rice market20 . The US kept closely involved in the politics of Haiti, not only directly from government to government, but also the Diaspora in the United States, kept influence. In 2004 the UN Security Council voted for a UN-Stabilisation Mission, to monitor the elections and to assist with the restoration and maintenance of rule of law, public safety and public order. The elite versus the masses Elites that ruled the country have never shown a genuine interest in investing in the country. Nor have they developed any longer-term strategy to improve the lives of ordinary Haitians. The opposite is often true as there are numerous examples which show that the elite have often acted against the interest of the masses. Politicians including the presidents often fear that a well-organised peasant society may revolt against them. Rather than please these people and thereby secure their victory in elections, they have taken actions to undermine their potential collective strengths. As one of my respondents put it: “Fear of organised resistance has always been in the minds of controlling power”21 . François “Papa Doc” Duvalier came to power as democratically elected president. He promised to get rid of the ruling elite and to put native Haitians back to power. He was very much influenced by the “negritude movement” 22 which was flourishing in Africa. Papa Doc intended to build a middle class of black people but it is too simplistic to narrow it down to a colour issue. He became known as having ruled the country as a feared and merciless dictator. His son Baby Doc Duvalier was courting mulatto elite again, marrying a mulatto. One well-documented example of actions by the ruling elite to undermine the social and economic position of the people is the eradication of domestic pigs, so called “Creole pigs”. Under the pretext of decease, “la peste porcine africaine”, president Baby Doc ordered the putting down of all domestic pigs. Estimates of the total number of animals that were killed vary between 1.2 and 1.9 million animals. This plan was carried out by his personal army, the “Tontons Macoutes”23 in a manner that horrified rural population. The entire country smelt the burned pigs who were then piled up together in each village and poured over with gasoline and set on fire. The screaming was to be heard throughout the night24 . For the livelihoods of ordinary Haitians this was a disaster. For them the pigs were important sources of income. A pig used to be a saving and insurance so that poor people would always have a pig to sell and could then send their children to school for example. To replace the indigenous pigs the government imported white pigs from the United States. These pigs were much more prone to disease and were less well suited to the Haitian climate. Also, they required special food which was only available to those people with money. The result was that keeping these pigs was not possible for most of the people and the little gains they had made in terms of the livelihoods were undone. This increased their poverty, 20 See study of Talitha Stam, and article Phillip Wearne Jan-Feb 2012 21 Interview with Jagoda Paukovic who lived in Haiti from 1982-1984, under the regime of Baby Doc Duvalier, May 2012, also in article from Phillip Wearne this traumatic event is mentioned. And in “Haiti entre colonisation dette et domination by Sophie Perchellet (2010) this example is used as one of the strategies of creating food dependence. 22 In the 19th century there has been an open political debate about if power should go to those who know best (le pouvoir aux plus capables) or to those who represent the greatest number of citizens (le plus grand bien au plus grand nombre). The color issue is not raised by either side, but the majority in Haiti is black though, and “educated” people who supposedly knew best were mostly mulattoes that did get an opportunity under colonial rule to study in France for example. Though the two political parties no longer exist, this political quarrel is still continuing between who knows best, or who represents best the population. 23 This was a paramilitary force created by Papa Doc in 1959. 24 Interview with Jagoda Paukovic
  15. 15. 15 “The state listens more to the demands or advice of the international world and other countries than the voices and claims of its own population” Interview with PAPDA decreased their abilities to organise any type of opposition and ultimately strengthened the position of the elite. The putting down of indigenous pigs is a well-known example, but it certainly is not the only example of state domination. Numerous methods have been used throughout Haiti’s history and they have created a system where the elite protects the elite’s interests, at the expense of the population. They were also kept poor as a pool of almost free labour. Having “pigs” (savings) and educating children was perceived as a threat; this could mean that a large part of the rural population could climb up towards becoming middle-class. This would mean that they could organise themselves against the elite. The consequence on the long run is not only that it undermines development but also that the relationship between people and the state has changed. A consequence is that today there is little trust between the people and their respective state institutions25 . During the Duvalier regime catholic missionaries were organising peasants into groups and cooperatives. Creole language was thought in the countryside and there was lots of effort to make people aware about the oppression that they were living under. Theology of liberation was in a full swing. Some of the elite was organised either in free masons networks or in Rosicrucian networks. They quickly reacted by persecuting those peasant movements and by undermining the catholic grass roots movement. Protestant missionaries from all kinds were invited to settle in the country side. This represented the end of the peasant movement. The only protection and refuge was voodoo, the indigenous Haitian religion which survived all oppressions and changes26 . Middle class was also considered potentially dangerous if capable of importing different ideologies which could be critical of the ruling elite. During both Duvalier regimes (1957-1986), there was a paranoid fear of communism. Tourists or business people from communist or socialist countries were not allowed to obtain visas. The only exception was Poland because Polish soldiers in Napoleon’s army deserted and joined Haitian slaves in the upraising. After four turbulent political years in the follow-up of Baby Doc’s regime (he had to flee Haiti in 1986 and resided in France), elections were held in 1990 and Jean Bertrand Aristide was elected president of Haiti with 67% of the votes. A military coup ended his rule already 7 months later, and not before 1994 he was restored in power. In 2000 he was elected again as president after he stepped down (in accordance with the Haitian Constitution) in 1995. By supporters he was seen as a liberator and by detractors he was seen as another dictator. The reason of his popularity had to do for a large part with where his roots were. Aristide was one of the promising people within the Fanmi Lavalas Party known for its’ equity principles. This party received a lot of popularity and trust from farmers and farmers’ organisations, in the late ’80s, with the upcoming of the Ti Legliz, the grass roots Church. In the years that Aristide ruled, violence was inherent to his power. There have been several coups and coups attempts, and in 2004 he was again overthrown and forced into exile. Thus, the historic importance and influence of the army, the geo-political and economic interests of foreign nations and the devastating politics of the elites, have been three important factors in explaining why Haiti is what it is today. The role of the international community has been an important factor throughout history and has made Haiti both 25 Putzel, James (2006, in: The political economy of state building in situations of fragility and conflict: from analysis to strategy. Clingendael Institute, 2012 26 Interview with Jagoda Paukovic and Herman Lauwerysen who both lived in Haiti under Baby Doc in the 1980s.
