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Nombreuses organisations demandent réponse à lynchage au RD

February 19, 2015 - 07:11

La semaine dernière, un jeune homme haïtien a été assassiné en République dominicaine dans ce que beaucoup croient être un incident raciste. Nous avons aidé une initiative visant à répondre à la lynchage en soutenant une lettre au candidat présidentiel RD Leonel Fernandez. La lettre a été distribuée le 13 Février par Edwin Paraison, qui a travaillé sur les questions RD / Haïti depuis des décennies. Avocate Nicole Phillips a traduit la lettre en anglais, et nous avons obtenu des dizaines de signatures pour elle, y compris Edwidge Danticat et Noam Chomsky.

Partie de la lettre est ci dessous. Cliquez ICI pour l’originale.

Click HERE for the English version.

Antihaïtianisme en RD: Leonel Fernandez interpellé

Le Nouvelliste
19 février 2015

Port au Prince, Haïti, le 19 février 2015

Honorable Dr Leonel Fernandez
Président du Parti de la Libération Dominicaine (PLD)
Santo Domingo, RD

Monsieur le Président,

Permettez-nous de reprendre ici le fait indéniable que lors de l’élection présidentielle de 1996 en République dominicaine, vous avez bénéficié de la campagne antihaïtienne la plus haineuse depuis la dictature de Trujillo.

Malgré ce renforcement momentané de l’inhospitalité face aux ressortissants d’un pays limitrophe et ami, votre arivée au pouvoir avait été favorablement accueillie des deux côtés de l’île parce qu’elle semblait représenter un renouveau dans la vie politique dominicaine, susceptible de permettre aux rapports binationaux de prendre une nouvelle direction.

 

Cliquez ICI pour l’original.

Click HERE for the English version.

Many Organizations Demand Response to DR Lynching

February 19, 2015 - 06:30

Last week, a young Haitian man was lynched in the Dominican Republic in what many believe was a racist incident. We pitched in on an initiative to respond to the lynching by supporting a letter to DR Presidential Candidate Leonel Fernandez. The letter was circulated February 13th by Edwin Paraison, who has been working on DR/Haiti issues for decades.  IJDH Staff Attorney Nicole Phillips translated the letter into English, and we obtained dozens of signatures for it, including Edwidge Danticat and Noam Chomsky. The English translation is below.

Cliquez ICI pour la version française.

February 19, 2015

Mr. President,
Allow us to revisit here the undeniable fact that during the presidential elections of 1996 in the Dominican Republic, you benefited from the most heinous anti-Haitian campaign since the dictatorship of Trujillo.

Despite this temporary reinforcement of racism against nationals of a neighboring country and friend, your arrival in power had been welcomed on both sides of the island because it seemed to represent a revival in Dominican political life that could allow bi-national relationships to take a new direction.

Certainly your three terms (1996-2000, 2004-2008, 2008-2012) have been marked by some praiseworthy initiatives including the gift of the University Henri Christophe in Lemonade, as part of the reconstruction following the earthquake in Haiti. However, they were heavily tainted by some atrocious events, including the massacre in Guayubin in June 2000; xenophobic incidents against Hatillo Palma in 2005 and the odious crime against Carlos Nerilus in 2009, just to name a few.

Showing a barbarity like no other, on February 11, 2015, in Santiago, the hung corpse of Claude Jean Harry, covered in violent marks, brought tears of the Dominicans who knew him, the discontentment of society and pain of the entire Haitian community.

We therefore denounce and consider indecent and revolting all attempts to seek a scapegoat among the victim’s community.

With indignation, we bring to your attention that this dehumanizing act is a consequence of too much of the anti-Haitian crusade launched to support you and that hasn’t stopped growing.

The most radical supporters of this crusade were working with you and even now occupy far too important government positions based on their alliances with the PLD. We will save you the time of describing here the coincidences of their positions with yours on the migration case and particularly the right to the nationality of Dominicans of Haitian origin before the constitutional reform of 2010.

In addition, death threats made against Dominican journalists for their objective treatment of the Haitian issue and the presence of “masked groups” who, in addition to burning the Haitian flag on the public highway, declared war on illegal immigration deeply concern us.

Given the seriousness of the situation, we ask that you firmly condemn these intolerable acts. Also, we urge you, in your capacity as president of the Juan Bosch party, in close collaboration with competent authorities, to take control of an escalating situation; otherwise history will remember your heavy responsibility in a regression that could prove dangerous for peace between the island’s two countries.

 

Cliquez ICI pour la version française.

Two Arrested for Lynching in DR

February 18, 2015 - 13:36

Local police in the Dominican Republic claim that two Haitian men confessed to the lynching of a young Haitian man in DR last week. Human rights groups assumed the lynching was racially motivated, in line with recent increased tensions between Haiti and DR. Dominican police, however, dismissed any racial motives right away. The author of this article was unable to reach the police for comment after this latest development.

Click HERE for the original article.

Dominican Authorities Arrest 2 In Case Of Hanged Haitian

Roque Planas, The Huffington Post
February 18, 2015

Police in the Dominican Republic have arrested two people accused of strangling a Haitian man to death and hanging his corpse in a public park in the country’s second-largest city of Santiago, local media report.

