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UN Lacks Credibility After Years of Failed Promises & Impunity

April 12, 2017 - 06:27

The UN Security Council is set to vote today on the future of the UN in Haiti and what, if anything, should replace the current peacekeeping mission. However, as the decision looms near, the UN continues its controversial legacy of injustice, exploitation and impunity in the struggling country. MINUSTAH has been heavily criticized for widespread sexual exploitation and abuse of vulnerable Haitians, which calls into question the UN’s immunity laws, its response to allegations and system for redress. Additionally, after 6 years of denying responsibility for the cholera outbreak that has killed over 10,000, the UN finally acknowledged its role in bringing the deadly disease to Haiti, but now struggles to fund its program to end cholera and compensate victims. Whatever the future might hold for the UN mission, though, one thing is certain; the UN must first right its wrongs in Haiti, or its lack of credibility and legitimacy will continue to thwart any intended progress now, and in the future.

Part of the article is shown below. Click HERE for the original article.

U.N. continues to stumble — badly — in Haiti

Lauren Carasik, Miami Herald

April 12, 2017

Nowhere is the United Nations’ lack of accountability more glaring than in Haiti. The U.N. Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) is responsible for causing a cholera epidemic that has killed thousands and for crimes, including sexual exploitation and abuse (SEA), that have largely gone unpunished.

Thursday, as the Security Council votes on the future of MINUSTAH, it has a last chance to ensure that its mission’s legacy includes an accountable response for the harms it has caused. If the United Nations replaces MINUSTAH without doing right by Haiti, its successor mission, whose mandate will focus on promoting rule of law, will lack the credibility to succeed from its inception.

After six years of unconscionably denying its culpability in causing cholera, then-outgoing Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon finally accepted moral responsibility for the U.N.’s role and its “collective responsibility to deliver” relief. He announced the New Approach, a $400 million strategy comprising two tracks: the first focused on upgrading badly failing water, sanitation and health infrastructure systems; and the second entailing “a package of material assistance and support to those Haitians most directly affected by cholera, centered on the victims and their families and communities.”

Click HERE for the original article.

 

Extending Haitians’ TPS is in U.S. Interests Too

April 11, 2017 - 12:31

Haitians were granted Temporary Protected Status (TPS) in the United States after the 2010 earthquake killed over 250,000 people and destroyed much of Port-au-Prince’s infrastructure. Even today, over 500,000 people are still living in tents since the earthquake. Hurricane Matthew, which devastated the southern peninsula of Haiti in October 2016, made the situation even worse and also exacerbated the cholera epidemic brought by UN peacekeepers in 2010. Haiti is not equipped to handle the 58,000 people who would be forced to return if TPS is not renewed and besides severely destabilizing its close neighbor, the U.S. would lose countless social, economic and political contributions Haitians make to this country.

Part of the article is below. Read the full article here.

Haitians still need protective status

Marleine Bastien, Miami Herald

April 11, 2017

In October 2016, Haiti was once again hit by a severe hurricane; this one left more than 700 dead and the entire Southern peninsula destroyed. From the wreckage arose food insecurity because of crop destruction, leading to severe malnutrition and further exacerbating the imported cholera outbreak that hit the country after the 2010 earthquake.

As the time for the renewal of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) quickly approaches — July 22 — Haitian nationals living in the United States and their families are anxiously awaiting a decision from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). It will take more than 90 days for their permits to be processed, and many are already losing their jobs.

It is in the United States’ national interest to extend TPS for another 24 months. If this country were to deport 58,000 people, it would severely destabilize Haiti and instantly cut off remittances to thousands of families who rely on them for survival.

 

Read the full article here.

Haitian Migrants Running Out of Options in Mexico

April 10, 2017 - 17:52

This article follows volunteer Hugo Castro in Tijuana as he orders and then brings supplies to a shelter there and finds out that all but one of the Haitian migrants living there have left. Apparently, the Mexican government is no longer funding the shelters and as they now rely solely on volunteers and donations, the Pastor heading this particular shelter has asked the migrants to leave. Castro is frustrated, knowing that the migrants have limited alternatives for shelter. He ultimately delivers his carload of supplies to a few other shelters still open in downtown Tijuana. The situation is bleak for the Haitians who travelled miles and miles, often through dangerous areas, to reach the U.S. border before the U.S. decided to resume noncriminal deportations to Haiti. Castro emphasizes that it is up to the people, not political leaders, to effect change and help these migrants.

Part of the article is below. Read the full article here.

San Diego Volunteers Help Haitians Survive In Mexico

Jean Guerrero, KPBS

April 10, 2017

Hugo Castro pulled a wad of $100 bills from his wallet and ordered hundreds of pounds of rice, oatmeal, oil, spaghetti and cleaning bleach at Tijuana’s main wholesale market.

“We are shopping, trying to maximize the money,” he said, wearing a black shirt emblazoned with a cross and the question, “Who Would Jesus Deport?”

As the heavy boxes and bags filled his two-door Toyota Solara, the car’s tires sank an inch or two. Castro inspected them with a grimace.

“Sometimes, they burst with the weight,” he said. “They just explode.”

Castro is leading a project called S.O.S. Migrante Adopt a Shelter, which supplies 18 of Tijuana’s migrant shelters with food and other essentials. The San Diego nonprofit Border Angels collects donations and leads volunteers on supply drop-offs.

Full article and video segment here.

Haitian Communities’ Stress Mounts as TPS Deadline Approaches

April 10, 2017 - 15:19

After the devastating 2010 earthquake, Haitians were granted Temporary Protected Status (TPS) in the U.S. because the conditions in Haiti were too poor to accommodate them. Ever since then, the deadline has been extended every 18 months but now, major uncertainty looms over how the Trump administration will deal with TPS. Will they allow Haitians a more permanent path to staying in the U.S. as has been recommended by a Federal court in San Francisco, will they extend TPS for Haitians or will they end TPS altogether? Some Haitians are even being denied jobs due to the fear that their work permits will expire this summer.

The continued suffering and hunger after the October 2016 Hurricane Matthew demonstrates that Haiti is still ill-equipped to handle a large influx of people. Haitians living in the U.S. are able to send remittances back to help their families there rebuild and grow the economy, and making them go back would leave a big hole in the communities where they currently live. So what’s next?

Part of the article is below. Read the full article here.

Trump And TPS: Will He Extend Haitians’ Stay Here Or Send Them Back?

Tim Padgett, WLRN

April 10, 2017

Farah Larrieux is a Haitian who for the past dozen years has built a tele-life in South Florida. She’s hosted the public affairs program “Haiti Journal” on PBS channel WPBT. She has a TV production company.

“I have an entertainment show on the satellite network Teleanacaona,” she tells me.

Achievement awards and community service plaques hang on the walls of Larrieux’s house in Miramar. But right now a big anxiety also hangs over her life here – and will for another three months.

