The Right to Water in Haiti

Authors: Laguerre Marc-Ansy, Trimmino Marroquin Veronica
To anyone interested in learning about the evolution of the right to water in Haiti in respect to the Spiral Model, feel free to read our final paper. Be aware that this text is subject to copyright.

Introduction
The widespread lack of access to drinking water and proper sanitation systems is one of the most important obstacles in Haiti when it comes to complying with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and International Human Rights Law (IHRL). The historical legacy of inequality, the political instability, weak state consolidation and corruption of the government, as well as the persistent levels of extreme poverty, have contributed to the systemic inability of the Haitian government to deliver potable water to its inhabitants. The lack of access to this crucial resource continues to impact all aspects of life for most Haitians, contributing to poor health, food shortages and declining educational opportunities, resulting in a vicious circle of contaminated water consumption, ineffective public hygiene, persistent health crises and, chronic and deeply rooted poverty (Varma M., et al, 2008).

Haiti became independent in 1804 after 13 years of revolution against France. Although it was a very prosperous colony, once independent, Haiti faced major social, political, environmental, and economic challenges. Two years after independence, Jean-Jacques Dessalines, the founding father of the nation was assassinated, causing political instability characterized by authoritarian regimes for over 200 years. In 1915, president Vilbrun Guillaume Sam was killed by the population while trying to escape to the French embassy, which prompted the American Occupation that lasted until 1934. After a period of transition, from 1957 to 1986, Haiti lived under the tyrannical dictatorship of François Duvalier and his dynasty. After which Haiti transitioned into a “unstable” democracy, dominated by recurrent political instability, poor economic performance, chronic inequality and poverty, and environmental deterioration (Diamond, 2005). Haiti is also the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, with an annual GDP per capita of 765.7 U.S. dollars (World Bank, 2017).

This research paper analyses the Right to Water in Haiti since its independence, using the Spiral Model developed by Thomas Risse, Stephen Ropp and Kathryn Sikkink, as a framework to explain the process of change, asses the outcomes and make a set of recommendations to push the process forward and advance to the next stage.

1. The Right to Water
The UN General Comment No. 15, in Paragraph 2, states that “The human right to water entitles everyone to sufficient, safe, acceptable, physically accessible and affordable water for personal and domestic uses. An adequate amount of safe water is necessary to prevent death from dehydration, to reduce the risk of water-related disease and to provide for consumption, cooking, personal and domestic hygienic requirements” (UN General Comment No. 15, 2002).

The Comment calls on the States Parties to “adopt effective measures to realize, without discrimination, the right to water”, based on 3 factors: the derivation of a right to water from Articles 11 and 12 of the ICESCR; the centrality, necessity and ineluctable place of water in the rights to life, liberty, and human dignity contained in the UDHR; and prior recognition of this right in other international legal instruments.

The Committee used those three elements to conclude that there is a human right to water, because this right is not explicitly provided for in the ICESCR, and because, by its nature, a General Comment does not alter the explicit provisions of the ICESCR, nor does it create new rights beyond the parameters of what is contained in the ICESCR.

1.1 Legal Background for the Right to Water
Water is a limited natural resource and a public good fundamental for life and health. The human right to water is indispensable for leading a life in human dignity, and it is a prerequisite for the realization of other human rights.

In the UDHR, the process of implying rights is undertaken by relying on a well-established method of statutory interpretation in the realm of rights. That’s why water was not incorporated in this formulation, because it was considered implicitly included, in Articles 1,3 and 25(1), where the term ‘including’ shows that the component elements listed were not meant to form an all-inclusive list but serve as an indication of certain factors essential for an adequate standard of living. In this sense, satisfying standards of the Declaration cannot be done without water of sufficient quantity and quality to maintain human health and well-being.

1.2 Formal Recognition of The Right to Water
In July of 2010, For the first time, the UN General assembly formally recognized the right to water and sanitation in Resolution A/RES/64/292 and acknowledged that clean drinking water and sanitation are essential to the realization of all human rights. The Resolution called upon States and international organizations to provide financial resources, help capacity-building and technology transfer to help countries, in particular developing countries, to provide safe, clean, accessible and affordable drinking water and sanitation for all.

