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Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti
Updated: 1 hour 5 min ago
Florida Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen calls the plan to partially implement Haitian Family Reunification in 2015 “a great step forward.” She states some of the program’s benefits, like remittances to Haiti, and also the importance the the US helping Haiti. She says “They’re our hemispheric partner. We need to help them.”
Part of the article is below. Click HERE for the full text and video.GOP REP: HAITI REUNIFICATION SHOULD BE STEP FOR DACA PARENTS
Ian Hanchett, Breitbart TV
October 21, 2014
Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) stated that she believed the Department of Homeland Security’s recently announced program to allow thousands of Haitians into the US was “a great step forward” that she hoped would provide an example for policies to handle the parents of children who fell under the Deferred Action For Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program on Tuesday’s “Jose Diaz-Balart” on MSNBC.
Ros-Lehtinen expressed that she hoped the Haiti program would be a step to taking similar action for parents of children who fell under DACA.
Click HERE for the full text and video.
This editorial reflects the years of persistent advocacy which yielded Friday’s DHS announcement that it will implement early next year a Haitian Family Reunification Parole Program. Calls for this program date to January 2010, nearly five years ago. The program is limited: only DHS-approved beneficiaries whose visa priority dates will become current within two years will be eligible, while some are on wait lists of up to 12 years in Haiti. But it’s a start, and in coming months we will monitor its implementation and seek to expand its coverage.
Part of the editorial is below. Click HERE for the full text.Finally, Mr. President…
October 19, 2014
Here’s what the Editorial Board said two years after a cataclysmic earthquake turned Port-au-Prince and much of the island to rubble, killing hundreds of thousands:
“President Obama has failed to do the one thing in his power that could help lift Haiti out of the morass that has engulfed it since the January 2010 earthquake: Order the Department of Homeland Security to admit into the United States the thousands of Haitian nationals whom DHS already has approved for U.S. visas. He could expedite this orderly migration process immediately. It doesn’t take an act of Congress, literally.”
And three years after the earthquake:
“The U.S. government can do its part by speeding up the family reunification process. Homeland Security has already approved family-based visa petitions for 106,312 Haitians, but the waiting period to enter this country of 21/2 to 12 years makes little sense.”
And four years:
Of course, the Editorial Board’s wasn’t the only voice calling for the president to act over the years. Steven Forester, policy coordinator of the Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti, said that there have been letters signed by South Florida’s entire Congressional delegation and editorials in major newspapers.
DHS has yet to determine the date of implementation. After all this time and foot-dragging, we would suggest immediately.
Click HERE for the full text.
The Department of Homeland Security announced today that it will implement a Haitian Family Reunification Parole Program (HFRPP), starting in early 2015. This HFRPP will let thousands of approved Haitian beneficiaries promptly enter the U.S. if they are within two years of their visa priority dates. IJDH, with Haitian American leaders and others nationwide, has led a years-long effort to win this program’s creation to save lives and help Haiti recover. While the program is more limited than needed, thousands should benefit, and we will monitor its implementation and seek its expansion in coming months.
Part of the article is below. Click HERE for the full text.Obama administration to allow thousands of Haitians to legally enter United States
Jacqueline Charles, Miami Herald
October 17, 2014
Thousands of Haitians who have been waiting to reunite with U.S. citizens and lawful permanent resident family members in the United States will now have a chance to do so – up to two years before their immigrant visa for a green card may be issued.
Beginning next year, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security will implement a Haitian Family Reunification Parole (HFRP) Program to expedite family reunification for eligible Haitian family members of U.S. citizens and permanent residents who are living in Haiti and have already been approved for a family-based immigrant visa.
The major policy shift announced Friday comes nearly three months before the fifth anniversary of Haiti’s devastating Jan. 12, 2010 earthquake, which launched a campaign by immigration and Haitian advocates to speed up family reunification for Haitians, some of whom have been waiting as long as 12 years in the immigration pipeline.
But after 80 pieces of support, including letters signed by the entire South Florida Congressional delegation and 17 editorials in nearly a dozen major U.S. newspapers, some had given up hope that such a program would happen.
“There have been more political letters than I can count,” said Steve Forrester, who has led the effort as immigration policy coordinator for the nonprofit Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti.
Forrester hailed the announcement although it doesn’t cover immediately the approximately 100,000 Haitians whose I-130 visas have already been approved for a potential green card.