  16. 16. 16 Many cases are known of sexual violence being committed by soldiers of MINUSTAH. A hundred soldiers have returned to Sri Lanka, without being held accountable for their crimes. The Security Council is not willing to discuss the immunity of soldiers. They are sent back home but Haiti has no right to prosecute them. Impunity contributes to maintaining the status quo. Local staff at Solidarité Fanm Ayisyen (SOFA) vulnerable to and suspicious of all (aid) interventions that have been taken place. These three factors represent three different power structures that have been, and sometimes still are influential. Different interviewees27 emphasized that now that Martelly (and his elite) have won the elections, the power is (again) in the hands of the bourgeoisie. It will not be surprising that those elite will continue to be redistributive to their elite part of the population and that they will not represent nor be accountable to the population as a whole. Previously the national government also had an army to command power. This army has been dissolved. Though, as will be discussed later, the elite is represented in different public institutions at strategic places and decides what is just. There is no real independence of institutions, or a real democratic government. In the next paragraphs the perspectives of representatives of civil society will be discussed and an effort will be done to show how deeply rooted these inequalities are and what impact they have on the daily lives of people and their communities. It is not only about a lack of social contract between the state and its population, it is a broad and complete absence of communication and trust of people in their government and their institutions. 2.4 Human rights perspective 2.4.1 Access to justice and cycle of impunity The term “access to justice” has become a common term in the wider human rights and developmental discourse, policy and programming. Especially in contexts where the government has lacked to provide judicial services to the majority of the population, the international community has included this aspect of human rights and developmental programming to their arsenal of interventions. Recently it has become an integral part of peacebuilding operations to include programmes of reforming the police (Security Sector Reform or SSR) and to reform the justice system (sometimes part of SSR and sometimes tackled in a specific justice reform programme). Both justice and security are seen as fundamental rights and preconditions for sustainable peace and development, essential for the legitimacy of any nation. For the purpose of clarity the term “access to justice” is defined here. Firstly, access (or the limited access) is defined as: all barriers that citizens face in their struggle to obtain justice. This includes not only the physical distance to courts, but also the financial lack of access, as most people in Haiti cannot afford judicial assistance for example, or pay to file a complaint. Furthermore knowledge or better lack thereof prevents many people to find their way to accessing justice. Secondly, justice is understood to mean all justice services including the courts, but also prosecution, 27 Please see the Annex, for the round table discussion held in Brussels on the 12th of June 2012, with Anne Mc Connell and Phllip Wearne from the London- based Haiti Support Group, Greet Schoumans from Broederlijk Delen/ 11.11.11, and Claudette Werleigh, as Haiti expert, Secretary General of Pax Christi International. See also the interview with Rhoddy Petit, previously living in Haiti, and who has worked for Broederlijk Delen several years.
  17. 17. 17 police, legal defence and alternative dispute resolution28 . Cordaid requested to dedicate specific attention to two human rights aspects in Haiti. One is the state of access to justice and the other is women’s rights. Human rights organisations in Haiti work on many issues related to social injustices. These issues often include specific programmes aimed at improving access to justice and fighting (the causes of) violence against women. Following the section of access to justice, three main obstacles were identified by human rights organisations in Haiti. They are (i) weak capacity, (ii) legitimacy, and (iii) language. After having identified the main obstacles, three human rights organisations working on “access to justice” provide insight on what they do to contribute to a stronger and more liable justice system that the population can access to find justice. Weak capacity The infrastructure of Haiti’s courts and prisons was weakened by the January 2010 earthquake. Though only four prisons were severely damaged, 5000 prisoners managed to escape. This means a rough 58%, as the total amount of detainees in Haiti was 8535 just prior to the earthquake. It needs to be said though that many more are detained in police cells for example29 . In normal times escapes are not uncommon given the inadequacies of prison security30 . The courts that were unscathed after the earthquake have remained understaffed and under-resourced. Courts not only lack sufficient staff, but the staff that is present is under-qualified. The earthquake and its aftermath led the destruction of many files of people awaiting their trials. This resulted in excessively long pre-trial detentions and further pressure on the limited space prisoners have31. The UPR report on criminal justice32 emphasizes that: “… over 80% of the prisoners have not been convicted of a crime and are held in illegal pre-trial detention for more than a year on average, and over three years in some prisons”. The long pre-trial detentions, often longer than the crime the prisoners are accused. On top of this the very poor health and sanitation circumstances make prisons in Haiti inhumane and equal to cruel treatment. This means in practise for example that prisoners have to take turns sleeping on the floor, as the space per prisoner comes down to 0.30m2 per person. The international standard though in crisis situations requires 2m2 as an absolute minimum33 . Another issue that is often brought up in reports that evaluate the status of justice systems is the contradictions in laws. The National Constitution for example is contradictory in some instances with the Family Code. This is a phenomenon often mentioned in countries where the justice system is weak. It is often not a first priority because it is a symptom and not a cause of a dysfunctional justice system. There are also disparities between National Laws and international Conventions and Treaties that have been adopted by Haiti. Fondation Toya, a women’s grass roots organisation, emphasized the problem with this National - International Law-gap for women’s rights. 28 Access to Justice: Reflections on the concept, the Theory and its Application to Latin America’s Judicial Reforms, Hammergren, L. 2004 29 Crisis Group has held interviews prior to the earthquake with senior prison administration officials, with MINUSTAH. 30 Keeping Haiti safe: Justice Reform, Crisis Group Latin America/ Caribbean Briefing N27, 27th of October 2011 31 ibid; 32 UPR Report on Criminal Justice in Haiti submitted by: Alternative Chance, Center for Constitutional Rights, Conférence des universitaires pour la défense des droits et de la liberté and LAMP for Haiti Foundation 33 UPR: Criminal Justice (2011) page 30 A basic requirement for a functioning system of justice is that the population has trust in its independence. This is absolutely absent. Local Staff from Programme pour une Alternative de Justice (PAJ)