Following the UN General Assembly resolution, in September of the same year, the Human Rights Council with Resolution A/HRC/RES/15/9 affirmed that the rights to water and sanitation are part of existing international law and confirmed that these rights are legally binding upon States. It also called upon States to develop appropriate tools and mechanisms to achieve progressively the full realization of human rights obligations related to access to safe drinking water and sanitation, including currently unserved and underserved areas.

 1.3 Substantive Dimensions of The Right to Water
UN General Comment 15 defines 3 substantive dimensions for the Right of Water:

Availability: The water supply for each person must be sufficient and continuous for personal and domestic uses. These uses ordinarily include drinking, personal sanitation, washing of clothes, food preparation, personal and household hygiene. The quantity of water available for each person should correspond to World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines. Some individuals and groups may also require additional water due to health, climate, and work conditions.

Quality: The water required for each personal or domestic use must be safe, therefore free from micro-organisms, chemical substances and radiological hazards that constitute a threat to a person’s health. Furthermore, water should be of an acceptable color, odor and taste for each personal or domestic use.

Accessibility: Water, water facilities and services must be accessible to everyone without discrimination, within the jurisdiction of the State party. Accessibility has four overlapping dimensions:

  1. Physical accessibility: water, and adequate water facilities and services, must be within safe physical reach for all sections of the population.
  2. Economic accessibility: Water, and water facilities and services, must be affordable for all. The direct and indirect costs and charges associated with securing water must be affordable and must not compromise or threaten the realization of other Covenant rights.
  3. Non-discrimination: Water and water facilities and services must be accessible to all, including the most vulnerable or marginalized sections of the population, in law and in fact, without discrimination on any of the prohibited grounds.
  4. Information accessibility: accessibility includes the right to seek, receive and impart information concerning water issues.

1.4 Entitlements and Obligations of the State
The Right to Water implies certain entitlements and obligations for the state to respect, protect and fulfill the right.

Respect: The obligation to respect requires States to refrain from interfering directly or indirectly with the enjoyment of the right to water.

Protect: The obligation to protect requires States to prevent third parties from interfering with the right to water. States should adopt legislation or other measures to ensure that private actors—e.g., industry, water providers or individuals—comply with human rights standards related to the right to water.

Fulfill: The obligation to fulfill requires States to adopt appropriate legislative, administrative, budgetary, judicial, promotional and other measures to fully realize the right to water. States must, among other things, adopt a national policy on water that: gives priority in water management to essential personal and domestic uses; defines the objectives for the extension of water services, with a focus on disadvantaged and marginalized groups; identifies the resources available to meet these goals; specifies the most cost-effective way of using them; outlines the responsibilities and time frame for implementing the necessary measures; monitors results and outcomes, including ensuring adequate remedies for violations.

States must also, progressively and to the extent allowed by their available resources, extend water and sanitation services to vulnerable and marginalized groups; make water and sanitation services more affordable; ensure that there is appropriate education about the proper use of water and sanitation, protection of water sources and methods to minimize waste.

Obligations: Among the most important core obligations the State is required to guarantee the right to water, it needs to ensure access to the minimum essential amount of water, that is sufficient and safe for personal and domestic uses to prevent disease; as well as to ensure the right of access to water and water facilities and services on a non-discriminatory basis, especially for disadvantaged or marginalized groups and to take measures to prevent, treat and control diseases linked to water, in particular ensuring access to adequate sanitation.. To guarantee these, the State should adopt and implement a national water strategy and plan of action addressing the whole population; which needs to be devised, periodically reviewed based on a participatory and transparent process.

