Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti

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Time for Haiti’s Government to Demand Cholera Justice

September 13, 2016 - 14:58

BAI’s Mario Joseph, along with about 100 cholera victims, protested in front of Haiti’s presidential palace this week. They asked the Haitian government to speak in favor of justice for Haiti’s cholera victims, especially now that the United Nations has finally admitted its involvement in the epidemic. Many believe the Haitian government has been afraid to speak out in the past because of its reliance on Haiti’s UN force, MINUSTAH.

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

Haiti cholera victims protest against UN

Jamaica Observer

September 13, 2016

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AFP) — Around 100 Haitian cholera victims protested Monday in front of the presidential palace demanding that the Government obtain damages from the United Nations, whose peacekeepers are blamed for the epidemic.

“We are here so that (interim president) Jocelerme Privert finally takes the victims’ side during the UN General Assembly next week,” said Mario Joseph, a lawyer representing several people who contracted the disease.

In mid-August, nearly six years after the epidemic first spread in this impoverished island nation, the United Nations recognized that it had a “moral responsibility” toward the victims and promised material aid.

 

Click HERE for the full text.

Vast Majority of American Cholera Cases Are in Haiti

September 13, 2016 - 13:31

As the UN began a cholera epidemic in Haiti almost six years ago, many may not realize that it is still a major problem. Recent reports show that 96% of cholera cases in the Americas are in Haiti. The rates of cholera death and infection have also been higher in 2016 than in the same time period in 2014 and 2015. Much work needs to be done to slow and end the epidemic.

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

Haiti – Health : 96% of all cases of cholera in the Americas Region are in Haiti

HaitiLibre

September 13, 2016

For the first 34 weeks of 2016, a total of 27,839 cholera cases were reported in three countries of the Americas: the Dominican Republic (1,039), Ecuador (For isolated cases of cholera), and Haiti (26,799), which alone accounts for 96% of all cholera cases reported in the Region of the Americas up to EW 33 of 2016.

 

Click HERE for the full text.

Haiti: Forging a Pathway to Prosperity [EVENT]

September 13, 2016 - 11:03

IJDH Executive Director Brian Concannon will participate in this panel discussion on Capitol Hill.

WHAT:

This issue forum will focus on the efforts to support and build the Haitian economy and community, with an emphasis on housing, education and economic development.  Featuring experts from non-governmental organizations, the advocacy community and the Haitian and U.S. governments, the program will move beyond politics to address how the nation can continue on its path road to recovery and development.

 

*Moderator: Dr. Ron Daniels, President, Haiti Support Project (Confirmed)

  • The Honorable Paul Altidor, Ambassador of Haiti to the United States 9Confirmed)
  • The Honorable Simon Dieuseul Desras, Haiti, Minister of Environment (Confirmed)
  • Ms. Georgette Mulheir, CEO, Lumos Foundation (Confirmed)
  • Mr. Chad Bissonette, Roots of Development (Confirmed)
  • Mr. Brian Concannon Jr., Executive Director, Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti (Confirmed)
  • Dr. Alix Cantave, Haiti Program Officer, Kellogg Foundation (Pending)

WHERE:

DC Convention Center – Room 140A
801 Mt Vernon Pl NW
Washington, DC 20001

WHEN:

Thursday, September 15, 2016
4:30 to 6:00pm

Center for Gender & Refugee Studies Seeks Development & Communications Director/Associate

September 12, 2016 - 13:08

CGRS is seeking a highly motivated individual passionate about refugee rights and ready to lead the charge in CGRS’s fundraising efforts. The position will also manage external communications, including website, social media, newsletters, press releases and media advisories, and media relations. Depending on experience, this individual will join the team in a director-level position or an associate-level position.

REQUIREMENTS

EDUCATION AND EXPERIENCE

  • x A minimum of a bachelor’s degree or educational equivalent required;
  • x Four to six years of experience in fundraising/development/communications for a non-profit organization for the associate-level position; at least seven years of experience in these areas for the director-level position, including at least two years management experience.

KNOWLEDGE, SKILLS & ABILITIES

  • x A strong commitment to CGRS’s mission;
  • x Demonstrated ability to write in a clear, structured, articulate and persuasive manner;
  • x Previous grant-writing experience preferable;
  • x Excellent oral communication and inter-personal skills;
  • x Comfortable and creative with the use of social media to promote the organization’s activities and accomplishments;
  • x Ability to work under pressure, setting goals and meeting them;
  • x Ability to keep track of and meet deadlines;
  • x Proficiency in all Microsoft Office programs, especially Excel, as well as previous donor database experience is required; knowledge of Raiser’s Edge a plus;
  • x Knowledge of HTML a plus;
  • x Familiarity with organizational budgets and budgeting software;
  • x Strong attention to detail, excellent organizational, administrative skills;
  • x Ability to take initiative, prioritize with minimal supervision and work independently, (a self- starter), as well as being able to function as a member of a team;
  • x Creative, “outside the box” thinking;
  • x Enthusiasm to learn and grow in both demanding and close-knit staff environment

The position is open until filled.

