Haiti Relief & Reconstruction Watch

Haiti Relief & Reconstruction Watch

Haiti: Relief and Reconstruction Watch is a blog that tracks multinational aid efforts in Haiti with an eye towards ensuring they are oriented towards the needs of the Haitian people, and that aid is not used to undermine Haitians' right to self-determination.

Following a request from HRRW, USAID yesterday released information on the amount of relief and reconstruction funds that have gone to local partners in Haiti. The info, available here, is a positive step towards transparency and provides the only official information on the level of local contracting by USAID in Haiti. As can be seen in figure 1, about $9.5 million has gone to local organizations and firms since the earthquake. An additional $18.3 million has been awarded to Haitian-American firms, according to USAID data.

Figure I

Firm Name Sector Amount
GHESKIO
Health
 $       3,589,938
St. Damien Hospital
Health
 $       1,081,000
Hopital Adventiste d’Haiti
Health
 $         990,000
La Fondation Héritage pour Haïti (Transparency International)
Non-Profit
 $         800,000
Mérové-Pierre – Cabinet d’Experts-Comptables (MPA)
Auditing
 $         740,208
L’Hôpital de la Communauté Haïtienne
Health
 $         400,000
Hopital l’Ofatma
Health
 $         400,000
Experts Conseils & Associates
Auditing
 $         393,890
Jurimedia
Non-Profit
 $         300,000
Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture
Non-Profit
 $         250,000
The American Chamber of Commerce in Haiti
Non-Profit
 $         238,420
PAGS Cabinet d’Experts-Comptables
Auditing
 $         145,000
ECCOMAR
Construction
 $           63,000
National Transport Service (Natrans)
Transportation
 $           60,000
TOTAL
TOTAL

 $      9,451,45

Source: USAID

Although ascertaining the total spending by USAID in Haiti since the earthquake is not an easy feat, the $9.5 million that has gone to local firms represents a small fraction of total spending by USAID. In fiscal years 2010 and 2011, USAID reported spending over $700 million on humanitarian programs (not counting funding through USAID/OTI, which is included in Figure II). Additionally, the most recent data compiled by HRRW reveals nearly $400 million in contracts that have been awarded since the earthquake. As can be seen in figure II, only 0.02 percent of these contracts have gone directly to local firms, while over 75 percent have gone to firms located in the Beltway (DC, Maryland, Virginia). The largest of these beltway contractors is Chemonics International, which has received $173.7 million from USAID since the earthquake. The company came under criticism in recent weeks regarding the temporary parliament building that was constructed under a Chemonics contract. Haitian lawmakers told GlobalPost that the building was nothing more than a “shell”, and that it would cost the government as much to finish it as USAID had spent on building it. The building remains vacant four months after it was inaugurated by USAID and Haitian officials.

Figure II

Area Total Percent of Overall
Beltway
 $         307,139,288
77.46%
Haiti
 $                 66,190
0.02%
All Other
 $          89,306,291
22.52%
TOTAL
 $      396,511,768
100.00%

Source: Federal Procurement Data System, Author’s Calculations

It is likely that Figure II doesn’t capture the entirety of local procurement as no data is available on the level of local sub-contracting. On the USAID Forward website, the organization admits they lack the ability to systematically track the level of local subcontracting and grant making:

Unfortunately, the Agency does not have the systems in place to track sub-grants and sub-contracts so it is not possible to state precisely the number of partners or the percentage of USAID funds that flow to local nonprofit organizations (or, for that matter, to local private businesses) through these indirect arrangements.

As HRRW has previously reported, this is especially problematic because a leaked contract between USAID and Chemonics contains very detailed reporting requirements. Chemonics is required to “track and report on the overall monthly commitments and disbursements for all activities and non-activity expenditures.” Further, the contract states that Chemonics “is required to provide a detailed budget and vouchers for all subcontractors.” A USAID Inspector General report from 2010 found that while other branches of USAID had conducted financial reviews of their partners, USAID/OTI had not:

Although DAI and Chemonics were also expending millions of dollars rapidly on CFW [Cash-for-Work] programs in a high-risk environment, USAID/OTI had not yet performed these internal control reviews.

USAID Procurement Reform

Procurement reform is a main plank of the USAID Forward program, which aims to strengthen local capacity by allocating more grants to local NGOs and increase the “percentage of total dollars through direct contracts with local private businesses.” USAID has consistently touted their efforts in this regard, with USAID administrator Rajiv Shah telling NPR on the two-year anniversary of the earthquake that “USAID is working with 500 Haitian organizations after a real intensive effort to go out there and meet these groups and make sure we work directly with them.” While increasing local procurement and local capacity building appears to have the support from USAID leadership, there is scant evidence in the data compiled by HRRW and released by USAID to support the rhetoric. If USAID does indeed work with 500 local organizations, they haven’t publically released any data to support that and the information released yesterday would seem to directly contradict it.

The release of information is a welcome step for transparency on the part of USAID. However, until greater controls are implemented with regard to prime contractors and USAID can accurately track the amount of sub-grants and contracts going to local organizations; it will remain nearly impossible to determine if USAID actions truly match their lofty rhetoric.

Following a request from HRRW, USAID yesterday released information on the amount of relief and reconstruction funds that have gone to local partners in Haiti. The info, available here, is a positive step towards transparency and provides the only official information on the level of local contracting by USAID in Haiti. As can be seen in figure 1, about $9.5 million has gone to local organizations and firms since the earthquake. An additional $18.3 million has been awarded to Haitian-American firms, according to USAID data.

Figure I

Firm Name Sector Amount
GHESKIO
Health
 $       3,589,938
St. Damien Hospital
Health
 $       1,081,000
Hopital Adventiste d’Haiti
Health
 $         990,000
La Fondation Héritage pour Haïti (Transparency International)
Non-Profit
 $         800,000
Mérové-Pierre – Cabinet d’Experts-Comptables (MPA)
Auditing
 $         740,208
L’Hôpital de la Communauté Haïtienne
Health
 $         400,000
Hopital l’Ofatma
Health
 $         400,000
Experts Conseils & Associates
Auditing
 $         393,890
Jurimedia
Non-Profit
 $         300,000
Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture
Non-Profit
 $         250,000
The American Chamber of Commerce in Haiti
Non-Profit
 $         238,420
PAGS Cabinet d’Experts-Comptables
Auditing
 $         145,000
ECCOMAR
Construction
 $           63,000
National Transport Service (Natrans)
Transportation
 $           60,000
TOTAL
TOTAL

 $      9,451,45

Source: USAID

Although ascertaining the total spending by USAID in Haiti since the earthquake is not an easy feat, the $9.5 million that has gone to local firms represents a small fraction of total spending by USAID. In fiscal years 2010 and 2011, USAID reported spending over $700 million on humanitarian programs (not counting funding through USAID/OTI, which is included in Figure II). Additionally, the most recent data compiled by HRRW reveals nearly $400 million in contracts that have been awarded since the earthquake. As can be seen in figure II, only 0.02 percent of these contracts have gone directly to local firms, while over 75 percent have gone to firms located in the Beltway (DC, Maryland, Virginia). The largest of these beltway contractors is Chemonics International, which has received $173.7 million from USAID since the earthquake. The company came under criticism in recent weeks regarding the temporary parliament building that was constructed under a Chemonics contract. Haitian lawmakers told GlobalPost that the building was nothing more than a “shell”, and that it would cost the government as much to finish it as USAID had spent on building it. The building remains vacant four months after it was inaugurated by USAID and Haitian officials.

Figure II

Area Total Percent of Overall
Beltway
 $         307,139,288
77.46%
Haiti
 $                 66,190
0.02%
All Other
 $          89,306,291
22.52%
TOTAL
 $      396,511,768
100.00%

Source: Federal Procurement Data System, Author’s Calculations

It is likely that Figure II doesn’t capture the entirety of local procurement as no data is available on the level of local sub-contracting. On the USAID Forward website, the organization admits they lack the ability to systematically track the level of local subcontracting and grant making:

Unfortunately, the Agency does not have the systems in place to track sub-grants and sub-contracts so it is not possible to state precisely the number of partners or the percentage of USAID funds that flow to local nonprofit organizations (or, for that matter, to local private businesses) through these indirect arrangements.

As HRRW has previously reported, this is especially problematic because a leaked contract between USAID and Chemonics contains very detailed reporting requirements. Chemonics is required to “track and report on the overall monthly commitments and disbursements for all activities and non-activity expenditures.” Further, the contract states that Chemonics “is required to provide a detailed budget and vouchers for all subcontractors.” A USAID Inspector General report from 2010 found that while other branches of USAID had conducted financial reviews of their partners, USAID/OTI had not:

Although DAI and Chemonics were also expending millions of dollars rapidly on CFW [Cash-for-Work] programs in a high-risk environment, USAID/OTI had not yet performed these internal control reviews.

USAID Procurement Reform

Procurement reform is a main plank of the USAID Forward program, which aims to strengthen local capacity by allocating more grants to local NGOs and increase the “percentage of total dollars through direct contracts with local private businesses.” USAID has consistently touted their efforts in this regard, with USAID administrator Rajiv Shah telling NPR on the two-year anniversary of the earthquake that “USAID is working with 500 Haitian organizations after a real intensive effort to go out there and meet these groups and make sure we work directly with them.” While increasing local procurement and local capacity building appears to have the support from USAID leadership, there is scant evidence in the data compiled by HRRW and released by USAID to support the rhetoric. If USAID does indeed work with 500 local organizations, they haven’t publically released any data to support that and the information released yesterday would seem to directly contradict it.

