Human rights and human dignity at the heart of the reconstruction | Development and Peace

Human rights and human dignity at the heart of the reconstruction

March 10, 2015
Marianne Drouin, Communications Officer

After the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, the nation received a massive influx of humanitarian assistance. However, assistance was not always allocated in such a way as to respect human rights. In some cases, it was distributed in poor conditions, where people had to line up for hours to receive food assistance, or without taking into account the real needs of communities.

Be that as it may, Development and Peace has always prioritized human rights and human dignity in the reconstruction process in Haiti, and are incorporated into all aspects of both humanitarian assistance, and of our reconstruction and development program.

The following video presents how the partners of Development and Peace are working to reconstruct post-earthquake Haiti and highlights the crucial role that they have played as civil society organizations.

The work of the National Human Rights Defense Network (RNDDH), an organization supported by Development and Peace, has made it possible to report and document cases of human rights violations in humanitarian interventions in Haiti, and to take action to re-establish respect for the rights of victims. RNDDH has notably focused on the living conditions of displaced persons living in tents, and has produced public reports with recommendations.

In this sense, civil society has a central role to play by intervening with authorities to defend ordinary citizens: “We must not only make proposals, but also speak out when things are going badly, and put pressure on state structures to get the work done,” argues Claudette Werleigh, former prime minister of Haiti, as well as a former minister of external affairs, and a co-founder of the Institute for Leadership Training and Technology (ITECA).

An organization supported by Development and Peace, ITECA encouraged earthquake victims in the areas where it works to return to their homes after the earthquake, “so that people wouldn’t be completely cut off from their communities and could begin farming activities once again,” explains Ms.Werleigh. Whereas some organizations have invested considerably in temporary or transitional shelters and ‘tent villages’ have taken hold, ITECA instead chose to invest in solid and sustainable dwellings.

Development and Peace supports a great many other partners in Haiti that are working to defend and promote human rights or that consider human dignity to be fundamental, including the Ecumenical Center for Human Rights, the Foyer Maurice-Sixto and the Haitian Foundation for Reconstruction and Development.