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Petition: Include Women with Disabilities in Haitian Gender Equality

July 6, 2016 - 16:13

Petition for an inclusive approach respecting the equality of women with disabilities in the National Policy for Equality of Women and Men (2014-2034) launched by the Haitian government on 6 March, 2015

Government of Haiti: Include women with disabilities in the National Gender Equality Policy

Sign the petition HERE.

We, the signatories of this petition, welcome the launch of the National Policy for Equality of Women and Men (2014-2034) by the government on March 6, 2015. The Haitian government, through this policy, signals that it
wants a country where women and men can enjoy equal opportunity to exercise their full rights, and to establish an inclusive Haitian society with strong social cohesion. Despite the nonchalance of the Haitian government in the application of its terms, this policy exists.

However, despite this so-called inclusive vision, women with disabilities are excluded, and have neither been invited nor consulted in the process beginning with the development of this policy and continuing up to the launch; this is an act of discrimination and marginalization. The non-inclusion of women with disabilities in the National Policy clearly demonstrates the situation of exclusion suffered by this category of persons. This strategic document with its six main objectives highlights the needs of Haitian women for the next twenty years without taking into account the needs of women with disabilities.

The six objectives for this Policy are: equal rights and justice, gender education, access to sexual and reproductive health, measures against violence, economic equality, and equal participation in decision-making bodies. In all of these objectives, women with disabilities are excluded, in violation of their civil and political rights, as well as their social and economic rights.

The first objective is “For equal rights and equal justice between women and men“. This Policy recognizes that inequalities of the criminal justice system “hit hardest those women belonging to vulnerable groups, such as women with disabilities.” Yet this Policy does not include objectives and measures to end the exclusion of women with disabilities in the criminal justice system. The criminal justice system is inaccessible and discriminatory, and as a result, these women are victimized twice: first, because of their sex, and second, because of their disability. In addition, they are diminished, devalued and ignored by some in the criminal justice system (police, judges, prosecutors, etc.) and are often not protected by the authorities who treat them as “kocobe”.

The second objective is “For a non-sexist education and egalitarian models.” It is an obligation to include women with disabilities in this objective because the right to education of women and girls with disabilities is not met; they are effectively excluded from education because of inaccessibility, discrimination, harassment and sexual abuse in the education system.

The third objective is “For access to sexual and reproductive health that respects the dignity of women.” This objective again excludes women with disabilities. This is gravely problematic because the right to sexual and reproductive health of women and girls with disabilities is considered taboo, while at the same time, they are subject to sexual abuse and sexual exploitation. Furthermore, they lack access to information and to services that would allow them to better manage their health and protect themselves.

The fourth objective is “For the elimination of all forms of violence against women and girls.” The vulnerable and precarious situation of women with disabilities has not been addressed in this part of the Policy. This is despite the fact that, in reality, they face forms of abuse and exploitation that non-disabled women do not suffer. In addition, the abuse against women with disabilities is condoned as commonplace.

The fifth objective is “For economic equality and equal access to employment for women and men.” This objective does not consider women with disabilities. Although the Law on Integration of People with Disabilities provides for a quota of disabled persons in all private and public institutions, that provision is not applied. It does not take into account specific hurdles for women with disabilities such as the fact that buildings are not suitably accessible. Women with disabilities are, once again, marginalized.

The sixth objective is “For equal participation of women and men in decision-making.” This section does not mention women with disabilities. This is calamitous, because women with disabilities face particular problems regarding their participation in political activities. For example, inaccessible voting centers and discriminatory election campaigns based on stereotypes (such as those based on gender and disability), serve to intimidate and discourage women with disabilities to vote and also to run for elected office.

The reality of exclusion and vulnerability of women with disabilities is especially poignant in light of the killing of three deaf women, Jésula Germain, Vanessa Prévil and Monique Vincent. This tragedy highlights the need to include women with disabilities in measures to ensure their inclusion, their protection, their right to information, and to assure equality between men and women.

We, the undersigned, ask vehemently that this Policy for Equality between Women and Men be revised to take into account the needs of women with disabilities in all these objectives: justice, education, health, measures against violence, work, and participation in decision-making bodies. In addition, it is necessary to change this policy so that the state fulfills its national and international legal obligations.

According to the Haitian Constitution, international treaties, once ratified, are self-executing, and become part of the Haitian Law, abrogating any conflicting pre-existing laws. As this Policy has noted, the Constitution and several international conventions ratified by Haiti recognize equality between women and men and the principle of non-discrimination against women: the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and theConvention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women.

Other international conventions ratified by Haiti provide for the principle of non-discrimination against people with disabilities and specifically women with disabilities, for example, the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (Article 5) and the Inter-American Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against People with Disabilities (Arts 2, 3). In addition, the Inter-American Convention on the Prevention, Punishment and Eradication of Violence against Women recognizes the particular vulnerability of women with disabilities to violence (Art 9). Yet the National Policy for Equality of Women and Men ignores these important conventions.

Haiti ratified the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) on July 23, 2009, and it is part of Haitian Law. Article 6 of the CRPD provides that “States Parties recognize that women and girls with disabilities are subject to
multiple discrimination, and in this regard shall take measures to ensure the full and equal enjoyment by them of all human rights and fundamental freedoms
.” Section 4 (c) of the CRPD provides that the State must “take into account the protection and promotion of the human rights of persons with disabilities in all policies and programmes.”