The release of information is a welcome step for transparency on the part of USAID. However, until greater controls are implemented with regard to prime contractors and USAID can accurately track the amount of sub-grants and contracts going to local organizations; it will remain nearly impossible to determine if USAID actions truly match their lofty rhetoric.

The rainy season is returning to Haiti, and so is an expected increase in cholera infections. There have been as many deaths – 13 –  in the last eight reported days as there were in all of January or February this year. Yet red tape and funding shortfalls are hampering prevention and treatment efforts.

NPR health correspondent Richard Knox presented a lengthy report yesterday on a cholera vaccination program that has yet to be implemented, despite consensus from the Haitian government, the World Health Organization, the Pan American Health Organization, and the CDC that it could be effective. The program, which will provide vaccines to some 100,000 people, is now awaiting the conclusions of a national ethics committee, “which wants assurance that the vaccine is no longer considered experimental.” The organizations administering the program, Partners in Health and GHESKIO, had hoped to get it underway in January.

Knox reports:

Meanwhile, the spring rains are beginning. Cholera cases are starting to climb, because the floods spread the cholera bacterium around.

“We know it’s going to rain, we know it’s going to flood,” says Dr. Vanessa Rouzier, “so we are afraid we are wasting precious time.”

Rouzier works with GHESKIO, a Haitian medical group that is organizing the vaccination project in Port-au-Prince, Haiti’s capital. The rural arm is sponsored by Partners in Health in the Artibonite River valley, where cholera first appeared.

The two groups have been planning the demonstration project for more than a year.

Greater challenges to the overall aid effort are posed by a shortfall in funds. UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Haiti Nigel Fisher yesterday warned that, as Reuters reported, “a lack [of] aid money for Haiti was putting hundreds of thousands of displaced people at risk by forcing humanitarian agencies to cut services.” The same thing happened in the run up to last year’s rainy season, resulting in an immense spike in cholera cases. The Miami Herald’s Jacqueline Charles wrote:

United Nations humanitarian agencies and the Haitian government launched an urgent appeal Tuesday for roughly $60 million in funding to provide services from April to June to camp dwellers, and to help Haiti cope with an ongoing cholera epidemic that is expected to surge with the onset of the rainy season. The appeal comes as a lack of funding continue to force aid organizations to pack up and leave, and as at least one group — the International Red Cross — considers building a hotel and conference center with it remaining funds as part of its exit strategy.

“Haitians are still living in deteriorating shelters and tents literally falling apart while donors sit on cash intended to help them,” said Elise Young, senior policy analyst at ActionAid USA, an antipoverty agency working in several camps for victims of the Jan. 12, 2010 earthquake. “A very tangible indication of the lack of donation disbursements is the decline in cholera prevention and response.’’

Philippe Verstraeten, head of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in Haiti, said the lack of financial resources at the disposal of the humanitarian community is curtailing its ability to help Haiti’s most vulnerable population affected by a series of shocks, including the earthquake, food insecurity and the cholera epidemic.

Meanwhile, of the $231 million Haiti’s humanitarian community is seeking for 2012, only 8.5 percent has been funded, the UN’s chief humanitarian coordinator Nigel Fisher said Tuesday. A $382 million humanitarian request made in 2011 only received 55 percent funding. “Underfunding threatens to stunt growing relocation initiatives to safe housing that already benefited hundreds of thousands,” Fisher said. “It threatens to reverse gains achieved in the fight against cholera through the promotion of sanitary and hygiene practices. It threatens the very existence of hundreds of thousands of [internally displaced persons] still living in camps.

Fisher said the $53.9 million urgent appeal launched Tuesday is needed for the next three months to provide among other things: potable water and hygiene services in camps; flood protection; and cholera response. Funds also will go toward protecting vulnerable camp populations from sexual abuse and violence.

Both the stalled vaccination program and the under-funded UN humanitarian appeal are reminders that there are humanitarian emergencies that urgently need the international community’s and the Haitian government’s attention. It’s well past the time that they treat these as the emergencies that they are.

The rainy season is returning to Haiti, and so is an expected increase in cholera infections. There have been as many deaths – 13 –  in the last eight reported days as there were in all of January or February this year. Yet red tape and funding shortfalls are hampering prevention and treatment efforts.

NPR health correspondent Richard Knox presented a lengthy report yesterday on a cholera vaccination program that has yet to be implemented, despite consensus from the Haitian government, the World Health Organization, the Pan American Health Organization, and the CDC that it could be effective. The program, which will provide vaccines to some 100,000 people, is now awaiting the conclusions of a national ethics committee, “which wants assurance that the vaccine is no longer considered experimental.” The organizations administering the program, Partners in Health and GHESKIO, had hoped to get it underway in January.

Knox reports:

Meanwhile, the spring rains are beginning. Cholera cases are starting to climb, because the floods spread the cholera bacterium around.

“We know it’s going to rain, we know it’s going to flood,” says Dr. Vanessa Rouzier, “so we are afraid we are wasting precious time.”

Rouzier works with GHESKIO, a Haitian medical group that is organizing the vaccination project in Port-au-Prince, Haiti’s capital. The rural arm is sponsored by Partners in Health in the Artibonite River valley, where cholera first appeared.

The two groups have been planning the demonstration project for more than a year.

Greater challenges to the overall aid effort are posed by a shortfall in funds. UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Haiti Nigel Fisher yesterday warned that, as Reuters reported, “a lack [of] aid money for Haiti was putting hundreds of thousands of displaced people at risk by forcing humanitarian agencies to cut services.” The same thing happened in the run up to last year’s rainy season, resulting in an immense spike in cholera cases. The Miami Herald’s Jacqueline Charles wrote:

United Nations humanitarian agencies and the Haitian government launched an urgent appeal Tuesday for roughly $60 million in funding to provide services from April to June to camp dwellers, and to help Haiti cope with an ongoing cholera epidemic that is expected to surge with the onset of the rainy season. The appeal comes as a lack of funding continue to force aid organizations to pack up and leave, and as at least one group — the International Red Cross — considers building a hotel and conference center with it remaining funds as part of its exit strategy.

“Haitians are still living in deteriorating shelters and tents literally falling apart while donors sit on cash intended to help them,” said Elise Young, senior policy analyst at ActionAid USA, an antipoverty agency working in several camps for victims of the Jan. 12, 2010 earthquake. “A very tangible indication of the lack of donation disbursements is the decline in cholera prevention and response.’’

Philippe Verstraeten, head of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in Haiti, said the lack of financial resources at the disposal of the humanitarian community is curtailing its ability to help Haiti’s most vulnerable population affected by a series of shocks, including the earthquake, food insecurity and the cholera epidemic.

Meanwhile, of the $231 million Haiti’s humanitarian community is seeking for 2012, only 8.5 percent has been funded, the UN’s chief humanitarian coordinator Nigel Fisher said Tuesday. A $382 million humanitarian request made in 2011 only received 55 percent funding. “Underfunding threatens to stunt growing relocation initiatives to safe housing that already benefited hundreds of thousands,” Fisher said. “It threatens to reverse gains achieved in the fight against cholera through the promotion of sanitary and hygiene practices. It threatens the very existence of hundreds of thousands of [internally displaced persons] still living in camps.

Fisher said the $53.9 million urgent appeal launched Tuesday is needed for the next three months to provide among other things: potable water and hygiene services in camps; flood protection; and cholera response. Funds also will go toward protecting vulnerable camp populations from sexual abuse and violence.

Both the stalled vaccination program and the under-funded UN humanitarian appeal are reminders that there are humanitarian emergencies that urgently need the international community’s and the Haitian government’s attention. It’s well past the time that they treat these as the emergencies that they are.

A new report by AP investigative reporter Martha Mendoza and Haiti correspondent Trenton Daniel sheds light on the Red Cross’ plans to possibly build a hotel on the 10 acres of land near the Toussaint L’Ouverture airport that it uses for its base camp.

The article reports:

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies is considering building a hotel and conference center in Haiti on part of a $10.5 million property that it bought after the 2010 earthquake.

The hope is that profits could sustain the work of Haiti’s local Red Cross in the coming years, the head of the international group’s Haitian delegation said Monday.

The 10-acre compound, known as the “Hilton Property,” was purchased from Comme Il Faut, Haiti’s local cigarette company, in the months after the quake, Eduard Tschan told The Associated Press in a telephone interview.

The charity paid in a single payment, using funds donated by national Red Cross agencies for quake recovery. At the time, Haiti’s recovery was the largest operation in the organization’s history, with 3,000 people working here.

Now that its work is winding down, the international Red Cross is putting together an exit strategy and as part of that process is trying to figure out what to do with this property.

The article goes on to describe some of the ideas that the Red Cross is apparently considering for the land:

It’s a valuable spot, near the international airport in a growing city. Tschan said two ideas are being studied: selling the acreage not being used by the Haitian Red Cross or finding a business partner and building a hotel and conference center that would provide profits to sustain the Haitian Red Cross.

“There is great potential with this property,” Tschan said.

He said that if a marketing feasibility study determines a hotel or conference center seems viable, the Red Cross will open the project to bidders.

“Ideally it would be a local company,” he said.

CharityWatch president Daniel Borochoff, who evaluates nonprofit organizations, said the hotel plan is risky and highly unusual. More typically, charities invest in low risk securities, he said.

“It’s not clear it would work,” he said. “And if they lose the money it’s going to be a problem.”

Borochoff said a hotel and conference center could tie up funds that might be needed quickly in future disasters, and noted donors hadn’t been informed.