 

More information about the position and the application process is available HERE.

UNITED FRONT OF THE HAITIAN DIASPORA TO DEPLOY AN ELECTION OBSERVATION MISSION TO HAITI FOR THE 2016 ELECTIONS

September 10, 2016 - 16:37

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

United Front Washington DC, September 10, 2016:

UNITED FRONT OF THE HAITIAN DIASPORA TO DEPLOY AN ELECTION OBSERVATION MISSION TO HAITI FOR THE 2016 ELECTIONS

The United Front of the Haitian Diaspora will deploy an Election Observation Mission for the general elections of the Republic of Haiti, scheduled for the 9 of October, 2016. The UF, working under the guidance of the Haiti’s Conseil Electoral Provisoire (CEP), will assess the elections against national law and international principles for elections contained in regional and international law and standards.

“The UF EOM’s presence will show the United Front of the Haitian Diaspora’s commitment to participate in the affairs of Haiti and the conduct of inclusive, transparent and credible elections in Haiti. The UF will not just focus on the election days, but on all aspects of the electoral process, including the resolution of any election related issues after voting is completed” says Lionel Jean Baptiste, Interim Chairman of the United Front.

 

Click HERE for the full press release.

As Cholera Surges, Cholera Elimination Funding Decreases

September 9, 2016 - 18:00

Though the cholera brought to Haiti by UN peacekeepers continues to kill, there are fewer and fewer cholera treatment centers and funding to fight cholera is running out. Right after the epidemic began in 2010, there was a lot of funding but the UN has struggled for years to fund its cholera elimination plan. Now, a UN spokesman has promised a new approach and “material assistance and support” for Haiti’s cholera victims. IJDH’s Beatrice Lindstrom says “If the U.N. does present a robust response that responds to victims’ rights, it would make further litigation unnecessary.”

Cholera blamed on U.N. peacekeepers surges in Haiti as funding vanishes

Makini Brice, Reuters

September 9, 2016

U.N.-led foreign funding has dried up for Haiti’s fight against cholera, thought to have been introduced by Nepali peacekeepers, triggering a surge of deaths this year even as the global body vowed to help overcome the epidemic.

The lack of support is notable because Haiti was free of cholera until 2010, when U.N. peacekeepers dumped infected sewage into a river, according to investigators.

Since then, more than 9,000 people have died of the disease that causes uncontrollable diarrhea and 800,000 people have fallen ill, mostly in the first two years of the outbreak.

The United Nations has not legally accepted responsibility for the outbreak. An independent panel appointed by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon issued a 2011 report that did not determine conclusively how the cholera was introduced to Haiti.

However, a new report by the independent U.N. Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights that will be presented to the U.N. General Assembly later this year concluded that scientific evidence “now points overwhelmingly to the responsibility of the peacekeeping mission as the source of the outbreak.”

In August, Ban said the United Nations has a “moral responsibility” to help Haiti’s cholera victims and their families.

The outbreak and subsequent failure by the United Nations to help Haiti stamp out the disease will be a stain on the legacy of Ban, who steps down at the end of 2016 after serving two five-year terms that have been blighted by accusations of sexual abuse and exploitation by U.N. peacekeepers in the Central African Republic and elsewhere.

Ban, whose successor will be elected by the General Assembly, launched a major appeal aimed at eradicating cholera in Haiti four years ago.

But foreign governments largely ignored the plea and funding has almost halved to $7.9 million in 2016 from a year ago.

That has led to a reduction in prevention and treatment services, and 227 deaths in the first seven months of the year, a third more than a year earlier.

“These results are due to the reduction of funding available for cholera response projects,” the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said in a curt statement last week.

Even OCHA’s Central Emergency Relief Fund, which channels funds from other U.N. agencies to humanitarian crises, stopped funding cholera relief in Haiti this year, public documents show.

Because of the funding crunch, many charity teams that do street work to trace the source of local outbreaks wound down activities from April, treatment centers have been shuttered, and those still active complain of shortages of antibiotics.

