A report on the conditions faced by Haitian people displaced by the Jan. 12 earthquake is being released and presented to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights in Washington, D.C. on March 23.
Students from the Earle Mack School of Law who are involved with the Haiti Justice Project played a critical role in conducting an investigation that resulted in the report, which is officially being released by the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti.
Working with the Philadelphia-based Lamp for Haiti Foundation, students drafted the interview protocol. The foundation trained a team of researchers and supervised the investigation in the camps where displaced people fled after the disaster. Interviewers from a variety of Haitian and U.S. institutions of higher education conducted the investigation and performed a statistical analysis of the data. Using that analysis, Drexel students drafted the report narrative.
The document describes conditions in the camps, which were established spontaneously by ordinary Haitians without the assistance of government or relief agencies. The study is meant to capture data regarding the families who are currently living in the camps and to follow their movements and record their conditions over time as Haiti responds to the crisis, recovers and rebuilds in the months and years ahead.
“Students in the Haiti Justice Project were the key to the study and report,” said Thomas Griffin, an attorney who serves on the Lamp for Haiti Foundation Board of Directors. “We had to quickly change gears and brainstorm quickly after the earthquake hit Haiti. We knew that we could contribute by advocating for a human rights-based approach to the quake response and recovery.”
Griffin said the students’ role evolved as the complex project unfolded. He praised the students for taking time out of their busy academic schedules to draft the narrative for the publication.
“We're humbled to be a part of this process,” student Ted Oswald said. “Though we were unable to participate in the investigation itself, it's been an amazing learning experience being party to a human rights investigation from start to finish. All of our individual contributions are present in the final report, from the survey questions that guided the investigation to the report's narrative and design."
To read the report, "Neglect in the Encampments: Haiti's Second-Wave Humanitarian Disaster," click here.