“What would happen if donors learned that instead of giving money to treat cholera or build shelters, it’s going to build a hotel? I understand it’s an investment, but that takes some explaining,” he said.

AP goes on to note that other luxury hotels are already being built in the area.AP’s investigation raises several important questions. First, how much “acreage [is] not being used by the Haitian Red Cross”, and is there room for IDP’s there? A Google Earth look at the site suggests that there probably is a good deal of unused space:

Haitian Red Cross/IFRC Base Camp

Considering the hundreds of people who have recently been forcibly evicted – with some recently having been burned out of their camps in suspicious arsons – couldn’t this be space that the Red Cross could offer them, rather than using it for a commercial venture that might not even be viable?

The Red Cross’ post-quake spending and use of funds, as the largest NGO operating in Haiti, has been controversial almost since the beginning. News that some “funds donated by national Red Cross agencies for quake recovery” – much of which almost certainly came from individuals who believed their money would be used for emergency relief – might instead be used for a risky commercial venture (and one that caters to NGO’s and tourists) could provoke more controversy.

Earlier this year, the American Red Cross came under renewed scrutiny with the release of the film “Haiti: Where Did the Money Go?” which examines conditions in IDP camps and questions the American Red Cross, Catholic Relief Services, and other large NGO’s about their spending and activities in Haiti. The American Red Cross responded defensively, attacking the film and objecting to, among others, the assertion in the film that “The money was raised quickly and the clear implication is that it would be spent quickly.” In its response, the ARC stated

The American Red Cross repeatedly informed the public and donors in writing that its relief and recovery efforts in Haiti would last three to five years.  …Our current program planning extends until December 2014, still in that window.  [email protected] provides no evidence or basis for its claim that the American Red Cross implied that the money would be spent quickly.  The key is to spend it wisely.

Plans to build a hotel might fit it into a similar planning window. Whether or not this would be money spent wisely – let alone used to best serve those most affected by Haiti’s recent crises of natural disasters and cholera epidemic – is another matter.

A new report by AP investigative reporter Martha Mendoza and Haiti correspondent Trenton Daniel sheds light on the Red Cross’ plans to possibly build a hotel on the 10 acres of land near the Toussaint L’Ouverture airport that it uses for its base camp.

The article reports:

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies is considering building a hotel and conference center in Haiti on part of a $10.5 million property that it bought after the 2010 earthquake.

The hope is that profits could sustain the work of Haiti’s local Red Cross in the coming years, the head of the international group’s Haitian delegation said Monday.

The 10-acre compound, known as the “Hilton Property,” was purchased from Comme Il Faut, Haiti’s local cigarette company, in the months after the quake, Eduard Tschan told The Associated Press in a telephone interview.

The charity paid in a single payment, using funds donated by national Red Cross agencies for quake recovery. At the time, Haiti’s recovery was the largest operation in the organization’s history, with 3,000 people working here.

Now that its work is winding down, the international Red Cross is putting together an exit strategy and as part of that process is trying to figure out what to do with this property.

The article goes on to describe some of the ideas that the Red Cross is apparently considering for the land:

It’s a valuable spot, near the international airport in a growing city. Tschan said two ideas are being studied: selling the acreage not being used by the Haitian Red Cross or finding a business partner and building a hotel and conference center that would provide profits to sustain the Haitian Red Cross.

“There is great potential with this property,” Tschan said.

He said that if a marketing feasibility study determines a hotel or conference center seems viable, the Red Cross will open the project to bidders.

“Ideally it would be a local company,” he said.

CharityWatch president Daniel Borochoff, who evaluates nonprofit organizations, said the hotel plan is risky and highly unusual. More typically, charities invest in low risk securities, he said.

“It’s not clear it would work,” he said. “And if they lose the money it’s going to be a problem.”

Borochoff said a hotel and conference center could tie up funds that might be needed quickly in future disasters, and noted donors hadn’t been informed.

“What would happen if donors learned that instead of giving money to treat cholera or build shelters, it’s going to build a hotel? I understand it’s an investment, but that takes some explaining,” he said.

AP goes on to note that other luxury hotels are already being built in the area.AP’s investigation raises several important questions. First, how much “acreage [is] not being used by the Haitian Red Cross”, and is there room for IDP’s there? A Google Earth look at the site suggests that there probably is a good deal of unused space:

Haitian Red Cross/IFRC Base Camp

Considering the hundreds of people who have recently been forcibly evicted – with some recently having been burned out of their camps in suspicious arsons – couldn’t this be space that the Red Cross could offer them, rather than using it for a commercial venture that might not even be viable?

The Red Cross’ post-quake spending and use of funds, as the largest NGO operating in Haiti, has been controversial almost since the beginning. News that some “funds donated by national Red Cross agencies for quake recovery” – much of which almost certainly came from individuals who believed their money would be used for emergency relief – might instead be used for a risky commercial venture (and one that caters to NGO’s and tourists) could provoke more controversy.

Earlier this year, the American Red Cross came under renewed scrutiny with the release of the film “Haiti: Where Did the Money Go?” which examines conditions in IDP camps and questions the American Red Cross, Catholic Relief Services, and other large NGO’s about their spending and activities in Haiti. The American Red Cross responded defensively, attacking the film and objecting to, among others, the assertion in the film that “The money was raised quickly and the clear implication is that it would be spent quickly.” In its response, the ARC stated

The American Red Cross repeatedly informed the public and donors in writing that its relief and recovery efforts in Haiti would last three to five years.  …Our current program planning extends until December 2014, still in that window.  [email protected] provides no evidence or basis for its claim that the American Red Cross implied that the money would be spent quickly.  The key is to spend it wisely.

Plans to build a hotel might fit it into a similar planning window. Whether or not this would be money spent wisely – let alone used to best serve those most affected by Haiti’s recent crises of natural disasters and cholera epidemic – is another matter.

In early March, social scientists Athena Kolbe and Robert Muggah released a study, backed by Canada’s International Development Research Centre and the Igarapé Institute of Brazil, showing increasing crime rates in the capital of Port-au-Prince. Based on household surveys, the authors found that “[f]or the first time since 2007, the incidence of violent crime and victimization has shown a consistent increase”. While the homicide rate in Haiti’s capital is lower than in many other Caribbean cities, the authors note the current rate in Haiti makes it one of the highest recorded rates since the post-coup period of 2004. At the same time, the authors found a reversal in citizens’ support for the Haitian National Police.

In an interview with HRRW, Kolbe, a clinical social worker affiliated with the University of Michigan, explains the social context of the current study and explores some of the causes and implications of the results. Kolbe finds that most of the victims of violence and criminal activities were residents of low-income neighborhoods where the population has experienced “social and political marginalization.” The ending of aid programs has also had a “profound impact on the people who need the services the most.” Kolbe notes that the bypassing of the Haitian government by NGOs and donor governments has created a situation where these entities and not the Haitian state “provide basic social and municipal services.” With a government that cannot guarantee its citizens access to services, Kolbe notes that “simply increasing the number of police on the street isn’t going to solve Haiti’s crime problem.” What is needed is to “focus efforts on improving the conditions in society that create the climate where crime is a viable option.”

Read more for the full interview:


HRRW: You have been conducting household surveys in Haiti for many years now, could you discuss the most recent findings in relation to the previous studies you have undertaken? For instance, how do the current levels of crime compare to the post-2004 coup time period? Do you see any similarities?

AK: In the 22 months after President Aristide was forced from the country in 2004 we saw a great deal of crime and violence in Haiti. At that time the murder rate for Port-au-Prince was 219 per 100,000 per year. Beginning at the very end of 2006 and early 2007 we saw a decrease in crime in Haiti; this was a steady decrease both in the use of violence by armed political groups and state actors as well as a decrease in crime overall. There was a slight increase in property crime just after the earthquake but this decreased and through August 2011 we had a very low crime rate in Haiti.

In fact we can compare Port-au-Prince to Detroit, which is where I live when I’m not in Haiti. Since 2007 the crude rate of all forms of crime that we measure (assault, property crimes, murder, and illegal detention or kidnapping) was lower in Port-au-Prince than it was in Detroit.  This was very encouraging, but it has changed, which was what motivated our report. We see a lot more armed robberies and of course more murders, more than at any other time since the end of 2006.

HRRW: Do the survey results give an indication of who is committing the violent crime? And what groups have been the most affected?

AK: When we are trying to figure out if crime is politically motivated, we can look at who is doing the crime as well as who is being victimized. Unlike the 2004-2006 period there is little crime reported to have been perpetrated by armed political groups or police officers. The crimes that people have reported to us are primarily committed by criminals or unknown persons. And of course there are some crimes by neighbors, family members, friends and the like, which you would expect to see in a survey of crime victimization in any country.

People who live in popular zones – the densely populated poor areas in urban cities – are the most at risk to be a victim of a crime, particularly murder or armed robbery. Popular zone residents are in a unique and difficult situation. These areas have few social and municipal services. They often don’t have the same kind of physical access that other neighborhoods have. For instance, because these areas are so densely populated people live everywhere and thus, the “roads” are just corridors between homes.  This limits vehicle access to a lot of homes which impacts everything from providing access for disabled residents to adequate policing serves and even the access to water delivery trucks. (Truck water is a common way to get water to your home when you don’t have piped water and is markedly less expensive than buying water by the bucket at a water kiosk, which is the only other option for most popular zone residents).