2. Water in Haiti
Haiti failed to reach the Millennium Development Goals for water and sanitation which aimed to reduce the percentage of people accessing to safe drinking water by half by 2015. This meant that access to water should have been greater than 76%, and access to improved sanitation greater than 85% (World Bank, 2007:11). However, as shown in Figures 1 and 2, Haiti performance was lagging as of 2015. In urban areas, less than 1 million people had access to pipe water, while almost 2 million had access to unimproved sources; and more than 3 million persons had access to unimproved sanitation.

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Figure 1. Access to water (World Bank. (2017)

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Figure 2. Access to Sanitation (World Bank. (2017).

Goal 6 of the Sustainable Development Goals aims to ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all by 2030. Yet, Haiti is unlikely to meet these goals, and data collected for many indicators can prove it. For instance, the proportion of people practicing open defecation was still 19% in 2015 (Figure 3), and the proportion of people using hand washing facilities on premises was less than 30% in 2015 (Figure 4).

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Figure 3. Proportion of People Practicing Open Defecation (unstats.un.org).

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 Figure 4. Proportion of population with basic handwashing facilities on premises (unstats.un.org).

2.2. Haiti’s known violations of Right to Water and Sanitation

Sufficiency: Water must be continuous and sufficient with an average consumption ranged between 50 to 100 liters according to WHO.

Violation: Water supply is not continued in Haiti. In some area, water supply is less than 20 hours a week.

Safety: Water must be free from micro-organisms or other substances that are a threat to health.

Violation: Cholera, a waterborne disease, has killed over 9200 Haitians and afflicted over 770,000 (National Geographic).

Acceptability: Definition: Color, taste, odor of water should be acceptable.

Violation: Water treatment facilities are not yet widespread in Haiti. 32% of households drink untreated water (VisiEau 2018).

Accessibility: WHO states that water has to be accessible within 1000 meters and 30 minutes.

Violation: Only 31% of the population have access to improved sanitation facilities while 64% have access to drinking water sources (VisiEau 2018).

Affordability: Cost of water should not exceed 5% of household income.

Violation: Fecal waste removal is unaffordable for the poorest Haitians (World Bank 2017).  Water truck in Port-au-Prince cost over $ 20 us, which is too expensive for many.

3. The Spiral Model as a Framework to Explain Change
The Spiral Model seeks to explain the five phases a State may progress through, as it brings about domestic human rights improvements in response to pressures from a network of domestic and international actors. In each of these phases, the model highlights how a network of domestic and international human rights NGOs, UN bodies and states promoting international human rights norms, can influence the human rights practices at a domestic level.

In an attempt to identify how, where and why international human rights norms matter to states, the Spiral Model depicts “several boomerang throws, with diverging effects on the human rights situation in the target country (and) disconfirms the notion that certain types of political, economic, or social systems cannot be subjected to change and that international human rights are fundamentally alien to particular cultures or regions of the world” (Risse, et al., 2013: 239).

The model uses 4 elements to explain the 5 stages (repression, denial, tactical concessions, prescriptive status, rule consistent behavior) of domestic Human Rights and the process of change from one stage to the next: scope conditions, changing scope conditions and “world time”, actors, and causal mechanisms.

Scope conditions refer to the different types of conditions in a country that affect the ease of compliance or the Human Right socialization. The first condition the model analysis is the regime type which indicates the mobilization potential or mobilization inhibitors the country presents. On the other hand, State Consolidation specifies the institutional capacity to comply with the entitlements to respect, protect, and fulfill a right. Likewise, the State control over the violations is indicated by the centralization of rule implementation for a Human Right issue. Finally, the last scope conditions considered by the model are material vulnerability which explains the control over resources, and social vulnerability, which explains the international or domestic reputation of the country’s compliance with the Human Right.

Domestic scope conditions may change over time affecting process of Human Rights change, and societal “openness” to socialization processes may vary in different historical periods. In other words, changes in conditions are affected by “world time”, which may speed or slow the process depending on the context and issue, changing robustness of the international Human Rights regime and transnational advocacy networks (TANs) over time.