  18. 18. 18 One of the major obstacles that human rights organisations observe when discussing with public authorities, is that when they highlight fundamental human rights issues, that this is perceived as if they are denigrating the government, or working against them. This atmosphere and attitude needs to change somehow, if authorities and civil society are to collaborate constructively on structural change. Staff of GAJ, POHDH and Claudette Werleigh share these comments “Though the CEDAW treaty has been adopted by the national government, rape was until recently not recognised as a crime”. This is discriminative against women, and more laws show symptoms of a highly patriarchal society”34 . One of the results of this grass roots organisation is that they managed to generate a lot of public attention with regard to this discriminatory law. Together with women’s groups and authorities in the government, recently this felony has been criminalised in National Law. Now, of course when all evidence has been gathered and proven just, perpetrators will be convicted for between 3 and 5 years. Since the earthquake, investments in the capacity of judges have been made. With support of the international community 20 judges have, over a period of 16 months, been intensively trained in listening skills, mediation and demonstrating authority and humility35 . Political & financial corruption- undermining legitimacy The justice system in Haiti is dysfunctional and it is barely seen as a legitimate institution by the majority of the population36 . Some steps have indeed been taken to reform the justice system and the police, but there are still many concerns, especially regarding the safety of the population. In a recent survey of ONAVC37 , different neighbourhoods of Port-au-Prince have been questioned about their perceptions with regard to the effectiveness of state institutions, and specifically about the police and the courts. The preliminary results indicate that the neighbourhoods’ trust in these institutes is low: in some places they hardly enjoy legitimacy at all. To a question, for example: if you were witness to a crime, what would you do? The option of going to file a complaint at the police was not often mentioned as a first option (19% of the cases)38 . Reasons provided for this were, besides lack of trust, that the police will actually do something and the lack of proximity of the police in their neighbourhood. In some cases the police is not represented in a neighbourhood at all, and they have to go to a different area that might have security issues, or where people just don’t feel comfortable. Also some respondents mentioned that the police might be there physically but not available to file complaints, also not when it regards sexual violence or violence in general. In cases where sexual violence is the assault, shame to report to the police also plays a role, as well as the fear that they are not taken serious. Legitimacy is further undermined by corruption and by structural impunity, mostly of well-known criminals. There is a tendency that big criminals can easily buy their freedom, whilst small offenders who 34 Interview with Ms Nadine Lewis from Fondation Toya, on the 6th of June 2012 35 Report of the Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in Haiti, Michel Forst, April 2011, page 11 36 Interview with ONAVC: survey held on legitimacy of governmental institutions in five different areas in Port-au- Prince 37 National Observatory against criminality and violence (a recent institute linked to the University of Port au Prince) 38 These data are from an interview with Claude Mane Das from ONAVC, the research results will be presented at a conference in Port-au-Prince September 2012
  19. 19. 19 can’t buy their way out are held far longer than the punishment that rests on the charges filed against them. This has resulted in a general perception that the legal system is unjust and not intended to serve the rights of the population. Several interviewees reminded me of the fact that people in Haiti have never seen justice: neither in the past or in the present. Recent examples were mentioned, such as the return of Duvalier to Haiti, who is not being prosecuted for the widespread atrocities committed during his rule from ’71 to ’86. Despite public concerns pointed at the current government by international human rights organisations and the Independent Expert of human rights, Duvalier’s trial will only consist of financial allegations, and not include crimes against humanity39 . Independence of the judicial system has not yet been implemented which undermines the legitimacy of the courts. So far the Supreme Council has not been operational because it still has no president40 . This means that judges are appointed and withdrawn by the Ministry of Justice. The case of Duvalier is an example of governmental influence of judges. The judge that decided not to prosecute Duvalier admitted he was under severe pressure doing so41 . With pressure also from judges threatening to go on strike, in March 2012, Martelly has nominated different judges including a president of the Supreme Court and the Court of Cassation. They were installed on the 3rd of July 2012. From that moment on, the President no longer has a say on who is appointed and who is withdrawn. Despite this, the protection of all judges and lawyers who are engaged in politically sensitive cases will remain a concern. Language A last obstacle to be mentioned here in gaining access to justice for the majority of the population is the language spoken in courts. As is the case with former colonies, Haiti’s judicial system is based upon the French judicial system, which was installed under French rule in the 1780s. In Haiti only 20-40% of the Haitians speak French, yet all legal proceedings at the trials are conducted only in French, and not in the native language of Haiti, which is Creole42 . So in Haiti all people are all expected to know and to respect the law: “Nul n’est censé ignorer la loi ». But until now, all laws are written in French while a great number of people cannot read and most of the population speak only Creole43 . Furthermore defendants in court cannot follow the allegations made against them, and therefore they will not have a fair trial. 2.4.2 Response from Human Rights Organisations Representatives of three organisations44 that are specifically dedicated to providing access to justice were interviewed. They were asked what they see as the main obstacles accessing justice and also how they intervene to contribute to better accessing justice. Lack of knowledge, lack of knowing their rights and lack of access to information to obtain their rights are mentioned as main obstacles to demand justice. Bureau Avocats Internationaux BAI is specialised in supporting victims and prisoners, especially the most vulnerable at the grassroots levels, in accessing justice. By providing trainings and by giving them legal support, victims are better equipped to demand justice. In a broader sense they also work on advocacy 39 Newspaper: Haiti Libre 1st of February, interview with Michel Forst, and HRW world report (feb. 2012) for example. 40 Report of the Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in Haiti, Michel Forst 41 Haitian Newspaper: Defend.HT 13th of February 2012 42 UPR Report Criminal Justice 43 Interview with Claudette Werleigh: she mentioned the language as one of the biggest obstacles and injustices in accessing the justice system. 44 Bureau Avocats Internationaux (BAI), Groupe Assistance Juridique (GAJ) and Progamme for an alternative Justice (PAJ) were interviewed specifically on access to justice
