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Le CEP accuse 14 candidats de la violence electoraux

August 18, 2015 - 12:26

Selon ce qui est prévu dans le décret électoral, 14 candidats aux legislatives risquent la prison a cause de leurs actes de violence au cours de la ronde des élections du 9 Août. Parmi ces candidats sont des candidats du PHTK, Renmen Ayiti, Pitit Desalin and Fanmi Lavalas. Selon les rapports des médias, de ces trois candidats disent qu’ils ont réagi au contrôle de PHTK du processus de vote.

Partie de l’article est ci-dessous. Cliquez ICI pour le texte complet.

14 candidats aux législatives risquent la prison…

Robenson Geffrard, Le Nouvelliste

18 août 2015

C’est la première grande décision du CEP depuis le scrutin du 9 août. Pierre-Louis Opont sort ses griffes et laisse croire que d’autres candidats fauteurs de troubles sont dans sa ligne de mire. Dans un communiqué rendu public mardi matin qu’il a lui-même signé, le président du Conseil électoral provisoire  informe la population en général, les partis, groupements politiques et les candidats en particulier « que suite aux actes de violence perpétrés le jour du scrutin du 9 août en cours dans plusieurs circonscriptions électorales, sur le rapport des commissions et après délibération du Conseil, des candidats sont radiés en conformité avec l’article 119 du décret électoral. Suit la liste provisoire
des candidats indexés qui sont tombés sous le coup des articles 196, 199, 203, 213, 214 et 218 du décret électoral du 2 mars 2015. »

En tête de liste, il y a François Tony Antonelly de PHTK, candidat à la députation à Port­de­Paix. Le CEP lui reproche d’avoir « saccagé le centre de vote de l’École nationale de Fatima, de destruction de bulletins et perturbation du déroulement du scrutin ». Ensuite, il y a DORLÉUS Gergot du parti RENMEN AYITI, candidat à la députation à Savanette, qui est accusé d’« irruption armée au centre de vote de Savanette et enlèvement de bulletins de vote ».

Pour Moïse Frantz (ADRENA, candidat à la députation à Marigot) le reproche est « violation du scrutin, saccage de centre de vote et destruction de matériels électoraux ».

 

Cliquez ICI pour le texte complet.

Congresswoman Frederica Wilson Supports Democratic Elections in Haiti

August 17, 2015 - 18:30

In this op-ed, Congresswoman Frederica Wilson explains why Haiti’s 2015 elections are such a critical test for Haiti’s democracy and ability to self-govern. She ties the obstacles Haitian voters faced before and during the August 9th round of elections into the obstacles many American voters face with recent blows to the Voting Rights Act. Wilson contrasts the violence that was reported from observers on the ground with reports from international organizations like OAS, which claimed that the elections were “a step forward for Haitian democracy.” She emphasizes the need for the US to hold Haitian elections to the same standards that we hold our own and not settle for “good enough.”

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

Haiti’s critical test — and ours

Frederica S. Wilson, Miami Herald

August 17, 2015

Haiti faced a critical test last week when voters headed to the polls to cast ballots for the men and women who will serve in the next Parliament. The election, three years overdue, was the first of three to be held by December and will measure the nation’s ability to hold fair and transparent elections and self-govern.

In this first round, more than 1,800 candidates vied for approximately 130 seats, which in itself is extremely problematic. During the inevitable October runoffs, voters will also cast ballots to elect a new president from yet another overcrowded field of more than 50 candidates.

Its current head of state, President Michel Martelly, has governed by decree since January, when the last Parliament coincidentally dissolved on the fifth anniversary of the 2010 earthquake that killed 200,000 people. Without the same checks and balances that most democracies enjoy and not enough lawmakers to even form a quorum, Martelly has been unable to achieve much in the past eight months.

Click HERE for the full text.

 

UNHCR Hiring Field Assistant in Haiti

August 17, 2015 - 12:07

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is looking for an Itinerant Field Assistant to help with the ongoing statelessness crisis in the Dominican Republic. Responsibilities of the Assistant include monitoring the border and collecting information on those at risk of statelessness. The Assistant must be fluent in French and Haitian Creole. A good grasp of Spanish is a plus. The application deadline is August 24.

Click HERE for more information (in French).

Terms of Reference for Independent Contractor (UNOPS) Joint Plan for the Dominican Republic and Haiti Assistant de Terrain Itinerant

1) Project/ABOD No.: OPs

2) Project/Title: Plan conjoint pour la République dominicaine et Haïti, Assistant de terrain Itinerant (Joint plan for the Dominican Republic and Haiti, Itinerant Field Assistant)
3) Monthly salary: US$1,230, payable en monnaie locale (payable in local money)
4) Duration of this assignment and dates: From: Dès que possible To: 31 Décembre 2015 (as soon as possible to December 31, 2015)
5) Duty Station: Port au Prince, Haiti
6) Reporting Officer: Soufiane Adjali

7) General Background of Project or Assignment:
La loi 169-14 a été adoptée afin de faire face aux conséquences de la décision de 2013 de la Cour constitutionnelle, qui a arbitrairement privée des dizaines de milliers de personnes de leur nationalité dominicaine en les rendant apatride, en mettant en place des dispositions spéciales pour le “Groupe A” ( les personnes qui avaient des documents d’identité dominicains qui étaient soumis à un «audit» suite à la décision de la Cour constitutionnelle) et le “Groupe B” (personnes qui, autrement, auraient bénéficié des mêmes dispositions que le Groupe A, mais n’ont jamais été inscrits à la naissance). A la fin de 2014, l’UNHCR estimait officiellement qu’il y avait 210 000 apatrides dans le DR.
L’enregistrement spécial pour les personnes du groupe B en vertu de la loi 169-14 a pris fin le 1er Février 2015. Seules 8755 personnes ont présenté une demande, laissant une population estimée à 45 000 individus, hors de ce processus et qui continuent à avoir besoin d’une solution quant à leur statut de nationalité.
Le 27 Février 2015, le Président Medina a déclaré qu’aucune autre prorogation de la loi 169-14 ne serait approuvée, et que les individus relevant du Groupe B devraient demander la résidence dans les mêmes conditions que les étrangers en vertu du Plan de régularisation pour les étrangers, qui prenait fin le 17 Juin 2015. Il a en outre déclaré que tous les étrangers qui n’auraient pas régularisé leur séjour, seront soumis aux procédures établies par la loi.
Depuis lors, le HCR Haïti se prépare à recevoir un afflux de personnes à risque d’apatride et comme prévu dans le plan de contingence, une équipe d’assistants de protection se livreront à un exercice d’enregistrement et de vérification.