Under the Haitian Family Reunification Parole program, Haitians authorized parole will be allowed to enter the United States and apply for work permits but will not receive permanent resident status any earlier than when their priority date is due.
Click HERE for the full text.
Thursday, October 23 we will have a hearing in New York Federal Court, about the issue of UN immunity. This article does an excellent job of explaining what the hearing is all about and giving a brief history of the cholera epidemic in Haiti, which precipitated this case. It also features an interview with Brian Concannon, IJDH Executive Director.
Part of the article is below. Click HERE for the full text.Outbreak On Trial: Who’s To Blame For Bringing Disease Into A Country?
Richard Knox, WBUR’s CommonHealth
October 17, 2014
If an international agency introduces a devastating disease to a country, should it be held accountable?
That’s the big question at the heart of a court proceeding that gets underway next Thursday. The international agency is the United Nations. The disease is cholera. And the nation is Haiti.
Four years ago this month, thousands of Haitians downstream from a U.N. peacekeeping encampment began falling ill and dying from cholera, a disease not previously seen in Haiti for at least a century.
Since then cholera has sickened one in every 14 Haitians — more than 700,000 people; and over 8,000 have died. That’s nearly twice the official death count from Ebola in West Africa thus far.
A year ago, a Boston-based human rights group sued the U.N. for bringing cholera to Haiti through infected peacekeeping troops from Nepal, where the disease was circulating at the time. The U.N. camp spilled its sewage directly into a tributary of Haiti’s largest river.
Brian Concannon of the IJDH says the U.N.’s immunity is limited. He says it’s supposed to have a mechanism to compensate those injured by its actions – which might cover such things as sexual assault by peacekeeping troops, or property damage, as well as the introduction of lethal diseases.
That mechanism is called a Standing Claims Commission, which would resolve disputes over damage claims.
“The U.N. has never set up a Standing Claims Commission in 60 years of peacekeeping missions,” Concannon said in an interview.
His group petitioned the U.N. in 2012 to set up such a commission to address cholera claims. But as the secretary-general’s spokesman says, the U.N. found those claims “not receivable,” which provoked the current lawsuit.
Despite the opposition of the U.S. government, Concannon says he’s optimistic. For one thing, Judge Oetken didn’t have to schedule a hearing at all. “The safe route for the judge would be to say, ‘I’m going to defer to the government and dismiss the case,’” Concannon says. “The fact he granted our request for a hearing is a sign the court is taking this seriously.”
Click HERE for the full text.
Don’t miss this new documentary on the other side of Haiti.
A new documentary, “Lakay,” by Chicago-based Haitian-American filmmaker Tirf Alexius, which deals with the recovery of Haiti after the devastating 2010 earthquake, will get a nationwide theatrical release after it screens at the 9th Annual Harlem International Film Festival this month.
Told from a personal POV, and starring Alexius, along with his brother Remoh Romeo (who also produced the project with Alexius, along with Hugh Grady and Macdanne Edmond), the documentary chronicles what happened when the two brothers returned to Haiti to locate their loved ones after the earthquake. However, what they found is a story of courage and resilience by the survivors, as well as a new hope.
WHERE & WHEN:
The film is getting a nationwide theatrical release starting on October 17th, when it opens in 2 suburban Chicago area theaters – the AMC Woodfield 20 Lowes theaters in Schaumburg, and the AMC Loews Country Club Hills 16.
Then on October 24th, the film opens in New York, Atlanta and Los Angeles, and in more cities the week after, on Oct. 31st.
Click HERE for more on the film, and to watch the trailer.
Despite letters of support from many different organizations and bipartisan leaders, the Obama administration continues to ignore the need for a Haitian Family Reunification Parole Program (HFRPP). This is particularly upsetting for Haitian Americans and advocates because a similar program for Cubans already exists and was recently renewed. President Obama’s broken promises on HFRPP will likely result in decreased voter turnout in next month’s elections.
Part of the article is below. Click HERE for the full text.Obama ignores Haitian family reunification
Steve Forester & Marleine Bastien, Miami Herald
October 15, 2014
President Obama plans to announce executive actions regarding immigration tailored to Hispanic needs, a key demographic. While that’s smart substantively and politically, his neglect of a key Haitian-American goal may lower voter turnout next month.
