Posted by: petertluce | September 22, 2010

Prisoners Released!

HURAH SUPPORTERS NEWS BULLETIN
– 8.30.10

Dear Friend of Haiti,

DELIVERY? Many people reported initially
that they had not received our last bulletin. But in checking back it seems that we didn’t have a problem in bulletin delivery. Perhaps the summer and too many e-mails to read is the problem.

RETURN HOME: It was great getting back to Vermont or the first time since moving out west.(5 years) Great seeing all our supporters!

SHORT:We did not get what we needed
to finish up our commitment to our new Trainee, Gentilhomme There were about
$525 in new donations.We are about $1,320 short and would like to finish up
giving this to Gentilhomme who has continued working under always difficult
circumstances. His program runs out at the end of October–6 months in all.

AFTER SEPTEMBER?: Will we be able to
fund our new program, now to be called Human Rights Advocate (originally Communication
Trainee)beginning in October for one year? We figure we need $7,060. This will
cover expenses for housing/phone/gas/internet plus a stipend at the minimum
wage ($5) for 20 hours a week. This will provide Gentilhomme with some employment
and Hurah with a first hand representative on the scene. He would continue to
represent us at various agencies, advocate for the abuse, give us reports, search
out programs we want to support. We’ll see what starts coming in now during
September and take it as we go. Monthly our budget works out to about $588.
We have to pay rent on a 6 month basis, so that will have to come first. Then
we’ll see how it goes after that

THANKS! As always a big thank you to everyone who donates
and who supports us in any way!

P.S.: As we go to press we have received two requests: 1)
receive money for the AUMOHD prisoner release program using our tax-exempt status (see article below); 2) to join again in the long term sustainable
plan we first started in January after the earthquake, see short story below.
Tom Luce

CLICK HERE TO DONATE
Online; Send Checks to Tom Luce, 1515 Fairview St. Berkeley, Ca. 94703

to top / to
index

Gentilhomme (GH) Jean-Gilles: THE HUMAN RIGHTS BEAT

INDEX:

1. Prisoner Release – Donate to their
fund

2. Update On Violence In Camp

3. Grand Ravine Community Human Rights Council

4. Sustainable Future For Haitians?

CLICK HERE TO DONATE
ONLINE
;

Send Checks to Tom Luce,

1515 Fairview St. Berkeley, Ca. 94703

====================================

1. PRISONER RELEASE:Good News! see below
about donating to them

by Tom Luce and Gentilhomme Jean-Gilles

Picture – far left taken in AUMOHD courtyard: Gentilhomme Jean-Gilles,
Hurah Trainee; Maurice Geiger in center with Atty. Fanfan behind him. Others
are ex-prisoners. American at right is with the Rural Justice center.

As reported last month, the perennial problem of poor people being thrown in
prison illegally and kept there has been getting some resolution. Thanks to
AUMOHD and the Rural Justice Center (RJC), as well as with good cooperation
from the government prosecutor’s office and the penitentiary administration,
a couple dozen of these prisoners have been freed.

At a press conference on Aug. 4, AUMOHD and the RJC brought these men and their
families together to celebrate their freedom and to press for continued proper
handling of illegal prisoners. Since the earthquake the problem has been complicated
because there have been people rounded up, allegedly having escapted from prison
and thrown back in. Mr. Harrycidas Auguste government prosecutor worked with
AUMOHD and the RJC. As has been the struggle that AUMOHD has waged since 2004,
no money is paid for this action, neither the court/prison system gets paid
for releasing these illegally held people, nor does AUMOHD. This is judicial
reform at its best.

left,
Maurice Geiger of the Rural Justice Center (NH) who has partnered with AUMOHD,
Atty. Fanfan, right, President – continuing to advocate for the release of illegally
detained prisoners. Hurah celebrates this perennial challenge and is glad to
celebrate this victory and support AUMOHD.

NOTICE: AUMOHD has asked Hurah to hold funds for these prisoners
since people have been asking how to help with their expenses, trying to get
back on their feet and to get home. If you care to donate to this effort simply
send checks designated “prisoners” to Tom Luce, 1515 Fairview St.,
Berkeley, Ca 94703 or CLICK HERE TO
DONATE
Online.

Picture below: The conference about the release of the prisoners
included an artistic presentation including the clown pictures below.

=======================

2. UPDATE ON VIOLENCE IN A CAMP by Gentilhomme

Back in June we reported that Gentilhomme was effective in bringing some order
to a camp that had been involved in violent acts against vulnerable campers,
in particular some young boys in the care of one of our colleagues. GH managed
to get wide estimony from campers who were affected. He was able to obtain clear
evidence that it was a certain few people, not even residents of the camp who
were perpetrating the violence. Gentilhomme talked with the camp rep on 8/26/10
and learned that things are going well for the moment, thanks to his (Gentihomme-Hurah’s)
work. Not more threats. According to this rep the Red Cross has been working
on a shelter project, building small houses for those who already have some
land, or whose families have some land. They have a project of building 1090
small houses. The camp rep reported that he has met with a group of organizations
about security, either from the police or from the UN program. Occasionally
the UN soldiers come around.

