Africa Now October 26, 2016
Topic: Haiti Beyond Hurricane Matthew
Topic and Guest: Between September 28 and October 10 Hurricane Matthew devastated regions in Haiti, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Bahamas, Turks and Caicos Islands, states in the south-east of the United States, and the Canadian Maritimes. The storm hit Haiti on October 4 and is responsible for over 500 deaths and thousands were rendered homeless and are living in shelters. Activists on the ground have noted that the quick response by local elected officials and grassroots organizations to evacuate people saved lives. The re-run of the much-delayed presidential election on October 9 has been moved to November 20 due to Hurricane Matthew’s effects. Thus, Jocelerme Privert who became Interim President in February and whose term was expired in June remains in power. He was to guide the country through presidential, legislative and municipal elections with a new Provisional Electoral Council. The storm has also increased the number of people who have contracted cholera and other water-borne diseases.
In October 2010, Haitian citizens began being infected by cholera—an epidemic never recorded in modern Haiti. The source of the disease has been proven to be a United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (Minustah) base at which UN peacekeeping soldiers were negligently dumping sewage into a nearby river. But the UN consistently refused any acknowledgement of its role of bringing the epidemic into the country until August this year. But the institution still states that it does not have any legal responsibility to the victims of the epidemic, much to the dismay of UN Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights, Philip Alston who noted recently as quoted by The Guardian “The UN’s explicit and unqualified denial of anything other than a moral responsibility is a disgrace.” (From: "UN's own expert calls its actions over Haiti cholera outbreak 'a disgrace," by Ben Quinn, The Guardian, October 25, 2016).
In today’s Africa Now! we will have a conversation with human rights lawyer Nicole Phillips in Port-au-Prince. The conversation explores the domestic and international structural issues which exacerbate the effects of Hurricane Matthew; the role of Haitian grassroots organizations and local elected officials in assisting communities; an update on the case against the UN for its role in the cholera epidemic; and the pending presidential election. Ms. Nicole Phillips, Esq. is Staff Attorney, at the Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti (IJDH). Ms. Phillips is Assistant Director of Haiti programs and adjunct professor at the University of San Francisco, as well as a law professor at the Université de la Foundation Dr. Aristide (UNIFA) in Port-au-Prince.
Originally broadcast on WPFW 89.3FM, Washington, DC. Tune into Africa Now! live on WPFW 89.3 FM in the Washington, DC Metropolitan area or visit www.wpfwfm.org on Wednesdays from 1:00 to 2:00PM (Eastern).