The president has so far ignored more than 80 significant calls since 2010 for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to create a Haitian Family Reunification Parole Program (FRPP), like a recently renewed Cuban program, disappointing Haitian Americans previously upset when related 2012 campaign promises weren’t met.
At risk are 109,000 beneficiaries on wait lists of up to 12 years in Haiti, despite DHS approvals of their family-based visa petitions. They’re legal by definition and will be coming eventually, assuming they survive such long waits in struggling Haiti.
The program would speed up the process, save lives, reunite families, serve our national security by creating new remittance support to thousands in need and generate substantial work-permit application fees to the U.S. Treasury. No one would get permanent status any earlier than under current law, and the program should cost little.
Only election night will tell if this will lower turnout among Haitian-American voters; conversely, firm signals that the White House will instruct DHS to create the program should significantly increase their enthusiasm and turnout on election day.
Click HERE for the full text.
On October 15, the UN Security Council renewed MINUSTAH’s mandate until 15 October 2015. The short animated timeline below marks the occasion for AJ+ (a new digital branch of Al Jazeera).The UN in Haiti: Ten Years of Controversy
October 15, 2014
Fran Quigley is travelling around the country speaking about his new book, How Human Rights Can Build Haiti: Activists, Lawyers, and the Grassroots Campaign. The book covers everything from global and grassroots cholera activism, to the failed post-earthquake recovery, to the Duvalier prosecution, all while demonstrating why a better Haiti will come from the grassroots, up. This book is a must-read if you want to understand the link between poverty and human rights, and how Haiti is ready for change, with lessons that are applicable not just there, but all over the world.
WHEN AND WHERE:
- September 4th, 3:30 – 5pm; Book Talk with Fran and Brian; Agora Cafe at Mariano’s West Loop location, Chicago, IL; Brian is in Chicago to receive the Debra Evenson Award from the National Lawyers Guild and author Fran Quigley will join him for this talk. This is a rare opportunity to see both Fran and Brian – all are welcome! Refreshments available. (Open to the Public)
- September 15th, 7:00-8pm; Bread for the World event; St. Luke’s Methodist Church: 100 W. 86th Street Indianapolis, IN; Fran will share the agenda with author, former Wall Street Journal reporter, and food policy expert Roger Thurow. (Open to the Public)
- September 20th; Parish Twinning Program of the America’s National Conference; Nashville, TN (Closed Event)
- September 25th, 6-8pm; Provocate event; The Athenaeum: 407 E Michigan Street Indianapolis, IN; At the event, you can learn how to be part of the effort to create a template for a new and more effective human rights-focused strategy to turn around failed states and end global poverty. (Open to the Public)
- October 14th, 5pm; Lecture, book signing and reception; Wynne Courtroom and Atrium, Inlow Hall, McKinney School of Law at Indiana University: 530 W. New York Street Indianapolis, IN (Open to the Public, RSVP)
- October 22nd, 4:30-5:30pm; “How Human Rights Can Build Haiti, and what YOU can do to help”; 235 Blegen Hall, University of Minnesota Minneapolis, MN; Presented by Haiti Justice Alliance in partnership with the Human Rights Program at the College of Liberal Arts. (Open to the Public)
- October 23rd, 11am-12:15pm; Lunch with Fran; Sun Ballroom, Buntock Commons 3rd floor, St. Olaf: 1520 St Olaf Ave Northfield, MN; Organized by Haiti Justice Alliance of Northfield, MN (Open to the Public)
- October 23rd, 4:30-5:30pm; Book talk and discussion with Fran; Leighton 305, Carleton College: 1 N College St Northfield, MN; Organized by Haiti Justice Alliance of Northfield, MN (Open to the Public)
- November 10th, 7pm; “How Human Rights Can Build Haiti…And How We Can Help“; Laws Room, First Presbyterian Church, 512 7th St. Columbus, IN; Co-sponsored by Friends of Haiti, Konbit Lasante Pou Limonade, Peace & Justice Ministry of St. Bartholomew, the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Columbus, IN, Columbus Peace Fellowship, Social Justice Committee at First Presbyterian, North Christian Church, Pride Alliance of Columbus, & Art for AIDS. (Open to Public – Books Available for Purchase)
- More events forthcoming…
Contact Kathy Kelly, firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to organize an event in your area.
Click HERE to learn more about the book.