==============================

CLICK HERE TO DONATE
Online; Send Checks to Tom Luce, 1515 Fairview St. Berkeley, Ca. 94703

back to index

==============================

3. Grand Ravine Community Human Rights Council by Gentilhomme

At
the end of July Gentilhomme met with the Grand Ravin Community Human Rights
Council (CHRC-GR) and learned of their activities. This CHRC-GR has been supported
by Hurah from the horrible days of the first massacres in 2005 and then afterward
through a 3rd massacre and house burning. Hurah has helped these folks as they
were being threatened with violence just because they were advocating for justice
in their community–in opposition to some violent thugs and other groups used
to intimidation to get their way. Last year we provided funds for renovating
an office that would give them even more visibility. They are a brave group,
many of the originals members. There are 11 members currently including the
former head who was driven out of the community, Frantzco Joseph.

The CCDH-GR meets weekly on Thursdays and once a month with the
victims. (The cases of reparations for loss of life and property are still pending
since 2005-6 and AUMOHD wishes to take them to the Interamercan Court to obtain
a judgment. The Haitian Government was in charge and the police perpetrated
the first massacre..

They organize days of consultation with AUMOHD on human rights
advocacy. They have been able to distribute some food to victims. Hurah was
able to donate $500 to this cause in February.

They have begun a program of “microcredit” loans to
help 9 individuals begin a small business. Hurah is seeking help for this program
as well as for scholarships for 500 children with no means to attend school.
See below if you would like to donate to these causes. Picture: sign advertising
the presence of the Grand Ravin CHRC. Solidarity, Together, Human Rights, Justice,
Peace, Nonviolence.

=========================================================

CLICK HERE TO DONATE
Online; Send Checks to Tom Luce,

1515 Fairview St. Berkeley, Ca. 94703

back to index

=============================================

4. SUSTAINABLE FUTURE FOR HAITIANS?

As reported last month Hurah had to suspend its involvement in
a very special program aimed at creating a sustainable socio-economic model
for a new Haiti based on agricultural coops and ecotourism. Tom Luce visited
the agricultural coop of peasant farmers in Galette Chambon, 40 miles east of
Port-Au-Prince on the border with the Dominican Republic. This group of people
were open to receiving quake refugees to settle on the coop and allowing them
to become owner-members and partiipate in their plans for sustainable agriculture
and an eco-tourism business. The pressures of managing such a program in its
start up phase proved to be too much. Now Hurah has been invited again to participate
with the originators of the project, the American Museum of Creole Cultures
(AMCC)American Museum of Creole
Cultures (AMCC)
Funds will be raised through the auction of French
artworks during an educational tour in the US and Canada for the purpose of
setting up schools in two of the land coops already established, Galette Chambon
and Milot.

Watch for a special bulletin announcing the details
of this project.

==============================================================

CLICK HERE TO DONATE
Online; Send Checks to Tom Luce,

1515 Fairview St. Berkeley, Ca. 94703

back to index

===============================================================

Human
Rights Accompaniment In Haiti-Hurah, Inc.

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

1515 Fairview St., Berkeley Ca. 94703 President, Tom Luce, president@hurah.org
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 president@hurah.org

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Posted by: petertluce | July 10, 2010

Violence Meets Non-Violence In A Camp

HURAH NEWS BULLETIN – 7.4.10


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!

Thanks!
Tom Luce

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

=================================

ADDITIONAL 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:
$1,845
(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
worker.

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

to top / to
index

===========================================================================

Gentilhomme
Jean-Gilles: THE HUMAN RIGHTS BEAT

Note:
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.

=====================================================

INDEX:

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?

back to budget

================================================================

1. VIOLENCE IN A CAMP :Attack on
Innocents

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.

The
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
children.

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.
Hurah
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
Committee.”

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

=========================================================================

CLICK HERE TO DONATE
Online or, Send Checks to Tom Luce, 1515 Fairview St., Berkeley, Ca 94703

back to budget / back
to index

=========================================================================

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
Center
(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.

Pictured
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.”

==============================

CLICK HERE TO DONATE
Online or, Send Checks to Tom Luce, 1515 Fairview St., Berkeley, Ca 94703

back to budget / back
to index

==============================

3. PROGRESS:SOLAR ENERGY (at last!)

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
charging.

We had experimented with donated equipment and consultation from
Namaste
Solar
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.

Glitch
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.

Gentilhomme
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
Solar
!!

==============================================================================

CLICK HERE TO DONATE
Online or, Send Checks to Tom Luce, 1515 Fairview St., Berkeley, Ca 94703

back to budget / back
to index

==============================================================================

4.
TO THE DEFENSE OF PRISONERS

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.

4.
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
HERE
.

========================================================================

CLICK HERE TO DONATE
Online or, Send Checks to Tom Luce, 1515 Fairview St., Berkeley, Ca 94703

back to budget / back to
index

=======================================================================
=======================================================================

5. WHITHER HAITI’S RECONSTRUCTION?

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
Foundation;
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).

2. HAITI PARTNERS:
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.

3. BEVERLY
BELL
: 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.

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

6. SOLAR:
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

7. COMPOSTING TOILETS:S.O.I.L.
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.

back to budget / back
to index

==========================================================================

Human
Rights Accompaniment In Haiti-Hurah, Inc.

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

1515 Fairview St., Berkeley Ca. 94703 President, Tom Luce, president@hurah.org
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 president@hurah.org

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to index

Posted by: petertluce | June 15, 2010

OUR NEW REPORTER ON THE JOB

HURAH DONOR’S NEWS BULLETIN – 5.23.10

Dear Friends:


Thanks again for the $14,103 we contributed to our Haitian defenders of human rights through your generosity!

PROGRAM UPDATE: Trainee in Communication.