Residents of popular zones also experience social and political marginalization. They’ve been demonized in the press as “chimeres.” They live in neighborhoods that are designated as “red zones” — the most dangerous areas of the city where some UN, embassy and NGO staffers are prohibited from traveling.  Even when crime was low last year and the property crime rate in Bel Air was less than that of Detroit, these areas still had such negative reputation that some NGOs wouldn’t enter to provide services to the residents.  A lot of popular zone residents feel a great deal of shame and embarrassment in admitting where they are from, and this is understandable as the attitude among some is that people from Martissant or Cité Soleil are less trustworthy, more violent, and less capable. People are rightly concerned that if they disclose they are from Cité Soleil that it will prevent them from getting a job or being respected and trusted by others.

HRRW: In a previous household survey, you found that violence, sexual violence and theft were all significantly higher in IDP camps. In the recent survey you also point to the declining aid services being offered as a factor in the increasing crime rate. Could you explain this relationship further?

AK: Over the past two decades, the emphasis on foreign aid disbursement in Haiti has been to divert aid funds to NGOs or other non-state partners rather than funding the Haitian government directly. This means that everything from loans to straight up foreign aid packages are often disseminated in a way that doesn’t directly give the money to the Haitian government. There are reasons for this policy, which are beyond the scope of what we have time to cover today, but suffice it to say that by giving foreign aid through NGOs, the donor governments have created a situation in which the Haitian people are relying on NGOs and international organizations like MINUSTAH to provide basic social and municipal services. So when the funding for post-earthquake relief within these organizations started to get used up and when, in the last quarter of 2011, organizations started to reduce or eliminate services in urban areas, it had a profound impact on the people who need the services the most.

There needs to be a delicate balance of both empowerment and accountability so that the Haitian government is able to develop the capacity to deliver services to its people and to assure that the services actually get delivered.  I don’t think anyone believes that Haiti will be in a good place if NGOs permanently replace the Haitian government in providing essential state services to the Haitian people.

We know that globally crime is tied to certain social and economic conditions; when quality of life improves and economic and political uncertainty decrease, crime also decreases. Simply increasing the number of police on the street isn’t going to solve Haiti’s crime problem, we need to also focus efforts on improving the conditions in society that create the climate where crime is a viable option.  MINUSTAH needs to invest in what is known to reduce crime, such as creating economic opportunity, promoting education, building infrastructure, improving municipal capacity, and the like.

HRRW: Both you and Mario Andersol, head of the HNP, cite political instability as a leading factor in the rising violence. Could you explain this relationship further and how does the previous election, which saw record low turnout, the exclusion of the largest political party and unprecedented international interference, play into this?

AK: We have a difficult situation in Haiti right now. [Fanmi] Lavalas, which some international actors had hoped would slowly fade away, continues to be an influential and popular political party, particularly amongst the poor majority. I’m not sure what people thought the outcome would be when Lavalas was excluded from the ballot. And the current administration is struggling in other ways as well; for instance the prime minister recently resigned after only four months in office. This is a time of political instability and when things are unstable people lose faith in state institutions. The way to rebuild this trust in the state is for those who lead the state to demonstrate significant progress towards a social contract that is inclusive of poor and historically marginalized populations.   Trust is rebuilt in a number of ways including fighting the culture of impunity by holding people – regardless of their power or wealth—responsible when they commit crimes, by giving low income neighborhoods access to municipal services like trash collection, and by directly and specifically acknowledging the need for improvement.

HRRW: Since at least the 2004 coup, HNP reform has been a stated priority of the U.S. government and other international donors, yet widespread problems with police competence and accountability remain, coupled with a poorly functioning judiciary. What do you think is needed for the HNP to actually become effective and accountable?

AK: The HNP has improved immensely since 2007. The Haitian government needs to continue this forward movement by holding police officers responsible when they act unprofessionally or unethically, by keeping the police independent so they aren’t controlled or used by politicians, by upholding high standards of behavior and for recruitment.  In the past people have been integrated into the Haitian National Police despite histories that included violence, crime, human rights violations, and involvement in coups. The police should not be politicized in this way.  No one who has committed human rights violations or been involved in a coup or an illegal armed group should become a police officer. For Haiti this is a sensitive matter and there needs to be a clear line drawn, at least for the time being.

In early March, social scientists Athena Kolbe and Robert Muggah released a study, backed by Canada’s International Development Research Centre and the Igarapé Institute of Brazil, showing increasing crime rates in the capital of Port-au-Prince. Based on household surveys, the authors found that “[f]or the first time since 2007, the incidence of violent crime and victimization has shown a consistent increase”. While the homicide rate in Haiti’s capital is lower than in many other Caribbean cities, the authors note the current rate in Haiti makes it one of the highest recorded rates since the post-coup period of 2004. At the same time, the authors found a reversal in citizens’ support for the Haitian National Police.

In an interview with HRRW, Kolbe, a clinical social worker affiliated with the University of Michigan, explains the social context of the current study and explores some of the causes and implications of the results. Kolbe finds that most of the victims of violence and criminal activities were residents of low-income neighborhoods where the population has experienced “social and political marginalization.” The ending of aid programs has also had a “profound impact on the people who need the services the most.” Kolbe notes that the bypassing of the Haitian government by NGOs and donor governments has created a situation where these entities and not the Haitian state “provide basic social and municipal services.” With a government that cannot guarantee its citizens access to services, Kolbe notes that “simply increasing the number of police on the street isn’t going to solve Haiti’s crime problem.” What is needed is to “focus efforts on improving the conditions in society that create the climate where crime is a viable option.”

Read more for the full interview:


HRRW: You have been conducting household surveys in Haiti for many years now, could you discuss the most recent findings in relation to the previous studies you have undertaken? For instance, how do the current levels of crime compare to the post-2004 coup time period? Do you see any similarities?

AK: In the 22 months after President Aristide was forced from the country in 2004 we saw a great deal of crime and violence in Haiti. At that time the murder rate for Port-au-Prince was 219 per 100,000 per year. Beginning at the very end of 2006 and early 2007 we saw a decrease in crime in Haiti; this was a steady decrease both in the use of violence by armed political groups and state actors as well as a decrease in crime overall. There was a slight increase in property crime just after the earthquake but this decreased and through August 2011 we had a very low crime rate in Haiti.

In fact we can compare Port-au-Prince to Detroit, which is where I live when I’m not in Haiti. Since 2007 the crude rate of all forms of crime that we measure (assault, property crimes, murder, and illegal detention or kidnapping) was lower in Port-au-Prince than it was in Detroit.  This was very encouraging, but it has changed, which was what motivated our report. We see a lot more armed robberies and of course more murders, more than at any other time since the end of 2006.

HRRW: Do the survey results give an indication of who is committing the violent crime? And what groups have been the most affected?

AK: When we are trying to figure out if crime is politically motivated, we can look at who is doing the crime as well as who is being victimized. Unlike the 2004-2006 period there is little crime reported to have been perpetrated by armed political groups or police officers. The crimes that people have reported to us are primarily committed by criminals or unknown persons. And of course there are some crimes by neighbors, family members, friends and the like, which you would expect to see in a survey of crime victimization in any country.

People who live in popular zones – the densely populated poor areas in urban cities – are the most at risk to be a victim of a crime, particularly murder or armed robbery. Popular zone residents are in a unique and difficult situation. These areas have few social and municipal services. They often don’t have the same kind of physical access that other neighborhoods have. For instance, because these areas are so densely populated people live everywhere and thus, the “roads” are just corridors between homes.  This limits vehicle access to a lot of homes which impacts everything from providing access for disabled residents to adequate policing serves and even the access to water delivery trucks. (Truck water is a common way to get water to your home when you don’t have piped water and is markedly less expensive than buying water by the bucket at a water kiosk, which is the only other option for most popular zone residents).

Residents of popular zones also experience social and political marginalization. They’ve been demonized in the press as “chimeres.” They live in neighborhoods that are designated as “red zones” — the most dangerous areas of the city where some UN, embassy and NGO staffers are prohibited from traveling.  Even when crime was low last year and the property crime rate in Bel Air was less than that of Detroit, these areas still had such negative reputation that some NGOs wouldn’t enter to provide services to the residents.  A lot of popular zone residents feel a great deal of shame and embarrassment in admitting where they are from, and this is understandable as the attitude among some is that people from Martissant or Cité Soleil are less trustworthy, more violent, and less capable. People are rightly concerned that if they disclose they are from Cité Soleil that it will prevent them from getting a job or being respected and trusted by others.

HRRW: In a previous household survey, you found that violence, sexual violence and theft were all significantly higher in IDP camps. In the recent survey you also point to the declining aid services being offered as a factor in the increasing crime rate. Could you explain this relationship further?

AK: Over the past two decades, the emphasis on foreign aid disbursement in Haiti has been to divert aid funds to NGOs or other non-state partners rather than funding the Haitian government directly. This means that everything from loans to straight up foreign aid packages are often disseminated in a way that doesn’t directly give the money to the Haitian government. There are reasons for this policy, which are beyond the scope of what we have time to cover today, but suffice it to say that by giving foreign aid through NGOs, the donor governments have created a situation in which the Haitian people are relying on NGOs and international organizations like MINUSTAH to provide basic social and municipal services. So when the funding for post-earthquake relief within these organizations started to get used up and when, in the last quarter of 2011, organizations started to reduce or eliminate services in urban areas, it had a profound impact on the people who need the services the most.

There needs to be a delicate balance of both empowerment and accountability so that the Haitian government is able to develop the capacity to deliver services to its people and to assure that the services actually get delivered.  I don’t think anyone believes that Haiti will be in a good place if NGOs permanently replace the Haitian government in providing essential state services to the Haitian people.

