10 Things the U.S. Can and Should do for Haiti

14 Jan

I’m reposting this brilliant list.

By Bill Quigley of the Louisiana Justice Institute

One. Allow all Haitians in the US to work. The number one source of money
for poor people in Haiti is the money sent from family and workers in the US
back home. Haitians will continue to help themselves if given a chance.
Haitians in the US will continue to help when the world community moves on
to other problems.

Two. Do not allow US military in Haiti to point their guns at Haitians.
Hungry Haitians are not the enemy. Decisions have already been made which
will militarize the humanitarian relief – but do not allow the victims to be
cast as criminals. Do not demonize the people.

Three. Give Haiti grants as help, not loans. Haiti does not need any more
debt. Make sure that the relief given helps Haiti rebuild its public sector
so the country can provide its own citizens with basic public services.

Four. Prioritize humanitarian aid to help women, children and the elderly.
They are always moved to the back of the line. If they are moved to the back
of the line, start at the back.

Five. President Obama can enact Temporary Protected Status for Haitians with
the stroke of a pen. Do it. The US has already done it for El Salvador,
Honduras, Nicaragua, Sudan and Somalia. President Obama should do it on
Martin Luther King Day.

Six. Respect Human Rights from Day One. The UN has enacted Guiding
Principles for Internally Displaced People. Make them required reading for
every official and non-governmental person and organization.
Non-governmental organizations like charities and international aid groups
are extremely powerful in Haiti – they too must respect the human dignity
and human rights of all people.

Seven. Apologize to the Haitian people everywhere for Pat Roberts and Rush

Release all Haitians in US jails who are not accused of any crimes.
Thirty thousand people are facing deportations. No one will be deported to
Haiti for years to come. Release them on Martin Luther King day.

Nine. Require that all the non-governmental organizations which raise money
in the US be transparent about what they raise, where the money goes, and
insist that they be legally accountable to the people of Haiti.

Ten. Treat all Haitians as we ourselves would want to be treated.

Bill is Legal Director at the Center for Constitutional Rights and a law
professor at Loyola University New Orleans. He is a Katrina survivor and has
been active in human rights in Haiti for years with the Institute for
Justice and Democracy in Haiti.

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