With your contributions our young trainee, Gentilhomme
Jean-Gilles, “GH” (28), obtained housing for six months, with
a bed and desk, (he was homeless due to the quake). We provided the professional equipment needed for his work, including a laptop and internet modem (scarce these days). We are waiting to get solar equipment our of customs so he can store electricity. With our funds he purchased a motor bike and protective
gear. “GH”‘s education had ceased with the earthquake when his school was destroyed and some teachers killed. This thwarted his aspirations to do human rights work and left his future bleak. While I provide him
a one-on-one, stop-gap on-line education –we meet three times a week and do French tutoring, internet information skills, and non-violent theory and practice for human rights work. At the same time we are able to keep apprised of what is going on with our human rights colleagues in Haiti.

OBSTACLES

Unfortunately, Gentilhomme’s work has been seriously delayed because of health issues: 1) flu-like infections for several weeks, 2) a tooth extraction, and 3) a motorbike accident that kept him off his
feet for a week and then on crutches. I am confident GH is a safe driver (I rode on the back of a bike with him during my last visit of 3 weeks). The safety equipment he had carefully purchased, saved him from worse damage.

ADDITIONAL BUDGET REQUEST – $2,050

Because of the desperate conditions in Haiti I have determined that a small educational stipend seems in order to cover the personal expenses that will allow GH to continue with his studies and to do 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.

Please review the budget; then read what we’venlearned from Gentihomme in the last month.

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

Trainee in Communication – Human Rights Program – Total Budget:
$2,050
(rent is paid through September).

Monthly breakdown:

1. Gas-Phone ($50 per week) $200

2. Internet $60 per month

3. Stipend ($25 per week), total $100

One time expense: $250 (2 chairs, bedding,
a room fan and repairs for his damaged bike).

TOTAL to support the program through September when the training ends: $2,050.

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

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

Thanks so much! Tom Luce

NOW OUR REPORT FROM THE GROUND!

Gentilhomme – HUMAN RIGHTS BEAT

Note:
Gentilhomme Jean-Gilles (GH), our HURAH rep. and trainee, had an
accident mid-April on the way to an assignment to check on forced
evictions of tent camp people and has been restricted in mobility
since because of his thigh injury and damage to the motorcycle.
Here is a series of quick updates on current issues in human rights.

TENT CAMP – MATTHEW 25

The well-known guest house for visiting groups from the Parish
Twinning Program of America (PTPA ),
now called Matthew 25 House, in the Delmas 33 neighborhood, still
has a tent camp on its soccer field that provides temporary shelter
to about 1,200 people. Originally 2,000 were camped there. Gentilhomme
visited there to get an idea of how this camp was functioning four months after the quake.

(Notice
Gentilhomme with the protective gear that saved him from greater
damage in the accident).
The tents were donated by the Lions
Club International and a medical clinic was established there immediately
after the quake. We learned from GH’s visit that the governing committee
of local neighborhood residents has a positive working relationship
with Matthew 25 in running the camp. Unlike some tent encampments on private property that are being threatened with removal and the people forcibly and violently ejected with no alternative plans
(this has actually happened in some places), Matthew 25 is not demanding their soccer field back.

Note: GH was on his way to the office of Monica Dyer of International Action Ties to verify details of these evictions. Action Ties has been documenting these forced evictions including by two
religious schools, and police brutality. A moratorium on evictions was was obtained in mid-April but has not been totally adhered to. HURAH has signed a petition to end these evictions.

The greatest need of this community is for a school. Food has been supplied
by Rays of Hope and by Catholic Relief Services. Children receive
milk each day and special needs children are given special care.
The sick are also fed 2-3 cooked meals per day; the same is true for the staff. The Pure Water Foundation of the Rotary Club is providing
water .Medical care is now being referred out to a local hospital.
(Picture: GH in special tent infirmary). People wishing to help financially with this camp should send money to Theresa Patterson, Executive Director Parish Twinning Program 309 Windemere Woods Drive Nashville, TN 37215

Demonstrations Over Conditions of Tent Cities

In May much of the media has been reporting on demonstrations being
held throughout the country demanding rights for tent city dwellers and for the return of former President Aristide. In addition to
the problem of forced evictions which are barely mentioned in the media, these demonstrators are complaining about the unbearable
conditions they suffer from– scorching heat, lack of sanitation and toilets, disease, flooding, and no plans for the future. There is a lack of clear communication by the governments (national and international) about these real problems and what is being planned.

In this photo is a contingent of the May 12th demonstration photographed by GH. It was a highly organized and disciplined group which had a police escort. Participants wore tee shirts with the words, “People’s Federation for Pleading the Cause of People in Tent Camps- FPKMK (Creole). The local media report thousands in the streets around the country and that there is a growing coalition of disparate groups calling for the resignation of President Préval for his poor handling of the problems. The demand of these demonstrators is to give them representation in the planning, or get a change of leaders.

For a special insight into one important segment of the poor
majority, the Lavalas party first organized under Pres. Aristide,
and their organization work behind these demonstrations, see an
article by Laura Flynn, long time member of the Aristide Foundation
for Democracy- AFD in the Huffington Post, “We Want Our Voices
To Be Heard: Democracy in Haiti’s Earthquake Zone,” Aristide
Foundation
You will find hard testimony of the democratic movement
supported by the Aristide Foundation. Much written in local and
international mainstream media whenever the name Aristide and a
call for his return is filled with references with the political
controversies that ended in his being “kidnapped” in Feb.
2004. With Laura Flynn’s article it is very clear what is being
done by the ordinary people and their leaders now to improve the
government. Not much credence in the media is given to this power beyond the
demonstrations in the streets. The call to bring Aristide back is
to allow him to participate in what they are already doing. However
this power is always been undermined by propagandists who do not
want it to be exercised. In the last year through bureaucratic manipulations,
the Lavalas party candidates for parliament have been disqualified.