We know that globally crime is tied to certain social and economic conditions; when quality of life improves and economic and political uncertainty decrease, crime also decreases. Simply increasing the number of police on the street isn’t going to solve Haiti’s crime problem, we need to also focus efforts on improving the conditions in society that create the climate where crime is a viable option.  MINUSTAH needs to invest in what is known to reduce crime, such as creating economic opportunity, promoting education, building infrastructure, improving municipal capacity, and the like.

HRRW: Both you and Mario Andersol, head of the HNP, cite political instability as a leading factor in the rising violence. Could you explain this relationship further and how does the previous election, which saw record low turnout, the exclusion of the largest political party and unprecedented international interference, play into this?

AK: We have a difficult situation in Haiti right now. [Fanmi] Lavalas, which some international actors had hoped would slowly fade away, continues to be an influential and popular political party, particularly amongst the poor majority. I’m not sure what people thought the outcome would be when Lavalas was excluded from the ballot. And the current administration is struggling in other ways as well; for instance the prime minister recently resigned after only four months in office. This is a time of political instability and when things are unstable people lose faith in state institutions. The way to rebuild this trust in the state is for those who lead the state to demonstrate significant progress towards a social contract that is inclusive of poor and historically marginalized populations.   Trust is rebuilt in a number of ways including fighting the culture of impunity by holding people – regardless of their power or wealth—responsible when they commit crimes, by giving low income neighborhoods access to municipal services like trash collection, and by directly and specifically acknowledging the need for improvement.

HRRW: Since at least the 2004 coup, HNP reform has been a stated priority of the U.S. government and other international donors, yet widespread problems with police competence and accountability remain, coupled with a poorly functioning judiciary. What do you think is needed for the HNP to actually become effective and accountable?

AK: The HNP has improved immensely since 2007. The Haitian government needs to continue this forward movement by holding police officers responsible when they act unprofessionally or unethically, by keeping the police independent so they aren’t controlled or used by politicians, by upholding high standards of behavior and for recruitment.  In the past people have been integrated into the Haitian National Police despite histories that included violence, crime, human rights violations, and involvement in coups. The police should not be politicized in this way.  No one who has committed human rights violations or been involved in a coup or an illegal armed group should become a police officer. For Haiti this is a sensitive matter and there needs to be a clear line drawn, at least for the time being.

Jacob Kushner and Jean Pharés Jérôme of Global Post report today on the high-profile USAID project to build a temporary building for Haiti’s parliament. Although the $1.9 million building was “inaugurated” in November 2011, Kushner and Jérôme report that:

But more than four months later, that location remains vacant. The building is scattered with woodwork trimmings and debris from a costly ongoing renovation paid for by the Haitian treasury because legislators say the United States never finished the job. And critics in Haiti charge that the unfinished work and empty building stand as a powerful metaphor for much of what is wrong with USAID’s approach to development in Haiti: that it lacks coordination with and input from the Haitians themselves about how best to undertake reconstruction projects.

The building remains nothing more than a “shell” and the Haitian government has already spent $770,000 in renovations and will have to spend much more before it is actually usable. Cholzer Chancy of Haiti’s Chamber of Deputies told Global Post, “It may cost more for us to renovate it than for them to build it in the first place.”

U.S. Embassy spokesman Jon Piechowski defended the project, saying:

“We explained to them what could be done, we consulted with them on that, and they approved the project,” he said. “We answer to the American people and we need to be good stewards of their tax money, and I think we’ve done that in this case.”

The authors continue:

But to the half a million Haitians who remain displaced to tents and shacks since the earthquake, the $2 million US aid dollars spent on an empty building and the hundreds of thousands more taken from the Haitian Treasury to renovate it seem inexcusable.

“All the time, I hear on the radio that American money is going here or there,” said Acelus Saint Louis, a 45-year-old who lives in a tent with his wife and two children. “But I don’t see it. This could lift us up, but instead it’s just wasted.”

The contract to build the temporary parliament building is part of an indefinite quantity contract with Chemonics International. The for-profit development company has received two contracts through USAID’s Office of Transition Initiatives (OTI) since the earthquake totaling $73 million. Chemonics has also received over $80 million for the USAID WINNER program. They are the largest single recipient of USAID funds since the earthquake. HRRW has reportedpreviously on Chemonics, and in November did a three-part series looking at USAID’s reliance on contractors, the lack of oversight of Chemonics and other contractors and their previous poor performance in Afghanistan and Haiti.

Between Chemonics and Development Alternatives Inc., USAID/OTI has appropriated over $115 million for Haiti-related work to the two for-profit firms. The latest USAID/OTI quarterly report lists expenditures of $83 million. Although some of the remaining $32 million may still be in the coffers, a portion of it will be taken off the top and returned to Washington DC, through what is known as the “indirect cost rate”. This allows a portion of all funds allocated to go towards costs not related to the actual program, in other words, back to their headquarters inside the Beltway. Both Chemonics and USAID declined to provide HRRW with the Indirect Cost Rate stipulated in their contract. The info has been redacted in the contract obtained by HRRW.

Jacob Kushner and Jean Pharés Jérôme of Global Post report today on the high-profile USAID project to build a temporary building for Haiti’s parliament. Although the $1.9 million building was “inaugurated” in November 2011, Kushner and Jérôme report that:

But more than four months later, that location remains vacant. The building is scattered with woodwork trimmings and debris from a costly ongoing renovation paid for by the Haitian treasury because legislators say the United States never finished the job. And critics in Haiti charge that the unfinished work and empty building stand as a powerful metaphor for much of what is wrong with USAID’s approach to development in Haiti: that it lacks coordination with and input from the Haitians themselves about how best to undertake reconstruction projects.

The building remains nothing more than a “shell” and the Haitian government has already spent $770,000 in renovations and will have to spend much more before it is actually usable. Cholzer Chancy of Haiti’s Chamber of Deputies told Global Post, “It may cost more for us to renovate it than for them to build it in the first place.”

U.S. Embassy spokesman Jon Piechowski defended the project, saying:

“We explained to them what could be done, we consulted with them on that, and they approved the project,” he said. “We answer to the American people and we need to be good stewards of their tax money, and I think we’ve done that in this case.”

The authors continue:

But to the half a million Haitians who remain displaced to tents and shacks since the earthquake, the $2 million US aid dollars spent on an empty building and the hundreds of thousands more taken from the Haitian Treasury to renovate it seem inexcusable.

“All the time, I hear on the radio that American money is going here or there,” said Acelus Saint Louis, a 45-year-old who lives in a tent with his wife and two children. “But I don’t see it. This could lift us up, but instead it’s just wasted.”

The contract to build the temporary parliament building is part of an indefinite quantity contract with Chemonics International. The for-profit development company has received two contracts through USAID’s Office of Transition Initiatives (OTI) since the earthquake totaling $73 million. Chemonics has also received over $80 million for the USAID WINNER program. They are the largest single recipient of USAID funds since the earthquake. HRRW has reportedpreviously on Chemonics, and in November did a three-part series looking at USAID’s reliance on contractors, the lack of oversight of Chemonics and other contractors and their previous poor performance in Afghanistan and Haiti.

Between Chemonics and Development Alternatives Inc., USAID/OTI has appropriated over $115 million for Haiti-related work to the two for-profit firms. The latest USAID/OTI quarterly report lists expenditures of $83 million. Although some of the remaining $32 million may still be in the coffers, a portion of it will be taken off the top and returned to Washington DC, through what is known as the “indirect cost rate”. This allows a portion of all funds allocated to go towards costs not related to the actual program, in other words, back to their headquarters inside the Beltway. Both Chemonics and USAID declined to provide HRRW with the Indirect Cost Rate stipulated in their contract. The info has been redacted in the contract obtained by HRRW.

By Mark Snyder and Ellie Happel

At two in the morning on Monday March 12th, 2012, the tents of Camp Lycèe Toussaint in downtown Port-au-Prince became engulfed in flames.  Within an hour, 96 of the approximately 120 emergency shelters, home to some of Haiti’s internally displaced, burned to the ground.  Although most of the camp residents escaped without serious injury, the families lost the few belongings they had accumulated in the two years and two months since the earthquake.  Camp residents reported that they did not have water to extinguish the fire.  For months, five Red Cross water tanks have sat empty at the entrance to the camp.

The cause of the fire remains unknown. Neither the Government of Haiti nor the International Organization for Migration (IOM), responsible for camp management, has released an official statement about the fire.

Community members reported that a twelve-year old boy died in the fire.  His brother died in the hospital.  Their mother remains in critical condition.  Many people in the camp reported suffering burns.

By Monday afternoon, camp residents reported that they had yet to receive a visit from a local or national government representative. Residents said that IOM staff came to the camp for “only some minutes” and added that they “told us nothing.” 

Community organizers arrived at the site to remind the victims of the fire that they were not helpless: the Haitian Constitution and international conventions grant specific rights to the internally displaced and place a duty on the government to respect and fulfill these rights.  As the organizers spoke, a small group of residents grew larger and the conversation became more animated.  Residents decided to hold a spontaneous protest to call attention to their situation.  Within a half hour, the residents found a bullhorn and a driver willing to use his minibus and charred shelter to block the road.  They rallied their displaced neighbors to block the side street that borders the camp.

When the protestors lit a tire in the road, the Haitian National Police (PNH) arrived within minutes.  They extinguished the low flame and aggressively broke up the protest.  On two occasions officers leveled their assault rifles and shotguns on the crowd, forcing them to disperse. One of these incidences was recorded on video, just after the PNH officer rushed into the camp with his weapon drawn and chased a young boy who yelled of the injustice of the situation. The boy ran from the officer and disappeared through an opening in an earthquake-damaged building. Additional armed officers arrived and charged into the crowd with assault rifles, shotguns, and a teargas gun.

