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February 2010: Haiti’s Human Rights Challenges and the Responsibility of the International Community

Introduction to the Month's Focal PieceAnnotation of

“Tragedy and Opportunity for Haiti” by Kara C. Mc Donald. Council on Foreign Relations. January 14, 2010.

~ The Editors

Richard BurchillWhat is the Best Use of the International Community’s Resources; Responding to Disasters or Trying to Strengthen Fragile States?
by Richard Burchill

“The idea of an international organization essentially taking over the functions of a state will be disagreeable to many. (…) But, with regard to certain cases, we must realistically ask what kinds of alternative solutions there are. Given the US history of intervention in Haiti, any talk of an external force taking control there will be disquieting. But the UN is already in Haiti, directly involved in trying to bring peace and security to the state. It is also clear that, in Haiti's current condition, there is no way the Haitian people will have the opportunity to effectively rebuild their lives, not just from the immediate disaster, but over the long term.”

Anthony ChaseA Time for Anger. And a Time for Rights, Not Charity
by Anthony Chase

"There are two alternatives. One is simply to provide charity and to be honest that such charity will not change much in Haiti or in other places around the globe, though it can ameliorate immediate suffering, which is, in itself, worthy. The second is to place human rights at the center of the development enterprise, such that it becomes less about saviors from abroad and more about empowering people on the ground to seize their own economic and political destinies."

Kurt MillsHope for Haiti?
by Kurt Mills

"In the end, the world is going to leave Haiti in the gutter, just as it has the DRC, Somalia, and many other places. After all, once the aid agencies leave and the earthquake disappears from the front pages, all we will be left with is the political context of rebuilding Haiti within a global system of inequalities. That does not bode well for long-term international support for Haiti."


Anna TalbotCan They Stay the Distance? The International Response to the Earthquake in Haiti
by Anna Talbot

“Certainly, Haiti is in a lot of trouble. Repeated natural disasters, combined with serious ongoing challenges to government and human rights, mean that this trouble is likely to continue for some time. The international community is rallying, however, and a significant amount of assistance is getting through and saving lives. By incorporating human rights considerations into the response, further trauma can be minimized."

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