UN to reduce its occupation force in Haiti

MINUSTAH has more than 8,700 soldiers and 3,500 police in the French-speaking Caribbean country. Its mandate expires October 15.

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, Monday September 19, 2011 – UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has announced plans to discuss with the Haitian government, the gradual reduction of MINUSTAH’s peacekeeping force in the country.

This follows violent protests about a sexual assault on an 18 year old resident, allegedly by five Uruguayan peacekeepers who left the country on Friday.

In a broadcast, Ban apologized for the incident, which he termed “totally unacceptable.”

While he praised MINUSTAH’s contribution to the country since 2004, he said he also understands the frustrations of the Haitian people. Continue reading

Israel’s treatment of Palestinians to dominate UN racism conference

9 September 2011

The September meeting is the third review conference of the Durban Declaration; the second was held in Geneva in 2009.

UNITED NATIONS, (IPS) – A high-level UN meeting on racism, scheduled to take place later this month, looks set to be dominated by questions relating to Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians.

Expressing fears that the meeting might turn out to be anti-Israel, several Western states, including Canada, Germany, the United States, Italy, Austria, the Netherlands, the Czech Republic and Australia, have indicated they will not participate.

The boycott is the result of an intense campaign by Israel, which has branded the meeting “anti-Semitic” even before it could get off the ground.

Still, an overwhelming majority of the UN’s 193 member states — along with dozens of human rights activists and organizations — are expected to actively participate in the meeting, scheduled to take place on 22 September during the 66th session of the UN’s General Assembly. Continue reading

Palestinian Youth Movement: ‘oppose the attempt to impose a false peace in false borders’

Statement on the September 2011
Declaration of Statehood

We, in the Palestinian Youth Movement (PYM), stand steadfastly against the proposal for Palestinian statehood recognition based on 1967 borders that is to be presented to the United Nations this September by the Palestinian official leadership. We believe and affirm that the statehood declaration only seeks the completion of the normalization process, which began with faulty peace agreements. The initiative does not recognize nor address that our people continue to live within a settler colonial regime premised on the ethnic cleansing of our land and subordination and exploitation of our people.

This declaration serves as a mechanism for rescuing the faulty peace framework and depoliticizing the struggle for Palestine by removing the struggle from its historical colonial context. The attempts to impose a false peace with the normalizing of the colonial regime has only led us to surrender increasing amounts of our land, the rights of our people, and our aspirations by delegitimizing and marginalizing our people’s struggle and deepening the fragmentation and division of our people. This declaration jeopardizes the rights and aspirations of over two-thirds of the Palestinian people who live as refugees in countries of refuge and in exile, to return to their original homes from which they were displaced in the 1948 Nakba (Catastrophe) and subsequently since then. It also jeopardizes the position of the Palestinians residing in the 1948 occupied territories who continue to resist daily against the ethnic cleansing and racial practices from inside the colonial regime. Furthermore, it corroborates and empowers its Palestinian and Arab partners to act as the gatekeepers to the occupation and the colonization of the region within a neo-colonial framework.

The foundation of this process serves as nothing more than to ensure the continuity of negotiations, economic and social normalization, and security cooperation. The state declaration will solidify falsified borders on only a sliver of historic Palestine and still does not address the most fundamental issues: Jerusalem, settlements, refugees, political prisoners, occupation, borders and resource control. We believe such a state declaration will not ensure nor promote justice and freedom for Palestinians, which inherently means there will be no sustainable peace in the region. Continue reading

Nepal: Bhattarai to visit US, UN, India

[Sealing deals and consolidating relations with imperialism and Indian hegemonists, Bhattarai sets agenda. — Frontlines ed.]

New Nepal PM to visit India, sidestepping controversy

By Sudeshna Sarkar, Kathmandu, Sep 7 : Nepal’s new prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru University scholar Baburam Bhattarai, will visit India after attending a UN meet in New York this month, thereby sidestepping the old controversy about Nepali premiers’ first foreign trip after assuming office.

The 57-year-old architect, who took oath of office last month, Wednesday received the Indian ambassador to Nepal, Jayant Prasad, to discuss his first official visit to India after becoming Nepal’s new premier.

The nearly one and a half hour meeting, the first between the Indian envoy and Bhattarai, was also attended by the latter’s wife, senior Maoist leader and former minister Hisila Yami, who confirmed the India visit.