Camp residents commented that their entire camp can burn along with their children, and the Haitian Government does nothing.  But when residents burn a tire in the street, the police respond.

In the early evening of the 12th, two members of the Department of Civil Protection (DPC) visited the camp and began to register the victims.  They did not state what results this would yield. 

The following day, Tuesday March 13th, IOM representatives returned to the site to distribute basic goods.  Some families received flashlights, some received hygiene kits, and some received sleeping mats.  Many received nothing.  The IOM did not distribute water purification tablets, particularly important in light of the cholera epidemic.

The families of what was, just two days ago, Camp Lycèe Toussaint are still without shelter. For now, the families are waiting.  And now they have nothing.  Their possessions—saved money, clothes, bibles and books, foam mattresses and tents—are ashes.  

The fire in Kan Lycèe Toussaint is not the first.  Last month, a camp in a different schoolyard in a nearby neighborhood burned to the ground.  Three hundred families became displaced again.  In his article about Monday’s fire, Haitian journalist Pierre Louis suggested that these fires are not accidental.  The political instability of today distracts attention from the flames and, says Pierre Louis, provides landowners or their political allies the opportunity to commit criminal acts and force the displaced off of camp land.  Pierre Louis ends his article with the rhetorical question:  When will authorities in our country stop these criminal acts and provide security to our people?

To view more pictures from the fire, please click here. The photos are in the Kan Lycèe Toussaint folder.

Ellie Happel is in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, where she works as a human rights lawyer with the Bureau des Avocats Internationaux.

Mark Snyder, based in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, is an independent human rights activist working with Haitian civil society groups and displaced persons.

UPDATE 3/16: Happel reported last night that two additional residents of the camp have died due to injuries suffered from the fire, raising the total to four.

By Mark Snyder and Ellie Happel

At two in the morning on Monday March 12th, 2012, the tents of Camp Lycèe Toussaint in downtown Port-au-Prince became engulfed in flames.  Within an hour, 96 of the approximately 120 emergency shelters, home to some of Haiti’s internally displaced, burned to the ground.  Although most of the camp residents escaped without serious injury, the families lost the few belongings they had accumulated in the two years and two months since the earthquake.  Camp residents reported that they did not have water to extinguish the fire.  For months, five Red Cross water tanks have sat empty at the entrance to the camp.

The cause of the fire remains unknown. Neither the Government of Haiti nor the International Organization for Migration (IOM), responsible for camp management, has released an official statement about the fire.

Community members reported that a twelve-year old boy died in the fire.  His brother died in the hospital.  Their mother remains in critical condition.  Many people in the camp reported suffering burns.

By Monday afternoon, camp residents reported that they had yet to receive a visit from a local or national government representative. Residents said that IOM staff came to the camp for “only some minutes” and added that they “told us nothing.” 

Community organizers arrived at the site to remind the victims of the fire that they were not helpless: the Haitian Constitution and international conventions grant specific rights to the internally displaced and place a duty on the government to respect and fulfill these rights.  As the organizers spoke, a small group of residents grew larger and the conversation became more animated.  Residents decided to hold a spontaneous protest to call attention to their situation.  Within a half hour, the residents found a bullhorn and a driver willing to use his minibus and charred shelter to block the road.  They rallied their displaced neighbors to block the side street that borders the camp.

When the protestors lit a tire in the road, the Haitian National Police (PNH) arrived within minutes.  They extinguished the low flame and aggressively broke up the protest.  On two occasions officers leveled their assault rifles and shotguns on the crowd, forcing them to disperse. One of these incidences was recorded on video, just after the PNH officer rushed into the camp with his weapon drawn and chased a young boy who yelled of the injustice of the situation. The boy ran from the officer and disappeared through an opening in an earthquake-damaged building. Additional armed officers arrived and charged into the crowd with assault rifles, shotguns, and a teargas gun.

Camp residents commented that their entire camp can burn along with their children, and the Haitian Government does nothing.  But when residents burn a tire in the street, the police respond.

In the early evening of the 12th, two members of the Department of Civil Protection (DPC) visited the camp and began to register the victims.  They did not state what results this would yield. 

The following day, Tuesday March 13th, IOM representatives returned to the site to distribute basic goods.  Some families received flashlights, some received hygiene kits, and some received sleeping mats.  Many received nothing.  The IOM did not distribute water purification tablets, particularly important in light of the cholera epidemic.

The families of what was, just two days ago, Camp Lycèe Toussaint are still without shelter. For now, the families are waiting.  And now they have nothing.  Their possessions—saved money, clothes, bibles and books, foam mattresses and tents—are ashes.  

The fire in Kan Lycèe Toussaint is not the first.  Last month, a camp in a different schoolyard in a nearby neighborhood burned to the ground.  Three hundred families became displaced again.  In his article about Monday’s fire, Haitian journalist Pierre Louis suggested that these fires are not accidental.  The political instability of today distracts attention from the flames and, says Pierre Louis, provides landowners or their political allies the opportunity to commit criminal acts and force the displaced off of camp land.  Pierre Louis ends his article with the rhetorical question:  When will authorities in our country stop these criminal acts and provide security to our people?

To view more pictures from the fire, please click here. The photos are in the Kan Lycèe Toussaint folder.

Ellie Happel is in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, where she works as a human rights lawyer with the Bureau des Avocats Internationaux.

Mark Snyder, based in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, is an independent human rights activist working with Haitian civil society groups and displaced persons.

UPDATE 3/16: Happel reported last night that two additional residents of the camp have died due to injuries suffered from the fire, raising the total to four.

The UN announced today that three Pakistani officers were found guilty of sexual exploitation and abuse. Although the UN did not discuss many specifics, Reuters reported earlier that two members of the UN stabilization mission (MINUSTAH) had “been sentenced to a year in prison for raping a 14-year-old Haitian boy.” Reuters also notes that:

It was the first time that members of the U.N. military on deployment in Haiti have been tried and sentenced within its borders.

The Haitian government had previously requested the lifting of immunity for the Pakistani officers and the Senate passed a resolution requesting they be tried in Haitian courts.  Yet, while the trial was held in Haiti, it was a “military justice procedure…undertaken in accordance with the national laws of Pakistan.” Those found guilty will serve their sentence in Pakistan. As Reuters reports, “Haitian government authorities were given no advance notice of the military tribunal.” Had the Pakistani police officers been tried in a Haitian court they likely would have faced much harsher penalties. Haiti’s Justice Minister, Michel Brunache told Reuters it was a “small” step, adding:

“We expected more from the U.N. and the Pakistani government, but now we want to focus on the proper reparation that the victim deserves.”

The case is but the latest in a long string of sexual abuse cases involving MINUSTAH personnel. In 2007 over 100 Sri Lankan MINUSTAH soldiers were repatriated (PDF) after allegations of “transactional sex with underage girls”. To this date no information on if they were ever prosecuted has been made public. More recently, five Uruguayan MINUSTAH troops were repatriated and jailed after a cell phone video showing them sexual assaulting a young Haitian man was reported by the press. The soldiers have since been released from jail and the trial has stalled.

This case, however, differs from the Sri Lanka and Uruguay cases in that the abuse involved members of a Formed Police Unit rather than military personnel. Of the 11,241 MINUSTAH personnel in Haiti, 3,542 are police. The UN announced the case in January, noting a significant difference from previous cases of sexual abuse my MINUSTAH troops:

However, unlike cases involving UN military contingent personnel, investigations into allegations involving UN police fall under the responsibility of the United Nations.  For this reason, a team was dispatched to Haiti, on 21 January 2012, to investigate these allegations with the utmost determination

Despite the UN’s “zero tolerance” policy on sexual abuse, they have few means to actually ensure legal prosecution of troops as the responsibility for investigating and prosecuting abuses falls on the troop contributing country. In the case of Formed Police Units (PDF), the UN has the power to investigate, but “responsibility for disciplinary action in these units rests with the commanders of the national units, who must keep the Head of Mission fully informed in all disciplinary matters.” Although Pakistan was responsible for the disciplinary action, it is unclear if it was prompted by the UN investigation. It seems likely, however, that because the guilty officers were police rather than soldiers, the UN had a greater ability to influence the case and actually enforce their “zero tolerance” policy. Still, the circumstances in which the Pakistani officers’ abuses were investigated and prosecuted remain murky at best.  The UN could take an important step toward fostering an environment of transparency and accountability by releasing their internal investigation into the rape committed by the Pakistani police officers, and clarifying their role in the prosecution. 

The UN announced today that three Pakistani officers were found guilty of sexual exploitation and abuse. Although the UN did not discuss many specifics, Reuters reported earlier that two members of the UN stabilization mission (MINUSTAH) had “been sentenced to a year in prison for raping a 14-year-old Haitian boy.” Reuters also notes that:

It was the first time that members of the U.N. military on deployment in Haiti have been tried and sentenced within its borders.

The Haitian government had previously requested the lifting of immunity for the Pakistani officers and the Senate passed a resolution requesting they be tried in Haitian courts.  Yet, while the trial was held in Haiti, it was a “military justice procedure…undertaken in accordance with the national laws of Pakistan.” Those found guilty will serve their sentence in Pakistan. As Reuters reports, “Haitian government authorities were given no advance notice of the military tribunal.” Had the Pakistani police officers been tried in a Haitian court they likely would have faced much harsher penalties. Haiti’s Justice Minister, Michel Brunache told Reuters it was a “small” step, adding:

“We expected more from the U.N. and the Pakistani government, but now we want to focus on the proper reparation that the victim deserves.”

