Child protection and rights in Haiti in the wake of the crisis

By Jerome Paul Eddie Lacoste *

Submitted to AlterPresse on June 11, 2022

On Tuesday, June 7, 2022, the Faculty of Anthropology of Haiti State University hosted a morning conference to mark the beginning of the celebration of National Child Rights Day in Haiti, which is usually held on the second Sunday in June. And exchange around the theme: child protection and rights in Haiti in the current context. Professors, researchers, actors, in the field of child protection in Haiti, presented a very relevant conference on the subject at the event. Students from social work, psychology, sociology and social communication departments took part in the gathering. The event was held at the Salomon Pierre Louis Auditorium of the Faculty of Anthropology. Thus, we were able to note the intervention of Dr. Erdel Lubin, Professor Hansie Pierre and Jerome Paul Eddy Lacoste, Mr. Roosevelt Jean-Louis, Assistant-Director and Coordinator of Social Services at the Institute of Social Welfare and Research (IBESR). Castra Russelline Millard of the Center for the Promotion and Defense of the Rights of the Haitian Child (CEPODEH).

Professor Joshua Vaval, Coordinator of the Coordinating Council of the Faculty of Anthropology, proceeded to the official inauguration of the activities. He emphasized the importance of childhood in all human societies and in Haiti. He highlighted the critical situation that Haitian children are currently facing in the face of violence in the country. He highlighted the fact that children are currently internally displaced and cannot go to school because of the violence. This constitutes a violation of the fundamental rights of the child.

Professor Erdel Lubin focuses his intervention on the question of family and child resilience in the current context. From the outset, the professor questioned the notion of resilience to the misuse of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and international organizations operating in the south and in Haiti. The use of the term elasticity, even in well-defined situations, would be synonymous with a certain contraction bounded by a certain hypocrisy. However, Professor Lubin noted the potential of Haitian families and their forms of mutual solidarity, especially in complex situations. He challenged the social workers and students of this discipline in the present context, especially within the framework of the reflections that are made at the level of Professor Body in the Department of Social Work. What should our social workers do in such a context? Asking heavy questions with logical implications for consideration in the theoretical context of discipline.

For his part, Mr. Roosevelt Jean-Lewis presented the legal framework for child protection in Haiti and the responsibilities of the Institute of Social Welfare and Research (IBESR) in this regard. In this sense, the speaker presented a compilation of texts of law and administrative provisions adopted by the institution. The same is true of the evolution of the adoption system in Haiti, including the possibility of full adoption under Haitian law. Many questions were asked. Relevant answers have been provided. And the debate was rich between the two sides.

For her part, CEPODEH’s coordinator, Castra Rousseau Millard, made a presentation presenting a diagnosis of the plight of children in Haiti in the current context. He emphasized not only the lack of access to basic services like nutrition, education and health but also how these children are affected by the armed violence that is now taking them to many neighborhoods like Martisant or Croix-des. – The mission of living in a temporary shelter or public place in unpleasant situations and in an unhealthy environment. The coordinator of CEPODEH presented the Centre’s intervention and support for the work of promoting and defending the rights of the child in Haiti. For Professor Hansie Pierre, he chose to focus his interventions around themes: social policy, childhood and family. The speaker defines the concept of social policy. He presented the social policy measures taken by the Haitian state over the past five years and studied their inefficiency and ineffectiveness. He recalled the work of Dr. Legrand Bijoux in the Haitian family and Professor Guy Dalemond’s approach to mutual support inside and outside the Haitian family as a basis for solidarity and expression of social policy.

Finally, Professor Hansie Pierre highlighted the need to set up a reliable database for population identification in order to rationalize social programs. The audience asked many questions, some more relevant than others, and Professor Jerome Paul Eddie Lacoste moderated the morning.

We live in difficult, traumatic, painful times. The country is going through a difficult, tragic and painful time. As we write this, we learn the sad news of what happened to Professor and director-filmmaker Arnold Antonin and his wife Beatrice. We sympathize with the director’s anguish, saying only enough and too much. Yet, the pain of the economic situation should not forget the structural aspects and problems of our society. The question of childhood is one of these problems. This morning, June 7, 2022, the Faculty of Anthropology, even symbolically, launched its spotlight on this issue. In this troubling and anxious situation, let us not forget the cause of children, the real social, political and economic actors of tomorrow. This is the wish of the faculty.

June 8, 2022

* Professor in the Faculty of Anthropology at Haiti State University

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