The hanging of the Haitian migrant, who police identified as Jean Claude Harry, 23, occurred against the backdrop of a racially charged immigration and citizenship debate in the Dominican Republic. But the arrests cast doubt on whether those tensions played a part in the killers’ motivations, as both suspects arrested are also Haitian, according to Dominican daily Listín Diario.

Dominican authorities have yet to reveal the suspects’ names, but local police say that the suspects confessed to killing Harry to take 2,000 pesos – about $45 — that a woman had paid him to help move furniture and other items from the home of a different 70-year-old woman who was found strangled last week, Listín Diario reports.

The arrests came days after the head of the national police, Major General Manuel Castro Castillo, discarded robbery as the motive in the crime.

“It wasn’t robbery,” Castro Castillo said Friday, according to Dominican daily Hoy. “Judging from the characteristics of the incident, several people were involved because first they strangled him and then they hanged him.”

The national police did not respond to an email request to speak with Castro Castillo. Attempts to reach Damian Arias Matos, a police spokesman in Santiago, were also unsuccessful.

Several human rights organizations had initially raised concerns that the killing might have been connected in some way to ongoing tensions sparked by the Dominican government’s recent moves to strip thousands of Haitian descendants of citizenship in the country.

A series of legal changes since 2004 have done away with birthright citizenship in the Dominican Republic. The country’s constitutional court applied the new standard retroactively in a 2013 decision.

Facing international criticism over the issue, Dominican legislators passed a law last year that returned citizenship to some Dominicans of Haitian descent, while creating a pathway to legal residency for others. Human rights organizations including Amnesty International criticized the law as insufficient, however, and faulted the government for doing too little outreach.

Fewer than 9,000 people applied to normalize their status before the Jan. 31 deadline, according to El Día, though Amnesty International says as many as 110,000 qualified.

 

Click HERE for the original article.

Haitian Communities’ Mining Law Complaint Rejected by World Bank

February 18, 2015 - 10:15

The World Bank rejected a complaint issued by Haitian communities regarding the new mining law, due to a technicality. The Haitian communities’ complaint highlighted a fear that an increased investment in the mining sector will consequently create adverse environmental and social ramifications. Although the World Bank has provided technical assistance to the Haitian government in rewriting its mining laws for the past two years, the technical assistance mechanism is not subject to the World Bank’s safeguard policies, allowing the Inspection Panel to refuse to hear the complaint. New York University’s Global Justice Clinic and Accountability Counsel, which supported the Haitian communities’ complaint, believes the World Bank should not have discretion to avoid complaints involving blatant human rights and environmental risks.

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

On a Technicality, World Bank Rejects Complaint on Support for New Mining Law

Center for Economic and Policy Research

February 18, 2015

A complaint from Haitian communities and supported by New York University’s Global Justice Clinic and Accountability Counsel has been rejected by the World Bank on technical grounds. The groups had asked for the Bank’s Inspection Panel to review whether assistance the Bank is providing to the Haitian government follows Bank guidelines relating to transparency and environmental safety.

Since 2013, the World Bank has provided technical assistance to the Haitian government in rewriting its mining laws, leading to a new mining law being drafted in 2014. Though Haiti has not seen large-scale commercial mining for decades, the government awarded multiple concessions in 2012 over opposition protests. In 2013, following a forum on mining sponsored by the World Bank, then Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe declared that to advance Haiti’s development, “we are counting heavily on the contribution of the mining sector.”

The Haitian communities’ complaint [PDF] states:

  • Complainants fear that, due to the government’s weak capacity and the law’s inadequacies, this increased investment in the mining sector will result in serious social and environmental harms, including contamination of vital waterways, impacts on the agriculture sector, and involuntary displacement of communities. Complainants are also concerned about the exclusion of Haitian people from the law reform process, particularly when contrasted with the reported regular participation of the private sector in drafting the new law. Further, Complainants fear that the government of Haiti lacks the capacity to regulate and monitor mining company activity.

In its response, the World Bank’s Inspection Panel says that it “has decided not to register the case.” The Panel acknowledged that the issues raised were “serious and legitimate,” and agreed that the new mining law could “have significant and considerable adverse environmental and social consequences.”

 

Click HERE for the full text.

Popular Haitian Author Advocates for Ending Deportations

February 18, 2015 - 08:14

Two human rights clinics, in Miami and in Chicago, published a 68-page report on the deportations from the US to Haiti.  The report recommends that the U.S. stop deporting Haitians because the situation in Haiti is really bad for them: They face violence, harassment, extortion by police, cholera, and more. Well-known Haitian author Edwidge Danticat contributed to this report.

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

Haitian author Danticat: Stop deportations to Haiti

Rebecca Savransky, Miami Herald
February 18, 2015

A report released this month by human-rights groups says that people who are deported to Haiti face tough conditions after they leave the U.S.

Activists, authors and report contributors will speak about the findings Thursday morning at the Little Haiti Cultural Center. The report recommends that the U.S. stop deporting Haitians with criminal records until conditions improve in their country.

