Recent Feature Articles

By Nadia Prupis, Common Dreams, Oct. 4, 2016

The Canadian government is failing to protect women against human rights abuses by supporting and financing mining companies that are involved in discrimination, rape, and violence abroad, according to a new report submitted to the United Nations on Monday.

The report (pdf), written by EarthRights International (ERI), MiningWatch Canada, and the Human Rights Research and Education Center Human Rights Clinic at the University of Ottawa, states that the Canadian government continues to support these corporations instead of holding them to account, despite its obligations to do so as a member of the U.N. Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).

Canada's complicity in the abuse is especially noteworthy because it is home to a majority of the world's mining company headquarters, which operate at more than 8,000 sites in over 100 countries.

By Jacqueline Charles & Michael Chang, Miami Herald, Oct. 5, 2016

Haitian elections officials postponed Sunday’s rerun presidential and legislative elections for the second time this year, saying they had yet to assess the extent of damage from Hurricane Matthew, which left at least five people dead and hundreds of thousands of people displaced from their homes.

The country’s Provisional Electoral Council did not provide a new date for elections following the announcement Wednesday, the same day that Haitian National Police and a United Nations logistics team were scheduled to begin moving ballots and other materials to voting centers.

“The passage of the hurricane has provoked a certain amount of damage,” said CEP President Leopold Berlanger. “The arrival of the hurricane has created delays ... like the deployment of materials by the Haitian National Police.”

by Yves Pierre-Louis & Kim Ives, Haiti Liberté, Sept. 28, 2016

Interim President Jocelerme Privert said this week that Haiti’s Oct. 9 elections are “irreversible,” calling on government authorities and police to refrain from interference and voters to remain non-violent. Meanwhile, Haitian and international election observation groups are preparing for the vote, running simulations and collecting candidate programs.

On Sep. 23, Privert addressed the 71st opening session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York.  He told the body that Haitians would vote in two weeks, and that “without honest and credible elections, it is futile to hope for a peaceful political transition.” He is scheduled to pass power to Haiti’s next elected president on Feb. 7, 2017.

On returning to Haiti on Sep. 26, Privert held a press conference to reassure a jittery nation that the elections are on track.

"On Oct. 9, elections will be held in an irreversible way,” Privert declared. “The skeptics, who didn’t believe that the government would carry out the elections, are now facing a machine that nothing can stop. The election schedule is going forward just as planned, and there is no delay in its implementation.”

By Yves. Engler, Rabble.ca, Sept. 28, 2016

Significant sums in Canadian "aid" are spent promoting international mining initiatives.

In a press release last week, Ontario-based Carube Copper said it acquired "over 500 square kilometres of the most prospective ground in Jamaica based on historic showings, the work completed and reported in 1993 by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA)."

Canadian aid has facilitated similar work elsewhere. Researching Canada in Africa: 300 Years of Aid and Exploitation, I discovered examples of Ottawa funding the collection of geological data in Tanzania, Angola, Cameroon, Niger, Uganda, Kenya and elsewhere.

By Mark Weisbrot, The Nation, Sept. 23, 2016

Human-rights organizations are supposed to defend universal principles such as the rule of law and freedom from state repression. But when they are based in the United States and become close to the US government, they often find themselves aligned with US foreign policy. This damages their credibility and can hurt the cause of human rights.

Recent events in Latin America have highlighted this problem. On August 29, the Brazilian Senate removed the elected president, Dilma Rousseff, from office, even though the federal prosecutor assigned to her case had determined that the accounting procedures for which she was being impeached did not constitute a crime. Moreover, leaked transcripts of phone calls between political leaders of the impeachment showed that they were trying to get rid of Dilma in order to protect themselves from investigations into their own corruption.

By Dady Chery, News Junkie Post, Sept. 19, 2016

From its inception, and well before it made $10 billion of earthquake aid money disappear, Bill and Hillary Clinton’s Interim Haiti Recovery Commission (IHRC) was a vicious joke on Haitians. The original name, Commission Intérimaire pour la Reconstruction d’Haïti, should have been simply translated as Interim Commission for the Reconstruction of Haiti. After all, it was the commission that was temporary, not Haiti.

