` Anti-Government Protesters Take to Streets to Denounce US Involvement in Political and Economic Affairs’

#AceWorldNews – PORT-au-PRINCE – HAITI – May 19 – Around 1,200 anti-government protesters took to the streets of Port-au-Prince, Sunday, to mark the 211th anniversary of Haitian Flag Day and denounce US involvement in the country’s political and economic affairs.

Protesters gathered in the Bel Air district before marching through the streets calling for President Michel Martelly’s resignation. Demonstrators also set fire to a piece of material with stars and stripes print, shouting “Obama should not have supported this government.”

The protesters tried to reach the area near the National Palace but were blocked by a police cordon.

RT

#ANS2014

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` Victim’s of `Haiti’s Cholera Epidemic ‘ filed a `Class Action ‘ Lawsuit against `UN ‘ in a Federal Court in New York ‘

#AceWorldNew Victims of Haiti’s deadly post-earthquake cholera epidemic have filed a new lawsuit against the UN in a federal court in Brooklyn, New York, AFP reported.

They are demanding compensation over the organization’s alleged responsibility for the outbreak.

The class-action suit filed on Tuesday represents some 1,500 victims and is “the largest lawsuit against the UN regarding the outbreak to date,” plaintiffs’ representatives said.

There had been no cholera in Haiti for at least 150 years until it was allegedly introduced by Nepalese UN peacekeepers.

They were sent to the country in the wake of the devastating earthquake in January 2010.

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UN: ” Vatican and the `Rights of a Child` in Today’s World”

#AceWorldNews says UNITED NATIONS – last Thursday in Geneva a panel from the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, in an open hearing televised live on the Internet, grilled Vatican officials over the handling of cases of sex abuse by clergy, while neglecting to reference the many different sex scandals involving U.N. personnel that have plagued the organization for decades.

Pope Meets with UN 2013Bishop Charles Scicluna, the Vatican official responsible for prosecuting clergy accused of sex crimes over 10 years, from 2002 until 2012, explained to the U.N. panel that it is not the policy of the Holy See to cover up sex crimes committed by the clergy.

Archbishop Silvano Tomasi cautioned the U.N. panel that the legal jurisdiction of the Vatican to punish clergy criminally was often trumped by criminal laws within the jurisdiction in which the accused clergy resided.

Rights of a ChildThe Vatican ratified the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1990, but did not submit any reports until 2012, when the Vatican reported it was aware of 612 new cases of sexual abuse charges in 2012, 418 of which involved minors.

Since the 1970s, sex abuse scandals involving clergy have cost the Vatican a loss of credibility across the globe, with accusations the Holy See’s reaction until recently has been to shuffle the accused clergy to another diocese or assignment in an effort to cover up rather than prosecute the crime.

Pope Francis copes with sex-abuse scandal

In December 2013, after refusing a U.N. request for information on alleged sexual abuse cases involving the clergyPope Francis announced through Cardinal Sean O’Malley, the archbishop of Boston, the decision by the Vatican to set up a child sex-abuse committee involving a panel of experts charged with producing guidance of conduct for Catholic clergy and church officials.

In 2002, Cardinal Bernard Francis Law, then the archbishop of Boston, was forced to resign after accusations of sexual misconduct by priests in the Archdiocese of Boston. The resignation was triggered by particularly sensational accusations of child molestation involving Father John Geoghan tracing back to 1984 that resulted in Geoghan’s criminal conviction for indecent assault and battery on a 10-year-old boy.

Pope Francis raised further questions about the Vatican’s sincerity in prosecuting clergy accused of sex abuse when Law was given an appointment as archpriest at the prestigious Basilica of St. Maria Major in Rome.

Last Thursday, howeverin a particularly blunt homily delivered at a Vatican Mass, Pope Francis explained scandals in the Catholic Church happen because there is no living relationship with God and his Word, thus corrupt priests, instead of giving “the Bread of Life,” give a poisoned message to the faithful.

Pope Francis Radio Homily“But are we ashamed?” Pope Francis asked in the homily broadcast by Vatican Radio.