The Labor Movement In Haiti: AUMOHD

Photo:
GH at the Plaza Hotel in downtown Port-Au-Prince covering a significant
meeting of a coalition of trade unions in Haiti. May 17, 2010. Rear
left, tall man is Paul Loulou Chery head of the Confederation of
Haitian Workers. He was severely persecuted in 2004, and after,
for his union work. Hurah engaged with him concerning the public
teachers’ union.

May 17th was the date that the “Code for Workers” in
Haiti was announced. AUMOHD played a large role in getting this
code published, especially in Creole.

Several years ago AUMOHD began working with the Solidarity Center
of the AFL-CIO. The area rep, Cathy Feingold worked out of the Dominican
Republic and sought AUMOHD’s help for its program. Hurah initially
brought these two organizations together; since then the partnership
has grown. Now, especially because of the quake, AUMOHD has become
the “safe Zone” for union organizers. The Solidarity Center
has financed a legal assistance program for labor union members
through AUMOHD. They have just also installed a solar energy system
at the AUMOHD office that provides for all the energy needs.

Photo: A large crowd was at the May 17 meeting. Woman in center-back
is Cathy Feingold.

Note: In April more than 120 trade unionists from all of the
world, including many leaders from the Haitian labor movement, attended
a summit to explore the role of trade unions in the reconstruction
of Haiti. This week, after an assassination attempt on Atty. Evel
Fanfan, president of AUMOHD, a meeting has been organized in Santo
Domingo, where the Solidarity Center is located, to develop a solid
security plan for the AUMOHD office that has become so important
to the labor movement

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Human
Rights Accompaniment In Haiti-Hurah, Inc.

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

1515 Fairview St., Berkeley Ca. 94703 President, Tom Luce, president@hurah.org
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 president@hurah.org

JUSTICE IN CENTRAL PLATEAU CAMPAIGN-2007 – 200+ Documented Cases of political violence against innocent people by paramilitaries

Meeting
with AUMOHD, August, 2007, victims and families

For inquiries on the status of this campaign with AUMOHD which never was completed,
write Tom Luce. Although progress was made under the Alexis administration, it was short lived when he was dismissed
by parliament. The cases still remain on file with AUMOHD–not destroyed by the quake as happened with the justice department itself. The hope is to bring them forward. The earthquake has made this all the more difficult. Tom Luce 5.29.10

Child
murdered
Jodel
Chamblain, accused killer

#1- AUMOHDLetter to President Préval 10/24/07(below)

#2- AUMOHD Report (link to document)

#3- Haiti
Analysis
article by Wadner Pierre (link to article)

#4- PetitionOnline (click
here to sign the petition
)

#1 – AUMOHD letter to President Préval

Port-Au-Prince, Oct. 24, 2007

His Excellency René G. PRÉVAL
President of the Republic of Haiti
National Palace

Mr. President:

The Executive Committe of the Association of Un iversity Grads Motivated For
A Haiti With Rights-AUMOHD–which has as its basic mission to promote the rights
and dignity of the human person, legally recognized and registered with the
Haitian State, gives you its compliments for your wisdom and skill in the leading
of the ship of state, and has the distinct honor of submitting to you this report
entitled, “Central Plateau, Mirabalais-Lascahobas-Belladère: Former
Soldiers and Armed Civilians, Impunity Writ Large”, which relates a variety
of misdeeds by former soldiers and armed civilians carried out in the Central
Plateau, particularly in Mirabalais, Lascahobas and Belladère, during
the period beginning in 2002 through 2005, reporting on the facts and the principal
victims.

Knowing that the Haitian State, headed by yourself at the highest level, has
the absolute obligation to guarantee the right to life, security and respect
for the human person of all citizens without any distinction in conformity with
the Constitution of March 29, 1987 and with the Universal Declaration of Human
Rights, the Committee would like you to take charge of this case in order to
give instructions to the authorities concerned (Minister of Justice, Government
Prosecutor of Mirabalais) so that the presumed perpetrators of these crimes
will be sought after, arrested, judged and sentenced in conformity with the
law and so that consequently the victims and their families will receive just
reparations.

In the meantime, the Committee asks you, Mr. President, for financial assistance
granting the relatives of the victims who are without shelter some relief from
their suffering and allowing them to face the difficulties in life into which
they have been plunged, notably the little Hussein Bertrand, in a handicapped
state.

Convinced that this letter will gain your careful attention for a favorable
follow-up, the Executive Committee of AUMOHD wishes you to accept, Your Excellency,
the expression of its best wishes and respectful greetings.

