Emory International Law Review


This Article explores how the failure of the earthquake response is the result of past and current policies that, however well intentioned, fail to adequately respect the human rights of Haitians, especially Haiti's poor. It demonstrates that while the earthquake created new acute human rights challenges for Haiti, it also exposed the disastrous effects of decades-old policies that systematically undermine the Haitian government's ability to provide basic governmental services and meet the needs of the majority of its people. A legacy of debt and international trade policies has incapacitated the Haitian government, and lack of enforcement of the rule of law has made Haiti's poor disproportionately vulnerable to natural disasters. Haiti's earthquake illustrates that the most severe humanitarian emergencies are most often symptomatic of and contributory to a larger human rights emergency.