mardi 10 mai 2011

Haiti: UN Panel Links Cholera to MINUSTAH Base; MINUSTAH Continues to Shift Blame

by the Center for Economic and Policy Research The UN "independent panel" released their long awaited report (PDF) on the origin of cholera in Haiti. Although the ultimate conclusion of the panel was that "the Haiti cholera outbreak was caused by the confluence of circumstances . . . and was not the fault of, or deliberate action of, a group or individual," the report is a serious indictment of MINUSTAH, specifically the base in Mirebalais. The report finds that the cholera outbreak began in a tributary near the MINUSTAH base and that the "sanitation conditions at the Mirebalais MINUSTAH camp were not sufficient to prevent fecal contamination of the Meye Tributary System of the Artibonite River." (Check out the picture of the sewage pit on page 22 of the report).
The report does find that cholera "strains isolated in Haiti and Nepal during 2009 were a perfect match." The MINUSTAH troops at the base were from Nepal. And the disease was introduced "as a result of human activity." But, as Colum Lynch asked:
In the end, the panel echoed the U.N.'s talking points throughout the cholera crisis: that the battle to end the scourge should take priority over determining how it got there. "The source of cholera in Haiti is no longer relevant to controlling the outbreak," he said. "What are needed at this time are measures to prevent the disease from becoming endemic," the report concluded.
Surely, no one would quibble with that sentiment. But wasn't the panel's primary mission to do just that?
Although MINUSTAH has long maintained that the focus should be on treating the disease rather than finding the source, French epidemiologist Renaud Piarroux has argued for the importance of tracking the origin. Among the reasons given are:
[I]f an investigation demonstrates, or even suspects, that problems in detecting asymptomatic carriage, handling sewage or preserving water resources may have resulted in such an epidemic, referred institutions would be compelled to modify their procedures so that such a disaster could never happen again. Thirdly, knowing the origin of the Haitian epidemic is essential for the future. If cholera started from a quiescent reservoir, its elimination will not be achieved in Haiti for many years, if ever. Alternatively, if importation is confirmed, hope of elimination still remains. Fourthly, and most importantly, researching and telling the truth is essential to restore trust between populations and humanitarian staff.
Fortunately, most news articles have looked beyond the conclusion of the report, and accurately noted that while the panel members refused to lay blame on MINUSTAH, the evidence in the report clearly does. Joe Lauria of the Wall Street Journal wrote:
The report plays down as a "hypothesis that soldiers deployed from a cholera-endemic country to the Mirebalais Minustah camp were the source of the cholera" which it said was "a commonly held belief in Haiti."
But the report then describes in detail how the outbreak occurred because of contamination of the Artibonite River from the peacekeeping camp.
Most importantly, for one of the main reasons for trying to trace the origin, as Piarroux noted, the report has led to a series of recommendations that hopefully will prevent something like this from occurring again. The report suggests that UN personnel coming from cholera-endemic regions should first be screened for the disease, that UN personnel should be given antibiotics or vaccines before deployment, and that UN bases should "treat fecal waste using on-site systems."

MINUSTAH Attempts to Avoid Blame
The report also raises serious questions about MINUSTAH's reaction in the first weeks of the cholera outbreak. On October 26, 2010, MINUSTAH issued a statement to "clarify rumors" about the origin of cholera. The statement said:
MINUSTAH is keen to shed light around rumours published by certain media that led to the belief that human refuse thrown into a river in Mirebalais by MINUSTAH would be at the origin of the cholera epidemic in Haiti.
The statement continued, touting their sanitation system: "Seven septic tanks, built in a closed circuit, serve the military base and meet the construction standards of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)." And it noted that "It is 250 meters from the Meille river, which represents more than 20 times the distance required at the international level."
The recently released report, however, describes the waste pit, where fecal matter and other waste is deposited:
There is no fence around the site, and children were observed playing and animals roaming in the area around the pit. The southeast branch of Meye Tributary System is located a short walk down the hill from the pit, on the banks of which is located the solid waste disposal site for the MINUSTAH camp. Local residents reported trucks delivering waste to this disposal site and commented that the area is susceptible to flooding and overflow into the Tributary during rainfall.
Just two days later, MINUSTAH issued another statement that reiterates the same points again. It also adds that they had undertook tests in the water and they were all negative, and that:
The engineers of Minustah have strongly emphasized that the water overflow near the latrines comes from a water disposal basin connected to a kitchen and a shower -- that occasionally overflows after hard rains -- and not from the latrines or from the septic tanks. This basin is located 3 meters away from the latrines. Passersby mistakenly believed that the proximity of soaked earth as far as the latrines was caused by the overflow of human waste.
Yet the report notes that:
The construction of the water pipes in the main toilet/showering area is haphazard, with significant potential for cross-contamination through leakage from broken pipes and poor pipe connections, especially from pipes that run over an open drainage ditch that runs throughout the camp and flows directly into the Meye Tributary System.
Other UN agencies were often no better, with OCHA spokesperson Imogen Wall calling the cholera outbreak "appalling luck." But as was pointed out previously, the sanitation at the MINUSTAH base was "not sufficient to prevent fecal contamination of the Meye Tributary System" and the report was clear that cholera was introduced "as a result of human activity," and not just "appalling luck."
Also, rather than responding to the legitimate grievances of those protesting against MINUSTAH, the peacekeeping force blamed the protesters for being "politically motivated" and for sowing chaos before the election.
It is unfortunate that his pattern of deflecting blame and dishonesty about the sanitation at the base continues even after the UN report.

The Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) was established in 1999 to promote democratic debate on the most important economic and social issues that affect people's lives. This article was first published in CEPR's Haiti: Relief and Reconstruction Watch blog on 5 May 2011 under a Creative Commons license.


Olivia Wilde To Film Haiti Baseball Documentary

Actress Olivia Wilde is planning to turn director after signing on to make a movie about a Haitian children's baseball team. The Tron: Legacy star was among the first celebrity aid volunteers to travel to the Caribbean nation in the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake, which left Haiti devastated, and she admits the journey was an "amazing" experience.
Now, she's heading back to make a film about a group of young survivors.
She tells America's Glamour magazine, "I'm going to Haiti to work on a documentary about a Little League team."
The actress is hoping to turn the trip into an extended vacation, although she's hesistant to leave so soon after purchasing her first home following her marriage split.
She says, "I'm thinking about travelling, but I should stay in one place. I just bought a house (in Los Angeles)."
Wilde filed for divorce from Italian prince Tao Ruspoli earlier this year (11) after eight years of marriage.

Reno businessman under fire says plan to build houses for Haiti still under way

Despite losing the support of churches in Texas and Nevada and being sued, a Reno businessman said he plans to go forward with a plan to build some homes this month that will be shipped to help Haitian earthquake victims.

"We have a contractual obligation to fulfill these contracts for our sponsors," Mike Stickler, head of the nonprofit group Help Build Hope Haiti, said in a interview Friday. "As we sit here today, the build is going on."
Although most of the money he received from three Reno churches and four churches in the Dallas area was gone by February, Stickler said he has raised new funds for the build event on May 21 in Reno and has secured a new site in Haiti for the homes to be sent.
And he has new sponsors in Texas who want to participate in build events next year, he said. But he wouldn't reveal their names.
A Reno Gazette-Journal investigation published in April revealed that a year after Help Build Hope Haiti began gathering funds for their build events, many of the lead workers left claiming Stickler misused the funds, churches left when the money was gone, the Haiti contact in charge of securing the land said he hadn't been paid, and two groups filed lawsuits.
One of the suits filed in Texas said that Stickler made false claims to secure the funds -- an accusation Stickler denies. The other suit filed in Kentucky said the Help Build Hope name was trademarked and Stickler didn't have permission to use it.
Stickler said he plans to fight the suits, but as of Friday, he said he had not been served.
Since the RGJ stories were published, the Nevada Secretary of State's Office said it is working with the Nevada Attorney General's Office to look into Stickler's business practices to see if he had been involved in any "actionable conduct," secretary of state spokeswoman Pam duPre said.
And the Reno Police Department is investigating numerous bounced check claims against Stickler for possible fraud charges, police spokeswoman Michele Anderson said.
Pastor Paul Holland of the Cornerstone Foursquare Church in Sparks, which participated in a full sponsorship of $23,000, said they're done with the Haiti plan and don't plan to participate in the May 21 build.
"We're not involved at all as a church," Holland said. "There may be people, individuals, who may still want to be involved, but the church is not."
He said he didn't remember signing a contract to participate and said they were not expecting to get any the money back.
Stickler said that until he receives a cancellation notice from the sponsor churches, he considers them a part of the plan. As of Friday, Stickler said, none of the Reno churches have done so.