For the Executive Committee, Atty. Evel Fanfan, Pres., Atty. Jean Evêque
Toussaint, Secretary.

cc: Prime Minister Jacques Edouard Alexis
Minister of Justice, Atty. René Magloire
President of the Senate, Mr. Joseph Lambert
President of the Chamber of Deputies, Mr. Pierre Eric Jean-Jacques

#4. PetitionOnline:

To: The Préval Administration-Haiti

AUMOHD, a new, non-violent, non-partisan Haitian human rights advocacy group
has launched a campaign for justice for the long suffering victims and their
families of Central Plateau, Haiti. The undersigned are joining the campaign
having read about this monumental story of poor, anonymous, innocent people
attacked for their political beliefs. They are supporting the call to the Préval
administration for a vigorous, thorough prosecution, trial, and reparations
to the victims and their families.

The Justice In Central Plateau Campaign is for the hundreds of innocent people
attacked by terrorist thugs–former soldiers and armed civilians — because
they were marked as supporters of the Aristide government from 2002-2005. This
was the period leading up to and following the violent overthrow of President
Aristide in February, 2004. Intimidation by violent threats, house burnings,
disappearances, and assassinations are the crimes that have gone unchallenged
and the perpetrators are still walking the streets.

No one helped the victims at the height of this madness or since then. Because
AUMOHD has gained a reputation for championing the human rights of the unknown
and the poor, the Central Plateau survivors called them to aid them in August,
2007.

Notes:

If you wish to help AUMOHD, a volunteer organization, help these victims and
so many others in Haiti,contact Tom Luce. Obtaining
justice even in such a monumental case, is a slow, relentless uphill battle,
fraught with sabotage all the way along. The victims need more than legal help,
especially after the Jan. 10 earthquake.

Thanks!
Tom Luce, President, Human Rights Accompaniment in Haiti-Hurah, Inc.

Posted by: petertluce | April 12, 2010

Final Entry From Relief Trip – Tom Luce

POST-QUAKE REPORT – $14,103 For Human Rights Defenders

by Tom Luce, President of Hurah, Inc.

Front yard needed to be made ready for the rains since the office was still not secure.

During my trip to Haiti I delivered $14,103 into the hands of our targeted quake survivor groups, the human rights defenders associated with AUMOHD. We have connected with these community leaders for 5+ years as they worked with the most poor and marginalized inner city victims of violence. Many of these leaders are victims themselves and have risen up to fight for the common good.–as followers of the non-violent, non-partisan tradition. Instead of donating to huge anonymous disaster relief programs we thought it would be more meaningful to help these leaders to get back on their feet to continue their much needed work…. Sadly our partnership with AUMOHD which had formally ended in June 09, is not expected to be renewed.

Most of the money was raised since news of the quake circulated among our 71 Hurah donors (Hurah!!!!).$6,330 purchasd a second hand Toyota pickup with larger rims and tires to handle the worsened road conditions after the quake. The AUMOHD crew used the pickup to connect with, and carry materials to, the hundreds of people needing relief supplies. $3,200 went directly to aid AUMOHD volunteers, including the four (4) Community Human Rights Councils (CHRC). These people suffered themselves, some with loss of family members, many with loss of homes, schools, businesses/work.

The new AUMOHD mobile is filled up with supplies for 26 families who had to evacuate the city, connected to AUMOHD

$1600 went to help restore the AUMOHD office that has become a gathering place for neighbors and a safe haven for all labor groups in Haiti. Coverings for the courtyard were purchased where office equipment, sleeping bags had to be placed and meeting space had to be made due to the dangers threatening the building.from aftershocks. Finally we provided, as requested, Tee Shirts and Caps ($353)with identifying words, AUMOHD, Human Rights, Solidarity Non-violence, Justice, Peace, Unity.

In addition to the financial assistance, I participated in meetings with various individuals within the AUMOHD sphere: the labor movement, the women’s’ movement, the CHRC networks (Community Human Rights Councils), as well as in the larger coalition of small NGO’s mentioned in the next article. (Haiti Response Coalition). I donated my entire travel and lodging expenses as well as several gifts to associates there (camera, solar panel chargers, etc). This was an intense time, sleeping on the ground with these survivor-human rights defenders. It was an inspiring time collaborating with these valiant people moving forward in their own lives and in the rebuilding of their country. Another big part of my time and energy was nurturing our special “seedling” project, the SIHRH (Sustainable Investment and Human Rights in Haiti), the long term socio-economic reform plan for a new Haiti. (More on the cessation of our involvement is available below.)

FIGHTERS FROM THE INNER CITY NEIGHBORHOODS

Representatives from three inner city zones: Grand Ravin, Pele Simon, Croix-des-Bouquets,

We met with representatives from 3 of the inner city “Community Human Rights Councils” -CHRC, from top left clockwise, Pele Simon, Croix-des-Bouquets, AUMOHD Lawyer Atty. Toussaint, and Grand Ravin.  All these courageous people have worked for years fighting for their neighbors rights, following massacres, house burnings, illegal jailings, beatings.  They believe in non-violence, have the unwavering patience to stick with the politicized and lengthy process of justice.  And now they are victims of the mammoth seismic blow, but still bouncing back. One important topic I wanted clarification on: would they recommend that people move to the countryside to take up a new way of living, a sustainable, green, democratic, inclusive, cooperative?  The answer was a resounding yes!

Gaëlle Celestin, Organizer of a women's group, meeting with victims of domestic abuse and exploitation as household workers.

Gaëlle Celestin, far right in green shirt, is leading a women’s group in the courtyard.  Gaëlle came to work with AUMOHD last year, did some reporting for Hurah and then was recruited by the Irish human rights defenders group, Frontline, to do training for leaders of women’s groups.  She founded a group named GFANM (Women’s Group) which now meets at AUMOHD, domestic violence being a chief issue.  Another issue for the women is the terrible labor conditions for domestic workers.  Gaëlle and her family lost their home and are living at the AUMOHD office.

