Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti

Syndicate content
IJDH.org
Updated: 1 hour 2 min ago

The Clintons’ Republic of Haiti

June 22, 2015 - 14:30

Join Talks @ Pulitzer with Pulitzer Center grantees Jonathan M. Katz and Allison Shelley as they discuss their reporting project, “The Clintons’ Republic.”

The relationship between America’s most powerful couple and the hemisphere’s most precarious country is long and unique. The Clintons have wielded extraordinary influence in Haiti since before former President Bill Clinton ordered a U.S. invasion to restore Jean­-Bertrand Aristide to the presidency in 1994.

Katz and Shelley document the key roles Clinton and his wife Hillary Clinton, the former Secretary of State and now a candidate for U.S. President, have played in Haiti over the decades, from picking its national leaders to driving hundreds of millions of dollars in private aid, investment and U.S. taxpayer money toward its development.

WHERE:

Pulitzer Center
1779 Massachusetts Avenue NW
Suite 615
Washington, DC 20036

WHEN:

Monday, June 22
5:30-7:00 pm

 

Click HERE for more info on the discussion.

Please reserve your seat by emailing rsvp@pulitzercenter.org. Specify in subject line: “June 22 Talks @ Pulitzer.”

A light reception will be held between 5:30 and 6 pm before the discussion begins.

Independent Panel Does Full Review of Peacekeeping Operations

June 22, 2015 - 11:45

On Monday 22, June 2015, the United Nations published its latest comprehensive review of UN peacekeeping operations. The High-Level Independent Panel on Peace Operations was appointed by the Secretary General in October 2014 to review and propose reforms of all UN Peacekeeping operations. The panel was chaired by former President of Timor Leste and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Jose Ramos Horta. It is the first full-scale review of UN peace operations in 15 years.

Click HERE for the full report.

Uniting Our Strengths for Peace – Politics, Partnership and People

High-Level Independent Panel on United Nations Peace Operations

June 16, 2015

EXECUTIVE SUMMARYUN Peace Operations in a changed and changing landscape

In 1948, the first peacekeeping mission and the first high-profile mediator were deployed as innovative solutions by a young United Nations. Nearly seventy years later, United Nations (UN) peace operations – which span peacekeeping operations to special political missions, good offices and mediation initiatives – are a central part of the Organization’s efforts to improve the lives of people around the world. More than 128,000 women and men serve under the blue flag in almost 40 missions across four continents working to prevent conflicts, help mediate peace processes, protect civilians and sustain fragile peace processes.
UN peace operations have proven highly adaptable and contributed significantly to the successful resolution of conflicts and to a declining number of conflicts over two decades. Today, however, there is evidence of a worrisome reversal of some of this trend and a widely shared concern that changes in conflict may be outpacing the ability of UN peace operations to respond. The spread of violent extremism, overlaid onto long-simmering local or regional conflicts and the growing aspirations of populations for change, is placing pressure on governments and the international system to respond. As UN peace operations struggle to achieve their objectives, change is required to adapt them to new circumstances and to ensure their increased effectiveness and appropriate use in future.
A number of peace operations today are deployed in an environment where there is little or no peace to keep. In many settings today, the strain on their operational capabilities and support systems is showing, and political support is often stretched thin. There is a clear sense of a widening gap between what is being asked of UN peace operations today and what they are able to deliver. This gap can be – must be – narrowed to ensure that the Organization’s peace operations are able to respond effectively and appropriately to the challenges to come. With a current generation of conflicts proving difficult to resolve and with new ones emerging, it is essential that UN peace operations, along with regional and other partners, combine their respective comparative advantages and unite their strengths in the service of peace and security.

A call for change

In many ways, UN peace operations have become more professional and capable over the past decade but significant chronic challenges remain. Resources for prevention and mediation work have been scarce and the United Nations is often too slow to engage with emerging crises. Too often, mandates and missions are produced on the basis of templates instead of tailored to support situation-specific political strategies, and technical and military approaches come at the expense of strengthened political efforts. In the face of a surge in demand over the past decade, the Organization has not been able to deploy sufficient peacekeeping forces quickly and often relies on under-resourced military and police capacities. Rapidly deployable specialist capabilities are difficult to mobilize and UN forces have little or no interoperability. Secretariat departments and UN agencies, funds and programmes struggle to integrate their efforts in the face of competing pressures, at times, contradictory messages and different funding sources. UN bureaucratic systems configured for a headquarters environment limit the speed, mobility and agility of response in the field. These chronic challenges are significant but they can, and should, be addressed.

Four essential shifts

Four essential shifts must be embraced in the future design and delivery of UN peace operations if real progress is to be made and if UN peace operations are to realize their potential for better results in the field.
First, politics must drive the design and implementation of peace operations. Lasting peace is achieved not through military and technical engagements, but through political solutions. Political solutions should always guide the design and deployment of UN peace operations. When the momentum behind peace falters, the United Nations, and particularly Member States, must help to mobilize renewed political efforts to keep peace processes on track.
Second, the full spectrum of UN peace operations must be used more flexibly to respond to changing needs on the ground. The United Nations has a uniquely broad spectrum of peace operations that it can draw upon to deliver situation-specific responses. And yet, it often struggles to generate and rapidly deploy missions that are well-tailored to the context. The sharp distinctions between peacekeeping operations and special political missions should give way to a continuum of response and smoother transitions between different phases of missions. The United Nations should embrace the term “peace operations” to denote the full spectrum of responses required and invest in strengthening the underlying analysis, strategy and planning that leads to more successful design of missions. Sequenced and prioritized mandates will allow missions to develop over time rather than trying to do everything at once, and failing.
Third, a stronger, more inclusive peace and security partnership is needed for the future. A stronger global-regional peace and security partnership is needed to respond to the more challenging crises of tomorrow. Common purpose and resolve must be established from the outset of a new operation and must be maintained throughout through enhanced collaboration and consultation. The UN System too must pull together in a more integrated manner in the service of conflict prevention and peace. All of these partnerships must be underpinned by mutual respect and mutual responsibilities.
Fourth, the UN Secretariat must become more field-focused and UN peace operations must be more people-centered. There must be an awakening of UN Headquarters to the distinct and important needs of field missions, and a renewed resolve on the part of UN peace operations personnel to engage with, serve and protect the people they have been mandated to assist.

Click HERE for the full report.

Can Haiti and DR Overcome their Bloody History?

June 22, 2015 - 08:06

This article outlines the rocky history between Haiti and the Dominican Republic (DR), which plays a major role in the current citizenship/deportation crisis in DR. It also discusses the natural economic partnership that comes from sharing an island. Making an example of President Obama’s decision to “cut loose the shackles of the [US’] past” with Cuba, the author asks whether Haiti and DR can come to a similar agreement.

Dominican Republic and Haiti: Is it Time for an Island Reunification?

Rachel Décoste, HuffPost Canada

June 22, 2015

To keep the peace, one might avoid pairing certain nationals together: Argentina versus Britain, Japan versus Korea, Armenia and Turkey, India versus Pakistan,Russia versus Ukraine. There’s one lesser-known international squabble that’s been festering for centuries: Haiti versus the Dominican Republic.

This week, binational tensions are heightened once again as the Dominican Republic threatens to deport undocumented citizens, most of whom originate from Haiti.

The Haitian and Dominican republics share a porous border and a long, complicated and bloody history. The island’s fissure divides it along colonial, linguistic, socioeconomic and cultural lines. Even the children of island émigrés are fed accounts of grievous incidents and anachronistic fables to fan the flames of perpetual discord.

In the era of globalization and international collaboration it’s time to reexamine the Haitian-Dominican relationship.

