Posted by: petertluce | July 10, 2010

Violence Meets Non-Violence In A Camp


Dear Friends of Haiti,

Thank you, again, to all Hurah donors for making all of our programs possible!

Our new program, Trainee in Communication, still needs substantial help. $1845. Please check out the budget proposal, or if you prefer, go directly to the news stories below in the bulletin and be convinced, of its value.

Here’s your choice of buttons to press. Thanks for checking out our Blog!

Tom Luce

O.K. here you go: 1)INDEX
or 2) BUDGET


REQUEST – $1,845

Here’s another pitch for for additional money as
I did last month. Because of the desperate conditions in Haiti I still
believe that a small educational stipend is in order to cover the personal
expenses (food/water), that will allow GH to continue with his studies
and to keep abreast of the human rights situation which often involves
travel. Funding is needed for the phone and internet to continue both
education and work for HURAH.

Trainee in Communication – Human Rights Program – Total Budget:
(We have already expended $3,545 for the basics (bike,
rent, internet equipment, healthcare). The rent is paid through September).

Monthly breakdown:

1. Gas-Phone ($25 each per week, 13 weeks) $650
2. Internet $60 per month (3 mos) $180
3. Stipend ($25 per week), total $325

One time expense: $250 (2 chairs, bedding,
a room fan).

New unexpected items: $440 (new motorbike repairs, equipment/work
on solar system)

TOTAL: $1,845 through September

Towards the end I will evaluate the program to
see if it will serve the goals of HURAH to partially fund a human rights

Online; or Send Checks to Tom Luce, 1515 Fairview St., Berkeley, Ca 94703

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Gentilhomme Jean-Gilles (GH), our HURAH rep. and trainee, has continued
on bravely in spite of another obstacle–another, but minor, accident
caused by school kids jumping into the street–to keep up with events
in human rights. He is a serious, religious young man who has kept
the greater good of his Haitian sisters and brothers in his vision
as his way of life. As we go to press another obstacle, a major
virus attack on his computer, has left us without communication
on the top story of this edition.



1.Violence at Camp:Attack
on the innocent

2.Advancing Labor Rights:series
of training around country on labor code

3.Progress:Solar Energy (at last!)

4.To The Defense Of Prisoners

5. Whither Haiti’s Reconstruction?

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1. VIOLENCE IN A CAMP :Attack on

from reports filed by Gentilhomme Jean-Gilles, Hurah reporter

Picture below: one of the many hundreds of tent cities in Port-Au-Prince
where a difficult life can be made even more difficult through violence,
especially against women and children. With the courage of a true
human rights defender Gentilhomme has personally gone to the site
of a camp where violence has allegedly occurred against some people
we personally know. He has interviewed significant people putting
himself at risk and has begun to make a case that we hope will be
settled peacefully even if it has to be taken to the justice system.
We are working to engage the responsible agencies dealing with these
camps including higher levels in the police department. Thanks to
Gentilhomme we will have an objective report. UPDATE: GH’s computer
virus has been taken care of and he has sent me more pictures. He
says things are “calming down” thanks to Hurah’s presence.
More later.

camp in question we are keeping anonymous so as to protect the innocent.
It is one of the hundreds of refugee camps in Port-Au-Prince, housing
several thousand people. We received a credible report that it has
been the scene of a violent attack on innocent people including

Note: if you wish to learn how to help these people, send an
e-mail to Tom Luce

The report says that a group of people outside the camp has taken
over “management” of the camp, setting up rigid rules
that include exacting fees from residents and threatening retaliation
if these rules are not respected. They have caused even a young
person to be beaten and have threatened violence against others.including
being shot. They have destroyed numerous tents and shelters as punishment
against those they do not like including innocent people. They let
it be known that they were prepared to “frame” people
who oppose them and put them in jail.

Some people in these camps are street children and the prejudice
against them is often severe. Some of them can be as young as the
boy shown below, 5 years of age. They can be rejected by their families,
or they may run away from abusive homes. They may be rejects or
runaways from the “restavek”(one
who lives with) system of child slavery that affects some 300,000
children. Note: this link is to a post-quake CNN report. Google
“restavek” and find many other documentaries.
has been working in special ways for the street children. We want
to protect them now in the face of violence in these tent cities.
Picture left: 5yr old boy living in the street.
Picture right, boy after being cared for by specialists in caring
for street kids.

