It is during our darkest moments that we must focus to see the light

Mwen se echantiyon yon ras kap boujonnen men ki poko donnen

Si vous voulez vous faire des ennemis essayer de changer les choses

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

The Importance of Women in Politics

Why include women in your party?

The foundation of democracy is to provide fair and equal representation for all people–including minorities and women. Women constitute at least half the population, therefore, their support of your party is essential. One of the surest ways to build the women’s support is to include them in your party structure.-----

Women can assist in identifying issues and policy development.
Political parties are organizations which aim to represent the interests of the people. Women can play a key role in helping the party to know what the interests of the people are because of the numerous roles they play in society. They are mothers, wives, farmers, business people, teachers and health care workers just to name a few.

This means they know what issues people are concerned with and what solutions they are looking for. Many different issues affect the mood of a party’s supporters. For example, women working in the marketplace may see sanitation in the market or quality of vegetables as a major issue. Many women may see domestic violence as an issue they want addressed. Local party leaders need to know what people in their area are thinking, and they must communicate this information to party leaders at the national level. Based on that information, they formulate policies to influence potential laws of the country.---------------------------------------------

Women can assist in targeting messages.
Because of the numerous roles women play in society, they can be very effective in targeting messages. One way to increase the effectiveness of a party’s message is to target that message to a specific group of people. For instance, farmers are often concerned with issues regarding property and land management. A party must analyze farmers’ needs, develop a message, and target that specific message to those families.

Targeting holds true for different groups of people, not just farmers, but other groups such as teachers, students, older people women, lawyers, the disabled. Women belong to all of these groups and can therefore categorize people into larger groups with common interests and concerns and relate to them.-------------------------------------

Women can identify and recruit candidates to participate in the elections.

Through incorporating women into the party structure, the party will have more success in reaching out to people. Women are active in their homes, in the marketplace, in their workplace, and in their neighborhoods. They can potentially exert influence over a lot of people if they are given information and encouraged. A woman in a high level position within a party structure can be even more influential. It is well worth the investment for a political party to train women for high level positions.-----------------------------------------

Women can establish other structures which are important to political parties.

Women can establish special interest groups with other women (students, widows, merchants, teachers, farmers, health-care workers, etc.) to support to party’s policies and to help the party achieve its political goals. For example, in the United States, organizations affiliated with political parties exist at the national and local level. Such organizations include the National Federation of Republican Women and the Young Republicans’ National Federation. These groups not only promote the party’s goals, but also encourage participation in the political process.-------------------------------------------------

What can women do as party members?-----------------------------


Bringing women on board to help manage a campaign will get their support. However, once they start working for your party, give them something to do. Otherwise, they may get bored and feel estranged. This could jeopardize their support for your party. Spend time providing them with whatever training they might need. This is part of institution building which can only make your organization stronger.---------------------------------------------


Every party suffers from a shortage of money which is precisely why fund-raising is a full-time job. Women who manage household finances are good judges to decide how to solicit people for funds and how to plan events for fund-raising. Again, knowing what issues are important to women is an excellent way to gain their confidence and pledges.----------------------


The importance of having the support of women has already been stressed. The more women you have within the party structure, the greater the women’s network you’ll be able to develop. Form a coalition of strong women activists to add to your party’s strength.----------------


If women feel the support of both men and women within a particular party, their confidence and support will only increase. Sometimes men are not sensitive to women’s issues and need training to understand the specific needs of women. Women in the party should offer advise and training in this area.-----------------------------------------

Developing campaign slogans, signs, advertising

Acting as strategists and planners

.Performing administrative duties

Serving as public speakers

Acting as district coordinators


Organizing local meetings
Recruiting and organizing volunteers and new party members----------------------------

Researching opposition, demographics, and issues
Remember that the contribution of women to a political part does not stop after the election They can bring in the votes, but their continued participation in the party is necessary to keep them.

Monday, April 16, 2007


Reporters Without Borders expressed shock today at the "brutal murder" of the correspondent of the weekly paper Haïti Progrès, Johnson Edouard, in the northwestern city of Gonaïves on 12 April.
"He may have been killed because of his work, the press freedom organisation said, noting that "Haiti is still one of the most dangerous countries for journalists in the Americas." Edouard was also a local official of the Fanmi Lavalas party.Gunmen broke into his home while he was sleeping and shot him in the head and chest before escaping through a window. A party official said he had been "executed" and claimed it was "not an isolated crime."Freelance photographer Jean-Rémy Badiau was shot dead at his home in Martissant, a southern suburb of the capital, Port-au-Prince, on 19 January after taking pictures of gang members.---------

