Saturday, March 21, 2009

Shame on UNICEF Article

This article was published in "Le Guide des Consommateurs" in Port-au-Prince.
(You can click on the photo to enlarge it to be better able to read it.)

Open Letter from the RNDDH to UNICEF

In Port-au Prince, on January 20, 2009
To Mrs. Annamaria LAURINI
Representative of UNICEF in Haiti
In her offices.


Dear Madam,

The National Network for the Defense of Human Rights (RNDDH) was just informed of the results of the International Photo Contest, carried out by UNICEF in the month of December 2008, which crowned out of One Thousand (1450) pictures the photo by Belgian photographer Alice SMEETS. This picture represent without any concealment a young girl clad in a white dress, crossing a stinking pond filled with garbage and in which two (2) pigs are devouring food waste with in the background some hovels of the slum belt

This photograph displays the picture of a child living in dirtiness and filth. If it can draw the attention of the donors and mobilize them to respond to the entreaties of the UNICEF, it can only contribute to tarnishing even more the picture of a country that has fallen prey to problems of all natures and that needs to find with dignity its own way towards development.

The RNDDH believes that publishing this photograph is in clear contradiction with the goals sought by the UNICEF, which is, needless to remind you of it here, a special body of the UN called to analyzing, in close collaboration with the developing country, the need of children, concerning as much their physical growth as their intellectual development and social blooming.

The RNDDH is reminding you that with regards to International Law of Human Rights, any action concerning a child must aim towards his/her best interest. In the setting of this publication, how does this picture infringing upon the dignity of this minor child protect the rights of the latter?

The RNDDH is dismayed by this debasing publication, not because we are concerned with concealing the truth but because it stigmatizes, in an indelible way a minor child who didn’t ask to be born in those conditions of extreme poverty and is expecting from the Haitian State some protection and the fulfillment of her rights. This publication is more similar to a form of will to market destitution and doesn’t participate in a plan to fight against and eradicate destitution and to effectively protect the rights of children.

The RNDDH is asking the UNICEF to withdraw immediately this picture that is detrimental to the honor and dignity of this minor child went around the world without her knowing. The RNDDH remains Very Truly Yours.

Executive Director

What personally bothers me about UNICEF in Haiti is that the donated money goes to fancy (and I mean fancy ) SUV trucks that cost about $50,000 each that are driven around Port-au-Prince by UNICEF staff. Personally, I have tried to get UNICEF to provide services in the Hinche, Cerca Carvajal area where children die every day from simple ailments but was told that UNICEF does not have resources to assist in those outlying areas. Maybe they could sell their SUVs, purchase less expensive vehicles and use the proceeds to help some of those children.

* This is my personal opinion and not that of any organization that I am affiliated with.

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