Thank you so much to everyone who attended our October 9th call on human rights in Haiti. The call prominently featured 6 human rights groups, with about 10 joining the call in total, and was a great opportunity to hear how Haitian human rights defenders and the international community are working to improve the situation in Haiti. If you missed it, dial (712) 432-1219 and follow the instructions using Meeting ID 416-399-999 and Reference Number 3 to listen.* If you don’t speak French, here‘s an English summary. Special thanks to Patricia Pabst for summarizing the call, and to all the volunteers who worked against the clock to get the reports translated into French so they’d have maximum impact.
*If you can’t listen to the entire call at once, press 4 to rewind 1 minute, 5 to pause or resume playback, and 6 to fast forward 1 minute.
Besides the murders, forced disappearances, and violence that were rampant during Duvalier’s regime, the former dictator stole hundreds of millions from Haiti. This article uses the story of one man who sought reparations from Duvalier to demonstrate how victims of that brutal regime still want justice. Although Duvalier is dead, victims, their lawyers, and human rights advocates still plan to pursue his accomplices and finally give some closure to those who suffered.
Part of the article is below. Click HERE for the full text.Duvalier’s Passing Does Not Wipe Away Victims’ Misery
Vania Andre, The Haitian Times
October 11, 2014
Etzer Lalanne is not a man you’d expect should be nearly a millionaire. His large glasses hang over his small eyes, surrounded by bags and wrinkles – evidence of the hard long years of working as a cab driver in New York City.
More than 25 years ago, a Florida court awarded Lalanne – a Haitian refugee who was granted political asylum in the U.S. – $750,000 in a civil case against Jean Claude Duvalier, for the 10 months he spent as a political prisoner under the dictatorial regime in 1981.
Despite the victory, red tape and the crafty skills of lawyers and accountants prevented Lalanne, 62, from ever seeing a cent of his money. But, for the first time in more than 25 years, a dream that lay nearly dead for more than two decades, showed some signs of life with the passing of Duvalier on Oct. 3.
Even in death his wrongs have to be rectified, Lalanne said. His sentiments echoed that of thousands of Haitians who agree Duvalier’s passing does not wipe the slate clean for the stain he left in Haiti’s history. On Wednesday, reports surfaced the former dictator would not be receiving a state funeral on Saturday.
“After killing so many people, there’s no way you can honor that man with a state funeral,” Lalanne said. “There’s no way I could accept if he did.”
The former leader’s death reawakened questions of accountability and whether Lalanne, alongside thousands of others with grievances against the exiled despot, would finally be able to cash in their calls for justice.
“Lalanne has a legal right to revisit and pursue this case, the question is whether he has the practicality to do so,” said Brian Concannon, executive director of the Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti (IJDH). “It’s a matter of whether he can find the money and resources to fight this case.”
The likelihood that there’s any money left is very small, said Ira Kurzban, a Florida-based attorney that represented Lalanne, Rev. Gerard Jean-Juste , a Miami activist who passed away in 2009, and the Haitian people in the 1986 case that sought $504 million in damages from Duvalier.
Duvalier had an army of lawyers and accountants to hide his money, Concannon said. He was very open about how he stole public money and “did a good job of hiding it.”
Several of people have cases similar to Lalanne’s all over Haiti, Concannon said. They have the right to pursue this, regardless of how many steps it takes.
“All we can do is keep pushing to get through the justice system and see if at the end of the journey there’s any money left.”
Click HERE for the full text and a clip from the Democracy Now video report.
Even after launching several “new” cholera elimination plans since the epidemic first began four years ago, the United Nations is still struggling to raise adequate funds for water and sanitation in Haiti. While donors hesitate to fund the plans for various reasons, some argue that the biggest is the lack of UN accountability for causing the epidemic in the first place. The UN itself has the capacity to fund the plan, if only it was prioritized effectively.
Part of the article is below. Click HERE for the full text.High-Level Donor Conference on Cholera in Haiti Fails to Secure Much Needed Funding
Jake Johnston, Common Dreams
October 11, 2014
Like a Matryoshka doll, inside each cholera elimination initiative for Haiti one will find another and inside that, yet another. At the two-year anniversary of the earthquake, in January 2012, organizations launched a “call to action” for the elimination of cholera. Almost a year later, in December 2012, the U.N. launched a “new” initiative designed to “support an existing campaign.” Then in February 2013, the Haitian government and international partners announced a 10-year elimination plan. When funding was slow to come, the U.N. and other partners began raising funds for a two-year emergency response. In March of 2014, another “high-level” committee was formed and then in July, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon traveled to Haiti to launch a “Total Sanitation” campaignwithin the “context” of the cholera elimination plan. Since that first announcement in 2012, 1,600 Haitians have died from cholera. Today, in a “high-level” donor conference sponsored by the World Bank, the Haitian government presented yet another plan.