13) Deadline for Applications: 24 Août 2015

Click HERE for more information.

Presidential Candidate O’Malley Stands for Cholera Justice

August 17, 2015 - 09:30

Democratic Presidential nominee Martin O’Malley has spoken out about UN accountability in Haiti’s ongoing cholera epidemic. In the op-ed below, O’Malley describes both the origin of the epidemic and the response since then, including a letter from 154 Haitian-American organizations and leaders demanding justice. O’Malley emphasizes both how the lack of UN response discredits the organization and that it is in the United States’ interests to demand accountability for the epidemic.

U.N. should take responsibility for Haiti’s deadly cholera epidemic

Martin O’Malley, CNN

August 17, 2015

There is a humanitarian crisis happening in our own hemisphere, but it’s not likely you’ve heard of it. Thousands have died, threatening the economic and social stability of an entire country. And most tragic of all, it was inadvertently caused by a critically important international organization, which has not yet taken full responsibility for its actions.

I am speaking of the cholera outbreak in Haiti.

It’s hard to imagine a country enduring more hardship than Haiti has in the last five years. It was already the poorest country in our hemisphere when a massive earthquake leveled its capital in 2010, killing more than 200,000 people. Shortly after, cholera mysteriously appeared and produced a devastating epidemic. It has now infected upward of 700,000 people, and has claimed the lives of nearly 10,000.

The outbreak perplexed public health experts. Cholera had not been documented in Haiti in 100 years. Then The Associated Press reported that U.N. peacekeeping troops from Nepal carried strains of the disease with them, contaminating a large portion of Haiti’s drinking water. The United Nations initially denied any role in the outbreak, and has refused to redress complaints, claiming immunity under a 1946 convention. In January, a U.S. judge dismissed a lawsuit filed by human rights groups seeking compensation for Haitian victims.

Recently I met with members of the Haitian-American community in Miami to receive an update on the crisis. Last month, 154 Haitian-American leaders and organizations expressed their “deep outrage” at the United Nations’ failure to take responsibility for its mistakes, highlighting the need for justice and greater resources to combat the disease. And last year, 77 members of Congress sent a letter urging the United Nations to provide a settlement mechanism for victims.

The ongoing crisis in Haiti, where cholera continues to infect hundreds of people each month, is not getting the attention it deserves. We should not be indifferent to injustice against the most vulnerable among us.

First, the United Nations should acknowledge its role in this tragedy. Continuing to deny wrongdoing harms its credibility and could compromise the essential work it does around the world saving lives. To its credit, the United Nations established an independent panel to investigate possible wrongdoing. It should fully implement the panel’s recommendations — including better peacekeeper screening and sanitation at peacekeeper locations — and allow for an independent audit to verify progress.

Second, while resources are tight, as always, the United Nations should endeavor to broaden its campaign to combat the ongoing epidemic. There is still a threat of the situation worsening. Since cholera is a water-borne disease, Haiti could be one hurricane away from a massive spike in infections.

Third, the United States must assume a greater leadership role in our own hemisphere. We should lead an effort with the United Nations to better fund what needs to be done before we are all dealing with the failure to act. Healthy, functioning and stable societies in our half of the world are squarely in our national interests. Cholera has already spread to other countries — with one case reported in Florida. We must ensure that agencies like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have the resources they need to address crises before they reach our borders.

As president, I would embrace a new national security approach focused on proactive, long-term threat reduction and reinvigorated regional alliances. I would begin by improving our relationships with our closest neighbors, guided by the principles of transparency and accountability.

The United Nations, which has done so much to alleviate human suffering in the world, should pursue a similar approach. Some disasters, like earthquakes, are acts of God. But when they are made worse by human error, those responsible should acknowledge and correct their mistakes.

 

Click HERE for the original article.

New Cholera Figures Raise Concern as Lack of Funding Continues

August 17, 2015 - 07:11

New outbreaks of cholera have been reported in Haiti’s most at-risk departments, with 2015 already having a much higher number of cholera cases and deaths than 2014. Improved water and sanitation is much-needed to help stem the epidemic but funding for cholera eradication is still only about 31% of what’s needed. Perhaps accountability from the United Nations, which started the epidemic, is what’s needed to boost donor morale?

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

Haiti – Health : Important and alarming cholera outbreaks

HaitiLibre

August 17, 2015

According to OCHA (Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs), despite the efforts of the Haitian Government and national and international partners who have helped to reduce the number of people affected by cholera since the start of the epidemic and were able to control the dramatic situation of the beginning of the year, new outbreaks are reported in the most at risk departments including the West, Centre, Artibonite and North. The cholera epidemic remains a major humanitarian concern given the limited resources to fund monitoring operations.

Since the beginning of the year, 19,949 cases and 170 deaths were reported in Haiti while from January to July 2014, the country recorded only 7,739 cases for 56 deaths. An increase of +256% and +300% deaths for the period analyzed in 2015.

Worrying figures, that demonstrate the need for health authorities and partners to maintain the vigilance during the wet season, usually accompanied by outbreaks in areas where access to safe drinking water and the sanitation remains difficult.

Click HERE for the full text.