Yami told journalists that Bhattarai will visit New Delhi on the invitation of his Indian counterpart, Manmohan Singh, after attending the 66th UN General Assembly in New York. Continue reading

Haiti: Under the gauze of “humanitarianism”, US-led imperialists suppressed democracy


WikiLeaks Haiti: The Aristide Files

Kim Ives and Ansel Herz in The Nation | August 5, 2011

US officials led a far-reaching international campaign aimed at keeping former Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide exiled in South Africa, rendering him a virtual prisoner there for the last seven years, according to secret US State Department cables.

The cables show that high-level US and UN officials even discussed a politically motivated prosecution of Aristide to prevent him from “gaining more traction with the Haitian population and returning to Haiti.”

The secret cables, made available to the Haitian weekly newspaper Haïti Liberté by WikiLeaks, show how the political defeat of Aristide and his Lavalas movement has been the central pillar of US policy toward the Caribbean nation over the last two US administrations, even though—or perhaps because—US officials understood that he was the most popular political figure in Haiti.

They also reveal how US officials and their diplomatic counterparts from France, Canada, the UN and the Vatican tried to vilify and ostracize the Haitian political leader. Continue reading

Ten years since the WCAR in Durban: Activists still press for an end to racism and xenophobia

July 29, 2011

DURBAN + 10 COALITION: A Peoples and NGO Initiative to Commemorate the 10th Anniversary of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action

To honor the 10th anniversary of the adoption of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action at the United Nations World Conference Against Racism held in Durban, South Africa, and to continue the global fight against racism and xenophobia, a broad alliance of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) from the United States and worldwide have joined together to form the Durban + 10 Coalition.

The Durban +10 Coalition strongly welcomes the UN General Assembly holding of a High Level meeting at the level of heads of state and government to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the adoption of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action (DDPA) on Thursday, September 22nd, 2011, with the theme “Victims of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance: recognition, justice and development.”

The Durban + 10 Coalition unequivocally supports and embraces the advances embodied in the DDPA, and is dedicated to ensuring that the DDPA remains the cornerstone of the UN’s program to combat racism. We see the DDPA as central to pressuring the governments of the world to adopt and thoroughly implement national plans of action to eradicate racial discrimination, inequity, colonialism, xenophobia and related intolerances. We further stand opposed to the slander and sabotage against the DDPA and 10th anniversary spearheaded by the United States, Canada, Israel and several members of the European Union, particularly Italy, the Netherlands, and the Czech Republic, to suppress the rights and demands of the many groups protected by the DDPA, including Migrants, Indigenous Peoples, African and African descendant peoples for restitution and reparations and those of the Palestinian people for self-determination. Continue reading

Haiti Before and After Aristide’s Return

Counterpunch, April 11, 2011

by Robert Roth

On April 4th, Haiti’s electoral council announced that, according to preliminary results, Michel Martelly had been selected Haiti’s new president. A kompa singer and long-time proponent of Jean-Claude Duvalier, Martelly worked with the dreaded FRAPH death squads that killed over 5000 people in Haiti after the first coup against President Jean- Bertrand Aristide in 1991. Martelly supporters had announced they would “burn down the country” if he were not selected.   Only a small number of Haitians – around 20% by most estimates – voted in the elections, the smallest percentage in 60 years to participate in any presidential elections in  the Americas. Fanmi Lavalas, the party of Aristide and by far the most popular in Haiti, was banned from participation. Why should people vote? It was a “selection,” not an “election,” we were told over and over again. By the second round on March 20th, Haitians had to choose between Martelly or Mirlande Manigat, a right-wing member of Haiti’s tiny elite. One Haitian friend told us, “This is a choice between cholera and typhoid. You cannot make such a choice.”

Yet the bitter taste of the dismal elections could not diminish the joy of “the return.” As the plane carrying President Aristide and his family back from a 7-year forced exile in South Africa approached the Port-au-Prince airport on March 18th, there were about 50 of us in the inner courtyard of his home. A day before, we had watched quietly as dozens of Haitians methodically painted walls, swept the same floors over and over again to make sure they were spotless, and fixed any last remnant of the destruction that took place at this house after the coup on February 29, 2004.

We had heard that President Aristide (called Titid throughout Haiti) would arrive at  the airport around noon, but we had gone to the house earlier to avoid the crush. I had come with a dear friend, Pierre Labossiere, representing the work of the Haiti Action Committee. We were both honored and overwhelmed to be there. Continue reading