“We have a plan, it’s a $310 million plan for three years,” Haitian Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe told the crowded 13th floor conference room in the World Bank headquarters here in Washington, DC. Lamothe urged those in attendance to “take action” and “fast-track this process” in order to “protect the lives of millions of people” and “ensure the most vulnerable of the society are protected against water-borne diseases.” But the 2.5-hour conference ended up short on pledges and long on pleas, with only the event’s sponsor, the World Bank, contributing substantial funds.
“The UN has a binding international law obligation to install the water and sanitation infrastructure necessary to control the cholera epidemic, as well as compensate those injured,” said Brian Concannon of the Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti, who is representing cholera victims in their case against the U.N. “MINUSTAH has spent far more than $2 billion since cholera broke out on other things. It is a question of priorities.”
Click HERE for the full text.
Now that Duvalier has died, what will happen to the case against him? How will victims of his regime find justice? It is important to remember that Duvalier did not carry out his crimes alone. His regime’s victims are insisting that the case continue against those who torturted, imprisoned, killed and stole, and we will be there to support their fight and prosecute Duvalier’s co-defendants. Now more than ever, we need to show current and future leaders that Haiti will not stand for impunity.
Find recent articles about Duvalier here.
Learn more about our work on the Duvalier prosecution here.
One major factor that slowed the Duvalier prosecution was the United States’ refusal to help. The US has the ability to provide evidence and support that would’ve made a major difference in the trial but instead, and unlike past actions in Haiti and elsewhere, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton decided to leave the prosecution to the Haitian government. Now, Duvalier has died a free man. The victims and their advocates still want justice and will continue by prosecuting Duvalier’s co-defendants. It’s just a shame that Duvalier, too, was not held accountable for his crimes.
Part of the article is below. Click HERE for the full text.From Cradle to Grave, the US Protected Jean-Claude Duvalier
Fran Quigley, Common Dreams
October 10, 2014
In February of 2013, I stood in a sweaty, overcrowded Port-au-Prince courtroom and watched as Jean-Claude Duvalier answered questions about hundreds of his political opponents being arrested, imprisoned, and killed during his tenure as Haiti’s “President for Life.”
Many of Duvalier’s rivals were held in the notorious three prisons known collectively as the “Triangle of Death”—Casernes Dessalines, Fort Dimanche, and the National Penitentiary. One political prisoner held in the Casernes Dessalines recalls being placed in a cell underneath the grounds of the National Palace, where Duvalier lived. The prisoner was led to an area so dark he could not see, but a guard’s torchlight revealed the man was locked in a room amid the skeletons of former prisoners.
At the court hearing I attended, Duvalier ducked responsibility, saying that the killing and oppression was done without his knowledge.
Then he walked out of that courtroom a free man, which is how he died earlier this month, at age 63.
On a previous visit to Haiti, I interviewed Raymond Davius, who still carries the physical and psychological scars from being imprisoned and tortured for daring to join a political party that opposed Duvalier. “The problem is not as much about Duvalier himself as it is what he represents,” Davius said. “If Haiti does not judge Duvalier, we have lost the opportunity to send a message to Haitian leaders who think they can kill whoever they want and steal whatever they want, and not be judged.”
Instead, the message after Duvalier’s death continues to be one of impunity in Haiti, if you are rich enough and powerful enough. From his cradle in the National Palace run by his despotic father to his grave, where the latest U.S.-backed Haitian president called for asalute to an “authentic son of Haiti,” Jean-Claude Duvalier enjoyed U.S. protection. I ended my column on the February, 2013 court hearing with this sentence: “The U.S.has enormous influence here, and most observers feel Duvalier will be held accountable for his crimes only if the U.S. speaks up.”
We didn’t, and he wasn’t.
Click HERE for the full text.
Un grand interview avec Mario Joseph sur Duvalier et les droits humains en Haïti. Dans l’interview, il explique comment le gouvernement Martelly ne respecte pas les droits humains, pourquoi certains ont une “Duvalier nostalgie,” et plus.