When Christopher Columbus sailed the ocean blue in 1492, he landed on Hispaniola. After decimating the Taino Indians, the Spaniards relied on transatlantic slavery to build their colony. Two hundred years later, Spain partitioned the island, ceding present-day Haiti to France.

Under French rule, Haiti (then baptized Saint-Domingue) grew into the most lucrative colony in the West Indies. Half a million African slaves produced sugar for export. In fact, the island received almost twice as many slaves as did the entire United States.

In colonial Haiti, enslaved Africans outnumbered their Europeans exploiters by a ratio of 10 to one. On the other side of the Island, subdued development. Santo-Domingo served primarily as the springboard for Spanish plunder of the New World. The demographics on the Spanish side were reversed from the French neighbours: 20 per cent of the colonial capital’s population was enslaved and most of people of colour lived freely.

In successive bids for emancipation, Haitian revolutionaries temporarily overcame their captors. In one instance, Haitians and crossed over to the D.R. to free some 40,000 slaves, thus distressing the Spanish elite. Finally in 1804, slaves snatched freedom from France’s colonial claws, rendering Haiti the first freed Black republic on the continent. Its leaders managed to keep the threat of re-enslavement at bay, buoyed by a potent paranoia of European influences… including their immediate neighbours. What better way to insure sovereignty than to boot all European colonizers off the island?

Henceforth, the vision of freedom writ large and island “unification” took hold. But for the slavers loyal to the Spanish crown (especially those who fell to Haitian troops), the deed was dubbed an “invasion.”

Plagued by political instability and failed annexations to colonial powers, the Dominican Republic would fall to Haitian, European and American rule numerous times during the 19th century.

Then came Rafael Trujillo.

Under the brutal dictator’s 30-year reign (1930-1961), institutionalized racial discrimination cast Haitians and blacks as the enemy. The two groups became synonymous. Trujillo cultivated racist anti-haitiano ideologies which were sewn into the collective conscience of the Dominican people for generations. After Trujillo ordered his troops to kill 20,000 Haitians near the border, diplomatic ties hollowed out. Trujillo’s “ethnic cleansing” operation still stings Haiti’s collective consciousness.

Over time, Haiti’s wealth siphoned away, whereas the Dominican Republic matured towards political stability and a flourishing economy. Subsequently, the modern day “invasion” of migrant Haitians into their neighbouring nation has re-opened diplomatic wounds. The Dominican retort, which included deporting multi-generational Dominican citizens of Haitian origin, has drawn international criticism. Word that the Dominican government might round up dark-skinned citizens in a re-cleansing effort screams déjà vu.

United We Stand, Divided We Fall

Both Haitians and Dominicans cultivated historical injuries over numerous generations, leading to festering distrust. Haitians are drunk on Black pride. Dominicans are known for denying their African heritage. Haitians speak French. Dominicans hablan español. Haitians dance to zouk and kompa. Dominicans prefermerengue y bachata. Both nations seem to overcome racial, linguistic and historical differences with the USA with their respective overseas economic partners, yet allow these attributes to cripple Haitian-Dominican bi-lateral exchanges.

Regardless, Haiti swallows almost 20 per cent of Dominican exports, dwarfed only by the U.S.’s buying power. The Dominican economy benefits from the low-cost labour offered by Haitian migrants, bolstering profitability of Dominican firms (namely in the field of construction), and reducing the prices of some products. A Dominican company is reconstructing a portion of Haiti’s national road. As natural economic allies, there is much to build on.

As the U.S. moves to reconcile with its former archenemy, Cuba, the Obama Administration imparts a model for other nations to follow. President Obama stated in a speech on the normalization of US-Cuba relations:

To the Cuban people, America extends a hand of friendship. Some of you have looked to us as a source of hope […] Others have seen us as a former colonizer intent on controlling your future […] We can never erase the history between us, but […] [T]oday, America chooses to cut loose the shackles of the past so as to reach for a better future – for the Cuban people, for the American people, for our entire hemisphere[…].
–President Obama, December 2014

The Haitian and Dominican establishment of the day seem unable to surmount past aggressions and unwilling to bring about reconciliation. The toxic juxtaposition of race, ethnicity and citizenship threatens to set both nations back. Perhaps it will fall to the diaspora and millennials to chart a new course. In advancing shared interests, Hispaniola can finally unite — under the banner of progress and peace.

 

Click HERE for the original article.

How Peacekeeping Needs to Change to Avoid Risks to Public Health

June 21, 2015 - 15:56

Historically, soldiers have played a major role in the spread of diseases worldwide. This trend didn’t end with the creation of “peaceful” soldiers as United Nations peacekeepers brought cholera to Haiti in 2010, and pose a serious risk of bringing drug-resistant malaria to African countries. Despite the high risk of peacekeepers bringing disease to vulnerable areas, the United Nations has done little to prevent these sorts of disasters in the future. The UN certainly has the power and resources to implement public health strategies that will mitigate these risks. Doing so could also aid in capacity-building for troop-contributing countries in their own domestic response to disease.

Peace and PestilenceLessons on Peacekeeping and Public Health from the Haitian Cholera Epidemic

Adam Houston, Foreign Affairs

June 21, 2015

For centuries, war and disease have gone hand in hand. Smallpox served as vanguard for the Spanish forces in their conquest of the Americas, and yellow fever and typhus finally turned the tide—in Haiti and Russia, respectively—against the strategic genius of Napoleon. In fact, it wasn’t until World War I that a major conflict saw more soldiers perish on the battlefield than from disease—yet those soldiers’ comrades played a key role in spreading the 1918 flu pandemic, which claimed far more lives worldwide than the war.

Not long after the United Nations was formed in the aftermath of World War II, the world came to the novel conclusion that soldiers could be used not to wage war but to promote peace, resulting in the creation of United Nations Peacekeeping. Although peacekeeping has changed the role of the soldier, however, it has not severed the connection between soldiers and the spread of disease. The Haitian cholera epidemic, which has resulted in more than 730,000 infections and 8,900 deaths since 2010, originated with UN peacekeepers. This tragedy serves as a warning, as yet largely unheeded, about preventing those sent to help vulnerable populations from becoming a vector for disease.

Until peacekeepers brought Vibrio cholerae to Haiti, the country had not recorded a case of cholera in at least a century. Conclusive scientific proof about the origins of the epidemic—Nepalese peacekeepers stationed at a base in Mirebalais, from which human waste was negligently allowed to enter the rivers that serve as the primary water source for tens of thousands of Haitians—has not spurred the United Nations to take effective action to end the epidemic, compensate the victims, or even simply admit responsibility. This is despite the fact that the risks of cholera transmission were well known, and that its introduction easily avoidable; effective screening of troops before deployment would have helped, as would have adhering to basic principles of sanitation on the base.

Left with no other options, victims of the epidemic have turned to the courts to enforce their rights; the UN has responded to their claims by declaring itself immune from suit. This litigation thus raises important questions around the boundaries of UN immunity and about the organization’s legitimacy in promoting human rights and the rule of law. Determining the UN’s obligations to the victims of the cholera epidemic is important. So too, however, is examining how current UN practices leave other vulnerable populations at risk. Despite the scale of the Haitian tragedy, it has spurred surprisingly little action on the part of the UN to prevent such a tragedy from happening again.

UN peacekeeping constitutes a uniquely high-risk activity in this regard. Peacekeepers are dispatched to war-torn areas, where existing health and sanitation infrastructure has frequently been damaged. Once there, they regularly interact with displaced persons and other populations whose circumstances make them particularly vulnerable to disease.

Compounding the risk is the current model of UN peacekeeping, which increasingly relies on large troop contributions from countries which themselves face high burdens of infectious disease. A CDC briefing eight months before the Haitian epidemic highlighted the vulnerability of post-earthquake Haiti to waterborne disease, but noted that cholera importation was unlikely given that “most current travelers to Haiti are relief workers from countries without endemic cholera.” Peacekeepers were almost certainly the single biggest exception to this statement.

