Yesterday, Secretary of State Clinton participated in a 1-day meeting in Montreal, Canada along with representatives of the NGO-community, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Haitian Prime Minister Jean Max-Bellerive, French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner, representatives from the UN, the IMF, the World Bank, the European Union, and many others to start talking about the development of a strategy to re-build Haiti.
This one-day meeting is a first-step toward a much larger reconstruction conference on Haiti, which will be taking place in the coming months. The US confirmed that they will host a conference to discuss Haitian aid in early March at the United Nations.
We strongly urge that a human rights framework be incorporated into all plans and during all phases of the relief effort and the reconstruction of Haiti including:
- Suspension of the US government’s current interdiction at sea policy, to be replaced by a procedure that ensures an effective method of identifying individuals at risk of persecution or other human rights abuses;
- Protection of children from abuse, exploitation and trafficking;
- Protection of the rights of internally displaced persons (IDPs);
- Protection of women and girls from gender-based violence, including sexual violence;
- Ensure that the Haitian authorities are able to the rule of law and establish adequate security including the establishment of a functional justice system ;
- Clarify the role of international forces in Haiti, and establish transparent accountability measures for these forces; and
- Cancel Haiti’s foreign debt absent any conditions that would have a negative human rights impact.