AMNESTY International reps visit AUMOHD

There was a day when Amnesty International didn’t have an on-the-ground connection with alternative human rights groups.  Around the time of the coup against Pres. Aristide, there were only a couple of “traditional” human rights groups being depended on for information except for the groups affiliated with Pres. Aristide. This began to change in early 05 when AUMOHD supporters began pressing AI to check out other sources. Since then Gerardo Ducos, left, has regularly consulted with AUMOHD and has defended AUMOHD, including Pres. Evel Fanfan, second from left, when he was being besieged with death threats for his support of victims
of massacres perpetrated by anti-Aristide forces.  Gaëlle Celestin is third from left, now the leader of the Womens’ Group – GFanm, and another staffer from AI.  Gerardo and his other AI staffer were going to spend 3 weeks doing research for AI’s report on the reaches of the quake’s damage to people and their rights, especially the women.

Small solar energy system donated by Hurah with two 80w panels that ran the ISP router and a couple of laptops until the quake.

At the very beginning in 2004 it seemed to me that one thing we should get free is electricity from
the sun.  We were taken early on by the bogus ads (there are still some of these products around
which I brought even this year) that touted a small single panel you could put in a backpace would
power a laptop!  Then Namaste Solar supporter, Stephen Kane, came to our rescue and showed us how 2 80W panels with a bank of 4 batteries could run an internet router and at least one computer efficiently during the day and into the night.  Because of safety concerns the system was set up at Pres. Fanfan’s house and from there our internet communications flourished.  When we learned about the Hainet (an ISP) “magic box”, a little wireless router that can be carried anywhere, it could be brought to the office during the day where it was powered by the diesel generator–bought by friends of AUMOHD without ever trying to work collaboratively on a real solar system.  Last year Namaste gave us a new, custom built inverter and battery metal case and that worked even better.  Luckily the system did not get damaged by the quake.  So thanks to the folks at Matthew 25 House–site now of a 1300 person tent city– we were driven in a van to pick up the batteries and bring them to the office to be used until the new system gets installed. This house has been a guest house for people working in parish-to-parish programs for 30 years.

New solar system to meet entire electrical needs of AUMOHD office incuding a refrigerator.

Twelve 80w panels will power all of AUMOHD’s electrical needs thanks to Hurah’s promoting of solar power with a cooperating agency.  Another great benefit from the earthquake!

UN tank and soldiers are protecting the temporary quarters of a variety of NGO's near the airport.

Among the many meetings I went to was at the temporary headquarters of UNICEF.  Almost every
government agency was demolished by the quake, the UN itself suffered total destruction and 200 killed.  UNICEF is now housed down near the airport on the land occupied by the Haitian Judiciary Police.  I rode on the back of a broken down motorbike with Gentilhomme– our new trainee in communications–down the crowded streets to this office.  We were lobbying for getting more adequate tempoary housing for a home for boys —three houses- destroyed by the quake.  This UN tank and soldiers are guarding the perimeter.

Senator Moïse Jean-Charles -left- (ally since 2004), chair of the Agriculture Committee, and Senator Youri Latortue -raised hand, supporter of credit unions, in the makeshift quarters of the Haitian parliament (their new building was demolished).

Directly facing us is Senator Moïses Jean-Charles from northern Haiti.  Gesturing on the right is
Senator Youri Latortue known probably best of all as the nephew of Gerard Latortue the interim Prime Minister when Pres. Aristide was ousted.  We were making contact with the senators on the
agricultural committee because of our support for a resettlement program that would place refugees on country land in green, cooperatively owned land.  Moïses is someone I personally helped when he was being harassed up north shortly before the elections in 2006.

AN IDEAL SOLUTION FOR QUAKE VICTIMS: MOVE BACK TO THE LAND HOWEVER, IT HAS NOT COME TO PASS.

Tom Luce with the Galette Chambon land cooperative after they signed the request to initiate the new plan to resettle 15,000 refugees with our plan, SIHRH. Feb. 24

The day after earthquake hit we began working on long term resettlement program first entitled, “Sustainable Safety Response-SSR.”  I have never worked so long, late into the early morning and up before dawn, trying to develop the rationale and the connections that this forward-looking solution to the 400,000 refugees we knew were going to appear very soon.  We developed this in concert with Haitians and Haitian-Americans who sought us out because of our non-violent, non-partisan work for human rights.  They wanted human rights to be central to the coop they envisioned.  This long range plan became clearly something that was being left out in the early days after the quake.  The plan was actually an offer by an existing land cooperative, Galette Chambon, to incorporate 15,000 refugees.  With the proper backing, disaster relief agencies, financing institutions and donors this expandable model could be handled.  This model was following some of the most classic Haitian solutions to social structures: cooperative, sustainable agriculture, solar powered, education for all children.  And it could be replicated around the country creating a new Haiti.

TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE?  I DIDN’T THINK SO.

