Emergency & disaster relief for Haiti

Get help to Haiti now: see Madre's Appeal and CODEPINK's Sister to Sister Relief information.

Women's voices from and on Haiti - from our archive

Haiti's Occupation
by Amy Wilentz

"American occupation of Haiti has begun again, now that Jean-Bertrand Aristide has been neatly pushed out. Again, there are 3,000 foreign troops on Haitian soil. Again, the Haitian premier has been handpicked by outsiders. And again, the Haitian people have been excluded from their own governance..."

Also by Amy Wilentz:
Coup in Haiti by Amy Wilentz

"For those who know Haitian history, this has been a time of eerie, unhappy déjà vu. Part of the pain is to see the elected president coerced out of office by heavy-handed pressure from the United States and France, accompanied by a show of force and the threat of a blood bath. But to also hear that he's been spirited off to a secret location is to be bluntly reminded of the fate of the fabled leader of Haiti's revolution, former slave and stable boy Toussaint L'Ouverture, who was entrapped by the French, bound, and hustled away from Haiti on a ship, to die in solitary confinement in a fortress prison in the Jura mountains in France..."

Some Statistics on Haiti
· The richest 1% of the population controls nearly half of all of Haiti’s wealth.
· Haiti has long ranked as the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere and is the fourth poorest country in the world.
· Haiti ranks 146 out of 173 on the Human Development Index.*
· Life expectancy is 52 years for women and 48 for men*.
· Adult literacy is about 50%.*
· Unemployment is about 70%.*
· 85% of Haitians live on less than $1 US per day.*
· Haiti ranks 38 out of 195 for under-five mortality rate.*

*Source: “Investigating the Effects of Withheld Humanitarian Aid,” a report of the Haiti Reborn/Quixote Center.

Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA) returned from Haiti on February 10, 2004. She held a press conference the next day in which she made the following statement, excerpted in the American Friends Service Committee's Peacework Magazine:

Insurrection in the Making: A MADRE Backgrounder on the Crisis in Haiti
by Yifat Susskind, Associate Director, February 2004

" A political crisis that has been brewing in Haiti since 2000 exploded during the second week of February 2004. Members of an armed movement seeking to overthrow Haiti’s President, Jean-Bertrand Aristide, went on a rampage in a dozen Haitian towns, killing more than 60 people. The towns remain under siege by criminal gangs led by former paramilitary members..."

Women, peace and security resources: Haiti
Civil Society and NGO Reports, Papers and Statements | UN Documents | Government Statements and Reports | Books, Journals and Articles
A listing of women's groups in Haiti is at the Peacewoman site:

The United Nation's UNIFEM website does not have updated information as of mid-April 2004, but there is much good background on the situation of women in Haiti:

"...Haiti ranks the lowest on UNDP’s Gender Development Index (GDI) outside of Sub-Saharan Africa and has the highest rate of HIV/AIDS in the hemisphere...
Chronic unrest and violence have had a severe impact on women’s ability to improve their political and economic security, especially as previous regimes targeted women and women leaders as a means of terrorizing the populace. Nonetheless, Haitian women have actively protested the unrest that has inhibited development on their Island. Furthermore, Haitian diaspora women remain active in the struggle for the realization of Haitian women’s human rights. However, the situation in Haiti has improved little over the years. Ironically, bicentennial celebrations were hampered by ongoing protests against the current regime..."