GRIMY POND

In Carrefour, a working class district in the hills above Port-au-Prince, cholera is resurfacing at an alarming rate, aid group Solidarite International said, with 1,100 cases detected this year, and 220 of those in August alone.

An open cistern of grayish water serves as a spot for bathing, washing clothes and bottling drinking water in one square near Carrefour. Known as the Boyer Source, aid workers say the surrounding streets were high risk for cholera, with 16 cases in August.

“Every time it rains, this source becomes contaminated,” said Wangcos Laurore, head of the cholera response program at Solidarite International, looking over the grimy pond on a sweltering day last week.

Carrefour only has one cholera treatment center, after one shut last year. Here, four patients, all children, lay on camping beds. Zamar Marie Magdalah, a nurse, said capacity had been reduced from treating 60 cases at one time in previous years to 40 in June.

Now the limit is 15 patients. Those with conditions like high blood pressure and diabetes as well as cholera are turned away, because of the center lacks medicines to treat them.

“These are basic materials that we are supposed to have,” said Magdalah.

Nearby, Clerette Morenvil, the mother of a 10-year-old girl being treated at the center, showed members of a Solidarite International rapid response team a corner store whose owner sold her water from a spigot, where customers filled bottles for 1 Haitian gourde ($0.015) apiece.

“The water comes from a well,” said store owner Frantz Terin, to questions posed by the team.

“We don’t treat the water. We don’t have the authority to do so … we use it to wash our clothes. Me, I drink it. Everyone drinks it.”

Such emergency rapid-response teams, who visit the homes of cholera victims and their neighbors and trace the source of outbreaks, were scaled back by about 40 percent in April, according to UNICEF. Monthly support for the teams was cut by up to 50 percent in the first half of 2016, a government source said.

From January to July, nearly 25,000 cholera cases were registered, a 22 percent rise over the same period last year.

FADING APPEAL

The world’s sympathy was with Haiti in the wake of the 2010 earthquake that killed more than 300,000 people and the response to the cholera epidemic was initially massive, helping rapidly reduce the number of deaths and infections.

But interest faded fast, with humanitarian crises such as Syria, Iraq, Yemen and South Sudan all competing for resources. Haiti’s lack of stable government and multiple failed elections may also have dulled donors’ funding appetite.

In 2012, Ban launched a $2.2 billion funding drive aimed at eradicating the disease from Haiti within a decade.

So far, the campaign has only raised 18 percent of the target from international donors, according to documents from the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

“Despite repeated appeals, these efforts have been seriously underfunded and severe and persistent funding shortfalls remain,” Ban’s office said in August.

Of the top six donors who have contributed to the cholera response since the outbreak in 2010, only the EU’s European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations and Canada have contributed significant funds this year. The United States, Sweden, the U.N’s CERF and OCHA’s emergency fund have not.

Ban has vowed a new approach, due to be unveiled in October. Given the lack of funds available for his first plan, it is not clear how he intends to finance a package that his spokesman said “would provide material assistance and support to those Haitians most directly affected by cholera” and address issues of water, sanitation and health systems in Haiti.

In 2011, rights group the Institute for Justice and Democracy filed a class action case against the United Nations over the epidemic, demanding it install a water and sanitation system in Haiti, compensation for victims and an apology.

The group, which recently lost a bid in a U.S. court to strip the U.N. of immunity from victims’ claims, said it would wait for Ban’s new plan before launching a Supreme Court appeal.

“If the U.N. does present a robust response that responds to victims’ rights, it would make further litigation unnecessary,” said Beatrice Lindstrom, a lawyer for the group.

(Additional reporting by Michelle Nichols at the United Nations and Lawrence Hurley in Washington; Editing by Frank Jack Daniel and Kieran Murray)

 

Click HERE for the original article.

Thousands Cross Border into Haiti, Including 905 Unaccompanied Minors

September 9, 2016 - 12:21

In response to the National Regularization Plan, 48,808 repatriates from the Dominican Republic, including 905 unaccompanied minors, have been recorded returning to Haiti from January to August 2016. Some of those arriving have been deported by Dominican authorities, and some have come “voluntarily” to escape violence and eventual deportation.

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

905 unaccompanied minors among 48K returned from Dominican Republic

M NH, Haiti Sentinel

September 9, 2016

BELLADERE, Centre, HT (sentinel.ht) – For 2016, 48,808 repatriates from the Dominican Republic, including 905 unaccompanied minors, were recorded returning to the country by the the Support Group for Refugees and Repatriated Persons (GARR).

From January to August 2016, the Dominican authorities have deported 21,384 persons, presumably Haitian nationals, from their territory.

