Support to the Recovery Process in Haiti: A Human Rights Approach

18 November 2010

Thank you Chairperson,

The Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) welcomes this Special Session focused on the future reconstruction of Haiti. This terrible earthquake has once again shown us the vulnerability of human life and the devastating impact of a natural disaster. However, it must be noted, that the extent of the horror faced by Haitians today is directly linked to its history of brutal colonial exploitation, systematic postcolonial oppression and punitive international trade relations. Long before the tragedy of this earthquake, the perpetual crisis that Haitians endured on a daily basis was carelessly ignored by the media and international agencies.

WILPF commends the UN for its fast and effective response and urges the strengthening of its position in leading multilateral relief and rehabilitation efforts. The UN should be at the forefront of humanitarian assistance and it should avoid placing a military face on relief aid. Humanitarian assistance does not have to be, and ideally should not be, provided by personnel in combat uniforms.

The Human Rights Council must guide future reconstruction efforts and adopt a Resolution during this Special Session that focuses on:

The protection of women against violence;
The participation of women in the planning of rehabilitation and development efforts;
Disaster risk reduction and preparedness projects, which include leadership roles for women;
And connecting relief, rehabilitation and development to democratic political institution building, with a focus on increasing the representation of women;
Finally, WILPF urges the Human Rights Council to acknowledge the role of Security Council Resolution 1325 on women, peace and security in disaster situations. Women have the right to be protected from violence and participate in decision making during all phases of reconstruction.

Thank you Chairperson.