- For defenders
- How can I help?
Three years after the earthquake hit Haiti, it is striking that nearly 360,000 people still live in camps, despite the billions thrown into the country. Talking to people here, the resentment against 'internationals' is tangible, many speaking of a country under occupation. There is a sense that many organisations come but don't deliver on their promises.
The ineffectiveness of international aid, the cholera and the sexual violence scandals surrounding the UN mission (MINUSTAH), and the role of foreign countries in the last elections, fuelled this sentiment. Before travelling, I was told to keep this in mind and not to be surprised if some people refused to meet. I was then surprised that not a single human rights defender left my emails unanswered. At first I thought this was good, but I then realised why they all answered: they are increasingly concerned about their own security and the space available for civil society.
In the last year or so, at least four cases were reported of HRDs being targeted because of their work (while no cases were reported in previous years) and the public discourse around civil society has become more hostile.