Clinton Bush Haiti Fund Invests to Complete Construction of Haitian-owned Hotel and Conference Center in Port au Prince

Project Expected to Create Hundreds of Jobs and Bring Many Long-term Economic Benefits to Haiti WASHINGTON -- The Clinton Bush Haiti Fund announced today that it would invest $2 million to complete construction on a major hotel project in Haiti that was abruptly halted following the devastating 2010 earthquake.
The 130-room Oasis Hotel was fully funded and construction was well underway prior to the quake. While the building itself remains structurally sound, work on the project ceased when several of the original Haitian shareholders perished while others suffered severe financial losses, making them unable to meet their investment commitments to the project.
“The Oasis Hotel symbolizes Haiti ‘building back better,’ and sends a message to the world that Haiti is open for business,” Clinton Bush Haiti Fund’s Vice President of Programs and Investments, Paul Altidor said. “For Haiti’s recovery to be sustainable, it must attract investors, businesses and donors all of whom will need a business-class, seismically-safe hotel.” In addition to sleeping rooms, Oasis will have significant meeting space and other business amenities.
Fewer than 100 hotel rooms survived the quake in Port-au-Prince, and today Haiti has a critical shortage of hotel space that meets even the most basic standards for business travelers. Jerry Tardieu, Chief Executive Officer of SCIOP S.A., the Haitian corporation that developed and promoted Oasis, highlighted that the project’s environmental and safety standards will serve as a model for future such developments in Haiti.
In mid-2010, the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, provided $7.5 million in financing to restart construction of the hotel, which has a total cost of $29 million, but more funding was needed. The Clinton Bush Haiti Fund’s $2 million equity investment catalyzed new funding sources for the project, encouraging large investments from other groups that closed the funding gap. Investors included members of the US Haitian diaspora.
Oasis is creating employment for close to 400 workers in the construction phase, and will create 200 permanent jobs, 75% of them for women. The hotel will source nearly all of its goods and services from local vendors, providing added economic benefits to the community. Additionally, there will be 12 retail spaces, some of which will sell locally manufactured goods, Haitian paintings, and artisan crafts. Based on its experience and local market statistics, the IFC estimates that each job in a hotel project of this nature in Haiti, generates three indirect jobs in the community.
In addition to its equity investment, the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund will make a $100,000 grant to create a training facility for the hospitality industry that will be available to all Haitians looking for employment in this sector. Both the Oasis Hotel and the affiliated training facility will be managed by Occidental Hotels and Resorts (OHR), a Spanish global hospitality chain.
The Clinton Bush Haiti Fund is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization founded after Haiti’s January 12, 2010 earthquake, when President Barack Obama asked former Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush to lead a major fundraising effort to assist the Haitian people to “build back better.” The Clinton Bush Haiti Fund initially responded to the catastrophe with millions in humanitarian relief. By the time the Fund began independent operations in May 2010, it transitioned to primarily serving its longer-term mission of sustainable reconstruction efforts designed to promote job growth and economic opportunity, and enabling Haiti to chart its own successful future. To learn more visit www.ClintonBushHaitiFund.org.
Read more: http://www.sunherald.com/2011/05/09/3096354/clinton-bush-haiti-fund-invests.html#ixzz1LxaIgWp6