  20. 20. 20 to claim basic rights by denouncing human rights violations with well-filed cases, and also in a broader sense, by denouncing violations and demanding accountability from the government. They also work with the police and with some judges, which is a signal that the attitudes start to change for the better. They are the leading organisation when it comes to providing legal assistance to victims. They often collaborate with the Justice and Peace Commission in the capital (Jilap). Jilap brings human rights cases to BAI and BAI in return demands advice on certain communities where they are active, and in terms of research they are a valuable source. Also the media play an important role according to Mario Joseph, manager of BAI and a respected human rights lawyer in Haiti. BAI often makes use of different media to get more public attention. Le Programme pour une Alternative de Justice PAJ interprets access to justice in a broader sense. For them it is about the day-to-day realities and needs of the population. Their approach includes looking at alternative justice mechanisms. This justice should reflect Haitian society and should thus imply questions of social inequalities, thereby pointing at fundamentally searching for change of structures more than demanding for reforms. PAJ also takes into consideration the informal practise and application of justice, and how to incorporate them into the formal rights system. PAJ was the only organisation, mentioning and being active in the field of informal structures of justice. They have three core activities that aim to contribute to making justice part of all people’s lives and including contributing to changing structures (of the justice system). Firstly, they provide trainings at grass roots level to inform people about their rights. They also provide regular trainings for paralegals, involving local authorities wherever feasible. Secondly they work with the peasantry as a specific focus group. They conduct research and establish justice clinics in all communes where they are active. The demands for advice and knowledge of rights of people are reaching beyond their capacities. Thirdly they invest in production of materials in Creole to keep the grass roots up- to-date and they develop materials for paralegal trainers in Creole. They are a partner of Broederlijk Delen, whose representative, during an interview, mentioned PAJ’s excellent contacts with grass roots groups. It was also mentioned they are well-known for their trainings to community based groups (CBOs) and paralegals. Groupe Assistance Juridique This organisation was the first cabinet of advocates in Haiti, being established in 1987. They are specialised in providing legal assistance to defend human rights. The main obstacle as perceived by GAJ is the gap between the population and its authorities. Their access point is the population and by providing education and trainings on grass roots level, they contribute to providing tools to defend themselves against violations, but also to demand accountability. So the population is not sufficiently armed with information and tools to defend themselves, and at the governmental level there is a structural problem of political will. By empowering people they intend to change this gap between authorities and grass roots. GAJ launched a specific programme “the defence of the right to do politiques”. Seminars and trainings on 'politicking' /being politically active were organised, where discussions were held of what this means in practise. For example what responsibilities come along with being engaged in politics, who is represented, and to whom you demand accountability? Economic rights, cultural rights and environmental rights45 were also included as part of the programme. 45 environmental rights are defined by GAJ as : the relations between nature and the population/plants and the population/animals and the population
  21. 21. 21 The CEDAW Committee noted in 2009 that it was concerned about the deeply-rooted patriarchal attitudes and stereotypes regarding the roles and responsibilities of women and men. Both in the household as well as in the working places it constitutes an obstacle to the achievement of men-women equality. Concluding observations of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), Haiti 2009. Furthermore they have four programmes with regard to economic rights of women (together with GAJ). With regard to justice, they would like to extend their programme to also implement judicial offices and clinics, that have active committees engaged discussing human rights and fight against discrimination. The proximity of justice is one of the challenges of accessing justice. Others that have been mentioned earlier are also the lack of capacity, political will, corruption and how impunity has prevailed over the years. GAJ works closely together with PAJ and with Jilap. Together with Jilap they are the two most prominent grass roots organisations. 2.4.3 Violence against women The issue of violence against women has been high on the international agenda since the ’90s. International attention further increased when stories of violence against women in conflict situations (like Bosnia, Rwanda, Sudan and the DRC) were broadcasted in the international media. The 2000 Security Council Resolution 1325 on women, peace and security was a historic breakthrough in the sense that there was broad recognition for the need for women participation in peace processes, and also of their protection in humanitarian situations (including conflicts). The tendency has been, until recently to focus on the consequences of violence against women, by supporting the construction of clinics and shelters and by providing psychological aid and small economic projects to promote the independence of the victims. This is also aimed at helping them to gain financially and morally support to help them to regain their dignity. Of course these are and have been relevant interventions, but they have not contributed to the analysing of underlying cause of violence, and developing strategies to tackle the structural causes of violence. Attention to how to change the structures that preserve gender equality have only been widely recognised recently. The inclusion of men in activities of education and advocacy to change attitudes seems a logical component, when tackling gender inequality. It concerns both men and women. ONAVC (see footnote 31) gave an insightful example of one of their surveys with regard to “trivialising security” that they executed in three different communities of Port-au-Prince, and sex-aggregated, to determine the differences in opinions and attitudes of both men and women. Both sexes were asked what their response would be if a men hits a women, because she does something that her husband doesn’t approve of. 80% in general, disapproved with the idea that a woman should be corrected physically by her husband. 