After the Haiti earthquake in 2010, the U.S. granted eligible Haitians Temporary Protected Status, allowing them to stay in the country temporarily. But those with two misdemeanors or one felony are forced to leave. About 1,500 people have been deported to Haiti in the past five years, according to the report.

 

Click HERE for the full text.

Nicole Phillips, A Dedicated Human Rights Advocate

February 18, 2015 - 06:36

Nicole Phillips, IJDH’s incredible Staff Attorney, was recently featured on a feminist blog which profiles women in human rights law. The post tells the story of how Nicole helped fight for a women’s center on her college campus, and how she ended up at IJDH. It ends with Nicole’s favorite BAI/IJDH program, and advice for students who want to pursue human rights work.

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

Women in Human Rights Law: Nicole Phillips

Sarah Winfield, Ms. JD
February 18, 2015

In January 2015, Katie Larkin-Wong gave a presentation to UC Hastings’ NWLSO chapter on the power of social media in career development. Fired up by her talk, I immediately resolved to start a column on women in human rights, as that area of the law is my passion. Each month, I’ll interview and profile a woman who practices human rights law, blogging about each interviewee’s life, passions, and advice for budding human rights lawyers.

For my first post, I interviewed Nicole Phillips, a staff attorney at theInstitute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti (IJDH). I had the pleasure of meeting Nicole when I was interviewed for, and selected to be a member of, this year’s Hastings to Haiti delegation. Nicole currently teaches a seminar on human rights and the rule of law in Haiti. The seminar will prepare the students in the delegation for a week-long trip to Haiti in early March.

Throughout the interview, I was struck by Nicole’s dedication to social justice work. As I learned about her life, I felt a strong affinity with her for this reason, but for many others as well,  not least because we are both Bay Area natives, were both exposed to feminist principles from a young age, and are both UCSD alumnae (go Tritons!) I am indebted to Nicole, who helped spear-head a movement to secure funding for the UCSD Women’s Resource Center (WRC), where I volunteered as an undergraduate. When Nicole was at UCSD, it was the only such center in the UC system that was not funded. Nicole and the other women in the movement protested and staged a months-long sleep-in on campus, obtaining funding within a couple of years. Nicole remembers visiting the WRC years later: “7 or 8 of us visited campus in 2006 and saw how beautiful – and huge! – the Women’s Resource Center is now. It was pretty remarkable to see the legacy of all our work, which at the time didn’t seem like a big deal, it just seemed like it needed to be done.” As a founding member of Hastings’ NWLSO chapter, I am inspired by Nicole’s work and hope to leave a similar legacy for future students – and thankfully I have had it much easier so far, no demonstrations required! I am honored to be Nicole’s student, and excited to share what I learned about her career as a human rights lawyer.

 

Click HERE for the full text.

Letter to Leonel Fernandez on Haiti-DR Immigration Conflict

February 17, 2015 - 17:58

Last week, a young Haitian man was lynched in the Dominican Republic in what many believe was a racist incident. We pitched in on an initiative to respond to the lynching by supporting a letter to DR Presidential Candidate Leonel Fernandez. The letter was circulated February 13th by Edwin Paraison, who has been working on DR/Haiti issues for decades.  IJDH Staff Attorney Nicole Phillips translated the letter into English, and we obtained dozens of signatures for it, including Edwidge Danticat and Noam Chomsky. Both the French letter and the English translation are below.

February 17, 2015

Mr. President,
Allow us to revisit here the undeniable fact that during the presidential elections of 1996 in the Dominican Republic, you benefited from the most heinous anti-Haitian campaign since the dictatorship of Trujillo.

Despite this temporary reinforcement of racism against nationals of a neighboring country and friend, your arrival in power had been welcomed on both sides of the island because it seemed to represent a revival in Dominican political life that could allow bi-national relationships to take a new direction.

Certainly your three terms (1996-2000, 2004-2008, 2008-2012) have been marked by some praiseworthy initiatives including the gift of the University Henri Christophe in Lemonade, as part of the reconstruction following the earthquake in Haiti. However, they were heavily tainted by some atrocious events, including the massacre in Guayubin in June 2000; xenophobic incidents against Hatillo Palma in 2005 and the odious crime against Carlos Nerilus in 2009, just to name a few.

Showing a barbarity like no other, on February 11, 2015, in Santiago, the hung corpse of Claude Jean Harry, covered in violent marks, brought tears of the Dominicans who knew him, the discontentment of society and pain of the entire Haitian community.

We therefore denounce and consider indecent and revolting all attempts to seek a scapegoat among the victim’s community.

With indignation, we bring to your attention that this dehumanizing act is a consequence of too much of the anti-Haitian crusade launched to support you and that hasn’t stopped growing.

The most radical supporters of this crusade were working with you and even now occupy far too important government positions based on their alliances with the PLD. We will save you the time of describing here the coincidences of their positions with yours on the migration case and particularly the right to the nationality of Dominicans of Haitian origin before the constitutional reform of 2010.

In addition, death threats made against Dominican journalists for their objective treatment of the Haitian issue and the presence of “masked groups” who, in addition to burning the Haitian flag on the public highway, declared war on illegal immigration deeply concern us.

