Haiti: Martelly Opposed Sonia Pierre's Fight for Human Rights
Monday, 05 December 2011 08:27
by Samuel Maxime ..
Hillary Clinton, Sonia Pierre, Michelle Obama
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (defend.ht) - President Michel Martelly's politics oppose the life-long fight for human rights that the late Sonia Pierre, waged and was honored for.
Sonia Pierre fought most of her entire life against the statelessness of Haitians in the Dominican Republic.
Statelessness is a legal concept when someone doesn't have a nationality. It is the absence of a recognized link between an individual and any state.
In some countries, particularly, the Bahamas and neighboring Dominican Republic, a Haitian born in their land, to non-naturalized immigrants, is not granted citizenship.
This law was upheld by the Dominican Supreme Court on Friday December 2nd, not two days before Sonia Pierre passed, on December 4th.
Again, the neighbors of Haiti made it clear that millions of Haitians born and residing in their country would remain stateless.Michel Martelly's Role
The Haitian legislature and former President Rene Preval, resolved to cure the matter of stateless Haitians through a constitutional amendment process which spanned 2 years, October 2009 - May 2011.
The amendments accepted by the 48th and 49th Legislature and published in the executive journal of the state, Le Moniteur, on May 13, 2011, included article changes that granted every child born to Haitian parents, regardless the country of birth, Haitian nationality.
The new Constitution allowed for the multi-nationality of Haitians and was a direct response to millions in the Dominican Republic, the Bahamas and other countries in the region where statelessness has left these persons without constitutional right to any country.
Three weeks into the presidency of Michel Martelly, the Constitutional amendments would be put into a controversy by President Michel Martelly, who still currently holds Haiti in a constitutional crisis.
Martelly said his basis for declaring, by an arbitrary decree, a return to the Constitution of 1987, un-amended, was because the text in the Constitution published in Le Moniteur by former President Rene Preval contained errors from what was proposed and accepted by parliament and published in the executive journal.
Members of Parliament disagree. Defend Haiti got in contact with several Senators who say after a 3 week working session this past summer with President Michel Martelly and his team, were minor errors found and these errors were fixed.Human Rights Group Urges Martelly
In October, independent Haitian human rights organization, the National Network for the Defense of Human Rights, presented a report on the matter of the constitution saying:
The National Network for Defense of Human Rights (RNDDH) followed with attention the process that led to the adoption of this Act and its publication in Le Moniteur. It is its duty to share with everyone interested in the question, a summary of the Act adopted with comments and recommendations of the organization.
The RNDDH published a report that presented, in table, the previous Constitution, the proposed amendments of the Constitution and what propositions were voted on and accepted by Haitian lawmakers. Concluding this report, the RNDDH made this recommendation:
With all these considerations, the RNDDH recommends that the President of the Republic, Michel Joseph Martelly, to find the formula allowing it to promulgate the Constitution Act, 2011 amending the Constitution of 1987.Haiti has been operating under a false Constitution for 184 days now.
Defend Haiti spoke to President Martelly on the matter of the Constitution on November 1st. On the phone with myself, Samuel Maxime, I asked the president to explain the circumstances preventing him from publishing the Amended Constitution to which he said they, the Haitian government, were working to fix the Constitution the way it was voted. But with travels to other countries and summits around the world, it does not seem that the nation's Constitution, its bonding document, is not of high priority to this president.
The Government of Martelly-Conille are at opposites with what they say and what they do. Several members of the government, Daniel Supplice, Minister to the Presidency of Haitian Living Abroad, and Guy Lamothe, Ambassador of Haiti to the Dominican Republic, among others are on Haitian radio stations Monday morning, lauding Sonia Pierre for her goodwill and good fight, but the actions of the government are directly opposed to her fight.The Battle of Sonia Pierre
Sonia Pierre, 48, was an activist since the early age of 13 when she was arrested for defending the rights of Haitians and their children in the Dominican Republic.
Pierre's fight for these rights earned her the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights award in 2007. In 2010, she was honored by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and First Lady Michel Obama with the U.S. International Women of Courage Award. By for Haitian President, Rene Preval, Pierre was awarded the "Honor and Merit" and Rank of Knight of the Republic for defending Haitian rights.
Pierre even had to deal with strong criticism from the Dominican government, harassment from businessmen and even death threats for working in protest for sugar cane cutters, immigrant workers and their children who are regularly abused.
Mrs. Pierre founded the Movement of Dominican-Haitian Women (MUDHA), an organization working to help the Haitians and their children who live and suffer racial discrimination in the Dominican Republic.