“So many scandals that I do not want to mention individually, but all of us know … we know where they are! Scandals, some who charged a lot of money [to] the shame of the Church! But are we all ashamed of those scandals, of those failings of priests, bishops, laity? Where was the Word of God in those scandals; where was the Word of God in those men and in those women? They did not have a relationship with God! They had a position in the Church, a position of power, even of comfort. But the Word of God, no!”

On Friday, the Associated Press reported Pope Benedict XVI defrocked nearly 400 priests in 2011 and 2012 for molesting children.

In a document prepared for release to the U.N., the Vatican confirmed a dramatic increase over the 171 priests removed in 2008 and 2009 for alleged sexual abuse.

The AP acknowledged “a remarkable evolution in the Holy See’s in-house procedures to discipline paedophiles since 2001,” when thenCardinal Joseph Ratzinger [subsequently elected Pope Benedict XVI] ordered bishops to send to Rome for review all cases of priests credibly accused of sexual abuse.

Et tu, U.N.?

Yet even as the Vatican is making strides to explain to the U.N. its efforts to clean house of sexual abuse, the international body head quartered in New York has its own skeletons in the closet.

On March 13, 2005, for example, Washington Post staff writer Colum Lynch reported “a culture of sexual permissiveness” has plagued U.N. peacekeeping operations worldwide for the past 12 years.

“The reports of sexual abuse have come from U.N. officials, internal U.N. documents and local and international human rights organizations that have tracked the issue,” Lynch wrote. “Some U.N. officials and outside observers say there have been cases of abuse in almost every U.N. mission, including operations in Ivory Coast, Sierra Leone and Kosovo.”

Meeting of MindsOn May 8, 2006, the BBC reported a widespread scandal in which UN peacekeepers were demanding “sex for aid” from girls as young as 8 years old in Liberia.

In 2008, an international scandal developed when U.N. peacekeepers in Haiti were involved in gang-rape charges in the Ivory Coast, and in 2011, Uruguayan President Jose Mujica apologized to Haitian President Michel Martelly over the alleged rape of an 18-year-old Haitian man by Uruguayan U.N. peacekeeping troops then in Haiti.

Despite a U.N. “zero tolerance” policy toward sexual abuse announced in 2003, the U.N. has focused serious attention on addressing sex crimes among more than 120,000 personnel deployed in 16 different peacekeeping missions globally, the New York Times reported in 2011.

“What do we do when those we entrust with our greatest hopes betray that trust?” asked Gerald Caplan writing in The Globe and Mail published in Canada on Aug. 3, 2012. “If the betrayers are United Nations peacekeepers, the answer seems to be nothing at all. There is distressing new evidence, most of it reported here for the first time, that foreign soldiers in the Democratic Republic of Congo can sexually and violently violate young girls with impunity so long as they wear that iconic blue beret or blue helmet.”

MaliIn 2013, the United Nations acknowledged in what appears to be a continuing problem for the U.N. worldwide its peacekeeping mission in Mali had received allegations of serious misconduct by its peacekeeping troops then in Mali, including an alleged incident of sexual abuse.

“The secretary-general is treating this matter with the utmost seriousness and, in line with established procedure, is in the process of notifying the troop-contributing countries,” Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s spokesman, Martin Nesirky, told a news briefing in New York on Sept. 22, 2013, in reference to the sexual abuse allegations against U.N. peacekeepers in Mali.

Additional Information Courtesy of Jerome K Corsi

 

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#Haiti Remembered and Four Years on Still Rebuilding People’s Lives

#AceNewsServices says according to the latest CN article the rebuilding of Haiti following the January 12, 2010 earthquake is either taking a lot longer than expected or is going reasonably well.

Darren Hercyk, Haiti country director for Catholic Relief Services, has found the perspective that prevails depends on who is visiting on a given day.

A girl sits outside a classroom at St. Anthony of Padua Church in the rural community of Petite Riviere des Nippes, Haiti, in this March 2011 photo. CNS/Bob Roller

A girl sits outside a classroom at St. Anthony of Padua Church in the rural community of Petite Riviere des Nippes, Haiti, in this March 2011 photo. CNS/Bob Roller

For newcomers, he told Catholic News Service recently, the country’s seemingly overwhelming disarray is a shock and they wonder where the billions of dollars in aid promised by the nations of the world immediately after the earthquake has gone.