‘Baby Doc’ Duvalier enjoys perks of Haiti freedom

Nearly four months after his return from exile, Haiti’s former president-for-life says he’s home to stay. BY JACQUELINE CHARLES
THOMASSIN, Haiti -- They say he came home to die.
But almost four months after his shocking return, Jean-Claude “Baby Doc’’ Duvalier appears to be the epitome of life.
His once gaunt frame has filled out. His round-face, robust. And he is standing tall, moving about like a man with a purpose — not an accused criminal possibly facing prison.
A one-time despot driven from his homeland in disgrace, Duvalier, 59, has been acting like a president who left at the pinnacle of his popularity. He’s holding court at tony restaurants, hobnobbing with powerful players and greeting guests at his borrowed home high in the pleasant hills above the congested capital.
“The phone is ringing all of the time and I’m receiving a lot of visitors,’’ Duvalier told The Miami Herald, describing a typical day in the life of Haiti’s former president-for-life.
But as an aging Duvalier enjoys the perks of his new-found celebrity status in this earthquake-ravaged nation, he is igniting outrage and conflicted emotions. Former prisoners recalling his repressive regime demand justice, while others longing for the days of order insist on reconciliation. A former Haiti justice minister advising the government worries that Duvalier may never have his day in court to answer charges of corruption and crimes against humanity during his 15-year rule that ended in 1986. The judge tasked with investigating the charges has yet to issue his report and the longest imprisoned complainant, Claude Rosier, recently died of a heart attack.
Some find the timing of Duvalier’s return to Haiti peculiar. Last week the Swiss government announced it had begun procedures to return $6.7 million in frozen assets claimed by him to the Haitian government, a move some close to Duvalier said he plans to fight in European courts. And in just days, Haiti will inaugurate a new president with strong ties to supporters of his authoritarian regime.
“I did not send them and they are not there as Duvalieriests,’’ Duvalier said about President-elect Michel Martelly’s supporters who include Daniel Supplice, a childhood friend and former Duvalier minister heading Martelly’s presidential transition teams.
Martelly has suggested amnesty for Duvalier and Jean-Bertrand Aristide, another president recently returned from exile. Victims and human rights observers, who view prosecution of Duvalier as Haiti’s chance to break with impunity, call the suggestion disturbing.
The son of an often brutal dictator, Duvalier shrugs off reactions about his high-profile status and appetite for Haiti’s finest fare: “I’ve always participated in the social life of the country,’’ he said.
For those with tortured memories of the nearly three-decade venal Duvalier dynasty, however, the new reality is difficult to accept.
“People disappeared,’’ said Michele Montas, among scores of Haitian journalists and intellectuals jailed, some severely beaten and exiled by the regime’s boogeymen after their arrest on Nov. 28, 1980 under a 1969 anti-communist law that considered government criticism “crimes against the state.’’
Today, she’s among a growing group of Haitians who have filed formal complaints, accusing Duvalier of failing to prevent or punish crimes under his command, ordering arrests and prolonged detention, and in some cases of being an “accomplice’’ to crimes committed by his subordinates.
“The victims are constantly on the defensive, taunted every time they testify in front of the instructing judge by his (Duvalier’s) very aggressive lawyers, outside of the judge’s chambers, and the stress of seeing Duvalier freely moving about is difficult... for all of us,’’ Montas said.
While Montas has managed to avoid public run-ins with the deposed leader, fellow accuser and cellmate Dr. Nicole Magloire has twice lost her battle. The first run-in was in February during an after midnight visit to a popular Petionville restaurant. She stormed out in disgust, she said, after walking up on a laughing Duvalier listening to jazz while sipping red wine as patrons stopped to shake his hand.
The most recent was at the funeral for her uncle Jean Magloire’s widow. Jean Magloire was a staunch backer and former interior minister of Duvalier’s father, Francois “Papa Doc’’ Duvalier.
Like a number of politically involved middle-class Haitian families, Mangalore’s was divided on the question of Duvalier’s rule.
Duvalier’s re-emergence and her suit, to a degree, has reignited “the animosity between family members.’’
A student activist during Francois Duvalier’s rule in the 1960s, she vowed to stay out of politics when she returned to Haiti from medical school. Then on Nov. 28, 1980, she was arrested.
“You can’t have all of those people who died, who went to jail, and then just sit and say, ‘So what?’” she said. “I’m angry. But I am no longer afraid. I don’t ever want to be afraid again. At least today, we can say what we want and not be afraid again.’’
President René Préval has been credited with ending state-sponsored violence, political repression and silence in the country. He had successfully avoided running into Duvalier until the day of the funeral. Lise was the mother of one of his closest friends and advisers, Robert Magloire.
The first of the two handshakes happened in the middle of the funeral mass when Duvalier walked up to Préval and outstretched his hand in an offering of peace.
“It was not a meeting. We were at a funeral, our paths crossed,’’ Préval told The Herald a day later. “Justice will take care of the rest.’’
The funeral put into clear view Haiti’s troubled political history — and the challenges of Haitian justice. Sitting across from Duvalier was ex-wife Michele Bennett, a frequent visitor to Haiti despite being among the 38 other defendants named in the state’s corruption case against her former husband. Also in the audience was Prosper Avril, another controversial former president who escaped from prison in 2004 amid chaos after Aristide’s flight into exile.
Carves Jean, the judge investigating the case, said Duvalier is under house arrest. Duvalier and his attorney Fritzo Canto say no such thing exists under Haitian law. They punch holes in the government’s 25-year-old legal case, challenging it on procedural grounds and argue the statue of limitations has run out. Duvalier himself laughs at the state’s claims that he and his supporters pillaged the national treasury, and he spirited away $120 million in public money when he fled to France on Feb. 7, 1986.
In an hour-long interview, Duvalier said Haiti cannot have a fresh start without national reconciliation. He questioned the current government’s commitment to helping victims of the devastating earthquake and the role of non-governmental organizations. And he spoke of Foundation Duvalier, an organization he’s forming to prioritize education, health and environment in his mother’s hometown of Leogane.
“We are having meetings to evaluate the social and economic conditions of the country to see how we can help the people,’’ he said.
His heart aches for the peasants, whom he said, have been forgotten and says his failure to sell a schools’ Creole-language program, successfully used by Aristide and Préval, is the only do-over for his otherwise “progressive” government. He takes no responsibility for the weaken institutions and wrecked economy that characterized his last years in office, all of which, critics say, have made Haiti incapable of steering its own post-quake recovery.
“We realized progress in several domains....We were in a real fight,’’ he said.
As for the human rights abuses against him, Duvalier said, he released hundreds from his jails, and those arrested were done so because “they were a risk.’’
“You can’t ask the president to be behind every individual,’’ he said. “When I was made aware of an undisciplined act against someone, I took sanctions.’’
Bernard Diederich, a retired correspondent for Time magazine who has covered Haiti since 1949, isn’t surprised Duvalier and his supporters are revising history.
“Nobody has a memory of what happened including him,’’ said Diederich, who recently published the French-language book — L’Heritier, (The Heir) — about Duvalier. “He had the opportunity to be somebody, but he didn’t have it in him. He’s always been micromanaged by everyone. That is the sad thing. The guy could have done a lot. The people were ready, the people wanted it.’’
Read more: http://www.miamiherald.com/2011/05/09/v-fullstory/2209133/baby-doc-duvalier-enjoys-perks.html#ixzz1LxYss1Aa

