June 2012

“Waiting for Helicopters”? Cholera, Prejudice, and the Right to Water in Haiti (Part II)

June 29, 2012


by Deepa Panchang
June 29, 2012

“Where you stand,” goes an old Haitian proverb, “depends on where you sit.” This article, the second in a series, will examine aid workers’ stereotypes and prejudices about residents of displacement camps in post-earthquake Haiti, stemming from acute disconnect between NGOs and the people they are there to work with. We explore how these misperceptions have perpetuated deliberate decisions to deny water and sanitation services to desperate survivors.

BIRTHING JUSTICE: When a Woman Goes out to Struggle: Solutions to Gender and Economic Violence

June 22, 2012


By Beverly Bell
June 20, 2012

Juana Ferrer |San Cristobal, Dominican Republic

One of the things we do in Via Campesina is oppose a culture of patriarchy, discrimination, and oppression. We’ve been able to plant the struggle against all the things that oppress us women as a responsibility of women and men in Via Campesina. Like: Via Campesina originally had a Commission on Gender, but it was all women while all the rest of the commissions – agrarian reform, food sovereignty, human rights, and others – were only men. Now we have an International Commission on Women, with men and women in it. On the International Coordinating Committee, we’re nine men and nine women. But what we’ve struggled for isn’t equality in numbers, but in participation and decision-making.

 

Social Movements' Letter to UNASUR Demands Withdrawal of MINUSTAH Troops from Haiti

June 21, 2012

Last week, Latin American social movements sent the following letter to defense ministers of UNASUR member states, demanding accountability from the UN and withdrawal of MINUSTAH troops from Haiti. Distributed by our friends at Jubilee South.

Dear Sirs:

We commend the Ministers of Defense and the High Representatives for Foreign Relations of UNASUR’s Member States for the consideration given at their meeting at Asunción, Paraguay, on June 5, to the situation in our fellow country Haiti, and we support the recognition expressed in their Declaration of the importance of consolidating a policy, on behalf of UNASUR, of a sustained cooperation which “respects the sovereignty and the self-determination of the Haitian people” and which achieves “a tangible improvement in the living conditions” as the necessary basis of security and lasting peace.

We therefore urge UNASUR’s member states to take firm and effective measures in that direction, including the immediate withdrawal of the 4,929 occupying troops (including both soldiers and military police) currently deployed in Haiti by 10 of UNASUR’s 12 Member States; an end to the MINUSTAH mission and of all other foreign military presence; and furthermore an end to the impunity and absence of justice that have allowed the continued toleration of violations of human rights by these forces.

URGENT ACTION: HAITIAN FAMILIES AGAIN FACING FORCED EVICTION

June 19, 2012

URGENT ACTION: HAITIAN FAMILIES AGAIN FACING FORCED EVICTION
Update from Amnesty International on the families in Grace Village
June 15, 2012

Hundreds of Haitian families are facing forcible eviction from a refugee camp where they have been living since the January 2010 earthquake. Representatives of the landowner, and local police officers, have been threatening and harassing them.

BIRTHING JUSTICE: And You, What Are You Waiting For?: A World without Slavery

June 16, 2012

 By Beverly Bell
June 16, 2012

Helia Lajeunesse |Port-au-Prince, Haiti

The restavèk system is modern slavery. When a family takes in a restavèk to live with them, they stop doing any work in the house. The restavèk child has to do everything. If the child doesn’t work hard enough, they beat them. The child can’t eat with the family, and usually doesn’t even eat the same food – just scraps. He or she sleeps on the floor, often in the kitchen. They don’t pay the child; they just give them a little food. They never send him or her to school. The family views that child as an animal.

BIRTHING JUSTICE: Not Wasting the Waste: Creating Environmental Sustainability

June 9, 2012

By Beverly Bell
June 9, 2012

S. Ushakumari |Kerala, India

When we started organic farming, as I said, all the women came forward, but we understood that involving women still wouldn’t solve the issue of pesticides. We had to change the farmers, the men, also. Initially, we were not into marketing the organics. Our idea had been that the poor people should eat the food, so we encouraged that, and they were doing it. But then we thought, “Let’s start organic marketing, so we can motivate more male farmers to change their agricultural practices. At least it can be chemical-free, it can be pesticide-free, and it can be fertilizer-free later on.” And that really worked. It’s just very small-scale farming, but one can see the improvements in the productivity and in the diversity of the crops we cultivate. And because of our work, the Minister of Agriculture has framed an organic farming policy for the state of Kerala.

BIRTHING JUSTICE: Challenging Globalization Head-On: Women Confronting Poverty

June 1, 2012

By Beverly Bell
June 1, 2012

Mary Ann Manahan |Manila, Philippines

It’s very inspiring for many young feminists and young activists like me to see how, in the midst of globalization, the most vulnerable women are using collective action to build their strength. These are people who are considered victims, who’ve faced decades of being battered by wrong agricultural policies and by their husbands, of not being taken seriously by the government or even by their male counterparts in the farmers’ movement.

Women are called “shock absorbers” because they are the first to feel the crises caused by the economic and social insecurity of globalization, and right now specifically by the financial crisis. Essentially, the global economy is being run on the backs of women, especially women in the global South.