“Aba MINUSTAH” means “Down with MINUSTAH” (the UN peacekeeping force in Haiti) in Haitian Creole. Last week’s roundup covered the breaking story of four UN peacekeepers who bound and raped an 18-year old Haitian man. Outrage over this incident has snowballed into a wave of protests, which build on nearly 7 years of discontentment with the UN among many Haitians.
Given the significance of these developments, we devote most of today’s round-up to this issue.
In Haiti: Several hundred protesters marched in the capital (video), and were tear-gassed by the police. @KOFAVIV, a Haitian grassroots women’s group that provides support to victims of sexual violence, reported via Twitter that dozens of tent camp residents were forced from their homes by tear gas fired into the tents.
In New York: Protesters demonstrated in front of the UN building, demanding reparations for the UN-introduced cholera and for an immediate drawdown of MINUSTAH forces.
In Uruguay: Civil Society groups in Uruguay – the country whose peacekeepers committed the assault against Johnny Jean – also demonstrated for all 1,000 Uruguayan troops to be withdrawn from Haiti.
US Response: Bill Clinton articulated the US response to the protesters, saying, “MINUSTAH has done way more good (audio) than harm here,” and pleading for this not to be interpreted as reflecting poorly on MINUSTAH at large.
Rebuttal: Nicole Phillips of IJDH provides a thorough rebuttal to Clinton (audio) that details both long-standing legal concerns over MINUSTAH’s presence, as well as a number of specific concerns regarding MINUSTAH’s misconduct.
In other news, Martelly and Clinton formed a council to court foreign investors, which is an integral part of their plan to revitalize the low-wage export sector in Haiti.
Finally, for the first time since his return earlier this year, there’s reason to believe former president Jean-Bertrand Aristide will appear in public to deliver a speech. The anticipated location is at the Aristide Foundation for Democracy, which is one of our partner groups.