11% stated that they would approve. And of these 11%, 80% were women. In the next sections three causes of violence against women are outlined by different representatives of women’s organisations. Furthermore specific literature has been consulted in relation to human rights and human rights violations in Haiti. These causes are generally considered the main underlying roots of gender inequality. Firstly the patriarchal system is mentioned as a cause, this will be followed by several socio-economic causes. Finally stereo- typing and the fact that this is preserved, contributes to the status quo of violence against women in Haiti. The section will be finalised by giving the word to three different
  22. 22. 22 There are many girls who decide not to go to study as they are convinced to find a husband that will take care of them easily. She realises that she will achieve an economic status that she, under normal circumstances, would not get” Interview with staff from Fondation Toya “The last reforms have taken place 30 years ago. Schoolbooks contain information that is discriminative towards women; it contains stereo-types and keeps the patriarchal perspective alive” Mme Jacob, gender advisor from SOFA organisations 46 that have specific programmes to tackle the root causes that keep women in a trap of not having equal chances, and thus being more vulnerable, and not gaining any opportunities to change their situation. History of patriarchy Solidarité Fanm Ayisyen (SOFA) was one of the first women’s organisations active in Haiti. It was created in ’86 as feminist organisation that tackles the root causes of violence against women. They were the first women’s organisation that was asked to give insight on the context in which they work on women’s rights by the government. Violence against women is highly prevalent in Haitian society. In Haiti it is said that one in three women has been a victim of sexual violence47 . One of the main causes is the patriarchal system that is deeply rooted in Haitian’s society. Stereo-types of what a man should be and do, and what a woman should be and do, are kept alive in households and in schools. The cycle of impunity further encourages the status quo. SOFA further emphasized that society continues to hold on to the status quo. Not only schools, but also parents contribute to what Mme Jakob called “a moral crisis” by not having control over their children. Girls get pregnant at 13 which is catastrophic for their future but it continues to happen from generation to generation. According to SOFA violence is the product of the rooted inequality between men and women48 . The weak governmental institutions reinforce the cycle of violence, because impunity of these crimes has become the norm. Laws that criminalize violence against women have been voted but not yet implemented into their daily policies and work. Socio-economic factors According to JILAP violence in general has a mainly socio-economic basis. Conflicts do often happen on a family level, but it is not there to generate violence. The social conflicts are usually managed well before it turns violent. The government has a responsibility in providing the services in which a conflict can be solved in a just way. The government has a responsibility too, in providing services to solve these conflicts in a just manner. Lacking the capacities to fulfil its role contributes to the cycle of impunity. Not being punished for violations that are committed, gives the impression of acceptance. Fondation Toya emphasizes that the same counts for violence against women: it is largely a socio- economic phenomenon. With regard to the social aspect the hierarchical structure of Haitian society is mentioned, in which the division of roles between men and women is very specific. Traditionally the 46 Fondation Toya, Lig Pou Vwa Fanm and the Cultural Institute of Karl Leveque. 47 Mme Jakob, gender advisor at SOFA refers to an extensive study conducted between 2003 and 2005 where 135.000 cases of sexual violence were noted. 48 Interview with Mme Jacob, gender advisor from SOFA, on the 9th of February 2012
  23. 23. 23 husband is the head of the household and is thus considered as the one to provide for the family in terms of food. He has the economic monopoly and considered holder of all the families resources. The wife does not have rights as an individual and is fully dependent on the husband. Then, when there is a problem, the dependent is submitted to violence: physically but also and largely emotional and psychological abuse49 . Another important underlying cause of violence, the aspect of education is mentioned50 . The rates of young girls who drop out of school is high, illiteracy amongst women is significantly higher than amongst men and the number of girls who will go and study after their secondary education is marginal. According to Fondation Toya this has not only to do with the preference of parents to send their sons to school, sometimes at the detriment of their daughters. This is also an attitude that girls have. Stereo-types Besides the “attitudes of girls” towards their future, being comfortable depending socio- economically on men, men also have attitudes that reinforce gender inequality. These unequal power relations are inherent to the patriarchal structure of society. From the perspectives of various local civil society organisations, gender inequality finds its’ roots in the patriarchal structures of Haitian society. The socio-economic situation of many families and the weak institutions that have lacked to establish reforms in education and judicial services, contribute to strengthening the status quo. The status quo means that human rights are unequally enjoyed by men and by women. This has consequences on the short term and the longer term. Laws in Haiti also constitute a barrier to equal treatment. In practise this means that women are less likely to access formal education and professional opportunities. Lack of opportunities makes women more vulnerable to poverty and exploitation. In public life it is clear that women are being underrepresented in public and political processes51 .This could be seen both as a cause of their lack of opportunities, and as a consequence. Interviews with several women’s rights organisations including some human rights- and media organisations, gave a broad insight into the causes of violence against women. These organisations were then also requested what their intervention strategies are to combat inequality, and how they will contribute to change power relations that are inherent to gender equality. Most organisations intervene with similar sets of tools, but the approaches differ slightly. 