OAS Permanent Council Remembers Haiti Earthquake of January 12, 2010
January 16, 2014
The Permanent Council of the Organization of American States (OAS) today received a report on the progress made by the government of Haiti four years after the devastating earthquake of January 12, 2010, during the continuation of the regular meeting that began yesterday.
The Permanent Representative of Haiti to the OAS Duly Brutus, described the tributes his country paid to the 200,000 victims of the earthquake on its fourth anniversary. Although the consequences of the disaster are still visible in the country, the Ambassador stated that "the Haitian people are still looking to the future with determination." Among the areas of progress made by the government of President Michel Martelly, Ambassador Brutus stressed that "thanks to a policy of building social housing," more than 90% of the people displaced by the earthquake living in tents have already been relocated. Four years after the earthquake, the Haitian Ambassador concluded, "a message of hope and trust is what we want to convey to the Haitian people."
Following the intervention of Ambassador Brutus, the Council watched a video on the many programs of the government of Haiti in the construction of housing; the delivery school supplies and other improvements in the education system; efforts to strengthen the agricultural sector, the justice system, public security and elections; developments in the supply of energy; tree planting efforts to protect the environment; the rebuilding of the Toussaint Louverture International Airport, and the construction of new hospitals, among other projects.
The Assistant Secretary General of the OAS, Albert Ramdin, who chairs the Working Group on Haiti and the Group of Friends of Haiti of the OAS, said the country "can be seen as a place of opportunity, as a country where perseverance has produced concrete results, improving the lives of many Haitians.” He added that “the government and the people of Haiti have worked tirelessly with local and international partners, agencies and countries around the world to find opportunities to develop the country and take it forward. Although there is still a lot of work to be done we believe Haiti can demonstrate tangible results and its achievements have been inspiring.”
In another item on the agenda, the Interim Representative of Brazil to the OAS, Breno Dias, submitted to the Council a report on the World Human Rights Forum, held in Brasilia from December 10 to 13. The Brazilian representative explained that participants in the Forum discussed a wide range of topics, including Internet regulatory frameworks, the violation of the right to privacy by national security services, transitional justice and the rights of vulnerable groups, among other issues. Ambassador Dias reported that the second forum will be held in Morocco this year, and the third in Buenos Aires in 2015.
In other business, several permanent representatives expressed the condolences of their countries to Argentina over the death of the poet Juan Gelman, who in his writings constantly fought for the punishment of those guilty of human rights violations during the military dictatorship in Argentina from 1976 to 1983.
During today's session the representatives of Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, Colombia, Haiti, Venezuela, Honduras, Trinidad and Tobago, Canada, the United States, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Peru, and Uruguay took the floor.
A gallery of photos of the event is available here.