Haiti: UN admits--and denies--role in cholera deaths

Submitted by Weekly News Update on Tue, 05/10/2011 - 09:34. On May 3 a panel of four experts presented United Nations (UN) secretary general Ban Ki-moon with their report on the origin of the cholera epidemic that broke out in Haiti last October. As of April 21 the disease had caused 4,575 deaths, according to the Ministry of Public Health and Population (MSPP). Almost 300,000 people have contracted cholera, and the number is expected to rise as the rainy season starts.
The report, made public on May 4, agreed with most of the conclusions of Haitian and foreign observers who blame the outbreak on bad sanitation practices at a base operated by the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH), a 13,000-member military and police force that has occupied the country since June 2004 [see Update #1060].
The panel, which General Secretary Ban appointed in January, found that the cholera bacteria "did not originate from the native environs of Haiti," where the disease was unknown for nearly a century. "Preliminary genetic analysis…indicate[s] that the strains isolated during the cholera outbreak in Haiti and those circulating in South Asia, including Nepal, at the same time in 2009-2010 are similar," according to the report. The disease was first reported on Oct. 17 in Mirebalais in the Central Plateau, the panel found, and the "likely route of spread" to the rest of the country was from the Meye (or Meillé) River into the Artibonite, Haiti's largest river. MINUSTAH maintains a base on the Meye near Mirebalais. "The sanitation conditions at the Mirebalais MINUSTAH camp were not sufficient to prevent fecal contamination" of the river system, the report noted. The troops stationed there in October had just arrived from Nepal.
The report didn't suggest any possible source for the disease other than the MINUSTAH base. However, the panel's only stated conclusion was "that the Haiti cholera outbreak was caused by the confluence of circumstances…and was not the fault of, or deliberate action of, a group or individual."
At a May 5 French-language press briefing in Port-au-Prince, MINUSTAH spokesperson Sylvie van den Wildenberg repeated that the report blamed no one for the outbreak. "What's important, today, is the response to the epidemic," she told the reporters. "The priority of the UN in Haiti and of MINUSTAH is and will remain the response." She "invited" the Haitian reporters to read the 32-page report, noting that "[f]or the moment, unfortunately, the text is only available in an English version."
When a reporter from Radio Solidarité and Agence Haïtienne de Presse (AHP) asked "how we can hope the United Nations will accept its responsibilities," Van den Wildenberg answered that she was against "pointing a finger at some blue helmet [UN soldier] who might be responsible for a cholera epidemic and 5,000 deaths in Haiti. This makes no sense, it's reductionist, and it's not fair." (UN press release, May 4; AHP, May 5; National Public Radio blog, May 6; MINUSTAH press briefing, May 6)
The UN may be concerned about threats of legal action. Last January the feminist organization Haitian Women's Solidarity (SOFA) said the Haitian government should file a complaint with the International Criminal Court (ICC) charging MINUSTAH with a crime against humanity and should demand compensation for the cholera victims and the farmers and vendors who have suffered economically because of the epidemic [see Update #1062].