Reports of DR Deportations Raise Concern Among Human Rights Advocates

August 15, 2015 - 08:23
Rights 4 ALL in the DR is Gravely Concerned over Dominican Media Reports of People Being Rounded Up in the Streets and DeportedFor Immediate Release: August 15, 2015Contact:France Francois, Co-Coordinator of Rights 4 ALL in DR- (305) 502-3373; f.francois08@gmail.comFrancesca Menes, Co-Coordinator of Rights 4 ALL in DR- (786) 340-1646; francesca@floridaimmigrant.org Rights 4 ALL in the DR, a national coalition against human rights abuses in the Dominican Republic, is gravely concerned over the escalating human rights crisis in the Dominican Republic. According to media reports, the Dominican government has green-lighted mass deportations. La Dirección Nacional de Migración and Dominican police are stopping those perceived to “look Haitian” in the street and deporting them to Haiti, continuing an unacceptable patternn of government-sanctioned profiling, racism, and human rights abuses that results in broken families and communities. #Rights4AllinDR will continue its vigorous efforts of to shine a spotlight on these abuses until families and communities are no longer being destroyed, and instead enjoy inclusive policies that respect human dignity and foster prosperity. We call on the U.S. government to leverage their economic and political power to insist that the Dominican Republic restores full citizenships to Dominicans of Haitian descent and allow real due process for Haitian immigrants to apply for to become regularized. It is time that the U.S. lives up to its reputation as a defender of human rights at home and abroad. ###For additional interview and booking opportunities, please respond to this email with your request.
Additional InformationArticle 22(5) of the American Convention on Human Rights  states that “No one can be expelled from the territory of the state of which he is a national or be deprived of the right to enter it.” In the case of children, the protection against expulsions that they enjoy under international law is extended to their parents on the basis of the best interests of the child and the interest of family unity. Thus, it is a violation of human rights to conduct deportations in this “stop and frisk” manner based solely on racial profiling and without due process to inform people of their rights prior to beginning deportation proceedings. In just one account, 4 of the 7 people who were rounded up and sent to deportation centers along the border with Haiti had their proper legal documents.The Dominican government has refused to negotiate a protocol for deportations with the Haitian government that respects human rights and dignity prior to this official announcement, reports from the media and human rights organizations show that the military, police, and vigilante groups in the Dominican Republic have participated in a campaign of terror and intimidation, forcing people to flee their home, families, and livelihoods. Now over 60,000 people- Dominicans of Haitian descent and Haitian immigrants alike- have fled the DR. Many recount experiences of being grabbed on the street and dumped at the border, families being torn apart, and legal identification documents being destroyed by Dominican officials. Many Dominicans, as well as Haitian immigrants who have lived in the DR for decades, have no ties to Haiti and no family there. Hundreds of these refugees now reside in squalid tent camps along the Haitian border.

“[M]any who are fleeing have lived for decades in Dominican Republic. A Dominican Republic court ruling has retroactively stripped citizenship of native Dominicans of Haitian ancestry. Many people are being forced to prove their citizenship and those of Haitian descent believe the issue is racist.” — NBC and The Associated Press
#Rights4ALLinDR is a broad coalition of organizations and individuals advocating around one simple idea: the most basic tenets of human rights and dignity should be extended to all people in the Dominican Republic regardless of race, class, or ethnicity. These rights include a restoration of citizenship for Dominicans of Haitian descent and real due process- without fear of violence and intimidation- to allow Haitian immigrants residing in the DR to come out of the shadows and have their status regularized. Human rights know no borders and bow to no nation’s sovereignty. Follow us on Social Media:www.rights4allindDR.comTwitter: @Rights4ALLinDR Hashtags: #Rights4ALLinDR #BlackLivesMatterDR  |  Facebook Page here. Sign the White House Petition urging action from the Obama Administration: http://wh.gov/iI2lI

Dominican Republic Authorities Resume Deportations

August 14, 2015 - 08:36

In June, the Dominican Republic’s government promised to begin deporting those who didn’t meet a difficult registration deadline. After international backlash, DR held off on the deportations but now, it seems they have begun. The Haitian government doesn’t have the capacity to handle the hundreds of thousands estimated to be at risk of deportation, and has warned that mass deportations will create a humanitarian crisis there.

Dominican Republic resumes patrols to deport migrants

The Associated Press

August 14, 2015

SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic (AP) – Dominican authorities on Friday resumed patrols to detain and deport migrants, the majority of them Haitians, who lack documents after a more than yearlong hiatus.

The move came weeks after the government ended a one-year period for migrants to apply for legal residency under a program that has drawn international criticism.

Bernardo Jimenez, director of the government’s immigrant detention center, said only six Haitians had been detained as of Friday. Four of them were released after proving they had enrolled in the immigration program, he said.

Officials stressed that foreigners must carry documents at all times to prove they are living legally in the Dominican Republic.

Authorities have said nearly 289,000 people enrolled in the program out of an estimated 524,000 migrants living in the Caribbean country that shares the island of Hispaniola with Haiti. Migration officials say more than 66,000 people have moved to neighboring Haiti.

Haiti’s government has warned that the actions by Dominican officials are creating a humanitarian crisis.

Relations between the two countries have grown increasingly strained since a Dominican court ruled in September 2013 that children born in the country to non-citizens did not qualify for automatic citizenship because their migrant parents were “in transit.” Most of those affected have been Haitians.

 

Click HERE for the original article.

US Senators Urge Secretary Kerry to Respond to DR Crisis

August 13, 2015 - 16:36

Seven Democratic Senators have spoken out about the current crisis in the Dominican Republic (DR), in a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry. In the letter, the senators outline the uncertain situation faced by the estimated 210,000 Dominicans who are now stateless. They ask that Secretary Kerry work with the DR government to find a “timely, efficient, and inclusive” solution for those who have been denationalized.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

August 13, 2015

CONTACTS:

Adam Sharon 202-224-4651

Sue Walitsky 202-224-4524

Senators Express Concern in Letter to Secretary Kerry Regarding Treatment of Dominican-born Individuals of Haitian Descent in the Dominican Republic

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, along with Senators Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), and Chris Coons (D-Del.), wrote Secretary of State John Kerry today regarding the treatment of Dominican-born individuals of Haitian descent in the Dominican Republic.