Cliquez ICI pour lire l’interview complète.«Le président Martelly tient tous les leviers du pouvoir»
Angélique Mounier-Kuhn, Le Temps
9 octobre 2014
Ce n’est qu’à sa sortie de l’avion qui l’amenait en Suisse, le week-end passé, que Mario Joseph a appris la mort de Jean-Claude Duvalier, l’ancien dictateur rentré en Haïti en 2011 après vingt-cinq ans d’exil. Considéré comme l’un des défenseurs des droits de l’homme haïtiens les plus influents, Mario Joseph est à Genève cette semaine à l’occasion de l’examen d’Haïti, ces jeudi et vendredi au Palais Wilson, par les 18 experts indépendants du Comité des droits de l’homme. Leurs conclusions seront publiées le 30 octobre prochain.
Cliquez ICI pour lire l’interview.
Join Mario and Nicole for a live public call from Geneva.
Joignez Mario et Nicole dans un conférence en direct de Genève. (français ci-dessous)
BAI Managing Attorney Mario Joseph and IJDH Staff Attorney Nicole Phillips are participating in Haiti’s historic review by the UN Human Rights Committee for their implementation of the International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). Receive a live update on the prosecution of Jean-Claude Duvalier, overdue elections and Haitians’ right to vote, persecution of human rights defenders, and access to justice for gender-based violence claims. Other Haitian human rights defenders will also join the call. The call will be conducted in French, with an English summary released afterwards.
To join, dial 712 432-1212* and enter meeting ID 416-399-999
Thursday, October 9th at 7pm Geneva time (1pm EST)
*Long-distance charges may apply for international callers but a calling card will work as it’s a US phone number. Your country may also have a free conference call number available here.
Les avocats Mario Joseph (BAI) et Nicole Phillips (IJDH) participent à l’examen historique d’Haïti par le Comité des droits de l’homme pour leur mise en œuvre du Pacte international relatif aux droits civils et politiques (PIDCP). Recevez une mise à jour directe de l’ONU à Genève de la délégation de la société civile d’Haïti, qui incluent Maitre Mario JOSEPH du Bureau des Avocats International (BAI), Antonal MORTIME de la Plateforme des Organisations Haïtiennes des Droits Humains (POHDH), Viles ALIZAR du Réseau National des droits humaine (RNDDH), et Jocelyne Colas Noel de la Commission Episcopale Nationale Justice et Paix (CE-JILAP). La délégation va parler sur six points que la préoccupe : l’impunité, l’indépendance du système judiciaires, les élections, les libertés publiques (expression, réunion et association), les LGBTs et la situation des femmes. L’appel se déroulera en français, avec un résumé en anglais publié après l’appel.
Composez 712 432-1212* et entrez code 416-399-999. Ou contactez par Skype « Nicole.M.Phillips ».
Jeudi 9 octobre, 7pm à genève (1pm ET)
Des frais peuvent s’appliquer pour les appels internationaux, mais une carte d’appel fonctionnera comme c’est un numéro de téléphone américain. Votre pays peut aussi avoir un numéro de conférence gratuit disponible ici.
The Bertha Justice Institute (BJI) at the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) needs a new Associate Program Director.
CCR is a non-profit legal and educational organization dedicated to advancing and protecting the rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Founded in 1966 by attorneys who represented civil rights movements in the South, CCR is committed to the creative use of law as a positive force for social change.
CCR’s teaching and training arm, the BJI is dedicated to building the next generation of people’s lawyers through a range of programs including: post-graduate fellowships, internships, regional conferences, international exchanges, national training institutes and movement strategy sessions. The BJI is building a national and international network of legal workers, law students, lawyers, law professors, and activists that believe in using law to build the power of social movements. The BJI is also part of the global Bertha Justice Network which connects cutting-edge legal organizations across the world—in Haiti, Palestine, India, Colombia, the Philippines, South Africa and Europe—to train our respective next generations and build a global movement for justice
The Associate Program Director will be responsible for managing and executing all of the BJI’s programs with a particular focus on writing curriculum and designing/implementing trainings for lawyers and law students. This position is one that has a high-level of responsibility and offers an ambitious individual the opportunity to shape and build the vision of the BJI’s training programs and methods.
A J.D. is strongly preferred and 4 years of experience is required.