Tous les anciens chefs d'Etat sont invités à la cérémonie d'investiture de M. Martelly

Jean Bertrand Aristide, Jean Claude Duvalier et tous les anciens présidents d'Haïti ont été invités à participer à la cérémonie de d'investiture de Michel Martelly le 14 mai 2011. Le coordonnateur de la cérémonie d'intronisation du 56 eme président haïtien, Fritz Jean Louis, donne l'assurance que des lettres d'invitation ont été adressées à tous les anciens chefs d'état y compris Lesly Manigat, époux de la candidate battue au second tour Mirlande Manigat. Le président sortant René Préval pourrait se retrouver aux cotés de Prosper Avril, leader d'un gouvernement militaire. D'autres présidents provisoires dont Ertha P. Trouillot et Boniface Alexandre résident également au pays.
M. Jean Louis annonce que plusieurs chefs d'Etats et dignitaires étrangers ont confirmé leur participation à la cérémonie d'investiture du 14 mai. Il n'a pas voulu toutefois révéler les noms des chefs d'état ou de gouvernement, et des artistes étrangers ayant confirmé leur présence. Des représentants de la diaspora seront également aux premières loges, explique M. Jean Louis.
Les festivités marquant l'investiture de M. Martelly débuteront le 13 mai avec des réunions de prières des églises protestantes et catholiques. Une réunion de prière spéciale, "veille de nuit", sera organisée par une association protestante devant le Palais national.
Les festivités de l'investiture prendront fin dans la soirée du 14 mai avec des programmes musicaux en plein air à la capitale et dans les principales villes de province.
LLM / radio Métropole Haïti
Les dirigeants du p ays durant ces dernières 40ans: Jean-Claude Duvalier, Henry Namphy, Leslie Manigat, Prosper Avril, Ertha Pascale Trouillot, Jean bertrand Aristide, René Préval, Boniface Alexandre...On a envie d'une vraie photo pour l'histoire avec cette belle brochette d'anciens chefs d'états haïtiens. Dictateurs, militaires, civils, victimes de coups d'état aux côtés des puchistes! Excellente idée! Que celui qui a pris cette initiative sorte des couilles pour les asseoir au premier rang.
Et si le peuple haïtien voudrait demander des comptes sur les raisons de la situation d'Haïti, les intéressés seraient tous là...N'est-ce pas?

Montréal passe à l'action avec Port-au-Prince

Agence QMI Josianne Desjardins
09/05/2011 14h16
Avec 51 missions réparties sur deux ans, pour un investissement de 1,2 million $, le maire Tremblay est confiant de renforcer l'administration de la Ville de Port-au-Prince.
© Agence QMI / Archives / Joël Lemay
MONTRÉAL - Plus d'un an après le séisme dévastateur en Haïti, le maire de Montréal, Gérald Tremblay, a signé lundi une entente avec le maire de Port-au-Prince, Jean-Yves Jason, afin de commencer les activités de coopération pour la reconstruction de la capitale haïtienne.
Avec 51 missions réparties sur deux ans et un investissement de 1,2 million $ en ressources humaines, le maire Tremblay est confiant de renforcer l'administration de la Ville de Port-au-Prince.
«Nous accompagnerons les directeurs des institutions pour que les services indispensables à la population puissent être donnés», a déclaré M. Tremblay.
Une collaboration devant durer cinq ans, entre Montréal et la métropole d’Haïti, avait déjà été envisagée à partir de janvier 2010, avant que le séisme ne survienne.
Si les actions concrètes sur le terrain ont tardé à prendre forme, M. Tremblay insiste sur les besoins nécessaires au niveau des équipements de communications.
«Avant de penser à poser des gestes concrets, il fallait collaborer avec la Ville de Port-au-Prince. Il faut rappeler qu’il n’y avait pas d’équipement, d’ordinateurs et de locaux pour travailler», justifie-t-il.
Actuellement, deux missions entreprises par Montréal sont en cours à Port-au-Prince afin d’améliorer la gestion des finances publiques.
L’un des projets visés par l’entente est celui du quartier Belosse dans la capitale haïtienne pour donner l’accès à l’eau potable et installer des lampadaires pour renforcer la sécurité des femmes qui y vivent. http://fr.canoe.ca/infos/quebeccanada/archives/2011/05/20110509-141625.html