In their letter, the Senators write: “As you know, in 2013, the Dominican Republic’s Constitutional Tribunal issued a controversial ruling that annulled the citizenship of anyone born in the country after 1929 to parents who could not prove their citizenship. While the Administration of President Medina has taken important steps to mitigate the effects of the ruling, we remain concerned that the process does not encompass the full range of individuals with a legitimate right to remain in the country.”

The letter appears below.

August 13, 2015

Dear Secretary Kerry:

We write to express our concern about recent developments in the Dominican Republic, which negatively impact, in overwhelming majority, Dominican-born individuals of Haitian descent.

As you know, in 2013, the Dominican Republic’s Constitutional Tribunal issued a controversial ruling that annulled the citizenship of anyone born in the country after 1929 to parents who could not prove their citizenship. While the Administration of President Medina has taken important steps to mitigate the effects of the ruling, we remain concerned that the process does not encompass the full range of individuals with a legitimate right to remain in the country.

According to the most recent national survey conducted in the Dominican Republic, there are an estimated 210,000 Dominican-born persons of Haitian descent residing in the country. Through its Regularization Plan and Special Law 169-14, the Dominican government identified a group of approximately 55,000 individuals who should receive full restoration of citizenship rights, as well as an additional group of 8,700 persons who may be eligible for appropriate documentation. While authorities have proposed a fair solution for both of these groups, the fate of the rest of individuals documented to have been born in the country remains uncertain.

In this context, we respectfully ask that you work with the Dominican government to ensure that the process is timely, efficient, and inclusive of everyone who was born in the country. It is imperative that all individuals documented in the national survey and their children are provided a solution that guarantees their right to live in the only country they have known since their birth.  It is equally important that vulnerable populations receive appropriate protections so that they can fully access their rights as citizens.

Additionally, it is important to note that more than 36,000 individuals of Haitian descent voluntarily have left the Dominican Republic during the past months. This action has overwhelmed Haitian authorities, who are not prepared to attend to such numbers. We are concerned that as individuals are coming across the border, they are not being afforded appropriate screening and reintegration assistance.

In closing, we encourage you to continue your support for joint cooperation between the United States, the Dominican Republic, and Haiti so that all cases are handled in a manner that is fair, transparent, and consistent with international standards.

 

Sincerely,

Senator Benjamin L. Cardin

Senator Bill Nelson

Senator Sherrod Brown

Senator Edward J. Markey

Senator Elizabeth Warren

Senator Patrick Leahy

Senator Christopher Coons

 

###

Click HERE for the original press release.

Click HERE for a pdf of the letter.

Why Haiti’s First Round of Elections Is A Big Deal

August 13, 2015 - 14:38

In this interview (starting at 29:50), IJDH Executive Director Brian Concannon discusses Haiti’s first round of legislative elections, which took place on August 9, 2015. This round was seen as in indication of what to expect from the next round, which includes the presidential elections. Brian covers this topic, as well as the discrepancies between what was happening on the ground on Election Day and what international observers were reporting, and more.

Kevin Pina, Flashpoints

August 13, 2015

http://www.ijdh.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/20150813-Thu1700.mp3

Click HERE for the original link.

Impunity for Peacekeeper Sexual Abuse Must End

August 13, 2015 - 14:12

There has been a new case of sexual abuse in the Central African Republic, where in just 3 years, 13 peacekeepers have been accused of rape or sexual assault. This article breaks down the problem of sexual assault and abuse as it relates to impunity of United Nations peacekeepers. Often, the victims never see justice as “To a large degree, a denial of justice in peacekeeper sexual abuse is baked into the system.” Many organizations, such as AIDS-Free World, are standing up to say that the culture of impunity must change.

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

The U.N. Is Not Serious About Its Peacekeeper Rape Problem

Lauren Wolfe, Foreign Policy

August 13, 2015

It was a raid gone horribly wrong. In the early morning hours of Sunday, Aug. 2, U.N. peacekeeping troops in the Central African Republic entered a Muslim enclave known as PK5 in the capital city of Bangui. They were after a man named Haroun Gaye, a suspect in a number of violent acts allegedly carried out on behalf of the Muslim community, in a country that has been torn apart by war between the mainly Christian “anti-balaka” groups and Muslim-majority Seleka rebels.

The operation quickly spiraled into chaos. A bloody gunfight broke out between the joint Rwandan and Cameroonian peacekeeping force and locals,killing one peacekeeper and injuring eight other peacekeepers, according to the Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic, or MINUSCA, the U.N.’s peacekeeping operation in CAR. During a second raid on Aug. 3, four other civilians, including a 16-year-old boy and his father, were killed, according to Amnesty International. A source who asked not to be named said that, according to MINUSCA, one more civilian was killed and 61 people in total were injured, including seven children — numbers, the blue-helmet mission said in an Aug. 13 interview, that it was “not in a position to confirm.” (Amnesty first learned of the attacks the same day of the first firefight — Aug. 2 — but didn’t release the news publicly untilAug. 11.)

In the mayhem of the attacks, according to Amnesty, one of the peacekeepers allegedly violently raped a 12-year-old girl.

Click HERE for the full text.

Bertha Justice Initiative Organizations Stand Up for Haitian Cholera Victims

August 13, 2015 - 10:49

IJDH represents +5,000 Haitian cholera victims in a lawsuit against the United Nations, which is currently in the appeals process in New York Federal Court. The lawsuit is supported by scholars and experts around the world. Among these are notable Bertha Justice Initiative partner organizations, which have dedicated their own time and effort to eliminating governments’ and organizations’ limitless impunity around the world. IJDH would like to thank these organizations for maintaining solidarity with Haitian cholera victims and seeking accountability from the world’s leading governments and institutions!

An excerpt from the post is below. Click HERE for the original post.

