Racism Causes Climate Vulnerability in Haiti

Collaborative Submission to the UN Special Rapporteur on Contemporary Forms of Racism

On June 20, 2022 the Global Justice Clinic and seven Haitian organizations made a submission  to the UN Special Rapporteur on Contemporary Forms of Racism, demonstrating how racism shapes Haitians’ experience of the global climate crisis.  The submission by the Clinic and partners in Haiti — Action pour la Reforestation et la Defense de l’Environnement (Action for Reforestation and Defense of the Environment, AREDE), Commission Épiscopale Nationale Justice et Paix (National Episcopal Commission, Justice and Peace, CE-JILAP), Equal Health, Social Medicine Alumni (SMAH), Kolektif Jistis Min (Justice Mining Collective, KJM), Konbit Ekolojis Sid (Working Together for Ecology, South, KES), Mouvman Fanm Mouvman Peyizan Papay (Women’s Movement of the Peasants’ Movement of Papay, MPP), Sant Altènatif Kominote ak Lapè (Alternative Center for Community and Peace, SAKALA) and Sosyete Kiltirèl Jen Ayisyen (Haitian Youth Cultural Society, SOKIJA) — will inform the Special Rapporteur’s upcoming report to the UN General Assembly on racial and climate justice.

Haiti is consistently named as one of the five countries most vulnerable to climate change in the world. Drawing on the perspectives and experiences of Haitian community organizers, advocates, and social movement leaders, the submission highlights the ways in which the climate crisis is already devastating Haitian communities and reinforcing marginalization — with rural farmers, women, and poor urban communities bearing the worst impacts — and briefly outlines the racist roots of the country’s climate vulnerability. The submission also outlines how racism and xenophobia assure that Haitian migrants experience disproportionate climate vulnerability and harms wherever they live, even beyond Haiti’s borders. An annex presents written statements prepared by contributing Haitian organizations.

As the Special Rapporteur presents her report this fall ahead of COP 27, the submission argues that Haiti exemplifies that just responses to the global climate crisis must center racial justice.

This post was originally published as a press release on July 6, 2022.