During the same period 26,704 have come to Haiti from the Dominican Republic “voluntarily”, to escape the violence, deportation and other threats.

Click HERE for the full article.

 

Haiti Support Group Criticizes UN Failure in Cholera Epidemic

September 8, 2016 - 10:49

Haiti Support Group criticizes the UN’s failure to take responsibility for its role in the cholera epidemic. With no change to medical protocols for the screening and treatment of peacekeeping troops, Phillip Wearne expresses his hope that European courts will rule against UN impunity.

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

Haitians Deserve the Truth over UN’s Role in Cholera Epidemic

Phillip Wearne, Haiti Support Group

September 8, 2016

The 9,200 Haitians killed and more than 800,000 seriously sickened by the UN’s grossly negligent introduction of cholera to Haiti via their peacekeeping force there, will be relieved to know from Stephen O’Brien UN under-secretary-general for humanitarian affairs that “the UN welcomes public scrutiny.” (UN is impartial in Syria as it is elsewhere, The Guardian, 1 September 2016).

If only. Having denied its responsibilities and culpability at every turn, buried the evidence and expertise that proves liability, hidden behind its legal immunity in US courts and refused even minimal compensation to some of the poorest people on earth for six years, to Haitians, the UN does not have a humanitarian department worthy of the name.

The failure to hold itself to account or allow anyone else to do so in court means that the causes of this disaster remain unaddressed. UN medical protocols still do not require the screening and treatment of troops being deployed on peacekeeping missions (see Guardian report April 14, 2016). Woefully inadequate UN sanitation in the field remains “unsatisfactory,” as an internal UN report concluded in June 2015…

Click HERE for the full text.

A DEA Fugitive Runs for Haitian Senate

September 6, 2016 - 13:02

Guy Philippe is wanted by the US Drug Enforcement Agency for charges including conspiracy to import cocaine into the U.S. He’s also running for Senate in Haiti, with a lot of support from the town where his father was mayor. He even campaigned with one of the top presidential candidates earlier this year. Though there are many questions about Guy Philippe’s shady actions, he warns that if he loses the Senate race, there will be trouble.

From remote stronghold, Haiti fugitive seeks political power

David McFadden, Associated Press

September 6, 2016

PESTEL, Haiti (AP) — Fishermen gathered eagerly at a rickety wooden pier to welcome a boat carrying Haiti’s most divisive and provocative political candidate.

The crowd quickly cleared a path as Guy Philippe stepped to shore and began shaking hands and slapping backs. More people emerged to see the man whose face adorns campaign posters on one-room shacks in a community isolated from the rest of the country by forested mountains and rutted roads.

Philippe is reviled by some Haitians as a leader of the 2004 rebellion that ousted President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. He is wanted on decade-old drug-trafficking charges by U.S. authorities. And last week, a Haitian judge questioned him about a deadly May raid on a police station after he rebuffed previous subpoenas.

Yet Philippe appears to be revered in the rural Grand’Anse region of southern Haiti. Many already call him “senator” as he seeks to win a seat in a runoff election scheduled for Oct. 9 — a victory that would give him immunity from arrest and prosecution in his homeland as well as political power that he has long craved.

“He’s like a father for this area,” said Christin Pierre Louis, who was among those welcoming Philippe to the village.

Elsewhere, many see him as a troubling symbol of Haiti’s wider problems.

“There is an accountability vacuum in Haiti that means people implicated in past human rights violations can run as popular candidates with no fear of investigations, much less prosecutions, of alleged abuses,” said Amanda Klasing, a senior researcher with New York-based Human Rights Watch.

The fugitive candidate, who looks much younger than his 48 years, allowed Associated Press journalists to spend a day with him in his Pestel stronghold. It’s a remote municipality in the rugged mountainous region that has been his refuge since U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agents barely missed capturing him in a 2007 raid at his house in the south coast city of Les Cayes.

He says he wants to bring prosperity to Haiti’s mountainous southern peninsula, which features clear blue waters and lush forests but has scarce electricity, little infrastructure and widespread hunger.

Philippe insists he is innocent of any crimes, blaming the accusations on enemies trying to silence him. He has particular rancor for Haiti’s caretaker president.

“The path I chose, the way I chose, is not easy. But I chose it and I’m willing to die for it,” Philippe told AP journalists, who made the teeth-rattling drive to his stronghold along a dirt road that has been lined with boulders so barricades can be erected at a moment’s notice.

In Pestel, where his father served as mayor, Philippe is the undisputed boss.