Along with the scope conditions and changing conditions over time, the model places especial emphasis on 3 levels of actors involved in the changing process from one stage to the other. In this sense, usually one set of actors dominates each stage, being stronger and possibly able to drive the process forward. The violator State is the first level defined by the model and it includes violations via commission, complicity, and omission. Where State vulnerability is linked to scope conditions, and to domestic and international actor strength. The second level is composed by domestic opposition to the Human Right violation, required to endure change, because the stronger the domestic opposition, the more vulnerable the violator government to internal pressures, even without TANs. Finally, the third level of actors, corresponds to international supporters, who are often “the single most important cause of change toward initial concessions”.

For actors to drive the process of change from one stage to the other, they may use a variety of different “modes of social action,” aligned with 4 different causal mechanisms: coercion, incentives, persuasion, capacity building. Coercion, under a hierarchical authority is characterized by the use of force and legal enforcement to induce compliance. Under a logic of consequences, incetinves can be either sanctions or rewards. On the other hand, persuasion is characterized by a discursive power mainly manifested by arguing, naming and/or shaming through a logic of arguing or apporpaiatenes. Finally, to create the preconditions so that logic of consequences or of approprateness can apply, capacity building is funamental, and is mainly represented by institution building, education and training.

4. Spiral Model as Framework to analysis the Right to Water in Haiti
Using the Spiral Model and the key elements of the framework, the following section presents the analysis of the Right to Water in Haiti, since the country’s independence in 1804 to the present day. Based on historical facts and substantial evidence, the analysis presents a comprehensive attempt to address the failure to respect, protect, and fulfill the right to water in Haiti and aims to explain the process of change of the Right of Water from the first stage of Repression to the fourth stage of Prescriptive Status, where the right is now. By assessing the outcomes of each stage, a set of recommendations for Haiti are presented, to push the process forward and advance to the final stage of the Model: Rule-Consistent Behavior.

Continual requirements to pay its debilitating debt, which date back to its early days of independence, when Haiti was essentially forced to purchase its freedom from the French for an exorbitant sum, and which has further amassed during two centuries of political turmoil, foreign occupation, and corruption, have left the Haitian government unable to funnel its limited resources into social infrastructure programs like water and sanitation systems, with catastrophic effects on the health and well-being of the Haitian people.

The lack of clean water ranks high among the most serious of Haiti’s many serious human rights challenges. In 2002, Haiti ranked 101 out of 127 countries according to indicators such as quantity and quality of fresh water; the existence of wastewater treatment facilities; and the presence of legal structures, such as polluting regimes. Problems with Haiti’s water system did not develop in isolation, as the analysis shows, historical legacies and persistent extreme poverty have affected the ability of the government to deliver clean water to its people. The effects of this serious deprivation. reverberate beyond the basic capacity to drink or bathe; the scarcity of clean water impacts different aspects of daily life. Weakened by political violence, interference from external parties, institutional weaknesses and a long history of crushing debts, the Haitian government has been unable to provide reliable water to its urban population or their rural communities. This failure continues to fuel a vicious circle of contaminated water, weak public hygiene, poor health and chronic poverty.

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Figure 5. Spiral Model as Framework to analysis the Right to Water in Haiti

4.1. Stage 1: Repression
The Spiral Model states that there is Repression for a Human Right when there is little to no engagement in discussion of wrong-doing by the State regarding the violations of the right, and domestic opposition is too oppressed to present a significant challenge. Based on this definition of Repression, Haiti was in the stage of repression for the Right to Water ever since its independence in 1804 until 1900. Due to the political turmoil, the weak consolidation of the state, the social and economic vulnerabilities that the country was experiencing due to the new-found independence, during this period the wrong-doing regarding water and sanitation was not a preoccupation for the State or the other actors involved.