A Worldwide Fight Against Impunity

Rodline Louijeune, Bertha Justice Initiative Blog

August 13, 2015

In early June, eighty-six members of the international community filed amicus curiae briefs in support of Haitian cholera victims. In total, six briefs were filed presenting a number of legal arguments. This show of solidarity with Haitian cholera victims in their fight for United Nations (UN) accountability included support from Bertha Justice Initiative partner organizations hailing from eight countries across four continents. The endorsers included Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) in the United States, CenterLaw in the Philippines, European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR) in Germany, Foundation for Fundamental Rights in Pakistan, Human Rights Law Network (HRLN) in India, Palestinian Center for Human Rights, Proyecto de Derechos Economicos, Sociales y Culturales (ProDESC) in Mexico, and Socio-Economic Rights Institute of South Africa (SERI).

The briefs were filed in a case against the UN in Federal Court in New York brought by the Bertha Justice Initiative members Bureau des Avocats Internationaux (BAI) in Haiti and the U.S.–based Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti (IJDH).

Click HERE for the original post.

Le chef de la mission de l’ONU en Centrafrique a démissionné après les accusations de viols

August 12, 2015 - 08:59

Le chef de la mission de l’ONU en Centrafrique, Babacar Gaye, a présenté sa démission à l’insistence de Ban Ki-moon, le secretaire général de l’ONU. Cette démission vient après les accusations de viol et de meurtre par les forces onusiennes en Centrafrique. Ban Ki-moon a exprimé sa tristesse après les derniers événements et a nommé une commission pour enquêter la situation en Centrafrique.

Viols présumés en Centrafrique : le chef de la mission de l’ONU renvoyé

Le Point

12 août 2015

Le chef de la mission de l’ONU en Centrafrique (Minusca) a été renvoyé après une série d’accusations d’abus sexuels contre des enfants commis par des Casques bleus, a annoncé mercredi le secrétaire général de l’ONU Ban Ki-moon. Le diplomate sénégalais Babacar Gaye, 64 ans, “a remis sa démission à ma demande”, a déclaré Ban Ki-moon à des journalistes à New York. “Il m’est impossible de mettre en mot la colère, le tourment et la honte que je ressens après ces accusations récurrentes au fil des années d’exploitation sexuelle et d’abus commis par des forces onusiennes”, a assuré Ban Ki-moon. “Je ne tolérerai aucun agissement de ceux qui remplacent la confiance par la peur (…) assez, c’est assez”, a martelé le secrétaire général.
Cette annonce intervient au lendemain de l’ouverture d’une enquête sur des accusations de viol contre une fillette et de l’homicide d’un adolescent de 16 ans et de son père qui auraient été commis par des Casques bleus au cours d’une opération armée dans la capitale centrafricaine début août. Au moins cinq personnes, dont un Casque bleu, avaient été tuées et des dizaines blessées pendant cette opération qui s’est déroulée les 2 et 3 août, et visait à arrêter un ancien chef de l’ex-rébellion Séléka dans l’enclave musulmane du PK5 à Bangui.
La Séléka, à dominante musulmane, avait pris le pouvoir à Bangui en mars 2013, avant d’en être chassée l’année suivante, mais elle y a gardé des sympathisants, notamment dans le quartier du PK5.

La lenteur de l’ONU pointée du doigt

Cette enquête fait suite à plusieurs cas similaires mettant en cause des Casques bleus marocain et burundais.
Dans une affaire séparée, la France enquête sur des allégations d’abus sexuels commis sur des enfants en Centrafrique entre décembre 2013 et juin 2014. Ces accusations visent notamment 14 soldats français qui faisaient partie de l’opération Sangaris menée par la France en Centrafrique et n’étaient pas sous le commandement de l’ONU.
Toutefois, l’ONU a aussi nommé une commission indépendante pour enquêter sur ce cas et plus précisément sur la façon dont les Nations unies ont géré l’affaire, après des critiques pointant du doigt la lenteur de sa réaction sur le dossier.

Cliquez ICI pour le texte original.

Responsibility for Sexual Abuse in CAR Extends to New York and Geneva (Statement)

August 12, 2015 - 08:01

The United Nations (UN) Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon recently fired the Special Representative of the Secretary-General in Central African Republic after evidence arose of sexual exploitation and abuse by peacekeepers in the country. However, Aids Free World stresses that this action does not go far enough; responsibility pervades the UN all the way to its top leaders in the Geneva and New York headquarters. Despite indisputable violations on the ground, the UN has not provided remedy for victims, and the responsibility of knowing about, but not doing enough to stop these horrendous acts renders top leadership culpable as well.

An excerpt from the statement is posted below. Click HERE for the original statement.

UN peacekeeping: Rot at the top

Aids Free World

August 12, 2015

— AIDS-Free World responds to the resignation of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General in Central African Republic, Ban’s convening of special session to discuss sexual exploitation and abuse —

What the Secretary-General of the UN did today in firing the SRSG in the Central African Republic was both necessary and commendable. But he went only part way. In every instance of sexual exploitation and abuse committed by peacekeepers, military or non-military, both the SRSG and the Force Commander should be fired.

That is the message the Secretary-General must deliver tomorrow when he meets with the SRSGs and the Force Commanders.

Only then will peacekeeping missions begin to learn that “zero tolerance” means what it says. Only then will the raping and abuse come to an end.

Click HERE for the original statement.

Five Years Later: Where is the Justice for Cholera Victims?

August 12, 2015 - 07:01

Not only has the United Nations (UN) used its immunity to protect itself from legal backlash for its role in the 2010 cholera outbreak, but it has failed to stand up as a global leader in justice. Despite significant scientific evidence determining that the UN caused the deadly outbreak, it has neither accepted responsibility nor done nearly enough to alleviate the crisis and provide Haitians access to clean water and vaccinations. Five months after the initial outbreak, hundreds of thousands of Haitians continue to become infected with cholera and receive little remedy from those responsible.

An excerpt from the article is posted below. Click HERE for the original article.