Applications are due by October 24, 2014. Please read the attached job description or click here for full details on the position and how to apply. Please forward widely and e-mail email@example.com with any questions! For more information on the BJI visit: www.ccrjustice.org/socialjusticeinstitute
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Shannon Jonsson, Legal Fellow, Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti, firstname.lastname@example.org, +1-617-652-0876
Kermshlise Picard, Communications Coordinator, Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti, email@example.com, +1-617-652-0876
PRESS ADVISORY: Hearing Set For UN Cholera Case
District Court to rule on UN claim to absolute immunity from justice
(New York, October 8, 2014)—Judge J. Paul Oetken has granted Plaintiffs’ request for an oral argument in Georges v. United Nations, 1:13-CV-7146, the ongoing case against the United Nations (UN), the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH), UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, and former head of MINUSTAH Edmond Mulet, for recklessly introducing cholera to Haiti in 2010. Victims of the resulting epidemic filed the case in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York in October 2013. Judge Oetken has now ordered that counsel for the parties and amici curiae appear to present arguments on the Plaintiffs’ motion regarding service of process. The argument will address jurisdictional questions, including UN immunity. It will take place on October 23, 2014, and is open to media and the public.
What: Oral argument on the Plaintiffs’ motion regarding service of process in Georges v. United Nations.
When: Thursday, October 23, 2014, at 10:00 am.
Where: Courtroom 706, Thurgood Marshall U.S. Courthouse, 40 Foley Square, New York, NY 10007. Seating is on a first come, first served basis.
Attorneys for the Plaintiffs will be available for interviews immediately following the oral argument. Interviews will be available in English, French, Haitian Creole, Spanish, Korean, and Swedish.
The hearing follows several months of briefing on whether the Defendants have immunity from suit and service of process. Plaintiffs served summons on the Defendants earlier in the year, but the Defendants have not responded or appeared in the lawsuit. In March 2014, the U.S. Government filed a Statement of Interest asserting that the case should be dismissed because the Defendants have immunity from service and suit in domestic courts. Plaintiffs responded with an opposition brief, and 25 prominent international law and human rights experts—several with current or former affiliations at the UN—signed amicus briefs in support of the Plaintiffs’ position. Plaintiffs argue that the UN does not enjoy immunity in this case because its failure to establish an alternative process for adjudicating victims’ claims violates its treaty obligations and denies victims their fundamental right to a remedy.
The hearing, which is scheduled to take place on the day prior to UN Day, marks the first court proceeding in the case.
Speaking about the significance of the hearing, Brian Concannon, Jr. Esq., Director of the Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti (IJDH), stated, “The Court’s decision to schedule a hearing shows that it is taking a serious look at the UN’s international law obligation to provide victims justice, as a precondition for asserting immunity.”
All prior court briefings, including the initial complaint, are available here. In the last four years, over 8,500 people have died and more than 705,000 have been infected by cholera.
Victims of the Duvalier regimes fear that the memory of the terror the two dictators inflicted is being lost. More than half the Haitian population wasn’t born when Jean Claude-Duvalier’s dictatorship ended in 1986 and it isn’t taught in schools, leaving the youth to learn about the Duvalier regimes through rumors. As the current administration is also Duvalier-friendly, victims fear that things in Haiti won’t change if the truth is forgotten.
Part of the article is below. Click HERE for the full text.Can Haiti keep alive memories of ‘Baby Doc’s’ brutal dictatorship? Victims and survivors of dictator Jean-Claude ‘Baby Doc’ Duvalier say they fear the truth behind his violent reign are being forgotten in Haiti, where half the population wasn’t even born by the time he was forced into exile.
Amy Bracken, Yahoo News
October 9, 2014
Bobby Duval is not mourning Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier, the former Haitian dictator who died of a heart attack last Saturday. Mr. Duval’s more inclined to grieve for the more than 180 people he says he saw perish during his eight months at Fort Dimanche – a notorious prison under the Duvalier dictatorship.
When Mr. Duvalier returned from exile in France three years ago, Duval testified against him, sharing memories of the 13-by-14 foot cell, crammed with dozens of naked men who were weak from disease, abuse, and near-starvation. Duval’s is among countless repugnant stories of a regime responsible for thousands of deaths, as well as torture, rape, and arbitrary incarceration in the 1970s and 1980s.
But for Duval and other victims, what’s even worse than remembering these atrocities is seeing the country forget.