There are those, I’m sure, who thought this was pie-in-the-sky or worse, a scam project.  I personally checked out the major angles: did such a coop exist, were they really making this huge offer, what experience was available from financing and managerial services?  I engaged AUMOHD in working on the project and we made personal visits to the actual land coop where the model concept had already been begun, Galette Chambon. There was a really volatile issue clouding our work–a credit union “ponzi” scheme in the early 2000’s that soured everyone on people oriented banking. The closure of the Haitian Development Bank (BHD) in 2002 which was conceived and created to support the economic needs of over 100 coops who wanted to settle the countryside back in the early 2000’s was what our consultant was willing to bring back to life.  It meant getting the Haitian president to execute a court order to open the BHD.  Now with the urban slums squashed, what better solution than planned agriculturally based comunity living?  We put out informational e-mails, bulletins.  We sought endorsement from leading human rights groups.  What more just solution to slums than real land ownership–cooperative — to make ownership more accessible to the poor?  And real ownership of economic enterprises such as AgroTourism.  Sharing the wealth of the land and people’s work.  Early on, of course, we got rejected by those folks who don’t believe in cooperativism–even progressives don’t buy it.  Not to mention those who think “that’s socialism!”

SEAN PENN WAS INTERESTED!  PROSPECTIVE SETTLERS INTERESTED!

After receiving positive feed back from a couple of donors, including Sean Penn, who seemed to grasp the genius of the “back to the land” model –now called by us Sustainable Investment and Human Rights In Haiti SIHRH — we thought we were going to move ahead.  However, our real shortcomings in terms of dealing with the logistics of managing became glaringly clear.  We needed to find an alternative to the BHD, in my opinion, because we were getting nowhere with the campaign to reopen it.  We had no staff to handle the meetings and visits on site just to get preliminaries going.  And then how were the 15,000 IDP’s (Internally Displace Persons) going to be recruited and selected.  I had been confronted with even progressive people with the objection that people wouldn’t want to leave their familiar surroundings, they shouldn’t have to find new ways to find a way to earn some money.  That turned out to be the easiest argument to refute.  When I met with our 4 CHRC (Community Human Rights Council), the very people and places affected the most by the quake, they said they would have the 15,000 people the next morning for the move.  We talked about forming screening committees, working on education about the requirements for cooperative living, commitment to green living, etc. etc.

FELL APART UNDER OUR OWN WEIGHT

It all came to a halt on March 25 when after a week of dealing with our management failures in communication, nailing down responsibilities and especially a switch in dealing with the reopening of the BHD, I became convinced that we had to slow down and solve these problems before we began setting up meetings with donors.  My fellow allies couldn’t agree, so I had to withdraw my support.  I felt Hurah’s integrity was at stake.  I was unwilling to bring donors to our unprepared state of management and risk getting into agreements that we couldn’t fulfill.  At this writing it is unclear whether anyone will keep the project going.  I feel as though I’ve had someone die in the family, more though, because of the jeopardy the 15,000 people are now in of losing this opportunity.  I’ve said I’m still open to working out the problems in collaboration with donors who would really understand our shortcomings.  We will continue to promote solutions like SIHRH.

My bedroom for 3 weeks, on gravel, not as bad as I thought. Actually I was comfortable.

I slept inside the new AUMOHD office the first 3 nights of my stay, thinking that it was safe, having weathered the big quake and many aftershocks.  But on night #3 there were two aftershocks in a row that shook my bed and the whole room.  I moved out and down into the courtyard on the gravel with what turned out to be a great little solution, a one-person tent that was very nicely ventilated–as long as I had the big rain tarp covering the whole yard.  A 3/4inch blow-up mattress turned out to be just fine along with an expandable pillow.  I never had any aches or pains.  There were probably a dozen sometimes sharing the courtyard in several larger tents.  Most Haitians were not trusting the buildings at that time. I intentionally focused on what we could do to help people get back on track.  I saw a lot of devastation, but no dead bodies as was the case early after the quake.

The mother of a friend of ours lived in this house pictured here completely flattened except for the rear left.

Here is the rear of this elderly woman's house.

And here is the reason why the woman wasn't killed. One beam held up.

The armchair in which she was sitting and from which she was rescued.

As most accurate reporters have written the Haitian people have quickly, those who are able, returned to their normal routines, selling wares in their sidewalk stalls, going shopping, to work, to the banks. Even those who are housed in tent cities have to get about and continue on.

Taptaps (you tap on the drivers window to signl him to stop) are busy ferrying people up and down the huge avenue of Delmas with its ruins on every block.

Posted by: petertluce | March 31, 2010

Introducing Gentilhomme Jean-Gilles, Communications Trainee

TapTap ride Tom Luce and Gentilhomme Jean-Gilles 

Tom Luce in front seat of a “tap-tap” heading down Delmas Ave. the day before he headed back home via Florida (Mar. 7). In the cab with him is Gentilhomme Jean-Gilles who has worked with HURAH since 2007.  HURAH has offered him a scholarship of computers and a motorbike to become a Trainee In Communication.  With his reporting HURAH will be able to keep in touch with what is going on among our human rights defender friends and their future plans.  Gentilhomme lost his home and a family member in the quake and one of his legs was injured.  Before the quake, he had been enrolled in a technology school, which was destroyed.  HURAH and Gentilhomme will help each other in the months to come.  Please consider this “Trainee” program when you think you might like to support HURAH’s efforts financially.  By helping him with gasoline for a motorbike and phone bills he will be able to do more keeping HURAH up to date with work on the ground in Haiti.  Your HURAH donations have already provided Gentilhomme with a laptop and other communications gear. We also have asked him to work with the Haiti Response Coalition, the coalition of small grassroots Haitian relief agencies trying to fill the inevitable gaps in international relief efforts.