UN must step up, apologize, and help drive cholera from Haiti

Editorial Board, The Boston Globe

August 12, 2015

When an earthquake ravaged Haiti in 2010, rescue workers from all over the world responded with medicine, food, and supplies for rebuilding. Unfortunately, a crew of United Nations peacekeepers from Nepal seems to have brought something else entirely: a deadly cholera epidemic that has killed 9,000 and sickened more than 700,000. This year’s rainy season has brought a new spike in cases, and health care workers dread the late-summer onset of hurricane season.

But justice for Haiti is slow in coming. Although there is ample genetic evidence that the peacekeepers contaminated a tributary of the Artibonite River with the virulent vibrio cholerae microbe, the UN has been tone deaf to international appeals for help and has prevailed in federal court, citing immunity to claims of damage. The case is now being appealed in the US Second Circuit in New York. Scores of human rights groups and legal scholars filed friend-of-the-court briefs in June. “There has never been a case like ours,” says Brian Concannon, executive director of the Boston-based Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti, which brought the suit. “The liability is so clear and the damage is so great.”

Click HERE for the original article.

Further accusations of sexual abuse and murder brought against UN peacekeepers in CAR

August 11, 2015 - 09:16

Amnesty International has brought new charges of sexual abuse and murder against UN peacekeeping forces in Central African Republic. UN peacekeepers have been accused of the rape of a 12 year old girl and the shooting and killing of a 16 year old boy and his father. The UN peacekeeping office in New York was not informed of the Aug. 2 and 3 incidents until Monday and has yet to investigate these claims due to “security constraints.”

UN peacekeepers accused of deaths, rape in African mission

Cara Anna, Associated Press

11 Aug. 2015

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Amnesty International is accusing U.N. peacekeepers of indiscriminately killing a 16-year-old boy and his father and raping a 12-year-old girl in separate incidents in Central African Republic, the latest in a series of sexual and other allegations against peacekeepers there.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is “personally dismayed and disappointed,” his spokesman said Tuesday. “We would like to emphasize once more that no misconduct of this nature will be tolerated,” Stephane Dujarric told reporters.

The U.N., however, has no powers of criminal investigation or prosecution, leaving it up to peacekeepers’ home countries — which U.N. officials often don’t name publicly.

Amnesty International said the two incidents on Aug. 2 and 3 occurred as the peacekeepers from Rwanda and Cameroon were carrying out an operation in the capital, Bangui. U.N. peacekeepers have been in the country since September to try to calm unprecedented, deadly violence between Christians and Muslims.

The girl was hiding in a bathroom when a man wearing a U.N. peacekeeping helmet and vest “took her outside and raped her behind a truck,” a statement from the human rights group said. It said a nurse who examined the girl “found medical evidence consistent with sexual assault.”

The next day, after armed clashes with residents had killed a soldier from Cameroon and wounded several others, peacekeepers went to the area and “began shooting indiscriminately in the street where the killings had taken place,” the group said.

Amnesty International said resident Balla Hadji, 61, and his son Souleimane Hadji, 16, were shot and killed outside their home. The group said it interviewed 15 witnesses immediately after both incidents, plus the 12-year-old girl and her family.

“An independent civilian investigation must be urgently launched, and those implicated must be suspended immediately and for the duration of the investigation,” the organization’s senior crisis response adviser, Joanne Mariner, said.

But one week after the U.N. was first informed of the allegations, it was not clear just how the peacekeeping mission in Central African Republic was looking into them. The U.N. peacekeeping office in New York wasn’t informed until Monday, despite its recent order to all peacekeeping missions to immediately tell it about any such allegations.

The mission’s spokesperson, Hamadoun Toure, told The Associated Press that “personally, I don’t think” the rape occurred. He said the peacekeepers had been trying to execute an arrest warrant for local judicial authorities when they were attacked, and that the girl was the sister of the suspect they were trying to arrest.

“I don’t know how we can reach out to this girl. They won’t accept any contact,” said Toure, interviewed by telephone from Central African Republic. He said the mission doesn’t have the names or details of the accused peacekeepers.

In an email from Bangui, the Amnesty International researcher in Central African Republic, Jonathan Pedneault, said the peacekeeping mission’s human rights division has “sadly, due to their own security constraints” not yet been able to investigate at the scene.

“In the rape case, the operation took place in the dead of night in a frantic atmosphere,” lit only by the peacekeepers’ flashlights amid a local power cut, he said.

He said an international medical organization has been following the girl but that UNICEF has not yet been able to visit her family.

The U.N. has been under international scrutiny over its handling of allegations of child sexual abuse by French soldiers in Central African Republic last year, and an independent panel is now looking into that case.

In addition, U.N. peacekeepers in Central African Republic have been accused in recent months of rape and sexual abuse. In late June, mission head Babacar Gaye in a statement said he was “outraged” by allegations that U.N. peacekeepers had sexually abused street children in Bangui.

And in early June, the peacekeeping mission launched an investigation into an allegation of child sexual abuse received against one of its peacekeepers in the eastern part of the country.

“This is clearly not only not normal, it is not acceptable,” Dujarric said of the numerous allegations.

As of the end of June, six allegations of sexual abuse and exploitation by peacekeepers had been reported since their arrival last fall, according to U.N. Conduct and Discipline reports.

The U.N. secretary-general in the past has expressed his interest in starting to “name and shame” the countries whose peacekeepers are accused of misconduct, though calling out countries has its risks. The U.N. has no standing army and relies on member states to contribute troops and police for its missions.

Click HERE for the original article.

Observers declare Haitian elections “good enough” despite widespread issues

August 11, 2015 - 07:10

Despite the widespread issues of violence, low voter turnout, and the unhappiness of many Haitians with the recent elections, international observers, including those of the OAS, have declared that the elections were sufficient and that no large problems were posed. However, based on the voting experiences of many Haitians and other observers, the elections were not simply “good enough.”

Part of the transcript is below. Click HERE for the full text and video.

