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#782: Restavek Press Release (fwd)

From: Merrie Archer <MArcher@nchr.org>

>National Coalition for Haitian Rights
>275 Seventh Avenue, New York, NY 10001-6708
>FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, September 25, 1999
>Phone: (212) 337-0005 FAX:(212) 337-0028
>NCHR's 2nd Annual Benefit Event
>to Focus on Haiti's "Restavek" Children
>The National Coalition for Haitian Rights (NCHR) announced today that its
>second annual Benefit Gala will focus on the need to rid Haiti of the
>long-entrenched practice of enslaving children in domestic servitude known
>as restavek.  The event will be held on the evening of November 5, 1999 at
>the John Jay College Theater in midtown Manhattan.
>Restavek, which means "stay with" in Haitian Creole, refers to a system in
>which poor families in the Haitian provinces send their children to work as
>domestics with better-off families in the towns and cities in exchange for
>housing and education for the children.  While viewed by the poor as a way
>for their children to escape poverty, the restavek families use the
>as domestic slaves, often denying them any access to education and leaving
>them abused and neglected, trapped in a prison from which they rarely
>escape.  The restavek system is widely accepted in Haiti, its existence
>often rationalized by the deep poverty in the country.
>This NCHR campaign for children's rights in Haiti will raise public
>awareness of the restavek issue in Haiti and the United States, and will
>bring together human rights and children's organizations to educate the
>Haitian public and legal system and pressure the Haitian government to
>eradicate this form of child slavery.  The Benefit Gala will include
>testimony from a former restavek, the author Jean-Robert Cadet (who wrote a
>book called Restavec, about his experiences as a child slave). NCHR will
>also pay tribute to the achievements of award-winning Master Drummer
>Augustin, a true ambassador of Haitian culture. NCHR hopes to feature an
>advance screening of Karen Kramer's documentary about restaveks called
>Children of the Shadows.  The evening will conclude with music and
>performances from Frisner Augustin's folklore group, Troupe Makandal and
>Haitian troubadour Beethova Obas.
>Admission to the event is $50 per person. The event will start promptly at
>7:00 PM following a cocktail reception at 6:00 PM. Additional information
>about this event and related activities is available at (212) 337-0005
>extension 11 or 12.
>The National Coalition for Haitian Rights is a nonprofit nongovernmental
>organization that seeks to promote and protect the rights of Haitian
>refugees and Haitian-Americans under US and international law, and to
>advance respect for human rights, the rule of law and support for civil and
>democratic society in Haiti.

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