“If President Trump doesn’t sign the executive order to extend TPS for Haitians, your life collapses,” Larrieux says, “and you’re going to be in deportation proceedings, too.”

 

Read the full article here.

HSNNE Honors IJDH Attorney Beatrice Lindstrom

April 10, 2017 - 10:00

Haiti Solidarity Network of the Northeast invites you to the 23rd ANNUAL FUNDRAISER DINNER DANCE, Wings of Hope for Haiti. Honorees at this event are Beatrice Lindstrom, human rights advocate Sonia Pierre, Dr. David Butler from Holy Name Hospital, and CEO of Holy Name Hospital, Michael Maron.

 

 

 

WHEN:

Saturday, April 29, 2017

8:00pm to 1:00am

WHERE:

Caldwell University Student Center

120 Bloomfield Avenue

Caldwell, New Jersey 07006

 

Regular tickets are $50 and student tickets, $25.

 

Click HERE for more info and the ticket/fundraiser form.

Haitians Fear for the Future as They Continue to Urge Immediate TPS Extension

April 6, 2017 - 13:08

Approximately 58,000 Haitians will be sent back to Haiti if their Temporary Protected Status, which was approved by President Obama after the 2010 earthquake, is not extended after its expiration in July. Haitians, their families, lawyers, politicians, and community members fear the devastating effects if TPS is not extended and they are required to return to a struggling Haiti. Tens of thousands of individuals will lose their jobs and be unable to send remittances back to their families. Additionally, returning to Haiti would create even more risks for these individuals and the country as a whole, which already faces a severe food shortage, cholera outbreak and lack of adequate shelter. Although TPS does not expire until July, lawyers warn that the changes need to happen immediately.

Part of the article is shown below. Click HERE for the original article.

Haitians wonder if they will be sent home to a still-devastated Haiti

Mimi Whitefield, Miami Herald

April 6, 2017

Given President Donald Trump’s hard line on illegal immigration, Haitians are afraid that a special status that allowed some 58,000 Haitians to stay in the United States as their nation recovered from a devastating 2010 earthquake may not be renewed.

Former President Barack Obama approved Temporary Protected Status for Haitians in the wake of the earthquake. It is up for renewal on July 22, but many Haitians who took advantage of the program fear it won’t be extended, sending them back to an impoverished country where efforts to rebuild housing are lagging and 750,000 people still don’t have safe water for drinking and cooking.

“Over 6 1/2 years later, Haiti is still trying to recover. Over 6 1/2 years later, we still have people living under tents. Imagine sending 58,000 people to a country in turmoil,” said Marleine Bastien, executive director of FANM (Haitian Women of Miami), one of about a dozen community groups that came together Thursday in Little Haiti to call for the immediate extension of TPS.

“We are here to ask our partners in the Trump administration to pay attention to Haiti,” Bastien said. “People are anxious, they are concerned, they are scared to death” that they will be sent back.

Click HERE for the original article.

Congrats to IJDH Collaborator Profiled in Le Floridien!

April 6, 2017 - 08:44

Our collaborator Soeurette Michel is featured in the latest issue of Le Floridien (along with a lot of reprints of articles related to our work). The profile tells the story of the obstacles Soeurette had to overcome in order to become an attorney and eventually create her own law firm. Soeurette was involved in the Haitian American diaspora cholera brief, which is briefly mentioned. Congratulations to Soeurette! We are honored to work with such a remarkable human rights advocate.

Part of the article is below. Read the full article here (page 11).

LAW BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY: HOW SHE BECAME A LAWYER“I know I can be what I want to be. If I work hard at it, I’ll be where I want to be.”

Jaury Jean-Enard, Le Floridien

April 1-15, 2017

Such is the chorus of songwriter Nas’s 2002 song entitled, “I Can.” This song encourages people, especially children, to work hard at their dreams. It was also nominated for best rap video. And if there were a best Haitian lawyer success story, it would probably be Soeurette Michel.

In January 13, 2001, Michel arrived in the U.S. after barely escaping an abduction attempt in Haiti three days prior. After leaving the bank in Fontamara (neighborhood in the Western department of Haiti) she was robbed. Her purse was stolen; and by sheer luck, the robbers discussed kidnapping her, but instead they let her go. Her visit to the U.S. was intended to be a short escape from political instabilities. Instead, her mother and other family members encouraged her to stay permanently. She was in her late twenties and moved in with her then sister-in-law in Orlando, FL.

Today she is known as Attorney Soeurette Michel – a well-respected attorney and CEO of The Michel Law Firm, LLC. Her firm, which she established in 2012, specializes in business litigation, criminal defense, immigration, naturalization law, and human rights. Michel has worked on several high profile cases, such as: the Haiti Cholera case against the United Nations, the Diaspora Mission for Haiti’s 2016 elections, and migration crisis of Haitians throughout Central and Latin America.

Currently, she is focused on human rights and TPS protection of an influx of Haitians coming in the U.S. via the Mexican border near Tijuana.

Read the full article here (page 11).

The Shared Struggle of African Americans and Haitians

April 6, 2017 - 07:27

In this video, Congresswoman Maxine Waters, former chair of the Congressional Black Caucus and the senior African American woman serving in Congress; and Mildred T. Aristide, attorney and former First Lady of Haiti, discuss historical and contemporary matters that relate to African American and Haitian progress at Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit, MI.

April 6, 2017

After Death of a Loved One, Haitians Must Choose: Lifetime of Debt or a Funeral?

April 6, 2017 - 07:08

Imagine coping with the death of a loved one, and being told that you must pay more money than your annual income to ‘properly’ bury the deceased. This is the reality for many impoverished Haitians when they are at their most vulnerable and grief-stricken; they are charged exorbitant fees solely for the profit of those in the burial business, who exploit the family members’ unawareness of cheaper options and their desires to pay respect to the deceased. 2/3 of Haitians live on less than $2 per day, and funeral fees will put them into debt for years to come. This issue continues to be of critical importance as the death toll from cholera, food shortages and natural disasters continues to rise daily.

Part of the article is shown below. Click HERE for the original article.

Grieving Haitians go into lifetime of debt to fund funerals

David McFadden, Associated Press

April 6, 2017

Aspasie Tanis lives hand-to-mouth on the edge of eviction in the best of times, scraping out a living selling packets of spaghetti and cookies outside her low-slung concrete shack in Haiti’s capital. Now the death of her father by stroke threatens to send her into a lifetime of debt.

The distraught single mother is frantically seeking loans from friends and pastors to pay for the cheapest funeral on offer. Hospital morgue officials say her father’s body will be dumped in a pauper’s grave unless her struggling family forks over a relative fortune of just over $1,000.

“I’ll never be at peace if he isn’t buried properly,” Tanis said quietly after transferring her father’s corpse to a cut-rate private morgue.

