Haiti: People's Court condemns mission violations

In a further step on the day of the struggle of the Haitian people, the Caribbean country will hold the “People’s Court against Crimes of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (Minustah)” this Tuesday (20th). The event, which takes place throughout the day in the federal capital, Port-au-Prince, aims to build calls for justice and reparation for the victims of the troops involved in the operation.

The Brazilian-led mission began in 2004 and lasted 13 years. The full withdrawal of the troops took place in October 2017. Three years later, the mission is still the subject of denunciations by the Haitian people, who are awaiting redress from the United Nations.

The court’s initiative comes from popular bodies and movements and focuses on social claims.

Among the violations of rights pointed out by the court during Minustah’s stay in Haiti are measures aimed at increasing the majority of the population’s access to education, expanding military repression to popular demonstrations, growing criminal groups organized as militias, the Disregard for women’s rights and the law are opposed to children, human trafficking for sexual exploitation and other sexual crimes, and a culture of impunity as hallmarks of the local justice system.

“Now there are thousands of women with children without a father, thousands of orphans in a difficult situation,” said Camille Chalmers, executive director of the Haitian Platform for the Defense of Alternative Development (Papda).

As a result of these factors, Chalmers points out that political instability has also worsened in the country due to the maintenance of Haiti’s political and ideological state vis-à-vis the United States. He points out that the current context of Haiti of constant popular dissatisfaction is directly related to imperialism.

“From the beginning we launched a campaign to denounce not only the nature of this military occupation, but also the danger and threat it poses to all peoples of the continent such as the President [] and many forms of occupation that carried out the imperialist agenda, the US agenda, under the pretext of maintaining the restoration of peace, “says the platform’s executive director, defending the establishment of an” anti-imperialist conscience “in the country.

Cholera deaths

The spread of cholera, which has killed thousands of Haitians since the Nepalese troops arrived in the region, is one of the main tasks of the People’s Court on Tuesday (20).

Until October 2010 there was no record of the disease. The infection increased after the arrival of troops from Nepal that were part of Minustah. Official statistics cite 10,000 deaths from the disease, while experts say 50,000 deaths, such as French epidemiologist Renaud Piarroux, who was on hand to investigate the epidemic.

“This is a health disaster, a political disaster and a scientific scandal. It’s a dirty, hideous story full of pain, death, injustice and lies, ”emphasizes Ricardo Seitenfus in the book The United Nations and the Cholera Epidemic in Haiti. He received his PhD in International Relations from the Institute for International Studies at the University of Geneva in Switzerland and between 2009 and 2011 he was the Special Representative of the Organization of American States (OAS) in Haiti.

Seitenfus affirms that the Haitian reality “has been and is being hidden by a large part of the scientists, the major international media, all governments, the military in the service of peace, UN workers and their organizations such as the World Health Organization (WHO)”.

Another highlight in the national scene is the wear and tear of the electoral process, which is the goal of discrediting the population. “From 1990 to 2016, the number of people who did not vote increased without realizing that imperialism and Minustah made the decisions that should belong to the people,” reports Chalmers.

Statistics vary slightly in the sources used to monitor the elections, but in general the indices show over 50% participation between 1987 and 2010, the year the elections were accused of fraud. The percentage was considered high for a country where voting is not mandatory. As of 2010, voter turnout has fallen to an average of around 20%.

Popular mobilization

This Tuesday’s event also aims to evoke elements that encourage other countries to hold people’s courts in order to organize and empower the population.

These initiatives also aim to raise awareness of the condemnation of the crimes committed in the country in the international community. The idea is that Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina, and the United States also hold their court to denounce the nation-states that have sent military troops to Haiti.

The People’s Court in the Caribbean takes place after the “International Colloquium on Minustah’s Crimes in Haiti” was held in December 2019. The event was attended by dozens of Latin American representatives, movements and human rights defenders who organized themselves to shout justice for the mission’s victims.

The colloquium, which focused on the struggle against imperialism, had a great response and helped to strengthen solidarity actions and social protests that are now taking a new step with the holding of the court.

According to Tuesday’s court, Haiti will host four conferences between November and December.

One of these will be the Haitian People’s Rights Conference and the other will address the issue of water in the light of the debate on the progress of mining companies in the country. The third, on the other hand, intends to publish a balance sheet of studies and documents dealing with the crimes attributed to Minustah. The fourth event will look at women’s rights and the violence that the segment suffers during the mission.

According to the Brasil de Fato report, until the article was published, the United Nations (UN) and the Brazilian Ministry of Defense have not manifested themselves in reporting violations of the rights of the Haitian people.

Edition: Leandro Melito

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