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Dominique Dupuy appeals for help for Hati from Unesco

  • March 20, 2024
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The permanent representative of Haiti to UNESCO, Dominique Dupuy, launched an appeal for help during the 219th session of the organization’s Executive Council, this Tuesday, March 19. His speech highlighted the distress and suffering of the Haitian people in the face of an unprecedented humanitarian and security crisis.

In his remarks, Dominique Dupuy denounced the disastrous situation in which Haiti finds itself, while transmitting a message of hope and determination. She stressed that the current situation in Haiti did not allow her to focus on the technical details of the session’s agenda, highlighting the urgency of the situation in her country.

The diplomat described the deterioration of the social fabric, growing despair and young people forced into extreme acts. His advocacy aimed to raise global awareness of the Haitian crisis and to seek international solidarity to pull the country out of this downward spiral into the unknown.

Below, find his entire speech:

During this general debate, we are invited to build our interventions around the points on the agenda of this 219th session of the Executive Board. But you will understand that, in this UNESCO House whose mandate is the construction of peace, it would be impossible for me today to engage in an exchange on the technicalities of the C/5, while all the necessary tools to this peace are undergoing an unprecedented assault in my country. As education, science and culture sink further into the infernal abyss that has engulfed my people for too long. While all the ramparts are breaking under the tensions of the hostage-taking of an entire country, where 12 million people still hope to wake up from a bloody nightmare.

Faced with the unspeakable, I considered remaining silent. To remain silent out of pain, out of disorientation, but also out of guilt, for the comfort of this room from which I can still express myself, while those in whose name I speak collapse under the weight of terror.

To remain silent out of anger, for my country that some already seem to consider no longer exists. I refused to show you here the anatomy of a fall, to tell you that from the depths of the hole where we find ourselves, we see the hands of those who pushed us there. These hands which could still, if they wanted, extend a pole to us.

It seemed pointless to me to describe to you the gangrene of the social fabric, you already read it in your newspapers; to explain to you the rotting of hope, you already see it on your screens; or to tell you about the immolation of a youth. I refused to feed the algorithm of international aid priorities, to take part in the disastrous auction of pity, to participate in the auction of the most serious crisis, to compete with the one who will count the most deaths , who will shout their anguish the loudest, who will best articulate this hunger which is gnawing at the bodies and souls of more than 5 million people, the majority of whom are children.

I refused to tell you that a capital turns into a gaping tomb. And like me, all my fellow citizens feel their guts being squeezed out of their bodies, zombified by fear.

That we all lose, minute by minute, in this dizzying descent into a frightening unknown. We all lose, but some lose more, some lose everything: their homes, their landmarks, their lives. Some already had nothing and find themselves destroyed, living dead, faced with this new psychic shock, faced with one too many aftershocks. Since the time the earth has been shaking at home.

That this war, this fratricide, is not only our wound, but that of the whole world. That my country finds itself at the crossroads of global issues, both humanitarian, climatic and socio-economic; as a precursor to a collapse that involves us all.

Yes, perhaps it would have been better to remain silent today. Admit to you that I have no new produce to share, no magic potion to boast about. Give free rein to your debates and hide in a corner, close my eyes, clench my fists, and wait. Hoping that the storm passes, that the monsters evaporate.

If only I had not recently had to consult the UNESCO archives, if only I had not had tangible proof in my hands that what is said here is part of annals that transcend us. A Story intended for the men and women of tomorrow who will judge us as much on what we have said, on what we have done, as on our silences. A History that will either greet us or haunt us.

So to remain silent today would be to capitulate. To be complicit in the abject fate of the children of my country, deprived of their right to education, deprived of their only meal a day, deprived of their right to Dignity, prohibited from playing, prohibited from dreaming, prohibited from Living. Accomplice of the classrooms where only the dark ballet of the wandering spirits of students and teachers, killed by bullets, takes place. Complicit in the fate of raped girls and boys, with complete impunity.

Accomplice in the fate of artists and craftsmen who can no longer create, no longer sell, neither their works nor their dreams. About the fate of athletes who only shine if they are already elsewhere. Scientists who, like farmers, cross the barbed wire of a closed border without a backpack. About the fate of journalists, forced into exile, watchmen of horror, at the risk of their lives.

To remain silent would be to abandon, to deny the pioneering battles led by the founders of my nation, to spit on the courage of those who continue, stubbornly, even today, to resist, on the edge of the precipice. To remain silent would be to betray the memory of those who succumb to the abyss. Betraying the charred corpses, the mutilated bodies that punctuate daily life in Port-au-Prince.

And despite the macabre dehumanization that is at work, despite the cynical caricatures to which we are subject, I will not betray the memory of these lives. Because it is indeed lives that are at stake here. Of people, human, like you and me, who loved, who dreamed, and who each leave behind them, a crater of absence. These deaths we cannot even mourn since it is impossible to mourn the departure of a being when we observe, helplessly, the slow agony of an entire nation.

Dear colleagues,

So I bet that I will not be silent, neither today nor tomorrow. Because we must, somewhere, take note, and remember that there still exists a country, inhabited by human beings thirsty for peace, and for the future, who also have the right to education, the right to preserve and express their culture, the right to live. I will tell you about this country which wants, which can, which will be reborn. This land of Dessalines, of Catherine Flon, of Suzanne Comhaire-Sylvain. This land of Joumou soup, Cassave and Konpa. This land of KPK.

In this long night, I will tell you about a Haiti full of light. Because, in the chiaroscuro of our journey as a people, we have been able to transform the specters of oppression into birds of freedom.

Thank you, thank you very much, Ayibobo!


The permanent delegate of Haiti to UNESCO, Ms. Dominique Dupuy, describes the serious security crisis.

“A capital is transformed into a gaping tomb,” she said. pic.twitter.com/RhdF1LPBBT

— Alain Jean-Baptiste (@pierrealain59) March 19, 2024

author avatar
Ravensley Boisrond