Her anxiety is shared by many in Haiti, where two out of three people live on less than $2 per day and burying the dead is a predatory business. While funerals are costly in any number of countries, Haitian undertakers get away with charging rates that exceed what most citizens earn in a year.

Along the capital’s bustling Rue de l’Enterrement, established morticians and unlicensed freelancers engage in a daily bidding war for new customers while telling bereaved families that anything less than their set packages can be seen as a lack of respect for the dead.

Click HERE for the original article.

Detention and Deportations of Noncriminal Haitians Arriving from Mexico

April 5, 2017 - 10:22
Join the Haiti Deportation Response Network (HDRN)!

On September 22, 2016, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) began detaining for “expedited removal” (deportation) noncriminal Haitians appearing at Mexico-US border crossings; deportations began on November 3 and 8, despite the devastation wrought by Hurricane Matthew a few weeks earlier, and number about 300 per week on three weekly flights to Haiti. DHS is detaining about 3,000+ of them in dozens of facilities remote from any available attorneys and Creole interpreters, facilitating their deportation in violation of their right to assert political asylum claims.  Among other steps, IJDH has created the Haiti Deportations Response Network (HDRN) to recruit attorneys and interpreters to address the crisis.  Relevant articles are below. See also our sections on asylum claim resources, on Food Insecurity after Hurricane Matthew, and on Temporary Protected Status for Haitians.

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Developments

On February 17, AZ Central reports that “U.S. accelerates deportation of Haitian migrants“.

On January 26, Caribbean360 quoted Steve Forester in their article “Haitians in US Dreading Deportation“.

On December 13, “Thousands of Haitian migrants amassed at U.S.-Mexico border unsure what’s next

MoveOn.org petition, “End Cholera and Protect Haitians in the US”

On November 10, U.S. Congresswoman Frederica Wilson issued a press release denouncing the resumption of deportation flights to Haiti.

On November 8, NewsDeeply reported on the “Humanitarian Crisis on U.S. Border: Haitians Stranded by Policy

On November 8, the “U.S. government quietly resumes deportations to Haiti” as news about Hurricane Matthew died down.

On November 4, “Feds eye Ohio prison for housing Haitian illegal immigrants

On November 2, U.S. Congresswoman Yvette D Clarke called on Obama Administration to immediately halt deportations of Haitian nationals.

MoveOn.org petition, “End Cholera & Aid Elections in Haiti; Protect Haitians in US,” based on the October 20 Florida leaders’ letter below (garnered about 4,500 endorsers).

On November 1, national Catholic leaders wrote U.S. Secretaries Jeh Johnson (DHS) and John Kerry (State) urging redesignation of Temporary Protected Status (TPS), expanding the Haitian Family Reunification Program (HFRP) and more.

On October 8, the New York Times editorial board urged TPS re-designation and a halt to deportations in light of Hurricane Matthew.

On October 5, a bipartisan letter to President Obama from 57 U.S. Representatives, co-sponsored by Rep. Frederica Wilson and circulated before Matthew struck Haiti, strongly urged reinstatement of the pre-September 22 parole and non-removal policy.

In their September 27 op-ed, Steve Forester (IJDH) and Marleine Bastien (FANM) urged expanding the HFRP (paragraphs 3-11).

 

Articles & Letters

Stranded Haitian migrants seek new home on Mexico-U.S. border – Reuters, March 16, 2017

Thousands Of Deported Haitians And Africans Wait To Cross The Border In Tijuana – Konbini, March 13, 2017

Haitians in US Dreading Deportation – Caribbean360, January 26, 2017

Here’s why Obama should broaden TPS for Haitians – Miami Herald, December 24, 2016

Tijuana welcomes Haitian immigrants stuck at U.S.-Mexico borderPBS Newshour, December 23, 2016

Dear President Obama, while there is time – Medium, December 20, 2016

Haitian-American Elected Officials Ask President Obama to Expand Family Reunification – South Florida Caribbean News, December 16, 2016

7,000 miles to salvation – The Washington Post, December 16, 2016

Thousands of Haitian migrants amassed at U.S.-Mexico border unsure what’s next – AZ Central, December 13, 2016

Haitians alarmed by renewed U.S. deportations as Trump era loomsUPI, December 8, 2016

U.S. picking up pace of deportations to Haiti – Miami Herald. November 23, 2016

US congresswoman Clarke calls on White House to halt deportations of Haitians November 10, 2016

Press release: Congresswoman Frederica Wilson on resumption of deportation flights to Haiti November 10, 2016

Sens. Menendez and Nelson Lead TPS Request for Haitians in Wake of Hurricane Matthew – October 13, 2016

Senators Schumer and Gillibrand Urge DOS and DHS to Grant TPS to Haitians – October 12, 2016

Hastings Urges President Obama to Expand TPS for Haitians Affected by Hurricane Matthew – October 12, 2016

Congressman Hastings Urges Expansion of TPS for Haitians After Hurricane Matthew – October 12, 2016

Church World Service Demands TPS, No Deportation for Haitians – October 12, 2016

After stay of Haitian deportation policy, local leaders encouraged but still fightingMiami Herald. October 12, 2016

US policy on deporting Haitians on hold in wake of hurricaneThe Washington Post. October 11, 2016

Activists Call Haitian Deportation Policy “Abomination”CBS Local Miami. October 10, 2016

Deportation to a disaster zone: Obama under pressure to stop crackdown on Haitian migrants as Hurricane Matthew wreaks havoc on islandSalon. October 7, 2016

Haiti’s New CatastropheThe New York Times. October 7, 2016

Bipartisan letter (attached) from 57 US Reps Urges President Obama to Halt Haiti Deportation Policy – October 6, 2016

Haitian Men Cut Off From Families as U.S. Tightens Entry RulesThe New York Times. September 29, 2016

Obama’s contradictory stance toward black asylum seekersThe Hill. September 28, 2016

New policy to deport Haitians is inhumaneMiami Herald. September 27, 2016

U.S. tightens immigration policy on undocumented Haitians – Humanosphere. September 26, 2017

Haitians, After Perilous Journey, Find Door to U.S. Abruptly ShutThe New York Times. September 23, 2016

Uncertainty for Haitians in TijuanaSan Diego Union Tribune. September 23, 2016

Haitian Reunification fight to continue, activists sayMiami Herald. October 21, 2014

Obama to expedite U.S. entry for thousands of HaitiansMiami Herald. October 17, 2014

Actions

End Cholera and Protect Haitians in the US – MoveOn.org petition to the U.S. House of Representatives, the U.S. Senate and President Barack Obama.