Despite Violence, Low Voter Turnout, Int’l Community Calls Haitian Elections Good Enough

Jessica Desvarieux, Jake Johnston, and Francois Pierre-Louis, The Real News Network

August 11, 2015

JESSICA DESVARIEUX, PRODUCER, TRNN: Welcome to the Real News Network. I’m Jessica Desvarieux in Baltimore.
On Sunday, Haitians voted for the first time in four years in legislative elections. So think of this as the equivalent of U.S. Congressional elections. But Haiti’s parliament has not been in session since January after scheduled legislative elections in 2011 and 2014 were canceled, thereby leaving Haiti’s President Michel Martelly essentially ruling by decree.
Now joining us from Haiti’s capital Port-au-Prince to give us the perspective on the ground is Jake Johnston. He is a research associate at the Center for Economic and Policy Research, and he’s the lead blogger for Haiti Relief and Reconstruction Watch. Also joining us via phone from Haiti is Francois Pierre Louis. Francois is an associate professor of political science at Queens College in New York.
Thank you both for joining us.
JAKE JOHNSTON, RESEARCH ASSOCIATE, CEPR: Thanks for having us.
DESVARIEUX: So Jake, I’m going to start off with you.
FRANCOIS PIERRE LOUIS, ASSOC. PROF. OF POLITICAL SCIENCE, QUEENS COLLEGE: Thank you.
DESVARIEUX: Pleasure. So Jake, I want to start out with you. You’re on the ground, you were going to different polling stations. Many international reports highlight the lower voter turnout and the violence around, at certain polling stations during these elections.
Did you share the same experiences? And if so, do we have a sense of who is behind these disturbances?
JOHNSTON: Yeah, sure. So again, I was in the capital. I went to probably between a dozen and 15 polling centers throughout the day. It was a mixed bag. At some of the smaller ones things seemed to be going relatively smoothly. There were the problems many expected beforehand, people not being able to find their names on voter lists, material showing up late in some cases, polling stations opening up late. Problems with the ink, voting twice.
I think what the biggest issue was across the board was this issue with political party observers. It was announced just the day before the election that there would only be four allowed per voting booth and this caused a lot of tension, certainly in the morning. And again, at some polling centers, certainly in the area of Cite Soleil, there was quite a bit of violence and entire voting centers including the largest, the two largest in Cite Soleil, were both closed. One of them was ransacked by armed men who had showed up and just sort of littered the entire place with ballots.

Click HERE for the full transcript and video.

Returned Peace Corps Volunteers Ask US Govt to Cease Aid to DR

August 10, 2015 - 12:45

Hundreds of returned Peace Corps volunteers who have served in the Dominican Republic since 1962 join together to demand the U.S. abide by its principles and pressure the Dominican government to ameliorate its citizenship crisis. In a powerful letter to Secretary of State John Kerry, 560 returned volunteers and 3 former country directors ask for the U.S. to act in accord with the Leahy laws, which call for suspension of aid to foreign security forces engaged in human rights violations. The letter notes as evidence the U.S. State Department’s own reports that Dominican security forces engage in rights violations, such as extrajudicial killings and torture.

An excerpt from the article is posted below. Click HERE for the full article.

Click HERE for the original letter.

Ex-Peace Corps volunteers unite for U.S. action on Dominican immigration policies

Mariano Castillo, CNN

August 10, 2015

The U.S. State Department’s position toward controversial citizenship and immigration laws in the Dominican Republic is being challenged by an unusual source: Hundreds of former Peace Corps volunteers who served there.

Some 560 former Peace Corps volunteers and three former Peace Corps country directors who worked in the Dominican Republic are calling for the United States to suspend funding to Dominican security forces accused of committing human rights violations against Dominicans of Haitian descent.

The letter to Secretary of State John Kerry documents abuses committed by some Dominican forces related to the country’s revocation of citizenship of Dominicans born of undocumented immigrants, and a simultaneous crackdown on illegal immigration from Haiti.

Click HERE for the full article.

Click HERE for the original letter.

Des observateurs confirment: Les élections ont été touchées par des graves irrégularités

August 10, 2015 - 11:12

Contrairement aux rapports des organisations comme OEA sur le sujet du déroulement des scrutins le 9 août, le Réseau National de Défense des Droits Humains a trouvé que les élections étaient vraiment affectées par des graves irrégularités, d’actes de violence et de fraude. Selon le RNDDH, il faut rectifier ces problèmes avant la prochaine élection.

Une partie de l’article est ci-dessous. Cliquez ICI pour le texte original.

Click HERE for an unofficial English translation.

Scrutin du 9 août 2015 : « un accroc aux normes démocratiques », selon le RNDDH

Marie Yolène Gilles Colas (RNDDH), Edouard Paultre (CONHANE), Me Gédéon Jean (CNO), Le Nouvelliste

le 10 août 2015

Le Réseau national de Défense des Droits Humains (RNDDH), le Conseil national d’Observation (CNO) et le Conseil haïtien des Acteurs Non Etatiques (CONHANE) ont observé le déroulement du scrutin du 9 août 2015. En attendant de produire un rapport circonstancié sur les différentes irrégularités, les incidents, les cas de fraudes et les nombreux cas de violence recensés, ces organisations se font le devoir de partager avec tous ceux que la question intéresse, leurs premiers constats. Nous publions in extenso le communiqué de presse publié par ces trois organisations sur le déroulement du scrutin.

Dans le cadre de ce scrutin, le RNDDH, le CNO, et le CONHANE ont déployé sur le terrain un total de mille cinq cents (1.500) observateurs. Ces derniers étaient présents dans tous les départements géographiques du pays et ont observé le déroulement du vote, de l’ouverture des centres de vote jusqu’à l’affichage des résultats du dépouillement.

A. Irrégularités

1. Accréditation pour les observateurs électoraux et pour les mandataires des partis politiques

Le Conseil Electoral Provisoire (CEP) a eu du mal à fournir aux différentes parties intéressés par le processus électoral, les cartes d’accréditation leur permettant d’avoir accès aux centres de vote.