Given this potent mix of risk factors, the cholera epidemic in Haiti is not even the worst-case scenario. That distinction would likely go to the spread of drug-resistant malaria. Most current UN peacekeeping missions take place in sub-Saharan Africa, the region that accounts for the vast majority of global malaria morbidity and mortality. The region’s malaria burden has been rolled back in recent years, in large part due to the availability of effective artemisinin-based drugs. Given their importance, it is extremely worrying that artemisinin resistance has emerged in Southeast Asia.

For a preview of the consequences of losing an effective and affordable drug, look to the spread of chloroquine-resistant malaria, which emerged in the same region in the 1950s and 1960s before spreading to Africa beginning in the late 1970s, where it caused a two- to three-fold increase in mortality. Soldiers from multiple countries where artemisinin resistance has been detected—Cambodia, Thailand, and Vietnam—have participated in current African missions. Nevertheless, the UN has failed to implement an effective process to prevent the introduction of artemisinin-resistant malaria.

Inaction in the face of grave public health risks is unfortunate given that peacekeeping is not only a particularly high-risk activity but one especially well suited to mitigating those risks In contrast to cholera, whose spread could have been halted by proper sanitation even after infected personnel had entered Haiti, once drug-resistant malaria is recorded it may already be too late. UN forces, no matter their country of origin, regularly contract malaria while on mission; in some troop-contributing countries, such as Jordan, returning peacekeepers account for the bulk of all imported cases. Once bitten, a soldier already infected with a drug-resistant parasite could in turn introduce that parasite into the local mosquito population, and from there into local humans. The historical failure of malaria eradication efforts in the very African countries currently hosting peacekeepers underscores the virtual impossibility of reversing the damage of drug resistance once it has been introduced. The only solution is preventing it from arriving in the first place. Effort needs to be put into determining the most effective methods of doing so, such as appropriate pre-deployment testing and treatment.

This has not been the United Nations’ approach thus far. Existing guidelines on peacekeeping and disease focus on protecting peacekeepers from local diseases, overlooking the risks to locals from imported ones. Although the UN accepted a number of the recommendations put forward by the independent panel of experts it charged with investigating the Haitian cholera epidemic, such as taking steps to improve sanitation on bases, it remains to be seen how effectively they will be implemented. At the same time, victims of the epidemic are still without a remedy and the UN-endorsed plan to eradicate cholera from Haiti remains grossly underfunded, even as the ongoing peacekeeping mission in the country costs over half a billion dollars per year. And while some countries, such as Cambodia, have recognized concerns around peacekeepers and artemisinin resistance, the UN itself remains silent on the issue.

Inaction in the face of grave public health risks is unfortunate given that peacekeeping is not only a particularly high-risk activity but one especially well suited to mitigating those risks. Peacekeeping missions, and who participates in them, are defined in detail. They are subject to oversight by a single centralized organization with both the expertise and capacity to craft effective policies to address risks as they arise. And once those decisions have been made, the military structure of UN peacekeeping makes it easier to directly implement and enforce new policies.

In this case, although participation by a broad spectrum of countries in UN peacekeeping missions is something to be welcomed, the UN must take steps to address the attendant risks. Doing so would require relatively little change in how peacekeeping is managed. The current method of financing peacekeepers ensures that peacekeepers from lower-income countries are in effect subsidized by the UN; the relative cost of appropriate screening and prevention measures could readily be incorporated into this subsidy. In turn, such an investment could also help build domestic capacity—particularly in areas like laboratory diagnostics—that would have positive spillover for public health programs within troop-contributing countries.

Political inertia can be overcome; for instance, as Ebola hit the headlines, the UN agreed to suspend rotations of African soldiers to Haiti over concerns about the virus, even though the practical risk of introducing the disease was far lower than it ever was for cholera. The UN has access to the expertise necessary to develop effective policy, and a structure that is well suited to its implementation. It also has a duty to ensure that peacekeepers protect the most vulnerable not only from war but from pestilence as well.

Click HERE for the original article.

Red Cross Scandal Epitomizes Aid Accountability Problem

June 21, 2015 - 11:53

The Red Cross recently came under fire after an investigation by NPR and ProPublica revealed widespread mismanagement of funds and lack of accountability for nearly half a billion dollars received post-quake. This lack of accountability, however, is not an isolated issue: Both the lack of adequate response to the cholera epidemic caused by UN peacekeepers and mismanagement of relief funds by USAID show that this problem is widespread. When organizations like these become too focused on pleasing donors and troop-contributing countries, they fail to really help the local populations. This author provides some recommendations on how aid accountability can be improved.

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

House HuntersHow Reconstruction in Haiti Went So Wrong

Lauren Carasik, Foreign Affairs

June 21, 2015

In the five years following the devastating 2010 earthquake that killed more than 200,000 and displaced nearly two million, approximately $13.5 billion in aid poured into Haiti. Yet many Haitians still lack access to suitable housing, clean water, and proper sanitation. The American Red Cross led U.S. fund-raising efforts. It hauled in nearly half a billion dollars, which it pledged to use for housing and long-term stability. But according to exposés by ProPublica and NPR, thanks to five years of mismanagement, the organization created a total of six permanent homes.

The Red Cross debacle is appalling, but it is only a symptom of a larger problem: the lack of accountability in humanitarian assistance.

EXPOSED

Criticisms about the Red Cross’ efforts in Haiti predated the exposé. In the immediate aftermath of the disaster, donors expected that their money would go toward meeting the population’s urgent needs. But Haitians and others have long lamented the slow pace of spending. One resident, Simone Charles, told reporters in 2010, “Today marks the sixteenth day that I have been here with the children. I am dying of hunger.” Although some funds were spent on emergency relief, part of the money continued to sit in general accounts or went toward eliminating the group’s $100 million deficit, or was earmarked for extended development projects.

Click HERE for the full text.

Journalists Witness Secret Deportations from the DR

June 20, 2015 - 06:22

The Haitian-Dominican Malpasse border has attracted international media outlets and journalists to document the Dominican deportation crisis. So far, “secret” deportations have been orchestrated at the early morning hours and away from potential witnesses. However, the Haitian government has no formal arrangement to receive the deportees and lacks adequate support systems for them, leaving these repatriated individuals without any place to go.

Click HERE for the full article.

6 Things I Have Observed at the Malpasse Border Between Haiti and the Dominican Republic

Etant Dupain, Woy Magazine

June 20, 2015

Malpasse is the biggest border between Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Malpasse is located 1 hour away from Port-au-Prince, and is the site of the majority of the trade between the two countries. I arrived at the border on June 17th in, the evening, after the registration deadline given by Dominican immigration to the Haitian immigrants expired. I am here with my team, Kombit Productions, and we have partnered with various international media outlets to cover what is going on.

Click HERE for the full article.

Resources on Dominican Republic Citizenship Crisis

June 19, 2015 - 11:50
Follow this link for action alerts, events, articles and other resources about the current crisis for people of Haitian descent at risk of deportation from the Dominican Republic: http://www.ijdh.org/resources/dominican-republic-citizenship-crisis/

Rally at Florida State Capitol

June 19, 2015 - 10:00

WHAT:

MEDIA ADVISORY: Community Members and Students Stand Against Mass Deportations of Haitians in the Dominican Republic

TALLAHASSEE, FL – On June 19, 2015 at 1:00 pm a rally will be held in front of the Florida Historic Capitol, where State Representative Daphne Campbell, community members and students from various organizations will be protesting the mass deportation of Haitians and Dominicans of Haitian descent in the Dominican Republic. The protest is organized by State Representative Daphne Campbell. In attendance will also be Representative Hazel Rogers, D-94 and Haitian Lives Do Matter, Black Liberation Action Coordinating Committee (BLACC), Dream Defenders and Recycle4Haiti Foundation Inc.

