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Haiti: ICRC activities between July and September 2005

30-09-2005 Operational Update

Round-up of ICRC field activities, including visits to people deprived of their freedom, health care, water and habitat, promotion of international humanitarian law and support for the Haitian National Red Cross Society.

 Protecting people deprived of their freedom  


As part of its activities in behalf of people deprived of their freedom in connection with armed violence and political tension, the ICRC visits permanent and temporary places of detention in Haiti. The aim of these visits is to promote respect for life and human dignity and if necessary to improve conditions of detention.

  • Nine visits were conducted in eight places of detention in Port-au-Prince and in areas in the north of the country.

  • A total of 1,796 persons benefited from these visits.

  • The ICRC is following up the individual cases of 90 persons, including 24 who were visited during this period.

  • Contacts were strengthened with senior officers of the Haitian national police, especially those in the inspectorate general, the directorate and the head offices.

  • The ICRC supplied 300 mattresses to the prison administration to improve conditions of detention.

  • At the prison in Port-au-Prince, work was done to facilitate access to water for detainees and prison guards. A new pump was installed, water yards were repaired and showers upgraded. To improve rubbish collection and removal, the ICRC installed new dust bins and supplied wheelbarrows, trolleys and cleaning products.

 Projects in Cité Soleil  


In Cité Soleil, a working-class neighbourhood in Port-au-Prince beset by violence, the ICRC is providing support for a first-aid post that transfers wounded people to hospital facilities. In addition, the organization is carrying out repair work on the water-distribution system and making other improvements. The water-distribution network providing clean drinking water is currently supplied by a single borehole. The ICRC aims to achieve a 60% increase in the production of drinking water by putting two other boreholes already connected to the network back into service.

In the past three months:

  • The local Haitian Red Cross chapter transferred to hospital over 200 people injured in the violence in the area.

  • The treatment premises of the Haitian Red Cross were enlarged to help improve the care provided for casualties.

  • To ensure access to drinking water, the ICRC and the city water board (CAMEP) have made weekly deliveries of fuel to a pumping station since July. In August, the ICRC also paid for the repair of an electrical power line that had been defective since May. The inhabitants had water during only six days in June because the power line supplying the pumping station failed and violence deterred the CAMEP from delivering fuel. In September, because of the action taken, drinking water was distributed almost every day.

  • Nine 12-member teams from Cité Soleil supported by the ICRC cleared drainage canals and removed litter.

  • The ICRC continued to cooperate with the local refuse-collection service (SMCRS), which emptied five ICRC-funded rubbish containers on a regular, almost daily, basis. Fifteen additional containers are being refurbished in SMCRS workshops.

Fresco paintings with me ssages promoting hygiene were executed by local artists on the facades of refurbished latrines in the Sou-Tè district.

 Cooperation with the Haitian Red Cross  


The ICRC and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies are working together to build up the operational capacities of the Haitian Red Cross. Support is being provided for first-aid workers to prepare for emergency situations and to help restore family links and disseminate humanitarian principles.

  • The ICRC is providing financial support for the construction and repair of regional chapter premises in Fort-Liberté and Ouanaminthe. The work began at the beginning of September.

  • The regional and local chapters in Belladères, Lascahobas, Mirebalais, La Gonâve and Jacmel were visited and their leaders familiarized with the new Haitian Red Cross statutes and with the principles of good governance.

  • A total of 220 first-aid kits were distributed to Haitian Red Cross regional chapters.

  • To prepare for the National Society’s general meeting, held on 15 October, which for the first time elected its governing bodies, regional meetings were organized by all the regional chapters. Eight of the 13 regional chapters elected new leaders.

  • A dissemination training guide is being prepared for trainers.

 Promoting humanitarian principles  


The ICRC seeks to prevent – or at the very least to limit – the excesses of armed violence by spreading knowledge of international humanitarian law and humanitarian principles. It is especially import ant that the red cross and red crescent emblems, personnel of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, and medical activities be respected at all times. The ICRC maintains a permanent dialogue with all the parties – especially bearers of weapons – with a view to gaining access to the victims of armed violence.

  • Dialogue was maintained with the country’s authorities, the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH), the Haitian national police and the various armed groups.

  • Meetings were initiated with political parties.

  • Five presentations were organized for MINUSTAH: one for Chilean officers at Cap-Haïtien, one for Jordanians and three for Chinese, Pakistani and Jordanian components of the Formed Police Units at Port-au-Prince.

  • Five presentations were organized for the 778 police recruits of the 17th graduating class and two for some 60 police officers of the national police inspectorate general.

  • Guidelines for ethical behaviour were produced in Creole for law-enforcement personnel and distributed to police recruits by the ICRC delegation.

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