Posted by: petertluce | March 1, 2010

Relief Trip to Aquin

Two days after HURAH arrived in Haiti, the AUMOHD team, HURAH President Tom Luce and two Italian volunteers headed south to the town of Aquin to provide relief supplies to 26 families who were evacuated from Port-au-Prince, including the family of AUMOHD President Evel Fanfan.  AUMOHD volunteers proudly wore the tees and caps HURAH provided as a symbol of solidarity and to promote the purpose of the trip.
AUMOHD Volunteers Gather for Relief Trip to Aquin

AUMOHD Volunteers Gather for Relief Trip to Aquin

The AUMOHDMobile pickup is a godsend.  The truck carried the relief supplies and four people in the back plus two in the rear seat for the long long 3-hour ride south.
AUMOHDmobile loaded with relief supplies

AUMOHDmobile loaded with relief supplies

Below is the town square at Aquin, Haiti, with the  St. Thomas Aquinas in the background.  Even today,  no one dares go inside for services, so they hold them outdoors.

Aquin Town Square

Aquin Town Square

The southern region of Haiti is very beautiful and has great potential as an ecotourism center.  Housing conditions and surrounding infrastructure are poor and undeveloped, but remnants of the old colonial architecture casts a certain charm.

Fishing Boats in Aquin

Fishing Boats in Aquin

AUMOHD volunteers including Atty. Fanfan’s wife Cenia and relative stuff relief packages to be delivered to internally displaced persons.  Each package contains rice and other staples plus some simple pharmaceutical supplies.
AUMOHD Volunteers prepare relief packagesAUMOHD delivers the packages to quake victims gathered at a Baptist church.
AUMOHD delivers relief supplies

AUMOHD delivers relief supplies

Posted by: petertluce | February 27, 2010

Organizing for Change – Haiti Response Coalition

Jean Luc “Djalòki” Dessables co-founded the Haiti Response Coalition (HRC) to bring Haitian grassroots agencies  into the decision-making processes of foreign non-governmental organizations (NGOs). The challenge is to connect traditional NGOs–from the Red Cross to UNICEF to other international agencies–with the priorities that Haitians set for themselves to enable institutional change – to help Haitians help themselves.  HRC is an attempt to give local Haitian agencies a place at the table by uniting grassroots community groups as they prioritize, organize, and strategize for the future.

HRC Meeting

Djalòki Dessables Addresses the HRC

The national HRC meeting lasted two exhausting days.  All the proceedings will be posted on the HRC websiteHURAH provided English translation services for the HRC‘s press release.  The attendance the first day of the retreat was around 80 and grew to over 100 the second day.

HRC National Meeting Attendees

HRC National Meeting Attendees

The format used for the meeting was “Open Space” – a disciplined meeting methodology in wide use internationally.  The idea is to provide a work space – through groupings of like-minded folks driven by the same passion – for people to move together.  Participants were encouraged to write down a question or goal they are passionate about – given the general theme  of rebuilding Haiti.  Then these papers were posted and people “shopped” around to find like-minded individuals.  If a proposal attracted two 0r three people, it became a sub-group.  These groups then met and hammered out full proposals, and the members of the group become accountable for the actions they defined.

HRC Members in Action

HRC Members in Action

After each small group met a representative presented the small group’s recommendations.  The plenary group had the right to accept or reject the requests.

Community-based change in action - HRC Proposals

Community-based change in action - HRC Proposals

Read more about the HRC here.

Posted by: petertluce | February 23, 2010

A Delmas Tent City And A Visit to Evel Fanfan’s Neighborhood

After the HRC meeting, HURAH was invited to visit a tent city set up in a soccer stadium near AUMOHD‘s headquarters in Delmas.   Despite continued difficulties with aid distribution, the camp was very calm and organized, and each resident is identified according to the neighborhood they evacuated and their family connections.  Far from chaotic, the tent communities HURAH has visited have been impressive.

Delmas Tent City

Delmas Tent City

HURAH also visited Evel Fanfan’s Delmas neighborhood, very heavily damaged in the earthquake.  He and his family are lucky to be alive.  His home, only half-completed before the quake, was severely damaged.

Evel Fanfan's home

Evel Fanfan's damaged home

Other buildings in the neighborhood were completely destroyed.

Destruction in Delmas

Another complete collapse.

Collapsed homes in Delmas

These homes next door to Fanfan’s house were totally demolished.

Delmas damage

The stairs on the side of Evel’s home.

Cracked Stairs to Evel's House

Miraculously, no one in Evel’s family was injured in the quake.

Behind Evel's Home

Posted by: petertluce | February 22, 2010

Haiti Response Coalition meets at AUMOHD HQ

After a two-day retreat held at the Cannes à Sucre public park, the press committee of the Haiti Response Coalition (HRC) – a collaboration among Haitian progressive, social, and human rights groups  – met at AUMOHD‘s meeting space.  HURAH funds provided lunch and new tarps for the meeting.  Leading Haitian human rights lawyer Mario Joseph and Djaloki Dessables, long time Haitian-American promoter and HRC co-coordinator, were among the many attendees.

Press Committee Meeting at AUMOHD HQ

Press Committee Meeting at AUMOHD HQ

The HRC is designed to increase the influence of grassroots Haitian social justice groups over the decision-making processes of international relief organizations.  The United Nations and other relief agencies have created dozens of NGO “clusters” that are essential to getting services to those on the ground.  HRC will attempt to provide better access to these clusters.


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