Two years ago the Dominican Republic introduced a law known as TC 168/13 which has striped thousands of Dominicans of Haitian descent of their Dominican citizenship. The law charges and denationalizes Dominicans of Haitian descent born after 1929. From one day to the next, thousands of Dominicans were revoked of their citizenship and are at risk of facing deportation starting on June 15th, 2015. Haitian Lives Do Matter and other groups demand the Dominican Republic to stop violating the human rights of black Dominicans and holt the deportation!

Haitian Lives Do Matter! No Human is Illegal!#HaitianLivesDoMatter #HaitianLivesMatter

WHERE:

Florida Historic Capitol

400 South Monroe Street

Tallahassee, FL 32399-1100

WHEN:

1-3pm

Friday June 19, 2015

 

For more info, contact Nadlie Charles: 305.795.1210 | nadlie.charles@myfloridahouse.gov

Both Migrants and Dominican Nationals at Risk of Deportation

June 19, 2015 - 06:37

Two separate groups living in the Dominican Republic are at risk of deportations: first-generation migrants and Dominicans, born in the DR, of foreign descent. The Dominican government created a process for these individuals to apply for citizenship status or residency permits, although fewer than 9,000 were able to register prior to the deadline. Hundreds of thousands of individuals may now be forcibly deported from the DR, with no clear place to go.

Click HERE for the full article.

Dominican Republic has taken citizenship from up to 200,000 and is getting away with it

Eve Hayes de Kalaf, The Conversation

June 19, 2015

On June 17, the deadline ran out for undocumented Haitian migrants to register for official migrant status in the neighbouring Dominican Republic. The international media has been filled with reports from the Caribbean of an impending crisis in the DR, predicting that up to 500,000 Haitians and Dominicans of Haitian descent are now threatened with forcible removal.

The country’s vice minister of the interior has confirmed that those who have failed to register in time will be made to leave the country. The media has been speculating that mass deportations to Haiti will follow, though the government has been insisting it will act modestly.

What is in danger of being forgotten is that there are two distinct groups of people involved here. Although there is understandable concern for first-generation Haitians resident in the Dominican Republic, up to 200,000 people born and raised in the country who have always self-identified as Dominicans are now being told that they are Haitians and are at risk of forcible removal from the only place they call home (note that the government claims the numbers are far lower).

Click HERE for the full article.

Comment comprendre et analyser l’expulsion des illégaux en République Dominicaine

June 18, 2015 - 14:17

Communiqué de Presse:

Le Bureau des Avocats Internationaux (BAI ) suit avec intérêt la situation actuelle dans  laquelle vivent des milliers des milliers de nos compatriotes en territoire dominicain. Le BAI n’a cessé à date d’alerter les autorités compétentes et légitimes du pays  pour adopter tout un train de mesures pour palier à cette démesure.

Profitant du tremblement de terre du 12 janvier 2010, la Cour Constitutionelle Dominicaine s’est proncée sur  l’arret 168-13 voté par les deux chambres au Parlement Dominicain. Depuis le gouvernement haïtien présidé par l’ex-premier minstre Laurent Salvador Lamothe et son ministre des Affaires Etrangères n’ont rien fait pour contraindre les autorités dominicaines à retourner sur cette décision anticonstitutionelle eu égard aux lois et conventions internationales signées et ratifiées par l’Etat dominicain. Cette décision crée une situation d’apatridie pour nos compatriotes en territoire voisin.Le BAI lance un vibrant appel de solidarité entre tous les Haïtiens du terroir de faire un faisceau avec ceux et celles de l’extérieur pour endiguer ce flot d’Haïtiens et d’étrangers qui seront chez nous aux heures qui viennent.Le BAI, dans son souci de défendre les droits des personnes en situation de vulnérabilité, se montrant inquiet se fait d’alerter la communauté internationale de cette catastrophe humanitaire imminente qui menacerait le pays à l’approche joutes électorales au cours de cette année. La faible productivité alimentaire du pays Haïti serait en proie à la famine.A tous et à toutes .

Des conflits sur la frontière haïtiano-dominicaine

June 18, 2015 - 12:17

Depuis janvier 2015, plus de 2000 Haïtiens en République dominicaine sont rapatriés en Haïti. Cependant, pour plusieurs de ces gens, leurs familles et leurs vies restent en République dominicaine. Le Groupe d’Appui aux Rapatriés et aux Réfugiés d’Haïti demande que leur voisin arrête la séparation des familles.

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

Fin du PNRE : Des retours volontaires et des rapatriements de migrants haïtiens enclenchés sur la frontière haïtiano-dominicaine

ReliefWeb

June 18, 2015

Du week-end écoulé jusqu’à ce mercredi 17 juin, date butoir du PNRE, un retour «volontaire» en série de plusieurs centaines de migrant(e)s haïtiens a été observé dans divers points frontaliers officiels et non officiels d’Haïti et de la République Dominicaine. Une soixantaine de ressortissant (e)s haïtiens ont été rapatrié(e)s à la frontière de Jimani/Malpasse, le 16 juin 2015.

Douze (12) d’entre elles ont dû parcourir des kilomètres à pied pour aboutir à Boucan Chatte et à Terre Froide, deux localités frontalières de la commune de Fonds-Verrettes (Ouest d’Haïti). Huit de ces rapatriés tentaient de retourner en République Dominicaine en passant par la localité frontalière de Limón mais n’ont pas réussi à traverser. Elles ont été refoulées par des soldats dominicains basés à ce point frontalier non officiel.

Willio Pierre, 18 ans, originaire de Terre-Froide, qui faisait partie des rapatrié(e)s est décédé le 16 juin 2015 en arrivant chez ses parents. Il travaillait dans les plantations dominicaines après y avoir vécu 3 ans, a informé Raphaël Saint-Rosier, Coordonnateur Zonale du RFJS à Fonds-Verrettes.

Cliquez ICI pour le texte original.

Ann ayiti: Mizajou sou ka kolera a (English Included)

June 18, 2015 - 09:30

Mario Joseph, avoka chef Bureau des Avocats Internationaux te fè yon konferans pou li mete laprès ajou sou dosye kolera nou an. Le 27 me, nou te depoze agiman nou kont Nasyonzini poutèt kolera yo te pote ayiti a. Le 3 jwen, 86 ekspè ak òganizasyon dwa moun te depoze “amicus” an konjonksyon avèk agiman apèl nou yo. Sa se yon gwo demonstrasyon de sipò ke kominote entènasyonal la komanse genyen pou jistis viktim kolera yo.

Mario Joseph, Bureau des Avocats Internationaux

June 18, 2015

http://www.ijdh.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/Mario-Joseph-Cholera-Press-Conf-June-18.m4a

 

English transcript:

The reason we called the press here today is to inform the press about the progress we’ve made in the cholera litigation. We would also like you to remain informed about BAI’s current fight for justice for cholera victims.

We were before a federal judge in the Southern District of New York, and on the 9th of January, the judge dismissed our lawsuit holding that the United Nations (UN) has immunity in the United States (US).

There is, however, something that we want to remind the press: Until this day, the UN has refused to present itself before the federal court. The US State Department has made the arguments on behalf of the UN. The US government, therefore, stands in opposition to the cholera victims and is arguing for UN immunity.

We had always said that no matter the basis of the verdict from the trial court’s decision, we would file an appeal.

