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Human Rights Watch and the Global Justice Clinic will host a roundtable discussion with members of the Kolektif Jistis Min an Ayiti (or the Justice in Mining Collective) and Mega Projects Observatory. The Kolektif is a coalition of civil society and social movement organizations advocating for the respect of human rights and the environment as the mining industry develops in Haiti. The Collective has created a nationwide network of leaders and organizations from communities affected by mining. The Collective shares information with communities about the potential consequences of mining and encourages communities to work together to create strategies to defend their rights and promote their interests. The Mega Projects Observatory monitors the development and impact of large-scale investment projects. Organizations came together to create the Observatory to lead advocacy efforts related to the tourist development project launched in August 2013 on the small island of Ile-à-Vache. The Observatory also conducts research about tourist projects in other parts of the country, factories and free trade zones, and agribusiness projects.
The discussion will focus on local communities’ experiences with government-promoted development projects and the concerns of the Collective and Mega Projects Observatory as such projects proceed without the participation or consultation of Haitian people. It will highlight the importance of the right to information in protecting other human rights and why violations are more likely to occur in climates that lack transparency. Participants will also speak about what the right to information and right to participate in decision-making should look like in practice, and present potential strategies for change. Members of the Kolektif and Observatory will share information about the Inspection Panel complaint recently dismissed by the World Bank, the Inter-American Commission hearing held earlier in the week, and other advocacy efforts and community exchanges in which they are engaged. In addition, panelists will identify opportunities for international allies to support their efforts.
- Roosevelt Jean Felix, Program director for research, analysis and documentation at the Platform of Haitian Human Rights Organizations (POHDH) and delegate to the Mega Projects Observatory
- Peterson Derolus, Co-coordinator of the Kolektif Jistis Min and member of the Movement for Popular Democracy (MODEP)
- Nixon Boumba, Haitian human rights activist and member of the coordinating committee of the Kolektif Jistis Min
- Nikki Reisch, Legal Director of the Center for Human Rights and Global Justice at NYU School of Law
- Ellie Happel, Project Attorney for Haiti Program of the Global Justice Clinic of NYU School of Law
- Amanda Klasing, Researcher, Human Rights Watch