There was also no need to change the word reconstruction to the vague term recovery, unless one deliberately wanted to suggest the collection of something. As the I-HRC, however, the organization not only acquired Hillary Rodham Clinton’s initials but also boasted that it would scoop up Haiti’s reconstruction funds and turn the world’s first black republic into a temporary construct. If Mrs. Clinton has become a zombie and the “I” in I-HRC has faded, this could easily be interpreted as a sign of the Haitian gods’ wicked sense of humor.

By Yves Engler, Ricochet, Sept. 20, 2016

As Justin Trudeau courts the United Nations General Assembly today in a bid to secure a seat on the Security Council, don’t expect him or the media to talk about Canada’s role in Haiti.

Corporate media bias on foreign policy is more pronounced than most critics even imagine. As part of a recent fact check for my book A Propaganda System: How Canada’s Government, Corporations, Media and Academia Sell War and Exploitation, I discovered my own misplaced trust searching for information about Canada’s response to the 2010 earthquake in Haiti.

I searched Canadian Newsstand to confirm no media outlet commented on or investigated a 2011 Canadian Press report demonstrating Ottawa militarized its response to control the population. According to an internal file uncovered through an access to information request, Canadian officials worried that “political fragility has increased the risks of a popular uprising, and has fed the rumour that ex-president Jean-Bertrand Aristide, currently in exile in South Africa, wants to organize a return to power.” The government documents also explain the importance of strengthening the Haitian authorities’ ability “to contain the risks of a popular uprising.”

The suppression of critical information regarding Canada’s role in Haiti over the past decade and a half is particularly stark.
 
The National Lawyers Guild, the International Association of Democratic Lawyers and the Haiti Support Group released a report, entitled Democracy Discouraged: International Observers and Haiti’s 2015 Elections, today on the controversial role played by the OAS and EU observation missions during the 2015 elections. The EU pulled its observers from Haiti in June 2016 in protest over the decision to rerun the presidential elections, but the OAS will be observing the October 9 elections. Below is the Executive Summary of the report; the fulldocument (pdf) is available here.

By Yves Pierre-Louis, Haiti Liberté, Sept. 14, 2016

On Thu., Sep. 8, at the port of St. Marc, 85 kilometers northwest of Port-au-Prince, a customs search of an off-loaded truck from Miami uncovered a large quantity of weapons, ammunition, and other military equipment.

The investigating judge reported seizing 159 12-gauge shotguns (nine of them double-barreled), five M4 carbines, a Glock pistol, and about 30,000 rounds of 9mm, 5.56mm, 38 caliber, and 12 gauge ammunition. Haitian authorities also impounded 15 pairs of handcuffs, 10 pairs of boots, 12 uniforms (blue pants, black shirts), five bullet-proof vests, and many ammo clips.

Haitian Secretary of State for Public Security Himmler Rébu quickly went to the scene, vowing to trace the shipment’s source, would-be recipients, and accomplices, both in Haiti and abroad. However, Mr. Rébu, a former Haitian Army colonel, is an outspoken Duvalierist and a political ally of former President Michel Martelly. The neo-Duvalierist pro-Martelly sector is the most opposed to the current government and is likely behind the arms shipment.

By Makini Brice, Reuters, Sept. 9, 2016

U.N.-led foreign funding has dried up for Haiti's fight against cholera, thought to have been introduced by Nepali peacekeepers, triggering a surge of deaths this year even as the global body vowed to help overcome the epidemic.

The lack of support is notable because Haiti was free of cholera until 2010, when U.N. peacekeepers dumped infected sewage into a river, according to investigators. Since then, more than 9,000 people have died of the disease that causes uncontrollable diarrhea and 800,000 people have fallen ill, mostly in the first two years of the outbreak.

The United Nations has not legally accepted responsibility for the outbreak. An independent panel appointed by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon issued a 2011 report that did not determine conclusively how the cholera was introduced to Haiti.

However, a new report by the independent U.N. Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights that will be presented to the U.N. General Assembly later this year concluded that scientific evidence "now points overwhelmingly to the responsibility of the peacekeeping mission as the source of the outbreak."

In August, Ban said the United Nations has a "moral responsibility" to help Haiti's cholera victims and their families.