On about the 12th of February, we made a Declaration of Appeal to notify the court we would be submitting an appellate brief. After the filing, there is a brief delay to allow you to prepare your briefs. On the 27th of May, we filed our appellate brief.

On the 3rd of June a number of organizations in the international community filed amicus briefs on our behalf. These briefs are really important, which is why today we provide members of the press with the press releases detailing the arguments made in support of our appellate brief. Amicus briefs are used in Haiti, but not as often. And so we hold this press conference today to show victims and for everyone to know that it is not just BAI who is engaged in this fight for justice, but we have a lot of allies in the US and elsewhere who are supporting this case. All of this support will allow us to continue pursuing this lawsuit.

Eleven associations representing the Haitian diaspora filed a brief listing both moral and legal reasons the judge should rule in favor of the victims.

We also have six former UN officials, who explain that the United Nations’ reaction to the cholera epidemic is unjust and abnormal. They demand that the UN eliminate cholera in Haiti.

We also have a brief from twenty-four civic and human rights organizations from thirteen different countries, which explains that the UN’s current actions do not respect the tenets of international law. The brief demands that the UN submit itself to international law.
Twenty-two intellectuals and lawyers specializing in international law have also submitted a brief.

We also have sixteen experts in European law who filed briefs, and they discuss the question of the immunity of the United Nations.

And we have six eminent professors of US constitutional law who explain that the UN should be subject to the rule of law and they do not have sovereignty in this instance.

So we came here to say that we are still involved in this battle so that UN can provide restitution for the victims of cholera. We also would like to let the victims know that it’s not just the BAI/IJDH but it’s individuals and organizations from countries across the world, who are participating in this. There are a lot of people who believe that the United Nations does not benefit from unchecked immunity.

I would however like to clarify something. Thee are a lot of people who think that we believe that the UN does not have immunity. That is not our issue. We do think that the UN has immunity in certain instances, but when we think of the Convention on Privileges and Immunities for United Nations (CPIUN), that the American government has also signed. We see in section 29 of the CPIUN, it says that when the UN is involved in a private law conflict, they must develop mechanisms to regulate the conflict accordingly.

Additionally, the UN’s Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) signed with the Haitian government in July 2004 provides the UN with conditional immunity with the understanding that it would form a standing claims commission. But the commission was never formed. So how will victims ever get reparations if that commission doesn’t exist? Therefore this is our primary issue in this battle: the UN does not provide recourse for private law claims.

So now we bring this issue before three appellate court judges, before this we were before one district court judge. We believe we’ll get there, we believe we’ll win a permanent UN commission to allow cholera victims and all other victims to obtain justice and reparations.

So we’re holding this press conference to update the press about this monumental litigation. Furthermore, we invite the press to cover this lawsuit, which I believe is going to be historical.

Center for Economic and Policy Research Now Hiring

June 18, 2015 - 07:56

The Center for Economic and Policy Research currently needs to fill two open positions–Webmaster and International Program Intern. Details on both are below.

Webmaster

Job Description 

The Webmaster will be responsible for the following duties:

  • Maintaining CEPR’s websites, including daily posting and content management, security upgrades, troubleshooting, server maintenance and improving the main site’s current CMS (Joomla!).
  • Ensuring a user-friendly and easily navigated site.
  • Maintaining and, when appropriate, improving the website’s layout and design.
  • Upgrading website as technology allows.
  • Ensuring website compatibility with social media platforms.

Qualifications

  • Three years of experience or demonstrated competence with website maintenance for a medium-sized organization, including use of Joomla! and WordPress CMS, JavaScript, CSS, PHP, MySQL and Apache HTTP Server.
  • Familiarity with the integration of multimedia including podcasting, streaming video, maps, and charts into standard web design.
  • Commitment to social and economic justice.

Bonus Qualifications:

  • Experience building components/modules for Joomla! and WordPress.
  • Strong graphic design skills.
  • Familiar with version control via GitHub.
  • Experience using social media tools for organizing or advocacy.
  • A sense of humor.

Salary & Benefits: CEPR offers a competitive salary and an excellent benefits package.  This full-time position will be represented by the International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers, Local #70, AFL-CIO. 

To Apply: Send resume and cover letter to jobscepr2015[at]cepr.net or CEPR, 1611 Connecticut Ave., NW, Suite 400, Washington, DC 20009. No calls or faxes please.

International Program Intern

Job Description 

The Center for Economic and Policy Research is currently looking for a full-time International Program Intern for Fall 2015 (September-December).

Responsibilities include assisting staff with research on upcoming papers and opinion pieces; organizing events with Latin American delegations, CEPR staff, and visiting academics; assisting in tracking and logging press mentions; as well as working on outreach to press, advocacy organizations, and Congress.

The responsibilities vary based on their interests and experience, as well as the particular issues that CEPR is working on at the time. Interns will be able to attend relevant events around Washington, DC.

Qualifications: We are looking for applicants with a general understanding of economics, international relations, and democracy issues, and an interest in economic justice. Previous research, data and/or outreach experience is extremely helpful; interns with strong economics or foreign policy experience (including Master’s degrees) will have the opportunity to engage in serious research, and those with strong organizing or outreach experience will have event management opportunities. The intern will need to be fluent in Spanish, including the ability to perform accurate written translations; able to work in a fast-paced environment with limited management; and be a self-starter and independent learner. Should have excellent writing and communications skills.

Stipend: At least $1,732 per month, plus up to $255 for health insurance reimbursement per month.

Closing Date of Position: July 17, 2015.

To Apply: Send cover letter, resume, and a brief (2 page) answer to the question “How can the US improve its foreign policy toward Latin America?” via email to internationalintern[at]cepr.net No calls or faxes please.

Organization Description: The Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) was established in 1999 to promote democratic debate on the most important economic and social issues that affect people’s lives. It is an independent nonpartisan think tank based in Washington, DC. CEPR is committed to presenting issues in an accurate and understandable manner, so that the public is better prepared to choose among the various policy options.

CEPR is an ideal place to learn about current economic and global justice issues in a friendly, relaxed and fun environment.  Work schedules are flexible.

CEPR is an equal opportunity employer that considers applicants for all positions without regard to race, color, religion, creed, gender, national origin, age, disability, marital or veteran status, sexual orientation, or any legally protected status.

US Should Take Action Against Mass Deportations from DR

June 17, 2015 - 12:56

The Dominican Republic (DR) government has announced imminent deportations to Haiti of those who failed to meet a recent registration deadline. International human rights advocates have decried this decision as a human rights violation, as many of those deported have never been to Haiti, don’t speak the language, and have no family there. Maryland Governor O’Malley, a Democratic presidential candidate, urges strong U.S. action to stop the Dominican Republic’s “abhorrent affront” of threatened mass expulsions.

Moral Leadership in Our Own Hemisphere

Gov. Martin O’Malley, HuffPost Politics

June 17, 2015

Last year, when tens of thousands of children traveled hundreds of miles — risking death and starvation — to flee violence and drug gangs in Central America, and showed up on our nation’s doorstep, we faced a moral test as a country. We could either send these children back to certain death — as many Republicans and some Democrats advocated — or we could listen to our better angels and respond like the generous, compassionate people that we are. I didn’t think it was a hard choice. I broke with leaders in the Democratic Party and said we had a moral obligation to take the refugee children in.

We face a similar moral dilemma today. You might not be hearing as much about it because it’s not manifesting itself on our border. But it’s no less important.

Starting as soon as today, the Dominican Republic is expected to enact a mass deportation program of potentially hundreds of thousands of Dominican residents and citizens who are Haitian, of Haitian descent, and have Haitian last names. This stems, in part, from a 2013 court ruling declaring that individuals born in the Dominican Republic would not longer automatically be considered citizens — and that this standard would be retroactively applied all the way back to 1929. While the ruling was subsequently softened, it laid the groundwork for the Dominican Republic’s efforts today to force hundreds of thousands of Haitian migrant workers and Dominicans of Haitian descent — some of whom have spent their entire lives in the Dominican Republic — to be forcibly deported to Haiti unless they can provide proof of their citizenship.