Given the seriousness of the situation, we ask that you firmly condemn these intolerable acts. Also, we urge you, in your capacity as president of the Juan Bosch party, in close collaboration with competent authorities, to take control of an escalating situation; otherwise history will remember your heavy responsibility in a regression that could prove dangerous for peace between the island’s two countries.

Français:

Honorable Dr. Leonel Fernandez

Président du parti de la Libération Dominicaine (PLD)
Monsieur le président,

Permettez-nous de reprendre ici le fait indéniable que lors des élections présidentielles de 1996 en République Dominicaine, vous avez bénéficié de la campagne anti-haïtienne la plus haineuse depuis la dictature de Trujillo.

Malgré ce renforcement momentané du racisme contre des ressortissants d’un pays limitrophe et ami, votre arrivée au pouvoir avait été favorablement accueillie des deux côtés de l’île parce qu’elle semblait représenter un renouveau dans la vie politique dominicaine, susceptible de permettre aux rapports binationaux de prendre une nouvelle direction.

Certainement vos trois mandats (1996-2000, 2004-2008, 2008-2012) ont été marqués par quelques initiatives louables dont le don de l’Université Henri-Christophe à Limonade, dans le cadre de la reconstruction qui a suivi le séisme en Haïti. Cependant, ils ont été à la fois lourdement entachés par des évènements atroces tels le massacre de Guayubin en juin 2000; les accrocs xénophobes de Hatillo Palma en 2005 et le crime odieux de Carlos Nerilus en 2009, pour ne citer que ceux-ci.

Témoignant d’une barbarie à nulle autre pareille, le 11 février 2015 à Santiago, le corps pendu de Claude Jean Harry, couvert de marques de violence, a provoqué les pleurs même des Dominicains qui le connaissaient, le mécontentement de la société et la douleur de la communauté haïtienne toute entière.

Nous dénonçons donc et qualifions d’indécente et de révoltante toute tentative de chercher un bouc émissaire parmi les compatriotes de la victime.

Avec indignation, nous portons à votre attention que cette action déshumanisante est une conséquence de trop de la croisade anti-haïtienne lancée pour vous appuyer et qui n’a cessé depuis de prendre de l’ampleur.

Les partisans de cette croisade les plus radicaux ont occupé avec vous et occupent jusqu’à présent d’importants postes gouvernementaux sur la base d’alliances avec le PLD. Nous vous économisons le temps de vous décrire ici les coïncidences de leurs positions avec les vôtres sur le dossier migratoire et particulièrement le droit à la nationalité des dominicains d’origine haïtienne avant la réforme constitutionnelle de 2010.

Par ailleurs, des menaces de mort proférées à l’endroit de journalistes dominicains pour leur traitement objectif de la question haïtienne et la présence de « groupes cagoulés » qui en plus d’incendier le drapeau haïtien sur la voie publique disent déclarer la guerre à l’immigration illégale nous portent à de profondes préoccupations.

Face à la gravité de la situation nous vous demandons de condamner énergiquement ces actes intolérables. Aussi, nous vous exhortons, en votre qualité de président du parti de Juan Bosch, à une collaboration étroite avec les autorités compétentes, afin de prendre en main une situation qui dégénère, au risque de voir l’histoire retenir votre lourde responsabilité dans des dérapages qui pourraient se révéler dangereuses pour la paix entre les deux pays de l’ile.

Fair Elections Can End Haiti’s Political Crisis

February 17, 2015 - 11:36

Just as the international community has played a major role in Haiti’s current political crisis, it has the opportunity to play a major role in ending it. In order to end this crisis and prevent another one in the near future, Haiti needs fair, democratic elections that respect the Constitution. Haitians have been constantly demonstrating in the streets against the unconstitutional way the crisis has been handled so far. If the next election is equally illegal, “it can make deterioration [of the situation] inevitable.”

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

Ending Haiti’s Crisis Begins With Giving Haitians a Fair Vote

Brian Concannon Jr., World Politics Review
February 17, 2015

There is no question that Haiti’s government has hit the ground hard lately. Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe’s Cabinet resigned in December, following mounting criticism of its record on human rights and the economy, as well as its failure to hold local and parliamentary elections for over three years. The election delays rendered parliament dysfunctional last month, as terms expired for a third of Haiti’s Senate seats and the entire Chamber of Deputies.

Meanwhile, on the streets, a steadily growing opposition movement generates at least one large anti-government demonstration each week. For two days last week, cities across Haiti were paralyzed by a public transit strike against government-set fuel prices. On the economic front, public investment in Haiti dropped 65 percent in the last three months of 2014, compared to the previous year. The government has also racked up $1.6 billion in oil debts through its involvement in Venezuela’s generous Petrocaribe program, which allows Haiti to buy cheap oil with deferred financing and then sell it for a higher domestic price and pocket the difference. Although that has allowed the Haitian government to fund social programs to check more popular dissent, Haiti’s beleaguered president, Michel Martelly, will leave much of that bill to his successors, to be paid over the next 25 years.

 

Click HERE for the full text.