Downing bottles of Prestige beer, he held court at the town’s only hotel, which he owns. He occasionally barked orders to supporters, socialized with a coterie of hangers-on and doled out favors.

At a gazebo he built for the town on a waterfront promenade, he made an open invitation to former soldiers to relocate to Pestel. Haiti’s military was abolished in 1995, but veterans like Philippe and their supporters have long demanded the army be reconstituted.

“They can come to Pestel — land of liberty,” he said, flashing a grin.

While Philippe insisted he holds great respect for law enforcement as a former police commander and soldier, he warned that any uniformed officials trying to capture him in his tropical outpost will be met with force.

“We’ll consider them as mercenaries and we will fight them,” he said.

Philippe denied reports he has stockpiles of weapons, but two T65 assault rifles and a pair of M-1 carbines were visible inside a roadside shack where a lookout stood guard.

Philippe’s candidacy for a Senate seat is the latest chapter in a colorful life.

In 2000, he was police chief of the northern city of Cap-Haitien, the country’s second largest city, when he bolted to the neighboring Dominican Republic after accusations he was plotting a coup. While in exile, he was accused of masterminding attacks on Haitian police stations and other targets.

He returned in 2004 to join an uprising against Aristide, taking over a band of rebels that captured Cap-Haitien. Aristide left the country aboard a U.S.-supplied jet before Philippe’s rebels reached the capital.

After rolling triumphantly into Port-au-Prince, Philippe proclaimed himself “military chief.” But he gave up his arms as a U.N. stabilization force geared up.

He ran for president in 2006, finishing a distant ninth.

A year later, heavily armed U.S. and Haitian anti-drug agents raided his home in Les Cayes but found only his family and a maid. U.S. agents came in several Black Hawk helicopters.

A fugitive poster from the DEA said he is wanted on charges including conspiracy to import cocaine into the U.S. But the decade-old U.S. indictment charging him is sealed and federal prosecutors decline to discuss the case.

Philippe faces questions about a May 16 assault on the Les Cayes police headquarters. As many as 50 armed men wearing camouflage or faded green uniforms attacked the station, stealing guns and killing one police officer and wounding another.

His lawyer, Reynold Georges, confirms that Philippe is named on a Haitian warrant involving the attack, but says his client had no involvement.

Philippe says he is living a simple life and is focusing on his campaign. Jovenel Moise, a presidential candidate chosen by former President Michel Martelly, recently campaigned with Philippe in Pestel.

His American wife and two children live in the U.S., and he says he seldom ventures out of Grand’Anse.

Philippe warns of trouble if he loses the Senate runoff.

“I will fight if I lose this election because I’ll know the government did it illegally,” he said between swigs of beer. “I’ve got nothing left to lose.”

___

Associated Press writer Curt Anderson in Miami contributed to this report.

 

Click HERE for the original article.

Investigation Continues Into Murder of Three Deaf Haitian Women

September 2, 2016 - 10:48

In Haiti, people with disabilities are often discriminated against and kept apart from other children while they’re growing up. In a rural community called Leveque, some strides have been made to better serve deaf families, like having the school and church include Haitian sign language in their operations. In March, the murder of three deaf women on their way home rocked this little community. Mario Joseph of BAI is the lead attorney on that case and fighting to get justice for these women’s families.

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

Triple Murder Shakes Colony Of Deaf People In Rural Haiti

Andrez Martinez Casares, One America News Network

September 2, 2016

LEVEQUE, Haiti (Reuters) – A triple murder has shaken the village of Leveque in rural Haiti, testing the community and sense of security nurtured by its large population of deaf families who were relocated there after the devastating earthquake six years ago.

The murders of three deaf women, Vanessa Previl, Monique Vincent and Jesula Gelin as they tried to get home from the capital Port-au-Prince in March seemed a chilling reminder of the prejudices and superstition that many in the village grew up with, even in their own homes.

Built after the earthquake by Mission of Hope, a U.S. religious charity, and housing a high proportion of deaf families among its 615 households, Leveque’s modest tin-roofed homes and unpaved streets have become a place of tolerance in an often hostile outside world.

 

Click HERE for the full text.

Art for Change [EVENT]

August 31, 2016 - 21:57

Celebrate the Grand Opening of the Caribbean Art Center with music, performances, and more. The Caribbean Art Center will exhibit a permanent collection of paintings and photographs on black history and Caribbean island life after this program.

WHEN:

Saturday, September 10, 2016
6-9pm

WHERE:

Roxbury Community College auditorium
1234 Columbus Avenue
Roxbury Crossing, Boston, MA 02120

N.B. Parking 2 & 3 on Columbus Avenue will be open.