Haïti-Amendement de la Constitution : Opération en cours

P-au-P., 9 mai 2011 [AlterPresse]--- Les députés et sénateurs réunis en assemblée nationale projettent de conclure ce 9 mai le processus d’amendement de la constitution haïtienne, initié la veille et qui a déjà permis de modifier une quinzaine d’articles de la loi-mère, dont celle sur la nationalité haïtienne.
Le quorum indispensable exigé par la constitution a été confirmé avec la présence de 74 députés et 21 sénateurs, ce qui a permis d’approuver le rapport de la commission bicamérale « ad hoc », chargée de produire des réflexions « en urgence » sur le processus.
Les parlementaires ont vite commencé à statuer sur les articles proposés dans la déclaration d’amendement, dont l’article 11 qui accepte le principe de la nationalité multiple.
Malgré la réticence exprimée par plusieurs parlementaires, cet article a été adopté par 80 votes pour, 8 abstention et 0 contre.
Des délégations de la diaspora haïtienne portant des T-shirt favorables à la double nationalité ont assisté aux travaux. Depuis plusieurs jours ils se trouvent en Haiti afin de sensibiliser les parlementaires sur la nécessité de voter en faveur de la double nationalité.
Cet amendement en faveur de la nationalité multiple, entrera en vigueur après publication dans le journal officiel « Le Moniteur ».
Le ministre des Haïtiens vivant à l’étranger (MHAVE), Edwin Paraison, a déclaré que « c’est un pas historique dans les relations Haïti-Diaspora. » A la reprise de la séance ce 9 mai, les parlementaires devront décider si les Haitiens ayant également une autre nationalité pourront occuper toutes les fonctions politiques.
Soumise par le président sortant René Préval à la 48e législature en fin de session, le 4 septembre 2009, cette déclaration a été approuvée le 14 septembre.
Il appartient à la 49e legislature de se prononcer sur la déclaration d’amendement dans un délai ne dépassant pas ce lundi avant minuit, correspondant à la fin de la première session parlementaire, suivant les prescrits constitutionnels.
Dans le cadre de ce processus, plus de dix articles de la loi mère seront supprimés par la commission bicamérale présidée par le sénateur François Anick Joseph de la plateforme Alternative. Plus d’une vingtaine d’autres pourraient être modifiés.
Les sénateurs dont le mandat arrivera à terme en janvier 2012 seront aussi les bénéficiaires de l’amendement de la Constitution. Ces élus bénéficieront de quatre ans de mandat supplémentaires dans la perspective d’une diminution du cycle des élections dans le pays.
De même, les sénateurs récemment élus pour 6 ans pourraient voir leur mandat écouté d’un an, tandis que les sénateurs sortant auront un supplément de plus de 3 ans.
Les actuels députés et sénateurs devraient rester en fonction jusqu’au deuxième lundi de janvier 2016. [sfd apr 9/05/2011 13 :15]