World Bank Rejects Haitians’ Complaint About Mining

February 17, 2015 - 06:39

Many Haitians recently filed a complaint with the World Bank, outlining their concerns about a new mining law that the World Bank is supporting. Last week, the World Bank Inspection Panel refused to consider the complaint, though World Bank acknowledged the Haitians’ concerns as legitimate. Now that Parliament, which had opposed the new law, isn’t functional, many fear that Martelly will pass the law by decree. This would leave both Haitians and the environment vulnerable to the human rights violations and damage common in mining areas.

Part of the press release is below. Click HERE for the full text.

Center for Human Rights and Global Justice
February 17, 2015

                                                           

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

World Bank Refuses to Consider Haitian Communities’ Complaint about New Mining Law Complaint Office Recognizes “Legitimate” Concerns, Rejects Complaint on Technical Grounds

(NEW YORK, SAN FRANCISCO, PORT-AU-PRINCE Feb. 17, 2015)—Last week, the World Bank Inspection Panel refused to consider a complaint from Haitian communities about the Bank’s support for development of the mining sector in Haiti.  Communities affected by mining activity and the Justice in Mining Collective, a group of six Haitian civil society organizations, submitted the complaint in early January, alleging violations of their rights to information and participation and threats of human rights abuses and environmental harms.  The Inspection Panel—an office established to address complaints from people affected by World Bank-sponsored projects—recognized that the complaint raised “serious and legitimate” concerns and that the mining industry presents significant risks.  The office nevertheless denied the complaint on narrow, technical grounds.  The complainants expect to receive a copy of the decision in French today.[1]

Communities’ concerns about the development of the mining industry stem in part from their experiences with mineral exploration to date.  Farmers report that they have lost crops and watched fertile land turn barren; they allege that companies have entered and operated in their communities without seeking permission; and they contend that they have nowhere to bring their concerns.  Now, the World Bank’s complaint office has declared that it will not investigate their grievances.  “For the Panel to recognize that our concerns are legitimate and yet refuse to register the case, it is as if the lives of Haitian people do not matter to the World Bank,” said Peterson Derolus, Co-Coordinator of the Justice in Mining Collective.

 

Click HERE for the full text.

Protests opposing Dominican citizenship policy reignite after public lynching

February 14, 2015 - 07:28

After a recent public lynching of a Haitian man in the Dominican Republic, Dominicans of Haitian descent reignited protests opposing the current citizenship policy, which has retroactively stripped citizenship of people whose ancestors migrated to the country and who cannot prove the legality of their migration. Undocumented residents face both the risk of deportation and the reality of being stateless in their own country, prohibiting them from finding a job, getting married, and having access to documentation. A researcher from Amnesty International claims that the local Dominican government has intentionally created obstacles for Haitian-Dominicans seeking registration, by poor advertising of the policy and instituting burdensome fees. The protests call for the international community to boycott the country’s tourism industry and to seize travel to the Dominican Republic, as a means to ardently stand against racism and discrimination.

Haitian’s Lynching Renews Protests Against Dominican Citizenship Law

Kenya Downs, National Public Radio

February 14, 2015

A Haitian man was lynched at a public plaza in the Dominican Republic this week. Authorities there say it was the result of a personal dispute, but activists claim it’s part of rising racial animus and anti-Haitian attitudes in the Caribbean nation.

The lynching came during an already tense time for Dominicans of Haitian descent in the Dominican Republic. Feb. 1 marked the deadline for tens of thousands of them to report to the country’s civil registry to prove that their ancestors came to the nation legally. Those who didn’t — or couldn’t — comply with the deadline could be deported. For many of those affected, that could mean being deported to Haiti, a place where they’ve never lived, where they may not have any remaining family, and may not know the language.

This is all the result of a 2013 ruling by the Dominican Republic’s constitutional court which retroactively stripped citizenship of people whose ancestors migrated to the country and who can’t prove that the migration was legal. The change applies to anyone born after 1929, potentially affecting an estimated 240,000 Dominicans. The vast majority are people whose family migrated from Haiti.

Click HERE for entire article.

Human Rights Webinar with Author Fran Quigley

February 12, 2015 - 16:00

Join our first ever webinar with author Fran Quigley and IJDH Director Brian Concannon.

WHAT:

Fran published How Human Rights Can Build Haiti: Activists, Lawyers, and the Grassroots Campaign in September 14. The book profiles Brian, BAI’s Managing Attorney Mario Joseph, and their many collaborators in the fight for justice in Haiti. Come hear more about the book, developments since September, and how you can help. Afterwards, we look forward to answering your questions!

WHERE:

Register here: https://www.bigmarker.com/conferences/c497be2233b2

WHEN:

Thursday, February 12, 2015
8:00 PM (EST)

 

Young Man of Haitian Descent Lynched in DR

February 12, 2015 - 09:38

A young man of Haitian descent was recently lynched in the Dominican Republic, striking fears of increased discrimination of Haitian descendants in the country. Racial tensions have been high between Haiti and  DR since their founding but were highly exacerbated by a September 2013 ruling that retroactively stripped citizenship from estimated hundreds of thousands. In 2014, new immigration laws that were supposed to help proved too bureaucratic to allow for much progress. Activists fear that the lynching is a sign of trouble for the rights of Haitian-descended Dominicans.