 

Click HERE for more information or contact Jean Senat Fleury, jeansenatfleury@gmail.com.

Opening reception of Konekxion exhibit at Lesley University [event]

August 31, 2016 - 21:03

Art by Haitian American artist Colette Bresilla will be exhibited in Cambridge, MA from August 29 through October 7. Come learn more about Colette and celebrate her work at a reception with food, drinks and live Haitian jazz.

WHEN:

Friday, September 9, 2016
4:30 to 7:30pm

WHERE:

Parker Gallery
University Hall Atrium (2nd floor)
1815 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA

 

Click HERE for more information.

Next UN Secretary-General Must Clean Up Accountability Crisis

August 28, 2016 - 07:39

The United Nations has been facing an accountability crisis due to failure to properly respond to sexual abuse by peacekeepers, a cholera epidemic it brought to Haiti in 2010, and poisoning of Roma families in Kosovo. While the current Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon still has time to save his legacy by responding justly to these problems, the next Secretary General has an opportunity to turn the situation entirely around by respecting human rights from the outset. An accountability pledge led by AIDS-Free World and IJDH asks the Secretary-General candidates to do just that but so far, only four out of 11 have weighed in.

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

New UN secretary-general must commit to accountability

Lauren Carasik, Al Jazeera

August 28, 2016

Recent accountability crises in United Nations peacekeeping missions have revealed a “culture of impunity”, sullying the organisation’s reputation and undermining its raison d’etre.

In this climate, the incoming secretary-general, set to take office in January 2017, will face significant challenges to upholding the UN’s mission of promoting human rights and the rule of law.

To ensure that accountability is a core component of the new leader’s agenda, a coalition of 37 non-governmental organisations launched a campaign urging the current candidates for the secretary-general position to take an accountability pledge, committing to implement stronger UN accountability mechanisms if selected.

The pledge is focused on high-profile instances where the UN peacekeeping has failed: Sexual exploitation and abuse and the ongoing cholera epidemic in Haiti.

 

Click HERE for the full text.

After Admission of Involvement, the UN Must Do More for Cholera Victims

August 26, 2016 - 13:20

Thanks to Dr. Louise Ivers of Partners in Health for this Letter to the Editor describing how the United Nations can do much more for Haiti’s cholera victims, and calling on the UN to do so. Now that, almost six years later, the UN has admitted involvement in the cholera outbreak, it is time for real action.

————————-

To make amends, the U.N. must provide funds to fight cholera in Haiti

Dr. Louise Ivers (Letter to the Editor), The Washington Post

August 26, 2016

Regarding the Aug. 19 editorial “The U.N. finally faces facts in Haiti”:

The United Nations conceded that it played a role in a devastating cholera epidemic in Haiti six years ago and admitted that it should do “much more.” Contrition was long overdue.

International experts reviewing the evidence (including a panel appointed by the United Nations) long ago concluded that the cholera outbreak was triggered by a lack of adequate sanitation at a U.N. peacekeeper’s base. In a country that is extremely vulnerable to disease outbreaks and that has limited capacity to respond to them, the introduction of cholera resulted in a major and ongoing disaster, with more than 10,000 deaths and 800,000 people sickened.

The U.N. can save lives, restore goodwill and stabilize the country by financing a plan to control cholera in Haiti. The Haitian government, international agencies and nongovernmental organizations, including Partners In Health, know how to eliminate cholera transmission in Haiti. Partners In Health supports an ambitious plan to interrupt and stop the spread of the disease using a combination of mass vaccination and household water treatment. If the U.N. follows words with financing, it will be taking very strong steps toward making amends to a country whose people it has harmed. We call on it to do just that.

Louise Ivers, Boston

The writer is a senior health and policy adviser with Partners In Health.

 

Click HERE for the original.

UN Must Pay Its Debt to Haiti’s Cholera Victims

August 26, 2016 - 10:30

This Letter to the Editor says that the United Nations must now apologize to Haiti’s cholera victims, provide them with compensation, and invest in cholera eradication. Experts should be involved to make sure that the victims’ needs are finally met.