The nation of Haiti is still reeling from the second deadliest earthquake this century, which killed more than 100,000 people. Five years later, 85,000 Haitians remain homeless, and Haiti’s economy and infrastructure remain in shambles. The influx of potentially hundreds of thousands of new residents from the Dominican Republic would only create more chaos in a country that in desperately in need of humanitarian assistance and long-term sustainable development.

These mass deportations — if enacted — would also be an abhorrent affront to human rights by one of our closest neighbors. Rather than being silent, the United States should work with our allies in the region and the United Nations, while also using the full force of our diplomatic might to stop this injustice. Countries that disrespect international norms will be judged in the eyes of the world, and should be held accountable.

This is just one critical step we need to take to heal relationships in our own hemisphere–not only by renewing our focus on the region, but also by examining the policies we’ve embraced at home and abroad, some of which have diminished our standing with our closest neighbors. Our failure to enact meaningful immigration reform diminishes our moral high ground on this issue. No party can claim to be pro-family when its policies are ripping families apart.

Speaking out against the impending injustice against Haitians in the Dominican Republic is the first thing we can do to begin to reclaim our credibility and moral standing. I intend to express my concerns directly to Dominican and Haitian leaders in the coming days. We should exercise all our leverage as a key ally and leader in the region to address this crisis and the underlying causes of forced migration.

 

Click HERE for the original article.

Dominican Republic’s Mass Deportations May Set Dangerous Precedent

June 17, 2015 - 11:06

In September 2013, a Dominican Republic (DR) Constitutional Court issued a ruling that rendered hundreds of thousands of immigrant’s descendants stateless. The largest population affected by this ruling is people of Haitian descent, who have had a tumultuous history with the DR to begin with. Now, Dominican politicians are threatening to deport those who missed a recent registration deadline that many found nearly impossible to meet. Well-known Haitian author Edwidge Danticat explains the difficult history between Haiti and DR and why this current situation is so important to anyone who cares about human rights.

A partial transcript is below. Click HERE for the full text and video of the report.

The Dominican Republic’s “Ethnic Purging”: Edwidge Danticat on Mass Deportation of Haitian Families

Democracy Now!

June 17, 2015

The Dominican Republic is set to begin what some are calling “ethnic purging,” placing the fate of hundreds of thousands of Dominicans of Haitian descent into limbo. Half a million legally stateless people could be sent to Haiti this week, including those who have never stepped foot in Haiti and don’t speak the language. In 2013, a Dominican constitutional court ruling stripped the citizenship of children born to Haitian immigrants in the Dominican Republic as far back as 1929, retroactively leaving tens of thousands without citizenship. Today marks the deadline for undocumented workers to register their presence in the Dominican Republic or risk mass deportation. However, only 300 of the 250,000 Dominican Haitians applying for permits have reportedly received them. Many have actively resisted registering as foreigners, saying they are Dominican by birth and deserve full rights. Dominican authorities have apparently organized a fleet of buses and set up processing centers on the border with Haiti, creating widespread fears of mass roundups. The Dominican Republic’s decision to denationalize hundreds of thousands of people has sparked international outcry. We are joined by the acclaimed Haitian-American novelist Edwidge Danticat.

Click HERE for the full text and video of the report.

Les Nations Unies exhortées à satisfaire à leurs obligations légales au regard des victimes haïtiennes du choléra

June 17, 2015 - 09:36

Communiqué de Presse:

Les Nations Unies exhortées à satisfaire à leurs obligations légales au regard des victimes haïtiennes du choléra

Les Nations Unies condamnées pour leur refus de respecter le droit international 

Le 17 juin 2015—Une multitude d’experts, dont des intellectuels, des avocats en droits de l’homme, des dirigeants de la diaspora haïtienne aux Etats-Unis et d’anciens représentants des Nations Unies à travers le monde ont déposé six dossiers juridiques hier devant la Cour d’Appel de New York, afin de manifester leur opposition à la tentative des Nations Unies d’élargir leur immunité devant les tribunaux américains. Les dossiers, connus sous le nom d’amicus curiae (amis de la Cour), ont été déposés devant le Second Circuit Court of Appeals, à New York, à l’appui du dossier principal qui a été déposé la semaine dernière par les avocats des victimes haïtiennes du choléra. Les victimes demandent justice pour l’épidémie de choléra qui a été introduite en Haïti après que les systèmes défectueux de latrines et d’évacuation des eaux usées des soldats onusiens ont communiqué avec la rivière Artibonite. Depuis 2010, l’épidémie aurait fait au moins 9000 victimes. 700 000 personnes auraient été contaminées.

Dans le dossier déposé par onze associations représentant la diaspora haïtienne, celles-ci expriment le sentiment d’indignation éprouvé par les Haïtiens à l’étranger et en Haïti face à la stratégie des Nations Unies, qui invoque son immunité tandis que des milliers d’haïtiens succombent à l’épidémie. « Le fait de doter les Nations Unies de l’immunité dans ce litige récompense l’organisation pour avoir refusé de respecter ses obligations et avoir agi de mauvaise foi » s’indigne Emmanuel Coffy, Av., qui représente les associations de la diaspora haïtienne. Soeurette Michel, membre de l’Association des Avocats Haïtiens et de la Coalition de la Base des Haïtiens-Américains, affirme que « les faits sont incontestables, les lois sont claires, et ce que nous voulons, c’est que les lois soient appliquées correctement aux faits pour que les victimes et leurs familles aient un recours légal. » Me Marleine Bastien, membre de l’Association des Femmes Haïtiennes de Miami, a affirmé que « les Haïtiens sont déterminés à lutter jusqu’au bout pour faire reconnaître la responsabilité des Nations Unies. Nous ne nous arrêterons que lorsque l’épidémie causée par les Nations Unies cessera de tuer injustement des Haïtiens. »

Le dossier déposé par les six anciens responsables des Nations Unies explique que la réaction injuste de l’organisation à l’épidémie de choléra a engendré une crise de responsabilité et de transparence qui menace la légitimité, la crédibilité et la capacité des Nations Unies à remplir leur mission. « Les Nations Unies considèrent la lutte des victimes haïtiennes du choléra comme une menace, » affirme Stephen Lewis, ancien directeur adjoint de l’UNICEF et actuellement co-directeur de Aids Free World, qui a signé le dossier. « Mais les Nations Unies peuvent mettre un terme à ces poursuites si elles établissent une commission de recours. La vraie menace contre les Nations Unies est son refus, peu judicieux, de respecter ses propres principes. »

Un dossier déposé par vingt-quatre associations de droits civiques et de droits de l’homme, représentant treize pays différents, explique que les Nations Unies ont été créées par le droit international et qu’elles doivent s’y soumettre. Ainsi, l’organisation ne peut pas légalement se soustraire à sa responsabilité envers les victimes du choléra, auxquelles elle se doit d’offrir un recours alternatif afin de remédier à leurs souffrances. « Les Nations Unies devraient témoigner de leur engagement envers la prééminence de l’Etat de droit au niveau international en obéissant à ses préceptes » soutient Kerry Kennedy, présidente du Centre des Droits de l’Homme de Robert F. Kennedy, qui a aussi signé le dossier. « Il est temps que les Nations Unies satisfassent à leurs obligations face au peuple haïtien, qui a tant souffert. »