Reporters sans frontières exprime son horreur après l'assassinat du correspondant de l'hebdomadaire Haïti Progrès et porte-parole local du parti Fanmi Lavalas, Johnson Edouard, dans la nuit du 12 au 13 avril 2007, dans la ville des Gonaïves (nord-ouest du pays)."Nous sommes choqués par la mort brutale de ce journaliste. Haïti reste l'un des pays les plus dangereux pour les professionnels des médias sur le continent. Au-delà de l'engagement politique de Johnson Edouard, nous ne pouvons pas exclure qu'il ait été assassiné pour son travail", a déclaré l'organisation. Des hommes armés se sont introduits au domicile du journaliste et ont tiré plusieurs coups de feu dans sa tête et son thorax pendant son sommeil avant de prendre la fuite par une fenêtre. Les services de police chargés de l'enquête n'ont pas encore pu identifier les auteurs et les motivations de cet assassinat qui intervient moins de deux mois après celui de Jean-Rémy Badiau. Photographe indépendant, il avait été tué par balles à son domicile de Martissant, dans la banlieue sud de Port-au-Prince, quelques jours après avoir pris des photos des membres d'un gang."Il ne s'agit pas d'un crime isolé. Johnson Edouard a été exécuté", a déclaré David François, un responsable régional de Fanmi Lavalas aux Gonaïves.-------------

Reporteros sin Fronteras manifiesta su horror ante el asesinato de Johnson Edouard, corresponsal del semanario Haïti Progrès y portavoz local del partido Fanmi Lavalas, ocurrido en la noche del 12 al 13 de abril de 2007, en la ciudad de Gonaïves (noroeste del país). "Nos sentimos conmocionados por la brutal muerte de este periodista. Haití sigue siendo uno de los países más peligrosos del continente para los profesionales de los medios de comunicación. Al margen del compromiso político de Johnson Edouard, no podemos excluir que le hayan asesinado por su trabajo", ha declarado la organización.Unos hombres armados penetraron en el domicilio del periodista y le dispararon varias veces mientras dormía en la cabeza y en el tórax, huyendo posteriormente por una ventana. Los servicios de policía encargados de la investigación todavía no han podido identificar a los autores, ni los motivos del asesinato, que se ha producido dos meses después del de Jean-Rémy Badiau, un fotógrafo independiente al que mataron a disparos en su domicilio de Martissant, en el suburbio sur de Puerto Príncipe, pocos días después de que fotografiara a los miembros de una banda.
"No se trata de un crimen aislado. Johnson Edouard ha sido ejecutado", ha declarado David François, uno de los responsables locales de Fanmi Lavalas en Gonaïves.

Thursday, April 5, 2007

State Department: Supporting Human Rights and Democracy in Haiti: The U.S. Record 2006