UN-believable irresponsibility

Nancy Morisseau, NY Daily News

August 26, 2016

Brooklyn: Your editorial “The UN in a time of cholera” (Aug. 23) noted the internal report concluding the United Nations “created the epidemic and went out of its way to dodge responsibility” — and the “enormous debt” the UN owes to Haiti’s at least 10,000 dead and 800,000 infected cholera victims. The UN must now publicly apologize, put victims front and center, fully compensate them, and invest the money needed to eradicate the disease it ignored for six years. Time is of the essence as the epidemic continues to kill thousands. And independent, Haiti-experienced health experts as well as victims’ representatives must have seats at the table to make sure Haitian lives, so callously ignored by the UN for six long years, now come first.  Nancy Morisseau, Board of Directors, Haitian American Lawyers Association of New York (2013-15)

 

Click HERE for the full list of letters to the editor.

UN Takes Important Step Towards Cholera Justice

August 26, 2016 - 07:52

This article on the UN’s admission of involvement in Haiti’s cholera epidemic highlights IJDH Executive Director Brian Concannon and how our work helped make this happen. For almost six years, the United Nations dodged accountability and denied any responsibility for the epidemic that it caused. Now that an Appeals Court has upheld UN immunity, will the UN take the chance to take real action against cholera? What happens next will determine whether or not IJDH has to appeal to the Supreme Court.

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

Boston activists win important round in battle with United Nations

Adrian Walker, Boston Globe

August 26, 2016

For years Brian Concannon has battled the United Nations from his office in Andrew Square, yet the significant victory he recently won caught him by surprise.

The UN has finally owned up to its role in introducing cholera to Haiti — a public health disaster that has claimed at least 10,000 lives and possibly several times that. That acknowledgement is something human rights lawyers, activists, and Haitian citizens have been seeking for years.

In a statement to the New York Times last week, a spokesman for Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon wrote that, “Over the past year, the UN has become convinced that it needs to do much more regarding its own involvement in the initial outbreak and the suffering of those affected by cholera.” The statement added that the UN would announce a plan to address the epidemic within two months.

 

Click HERE for the full text.

How can Haiti regain its independence?

August 24, 2016 - 13:05

Though Haiti gained its independence in 1804, one can argue that Haiti began to lose that independence less than two decades later when it was forced to start paying France back for lost slaves and property. Almost immediately after Haiti finished paying that “debt” in 80 years, the U.S. military occupied the country for 19 years. Haitian leaders also took advantage of the insecurity, sometimes with the help of foreign countries. This author argues that the only way Haiti can regain its independence is to rid itself of the constant foreign help and take matters into its own hands.

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

Only Haitians can save Haiti

Joel Dreyfuss, The Washington Post

August 24, 2016

Joel Dreyfuss is a Washington Post Global Opinions contributing columnist.

Haiti won a rare victory on the international stage last week. After five years of evading accountability, the United Nations finally admitted that its peacekeepers were responsible for a deadly cholera epidemic that killed 10,000 men, women and children and sickened 700,000. Long after scientists traced the disease to the poor sanitation practices of Nepalese troops stationed in Haiti, the U.N. rejected the findings, claimed diplomatic immunity and enlisted Obama administration support to block efforts by Haitians to hold the agency accountable in U.S. courts. The U.N. backed down after a report by New York University law professor Philip Alston, an adviser on legal and human rights, became public. Alston called the U.N.’s stonewalling “morally unconscionable, legally indefensible and politically self-defeating.”

The U.N.’s arrogant stance was just the latest example of how Haiti’s friends are so often its worst enemies. The U.N. military mission has been in Haiti since 2004, presumably to “stabilize” the country and nurture its fragile democracy. Yet that democracy is barely breathing, with a “provisional” president and a group of dubiously elected officials who can barely agree on a date for presidential elections.

Consider the aftermath of the massive earthquake that killed 200,000 to 300,000 Haitians on Jan. 12, 2010. The international community did responded generously. Former presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush presided over a reconstruction commission that won $14 billion in international pledges and posed to help transform Haiti into a modern nation. However, what money was actually delivered was sucked into a morass of Beltway consultants, failed projects and nongovernmental organizations. “Valuable studies and assessments conducted by Haitians themselves were largely ignored,” the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development reported in a postmortem study. Six years later, the rubble in downtown Port-au-Prince has been cleared, but little has been rebuilt. The nation’s center of commercial activity has moved to suburban Pétionville. Plans to revive the capital remain as vague as the early-morning fog that drifts across the majestic mountains that serve as a backdrop to Haiti’s tortured history.

 

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Haiti Takes Steps to Begin Electoral Process

August 23, 2016 - 14:51

Ever since the United States announced that it would not fund Haiti’s elections because it disagreed with Haiti redoing them entirely, some worried that Haiti would not be able to pull off elections without those funds. Now, Haiti’s Electoral Council is taking some concrete steps towards beginning the process in earnest. A budget for the elections has been released and a timeline of 45 days for the candidates to campaign has been announced. Many within and outside Haiti are looking to see if Haiti can succeed in running more honest elections on its own.