Hurah has sent out an alert to the human rights network, wrote
the head of the Haitian National Police, Mario Andresol, who has
been very supportive of the work Hurah and AUMOHD have done over
the years. Gentilhomme has gone to the camp twice and has alerted
Atty Fanfan of AUMOHD. On his last visit on June 29 he interviewed
dozens of people including the reputed criminal “Management

After leaving the camp Gentilhomme began receiving an endless stream
of phone calls of more individuals with reports of abuse. His preliminary
report is that indeed the chairlady of this committee has earned
a reputation of being out-of-control, allegedly breaking laws. He
saw with his own eyes the destruction of the tents/shelters of not
only the kids but of others. As of this publication date we are
attempting to engage others, NGO’s and the UN as well as the head
of police in bringing this camp under control.

Note: if you wish to learn how to help street kids, send an
e-mail to Tom Luce


Online or, Send Checks to Tom Luce, 1515 Fairview St., Berkeley, Ca 94703

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2. ADVANCING LABOR RIGHTS:series of training
around country on labor code

Pictured, left, is the book, “Extract Of the Workers’
Code:For the Protection of The Rights of Workers”
prepared by Atty. Evel Fanfan, AUMOHD, and published by the Solidarity
(AFL-CIO) in May of this year. Hurah’s Gentilhomme
reported on the public event held on the day of this publication
in Port-Au-Prince.

Note: for purposes of historical interest and for understanding
the complicated network of political interactions in Haiti, readers
are referred to an article touching on the Solidarity Center (an
AFL-CIO project) in the “Half
Hour For Haiti”
section of IJDH (Institute for Justice
and Democracy In Haiti). There it is pointed out how the Solidarity
Center i.e., AFL-CIO, was working with a union (Batay Ouvriye) that
supported the 2004 coup against the Aristide government.

Gentilhomme, representing Hurah, Inc., joined a delegation of four
people, Atty. Fanfan of AUMOHD, Ms. Gaëlle Celestin, of the
Women’s Group (GFAMN), Patrick Numa, President of the Independent
General Organization of Workers (OGIT), who went on the first of
a series of training missions, set to reach the 10 departments of
Haiti, held in Ouanaminthe to promote workers rights among unions
using the AUMOHD book on the workers’ code. Ouanaminthe is in the
north on the border with the Dominican Republic, a

A union member, Zachary, from Ouanaminthe had been arbitrarily
arrested recently and AUMOHD launched a case for his liberation.
The training went over the Code, denounced all forms of abuse against
workers, and backed up the case for Zachary.

at left is the training session with Atty Fanfan circulating as
the participants are studying the new “Extract Of the Code
For Workers:For the Protection of the Rights of Workers.”


Online or, Send Checks to Tom Luce, 1515 Fairview St., Berkeley, Ca 94703

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Some two years ago our benefactors provided us with $2,000 to
pay for a solar energy system to power one of the Community Human
Rights Council’s office–internet service, computer and cell-phone

We had experimented with donated equipment and consultation from
co-owner, Stephen Kane right from the beginning
so that we would benefit from Haiti’s sun and spare Haiti of more
diesel fuel consumption to conduct our communications–e-mail and
SKYPE–with AUMOHD and colleagues world-wide. Stephan designed a
Hurah special unit and delivered it to a colleague in Florida. Namaste
Solar donated $1200 to our earthquake relief.

after glitch ended up in keeping the unit in Florida until last
summer when Joe Namphy, father of our board member, Paul Christian
Namphy, offered to see it shipped to Haiti. He and his wife, Mimi
Beckett, were running an import business of Haitian art (stained
glass and metalwork).Old
World Creations
. Then in the fall, Joe, well-known
native Haitian in the national soccer program, unexpectedly died.
Mimi moved to Haiti to be with her son and family and to keep the
business running. She graciously offered to see that our solar system
would be transported to Haiti. As fate would have it the ship carrying
out system arrived on the day of the earthquake and had to turn
back to Florida. Mimi lost her home but was able to re-open her
business to keep her employees at work, and she still undertook
to get our system to us.

