HAWG Working Review of Commentary on Haiti

Initiated in March 2023, this is a live document
Lead researcher, Christina Prinvil, HAWG and Haitian Women’s Collective Policy Fellow

Compilation Framing

Given the chaotic nature of voices from outside of Haiti, the Haiti Advocacy Working Group has initiated this curated list of proposals from various authors primarily from outside of Haiti on what the international community should be doing. The hope is to identify expertise and considerations from across a spectrum of authors, while also presenting an opportunity to enhance these proposals with better considerations for the Haitian context and Haitian voices. As all concerned move forward, we should center Haitian-led solutions and voices in this work.

This is a live document, and additions will be included over time to keep abreast of new suggestions. If an article, letter, or other resource is missing that you think should be included, please send it to us at [email protected]

To read the full compilation please click here. 

Slides from the presentation on this resource

As the humanitarian crisis in Haiti continues to grow, rooted in insecurity, failure of governance, and economic decline, questions echoing through the international community include, “what should we do to help?” “will anyone lead a foreign force?” “is foreign intervention the right way forward?” and more. 

Many emphasize the need to focus on Haitian-led solutions based on the hard work of civil society and human rights organizations, particularly those that deal with the most marginalized. Others have urged the U.S. and others to stop propping up the current Haitian government leadership. Some have presented strong warnings for avoiding repeating the history of foreign interventions that have left Haiti worse off, not better. 

These are necessary components of a better way forward for U.S. foreign policy toward Haiti. Yet, cohesion and detail around more specific proposals remains elusive, whether originating from Haiti or the broader international community. Moreover, many proposals particularly from outside of Haiti lack consideration of the interplay between governance, insecurity, and the economy, which could be more effectively approached holistically and concurrently.

The document has been crafted like a literature review covering three main topics: governance, short-term security, and the economy. The various forms of literature take the shape of congressional reports, op-eds, news and press releases, podcasts. While the document does encompass a lot of information, it is far from comprehensive. We hope, however, to reflect back to all commenting on Haiti what is actually being said by non-Haitians and mostly particularly what is missing.

This document is not an endorsement of any particular proposal, but has been drafted as a tool for advocates and policy makers to compare perspectives. 

Recommendations generally fall under these themes:  

  1. A National Dialogue
    1. Such a dialogue should utilize the Montana Accord’s Preamble as a starting point 
    2. The U.S. provide funding 
    3. Should include both Prime Minister Ariel Henry and the members of the Montana Accord 
  2. The Montana Accord
    1. Ample literature expresses either support for or against the Accord 
    2. It is believed that the International Community must Respect Haiti’s sovereignty in order for this accord to be taken seriously
  3. Support for the Haitian National Police (PNH)
    1. Some literature argues that supporting the PNH requires reinforcing the police through special units, robust vetting, and adequate resources
    2. Others argue that such support requires involving the community and providing training
    3. Others have provided alternate solutions altogether that support the belief the supporting the PNH is not enough
  4. The Build Back Better Concept
    1. Involves investing massively in social programs and youth development 
    2. Reframing Haiti’s image
    3. Localization
    4. Support from the diaspora and Haitian businesses 
  5. Foreign Intervention
    1. Various perspectives are for it or against it with different reasons why
    2. Includes alternatives to foreign intervention as well as essential elements if intervention is to occur
  6. Global Fragility Act
    1. The literature discusses specific elements and outcomes necessary for the success of GFA in Haiti

Review of available literature reveals a few key gaps, especially regarding the role the economy plays in Haiti’s stability. Literature seems to overstate U.S. incentive in the crisis, without sufficiently addressing why involvement should be appealing. Moreover, many proposals do not sufficiently take into account Haitian perspectives and approaches to these challenges. 

We hope this serves to accelerate problem solving, and we encourage everyone to explore beyond this limited resource, particularly the Haitian voices working so diligently to address the current situation. We hope to inspire more imagination in policymaking, a willingness to get more detailed, and a better ability to heed the past to inform the future.

To read the full compilation please click here.