Haiti Digest: October 21

The Worker Rights Consortium has released a new report that shows Haitian garment factory workers are routinely denied the minimum wage guaranteed by law: Scott Nova, the consortium’s executive director, said in an interview: “What goes on here is not some occasional violations where most companies are in compliance and a few are not. You have across-the-board systematic, willful noncompliance with straightforward labor law by a large margin in a way that’s very destructive to workers.” The report is especially troubling because it includes the controversial Caracol Industrial Park, which was backed by the United States as a model of international reconstruction and relief efforts.

The cholera lawsuit filed by the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti has created intense media focus on Haiti since being filed. This focus has resulted in high profile articles on the subject from major newspapers and magazines, and an increased consciousness of the issues facing Haiti. We hope that the renewed focus will translate into more direct action, and that audiences and advocates will have the patience required for these ‘marathon’ issues in the coming months and years.

The House Committee on Foreign Affairs has a new Chair. Ed Royce (R-CA) has built a track record of reform measures worth applauding. In May he introduced the Food Aid Reform Act (HR 1983), which would dramatically change and improve the way the United States handles food aid. Earlier this month he chaired hearings on aid accountability to Haiti, and has showed support for the Assessing Progress in Haiti Act (s. 1104). We hope that the new Chair will continue his reform efforts with the full force of his new position. Take action by sending your representative a letter in support of reform.

 

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