Since the revolution started in 1791, the slaves destroyed most of the colonial infrastructure to make its recolonization difficult (Diamond, 2005: 335). Food supplies, clean water, and sanitation facilities were mostly extinguished (Varma et al., 2008:5). While it was a very strategic approach, it reduced the population’s access to water and sanitation considerably. But that was not the greatest challenge. Only 25 years after the independence, in 1825, Haiti was coerced by France to pay an independence debt as compensation for the damage during the revolution. The amount payed to France, is equivalent to $21 billion US dollars in current currency.  Thus, improving the access to water and improving sanitation was impossible. To aggravate the situation, the US and France put an embargo on Haiti, and refused to acknowledge its independence. “Independence is the worst and most dangerous condition they can be in for the United States” said the American President John Adams in 1799 (Pezzullo, 2006:52). Under these conditions, the Haitian society was unable to oppose or pressure the government to resolve the water problem. It was until 1862, that the US finally recognized Haiti’s independence. Even though in 1883, Haiti payed entirely to France the independence debt, it still owed money from loans to French banks. Thus, by the end of the 19th century, Haiti had international relationship with other countries. But, with international relationship comes also international pressure which pushed Haiti to the next stage of the spiral model in 1900.

4.2. Stage 2: Denial
The stage of Denial is described as when a state refuses to acknowledge its wrong-doing regarding a right violation. From 1900 to 1942 Haiti denied its wrong-doing in the water and sanitation sector. The actors sparkling the shift to Denial was the international society, and the mechanism used was shaming.  During this stage, the civil society remained weak, and the GOH did not undertake any action for improving the conditions.

It started with a dysentery outbreak in Petit-Trou de Nippes in 1900, a disease that caused diarrhea to numerous people in the city. Some public health specialists in mission in Haiti blamed the government by reporting that poverty, bad alimentation, the use of impure water where among the causes of the dysentery epidemic (Behrmann, 1900:498).  But, the Government of Haiti did not take any actions to appease the critics. Instead, it was so corrupted that the country fell into political instabilities with multiple short-term presidencies. From 1902 to 1915, 8 presidents rose and fell, and two of them were severely killed by the population. Thus, the international blame was ignored; the validity of the norm regarding water and sanitation was not a preoccupation. Ultimately, all the political turmoil led to the American Occupation of Haiti in 1915.

During the occupation, the US carried a lot of projects: one thousand miles of road and medical facilities were built; the telephone network was modernized; the first radio station was opened (Abbot, 2011:64); water supply and sanitation projects were also executed (Gelting, 2013:665). This could be interpreted as a shift into the stage of Tactical Concessions, but it was not.  Those sanitations projects were not executed by Haiti itself, and the Tactical Concessions stage, as characterized by the spiral modal, requires the state to take symbolic actions in response to the pressure. Deliberate actions to appease the critics were taken only after the American Occupation, when Elie Lescot came to power. 

4.3. Stage 3: Tactical Concessions
This stage is characterized by state doing symbolic actions, not genuinely, to reduce the pressure received for violating a right. This stage started in Haiti in 1942 and ended in 2009. The actors provoking the shift were the Government of Haiti, and the international society. The mechanism used was mostly incentives: the US, the IDB, the IMF gave Haiti a lot of loan in this period.

The first signs of tactical concessions were when President Elie Lescot requested $ 350,000 US dollars for sanitation projects (Department of State, 1945); after that, in 1948, President Estimé solicited a group of experts from the United Nation to investigate the cause of water problems. Later in 1957, with Duvalier’s dictatorship, Haiti plunged into doing concessions merely to receive foreign aid. In 1964, Duvalier created the Centrale Autonome Metropolitaine d’Eau Potable (CAMEP), an institution managing the water supply in the metropolitan area; in 1977, the Service National d’Eau Potable was created to provide water outside the capital. As a result, these attracted a lot of foreign aid. Haiti received $4.3 million in 1971, $9.3 million in 1974, and $35.5 million in 1975 from the US (Pezzullo, 2006:108). By 1986, Haiti was among the top 3 regional recipients of loans from the Interamerican Development Bank (IDB) for water supply and sewerage (Gelting, 2013:666).

