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Latest update : 2010-01-22

Noam Chomsky calls for Haiti’s sovereignty to be respected

In a letter in today’s The Guardian, Noam Chomksy and several others call on the international community to respect Haiti’s sovereignty and express outrage at the US for “prioritising the accumulation of foreign soldiers [in Haiti] over the distribution of emergency supplies.”

The Guardian this morning leads with a photo of Prince William seated next to a throne in Melbourne’s Government House. The opportunistic shot suggests a prince waiting in the wings to become the British Sovereign!

Inside, Haiti coverage is still extensive in The Guardian. Kofi Annan says, “We can turn Haiti around,” and says “all members of the international community have a collective responsibility to engage with and repair fragile states and to prevent now stable countries from joining their ranks.” Annan says one billion people today live in fragile states.

Coherent international policies on trade, aid, investment, migration and climate change are needed, says Annan and “in fragile states we need to go even further.” He says effective institutions, locally and nationally, need to be developed.

The former UN leader gives the example of Mozambique which was once a sad example of a fragile state. “With determination, vision and collective effort, it has graduated into a peaceful and democratic country,” he says.

Apart from Haiti, other states like Afghanistan and Somalia need sustained help. “And now not merely when the next disaster strikes,” he concludes.

The Guardian also prints a letter by Noam Chomsky, the linguist and vocal critic of US foreign policy. Several others sign their name to this letter including the editor of Haiti Liberté newspaper and Roger Annis, the head of Canada Haiti Action Network. Here are some extracts:

“We are outraged by the scandalous delays in getting aid to victims in Haiti.”

“The US decided to prioritize the accumulation of foreign soldiers over the distribution of emergency supplies and this has resulted in untold numbers of people dying needlessly.

The letter says that there has been “wholly displaced fear and suspicion” amongst foreign concerns of “security” and “violence”.

They call on Bertrand Aristide to be restored as Haiti’s leader. Aristide deposed in 2004 by the US, Canada and France. His party won 90% of the parliamentary seats in the country’s last round of democratic elections.

“We call on the leaders of the international community to respect Haiti’s sovereignty.”

“International aid should be reorientated away from neoliberal adjustment, sweatshop exploitation and NGO charity and towards systematic investment in Haiti’s own government and public institutions.”

They also call on France to pay the colossal amount of money it owes Haiti in full and at once.

The South China Morning Post leads with a photo of little Jims Silvera, born to earthquake survivor, Phara Thes. Mother and daughter are housed in a US military camp in Port-au-Prince.

The front page of th The Moscow Times features bulldozers razing a neighbourhood of mansions perched on a riverbank in Moscow’s western suburbs.

Earlier yesterday, riot police stormed the Technik neighbourhood at about 4am and detained 15 residents who had braved freezing temperatures of minus 20 degrees Celsius to guard their homes.

Opposition activists said it was a blatant violation of human rights.

City authorities said it was proof they were clamping down on corruption. Apparently the houses were built illegally on zoned parkland.

 

 

By James CREEDON

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