End Cholera & Aid Elections in Haiti; Protect Haitians in US – About 4,500 people endorsed this MoveOn.org petition to the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate

Action Alert to DHS: Ensure the well-being of Haitians affected by Hurricane Matthew – Email/letter to President Obama’s DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson

Tell President Obama to Reverse Deportation Policy Against Haitian Refugees! – Petition to President Obama

The Humanitarian Crisis in Haiti is Closer Than You Think – Petition to DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson

URGENT: Tell DHS Secretary Johnson to Protect Haitians – Urged calling Congress

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Haitian Immigration Rights – General

Click HERE for links to over 80 editorials, resolutions, political letters, op-eds, petitions, and other support urging the President and DHS to create a Haitian Family Reunification Parole Program.

*If you’re looking for information on the Dominican Republic’s citizenship crisis, click HERE.*

Overview

IJDH’s immigration advocacy is built on three decades of leadership in ensuring a safe haven in the U.S. for Haiti’s persecuted.  We seek creation of a Haitian Family Reunification Parole Program to save lives, reunite families, expedite orderly migration and speed recovery by increasing the flow of remittances to loved ones in Haiti. The Haiti Asylum Information Project (HAIP), established in 2004, has provided asylum applicants from across Haiti’s political spectrum the expert testimony and country condition information they need to present strong cases. Our Stop Deportations Now Campaign, the platform for years-long Temporary Protected Status (TPS) advocacy in Congress, the media, and the streets led to the suspension of all non-criminal deportations to Haiti in early 2009 and facilitated the immediate grant of TPS to Haitians in the United States after Haiti’s January 12, 2010 earthquake.

Expediting Haitian Family Reunification

IJDH leads nationwide advocacy urging the Obama administration to create a Haitian Family Reunification Parole Program (HFRPP).  Nearly 110,000 Haitians are beneficiaries of family-based immigrant visa petitions which the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has already approved but who remain on wait lists of up to more than 12 years in Haiti, where many may not survive.  A Cuban FRPP expedites family reunification for similarly-situated Cuban beneficiaries; IJDH has built extensive support and momentum for creation of a similar Haitian program. Our campaign succeeded on October 17, 2014, when DHS announced it would implement an HFRPP in early 2015 to expedite the entry into the U.S. of approved beneficiaries whose visas are within two years of becoming current. While thrilled with this development, which should help thousands, we will seek to expand coverage of the new program to include all DHS-approved beneficiaries in Haiti, many of whom are on wait lists of up to 12 years (not just two), and closely monitor its implementation to seek to insure its maximum effectiveness.

Click HERE for links to letters, resolutions, editorials, reports, petitions and op-eds urging creation of a Haitian FRPP to save lives and speed Haiti’s recovery.

Temporary Protected Status (TPS)

On Jan­u­ary 21, 2010, after years of IJDH advo­cacy and a dev­as­tat­ing earth­quake nine days ear­lier, the Depart­ment of Home­land Secu­rity (DHS) des­ig­nated Haiti for Tem­po­rary Pro­tected Sta­tus (TPS) for 18 months. In May, 2011, DHS extended TPS for another 18 months to Jan­u­ary 22, 2013, and redes­ig­nated it to include Haitians who had arrived in the United States by Jan­u­ary 12, 2011, one year after the quake. On Octo­ber 1, 2012, DHS extended TPS for Haiti for another 18 months, to July 22, 2014.  Most recently, on March 3, 2014, DHS extended TPS for another 18 months, through January 22, 2016. As always, Haitians seek­ing TPS pro­tec­tion and work autho­riza­tion must apply indi­vid­u­ally, meet­ing eli­gi­bil­ity require­ments described by DHS’s United States Cit­i­zen­ship and Immi­gra­tion Ser­vices (USCIS).
TPS pro­tects most Haitians in the United States from depor­ta­tion to Haiti, and IJDH works with a broad range of advo­cates to trouble-shoot TPS imple­men­ta­tion issues as they arise.

Calls for re-designating TPS (and expanding HFRP) after Hurricane Matthew are HERE.

Haitian Asylum Information Project (HAIP)

The Haitian Asylum Information Project (HAIP) is an online resource library for asylum applicants and their lawyers. It contains key documents, contact information, and model pleadings to facilitate the filing of successful Haitian asylum cases.
Click HERE to learn more about HAIP.

Stop Deportations Now Campaign

Click HERE to learn more about the campaign.

Take Action

Take action now for fair immigration policy toward Haitians. Make your voice heard by signing petitions, writing to or calling your representatives, and getting up-to-date information about Haitian immigration.

UN Credibility at Risk with Lack of Promised Action Against Cholera

April 4, 2017 - 12:04

On December 1, 2016 when UN Secretary-General at the time, Ban Ki-moon, announced a new approach to cholera in Haiti, victims and advocates rejoiced at the UN finally taking a step towards the justice that had been denied for six years. Of the $400 million promised that day though, only $2.7 million has been received and $10 million total including pledged contributions. It seems that the new Secretary General, António Guterres is also leaning towards not asking for assessed contributions from UN member states despite their inaction in funding this plan. After six years of denial and dodging accountability for cholera, a failure to follow through on this new plan would do irreparable damage to the UN and its role in promoting human rights all over the world.

Part of the article is below. Read the full article here.

Will State Inaction at UN Imperil Haiti Cholera Response?

Nathan Yaffe, IPI Global Observatory

April 4, 2017

The United Nations took a decisive step toward strengthening accountability when it announced a “new approach” to cholera in Haiti, on December 1 last year. In an official apology for the UN mission in Haiti’s role in the disease outbreak, then Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon acknowledged not only the UN’s “moral duty” to “do the right thing for the Haitian people,” but also the international community’s “collective responsibility to deliver.” Six years after the start of what remains the world’s largest modern day cholera epidemic, the apology and commitment to redress marked an important shift from the UN’s earlier and widely criticized denial of responsibility for the outbreak.

Yet just four months later, concerns abound that the world body will fail to deliver on the promise of its new approach. Voluntary contributions are stagnant: The trust fund established by the UN has received only $2.7 million of the $400 million estimated to be required, with additional contributions bringing the funding total to roughly $10 million. Now, Secretary-General António Guterres appears to have caved to pressure from some UN member states to take the option of funding its new approach through assessed contributions off the table, despite other states favoring this approach.

Thus, there is a real risk that the UN will break its promise to the people of Haiti, dealing another blow to the organization’s credibility on the world stage. This would also send a message that member state commitment to peacekeeper accountability stops at the point where funding is needed. As the New York Times put it in a recent editorial, the lack of follow-through to date provides a “lesson in evading moral responsibility.” At a time when faith in multilateralism and peacekeeping is receding, this is a blow the UN cannot afford.

 

Read the full article here.