2.4.4 Response from women’s organisations Fondation Toya52 This is a grass roots organisation working closely with local communities, and they have a respected relationship with the authorities. Central in their objectives is the empowerment of women. By empowering women, they envision to change the power structures upon which Haitian society is based. Awareness-raising and educating them particularly in questions concerning women and also on issues that are fundamental to their vulnerability. A lot of trainings are provided with regard to violence against women. They invite representatives of different communities, and often women’s leaders of grass roots organisations to tackle a 49 Interview with Fondation Toya, 6th of June 2012 50 It is brought up in interviews with Jilap, Fondation Toya and in the 2009 CEDAW report in the concluding observations of the Committee on he elimination of Discrimination against Women 51 Compilation prepared by the OHCHR in accordance with paragraph 15 (b) of the annex of the human Rights Council. Working Group on the universal Periodic Review, 12th Session , Geneva, 3-14 October 2011 52 Interview Stacey Links with staff from Fondation Toya on the 6th of June 2012
  24. 24. 24 specific problem. They also have a space where they allow grass roots organisations and women’s groups to use their offices to sew for example and that can also be used as a space for exchange and dialogue. They have been involved from the start in building relationships with decision-makers. Their aim is to influence them and to remind them of their national and international obligations. Especially the part, to bring down advocacy messages to a societal level, is a core task of Fondation Toya. Madam Louis, the president of the organisation gives an example of working with the Ministry of Women Affairs on the proposition of a law which covers “le paternité comme responsable”. In Haiti, she continues, men often get into relationships, but when a child is born they don’t take any responsibility for the child. Toya worked on a proposal to hold men responsible and accountable (also in extra-marital relationships with extra-marital children) for their children. They managed to get the support from deputies in Parliament, and the law was voted, but up to now it has not been applied yet. Just after the earthquake the situation in camps was of great concern to people living and having to survive there. The trainings provided tools to deal with the difficult situation. Violence was, and still is a problem in the camps. Also young boys and girls are trained so that they change their thinking and behaviour with regard to violence and human rights. A sense of mutual respect for both men and women cannot be taught early enough, as staff of this Foundation emphasized. They lost a lot of their resources during the earthquake (including a library and a micro-finance project), but they have managed to continue with inventing new approaches with little resources, and the trainings they provide are then taught by the girls, boys and women to others in the community. Lig pouvwa Fanm53 This grass roots organisation exists since 1996 and they work particularly with women running elections and also women who are running for posts of directorship and electoral. It aims to empower women by focussing on getting women into positions of power within the government. Educating women and sharing knowledge and expertise to strengthening women leadership, is the second pillar of their core business. There are many challenges in Haitian society, as there is just “not a culture of women getting involved in politics”. Even if the opportunity is there, many external factors might complicate the decision to engage in politics. The director of the organisation gave a personal example. She said: “Even for me it has been difficult. I have always been interested in politics, but my husband and my two sons told me no. My reaction was and still is that women need to be supported by their families in their political endeavours to succeed”. Awareness raising and trainings are their main activities. They start with very young boys and girls, by providing trainings at schools. The foundation of the women’s movement is explained: where it came from and what it stands for, and what they struggle for. It is not about disparities and discrimination, according to Lig Pouvwa Fanm it is about what women do to search for equality. The approach should be positive according to Marie Chantale Pously. Women have to create and open spaces for themselves; to create opportunities. This is where the focus of this grass roots organisation is based upon. They provide then the information, and trainings on how to take certain steps forward. 53 Interview Stacey Links with staff from Lig Pouvwa Fanm on the 9th of June 2012
  25. 25. 25 Institute Culturel de Karl Leveque (ICKL)54 This is an institute working primarily with rural organisations. They work on four axis: (i) strengthen institutional development; (ii) democratisation of organisations; (iii) enhancing and developing women’s leadership capacities; (iv) 'économie solidaire' where both women and men can participate in the development of the social and economic functioning of society. ICKL focuses primarily on socio-economic rights, as they feel that socio-political rights are largely covered by others. They raise awareness and provide trainings to communities of these rights and what they entail and what they mean in the daily life of communities. They have a focus on rural farmers, where they spread themselves what their responsibilities are. Local – and central authorities are involved in distributing the message. The relationship with local authorities is of crucial importance to their work. They cannot develop any kind of activities without first discussing this and without also collaborating with local authorities. They have to be and are always involved in the process. What makes it workable for ICKL is that in each of the groups they work with, one member of the authorities is represented and they make the dialogue with authorities and create a link between the work which they do and involving the authorities. 54 Interview Stacey Links with staff from ICKL on the 1st of June 2012