“Others would be amazed by how much has been done,” Hercyk said.

He prefers to focus on what has been done, having been in Haiti for a year and a half guiding Catholic Relief Services’ largest country program.

For Hercyk and the hundreds of CRS staffers, the effort is more than rebuilding structures and facilities; it’s about strengthening Haitian institutions nationwide. Give Haiti another decade, he said.

Haitians need to see the change coming from Haitians,” he said from his office in the Delmas neighbourhood of the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince. “The road to sustainability goes through strengthening Haitian institutions.”

Those institutions include nongovernmental organizations and the Catholic Church.

“Strengthening Haitian institutions doesn’t mean just coordinating with them. It really means getting in there and having them do the project and you working with them while they’re doing them. That’s the commitment we’re seeing much more today,” he explained

“At CRS we realize we won’t see long-lasting change unless we invest in the church,” he said.

Among the efforts getting attention are education, health care, safety and security, housing, food and nutrition and more.

But Hercyk stressed patience.

Nearly 172,000 people remained in more than 300 tent camps Sept. 30, according to the International Organization for Migration, even though hundreds of thousands of displaced people have returned to their neighborhoods or moved in with relatives. In many cases the housing that is available is subpar and expensive. People everywhere live in tight quarters.

Affordable,  safe housing is among Haiti’s greatest needs. In response, CRS has set out in developing a pilot program with U.S. Agency for International Development in the community of Caradeaux. It calls for building 125 units whereby people can develop a sense of home ownership. If it works, it will be a model for other areas around the overcrowded capital, where nearly a third of Haiti’s 10 million citizens live.

Two other programs also deserve mention.

CRS continues to develop a country-wide education program that takes advantage of the strengths of a particular school and helps others see where improvements are necessary. The program stems from a survey released in June 2012 that tabulated details on every school in the country including data on the obvious, such as teacher salaries and availability of technology, and the not so obvious, such as access to safe drinking water and waste removal.

The report is being used to identify shortcomings, roadblocks to improvements, teacher training needs and building needs so that resources can be funneled appropriately to Catholic schools, the largest provider of education in Haiti. For the record, Catholic schools account for 15 percent of schools in Haiti, while public schools number just 12 percent of schools. The remainder are run by other religious groups or private entities.

A bed is seen in a room at St. Francis de Sales Hospital in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Jan. 30, 2010, weeks after it was destroyed by an earthquake. CNS/Bob Roller

A bed is seen in a room at St. Francis de Sales Hospital in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Jan. 30, 2010, weeks after it was destroyed by an earthquake. CNS/Bob Roller

On the health care front, CRS and the Catholic Health Association in the U.S. have helped build a nationwide network of eight hospitals — with two others about to join — to share information, purchase equipment and medication, improve business operations and offer training programs. Hercyk credited CHA’s technical know-how for improving hospital operations.

“Our role is to create the network which can be a stand-alone institution,” he said.

Meanwhile, construction continues on the new St. Francis de Sales Hospital in the capital. The hospital was destroyed in the earthquake, but served as a triage center for some of the most seriously wounded people for weeks under tents set up in an outdoor courtyard. Hercyk said CRS plans to turn over the completed build on Oct. 1 with the goal of opening the state-of-the-art facility in time for the fifth anniversary of the disaster.

Fallout from the introduction of cholera in 2011 continues to plague Haiti, however. While incidences are down, any major rainstorm will continue to push the water-borne illness into new areas. Health care workers have done tremendous work limiting the disease in a country rife with health care challenges.

Through Dec. 19, more than 695,700 cases of the disease had been reported by this PDF Haitian Ministry of Public Health and Population, with 8,515 deaths.

Courtesy of: CN

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“Ark of Return” Unveiled as Permanent Memorial to Re-Tell the Stories of 15 Million Slaves

English: African Burial Ground National Monume...