Gentilhomme was able to retrieve our system and has installed it
in his room/office and on his roof. It consists of a gray container
for the bank of batteries (4 deep cycle) along with the regulators
plus the one solar panel of 131watts. A problem with the regulator–controlling
the transfer of energy to and from the batteries–is apparently
the result of it’s long travels. We need $100 to replace it. Putting
power directly from the panel to the batteries is not a good solution
according to Stephen. So far with the sun being at its lowest availability–rainy
season–Gentilhomme has been able to keep his equipment running.
Very little power from the public utility has been available.

obtained a frame for the solar panel that is secured on the roof.
He has paid for all this set-up (including transporting the system
from across town) with what Hurah has been able to give him so far,
in addition to his other needs–room rent, motorbike, computer etc.

So now the original goal of equipping an office with minimal solar
power has finally been achieved!

Many thanks to our donors, to the Namphy/Beckett family (Old
World Creations
)and to Namaste


Online or, Send Checks to Tom Luce, 1515 Fairview St., Berkeley, Ca 94703

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Press Conference

AUMOHD-Rural Justice Center (RJC)

Port-Au-Prince, Haiti

June 16, 2010

by Gentilhomme Jean-Gilles, Hurah reporter

“We condemn the situation of detainees
and prisoners at the National Penitentiary, especially minors. We
call upon the final report on the massacre at Les Cayes prison.”

Atty. Evel Fanfan, AUMOHD

Atty. Dorvil Odler, Rural Justice Center

1. We condemn the unacceptable conditions at the National
Penitentiary now holding 1176 prisoners where not only the rights
and dignity of these people continue to be violated systematically,
but also where the Haitian State, the Minister of Justice, the District
Court of Port-Au-Prince, and the Justices of the Peace never cease
to treat those prisoners as objects kept in concentration. As Mr.
Jean Louis Jouinet, independent expert at the UN says, “the
National Penitentiary of Haiti is the only place on earth that gives
a view of what one thinks of as hell.” In spite of promises
already made, the situation of the prisoners is worsening (food,
water, room to sleep).

2. We condemn the way in which the Ministry of Justice,
the Management of the DAP (administration of the Penitentiary) which
holds more than 50 minors who ought to be in a classroom. The presence
of these children clearly shows that the Haitian State does not
respect the law in general and in particular Resolution 44/15 of
Nov. 20, 1989 of the Constitution concerning the right and dignity
of children. We call for the freedom of these children.

3. AUMOHD and RJC state that there are more than 100
persons at the National Penitentiary who were re-arrested out of
600 who escaped during the earthquake and yet some of these declare
that they had never been in prison and others say that it is true
they were, but had been set free by the Justice Department. We wish
again not only to demand without delay the freedom of these people.
We also encourage those who are victims of this type of situation
to go and lodge their complaints against those who are responsible,
or at least are accomplices in this illegal detention.

We finally take this occasion to ask the Haitian State and all others
responsible for the Aux Cayes (picture left) Prison Massacre to
publish the final report so that the people responsible for this
massacre may be judged.

Note 1: Years ago in Vermont I became acquainted
with the Rural
Justice Center
, founded by Maurice Geiger of New Hampshire,
through Katie Fahnestock, one of the key lawyers working for the
center. I had heard they, among other poor nations, were interested
in Haiti. It was happy news to me that Mr. Geiger himself has been
spending time in Haiti working at the National Penitentiary where
Hurah first started. He especially has been involved after the quake.
It is great news that a Haitian lawyer, Atty. Odler is representing
the RJC in this way at the press conference with AUMOHD.

Note 2: The Les Cayes prison massacre, Jan. 19,
has been investigated at length by the NYT’s reporters, DEBORAH
SONTAG and WALT BOGDANICH and has caused quite a stir among human
rights advocates. To read the detailed report CLICK


Online or, Send Checks to Tom Luce, 1515 Fairview St., Berkeley, Ca 94703

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by Tom Luce

Everyone asks me, of course, what is happening in Haiti? Is the
relief work really reaching the people who need it? What about this
we hear that reconstruction money is being siphoned off by money
makers, some even selling relief supplies? Who should we be supporting?