Un dossier déposé par vingt-deux intellectuels et avocats de droit international affirme que les revendications des victimes du choléra relèvent du droit privé, un domaine dans lequel les Nations Unies ont reconnu l’obligation de fournir un recours. Le dossier explique pourquoi ce procès ne relève pas du principe de la « nécessité opérationnelle », qui constitue une exception à cette obligation. Le dossier mentionne « des décennies de déclarations de l’organisation et de pratiques institutionnelles qui confirment que les Nations Unies sont obligées de fournir un recours alternatif pour des demandes telles que celles déposées par les plaignants. »

Seize experts en droit européen soulignent dans leur dossier que les Cours européennes mettent en balance la question de l’immunité d’organisations internationales telles que les Nations Unies et le droit fondamental des victimes à un un recours contre de les abus. Selon Kristen Thelin, juge ad hoc de la Cour Européenne des Droits de l’Homme, ancienne juge du Tribunal pénal international pour l’ex-Yougoslavie et membre du comité des droits de l’homme des Nations Unies, « en Europe, l’immunité des Nations Unies est très importante, mais elle n’est pas illimitée. Les Cours requièrent que les Nations Unies et les autres organisations mettent à disposition des individus affectés un recours alternatif. La raison est très évidente : l’absence d’un recours sape le rôle des Nations Unies comme champion des droits de l’homme. »

Six éminents professeurs de droit constitutionnel aux Etats-Unis ont rédigé un mémoire dans lequel ils expliquent que l’application de l’immunité souveraine dans ce procès, sans justification, constitue une violation du droit du plaignant d’avoir accès au tribunal. Un de ces experts, Erwin Chemerinsky, doyen de l’école de droit de l’Université de Californie Irvine, a soutenu qu’« avoir accès au tribunal est un aspect fondamental du droit à une procédure équitable. Dans ce procès, il s’agit de savoir si ceux qui sont décédés et ceux qui ont souffert à cause de l’épidémie de choléra en Haïti ont le droit d’être entendus devant un tribunal de droit. Il est essentiel que la Cour fasse respecter et fasse valoir cette liberté fondamentale. »

Ces dossiers, dits amicus curiae, rassemblent des personnes et  des associations, dont des experts en droits de l’homme, des membres du Congrès américain, des membres de comités éditoriaux, et des organismes juridiques, qui ont exhorté les Nations Unies à faire face à leur responsabilité vis-à-vis l’épidémie de choléra en Haïti. Les Nations Unies, pour leur part, ne contestent pas qu’elles soient responsables de l’introduction du choléra en Haïti ou qu’elles aient une responsabilité envers les victimes. En revanche, elles affirment qu’aucune Cour ne peut les forcer à respecter leurs obligations, parce qu’ellent bénéficient de l’immunité. De plus, les Nations Unies prétendent faire leur maximum pour lutter contre l’épidémie. Le plan de l’ONU pour éradiquer le choléra, introduit en 2012, n’a été financé qu’à 9%.

###

Click HERE for the English version.

Cholera Update: 86 International Experts Demand Justice

June 16, 2015 - 15:00

Since 2011, BAI and IJDH have fought for justice for the victims of the cholera epidemic caused by the United Nations in 2010. Since then, the United Nations has hid behind its diplomatic immunity in order to dodge accountability for the epidemic. At the same time, the network of people demanding justice has grown. Most recently, 86 former UN officials; international, Constitutional and European law scholars; Haitian-American leaders and human rights organizations joined in the fight for justice by signing on to six briefs explaining why UN immunity  should not apply in this case. Two of our new Legal Interns wrote an article about this development.

Click HERE for the full text.

International experts join Cholera victims’ fight for justice

Rodline Louijeune and Mark Phillips, Boston Haitian Reporter

June 16, 2015

Haiti’s cholera victims have taken another important step toward justice with respect to the deadly epidemic caused by the United Nations (UN). On May 27, the victims filed their legal brief in an appeal of an earlier court decision dismissing their claims against the UN. On June 3, 86 organizations and experts filed an additional six briefs supporting the victims’ appeal.

Since the victims’ claims for remedies were first filed against the UN in 2011, the UN has steadfastly refused to acknowledge any forum in which the claims can be heard. The UN summarily rejected the claims filed within its own system, and refuses to accept the jurisdiction of any court outside its system. This latest appeal represents a bold attempt to break down the barrier to justice that the UN has tried to build around itself.

The victims’ brief was filed by lawyers at the Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti (IJDH) in South Boston. It explained that the UN received immunity only after it promised to allow people harmed by its operations to pursue claims through its own procedures. The brief argued that the UN should not be allowed to enjoy immunity in U.S. courts when it refuses to honor its promise to accept claims in its internal procedures. This latest appeal is designed to force the UN to own up to its responsibility, and be held to the same standards of respect for human rights and for the rule of law that it claims to represent.

Click HERE for the full text.

Hundreds of Thousands of Migrant Workers Face Deportation from DR

June 16, 2015 - 14:15

After a 2013 ruling left hundreds of thousands stateless, the Dominican Republic (DR) faced an international outcry. Now, DR threatens to deport countless workers who have failed to meet arbitrary registration requirements. Other nations’ desires to deal freely with their own migrant workers have muted international opposition to this human rights violation and there is an additional concern here: Both Dominicans of Haitian descent and those who have met the deadline may be caught in the fray due to racial profiling.

Migrant Workers in Dominican Republic, Most of Them Haitian, Face Deportation

Azam Ahmed, The New York Times

June 16, 2015

MEXICO CITY — Hundreds of thousands of migrant workers are facing deportation from the Dominican Republic, the latest in a series of actions by the government that has cast a light on the long-troubled relationship with its Haitian neighbors.

Undocumented workers in the Dominican Republic have until Wednesday to register their presence in the country, in the hope of being allowed to stay.

The government has said that nearly 240,000 migrant workers born outside the Dominican Republic have started the registration process. But there are an estimated 524,000 foreign-born migrant workers in the country — about 90 percent of whom are Haitian, according to a 2012survey — leaving a huge population of migrants at risk of deportation.

Human rights groups had hoped the government would delay the registration deadline, given the difficulties faced by many in producing documents and satisfying bureaucratic requirements. But there were no indications that the authorities would stall their plan to begin ejecting the workers, about half of whom had failed to register, according to figures circulated by the Dominican government.

“The signals are clear,” said Beneco Enecia, the director of Cedeso, a nonprofit group that works with migrants and Dominicans of Haitian descent. “The Dominican government is setting up logistics, placing vehicles and personnel to start the process of repatriation.”

Haitian workers, who have crossed the border for generations to cut sugar cane, clean homes and babysit, have long experienced an uneasy coexistence with their wealthier Dominican neighbors. It is a relationship fraught with resentment, racial tension and the long shadow of the massacre of tens of thousands of Haitian laborers ordered by the Dominican dictator Rafael Trujillo in 1937.

Dominican officials have long said that they have borne the brunt of Haiti’s economic troubles, both before and after the 2010 earthquake that devastated their neighbor and sent a stream of people fleeing across the border.

The tensions peaked in 2013, when a constitutional court moved to strip the citizenship of children born to Haitian immigrants in the Dominican Republic dating as far back as 1929. Many of the people affected by the ruling had lived their whole lives in the Dominican Republic and knew nothing of Haiti, not even the language.

International outcry prompted the government to soften its stancesomewhat with a law the next year. It promised citizenship to children whose births were registered in the nation’s civil registry, and a chance at nationalization for those not formally registered.

Advocates and international legal bodies said it still fell short. Anything less than full citizenship left these people stateless, belonging neither to their birthplace nor their family’s homeland, they argued. But that group does not appear to be the target of the deportations, at least not directly.

Andrés Navarro García, the Dominican minister of foreign relations, told reporters on a trip to Spain that the majority of those subject to deportation had already started the registration process and would not be deported.

