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Canada Haiti Action website fundraising campaign

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CHAN readers & supporters,

(Version Francaise ci-dessous) 

The website of the Canada-Haiti Action Network is undergoing an upgrade and needs your support.

The website mandate will continue to focus on providing news and analysis of the ongoing political and humanitarian crisis in Haiti. Accordingly, the name is being changed to The Canada-Haiti Information Project.

In addition, the website needs technical upgrades, including crucial security and formatting upgrades. These and other upgrades will allow the site to function on smartphone platforms and other devices, and will allow editors to relaunch a regular, monthly email news bulletin with a format to accommodate all web browsers and email services. 

The total cost for these changes is estimated at CAN$1,500 (app US$1,200). We are asking regular readers of the website and newsletter as well as Haiti advocates and solidarity activists who value a news source dedicated to the interests of the Haitian people and their political sovereignty to contribute. We welcome any amount of contribution and thank you in advance.

To donate please visit our Go Fund me page

Poor sanitation persisted at U.N. missions long after Haiti cholera crisis

Protesters marching to the United Nations base housing Nepalese peacekeepers in Mirebalais, Haiti, on Oct. 29, 2010.

By Rick Gladstone, New York Times, August 19, 2016

Years after medical studies linked the 2010 cholera outbreak in Haiti to infected United Nations peacekeepers, the organization’s auditors found that poor sanitation practices remained unaddressed not only in its Haitian mission but also in at least six others in Africa and the Middle East, a review of their findings shows.

The findings, in audits conducted by the United Nations Office of Internal Oversight Services in 2014 and 2015, appear to reflect the organization’s intent to avoid another public health crisis like cholera.

But the findings also provide some insight into how peacekeepers and their supervisors may have been either unaware of or lax about the need to enforce rigorous protocols for wastewater, sewage and hazardous waste disposal at United Nations missions — despite the known risks and the lessons learned from Haiti, where at least 10,000 people have died from cholera and hundreds of thousands have been sickened.

Haiti Senate report claims graft in use of Venezuela funds

Former Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive and President Michel Martelly at launching of National Fund for Education.jpg

By Makini Brice, Reuters, August 19, 2016

A Haitian Senate report has called for charges to be brought against two former prime ministers and several ministers for alleged embezzlement, abuse of authority and forgery stemming from the use of funds in a Venezuelan oil loan program.

The executive summary of the report, dated Wednesday, said heads of ministries granted multimillion-dollar projects to firms while bypassing the public bidding process and signed contracts that were not under their authority. The full report has not been released.

The Senate report will add to concerns about billions of dollars of aid promised to Haiti after the 2010 earthquake. Much of the money went to directly to aid organizations, with results on the ground mostly unimpressive. Aid flows have slowed as memories of the devastation fade.

Venezuela's PetroCaribe program, by contrast, funneled money directly to the Haitian government’s coffers. The program, which Haiti joined in 2006, allowed Caribbean nations to pay low prices for oil from Venezuela, part of which would be financed upfront, with the balance put in a fund to finance social and economic projects.

Transforming Haiti with an endless local resource

Sasha Kramer visits the community of Shada, where SOIL has provided ecological sanitation for ten years_1.jpg

By Carolyn Barnwell, National Geographic, August 18, 2016

Everyone poops. But not many people really think about what happens to it. We flush the toilet and it is out of sight and out of mind. Sasha Kramer, on the other hand, has poop on her mind all the time. She is a sanitation revolutionary helping to transform human waste into fertile organic compost for agriculture and reforestation in Haiti. “Arguably,” Kramer says, “the most important thing in nature is soil, that’s where all life comes from.”

Kramer is an ecologist, human rights advocate, National Geographic emerging explorer, and the executive director of Sustainable Organic Integrated Livelihoods (SOIL). SOIL primarily focuses on promoting the use of ecological sanitation, a process that uses naturally occurring microbes and heat to convert human waste to rich compost. Ecological sanitation at SOIL means dry composting toilets, which can be simple and low cost so that it works even in crowded, informal settlement communities where there is little infrastructure.

Seven human rights violators buying Canadian military goods

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By Stefan Labbé, OpenCanada, August 18, 2016

Canada’s military exports have come under increasing scrutiny over the past year, with criticism of the Canadian government’s rewording of human rights checks and, more recently, questions over deliveries to South Sudan and Libya.

As The Globe and Mail reported late last month, the Trudeau government recently released two years of data outlining the export of Canadian military goods to foreign buyers and, in a series of edits, quietly thinned its commitment to avoid deals overshadowed by shady human rights records.

New wording states Global Affairs Canada “may include” a previously required step of “wide-ranging consultations” meant to address human rights, international security and defence on any given deal. “The devil is in the details,” said Cesar Jaramillo, executive director of Project Ploughshares, a non-government organization that promotes disarmament and peace-building. “Every word matters in these things.”

The report follows the controversial $15 billion sale of over 900 light armoured vehicles (LAVs) to Saudi Arabia — a country with an abysmal human rights record aggravated by evidence suggesting it has used LAVs to not only quash dissent at home but in neighbouring Bahrain and Yemen as well.

U.S. Court upholds United Nations’ immunity in Cholera suit

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By Jonathan M. Katz, New York Times, August 18, 2016

A United States federal appeals panel has upheld the argument that theUnited Nations cannot be sued in American courts, dealing a setback in a class-action lawsuit brought on behalf of thousands of cholera victims inHaiti.

The ruling by the three-judge panel in New York was released on Thursday, a day after a spokesman for Secretary General Ban Ki-moon acknowledged for the first time that the United Nations played a role in the outbreak, which killed thousands of people.

In the decision for the panel, Judge José A. Cabranes of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit wrote that the United Nations did not lose its legal immunity even if it failed to give the plaintiffs a chance to seek a settlement, as required by an international convention.

U.N. admits role in cholera epidemic in Haiti

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By Jonathan M. Katz, New York Times, August 17, 2016

For the first time since a cholera epidemic believed to be imported by United Nations peacekeepers began killing thousands of Haitians nearly six years ago, the office of Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has acknowledged that the United Nations played a role in the initial outbreak and that a “significant new set of U.N. actions” will be needed to respond to the crisis.

The deputy spokesman for the secretary general, Farhan Haq, said in an email this week that “over the past year, the U.N. has become convinced that it needs to do much more regarding its own involvement in the initial outbreak and the suffering of those affected by cholera.” He added that a “new response will be presented publicly within the next two months, once it has been fully elaborated, agreed with the Haitian authorities and discussed with member states.”