Unfortunately, Duvalier did not endeavor to put Haiti toward a more sustainable path regarding water and sanitation. Instead, the aid money was generally embezzled by the officials. In 1975 for instance, a project aiming to build 500 public latrines in Port-au-Prince was not executed because the aid money was siphoned off while millions of Haitians were living without latrine (Abbot, 2011:182). In addition, when Haiti was granted $22 million in 1980 by the IMF, Duvalier embezzled $16 million for his personal use while $4 million went in the hands of his corrupted militia (Ferguson, 1988:70). If Duvalier’s concessions were genuine, he could have reformed and regulated the water and sanitation sector in Haiti because his regime had absolute power. After Duvalier’s downfall in 1986, political instabilities made it hard to shift to the stage of Prescriptive Status; government after government Haiti continued with the tactical concessions. In 1996, with the support of the IDB, the Ministry of Transportation and Public Work (MTPTC) created the unit URSEP aiming to reform the water sector (US Army Corps of Engineers, 1999:5).

Meanwhile, the civil society gained strength. By the 2000s, numerous NGOs started working in the sector which enabled Haiti to move in the next level. The laws reforming the water and sanitation sector was drafted in 2006. It was then voted unanimously in the Haitian Parliament and was published on March 25th in 2009.  Haiti thus shifted from Tactical Concessions to Prescriptive Status.

4.4. Stage 4: Prescriptive Status
This stage is characterized by a genuine commitment of the state to respect a given right. Unlike the third stage, the actions undertaken in Prescriptive Status are not merely symbolic, but the state is genuinely committed to reduce the right violations. Since 2009, Haiti’s water and sanitation sector is in this stage. The reform of the water and sanitation sector created the “Direction Nationale de l’Eau Potable et de l’Assainissement (DINEPA)”, an institution aiming to develop the sector, to regulate it and to monitor the actors. This was a genuine commitment: It is the first time the water sector has been explicitly regulated. Before, the right to water was just defined implicitly in the Constitution (Varma et al., 2008:41).

The actors triggering this turn were the civil society, which strengthened during the third stage, in conjunction with international donors that focused on capacity building through education. For instance, Haiti Outreach focuses on increasing access to clean water, and hygiene education; Hope for Haiti has had a program of installing water purification systems and hygiene education since 2007; Haiti Water has had a program providing safe water in the West department since 2005. A consortium of NGOs, called the “Plateforme des ONGs en Eau Potable et Assainissement (PEPA)”, was created. Both international and domestic NGOs comprise PEPA. Furthermore, pharmaceutical companies and engineers allied with some NGOs to produce chemical treatment for water (Varma et al., 2008:17). That’s how the civil society strengthened. In parallel, international actors continued to support. For the first 3 years of DINEPA operation for instance, Haiti received $300 million from IDB and the Spanish Agency (Varma et al., 2008:17). Without that, the transition to the fourth stage might have been very unlikely.

With this effort comes also positive results. From 2000 to 2015 the proportion of people practicing open defecation decreased from 38% to 19% (SDG Indicators Global Database, 2017); access to water and sanitation has increased at a higher rate in urban areas (World Bank, 2017:12). However, this did not prevent Haiti to score only 61.4 out of 100 for the 6th goal of the SDGs in 2018. Therefore, the transition to the stage of Rule Consistent Behavior is not yet forthcoming.

4.5. Stage 5: Rule Consistent Behavior
This stage requires the state to consistently prevent or respond to violations systematically. The compliance to the right should not merely be prescribed in the laws, but it must be reflected in the society’s behavior. Unfortunately, the enjoyment of the right to water and sanitation in Haiti is not consistent to this day, there have still been various violations. For instance, less than 30% of the population still don’t have access basic hand washing facilities (SDG Indicators Global Database, 2017); only 54.1% of the population had access to improved sources of water within 30 minutes in 2012 (World Bank, 2017:17).

