For Immediate Release
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167
Haiti: * Canceling Debt * Adoptions * Just Back
MELINDA ST. LOUIS
Melinda St. Louis is deputy director of the Jubilee USA Network, an alliance of more than 75 religious denominations, human rights organizations and development agencies. She said today: "This weekend the G-7 finance ministers [who are meeting in Canada] must respond to the mounting global consensus to drop Haiti's debt. It's time our leaders announced their commitment to cancel Haiti's debts once and for all, including the new IMF loan. Debt cancellation is a critical step in the long road to Haiti's recovery." The Jubilee USA Network states that Thursday 94 members of Congress sent a letter to Treasury Secretary Geithner calling for the complete cancellation of debts claimed against Haiti.
Boyle, a professor of international law at the University of Illinois in Champaign, said today: "Various countries are right to say that the U.S. is occupying Haiti. As such, under the Fourth Geneva Convention the United States cannot be deporting or transferring Haitian children out of Haiti unless for emergency, life-saving medical treatment only available in the United States and not in Haiti."
Recently back in the U.S. from Haiti, where he has done extensive reporting over the years for Haiti Liberte and other outlets, Ives was recently interviewed, while in Haiti, by Democracy Now for a segment titled "How Western Domination Has Undermined Haiti's Ability to Recover from Natural Devastation."
Author of The Rainy Season: Haiti Since Duvalier, Wilentz is a professor at the University of California at Irvine. While in Haiti, she blogged for Time magazine; see her webpage: AmyWilentz.com.
She can address practices of environmental degradation that are often pursued in Haiti because of economic conditions, thus leaving the country more vulnerable to disasters. She can also discuss Haiti's politics, history, medicine and U.S. aid.
Physician assistant and co-founder of the House of Grace Catholic Worker in Philadelphia, Berrigan has been to Haiti over 15 times since 2004. She returned from Haiti very early Tuesday morning after a week-long trip with other healthcare professionals and Bishop Thomas Gumbleton. She said today: "There has been such an outpouring of donations but aid, food, water, tents are not getting distributed in a manner that's timely and efficient. In every community we went to, there was a lack of food and water. The distribution as far as we could tell is disorganized, uncoordinated and sporadic.
"Some distribution efforts are even creating mob scenes by just pulling up with some materials and/or tickets for people to obtain food. I watched this happen on Sunday. It would be best if those who are doing aid distribution could reach out and enlist the help of local organizations in the communities and to the Haitian people who are well known in these communities to assist them with the distribution. There has to be better communication with the Haitian people so that they are informed about what is happening.
"There has been such an emphasis on military shipments; Haiti does not need the military with arms. What is needed are commercial flights going into Haiti. There are so many people who want to go to Haiti with much-needed supplies and be of service in a manner that is truly critical for the Haitian people at this time: those who would provide health care, food, water, tents and compassion."
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