In the News: Accused of Sexual Abuse, MINUSTAH Officer Flees Haiti

Originally posted at CEPR.

MINUSTAH Base in KapayisyenIn February, the United Nations confirmed that a Canadian serving with the United Nations Police contingent of MINUSTAH had been accused of sexually and physically assaulting a Haitian woman. Yesterday, Marie Rosy Kesner Auguste Ducena, a lawyer with the Haitian National Human Rights Defense Network, told CBC news that, though the victim reported the assault to police, “nothing will happen… Women who will go to complain, you will see that maybe somebody will take the complaint and will say to her you will be called after. But in fact, the case will just be closed.” CBC notes that the “day after the incident, the man boarded a flight back to Canada, where he remains.”

This is but the latest in a series of sexual abuse allegations leveled against MINUSTAH personnel in Haiti. According to U.N. data, since 2007 there have been 70 allegations of sexual abuse and exploitation against MINUSTAH members, but as CBC news points out, “not one has ended up in a Haitian court.”

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In the News: Canadian officer on Haiti mission accused of assault

A Canadian police officer serving with the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti has been accused of sexual assault.

The RCMP says a Haitian woman complained to Haitian National Police that a Canadian police officer sexually and physically assaulted her.

Spokesman Vincenzo Pugliese, confirmed the UN is currently investigating the alleged incident.

The RCMP says the officer returned to Canada on his own without authorization from Canadian or UN authorities.

A spokesperson for Canada’s foreign affairs minister John Baird responded to the allegations in an email.

He said the government is taking the allegations very seriously, and said Canada would co-operate with any potential investigations.

More than 80 Canadian police officers are working with the UN mission in Haiti.

In the News: UN must make amends for cholera that organization brought to Haiti

Editorial, Boston Globe, November 13, 2012

When the international aid community descends on a vulnerable place, the first objective must be to do no harm. But all too often, good intentions make a bad situation even worse. That’s what happened two years ago, when United Nations peacekeepers arrived in Haiti in the wake of a devastating earthquake, bringing the deadly disease cholera with them.

Last year, a panel of UN experts concluded that poor sanitation at the peacekeepers’ camp was the likely cause of a terrible cholera outbreak that has so far killed 7,000 people and sickened 500,000. Their report declined to say whether the peacekeepers, the sanitation contractor, or the UN’s own inadequate health protocols were to blame for human waste getting into Haiti’s water supply. But as cholera deaths continue, new scientific evidence removes all doubt about the source of the disease: The strain of cholera that exploded in Haiti is an exact match to the cholera that exists in Nepal, the UN peacekeepers’ native country.

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Press Release: Haiti is under new international dictatorship says author

Issued by Between the Lines Books. Originally posted at the Sacramento Bee

TORONTO, Oct. 29, 2012 — Justin Podur issues a powerful challenge and wake-up call to the international NGO and development community

TORONTO, Oct. 29, 2012 – Haiti is again living under a dictatorship, says author Justin Podur. Podur, author of Haiti’s New Dictatorship: The Coup, the Earthquake and the UN Occupation, explains that Haitians have no effective say over their economic and political affairs; their right to assemble and organize politically is sharply limited; and human rights violations are routine and go unpunished.

Podur says, “Last week conclusive evidence came out that the cholera outbreak that killed 7,500 people in Haiti came from the UN, with an accompanying note that there is no one to blame for it. In a way, this is true: the international regime that rules Haiti today diffuses responsibility so that thousands of people can die and there is no one to blame. Democracy and sovereignty could save lives in Haiti.”

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In the News: International Delegation Challenges UN Officials on Renewal of Haiti Occupation

UN Official Suggests that Troops May Stay Until 2015

by Kim Ives, published in Haiti Liberte, Oct 17, 2012

On October 12, the United Nations Security Council voted unanimously to renew for one more year the foreign military occupation of Haiti known as the UN Mission to Stabilize Haiti, or MINUSTAH, which has been deployed in Haiti since June 1, 2004.

However, the Haitian people, and increasingly people throughout Latin America, are calling for UN troops to immediately leave Haiti and respect Haiti’s sovereignty and right to self-determination. This was the message of an international delegation led by Haitian Senator Moïse Jean-Charles which met for almost two hours with high-ranking UN officials on Oct. 11, the day before the vote.

The 10-member delegation, composed of unionists, activists, and journalists, met with William Gardner, the Senior Political Affairs Officer of UN Department of Peace-Keeping Operations’ Europe and Latin America Division, and three of his Political Affairs Officers, Patrick Hein, Ekaterina Pischalnikova, and Nedialko Kostov.

Sen. Moïse’s delegation included Julio Turra, National Executive Director of the United Trade Union Central of Workers of Brazil (CUT); Pablo Micheli, General Secretary of the Confederation of Workers of Argentina (CTA); Fignolé St. Cyr, General Secretary of the Autonomous Confederation of Haitian Workers (CATH); Jocelyn Lapitre, a leader with the Front against Profit (LKP) in Guadeloupe; Colia Clark of the Guadeloupe-Haiti Campaign Committee; Alan Benjamin of the International Liaison Committee of Workers and Peoples (ILC); Robert Garoute, of the Progressive Movement for Haiti’s Development (MPDH); Geffrard Jude Joseph, the director of Radio Panou; and Kim Ives, a journalist with Haiti Liberté newspaper.

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