International and domestic actors are continuing their advocacy in the water and sanitation sector. However, many events counterbalanced those efforts. Yet, 8 months after the creation of DINEPA, an earthquake severely struck Haiti in 2010 causing more than 300,000 casualties (Figaro, 2011:27). This changed DINEPA’s focus from long-term goals to emergency. DINEPA helped in providing water to more than 1 million of displaced persons, and close to $100 million U.S. dollars evaporated in water, sanitation and hygiene (Gelting, 2013: 667). The same year, in October 2010, the cholera epidemic started. More than 6,900 people died while 500,000 caught the disease (Figaro, 2011:27). By 2012, $50 million U.S. dollar was already spent in response to the cholera outbreak. Haiti faces many other challenges such recurrent hurricanes, economic problems, political instabilities, and corruption which prevent it to move to the fifth stage.

5. Recommendations
As the analysis of each stage has shown, while the Government of Haiti is primarily responsible for ensuring the Right to Water, other key actors, such as international financial institutions, foreign States, nongovernmental organizations, and private companies, also have a role in solving Haiti’s water crisis. In addition to a diverse set of scope conditions and root causes that along with a weak state consolidation, a poor economy and chronic and persistent inequality and poverty are undermining the full compliance of the Right to Water in Haiti. In this sense, to ensure a sustainable solution, and the change from Prescriptive Status to Rule-Consistent Behavior, we recommend a comprehensive rights-based approach to the development and implementation of water projects.

In other words, we urge the government and all the non-state actors involved, to integrate norms, standards and principles of international human rights law into the plans, policies and processes of development, guaranteeing accountability not only to Haitians but also to the international community. Strengthening local entities, fostering economic growth through capacity building and development of human resources, is also fundamental for Haiti in order to achieve independence from humanitarian and foreign aid. Such an approach would enhance the Haitian government’s ability to deliver these services and the Haitian population’s right to access safe and sufficient water.

To consolidate the Rule-Consistent Behavior, is fundamental to empower people to change their own lives. A participatory approach where population can be routinely consulted on development matter, both in providing input on project design and in ensuring necessary modifications to the projects to maximize the realization of human rights, is fundamental to continue driving the process of change to the next stage. Community members must be involved in all efforts to improve the water situation; snd should be consulted during the development of water projects, especially concerning issues such as location of water sources, availability of water, sanitation precautions, timeframes for implementation, cost of water, and quality of water. This participation would help to ensure that water projects are empowering the Haitian people as rights-holders, and that the projects are adequately and accurately meeting their needs.

On the other hand, transparency of all entities involved in the development and implementation of water projects is essential to guarantee the compliance of the Right to Water, to deter corruption and target the elimination of inequalities on the provision of the right. Planning and institutional coordination for the long-term realization of the rights to water and sanitation is very important as well as publicly available information about water policies and programs, status of project implementation and detail how funds allocated for water sector projects are being spent should be publicly available. In this sense, since the government of Haiti does not yet have the capacity to effectively regulate the private sector, all groups responsible for water distribution or sale should be responsible for checking the safety of sources used for drinking water on a regular basis.

It is not only important to push forward the change into Rule-Consistent Behavior, but also to guarantee sustainability in the long run, to make sure there is no setback in the process. Tackling the underlying causes of the inability of the Haitian government to provide not only water, but basic needs to the people, is fundamental to advance in the process of consistently addressing and preventing violations of the Right to Water, guaranteeing sufficiency, safety, acceptability, accessibility and affordability for all, without discrimination, through participation, inclusion, transparency and accountability.

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World Bank. (2014). Haiti – Rural Water and Sanitation Project (English). Washington, DC: World Bank Group. http://documents.worldbank.org/curated/en/812661468033349316/Haiti-Rural-Water-and-Sanitation-Project

World Bank. (2017). Looking Beyond Government-Led Delivery of Water Supply and Sanitation Services (English). Washington, DC: World Bank Group.   https://openknowledge.worldbank.org/handle/10986/28997

Right to Water in Haiti .jpg

Author: marclaguerreblog

PhD Student in Civil Engineering at Rice University

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