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Slaying of 3 deaf women in Haiti highlights vulnerability

This April 17, 2016 photo shows Micheler Castor, who is deaf, holding a picture of him with his wife Jesula Gelin.jpg

By David McFadden, Associated Press, April 25, 2016

The three friends had spent the day stocking up on food in the Haitian capital when they left for their village, setting off on the 20-mile trip home by foot because the minibuses known as tap-taps weren't running after a bridge collapse. Their bodies were found the next morning in a ditch along the way. They had been beaten, stabbed and burned, and relatives who identified them in a morgue said their tongues were cut out in an apparent act of ritualistic savagery.

The women's family and friends suspect they were targeted because they were deaf in a country where experts say a pervasive stigma isolates people with disabilities such as deafness and can spark superstitions leading to horrific cruelty. Disabled women and girls are particularly vulnerable.
Due to cultural prejudices and the weakness of the justice system, past crimes against disabled citizens have been largely ignored. But the slayings of Jesula Gelin, Vanessa Previl and Monique Vincent have galvanized Haitians with disabilities and prompted rare public protests by their advocacy groups.

An interview with Haiti’s President Jocelerme Privert


By Kim Ives, Haiti Liberté, April 27, 2016

Haiti’s Provisional President Jocelerme Privert visited New York this past weekend to attend the Apr. 22 signing, by many heads of state and government, of the Paris Climate Agreement which was reached on Dec. 12, 2015. In addition to that ceremony at the United Nations General Assembly, President Privert held several other meetings with UN and other government officials, as well as with businessmen and Haitian doctors, among others. On Saturday, he also made a mostly unpublicized visit to Brooklyn’s Haitian community, where Haïti Liberté’s Kim Ives was granted an exclusive interview at Tonèl Restaurant. The interview was conducted in Kreyòl and has been translated into English.

Stéphane Dion urged to protect Honduran villagers from Canadian mining company


By Mike Blanchfield, Canadian Press, April 20, 2016

A Canadian human rights delegation urged Foreign Affairs Minister Stéphane Dion's office Wednesday to come to the aid of Honduran villagers they say are being exploited by a Canadian mining company.

The group — including First Nations women leaders, the organization MiningWatch Canada, lawyers and activists — visited Honduras this past week and want to draw attention to the plight of villagers in Azacualpa. The group says in a brief presented to Dion's office that the operations of Toronto-based Aura Minerals are affecting the health of villagers by exposing them to cyanide leaching and from its open-pit gold mine.

They also say the company wants to move both the villagers and their community graveyard. They're also calling on the Canadian embassy to stop supporting the company's activities in Honduras.

Will the UN ever accept responsibility for Haiti’s devastating cholera epidemic?

Haitians demand reparations for the cholera catastrophe.jpg

By Rosa Freedman & Nicolas Lemay-Hémert, The Conversation, April 26, 2016

What happens when a humanitarian organisation meant to protect people instead causes them grave harm? That has long been the question where it comes to the UN’s peacekeeping operations. From sexual violence to looting, from deaths caused by drink-driving to property damage, a great many individuals have been harmed by peacekeepers, and the structures to provide protection and remedy range from threadbare to non-existent.

But it’s another thing altogether when the harm done is attributable not to individual peacekeepers, but to UN operations in general. Two of the gravest examples of this have occurred in recent years: the Haiti cholera epidemic, and the poisoning of Roma in displaced persons camps in Kosovo.

For years, there have been fights to secure justice for both sets of victims. But while Haiti’s struggle goes on, in the Kosovan case, it looks like a major breakthrough has been made.

Protests scheduled as Haiti misses presidential runoff deadline


By Jacqueline Charles, Miami Herald, April 23, 2016

Once more, Haiti is missing an election deadline Sunday — and will not have an elected president in office by May 14, the date stipulated in a Feb. 5 political accord to transfer power from the country’s current caretaker government to an elected one.

According to the political accord, Haiti’s 5.8 million voters should be heading to the ballot box. But a weeks-long political battle over the formation of the interim government, the late seating of a new elections body and the calls for a vote recount led to no official scheduling of the date by the Provisional Electoral Council, and no presidential decree officially calling voters to the polls.

“Today for the elections to happen you have to ask ‘Do the conditions exist?’ ” provisional President Jocelerme Privert told the Miami Herald during a visit to the United Nations where Haiti was among 175 countries Friday that signed the Paris climate agreement. He expects an elections calendar to be published by the end of May, he said.

Mamba fouls USDA goes nuts in Haiti

mamba sorting haiti.jpeg

By Gina Athena Ulysses, Huffpost, April 19, 2016

While I have shed no tears over Kobe aka The Black Mamba‘s retirement, many others and myself are wailing over the looming endangerment of another mamba three thousand miles away from L.A.

This other precious mamba is also indigenous to the continent (remember, Africa is not a country), and comes from the center of the Caribbean. It is a most exceptional product made in and by the first Black republic, a condiment so beloved once you have had it, nothing else will compare. We make varieties of it ranging from sweet to savory and spicy. The latter is my favorite, laced with ground scotch bonnet peppers. ‘Mamba’ is the Kreyòl word for peanut butter.

MINUSTAH is not a humanitarian mission


By Mario Hernandez & Camille Chalmers, Libya 360, April 12, 2016

Mario Hernandes interviews Camille Chalmers. 

M.H.: Communication in Montevideo with the Haitian Human Rights activist, Camille Chalmers. I would like to know your comments on your country’s situation and what are your reasons for the visit to the Eastern Republic of Uruguay.

C.Ch.: We are going through a very difficult time in Haiti as a result of 12 years of occupation by the MINUSTAH forces, allegedly to maintain peace that has had a large negative effect.In this situation we are in the midst of an electoral crisis that led to popular movements of protest in Haiti against attempts to manipulate the election and block expression of a popular vote.

There have been two elections in 2015; the last on October 9 in which there was a democratic majority and reports and evaluations revealed they were totally fraudulent with gross manipulation, including cartoons of a ballot with only one candidate. This was because the second place winner refused to present himself considering it a total farce.