2006Released by the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor
Haiti is a republic with a constitution that calls for an elected president and a bicameral legislature. After two years of an interim government, relatively peaceful presidential and parliamentary elections took place on February 7 and April 21. Local elections were held on December 3. In the national election voters elected Rene Preval as President and filled 129 parliamentary seats. President Preval and the new parliament took office on May 14. -------------------------------
Despite improvements in the democratic process, the government's human rights record remained poor. The state no longer perpetrates or supports acts of political violence, but the following human rights problems were reported: occasional extrajudicial killings by members of the Haitian National Police acting outside their official capacity; overcrowding and poor sanitation in prisons; occasional arbitrary arrests; prolonged pretrial detention; judicial backlog and a judiciary subject to significant influence by the executive and legislative branches; severe corruption in all branches of government; failure to enforce trade union organizing rights; ineffective measures to prevent violence and societal discrimination against women; child abuse, internal trafficking of children, and child domestic labor; ineffective measures to address killings by members of gangs and other armed groups; and kidnapping, torture, and cruel treatment by gang members and criminals.-----------------------------------------------------------
The U.S. human rights and democracy strategy in the country focused on providing stability and assisting in the reconstruction of democratic processes, including respect for the rule of law. These efforts included securing peaceful national and local elections, reforming the criminal justice system, supporting good governance, assisting human rights organizations, and supporting reconciliation, reconstruction, and social reintegration efforts.--------------------------
The United States sponsored an initiative through the UN Development Program to provide political parties access to office equipment, media advertising, and transportation to remote areas. This assistance was given to political parties that agreed to adhere to democratic practices by signing a governability pact. U.S. officials also trained political party staff on developing sound policies and adequately managing their internal affairs. ---------------------------------------
A U.S. program trained 8,000 party representatives to better represent their constituencies from within government and as members of a peaceful opposition. The United States also supported an elections monitoring program that helped oversee the entire electoral process. By the end of the year the program had trained 1,529 poll watcher trainers from approximately 26 political parties and 144 party monitors. With U.S. funding, the Organization of American States helped more than 3.5 million citizens register to vote. An estimated 63 percent of registered voters participated in the elections ----------------------------------------
In January, before the first round of the presidential elections, the United States sponsored the last of a series of presidential debates among the candidates which was aired widely throughout the country. The United States also continued a successful civic education program and funded seminars, as well as a project that worked with local associations, teachers, and youth on the principles and practices of good governance.-------------------------------------
The United States sponsored a program implemented through the UN Office for Project Services to strengthen the external communication capacity of the country's electoral council during the electoral cycle. The UN office provided assistance for the electoral council to establish a press center within the premises, including a media workspace and a fully equipped press conference room. The project fostered improved relations between the electoral council and the media and facilitated news coverage of the elections.-------------------------
During the year a U.S. program provided technical assistance, equipment, and human rights training to recruits for the national police. A contingent of 50 U.S. civilian police assigned to the UN Mission to Haiti assisted with this program and others to improve security and respect for human rights. Another U.S. program continued the long-term process of improving justice sector functioning, including analysis of the causes of judicial incapacity, delay, and irregular detention. The program helped develop approaches to create an independent judiciary, improve case management; institute control and oversight of justice operations; train judges, clerks and prosecutors; raise the quality of legal education; and reduce excessive pretrial detention. -------------------------------------------------
To strengthen parliamentary activities, the United States initiated a comprehensive institutional strengthening effort with the newly elected parliament, successfully negotiating for the creation of a bicameral commission to provide strategic direction and oversight for the three-year project. The bi-partisan committee developed a long-term plan for improved parliamentary functioning. To promote establishment of decentralized government bodies to meet the country's constitutional requirements, in December the United States contributed funds for the administration of local and municipal elections.--------
U.S. funding produced two documentaries to raise awareness of issues that impact human rights and democracy. One documentary examined growing socioeconomic polarization and insecurity and how they affected persons in all walks of life. The second documentary brought together representatives from civil society to discuss priorities for the newly elected government and to provide guidance on fostering national reconciliation. Both documentaries were broadcast on seven television stations twice a week during the period of July and August 2006. They were also broadcast in the provinces during the same period.
To support media freedom in the country, a U.S. program provided election coverage training for journalists and operators of a network of 40 community radio stations. In addition, seven U.S. training programs, which included components on advocating for greater press freedom, helped journalists improve reporting on the electoral process to provide better information to potential voters. U.S. funding also sponsored an election soap opera that relied heavily on the country's oral storytelling tradition that was broadcast by 40 community radio stations and 12 private radio stations. ------------------------------------------------
During the year a U.S. program sponsored a seminar on ethics in journalism and communication tools for press attaches and journalists. The ambassador's commentary for World Press Freedom Day was published in two newspapers in October, Le Nouvelliste and Le Matin, and other weekly publications. The op-ed piece recognized the country's press corps for their role in furthering democracy. The commentary also noted the sacrifices that the journalists had made, persecuted at the hands of the government and the gangs. U.S. funding also enabled 12 journalists to participate in a Fulbright program on journalism and media freedom in the United States.-----------------------------------------------
To support and strengthen civil society and civic education, a U.S. program created the Civic Forum initiative to provide citizens with knowledge, skills, and encouragement to participate in democratic processes and engage their local officials in areas of common concern. Through this initiative, citizens formed local committees to propose solutions that relied on local resources and increased community participation. By year's end 47 new local Civic Initiative Committees were created to implement numerous improvement initiatives including small gardens, reforestation, sanitation, ravine conservation, road rehabilitation, and provision of potable water.-----------------------------------------
The U.S. also supported programs to reduce corruption including training to strengthen the management capacity and financial systems in key government entities, including the Ministry of Finance, the Superior Court of Accounts, the Commission for Adjudication of Public Contracts, and the Tax Service. U.S. assistance increased government accountability and transparency through a newly integrated financial management system that tracked and monitored government expenditures and financial operations.------------------------
To promote respect for human rights, a U.S. program provided grants and training for local organizations that offered medical and psychological assistance to 500 victims of gang violence. The program provided civil society groups with grants to conduct training on human rights principles, with the result that approximately 50 organizations received direct training to join an assistance network of human rights groups, hospitals, and grassroots associations that supported local communities.----------------------------------------------------
In December, U.S. funding sponsored an essay contest for youth to commemorate the 58th annual International Human Rights Day. Through this funding, 11 students received certificates for their winning submissions on human rights and nonviolence.---------------------------------------------------------
To support the government's efforts to combat the serious problem of internal and external trafficking of children for domestic labor (restaveks), during the year U.S.-funded programs supported a publicity campaign to raise awareness about child slavery, provided services to victims, and coordinated efforts for legislative reform. U.S. funding also provided antitrafficking training for representatives of the Ministries of Justice, Social Affairs, Interior, Education, and Foreign Affairs. The program also briefed members of parliament on trafficking and human rights treaties and trained parliamentary candidates on trafficking issues. The U.S.-supported program provided trafficked children with food, school fees, medical aid, transportation, informal education, shelter, and their return to region of origin. It also repatriated minors trafficked into the Dominican Republic. By year's end the program had provided direct and indirect assistance to approximately 800 children.-------------------------- -------Stanley Lucas -----Executive Director Washington Democracy Project(202) 256-6026 ---------The penalty good men pay for indifference to public affairs is to be ruled by evil men. Plato