Hurah’s Venture Into Sustainable Cooperative Living

Well I thought in January when I began to work around the clock
in response to the earthquake that I was into something practical
and on target for reconstructing Haiti. Our project SIHRH (Sustainable
Investment and Human Rights In Haiti) was built along the lines
of re-developing land via the cooperative movement where the hundreds
of thousands of quake refugees could be resettled permanently on
land they would own, on land that would be cooperatively farmed
with sustainable, renewable, solar powered, environmentally sound
methods; where all children would receive an education; where women
would be equal in managing their lives; where the wealth of the
country would be utilized for things like eco-tourism but whose
profit would be turned back to the coop owners instead of being
siphoned off to international corporations. This all ended for me
on returning from Haiti in March. I don’t think the goal was wacky
or even the actual planning. I believe that we crumpled under the
weight of so much opposition to this model already entrenched so
soundly in traditions, in legal tie ups and the morass of political
game playing.

I have heard that there have been some similar projects by some
groups. I haven’t been able to track them down. My impression is
that the official, overall coordinating group is probably not fostering
cooperative methods. I’ve seen some construction companies offering
post-quake home models. But I have no sense that there is really
a coordinated effort to do things differently for a new Haiti.

So what is the story?

Since failing in our attempt, I’ve begun to notice some remarkable
stirrings.In spite of the dire predictions and depressing reports.
I am listing only a few of the good things that are happening.

1. ARISTIDE FOUNDATION: I mentioned this in the last bulletin,
the Aristide Foundation’s rise to dealing with the earthquake by
organizing shelters for some 10,000, clinics for the injured and
ill. And an immense, systematic organizing of women Check this out
again and for updates: .Aristide
Especially their new urban gardening
project. I just donated to it at Haiti
Emergency Relief Fund
or send a check to Haiti Emergency
Relief Fund-EBSC,at East Bay Sanctuary Covenant 2362 Bancroft Way,
Berkeley, CA 94704 Specify the program “Mange Lakay Selavi
(Eating from home is the way to live).

This is a recombining of some well known groups connected with Beyond
Borders. I have known the leader of the Haiti programs, John Engle,
from a distance for a number of years. This February I was aware
of his having come to work full time in recovery work. Haiti Partners
is combining the amazing community leadership organizing programs
(Open Space based group dynamics) with 1000 students, training 300
teachers. Haiti Partners is a religious based group.

: I have added to my list of critical
analysts of the Haitian scene, Beverly Bell, an Associate “Fellow”
at the Institute for Policy Studies and director of Other World
(click on her name). She has 30 years experience there and has been
working overtime since the earthquake. I like her directions, her
critical sense. I hope she and others can work with the UN team
of Bill Clinton and Dr. Paul Farmer, to be in touch with the real
world of Haiti, the majority of the poor.

4. IJDH: Of course,
there is always IJDH (Institute for Justice and
Democracy in Haiti), Atty. Brian Concannon Director, Atty. Mario
Joseph, Director International Lawyers Bureau, Port-Au-Prince.

: a blog that promotes sustainable soil
reconstruction and other agricultural land reforms for the people.

The Solar Electric Light Fund SELF. This link looks like what
I have in mind for reinventing the Haitian power production. I recently
read about a well organized and fine service program in Haiti receiving
250 generators at a value of $250,000. Now I fully understand how
much more handy–at first–a diesel burning generator is, how more
compact it is. I asked our friend from Namaste what it would cost
to build an equivalent solar system for 5500 watts. The cost, of
course, at this point is not small. But as he points out solar lasts
longer, is free after the installation, and, of course, is non polluting.
Let’s hope we can help Haiti avoid the mistake of depending on fossil
fuel instead of their sun power. Here is another solar link:INHABITAT

Sustainable Organic Integrated Livelihoods
Our friend,
Sasha Kramer has been too busy to keep up with the demand of the
ecological program she has founded. They are working even in Port-Au-Prince
with Oxfam.

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Rights Accompaniment In Haiti-Hurah, Inc.

a 501(c)(3), non-profit

1515 Fairview St., Berkeley Ca. 94703 President, Tom Luce,
Blog Site Hurah

To DONATE click
here.Or mail a check to Tom Luce, 1515 Fairview St., Berkeley, Ca 94703 TO UNSUBSCRIBE: send an e-mail to

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