Monday, December 6, 2010

Last post of the semester!

I have thoroughly enjoyed researching Haiti's 2005 revisions to the Penal Code and how the media reports changes of the law. At the end of this project, I have concluded that when Haitian legislators pass a new law, they should give more consideration to how the people will hear about it. Better utilization of popular media outlets and alternative methods of dissemination, such as text messages through cellular phones and posts on social networking sites would inform people about the legislative changes.

Next semester, I will be researching which methods of dissemination would reach the greatest number of people in a cost effective manner. Hopefully, I will be able to make recommendations and develop a plan for implementation.

I am very excited to continue my work in the Haiti Lab!

If you have any questions or comments, please do not hesitate to contact me at

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Other Online Press Networks that mention women's rights

Here is a brief summary of Haitian Press Network, according to their website:

(Translated in French)
"Our goal is to be a modern and interactive source for people who want to understand Haiti and be informed regularly.  Internet literacy and advancement is essential to Haiti's development. HPN provides this website at no cost to its readers because we want to contribute to the country's advancement."

And here is an article I found when I typed in "droits de femmes," (women's rights) in the search bar: 

  "To mark the International Day of Action for Women's Health, May 28, the minister for Women and Women's Rights presented the achievements of MCFDF in the field of women's health. With the support of its partners and non-state, the Department for Women will continue to play its role in defining and implementing health policies that address the specific health care for women concluded the minister." (1)

This HPN article, titled "Haiti, Post Earthwuake: A Concerned Effort by the State to Deal with the Problem of Rape,"  is about the movement to protect women in the "temporary" camps set up after the January 2010 earthquake: 

"On Thursday, May 27, on Mother's Day, the Minister for Women and Women's Rights Marjory Michel led a  delegation to visit the women and girls at Caradeux camp, which is near the University for Peace. Her visit announced the forthcoming launch of a campaign of awareness and education against sexual violence, especially in areas affected by the earthquake." (2)

Another website, called AlterPresse, provides news on Haiti related to human rights and development:

"AlterPresse wants to contribute to the dissemination of essential data on the complex political, economic, social and cultural involving social movements, organizations and promotion of human rights, movements for collective entrepreneurship, and support organizations development, research institutions and non-formal education, university, etc.. AlterPresse also discusses current events in the news, from a democratic perspective and research alternative."

(1) Olivier, Louis Joseph. "Haiti: Santé féminine, la Ministre Michel rassure." Haitian Press    

(2) Olivier, Louis Joseph. "Haiti, post-séisme: Pour une réponse concertée de l'Etat Haitienne à la  problématique du viol."Haitian Press Network. 01 Jun 2010. 06     
         December 2010.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Email from Peter Dailey

November 26, 2010

Dear Erin,

A word of caution. The events in Haiti from 1994 to the present were enormously polarizing and continue to be so. You should treat anything you are told with the proper degree of skepticism & that includes whatever I have to say. I'm a lawyer and writer, was an early supporter of the democracy movement, and in 2003 wrote a series of articles for the New York Review of Books that were highly critical of Aristide and Lavalas, and caused me a whole lot of shite, including accusations that I was working for the CIA, death threats, etc.  When the accounts of the Haitian government were opened in 2004 following Aristide's departure I was amused to see that Ricot had been receiving a monthly stipend of $15K to "get the message out." The two principal books on the period - Deibert and Hallward - agree on almost nothing, including the most basic facts. Although he is a great man, Paul Farmer is thoroughly unreliable on politics, and was as blind to Aristide's defects as he is to those of Paul Kagame in Rwanda, where Paul & Partners in Health spend a lot of time these days. I don't mean to mystify things unnecessarily , or suggest that the truth is unknowable, but I wouldn't place a lot of credence in anyone, particularly Americans,  who claims to speak for, or know, the wishes and desires of Haitian peasants - 75% of Haiti's population. Amen!

Good luck!
Peter Dailey

An Email from Joy Miksic, a Professor in Haiti

November 11, 2010

Dear Erin, 

What an important questions you raise.  In PAP, there are some sources for information – TV, radio and some newspapers.  However, in the rural cities and towns the only real mechanism I have seen is Radio (few libraries, TV is garbage info, no newspapers).  But I have never heard anyone from the government share this type of information on the radio – maybe it happens. 

We train secondary teachers, now in Ouanaminthe.  The teachers could share info like this, but they are getting no training.  Even if they happen to hear about this type of information it is also unlikely because they teach from rote materials developed years ago.

We always teach the UN declaration of children’s rights, and the corresponding Haitian declaration (2002).  I can confirm that the teachers I work with (up to more than 250 secondary now) do not know anything about these laws. Even tho’ they directly impact on teaching methods (they still use corporal punishment regularly).  This year we had a Lawyer teach that who brought in photocopies from an article in “le monitor” No. 80 Lundi 1 Oct 2001 “Corps Legislatif”.  The teachers were very very anxious to get this information.  I don’t know who gets copies of The Monitor, as there are no libraries in Ouanaminthe.

There are debate programs all over Haiti through FOKAL.  It would be interesting to ask them if they ever debate current legislation.

Good luck with your project.  Very important!
Joy Miksic
Pwof Ansanm

Radio in Haiti

Radio Kiskeya is a popular radio station broadcast from Port-au-Prince. On June 13, 2007, Radio Kiskeya aired a special on Solidarite Fanm Ayisyen (SOFA), a women's group that "seeks to challenge the Haitian society in general and state officials in particular on the extension of violence against women." SOFA conducted a report on violence against women and girls in Haiti that "illustrated the gravity of the situation and the lack of state intervention to curb gender violence." The SOFA report called for "mandatory issuance of medical certificates, criminalization of rape, partial decriminalization of abortion, regulation of concubines (placage), and the development of a family planning program." (1)

(1)  "SOLIDARITE FANM AYISYEN – SOFA." Radio Kiskeya. N.p., 09 Sep 2007. Web. 29 Nov 2010. <>

Contemporary Newspapers

Le Nouvelliste is a great newspaper, but I wanted to find a form of media that was less traditional. I stumbled upon Haiti Libèrte(, a "fresh, new Haitian weekly newspaper distributed throughout the United States, Canada, Europe, and Haiti." Over two million Haitians who live in North America and Europe read Libèrte in Creole, French, and English. In North America and Europe, Libèrte is distributed through newsstands or subscriptions, but in Haiti, it is sold through street vendors.

I searched for articles related to domestic violence and rape and found one titled, "A Victim of Imperialism," about a Haitian man named Mesac Damas who murdered his wife in Naples, Florida. (1) I did not have access to this issue because it was printed on September 30, 2009, but I found  Le Nouvelliste's coverage which said, "Mesac Damas has been in the past prosecuted for domestic violence, according to court records of Collier County. In 2005, he received a dismissal. They were married for two years but lived together for ten years." (2).

I wonder how Haitians, both inside and outside of Haiti, react when they see the term "domestic violence." Since there is no law prohibiting domestic violence, do Haitians truly understand what it is and why it is regarded as wrong in most countries? 

(1)  "A Victim of Imperialism ." Le Nouvelliste. N.p., 30 Sept 2009. Web. 29 Nov 2010. 

(2) "Mesac Damas, arrete!" Le Nouvelliste. N.p., 21 Sep 2009. Web. 29 Nov 2010.