  26. 26. 26 3. MAPPING OF NETWORKS AND LOCAL HUMAN RIGHTS ORGANISATIONS 3.1 Introduction There are many networks in Haiti: some strong and alive, some fighting for their survival and some are only existent on paper. Two national networks were quickly identified on the basis of interviews with different human rights and women’s rights organisations. These two networks seem to be well-known in the entire field of human rights. A third network was added, an international network, on Cordaid’s request. Other networks seemed less relevant, or were not visited due to time constraints. The networks mentioned by different organisations are available in Annex V. In the next paragraphs the objectives and activities of these networks are shared. This will be followed by a short outline of some principal human rights organisations that were interviewed, and who often relate to one of these networks with at least some of their activities. The same mapping was requested by Cordaid for women’s networks and women’s organisations. For women networks it appeared to be different though. There are several networks active in Haiti defending women’s rights but they are mostly internationally orientated or internationally based. For this reason no women networks have been interviewed, but some will be mentioned when discussing the activities of local women’s organisations, and they will be summarised in Annex V. The Chapter will then be concluded with some of the obstacles these networks face in their daily work. Then some strengths and weaknesses that appear not only in networks but also in human rights and women’s rights organisations will be outlined. 3.2 Overview of human rights networks In the next sections three well-known human rights networks with their head office in Port-au- Prince will be discussed. The first two networks are national networks and have been active in Haiti for quite some time. The last network to be discussed is an international network, mainly existing of French and Canadian donors. This network was interviewed by specific request of Cordaid, to gain insight in what opportunities are available in better cooperating with international as well as with national and local organisations. 3.2.1 La Plateforme des Organisations Haïtiennes des Droits Humains (POHDH)55 This is a well-known platform, and probably considered as one of the if not thé one platform of human rights organisations. It is a platform for the training, observation, research and reflection on human rights (violations) in Haiti. They have eight permanent members, who are all human rights organisations, but quite complementary to another. There are two judiciary NGOs (PAJ and GAJ), two organisations with a religious base and constituency (Jilap and CORAL56 ), one cultural institute (ICKL), one specifically focussed at students in socio-economic rights (CRESFED), one specifically focussed on the rights of refugees and repatriates (San Kal Levèk) and RNDDH, the human rights organisation that targets the wide spectrum of all human rights violations and aspects. 55 interview Stacey Links with Alermy Piervilus and three colleagues at POHDH on the 9th of June 2012 56 Commission de Réflexion et d”assistance Légale de la Conférence Haïtienne des Religieux
  27. 27. 27 Their objective is to empower the population by informing, educating and training citizens so that they themselves are able to participate in this power of holding government and various actors accountable and responsible for their actions. They file human rights violations, and are a strong platform in advocacy: both on a local as well as on a national and international level. One of the results they mentioned is the criminalisation of rape to be recognised in public institutions, and that this can be punishable by law. This took a whole lot of effort of human rights organisations in Haiti, but it shows that advocating can be successful. The Human Rights Organisations that were interviewed spoke quite highly of POHDH. It is widely perceived as a platform that is active and well aware of the latest updates and reports. They are often quoted in the UPR-report summary of stakeholders, more often than Human Rights Watch or Amnesty International which shows they have a solid reputation and knowledge of a wide variety of human rights issues. Its weakness probably is, - as is observed as a common denominator of Haitian NGOs- that the organisations stand or fall with the engagement of the director of this Platform. The knowledge, experience, and the way the organisation is represented to the outside world is not shared amongst its’ staff and remains solely with the director. This is an observation not only seen by the interviewer, but also by other international organisations which are financing POHDH, and is considered a serious risk. After the earthquake of January 2010, numerous NGOs lost their funding when the director passed away, or was no longer capable of running an NGO. This was mentioned for example by the director of ANAPFEH, a women’s organisation, who could not immediately get back to work after the earthquake and lost their funding. They did pick up though afterwards, and are now back to business. 3.2.2 Haitian Platform to Advocate Alternative Development (PAPDA) PAPDA57 is a network of a wide array of Haitian organisations: women's organisations, organisations of the peasantry; socio-professional organisations and those that work on questions concerning the environment. The network was established as a result of a process of analysis and evaluation of the social movement in Haiti. Politics in Haiti were evaluated, particularly when President Aristide returned after the coup d'état of ‘90/’91. In 1994 when the president returned (from the United States) with an amplified programme of neo-liberal politics, network members perceived a disengagement from the state. This was a momentum to draw an inclusive alternative vision and plan regarding the socio-economic future of Haitian society. The fundamental objective of this network is to link the peasantry and the bourgeoisie to decrease inequality in Haiti. Strengthening the voices and power of the population and to mobilise people, is central to PAPDA’s strategy to bring about change. Systemizing experiences from the grassroots and integrating them in the political discourse which allows for their further strengthening and structural support, is one of the core strategies of their work. 57 Interview of Stacey Links with staff from PAPDA at the 4th of June 2012 The objective is to change the status quo. The status quo now is that the state and the population are completely disintegrated and are in a situation of non-communication, non- interest, and distrust. Interview with local staff from PAPDA