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

Dominican Republic lynching raises fears of humanitarian crisis Young man, apparently of Haitian descent, found hanged from a tree in a Santiago park as anti-Haitian sentiment appears to be on the rise

Sibylla Brodzinsky, The Guardian
February 12, 2015

 

The apparent lynching of a young man in the Dominican city of Santiago has reignited fears of a looming humanitarian crisis.

The corpse of a man, apparently of Haitian descent, was found hanged from a tree in a city park, his body beaten and his hands and feet bound by rope.

Police were quick to say his death was related to a theft, but heightened tensions in the Dominican Republic against people of Haitian origin and the gruesome nature of the killing make it hard to rule out a hate crime, human rights advocates have said.

“Nobody knows yet the reason behind the lynching, but it comes in the context of constant discrimination and violence against Haitians,” says Santiago Canton, of the Robert F Kennedy Center for Human Rights.

The death of the man came just hours after a group of Dominicans in Santiago, the country’s second largest city, publicly burned the Haitian flag. Elsewhere, human rights groups have reported that a man was recently denied access to a public bus because he “looked Haitian”.

 

Click HERE for the full text.

Demonstrations in Port-au-Prince

February 11, 2015 - 09:17

On February 5th and February 7th, thousands of demonstrators, many of whom were university students, marched through Port-au-Prince with several demands. The demonstrations manifested in response to disagreements with various issues, including current gas prices, teachers’ salaries, the Martelly/Paul regime, and the present status of the 7,500-soldier UN mission (MINUSTAH). The protests paralyzed all government offices, banks, commerce, and schools, and they also halted traffic in the capital and its suburbs.

Two Days of Demonstrations, Two Days of General Strike

Kim Ives and Isabelle L. Papillon, Haiti Liberté 

February 11, 2015

In the past week, two massive demonstrations and two days of a successful general strikes have rocked the government of President Michel Martelly and Prime Minister Evans Paul. The principal demands are for the lowering of gas prices and for the resignation of both Martelly and Paul. Demonstrators also call for the 7,500-soldier UN Mission to Stabilize Haiti (MINUSTAH) to leave immediately.

Thousands marched through the capital on Feb. 5 and again on Feb. 7, the 29th anniversary of the fall of the Duvalier regime in 1986. “The gas thief in the National Palace has to go!” demonstrators chanted at both demonstrations. “The gas thief in the Prime Minister’s office has to go! Martelly, the foreign colonists sent you to destroy the country! But the people are rising up, and you have to go! Do you hear that Obama? Do you hear that Bill Clinton?”

A 40-year-old bus driver spoke to a group of journalists as the demonstration on Feb. 5 was in the capital’s main square, the Champ de Mars. “Today, we are in the time of Hitler,” he said. “The Gestapo killed the Jews. In Haiti, Martelly’s police are killing Haitians. I am ready to die to rid the country of vampires of the ‘tètkale’ [bald-headed] regime. I have nothing to regret. I leave behind me only misery.”

University students, along with other popular and progressive organizations, are also part of the protests. On Feb. 5, they organized a sit-in outside the offices of the Ministry of Economy and Finance to force the Martelly/Paul government to lower fuel prices. The Haitian police’s Company for Intervention and the Maintenance of Order (CIMO) fired tear-gas canisters and water cannon at students at the Faculty of Ethnology and the Teachers College (École Normale Supérieure).

Click HERE for the entire text.

 

Relief and Development in Haiti

February 8, 2015 - 15:00

Join Karen Keating Ansara in Gloucester, MA for a talk on Haiti post-2010-quake.

WHAT:

Essex philanthropist and human rights activist Karen
Keating Ansara will share her experiences in Haiti since
a devastating earthquake hit the nation five years ago.
Ansara, who with her husband Jim launched a Haiti
Fund within hours of the disaster, will ask what lessons
would-be donors and volunteers can take from Haiti.

WHERE:

Gloucester City Hall
9 Dale Avenue
Gloucester, MA

WHEN:

Sunday, February 8, 2015
7 to 8:30pm

 

Click HERE for more about this talk, and Karen.

Former OAS Rep Says MINUSTAH Illegal

February 7, 2015 - 11:54

Former Organization of American States representative Ricardo Seitenfus says MINUSTAH’s presence in Haiti is illegal. The UN troops have occupied Haiti since 2004 and are responsible for the cholera epidemic that has killed and infected Haitians since 2010. In a recent speech, Seitenfus noted that the immunity the UN claims to enjoy (e.g. from lawsuits like that of the cholera victims) is also illegal, as MINUSTAH doesn’t conform to Haiti’s Constitution.

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

United Nations presence in Haiti is illegal, according to former OAS representative in Haiti

Hougansydney.com
February 7, 2015

Haiti, MINUSTAH, “The presence of the United Nations in Haiti is illegal,” says Ricardo Seitenfus

The former Special Representative of the Organization of American States (OAS) in Haiti, Ricardo Seitenfus, participated Friday in a round table on elections at Quisqueya University (Port-au-Prince). During his speech, Mr. Seitenfus said that “the United Nations- presence in Haiti is illegal,” noted VD6.

The Brazilian professor said that the presence of MINUSTAH in Haiti does not conform to the Haitian constitution, and treaties signed by the country. “So the immunity that the UN claims that it enjoys in Haiti is illegal too.”

