(New York )—The human rights and dignity of all Haitians should be the driving force behind international assistance in rebuilding Haiti, said a coalition working for human rights and improving aid delivery in Haiti, as major donors gathered in New York to discuss the future of aid to Haiti. The groups—Bureau des Avocats Internationaux (BAI), the Center for Human Rights and Global Justice (CHRGJ) at NYU School of Law, the Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti (IJDH), Partners In Health (PIH)/Zanmi Lasante (ZL), and the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice & Human Rights (RFK Center)—have rallied a global call for a rights-based approach to international assistance, in advance of today’s Haiti Donors’ Conference.
The much-anticipated Conference brings together governments from around the world to announce their pledges of aid and discuss the future of assistance to Haiti. The team of organizations has issued a list of concrete recommendations for donor states, outlining a rights-respecting approach to aid delivery in advance of the Conference, as well as a letter calling for the same, signed by more than 300 NGOs from around the world. Both the letter and the recommendations highlight the need to change the way donor states provide aid, by empowering the Haitian people; strengthening the Haitian government’s capacity to guarantee human rights; and making assistance transparent and accountable to the Haitian people. These same concerns were also reiterated on March 23rd, when the groups provided testimony on aid and human rights in Haiti before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.
Among the recommendations, the groups called on donors to:
· Coordinate all assistance through a Multi-Donor Fund that incorporates the Government of Haiti and representatives of Haitian civil society and community-based organizations as voting members of the fund’s governing structure;
· Establish a web-based database in conjunction with the Government of Haiti and the Multi-Donor Fund to report and track donor pledges, disbursed funds, recipients, sector areas, expected outcomes, and project status;
· Prioritize the rights of the poorest and most vulnerable groups, including women, children, the disabled, the elderly, and internally displaced persons; and,
· Fund a mechanism, established together with the Government of Haiti, to deliver information about assistance projects to the Haitian people; measure, monitor, and make public the outcomes of assistance projects at the community level; and provide a mechanism for Haitians to register complaints about problems with project implementation, to be administered by the Government of Haiti in partnership with civil society and community-based groups.