Haiti’s Extreme Prison Conditions Reach Australian News

April 4, 2017 - 06:44

Haiti’s prisons were already overcrowded but conditions worsened after the 2010 earthquake, which aggravated the backlog of paper work by destroying several government buildings. Many of the prisoners have never even seen a judge and even men who have been approved for discharge remain in prison due to conflicts in their paperwork. This article shows why improvements in Haiti’s judicial system are so necessary.

Part of the article is below. Read the full article here.

Haiti’s Prison from Hell: ‘I can’t cope, I have no-one’

Debra Killalea, news.com.au

April 4, 2017

IT’S so overcrowded there’s barely room to move.

Dozens of men are crammed into cells for hours on end, some without access to a toilet.

Welcome to Haiti’s National Penitentiary.

Regarded as one of the most overcrowded prisons in the world, Dateline reporter Seyi Rhodes goes inside and discovers the shocking conditions many are forced to endure.

Among the overcrowded inmates, 80 per cent have been imprisoned without a conviction while others have been languishing inside for years awaiting their fate.

 

Read the full article here.

In Post-Hurricane Haiti, Hunger, Suffering & Vulnerability Continue

April 3, 2017 - 07:49

What does life look like today for many Haitians, 6 months after Hurricane Matthew? The ongoing effects of the hurricane, and its implications for the coming months, create a bleak situation in which desperate community members cannot feed their families, but cannot make the changes necessary to ensure stability in the future. There is no food, and thousands of people still reside in temporary shelters, tents or caves without proper sanitation, rendering them vulnerable to cholera. Many children that were forced to leave school have not yet returned or are unable to do so, and farmers and fishermen lost the resources upon which they depend to make a living. Clearly, the “chaotic” situation in post-Matthew Haiti continues to leave many vulnerable Haitians at risk.

Part of the article is shown below. Click HERE for the original article.

Six months post-hurricane, hunger gnaws at southern Haiti

AFP

April 3, 2017

Crouching beside the makeshift shelter shared with his parents and five siblings, Fanfan Edouard slowly sharpens his machete. But there’s no rush to cut firewood, because there is no food to cook.

“I’ll try to buy rice on credit and find work, anything to pay later,” the 26-year-old says, speaking without much conviction.

Since Hurricane Matthew destroyed their two small homes, the Edouard family makes ends meet in a shelter just a few square meters large.

But corrugated tin roofs do little to protect the two beds they share. When it rains, the family spends their nights in a nearby cave.

“We’re not comfortable because we have to pile up on each other, but it’s a chance for us to have a dry space,” says Edouard’s mother, Marguerite.

Having just one cave for shelter is hardly the main concern of the approximately 100 people who live in Fond Rouge, on the outskirts of Jeremie in the southwest of Haiti.

Matthew slammed the region around Jeremie in October 2016. The storm, which tore through the Caribbean, killed more than 700 people — mostly in Haiti — and caused some $2.8 billion in damage.

Click HERE for the original article.

Lettre Ouverte a la Police Nationale d’Haïti sur les droits de manifester | Open Letter to Haitian National Police RE Right to Protest

April 2, 2017 - 13:20

(The English translation of this letter is below.)

BUREAU DES AVOCATS INTERNATIONAUX
3, 2ème rue Lavaud
B.P. 19048
Port-au-Prince, Haïti
Tel : +5092943-2106/ 07
Email: avokahaiti@aol.com

 

LETTRE OUVERTE

 

Port-au-Prince, le 28 Mars 2017

Monsieur Michel-Ange Gédéon

Directeur Général de la Police Nationale d’Haïti (PNH)

En ses bureaux.-

 

Monsieur le Directeur Général,

Le Bureau des Avocats Internationaux (BAI), dans sa mission première de défendre les droits des plus démunis, les droits inaliénables, imprescriptibles et inhérents à la personne humaine, en particulier ceux des victimes du choléra importé par la MINUSTAH, des femmes victimes de viol, d’agression sexuelles et autres abus de droit, prend acte du refus systématique de la Police Nationale d’Haïti (PNH) dont vous êtes son Directeur Général de donner suite aux notifications des organisations de Victimes de choléra, du Bureau des Avocats Internationaux (BAI) et du MOLEGHAF,  relatives aux droits de manifester du peuple haïtien garantis par l’article 31-2 de la Constitution de 1987.

Entre le 13 octobre 2015 et le  19 décembre 2016,  le BAI cumule dans ses archives au moins dix (10) notifications qu’il a envoyées à la PNH en conformité aux exigences constitutionnelles qui ont été refusées par la Direction Départementale de l’Ouest de la PNH (DDO) pour des raisons injustifiées et inavouées, mais contraires aux normes démocratiques et constitutionnelles. Une situation qui se détériore davantage depuis les évènements conduisant à l’accession de monsieur Jovenel Moïse au pouvoir car de janvier 2017 à aujourd’hui, toutes les sept (7) notifications qu’on a envoyées à la DDO ont été systématiquement refusées dont celle en date du 24 mars 2017, et ce dans un contexte politique caractérisé par une proposition de loi sur la diffamation déjà votée au Sénat qui, de toute évidence, s’inscrit dans une démarche de fouler aux pieds les libertés d’expression.

En effet, conformément à l’article 31-1 de la loi mère du pays,  les victimes de choléra, le BAI et le MOLEGHAF, par voie d’huissier, ont signifié à  la PNH leur notification  relative à une marche pacifique qu’ils vont organiser ce mercredi 29 mars, à l’occasion de la commémoration du trentième anniversaire de la constitution haïtienne du 29 mars 1987,  pour demander au parlement d’exiger le pouvoir exécutif à se positionner clairement en faveur du droit à la réparation des victimes  de choléra et du départ de la MINUSTAH. Cependant la police a prétexté dans un premier temps que l’huissier doit signifier les copies des pièces d’identités avec les signatures de trois (3) organisateurs de cette marche, alors que cette notification a été déjà signée par Me Mario Joseph, responsable du BAI ; dans un second temps, après avoir accepté de répondre à ces exigences susmentionnées,  elle a malgré tout refusé de recevoir la notification susdite au retour de l’huissier.

Le BAI prend acte également qu’en date du sept (7) mars 2017, la Société Haïtienne d’Aide aux Aveugles (SHAA), une organisation partenaire du BAI militant pour l’inclusion sociale des personnes handicapées qui voulait organiser, de concert avec le BAI et d’autres organisations des personnes handicapées,  un sit-in le vendredi 10 mars dernier pour marquer le premier anniversaire de l’assassinat en toute impunité  de trois femmes sourdes  à Cabaret,  a été forcée de vous écrire personnellement pour avoir accès à la sécurité de la PNH, suite au refus de la DDO de recevoir leur notification. Donc, vous ne pouvez pas prétexter que vous n’étiez pas au courant de ces incessants actes arbitraires de la DDO, en violation de la constitution haïtienne de 1987 et du Pacte International relatif aux Droits Civils et Politiques (PIDCP).