 

Click HERE for the full text.

What is the Provisional Electoral Council?

February 6, 2015 - 13:23

This article describes the latest version of the Provisional Electoral Council (CEP) in Haiti, which is tasked with leading the elections. One major cause of the current political crisis is the lack of constitutional CEPs in the past. The constitutionality of the newest CEP is still up for debate but it has a crucial role to play in ensuring fair and democratic elections in Haiti.

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

A Look at the New Provisional Electoral Council

Center for Economic and Policy Research
February 6, 2015

Haiti’s current Provisional Electoral Council (CEP), formed in late January, is the fourth incarnation of an electoral council since Martelly’s ascension to the presidency in 2011. With elections delayed over three years, parliament ceasing to function and the country run by a de facto government, the current CEP will have a large role in leading the country to elections and a restoration of constitutional rule. “Fair elections will require an impartial, independent and constitutional CEP to facilitate the free participation of all political parties,” wrote the Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti (IJDH) last month.

While the formation of previous electoral councils did not follow Article 289 of the Haitian constitution (Martelly originally wanted to form a permanent electoral council that is subject to different provisions, for background on this, see here), the current one hews more closely to what is outlined there. Nine representatives from various sectors of civil society nominated representatives to the CEP, which were then ratified by the President. However, as IJDH points out, the process “deviated from the relevant constitutional provisions in several respects, including the participation of new civil society groups, and prohibiting the participation of government agents and political parties.” Further, the political accord outlining this new process never received parliamentary approval.

 

Click HERE for the full text.

Latino Media Collective Interviews Brian Concannon

February 6, 2015 - 09:03

A Washington, DC radio station interviews IJDH Executive Director Brian Concannon on where Haiti stands after the 2010 earthquake. Brian discusses UN responsibility for the cholera epidemic,  peacekeeper accountability for sexual violence in Haiti, and immigration issues for people of Haitian descent in the Dominican Republic and Bahamas.

Click HERE for other shows on WPFW 89.3FM.

Oscar Fernandez, Latino Media Collective
February 6, 2015

http://www.ijdh.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/wpfw_150206_130000latinomedia.mp3

 

Click HERE for other shows on WPFW 89.3FM.

Annual Haiti Remembrance & Call to Action

February 4, 2015 - 11:00

Commemorate Haiti’s earthquake in Boston with Senator Forry.

WHAT:

We come together to pay tribute to those who lost their lives and reflect on the progress made so far in rebuilding. Through the work of the Haitian diaspora and friends of Haiti, we have accomplished a significant victory. Four years ago, at the State House, Senator Linda Dorcena Forry launched a petition drive resulting in the collection and submission of over 6,000 signatures to our President and the Department of Homeland Security encouraging them to establish the Haitian Family Reunification Parole Program (HFRPP). Today, Senator Forry is proud to say that our goals have been achieved. Late last year, President Barack Obama approved the establishment of HFRPP. We will continue our advocacy efforts on behalf of the immigrant community and hope you will join us.

WHERE:

Nurses Hall
Massachusetts State House
Boston, MA

WHEN:

February 4, 2015
3-4pm

Common Dreams Reviews ‘How Human Rights Can Build Haiti’

February 2, 2015 - 11:37

This review of Fran Quigley’s How Human Rights Can Build Haiti includes many of the history lessons Quigley brings in throughout the book. It describes how BAI and IJDH’s work fits in with that history, and why this book is a must-read for anyone interested in human rights.

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

‘How Human Rights Can Build Haiti’

Marjorie Cohn, Common Dreams
February 2, 2015

Haiti is one of the poorest countries in the world. It has suffered a devastating earthquake followed by a deadly cholera epidemic, both set in the backdrop of a history of oppression by corrupt rulers and foreign exploitation. In spite of incredible challenges, two intrepid human rights attorneys – one Haitian and one American – have worked diligently to vindicate the rights of the people of Haiti, with some notable successes.

Fran Quigley’s important book, How Human Rights Can Build Haiti, tells the story of Mario Joseph and Brian Concannon, whose Bureau des Avocats Internationaux (BAI) has given hope to untold numbers of Haitians. They opt for a ‘bottom-up’ rather than a ‘top-down’ approach. Their preference is to help to empower the Haitian people to make change themselves, instead of relying on outsiders – particularly the United States and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) – which establish ‘rule of law programs’ and provide charity, generally with strings attached.

Mario Joseph

Often called the leading human rights lawyer in Haiti, Mario Joseph is president of BAI. “We had an earthquake, yes, but far too many people died in this earthquake. And that is because we in Haiti have no respect for the rule of law,” he says, attributing the deaths to poorly built homes crowded onto steep hillsides. It is estimated that more than 200,000 were killed, 300,000 were injured, and two million were rendered homeless by the earthquake.

Joseph has developed a reputation in Haiti as a fearless advocate, in the face of numerous death threats. While court proceedings take place in French, Joseph speaks Creole so his clients can understand the proceedings. “The justice system is unaffordable for the people of Haiti,” Joseph observes, “but if you are rich or important and your rights are not respected, you can find justice. Conversely, if you are powerful and you abuse human rights, you can find ways to avoid the consequences of your actions.”