  28. 28. 28 Advocating is therefore crucial, which is done in close collaboration with grassroots before taking up messages to the local, national and often international level too. Supporting local initiatives and accompanying them in getting the necessary tools to organize themselves is an important element of their work. Secondly reflecting on their (members) work and see how this information can be incorporated into a more scientific analysis, is important for their broader analysis and advocacy. Conclusions and recommendations can be withdrawn from this, and will then be used to try and influence and change policies that serve the peasants for example. After fine-tuning the outcomes with the grass roots members, a report might be published to ground the advocacy messages which could then be used by member organisations themselves to complement and strengthen broader advocacy objectives. PAPDA’s work targets the most vulnerable in society and provide them with the necessary tools to allow them to escape from their poverty situation. Poor people are perceived by PAPDA not only as people who lack money and food or opportunities, but who do not have adequate capacity to change their situation and are thus condemned to poverty. Activities include research and documentation of economic problems, consultation and strategizing, public education and communications, lobbying and advocating authorities and officials, and international networking. This network which is contributing to the discourse of seeking alternatives for socio-economic change is unique in Haiti. It is well-known by Haitian and international organisations, inside as well as outside Haiti. The national government invites them when expertise is needed on socio- economic change, and when representatives of grassroots organisations are needed to come to an inclusive analysis. Also on an international level their reports are known, and their methods are recognised. At the same time though, criticism is spilt over this network, on one hand probably because of their success. They are on the radar nationally and internationally, making it visible and transparent for all and that brings along criticism as well as positive stories. But secondly, and I can’t determine yet if this is a Haitian phenomenon of competition amongst organisations themselves, or if this criticism is really well-founded, there seems to be a leadership challenge amongst successful networks and organisations. 3.2.3 Cadre de Liaison Inter- ONG Haïti (CLIO) The impressions of the CLIO Platform were gained through participation in one of their General Assemblies, and by having two interviews: one with the only local organisation represented in this platform, and two with the platform’s chair. The general Assembly is organised once a year and all members of the network are expected to be present. This Assembly takes half a day. The representatives of the organisations present at the Assembly were mainly Canadian and French and the organisations that were represented were all international, except for one. This General Assembly was organized to agree on the Statutes of the Platform which is fundamental to their legitimate status. Without legal status the impact of their advocacy will be questionable, is the argument. Beside the discussion point of agreeing on the Statutes other topics were on the agenda, for example with regard to the status of advocacy activities and planning. The discussion about their legal status took the whole morning though at the detriment of all other topics on the agenda58 . 58 Cordaid’s field director was participating in the previous General Assembly and he observed the same tendency: discussions about form overshadowed the core business of the platform: collaborate advocacy.
  29. 29. 29 Observations There is an unbalance in the representation of local and international organisations. This is an issue they would like to solve, but it proofs difficult to attract local organisations. One of the reasons is that a condition to become a member is to have a legal status. This is difficult for most local organisations as it has proven difficult for international platforms like this one. In the debates there seemed to be some power play amongst some of the members about who to include or exclude in this platform. Once a platform is active and has success in its (advocacy) activities the active members are easily distinguished for the lesser active ones. Therefore the discussion seemed to serve only the status of some of the members. This is quite a common characteristic of networks and platforms, but it indicates their lack of efficiency. The Platform offered their services to support (local) organisations in getting their legal status, to act as a representative, but not before they have their own legal status. People might be reticent in welcoming other organisations (mainly local), when things have not been sorted for themselves. But this also means that the discussions about the rules and regulations paralyse discussions on which common actions could follow. Some of the present organisations showed fatigue with the same discussions without concrete output. They are present to work on common letters, to discuss what issues to take up and some members have expressed that they feel they are wasting their time. The question is whether once the platform is formalised, the discussions will change to effective collaboration on common advocacy issues. On the other hand, all members were present at the Assembly, and wanted to bring the discussion forward. I spoke to Enpak which is one of the few local organisations represented in the Platform. Enpak was there as observer (no legal status yet), and also to form a bridge between the international and the local organisations. Andrinette Policard Cadet is programme manager at Enpak. She told me that before Enpak she worked for an international NGO, and she was a member then. Now she has been asked to join also and to attract other local organisations too. This is quite a challenge, not only for procedural reasons, but also because the objectives of the platform are not very clear. One objective for example is to be a service provider, but this might not be the first priority of a local organisation. On Friday the 17th of February I had a private meeting with Martine Bernier, who has been the chair of this Platform since October 2011. She explained some of the challenges of the network and also that the legal status is important for their advocacy impact. They do have three commissions that come together in groups. One on local development, one on health, with good relations with the Ministry of Health, and one in agriculture. In February 2010 they had a meeting on how to proceed with the Platform. Was there still a need to proceed or not? They were one of the first platforms, with a history of relations with government and authorities. Other platforms like CCO came into being, for example to coordinate international humanitarian aid. After a while that slowed down. Clio decided in February 2010 to revitalise and to rearrange the platform. One of the challenges was to hire a full time person to keep the network up and running. This should be some one that could prepare the agenda and to send documents around and arrange the meetings to ensure continuity. Before there were volunteers, but it demands a lot from one person, often next to his full-time job. This decision is important to the continuity of the network, according to Martine though many challenges still remain. Funding is still an issue, as is the recognition by government of their legal status. Mrs Bernier is optimistic about the future of the network as it fulfils a niche not covered by other networks: bridging the gap between international and local organisations using their reputation and contacts with local authorities, needed for successful advocacy.

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