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Haiti kicks off presidential campaigning with a timid start

Jacqueline Charles, Miami Herald

August 23, 2016

PORT-AU-PRINCE — Campaigning for Haiti’s Oct. 9 presidential do-over elections got off to a timid start Tuesday with the country’s elections chief asking candidates and political parties to campaign fairly and prevent elections-related violence.

Léopold Berlanger also reiterated that there will be stricter controls on the balloting, which includes voting for one portion of the 30-member Senate and runoffs for several legislative seats.

“There will be no voting wherever you like,” Berlanger said, referring to poll watchers, also known as mandataires, who were allowed to vote at any polling stations in last year’s disputed vote, triggering allegations of fraud and plunging the country into a political crisis. “No one will have the right to do this.”

Berlanger also said that the voter list — now at 6.1 million voters — is ready, and that the number of polling stations has been reduced to provide voters with more space and privacy to cast ballots.

 

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Will UN restore its tarnished reputation through cholera accountability?

August 23, 2016 - 13:10

Ever since United Nations peacekeepers caused a devastating cholera epidemic in Haiti in 2010, the organization has behaved as if accountability for its actions would be a liability. In the meantime, considerable damage was done to the UN’s reputation, as an organization purported to stand for human rights completely disregarded the human rights of Haitians affected by the epidemic. The lack of funding for the UN’s cholera elimination plan did not help the situation either. Now that the UN has finally admitted responsibility for the epidemic, will accountability come next?
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It’s Time for the UN to Compensate Haitians for Its Cholera DisasterAccountability should be seen as a strength, not a liability, at an organization committed to human rights.

Muneer Ahmad and Alice M. Miller, The Nation

August 23, 2016

For the first time in five years, the United Nations has admitted what epidemiologists, human-rights researchers, and the UN’s own experts established long ago: that its peacekeepers were responsible for the inadvertent introduction of cholera into Haiti in 2010, causing the deaths of over 10,000 people and sickening hundreds of thousands more.

After years of denials and dissembling, and choosing to hide behind the cloak of immunity rather than face the legitimate demands of a grieving Haitian people, the UN now says it is willing to take steps to redress the problem. The challenge now is to develop, fund, and administer a meaningful compensation scheme that values Haitian lives, respects the principles of institutional accountability and the right to a remedy, and repairs the self-inflicted damage done to the integrity of the United Nations as a defender of human rights. Such a response holds the potential not only to deliver a measure of justice to the Haitian people, but to establish an important precedent of accountability for the United Nations and other international governmental organizations.

Cholera erupted in Haiti in October of 2010, less than a month after the arrival of UN peacekeepers from Nepal, which had just endured a major outbreak of the disease. The peacekeepers arrived at a UN outpost near Méyè, 40 kilometers northeast of Port-au-Prince, and were stationed at a base just a few meters away from a tributary to the Artibonite River, Haiti’s largest river and one of its main sources of water for drinking, cooking, and bathing.

As United Nations investigators would later establish, sanitation facilities at the base were haphazardly constructed, and as a result, human waste emptied into the tributary. Within days of the arrival of the peacekeepers, Haitian health officials confirmed numerous cases of cholera in the area surrounding the base, the first cases of cholera in the country in over a century. The disease spread rapidly throughout the country, with devastating effect.

 

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As Damning Reports Pile Up, UN Admits Cholera Responsibility

August 23, 2016 - 08:00

Yet another report has surfaced showing that the United Nations did its best to dodge responsibility for bringing a cholera epidemic to Haiti, a country that was incredibly ill-equipped to handle it. Now, after over 10,000 deaths and almost six years later, the UN has finally admitted involvement in the cholera epidemic. After an Appeals Court ruled that the UN is immune from a cholera lawsuit though, much still remains to be done in seeking justice for the victims.

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The UN in a time of cholera: Admitting incompetence in creating an epidemic

Editorial, NY Daily News

August 23, 2016

After years of amoral denials, the United Nations has finally admitted its responsibility for a cholera outbreak in Haiti that has infected more than 800,000 and killed at least 10,000.

In 2010, the UN brought in 4,544 peacekeepers fresh from a tour of duty in Nepal — where cholera was rampant. Soon, an island nation without cholera for more than a century had an epidemic on its hands.

Regardless, over the next five years, the United Nations swatted away scientific reports that clearly proved its troops had imported the deadly disease to a nation terribly equipped to combat it.

 

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