English: African Burial Ground National Monument, New York City Deutsch: African Burial Ground National Monument, New York City (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A Manhattan-based architect of Haitian descent was recently announced as the winner of an international competition to design a memorial that will be permanently on display at United Nations Headquarters in New York to honour victims of slavery and the transatlantic slave trade.

Unveiling Rodney Leon’s “‘Ark of Return”, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said the memorial “will serve as a reminder of the bravery of those slaves, abolitionists and unsung heroes who managed to rise up against an oppressive system, fight for their freedom and end the practice.”
The ceremony, held on the eve of the General Assembly’s annual debate, was also attended by the President of the body’s 68th session, John Ashe, who commended all participants in the competition for “being a voice of change and hope” whose ability to create meaningful artwork “deepens our faith in human goodness and decency, and for this, we are all grateful.”

The piece by Mr. Leon, a designer and architect of the African Burial Ground National Monument in lower Manhattan, features a “symbolic spiritual space and object where one can interact and pass through for acknowledgement, contemplation, meditation, reflection, healing, education and transformation,” according to its creator.

Mr. Leon’s work was selected from among 310 design proposals from 83 countries in a competition launched two years ago by the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), with support from the UN Department of Public Information’s Remember Slavery Programme, and Member States from the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and the African Union. Jamaica, as the Chairman of the Permanent Memorial Committee, was represented at today’s event by Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller.

UNECO Director-General Irina Bokova, who also participated, said she was “moved” to be participating in the event given she just returned from Haiti where the memory of slavery and the slave trade carries precious significance not just of suffering but also of “victorious fight from oppression for freedom”.

Slavery

Slavery (Photo credit: quadelirus)

The design had to be created around the theme of “Acknowledging the Tragedy; Considering the legacy; Lest we forget “. It was to be not only a symbol, but part of an educational process in memory of slavery and the transatlantic slave trade, and to architecturally embody each affected region of the transatlantic slave trade – Africa, the Caribbean, Europe, and the Americas.
It also had to artistically complement to the landscape of the UN Headquarters, described by UNESCO as “an iconic site that will deepen, both visually and spiritually, the visitor’s experience of this important environment.”

The winning design was unanimously chosen by a committee of five international judges who met at UN Headquarters in August. Ahead of the judging, they spoke with UN Television about how their decisions were shaped.UN Television about how their decisions were shaped.

Ashfar Isahq is the Chairman of the International Children’s Art Foundation. He said he founded the organization to harness children’s imagination for positive change.

“At the end of the day, I and my work with children means that I have to look at an inner voice that tells me that this is what children and future generations will like,” Mr. Isahq said. “I listen to that inner voice to make my choice.”

Curator and artist Dominique Fontaine said she was looking for a certain aesthetic value, one “that will appeal to the viewer.”

From New York University, Michael Gomez, a professor of History and Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies who specializes in the African Diaspora, said he was primarily interested in identifying a piece that spoke directly to the experience of the transatlantic slave trade and the significance of that trade.

“I was interested in finding a project that would in some way give expression to that experience, and would allow those who would visit the memorial to have a good sense of what that experience was about and its ongoing implication for various societies,” Mr. Gomez told UN Producer, Mary Ferreira.

Meanwhile, David Boxer, a former curator at the National Gallery of Jamaica said the real challenge for him was to find a piece that both spoke to the tragedy itself – which he said required a memorial in a “more traditional sense” – and something that is inspirational.

Mr. Boxer said he was looking for a piece “that looks to the future, that deals with the whole question of hope. That things are going to improve, that things are going to become better. So it’s how do you combine those two sentiments into a single monument.”

Completing the jury, Nadia Bakhurji, and architect, women’s empowerment advocate and   former Board Member of Saudi Council of Engineers, said she knew the winning design right away.

“I had emotional reactions to some of the sculptures and I knew which one would be the right one because it has to be the one that will really inspire thought-provoking ideas, make you step back and say – oh my God, is that really what happened and how can we prevent that from happening again,” Ms. Bakhurji said.

She added that she was also looking for a design that bridged educational and spiritual experiences.

 

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