Un Haïtien accusé de crime de guerre par le Canada

Publié le 10 mai 2011 à 05h00
Louise Leduc, La Presse
Vous allez à la poste un matin, et vous recevez enfin une réponse de l'ambassade du Canada. Avant de vous assurer de ses «sentiments les meilleurs», le secrétaire de l'ambassade vous informe que votre demande est rejetée parce qu'il y a «des motifs de croire que vous avez été complice de crime de guerre contre l'humanité».
C'est ce qui est arrivé à Midi Cyrille Henry, qui vit en Haïti et qui a longtemps souhaité immigrer au Canada. Aujourd'hui, ce n'est plus sa priorité. «Venir au Canada, pour moi, c'est devenu secondaire. Ce qui m'importe, c'est de blanchir ma réputation devant un gouvernement qui m'a faussement accusé.»
«Quand on reçoit une telle lettre, on est vraiment en état de choc. D'être montré du doigt pour des crimes de guerre que l'on n'a pas commis, ça laisse un goût amer, et pour très longtemps. Si je suis vraiment un criminel de guerre, pourquoi le Canada laisse-t-il les choses comme ça? Ne devrait-il pas me traduire devant le Tribunal pénal international ou quelque chose?»
En Haïti ou ailleurs, M. Henry n'a jamais été accusé de quoi que ce soit. Dans les nombreux échanges qu'il a eus avec le gouvernement du Canada, il n'est nulle part fait mention de quelque accusation directe que ce soit.
Au ministère canadien de l'Immigration, on a refusé d'accorder une entrevue à La Presse. Pour seule réponse, on a envoyé un courriel officiel d'un paragraphe dans lequel on explique, en gros, qu'effectivement, la demande de M. Henry a été rejetée en vertu de la Loi sur l'immigration et la protection des réfugiés, selon laquelle «un individu ayant commis des crimes contre l'humanité ou des crimes de guerre à l'extérieur du Canada est inadmissible au Canada».
Policier depuis 1995
Ce qui nuit à M. Henry, c'est qu'il est policier à Haïti depuis 1995.
Or, comme le fait remarquer François Crépeau, professeur titulaire à la faculté de droit de l'Université McGill, la police haïtienne, particulièrement à cette époque, n'avait pas la meilleure des réputations.
D'ailleurs, dans la correspondance entre le Ministère et une cousine de M. Henry - que ce dernier a autorisée à accéder à son dossier -, les fonctionnaires mentionnent à plusieurs reprises les noms de policiers (parmi lesquels certains, selon eux, auraient été des supérieurs de M. Henry) qui ont été accusés de brutalité policière qualifiée de crime contre l'humanité.
La cousine, qui habite au Canada depuis l'enfance, est médusée par tout cela. Ici, dit-elle, elle est habituée à un système juridique qui passe par des accusations fondées sur des faits vérifiés et non sur des on-dit. Au Canada, les procès sont menés en bonne et due forme, on peut se défendre et interjeter appel d'une décision. Rien de cela en matière d'immigration, dénonce-t-elle. «Je ne crois pas qu'un seul Canadien accepterait docilement que lui, sa soeur, sa mère, son père, son cousin, son gendre ou son fils soit "interdits de territoire" et, du coup, stigmatisés comme "auteurs ou complices de crime de guerre ou crime contre l'humanité" en raison de leur "implication dans la police" sans que personne ne puisse dire de quoi on les accuse exactement... sans qu'ils puissent même être mis à procès et jugés.»
De fait, le Canada met de l'avant des règles tout autres selon qu'il a affaire à un citoyen canadien ou pas, confirme François Crépeau. «Dans ce cas-ci, manifestement, le demandeur est policier en Haïti depuis 15 ans, donc on l'accuse par association, chose qu'on n'admettrait pas en droit criminel interne.»
Criminalité par association
Pour le Canada, poursuit-il, la priorité en matière d'immigration, ce n'est pas la justice, mais la sécurité. «Le Canada décide de façon souveraine de ceux qu'il admet ici et il n'hésite pas à y aller de catégories très larges de criminalité par association. Souvent, l'argumentaire fourni ne fait pas sérieux, mais, à la limite, le Canada pourrait même ne pas se justifier du tout.»
Bien sûr, le Canada pourrait faire des enquêtes approfondies, mais comme cela concernerait des milliers de gens, «cela coûterait des millions de dollars aux contribuables canadiens», fait remarquer M. Crépeau.
En conséquence, le Canada s'en remet aux services secrets de différents pays, poursuit-il, qui lui transmettent des renseignements en précisant bien que la source doit être gardée absolument confidentielle, faute de quoi on sera rayé de la liste d'envoi.
Les renseignements transmis peuvent être d'ordre aussi général que des coupures de journaux, «ou des rumeurs de type "untel m'a dit". Encore une fois, devant nos tribunaux, ça ne passerait pas, mais pour un service de renseignement qui n'a que la sécurité en tête, cela suffit».
Tout cela, note M. Crépeau, dit en toute sympathie pour les demandeurs, dont les démarches peuvent coûter des milliers de dollars et dont le destin peut se jouer sur des informations parcellaires qui peuvent être ou pas dignes de foi.
C'est le cas de Midi Cyrille Henry, comme cela l'a été, dit M. Crépeau, pour ces Tamouls arrivés l'an dernier par bateau, dont on a redouté qu'ils puissent être des terroristes. «Dans certains cas, la preuve pouvait être aussi mince qu'une petite médaille au cou que le Canada associait d'emblée à un symbole tamoul, alors que la médaille est traditionnellement offerte lors de fiançailles.»
Deux exemples frappants
Autre exemple particulièrement frappant: celui de Sugunanayake Joseph, à qui le Canada a accordé l'asile après l'assassinat de son mari (parlementaire sri-lankais) durant la messe de minuit, à Noël 2005. Aux funérailles, rapporte le Toronto Star, Bill Graham lui-même - alors ministre des Affaires étrangères - avait pris la peine de se déplacer et avait dit de Joseph Pararajasingham qu'il était «un homme de paix».
Or, voilà que, cinq ans après, un ordre d'expulsion a été donné contre la veuve de 74 ans. Dans ce cas-ci, une série d'associations ont amené les autorités à conclure que Joseph Pararajasingham était un tigre tamoul terroriste et, partant, sa veuve aussi, ce qu'elle nie avec véhémence.