A cet effet, le BAI  tient à vous rappeler que la liberté de réunion et d’expression sont la pierre d’assise de toute société libre et démocratique.  Car, l’article 31 de la Constitution Haïtienne  garantit « la liberté d’association et de réunion sans armes à des fins politiques, économiques, sociales, culturelles ou toutes autres fins pacifiques est garantie ». Lorsque la PNH rejette arbitrairement les notifications préalables selon article 31.2, elle viole la liberté de réunion du peuple haïtien et les obligations faites par la loi internationale au gouvernement haïtien. Selon l’article 276.2 de la Constitution, les traités internationaux, une fois ratifiés, deviennent  partie de la législation d’Haïti et abrogent toutes les lois préexistantes, contradictoires.

Or, l’article 15 de la Convention Américaine des droits de l’homme, ratifiée par Haïti en 1977, et l’article 21 du Pacte Internationale des droits de l’homme ratifié par Haïti en 1991,  obligent le gouvernement haïtien à prendre toutes les mesures possibles en vue de renforcer et de protéger la liberté de réunion de toute personne, et de ne pas imposer des restrictions arbitraires.

Donc, au regard de ces faits avérés constituant une entrave à la jouissance des libertés publiques,  le BAI tient à vous demander, monsieur le Directeur Général, de vous ressaisir et surtout de ne pas vous faire complice d’une situation d’instrumentalisation de la PNH comme une force de répression contre les droits démocratiques et constitutionnels du peuple haïtien.

 

Mario JOSEPH, Av
Bureau des Avocats Internationaux

 

 

CC :         Madame Florence ELIE, Office  Protecteur du Citoyen (OPC)

Monsieur Jose de Jesus Orozca Hernandez, Rapporteur Spécial de la Commission Interaméricaine des Droits Humains (CIDH)

Monsieur David Kaye, Rapporteur Spécial sur la Promotion et la Protection du Droit à la liberté d’Opinion et d’Expression

 

——————————————-

BUREAU DES AVOCATS INTERNATIONAUX
3, 2ème rue Lavaud
B.P. 19048
Port-au-Prince, Haïti
Tel : +5092943-2106/ 07
Email: avokahaiti@aol.com

 

OPEN LETTER

Port-au-Prince, March 28, 2017

 

Mr. Michel-Ange Gédéon

Executive Director of the Haitian National Police (PNH)

In his offices.-

 

Dear Executive Director,

The Bureau des Avocats Internationaux (BAI), in its primary mission of defending the rights of the most deprived, the inalienable, imprescriptible and inherent rights of the human being, particularly those victims of cholera imported by MINUSTAH, women victims of rape , sexual assault and other human rights abuses, takes note of the systematic refusal of the National Police of Haiti (PNH), of which you are Director General, to follow up on the notifications from cholera victims’ organizations, the BAI and the MOLEGHAF, concerning the Haitian people’s rights to demonstrate guaranteed by article 31-2 of the 1987 Constitution.

Between October 13, 2015 and December 19, 2016, the Bureau des Avocats Internationaux (BAI) accumulated in its archives at least ten (10) notifications sent to the PNH in accordance with the constitutional requirements that have been refused by the West Departmental Office of the PNH (DDO) for unjustified and unavowed reasons, but contrary to democratic and constitutional norms. This situation is deteriorating further since the events leading to the accession of Mr. Jovenel Moïse to power because from January 2017 to today, all seven (7) notifications sent to the DDO were systematically refused, including the one from March 24, 2017, and this in a political context characterized by a bill on defamation already voted in the Senate, which obviously is part of a process to trample freedoms of expression.

In accordance with article 31 (1) of the country’s parent law, the victims of cholera, BAI and MOLEGHAF, through a bailiff, notified PNH of their notification of a peaceful march they will organize this Wednesday, March 29, to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the Haitian constitution of March 29, 1987, to ask the parliament to demand that the Executive clearly position itself in favor of cholera victims’ right to reparations and of the departure of MINUSTAH. However, the police initially alleged that the bailiff must denote the copies of the identity documents with the signatures of three (3) organizers of the march, although this notification was already signed by Mr. Mario Joseph of BAI. In a second step, after agreeing to meet these requirements, they nevertheless refused to receive the aforementioned notification on the return of the bailiff.

BAI also acknowledges that, on the 7th of March 2017, the Haitian Society for the Assistance of the Blind (SHAA), a partner organization of BAI which is active in the social inclusion of persons with disabilities, that wanted to organize a sit-in on Friday, March 10 along with BAI and other disability organizations, to mark the first anniversary of the murder of three deaf women in Cabaret with impunity, was forced to write to you personally to access the PNH’s security, following the refusal of the DDO to receive their notification. Therefore, you cannot pretend that you were not aware of these incessant arbitrary acts of the DDO, in violation of the 1987 Haitian Constitution and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).

To this end, BAI wishes to remind you that freedom of assembly and expression are the cornerstone of any free and democratic society. Article 31 of the Haitian Constitution guarantees “freedom of association and unarmed assembly for political, economic, social, cultural or other peaceful purposes is guaranteed”. When the PNH arbitrarily rejects prior notifications under Article 31.2, it violates the freedom of assembly of the Haitian people and the Haitian government’s obligations under international law. According to article 276.2 of the Constitution, international treaties, once ratified, become part of Haiti’s legislation and repeal all pre-existing, contradictory laws.

Article 15 of the American Convention on Human Rights, ratified by Haiti in 1977, and article 21 of the International Covenant on Human Rights, ratified by Haiti in 1991, require the Haitian government to take all the necessary measures to strengthen and protect the freedom of assembly of any person, and not to impose arbitrary restrictions.

Therefore, in view of these proven facts, which constitute a hindrance to the enjoyment of public freedoms, the BAI wishes to ask you, Mr. Executive Director, to remind you, and above all, to ensure that you are not complicit in a situation where the PNH is used as a force of repression against the democratic and constitutional rights of the Haitian people.

 

Mario JOSEPH, Attorney

Bureau des Avocats Internationaux

 

CC: Mrs Florence Elie, Office of the Citizen’s Protector (OPC)

Mr. Jose de Jesus Orozca Hernandez, Special Rapporteur of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR)

Mr. David Kaye, Special Rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of the Right to Freedom of Opinion and Expression

What Does Immunity Really Mean for UN Perpetrators of Sexual Assault?

April 1, 2017 - 08:45

The United Nations has been heavily criticized for high incidences of rape perpetrated by peacekeepers and for its policies in response to such allegations. Despite a “zero tolerance” approach, the UN has shielded its perpetrators from consequences under immunity laws and, in a few instances, doled out punishments that are shockingly disproportionate to the crime. For example, impregnating a minor resulted in only a nine-day suspension. Many UN officials, including the Secretary-General and the the UN director of the Office of the Under-Secretary-General for Management, have committed the organization to end impunity, hold peacekeepers accountable and stop sexual exploitation and assault, but many are wary that the promises they have heard for decades will continue to disappoint without a critical look at the immunity laws and how far they can reach.