For those who do not enter the process, Mr. Navarro said, there will be no mass roundups to deport people and the protocol is still being worked out. Instead, the government will handle each case individually and work in conjunction with the Haitian government for an orderly transfer of citizens.

Responding to questions from other regional leaders, however, Mr. Navarro asserted the position his government has taken in the past: that the Dominican Republic, as a sovereign nation, has the right to determine its own immigration policy without the interference of other states.

The migrant workers who have registered so far have been granted a 45-day grace period during which they can complete the process. Migrants are expected to produced a signed work permit from employers, who can be reluctant to provide such documentation.

The deportations, which could begin in the coming days, have generated a more muted response from other countries when compared with the uproar stirred by the 2013 court ruling, which essentially ordered the mass denationalization of as many as 200,000 Dominican-born children.

One reason for the relative diplomatic silence, including from the United States, is the troubled relationship many countries have with migrant workers who enter their borders illegally seeking employment, advocates argued.

“Migrant deportation is something states don’t want to get into because they themselves want to continue to do such deportations,” said Liliana Gamboa, who coordinates an anti-discrimination project for the Open Society Foundations in the Dominican Republic. “I don’t know how much pushback there can be from other states.”

Still, to the extent that deportations occur on a large scale, there is a fear that they will also ensnare people who are trying to comply with the law — whether they are children born in the Dominican Republic to migrant workers, or migrant workers who are trying to satisfy the paperwork requirements.

Some advocates worry that the mechanism to identify potential deportees will be to target any dark-skinned people suspected of Haitian descent, whether they have papers or not.

“There are no adequate screening mechanisms,” said Angelita K. Baeyens, the programs director at the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights.

Efforts to process children born in the Dominican Republic whose parents never formally registered them have fallen short. Fewer than 9,000 of an estimated population of tens of thousands have registered themselves as foreigners, as required by the law, a process that in theory puts them on a path to naturalization.

The status of these children is unclear, potentially leaving them vulnerable to deportation as well.

“If these massive deportations occur, will they include by mistake people who were born in the Dominican Republic?” Ms. Gamboa said. “Will they follow the standards of international law? Will Haiti be able to receive this number of deportees? And what would their status be in Haiti?”

Others have raised questions about the impact on the Dominican economy. For generations, Haitians have assumed the jobs that many Dominicans do not want, filling a vital part of the labor market, often at below market rates. Businesses, some experts say, could see their production costs rise if a large chunk of the labor force is removed.

But that remains a distant threat. For now, activists like Mr. Enecia of Cedeso say that many are resigned to their deportation.

“The criteria is based on racial discrimination,” he said. “Fear, desperation and anguish are the expressions of the people. They feel helpless.”

 

Click HERE for the original article.

DR Threatens to Deport Dominicans of Haitian Descent

June 16, 2015 - 13:22

In September 2013, the Dominican Republic issued a ruling that left hundreds of thousands of Haitian descent stateless. After pressure from international and human rights groups and citizens of both countries, DR began a regularization plan but promised to deport those who missed the deadline after 7pm June 17th. With military personnel in DR “gearing up,” many fear that DR will make good on that promise.

Click HERE for the original post and recording.

Deadline Looms For Haitians In The Dominican Republic

Here & Now on WBUR

June 16, 2015

The Dominican government says that after 7 p.m. tomorrow, anyone who can’t show papers proving they’re in the country legally will be subject to expulsion. Hundreds of thousands of Haitians and people of Haitian descent in the Dominican Republic have been scrambling to abide.

The deportation threat has sparked international protests, including a “Black Lives Matter in the Dominican Republic” rally in New York yesterday. Part of the outrage stems from concern that the deportees will include people born in the country, who had once believed they were Dominican citizens.

Cassandre Theano of the Open Society Justice Initiative in New York discusses the situation with Here & Now’s Robin Young.

Click HERE for the original post and recording.

Migrants and Dominicans of Haitian Descent at Risk of Deportation

June 15, 2015 - 09:04

In September 2013, the Dominican Republic Constitutional Court issued a ruling that redefined its conditions for citizenship, putting Haitian migrants and Dominicans of Haitian descent at risk of deportation and statelessness. A research team at Johns Hopkins University recently released a report about the potential effects of the Dominican government’s actions and its problematic implementation. It also includes policy recommendations to address immigration and citizenship issues amidst the tense historical relations between Haiti and the Dominican Republic and the “unfavorable” political climate on the ground. The report is the product of an academic yearlong experiential learning course in the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies.

Click HERE for the full document.

Justice Derailed: The Uncertain Fate of Haitian Migrants and Dominicans of Haitian Descent in the Dominican Republic

International Human Rights Clinic, Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies

June 2015

Executive SummaryOver time, the Dominican Republic formalized a more restrictive definition of citizenship by birth. By expanding the interpretation of what it means to be “in transit,” the Dominican Republic began to chip away at its jus soli (right of soil) regime. Given the long history of migration from Haiti to the Dominican Republic and demographic realities, this shift has had a disproportionate impact on individuals of Haitian descent. The redefinition of the jus soli basis for citizenship reached its peak in the now infamous sentence of the Constitutional Tribunal of the Dominican Republic, 168-13. In September 2013, the Constitutional Tribunal issued Sentence 168-13, which retroactively denationalized and effectively rendered stateless many Dominicans of Haitian descent by establishing that children born in the Dominican Republic to those illegally residing in the country were not entitled to citizenship by birth, as their parents were considered to be “in transit.” The Sentence further called for a national regularization plan.In an effort to implement Sentence 168-13, the Dominican government established the National Plan for the Regularization of Foreigners (PNRE). The PNRE is a plan to regularize the status of undocumented migrants in the Dominican Republic, which most notably impacts Haitian migrants. To be clear the PNRE provides a pathway to regularization for undocumented migrants, it does not provide an adequate avenue for those Dominican nationals rendered stateless by Sentence 168-13. Following international backlash over Sentence 168-13, Dominican Republic President Danilo Medina issued Law 169-14 (Naturalization Law), which provides a pathway to naturalization for those effectively left stateless by the Sentence.As will be detailed in this Report, although attempts to regularize undocumented migrants and remedy the fallout from Sentence 168-13 for Dominican nationals are commendable, the implementation of the PNRE and the Naturalization Law was problematic in many respects. Both the PNRE and the Naturalization Law suffered from insufficient capacity, inadequate timeframes, and poor publicity, amongst other factors.This Report will also detail how various actors were involved in or impacted by the regularization and naturalization processes, including intergovernmental organizations, the private sector, civil society, as well as several important bilateral relationships with the Dominican Republic. Moreover, this Report will discuss the role that these actors could play moving forward.Undoubtedly, states have the sovereign right to determine the criteria for citizenship, but they must do so consistently with international human rights law, including, inter alia, the right to nationality and prohibitions on racial discrimination. This Report will discuss the Dominican Republic’s responsibilities under international human rights law.Finally, this Report will outline the constraints that may inhibit the work of policy makers and human rights defenders in addressing immigration and citizenship issues. The plight of Haitian migrants and Dominicans of Haitian descent in the Dominican Republic is complicated by a history of anti-Haitianism, an unfavorable domestic political climate, and a nascent human rights culture.With the deadline to apply under the Naturalization Law expired and the deadline for the PNRE quickly approaching, the fate of Haitian migrants and Dominicans of Haitian descent still remains uncertain. Along with the PNRE deadline comes the expiration of the moratorium on deportations. As such, there is concern about Haitian migrants being deported and Dominicans of Haitian descent being expulsed without adequate due process. Consequently, the situation on the ground merits close monitoring and human rights driven solutions.…Click HERE for the full document.