En effet, les observateurs électoraux ont reçu tardivement leur accréditation. Certains autres, n’ayant pas été accrédités par le CEP, se sont contentés de porter un maillot avec l’inscription “Observation Electorale”.

Pourtant, des institutions n’ayant rien à voir avec l’observation électorale ont été accréditées par le CEP. Parmi elles, on peut citer MIRADE, MINO, MINOEH, etc. Leurs observateurs étaient en fait des mandataires de partis politiques. Leur technique d’intervention était simple : monnayer les votants.

Cliquez ICI pour le texte original.

Click HERE for an unofficial English translation.

OAS concludes that election violence was not a problem, despite reports to the contrary

August 10, 2015 - 07:35

In their preliminary observations of the August 9 elections, the OAS concluded that violent actions were not widespread and did not affect the polling stations. However, many Haitian groups, voters, and observers disagree, stating that the closing of polling stations due to violence caused more issues than the OAS is revealing.

Click HERE for the original document.

Preliminary Observations of OAS Electoral Mission to Haiti

Organization of American States

August 10, 2015

Port-au-Prince, August 10, 2015 – The day after the first round of voting in Haiti’s legislative elections, the OAS Electoral Observation Mission (OAS-EOM), made up of 28 observers covering 171 polling stations throughout the country’s departments, has drawn up a list of preliminary observations.

The OAS-EOM particularly hails the fact that this first round of legislative elections was held and highlights that most Haitian political forces have participated. OAS Electoral Mission Chief Mr. José Enrique Castillo Barrantes also expressed the determination of the CEP (Provisional Electoral Council) to carry through with this electoral process.

Because the electoral process is ongoing, notably at the vote tally center, these preliminary observations concern the pre-electoral process and the August 9 balloting activities. As of the time of its arrival in the country, the Mission has been looking into issues pertaining to voter registration and dissemination of the information required by citizens to be able to cast their ballot.

The Observation Mission notes the CEP’s efforts in the area of electoral education. However, enhancements could be made in this regard in order to increase Election Day turn out. It would be particularly helpful to carry out a civic education campaign on how to vote targeting eligible voters.

The observers were able to ascertain on the ground that voter lists were posted at polling stations, a practice which greatly contributes to increased transparency. Notwithstanding, posting these lists in public places in advance of Election Day would have allowed citizens to readily identify the specific polling station where they were supposed to cast their ballot.

Our observers witnessed certain confusion as to voting procedures, most specifically in the case of senatorial elections. This problem could have been avoided by posting instructions at all polling stations in plain sight. Due to the fact that the voting procedure in the next round of balloting will be even more complex, it will be essential to make sure that information is more readily available. One way to alleviate this problem would be a greater presence of CEP monitors and public outreach workers.

The Mission has noted that a significant number of polling stations opened later than the scheduled time. However, it recognizes that the CEP made a significant effort to allow most voters affected by this delay to vote in any case. It was also established that the necessary voting materials were available at the beginning of Election Day at polling stations.

The Mission notes that a variety of political parties engaged in campaigns. Despite the late date of release of campaign financing and issuance of campaign officials’ accreditation, the Mission was able to observe several political events, campaign advertising and the presence of different parties at polling stations.

Observers’ reports note that, in many instances, the sites selected for voters to vote and polling station workers to stand were adjacent to each other and thus were not conducive to optimal voting conditions and to keeping the balloting secret. Remedying this issue is all the more important for the October elections, because there will be a higher number of polling stations.

The OAS-EOM also highlights the effort put forth by all political parties to ensure representation of women among both national observers and party leaders. In fact, based on the information gathered by the Mission, 33% of political party representatives and 24% of all national observers were women. The OAS-EOM encourages political parties to promote women leaders within their ranks.

The OAS Electoral Mission will pay special attention to the reports of authorities with regard to the violence reported on Election Day. We deplore the use of violence in the context of elections. It is important, though, to note that these violent actions were not widespread and that they did not affect the overall voting process, as most polling stations were able to successfully complete balloting without incident.

The Mission shall ensure a continued presence at the vote tally center, 24 hours a day 7 days a week, until all ballots are counted.

As for overall election financing, undisbursed funds must be provided in a timely fashion in order to ensure the success of the upcoming stage of the electoral process.

The OAS would like to thank officials for helping the Mission to properly discharge its duties.

The Mission also wishes to thank the governments of Argentina, Brazil, the United States, Spain, France, Italy, Quebec, Mexico and Peru for their financial support, which made it possible to conduct this Mission.

A second Mission will be conducted on the occasion of the first round of the presidential elections in October. After the electoral process is completed, the Mission will submit a report providing observations and recommendations to the OAS Permanent Council with a mind toward helping to enhance Haiti’s election system.

Click HERE for the original document.

Scheduled First Round of Elections Raise Concerns

August 8, 2015 - 06:54

Haiti’s long-overdue elections have the potential to initiate the country’s progress towards political stability. Many view this first round as a crucial test of Haiti’s ability to hold its own elections: the last elections in 2010 were orchestrated by third parties, including the United States. Despite Haiti’s indisputable progress since these last elections in the aftermath of the devastating earthquake, doubts still linger about voter turnout, police intimidation and violence, among other concerns.

An excerpt from the transcript is posted below. Click HERE for the original story.

Haiti Elections Seen As A Test Of Stability

NPR

August 8, 2015

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

Haitians are set to vote tomorrow, a big step for the troubled country. These are legislative elections, and they’re more than three years overdue. And they are seen as a test for Haiti to prove it’s capable of holding credible and fair elections. Peter Granitz reports from Port-au-Prince.

PETER GRANITZ, BYLINE: Campaigning in Haiti has less to do with policy and more to do with getting your name out there. Candidates plaster their images and party logos on every of wall, house and billboard. They trash their opponents on the radio. And at any given hour, they send out trucks rigged with speakers blasting their song.

Click HERE for the original story.