 

Click HERE for the full text.

Amnesty exhorte la protection des droits humains en Haïti

February 2, 2015 - 09:42

Amnesty International reconnaît l’importance des élections en Haïti, mais l’organisation exhorte également le nouveau Premier ministre de ne pas oublier les droits humains. De le droit de manifester pacifiquement à le droit au logement, Amnesty decrit le situation des droits humains en Haïti. Dans cette lettre, Amnesty rappelle au premier ministre pourquoi la protection de ces droits est particulièrement crucial en ces temps politiques précaires.

Partie de la lettre est ci-dessous. Cliquez ICI pour l’originale.

Click HERE for the English version.

Lettre ouverte à Evans Paul, nouveau Premier ministre d’Haïti :
Faites des droits humains la priorité de votre nouveau gouvernement.

Erika Guevara Rosas, Amnesty International
2 fevrier 2015

Monsieur le Premier ministre,

Amnesty International vous écrit pour mettre en lumière certaines des questions relatives aux droits humains qui, selon notre organisation, doivent être résolues en priorité par votre gouvernement.

Nous comprenons que la priorité énoncée par votre gouvernement soit l’organisation d’élections locales et parlementaires n’ayant que trop tardé, mais l’État reste toutefois tenu de respecter et de promouvoir pleinement les droits humains pour tous en Haïti. De plus, notre organisation estime que s’attaquer en priorité aux questions décrites ci-après est crucial dans le contexte politique actuel et dans les circonstances relatives à la reconstruction après le séisme.

GARANTIR LE DROIT À LA LIBERTÉ DE RÉUNION PACIFIQUE

Ces deux dernières années, Amnesty International a eu connaissance d’un nombre croissant de cas d’usage excessif et injustifié de la force par les forces de sécurité – dont des casques bleus de l’ONU – pour disperser des manifestations, faisant souvent de nombreux blessés et parfois des morts. Des enquêtes ont été ouvertes dans certains cas, mais à notre connaissance, aucun agent de sécurité ou autre autorité n’a fait l’objet de poursuites pénales pour avoir participé à ces incidents.

Plus récemment, le 15 décembre 2014, à la suite d’informations selon lesquelles un homme aurait été tué et deux autres blessés après que la police et la force de maintien de la paix de l’ONU ont fait un usage excessif de la force au cours d’une manifestation à Port-au-Prince, notre organisation a demandé une enquête approfondie et impartiale, et des mesures pour prévenir d’autres exactions�.

Le nombre croissant de personnes tuées par la police, notamment au cours de manifestations, ainsi que l’absence d’obligation de rendre des comptes pour ces actes, préoccupent également le Comité des droits de l’homme des Nations unies qui, en octobre 2014, a recommandé aux autorités haïtiennes de mettre en œuvre sans délai des enquêtes efficaces sur toutes les exécutions commises par la police et de traduire en justice les auteurs de ces actes. Le Comité a par ailleurs recommandé qu’Haïti poursuive la formation des membres de ses forces de sécurité, afin de veiller à ce qu’ils se conforment aux Principes de base des Nations unies sur le recours à la force et l’utilisation des armes à feu par les responsables de l’application des lois�.

Amnesty International se félicite de votre engagement à « respecter le droit de manifester pacifiquement », exprimé lors d’une rencontre avec des diplomates des États-Unis le 21 janvier. Dans le contexte actuel d’instabilité et de dissidence généralisée, il est crucial que ces déclarations se traduisent par des mesures concrètes permettant aux victimes d’obtenir justice, et visant à tenir les auteurs de ces actes responsables d’atteintes aux droits humains et à prévenir de nouvelles violences.

PROTÉGER LES DÉFENSEURS DES DROITS HUMAINS

Amnesty International est préoccupée par les informations de plus en plus courantes faisant état d’attaques, de menaces et de harcèlement subis par des défenseurs des droits humains, dont des avocats, au cours de ces deux dernières années. Dans de nombreux cas, les actes étaient directement liés à leur travail de défense des droits humains. D’une manière générale, aucune enquête approfondie n’a été ouverte dans un délai raisonnable et les autorités n’ont pas su protéger efficacement et prendre un ensemble exhaustif de mesures pour que les défenseurs des droits humains puissent travailler sans craindre de représailles.

Comme l’a également recommandé le Comité des droits de l’homme en octobre�, le gouvernement doit prendre toutes les mesures nécessaires pour protéger les défenseurs des droits humains afin qu’ils puissent travailler sans crainte. Par conséquent, l’État haïtien doit mener sans délai des enquêtes exhaustives et efficaces sur toutes les allégations d’attaques, de menaces et d’intimidation prenant pour cible des défenseurs des droits humains, rendre publiques les conclusions de ces enquêtes et traduire les responsables présumés en justice.

Au vu du contexte politique sensible qui règne actuellement en Haïti, il est crucial de créer un environnement sûr et favorable permettant de défendre les droits humains sans crainte de représailles ni d’intimidation, conformément à la Déclaration sur les défenseurs des droits de l’homme (ONU).

 

Cliquez ICI pour l’originale.

Click HERE for the English version.