Part of the article is shown below. Click HERE for the original article.

Liberia exclusive: “There is no longer going to be impunity” – Saunders on UN rape crisis

Cholo Brooks, Global News Network Liberia

April 1, 2017

For decades, United Nations (UN) peacekeepers accused of sexual exploitation and abuse have operated under an umbrella of impunity.

Last week, Christian Saunders, the UN director of the Office of the Under-Secretary-General for Management, told Al Jazeera’s The Stream that this was about to change.

“There is no longer going to be impunity,” he said, adding that UN Secretary-General Antonio Gutteres is going to work with member states to ensure abusers are “held criminally responsible” for sexual abuse.

He highlighted that Gutteres had committed to “zero tolerance” and the creation of a “high-level task force.”

“This was almost the first thing he did taking office,” said Saunders.

Click HERE for the original article.

Will impunity for violent Haitian mayor continue?

April 1, 2017 - 04:17

Last month, three plaintiffs sued former Haitian mayor Jean Morose Viliena for human rights violations in Haiti, including an attack on a radio station that caused one of them, Nissage Martyr, to have a leg amputated. Viliena was appointed mayor of Les Irois by ex-president Michel Martelly despite an open case against him in Haitian courts. Now that a case has been opened against Viliena in U.S. courts, and an investigation is underway for the mysterious death of Martyr after the suit was filed, many are looking to see whether the new Haitian president will continue this pattern of impunity.

Part of the article is below. Click HERE for the full text.

Haiti’s Violent Politics Are Taken to Court. In Boston

Frances Robles, The New York Times

April 1, 2017

A mysterious death, a decade-old murder and a human rights lawsuit in federal court in Boston are casting a light on the patronage politics of Haiti and its culture of impunity.

The lawsuit stems from a 2008 attack on a radio station run by a local government opposition party in Les Irois, Haiti, in which one man was left blind in one eye and another, Nissage Martyr, lost his leg. The suit also accused the mayor there of orchestrating a murder in the middle of a street and ordering thugs to burn down an entire community.

In an interview in late March, Mr. Martyr said that during the raid, the mayor, Jean M. Viliena, had put a foot on his chest and a 9-millimeter handgun to his ear, beaten him and ordered someone else to shoot. The gunshot wound led to the loss of his leg.

Mr. Viliena was indicted in the attack, but was released from jail and fled Haiti, moving to suburban Boston, where he became a school bus driver and drove for Uber.

 

Read the full article.

Plaignant Nissage MARTYR est mort après qu’il a déposé plainte aux États-Unis contre Jean Morose VILIENA, ancien maire des Irois, pour Assassinat, Torture et Incendie

March 31, 2017 - 12:53

BUREAU DES AVOCATS INTERNATIONAUX
3, 2ème rue Lavaud
B.P. 19048
Port-au-Prince, Haïti
Tel : +5092943-2106/ 07
Email: avokahaiti@aol.com

POUR DIFFUSION IMMÉDIATE

Contact :
Mario JOSEPH, Av., Bureau des Avocats Internationaux, mario@ijdh.org +509-3701-9879 (français, kreyòl)
Nicole PHILLIPS, Esq., Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti, nicole@ijdh.org +509-4645-2888, (anglais, français, kreyòl)

Plaignant Nissage MARTYR est mort après qu’il a déposé plainte aux États-Unis contre Jean Morose VILIENA, ancien maire des Irois, pour Assassinat, Torture et Incendie

Port-au-Prince, le 31 mars 2017 – Le Bureau des Avocats Internationaux (BAI) regret d’annoncer que notre client Nissage MARTYR est décédé subitement dans la soirée du vendredi 24 mars 2017. Sa mort intervient un jour après que lui et deux autres clients ont annoncé le dépôt d’une plainte au tribunal fédéral à Boston contre Jean Morose VILIENA, l’ex maire des Irois en Grande-Anse, qui habite à présent aux alentours de Boston.

Maitre Joseph dit, « nos condoléances les plus sincères vont à la famille et les amis de MARTYR. Nous demandons au gouvernement d’Haïti de diligenter rapidement une enquête pour déterminer la cause du décès de MARTYR et protéger les autres deux plaignants et leurs familles. »

Le 23 mars 2017, le Center for Justice and Accountability (CJA) et co-conseil Dentons ont intenté cette action civile aux États-Unis au nom de MARTYR et deux autres citoyens haïtiens qui furent violemment persécutés après qu’ils aient osé défier la corruption et la brutalité de leur gouvernement municipal. La plainte allègue qu’à la tête d’une bande armée de partisans du mouvement KOREGA (Komite Reziztans Grand-Anse), VILIENA a déclenché une campagne de terreur visant des représentants des médias et des défenseurs des droits humains.

En juillet 2007, le demandeur David BONIFACE, un activiste des droits humains, a dénoncé VILIENA au tribunal de paix pour avoir agressé une voisine. Plus tard cette nuit, VILIENA et ses partisans ont brutalement assassiné le jeune frère de BONIFACE en représailles.

L’année suivante, en avril 2008, VILIENA a annoncé à la radio qu’il allait clore la station de radio communautaire hébergée dans la maison de MARTYR. Peu de temps après, VILIENA et ses partisans armés ont envahi la maison de MARTYR, où ils ont violemment agressé MARTYR et Juders YSEME, avant de leur tirer dessus avec une arme à feu, entraînant la perte de la jambe de MARTYR et l’aveuglement de YSEME.

Ce complot pour faire taire toute dissidence aux Irois a abouti dans une frénésie d’incendies criminels en octobre 2009. Tout au long d’une seule nuit, les partisans de VILIENA ont mis feu à 36 maisons appartenant aux membres de l’Organisation du Peuple en Lutte – le principal rival politique du mouvement KOREGA dans la région, y compris celles des trois demandeurs dans cette action civile.

Depuis 2007, BONIFACE et les autres victimes ont déposé plusieurs plaintes contre le maire VILIENA et ses complices dans les tribunaux d’Haïti. En 2009, VILIENA a pris la fuite pour les États-Unis après que les autorités haïtiennes ont ouvert une enquête contre lui pour meurtre. En janvier 2010, le Tribunal de Première Instance de Jérémie a formellement accusé VILIENA d’assassinat, de coups et blessures et de destruction de biens publiques. Cependant, à chaque étape, leurs efforts ont été contrecarrés par la subornation des témoins, l’intimidation et l’ingérence politique.