The case is but the latest in a long string of sexual abuse cases involving MINUSTAH personnel. In 2007 over 100 Sri Lankan MINUSTAH soldiers were repatriated (PDF) after allegations of “transactional sex with underage girls”. To this date no information on if they were ever prosecuted has been made public. More recently, five Uruguayan MINUSTAH troops were repatriated and jailed after a cell phone video showing them sexual assaulting a young Haitian man was reported by the press. The soldiers have since been released from jail and the trial has stalled.

This case, however, differs from the Sri Lanka and Uruguay cases in that the abuse involved members of a Formed Police Unit rather than military personnel. Of the 11,241 MINUSTAH personnel in Haiti, 3,542 are police. The UN announced the case in January, noting a significant difference from previous cases of sexual abuse my MINUSTAH troops:

However, unlike cases involving UN military contingent personnel, investigations into allegations involving UN police fall under the responsibility of the United Nations.  For this reason, a team was dispatched to Haiti, on 21 January 2012, to investigate these allegations with the utmost determination

Despite the UN’s “zero tolerance” policy on sexual abuse, they have few means to actually ensure legal prosecution of troops as the responsibility for investigating and prosecuting abuses falls on the troop contributing country. In the case of Formed Police Units (PDF), the UN has the power to investigate, but “responsibility for disciplinary action in these units rests with the commanders of the national units, who must keep the Head of Mission fully informed in all disciplinary matters.” Although Pakistan was responsible for the disciplinary action, it is unclear if it was prompted by the UN investigation. It seems likely, however, that because the guilty officers were police rather than soldiers, the UN had a greater ability to influence the case and actually enforce their “zero tolerance” policy. Still, the circumstances in which the Pakistani officers’ abuses were investigated and prosecuted remain murky at best.  The UN could take an important step toward fostering an environment of transparency and accountability by releasing their internal investigation into the rape committed by the Pakistani police officers, and clarifying their role in the prosecution. 

To mark International Women’s Day today, human rights groups and cholera victims are peacefully protesting “against the cholera and sexual violence that the UN and its peacekeeping mission, MINUSTAH, have inflicted on Haitians.” (You can follow updates from the march via the twitter feed of BAI, @BAIayiti as well Alexis Erkert of Other Worlds, @aerkert). In a statement released earlier this week to announce the march Rose Getchine Lima, the Bureau des Avocats Internationaux (BAI) Women’s Network Coordinator stated:

Despite its ‘protection’ mandate, the UN’s militarization of Haiti has harmed women. MINUSTAH soldiers themselves have been guilty of sexual violence and the deadly cholera the UN brought to Haiti has destroyed families. Women, often the heads of their households, have been most vulnerable to these harms. They continue to suffer while the UN’s wrongs go unpunished.

The UN security council met today to discuss the Secretary General’s bi-annual report on MINUSTAH and Haiti, with many members expressing the need for the UN to redouble their efforts to prevent future abuses and hold those responsible accountable. The representatives of Pakistan and Uruguay, whose troops have been implicated in abuses, both pledged thorough investigations. As of yet, however, no MINUSTAH troops have been held accountable for the myriad of crimes committed against Haitians. These issues are not new. In 2007 over 100 Sri Lankan MINUSTAH soldiers were repatriated after allegations of “transactional sex with underage girls”. To this date no information on if they were ever prosecuted has been made public.

As BAI Managing Attorney Mario Joseph has noted:

The United Nations says it acts to ‘advance the status of women.’ Yet it won’t hold its personnel accountable for raping Haitian women, girls, and boys, or take responsibility for the cholera epidemic that has killed over 7,000 Haitians. The UN needs to act or the rapes and the cholera deaths will continue to decimate Haiti’s people

To mark International Women’s Day today, human rights groups and cholera victims are peacefully protesting “against the cholera and sexual violence that the UN and its peacekeeping mission, MINUSTAH, have inflicted on Haitians.” (You can follow updates from the march via the twitter feed of BAI, @BAIayiti as well Alexis Erkert of Other Worlds, @aerkert). In a statement released earlier this week to announce the march Rose Getchine Lima, the Bureau des Avocats Internationaux (BAI) Women’s Network Coordinator stated:

Despite its ‘protection’ mandate, the UN’s militarization of Haiti has harmed women. MINUSTAH soldiers themselves have been guilty of sexual violence and the deadly cholera the UN brought to Haiti has destroyed families. Women, often the heads of their households, have been most vulnerable to these harms. They continue to suffer while the UN’s wrongs go unpunished.

The UN security council met today to discuss the Secretary General’s bi-annual report on MINUSTAH and Haiti, with many members expressing the need for the UN to redouble their efforts to prevent future abuses and hold those responsible accountable. The representatives of Pakistan and Uruguay, whose troops have been implicated in abuses, both pledged thorough investigations. As of yet, however, no MINUSTAH troops have been held accountable for the myriad of crimes committed against Haitians. These issues are not new. In 2007 over 100 Sri Lankan MINUSTAH soldiers were repatriated after allegations of “transactional sex with underage girls”. To this date no information on if they were ever prosecuted has been made public.

As BAI Managing Attorney Mario Joseph has noted:

The United Nations says it acts to ‘advance the status of women.’ Yet it won’t hold its personnel accountable for raping Haitian women, girls, and boys, or take responsibility for the cholera epidemic that has killed over 7,000 Haitians. The UN needs to act or the rapes and the cholera deaths will continue to decimate Haiti’s people

To mark International Women’s Day, HRRW is highlighting recent research concerning issues relating to women’s rights in Haiti.

Recent research from the Center for Human Rights and Global Justice sheds light on factors contributing to an increase in sexual violence since the earthquake over two-years ago. The report, “Yon Je Louvri: Reducing Vulnerability to Sexual Violence in Haiti’s IDP Camps,” is based on surveys conducted in four IDP camps in January 2011 and additional follow up research throughout 2011. While the small sample size and logistical constraints prevent the research from being representative of the IDP population at large, it nonetheless provides an important analysis of the factors contributing to gender-based violence (GBV) and steps that can be taken to remedy the situation using a human rights based approach.

The report found that in the four camps visited, 14 percent of surveyed households reported that at least one member of the household had been a victim of sexual violence since the earthquake, while 70 percent of those surveyed were “more worried” about sexual violence after the earthquake. The report explains that because of underreporting this “is particularly striking because it likely captures a minimum level of sexual violence within the studied IDP camps.” Other studies have estimated significantly higher levels of sexual violence.

The vast majority of victims, 86 percent, were female. The study also found a significant correlation between a lack of services in IDP camps and the likelihood of being a victim of sexual violence. The report finds four significant factors other than gender:

• Suffer from limited access to food. Individuals who reported that they went at least one day without eating in the previous week were more than twice as likely to come from a victim household, as compared to those who did not report insufficient access to food;

• Confront limited access to water. The average victim household had less consistent access to drinking water than their non-victim counterparts. Four out of ten respondents from victim households did not obtain water from a free connection inside their camp during the previous week;

• Face limited access to sanitation. Participants who felt that the nearest latrine was “too far” from their shelter were twice as likely to live in a victim household, and among victim households, 29 percent indicated that they knew someone who was attacked while using the latrines;

• Live in a camp that lacks participatory and responsive governance structures. The survey found that camps with lower levels of consultation regarding camp management had a higher proportion of households reporting that one or more of their members had experienced sexual violence.

This is particularly troublesome because more recently services have been transferred out of IDP camps and into neighborhoods. This has left many in the camps with even fewer basic services available to them. After free water trucking services were discontinued, a DINEPA survey found that a third of all camp residents’ primary access to water is from a remote source, far from their camp.

The report notes that “while the Haitian State may bear primary responsibility for preventing, investigating, and remedying sexual violence,” it is also the case that “all the major players, from the government of Haiti and donor States to the United Nations and INGOs, have certain legal and moral obligations to take concrete, concerted actions to reduce vulnerabilities and increase the capacity of those living in camps to access what they need to survive in safety and dignity.”

In order to ensure that basic human rights are respected and all players participate in the strengthening of these rights and of the capacity of the Haitian government to ensure these rights, the report outlines specific recommendations:

1) Provide IDPs who have been sexually assaulted in camps with free and immediate access to alternative shelter, medical services, and legal assistance
2) Expand security patrols in and around camps and install lighting and locks in sanitation facilities in camps
3) Prioritize creation of income-generating activities for women
4) Ensure all IDPs have access to free or affordable clean water
5) Stop forced evictions of IDPs

To read the entire report, click here.

To find out more about the work that KOFAVIV, a Haitian grassroots group, is doing to provide services to victims of sexual violence and their efforts to prevent further abuses, click here and here. Also follow them on twitter, @KOFAVIV

For further background see the Institute for Justice and Democracy’s website.

To mark International Women’s Day, HRRW is highlighting recent research concerning issues relating to women’s rights in Haiti.

Recent research from the Center for Human Rights and Global Justice sheds light on factors contributing to an increase in sexual violence since the earthquake over two-years ago. The report, “Yon Je Louvri: Reducing Vulnerability to Sexual Violence in Haiti’s IDP Camps,” is based on surveys conducted in four IDP camps in January 2011 and additional follow up research throughout 2011. While the small sample size and logistical constraints prevent the research from being representative of the IDP population at large, it nonetheless provides an important analysis of the factors contributing to gender-based violence (GBV) and steps that can be taken to remedy the situation using a human rights based approach.