“It’s not normal that students don’t know the history [of the Duvaliers],” he says. “They’re not critical. Everything is rumor. There are people who say Duvalier was very good, and when Jean-Claude returned to Haiti it was a lot of young people who greeted him.”
Jean-Claude Duval (no relation to Bobby) was still in his mother’s womb when his father was jailed in Fort Dimanche. His dad was kept there for four years, and, unlike Bobby, he never made it out. “It was a regime of terror I grew up in,” Mr. Duval says. “I was always afraid.”
Duval hopes to write a book about his family, which was also targeted under Francois Duvalier. “The thing I can do [to make a difference] is to teach people, because you have young people who don’t know what happened, who see Duvalier as just a president.”
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This month, Haiti’s cholera epidemic has the spotlight. Oral arguments have been granted for October 23, and October 9, a donor’s conference including Haitian Prime Minister Lamothe will attempt to raise funds for cholera eradication. We’re excited to see what comes of both.
Part of the article is below. Click HERE for the full text.Haiti’s sanitation needs to be focus of meeting in capitol
Jacqueline Charles, Miami Herald
October 8, 2014
PORT-AU-PRINCE - Four years after cholera arrived in Haiti, the country still is trying to curb the epidemic, even as it sees significant drops in the numbers of people succumbing to the deadly waterborne disease.
Still, more than 30 people a day continue to get infected with cholera, a number that remains unacceptable, according to Haitians and other officials as they prepare for a major donor conference Thursday in Washington focused on bringing clean water and sanitation to the country.
“The fact that we have fewer cases and it’s not part of the major news cycle around the world gives the impression we have already had this progress,” said Pedro Medrano, the United Nations’ assistant secretary general charged with overseeing the cholera response in Haiti. “That is not the case.”
For months, Medrano has been meeting with donors, including those in the Latin American region, trying to get them to assist the United Nations and Haiti in making cholera a thing of the past by contributing toward a 10-year $2 billion plan launched by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in 2012.
But the campaign has been struggling, with both Haiti and the United Nations facing difficulties in meeting the two-year goal of raising the initial $400 million.
Lawyers suing the U.N. in one of the cases are scheduled to give oral arguments later this month over whether the body has immunity from lawsuits.
The Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti filed the lawsuit. Brian Concannon, the organization’s executive director, has long contended that the U.N. “recklessly” introduced cholera in Haiti 10 months after the country’s devastating Jan. 12, 2010, earthquake.
He said the U.N. would have more credibility in attempting to raise money for cholera “by being honest and responsible about its role in causing the epidemic.”
While rights advocates are applauding the gathering in New York, they also are asking the government and donors to be more focused in their approach.
With nearly 60 percent of Haiti’s schools lacking toilets and more than three-quarters lacking access to water, for instance, Human Rights Watch said clean latrines and safe water for drinking and hand-washing at schools should be key on their list.
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While education is a crucial part of a better future for Haiti, schools currently pose a major threat to students’ health. Most schools lack toilets or access to water, increasing children’s risk of contracting illnesses like cholera. As the October 9th conference–intended to increase financial commitments to water and sanitation–approaches, this is a key topic of discussion.
Part of the article is below. Click HERE for the full text.Haiti: Students Need Safe Water, Toilets
Human Rights Watch
October 8, 2014
(Washington, DC) – The World Bank, international donors, and the government of Haiti should include an emphasis on water and sanitation in schools at the October 9, 2014 donors’ conference, Human Rights Watch said today in a letter to a vice president at the World Bank. The conference in Washington, DC, is intended to galvanize greater financial commitments for clean water and improved sanitation and health in Haiti.
Safe, clean latrines and water for drinking and hand-washing at schools are among the key areas donors need to address as they discuss combatting water-borne diseases like cholera in Haiti, Human Rights Watch said, based on its research in Haitian schools. Nearly 60 percent of Haiti’s schools have no toilets and more than three-quarters lack access to water.
“The majority of children in Haiti attend schools in such poor condition that they risk contracting disease,” said Amanda Klasing, women’s rights researcher at Human Rights Watch. “If donors at this conference are serious about improving health in Haiti, then they have to address kids’ right to attend schools that don’t make them sick.”
“Addressing Haiti’s water and sanitation needs requires a firm commitment to ensure that children don’t face a high risk of infection when they go to school,” Klasing said. “That includes making sure that kids have safe water and toilets at school.”
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