Malgré sa mise en accusation pour meurtre, VILIENA a été reconduit au pouvoir le 27 août 2012 par l’ex-président Michel Martelly, qui a nommé VILIENA « agent exécutif intérimaire». En 2015, dans une mesure conservatoire, la Commission interaméricaine des droits de l’homme (« CIDH ») a ordonné le gouvernement haïtien de protéger les victimes, ainsi que des membres de leur famille proches et d’enquêter sur les abus des droits humains commis aux Irois. VILIENA continue néanmoins de bénéficier d’une impunité totale.

Le 24 mars 2017, Nissage MARTYR avait regardé un match de football avec environ 60 voisins aux Irois, quand il tomba subitement malade. Il mourut en route à l’hôpital. MARTYR n’a montré aucun symptôme de maladie avant sa mort.

« Jean Morose VILIENA s’est enfuit aux États-Unis, pensant qu’il pourrait échapper au long bras de la justice », a dit Nissage MARTYR après que la plainte soit déposée. « Tout ce que nous voulons, c’est la justice. Nous voulons vivre en paix. Nous voulons parler librement, sans craindre que les partisans de VILIENA vont tirer sur nos familles ou bruler nos maisons. »

Maitre Mario JOSEPH, le dirigeant du BAI, a représenté les victimes des Irois en tant que parties civiles dans l’affaire pénale contre VILIENA et ses complices aux Cayes en Juillet 2015. Maitre Joseph demande, « Il faut que le gouvernement Haïtien se conforme à l’ordre de la CIDH pour protéger la sécurité de la famille de MARTYR, témoins dans l’affaire, y compris nos autres clients jusqu’à ce que la cause du décès de MARTYR est déterminée. » Maitre Joseph exhorte le gouvernement « d’enquêter rapidement pour déterminer la cause du décès de MARTYR. »

###

Will victims of former Haitian mayor find justice?

March 31, 2017 - 09:42

The former mayor of Les Irois in Haiti led murderous mobs against political dissidents.  Seven years after he fled to Malden to avoid charges against him there, three plaintiffs were able to sue the ex-mayor, Viliena, under the Torture Victim Protection Act. The day after the suit was made public, one of the plaintiffs died suddenly, so his death is now under investigation as well. IJDH’s Nicole Phillips and Center for Justice and Accountability’s Scott Gilmore comment on this case that they are leading against Viliena.

Part of the article is below. Click HERE for the full text.

Accused in Haiti, Malden man is latest to face lawsuit here

Nestor Ramos, The Boston Globe

March 31, 2017

As the mayor of a remote Haitian coastal town, Jean-Morose Viliena was above the law, according to those who say they suffered his wrath.

He incited mobs on murderous rampages in his native Les Irois, they allege, and burned his political opponents’ homes to the ground.

And when his alleged reign of terror appeared to be coming to an end, he fled — to Malden, of all places — and spent much of three years driving a school bus in the region. During that time, he also allegedly served as the appointed executive agent of Les Irois, despite a pending murder indictment and a residence in Malden.

Now, seven years after he fled Haiti, the law may have caught up with Viliena, who is the latest in a string of foreign officials brought before US courts to answer for alleged human rights violations committed in distant lands under a 1992 federal law.

 

Read the full article.

Lawyers Urge Investigation to Determine Cause of Plaintiff’s ‘Suspicious’ Death

March 31, 2017 - 06:19

Nissage Martyr, one of three plaintiffs in the federal lawsuit against the former Haitian mayor Jean Morose Viliena, died one day after filing the lawsuit. The plaintiffs’ lawyers describe the death as “suspicious,” given the timing and Martyr’s apparent health. Martyr suddenly collapsed while watching a football game in Les Irois, Haiti, but little else is known as to the cause. His lawyers urge the Haitian government to immediately investigate and complete an autopsy to determine the cause of Martyr’s death. Additionally, they urge the protection of Martyr’s family and the two remaining plaintiffs in the case.

Part of the article is shown below. Click HERE for the original article.

Lawyers: Death of Haiti plaintiff in US suit ‘suspicious’

David McFadden, Associated Press

March 31, 2017

Lawyers in a U.S. lawsuit against the former mayor of a remote Haitian town called Friday for a full investigation into the death of a plaintiff in the case and sought government protection for his relatives and the family of two other complainants.

Nicole Phillips, a human rights attorney in Haiti, described the sudden death of 56-year-old Nissage Martyr as “suspicious” and called for an autopsy to determine the cause. He died after collapsing while watching a soccer game with at least 60 other people in Les Irois on the tip of Haiti’s southern peninsula a day after the U.S. lawsuit was filed against ex-Mayor Jean Morose Viliena.

Les Irois is the isolated town where Viliena is accused of leading an armed group in attacks on his critics and political opponents while in office from 2006 to 2010.

Click HERE for the original article.

Newly Released Emails Incriminate Top US Officials in UN Unaccountability for Cholera

March 30, 2017 - 07:10

Newly revealed emails indicate that high-level American officials knew about the United Nation’s role in causing the cholera epidemic in Haiti from the beginning of the outbreak. Thus began a cover-up to protect the reputation of both the U.N. and the U.S., incriminating a wide range of people. The emails suggest that the investigation was flawed and “unenthusiastic,” despite growing evidence of the U.N. peacekeepers’ roles. It took six years from the outbreak of the disease for the public to hear an official apology from the U.N.; six years in which cholera killed more than 9,500 people and crippled Haiti’s healthcare system, infrastructure and access to clean water. Experts suggest that the real death toll could even be 2-3 times higher than this estimate, and cholera continues to kill approximately one Haitian per day.

Part of the article is shown below. Click HERE for the full article.

What They Knew, and When They Knew It

Jonathan Katz, Slate

March 30, 2017

Halfway through her confirmation hearing in January, the nominee for U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, found herself navigating a river of human waste in Haiti.

Some suspected the then–president-elect had picked the South Carolina governor, who had no foreign policy experience, in order to exile a potential rival to an institution he’s derided as “a waste of time and money.” But for two and a half hours, as senators probed her on places like North Korea, Ukraine, and Israel, the nominee held her own, shoring up talking points with governor’s office banter.

That’s when Sen. Ed Markey, the junior Democrat from Massachusetts, asked about a crisis that threatens nothing less than the legitimacy of the United Nations itself. The crisis is the cholera epidemic in Haiti, a still-unfolding catastrophe that all available evidence shows began when U.N. peacekeepers from Nepal infected the country’s most important river system in October 2010. Yet still, after more than 10,000 people have died and incalculable damage has been done to a country the United Nations swore to protect, no one has been held accountable.

Haley’s first stab at an answer reflected the confusion at the heart of the new administration’s foreign policy. “What happened in Haiti is just nothing short of devastating,” she said. “It’s also why I think it’s so important that the contributing countries take responsibility and take actions against those violators that are doing anything to harm the people that they’re supposed to be protecting.”

Click HERE for the original article.