201507 Advocating for the right to water: Haiti, the US and the IDB

Monday, November 9, 2009: 8:48 AM

Donna Barry, NP MPH , Partners In Health, Cambridge, MA
Amanda Klasing , RFK Memorial Center for Human Rights, Washington, DC
Monika Kalra Varma , RFK Memorial Center for Human Rights, Washington, DC
Margaret Satterthwaite , Center for Human Rights and Global Justice, NYU School of Law, New York, NY
Loune Viaud , Chief of Operations, Zanmi Lasante/Partners in Health, Boston, MA
Jude Jean , Zanmi Lasante, Cange, MA, Haiti
Evan Lyon, MD , Partners In Health, Boston, MA
Mary Kay Smith Fawzi, ScD , Department of Social Medicine / Program in Infectious Disease and Social Change, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA
In June 2008 the RFK Memorial Center for Human Rights, Center for Human Rights and Global Justice at NYU School of Law, Partners In Health and Zanmi Lasante, released a report titled: Woch nan Soley: The Denial of the Right to Water in Haiti. This report documents interference by the United States resulting in the delay of loans from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) to Haiti to implement water and sanitation improvements. It also demonstrates the violation of Haitian citizens' right to water and the resulting poor water quality and access in one of the key cities where the projects were to be implemented. After the report was released, the authors developed a strategy to raise awareness of this egregious violation of Haiti's rights, but also to prevent such a travesty from occurring again. Advocacy targets were U.S. Members of Congress and the Senate, IDB representatives in Washington and Haiti and Haitians affected by the halted projects. A few congressional offices were engaged which led to meetings with IDB representatives which clarified the status of the loans and projects and to continued involvement of civil society in the US and Haiti to monitor the loan progress and project implementation. A report launch in Haiti is scheduled for Spring 2009. Progress in engaging Haitians in monitoring project implementation and protecting their right to water will be presented as well as that made in Washington D.C. to prevent further obstruction of Haitian's rights to water.

Learning Objectives:
1 - Discuss the US role in blocking loans to Haiti to improve water and sanitation 2 - Explain the results of a water quality and health study in a community affected by the loan blockade 3 - Outline the advocacy steps and successes in the US and in Haiti to raise awareness about this issue and prevent a recurrence

Keywords: Advocacy, International Public Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I had primary involvement in the work covered in the abstract
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.