The report found that in the four camps visited, 14 percent of surveyed households reported that at least one member of the household had been a victim of sexual violence since the earthquake, while 70 percent of those surveyed were “more worried” about sexual violence after the earthquake. The report explains that because of underreporting this “is particularly striking because it likely captures a minimum level of sexual violence within the studied IDP camps.” Other studies have estimated significantly higher levels of sexual violence.

The vast majority of victims, 86 percent, were female. The study also found a significant correlation between a lack of services in IDP camps and the likelihood of being a victim of sexual violence. The report finds four significant factors other than gender:

• Suffer from limited access to food. Individuals who reported that they went at least one day without eating in the previous week were more than twice as likely to come from a victim household, as compared to those who did not report insufficient access to food;

• Confront limited access to water. The average victim household had less consistent access to drinking water than their non-victim counterparts. Four out of ten respondents from victim households did not obtain water from a free connection inside their camp during the previous week;

• Face limited access to sanitation. Participants who felt that the nearest latrine was “too far” from their shelter were twice as likely to live in a victim household, and among victim households, 29 percent indicated that they knew someone who was attacked while using the latrines;

• Live in a camp that lacks participatory and responsive governance structures. The survey found that camps with lower levels of consultation regarding camp management had a higher proportion of households reporting that one or more of their members had experienced sexual violence.

This is particularly troublesome because more recently services have been transferred out of IDP camps and into neighborhoods. This has left many in the camps with even fewer basic services available to them. After free water trucking services were discontinued, a DINEPA survey found that a third of all camp residents’ primary access to water is from a remote source, far from their camp.

The report notes that “while the Haitian State may bear primary responsibility for preventing, investigating, and remedying sexual violence,” it is also the case that “all the major players, from the government of Haiti and donor States to the United Nations and INGOs, have certain legal and moral obligations to take concrete, concerted actions to reduce vulnerabilities and increase the capacity of those living in camps to access what they need to survive in safety and dignity.”

In order to ensure that basic human rights are respected and all players participate in the strengthening of these rights and of the capacity of the Haitian government to ensure these rights, the report outlines specific recommendations:

1) Provide IDPs who have been sexually assaulted in camps with free and immediate access to alternative shelter, medical services, and legal assistance
2) Expand security patrols in and around camps and install lighting and locks in sanitation facilities in camps
3) Prioritize creation of income-generating activities for women
4) Ensure all IDPs have access to free or affordable clean water
5) Stop forced evictions of IDPs

To read the entire report, click here.

To find out more about the work that KOFAVIV, a Haitian grassroots group, is doing to provide services to victims of sexual violence and their efforts to prevent further abuses, click here and here. Also follow them on twitter, @KOFAVIV

For further background see the Institute for Justice and Democracy’s website.

To mark International Women’s Day, HRRW is highlighting recent research concerning issues relating to women’s rights in Haiti.

Gender Action released a report this week analyzing the extent to which the World Bank and Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) address gender-based violence (GBV) in their post-earthquake loans. Gender Action applies their Essential Gender Analysis Checklist to five different projects implemented by the two international financial institutions. The report finds that:

[N]either the World Bank nor the IDB adequately address GBV within other critical post-earthquake investments. Sadly, this lack of attention to GBV is hardly surprising: according to Interaction, an alliance of international non-governmental organizations, “the humanitarian community continues to see women’s protection as a second-tier concern in crises, particularly natural disasters, and is slow to address GBV at the onset of an emergency” (Interaction, 2010). This case study underscores the urgent need for the World Bank and IDB to strengthen their own gender policies and explicitly address GBV across all sectors.

The report does salute the World Bank for a recent grant to combat GBV in Haiti, which was the result of advocacy efforts on the part of Gender Action and other groups.


The Projects

In analyzing the World Bank’s “Port-au-Prince Neighborhood Housing Reconstruction Project,” part of the government’s 16/6 project, the report finds that:

While the World Bank’s special focus on women, female-headed households and other vulnerable groups is laudable, project indicators do not measure whether these services are actually carried out.

Adding:

Although the project’s housing repair and reconstruction component includes “training on gender awareness,” the World Bank neither discusses the content of this training, nor the methods used to measure the training’s impact.

In the IDB’s project to rehabilitate and expand the electricity system of Port-au-Prince, Gender Action notes that:

Neither the original loan document nor IDB statements on its supplemental funding address the need for electricity in IDP camps, which can reduce women and girls? risk of GBV (CHRGJ, 2012). (In fact, the words “women” and “gender” never once appear in the original 35-page loan proposal, nor the 26 page post-earthquake grant proposal).

Similarly, the IDB’s “Support to the Shelter Sector Response Plan,” fails to “acknowledge or address the relationship between inadequate shelter and vulnerable populations’ increased risk of GBV.” The report adds:

Although the project paper states that construction site “layouts will include special measures to prevent violence,” it does not describe these measures, nor does it target violence aimed at women and girls.

Gender Action does point to an IDB loan from 2005 as “a positive example of how IFI investments can successfully acknowledge and address gender issues.” However the project received additional funding after the earthquake and “the IDB has not published any information on whether the project’s original goals and objectives were achieved prior to the infusion of additional post-earthquake grant funding in 2010.”

In conclusion, the report outlines specific recommendations to the World Bank and IDB on how to improve their responsiveness to GBV:

–          Approach all investments from a women’s/human rights perspective
–          Methodically require equal consultation with women and men in all reconstruction and development projects
–          Ensure women’s equal involvement throughout all project cycle stages, including project design implementation and evaluation, and promote outcomes that equally benefit women and men, boys and girls
–          Leverage their influence to urge the Haitian government to implement and enforce gender equality and anti-discrimination laws, particularly against GBV and human trafficking
–          Immediately strengthen IDP camp security, shelters and services, especially for women and girls via their projects
–          Invest in Haiti’s health system in order to improve services for GBV survivors, including sexual and reproductive health services
–          Assist the Haitian government to strengthen its police force and legal system to better respond to allegations of GBV
–          Invest in projects that empower women and girls and challenge dominant gender norms that fuel GBV in Haiti

To read the entire report, click here.

UPDATE 3/14:  This post has been edited slightly for accuracy.

To mark International Women’s Day, HRRW is highlighting recent research concerning issues relating to women’s rights in Haiti.

Gender Action released a report this week analyzing the extent to which the World Bank and Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) address gender-based violence (GBV) in their post-earthquake loans. Gender Action applies their Essential Gender Analysis Checklist to five different projects implemented by the two international financial institutions. The report finds that:

[N]either the World Bank nor the IDB adequately address GBV within other critical post-earthquake investments. Sadly, this lack of attention to GBV is hardly surprising: according to Interaction, an alliance of international non-governmental organizations, “the humanitarian community continues to see women’s protection as a second-tier concern in crises, particularly natural disasters, and is slow to address GBV at the onset of an emergency” (Interaction, 2010). This case study underscores the urgent need for the World Bank and IDB to strengthen their own gender policies and explicitly address GBV across all sectors.

The report does salute the World Bank for a recent grant to combat GBV in Haiti, which was the result of advocacy efforts on the part of Gender Action and other groups.


The Projects

In analyzing the World Bank’s “Port-au-Prince Neighborhood Housing Reconstruction Project,” part of the government’s 16/6 project, the report finds that:

While the World Bank’s special focus on women, female-headed households and other vulnerable groups is laudable, project indicators do not measure whether these services are actually carried out.

Adding:

Although the project’s housing repair and reconstruction component includes “training on gender awareness,” the World Bank neither discusses the content of this training, nor the methods used to measure the training’s impact.

In the IDB’s project to rehabilitate and expand the electricity system of Port-au-Prince, Gender Action notes that:

Neither the original loan document nor IDB statements on its supplemental funding address the need for electricity in IDP camps, which can reduce women and girls? risk of GBV (CHRGJ, 2012). (In fact, the words “women” and “gender” never once appear in the original 35-page loan proposal, nor the 26 page post-earthquake grant proposal).

Similarly, the IDB’s “Support to the Shelter Sector Response Plan,” fails to “acknowledge or address the relationship between inadequate shelter and vulnerable populations’ increased risk of GBV.” The report adds:

Although the project paper states that construction site “layouts will include special measures to prevent violence,” it does not describe these measures, nor does it target violence aimed at women and girls.

Gender Action does point to an IDB loan from 2005 as “a positive example of how IFI investments can successfully acknowledge and address gender issues.” However the project received additional funding after the earthquake and “the IDB has not published any information on whether the project’s original goals and objectives were achieved prior to the infusion of additional post-earthquake grant funding in 2010.”

In conclusion, the report outlines specific recommendations to the World Bank and IDB on how to improve their responsiveness to GBV:

–          Approach all investments from a women’s/human rights perspective
–          Methodically require equal consultation with women and men in all reconstruction and development projects
–          Ensure women’s equal involvement throughout all project cycle stages, including project design implementation and evaluation, and promote outcomes that equally benefit women and men, boys and girls
–          Leverage their influence to urge the Haitian government to implement and enforce gender equality and anti-discrimination laws, particularly against GBV and human trafficking
–          Immediately strengthen IDP camp security, shelters and services, especially for women and girls via their projects
–          Invest in Haiti’s health system in order to improve services for GBV survivors, including sexual and reproductive health services
–          Assist the Haitian government to strengthen its police force and legal system to better respond to allegations of GBV
–          Invest in projects that empower women and girls and challenge dominant gender norms that fuel GBV in Haiti

To read the entire report, click here.

UPDATE 3/14:  This post has been edited slightly for accuracy.

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