We, the signatories of this petition, demand that the State recognizes the situation of exclusion and inequality of women with disabilities, and we demand the revision of this Policy in consultation with advocacy groups for women with disabilities, taking into account their specific concerns. At this time, it is imperative that the Haitian government revises the National Policy for the Equality of Women and Men to include women with disabilities, and take action to allow them the full enjoyment of their rights.

Sign the petition HERE.

The UN and the International Community’s Failure on Cholera in Haiti

July 6, 2016 - 14:36

The New York Times Editorial Board criticizes the UN along with the international community in failing to provide an appropriate response to the cholera epidemic in Haiti. The UN has yet to acknowledge its role in the outbreak which began with poor sanitation by UN Peacekeepers. The disease has already killed roughly 10,000 Haitian people and there are no sufficient mechanisms to prevent continued diagnoses.

The Cholera Epidemic the U.N. Left Behind in Haiti

The Editorial Board, The New York Times

6 July 2016

As Haitians were reeling from the devastating Jan. 12, 2010, earthquake, United Nations peacekeepers inadvertently compounded their troubles by bringing cholera to the island. Roughly 10,000 Haitians have died from the disease, which spreads easily in places with poor sanitation.

The United Nations hasn’t acknowledged its responsibility and has vigorously fought legal efforts to secure compensation for victims. This is reminiscent of its slow response to allegations that peacekeepers in Africa had sexually abused scores of minors.

Last week, a bipartisan group of 158 members of Congress urged Secretary of State John Kerry to put pressure on the United Nations to mount an effective response against cholera and to compensate people who have been affected. “Each day that passes without an appropriate U.N. response is a tragedy for Haitian cholera victims and a stain on the U.N.’s reputation,” the lawmakers wrote.

Unless there is a dramatic change in approach, the epidemic will damage the legacy of Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, who will leave his post at the end of the year. There are basic steps he can take before then.

For starters, the international community needs to redouble efforts to fight this preventable and curable disease. In 2012, the United Nations set out to rid Haiti and its neighbor the Dominican Republic of cholera, by expanding access to clean water and improving Haiti’s beleaguered health care system. The initiative has been inadequate and underfunded, and cholera continues to sicken people.

Beyond that, the United Nations must acknowledge its role in the epidemic. Only by doing that will it be able to establish stronger safeguards for future peacekeeping operations. Experts believe that Nepalese peacekeepers in camps with poor sanitation introduced cholera to Haiti. That raised questions about health screening for peacekeepers and the sanitation standards they use.

Finally, Mr. Ban should heed the organization’s watchdogs who urged him last year to establish a system to compensate victims. “The United Nations has a particular responsibility to ensure that a very large number of victims are not left without any effective remedy for human rights violations that result from actions of forces operating under the authority of the United Nations,” they said. It’s not too late for Mr. Ban to take those words to heart.

Click HERE for the original article.

More of the Same With UN Secretary-General Candidate Malcorra

July 6, 2016 - 11:30

Frontrunner to be the next UN Secretary-General, Susana Malcorra represents the bureaucratic politics the UN seeks to reform. While she is known to broker deals between member states and bring political expediency, she is also seen as unwilling to stand up to powerful member states like America and Russia and compromises on human rights in the process. Her prowess in maneuvering multilateral institutions and her career in the UN Secretariat means that she is owed some responsibility for the UN failings such as accepting responsibility for the cholera outbreak in Haiti.

Can a Consummate Insider Bring the Change the U.N. Desperately Needs?

Colum Lynch, Foreign Policy

5 July 2016

Susana Malcorra, Argentina’s foreign minister and a leading candidate to become the U.N.’s ninth secretary-general, understands the inner workings of Turtle Bay better than any of her 10 rivals, a double-edged attribute that could boost her bid for the world’s top diplomatic job — or deal it a serious blow.

As Ban Ki-moon’s chief of staff from April 2012 to December 2015, Malcorra helped run the U.N. secretariat she now aspires to lead. Before that, she served as a senior administrator at the World Food Programme (WFP) and the chief of logistics for U.N. peacekeeping operations, responsible for mustering the troops, helicopters, rations, and fuel needed to run the world’s second-largest expeditionary force.

“She saw her role as getting shit done,” said Richard Gowan, a U.N. expert at the European Council on Foreign Relations, noting that she was the go-to official that the United States and other big U.N. powers would go to get problems resolved. “She was one of the few adults in Ban’s office, and she has a strong sense of how to use the limited power you have in the U.N. system.”

During more than a decade with the U.N., Malcorra earned a reputation as a decisive and pragmatic bureaucrat — a high-powered fixer particularly adept at putting out administrative brushfires and accommodating powerful government envoys, including Samantha Power and Russian ambassador Vitaly Churkin, who serve as the U.N.’s unofficial corporate board. The challenge for Malcorra, observers say, is whether she can move beyond her roots as a backroom power broker, stand up for the principles enshrined in the U.N. charter in the face of big power push-back, and articulate a strategic vision for an organization whose future seems as uncertain as it has ever been.

In an interview with Foreign Policy, Malcorra said that while she has mostly worked “under the radar,” she has demonstrated a willingness to speak hard truths to power behind closed doors. But she has found the most effective way of advancing the principles enshrined in the U.N. charter is through quiet, discreet diplomacy. “It’s not by yelling all the time that you get there,” she said. “I am a troubleshooter and a problem-solver. That’s true. But I am also a bridge-builder.”

Malcorra added that the U.N. is designed “for evolution, not for revolution.”

“You need to be careful not to break things in a manner that affects your ability to deliver [results],” she said.

Her critics are skeptical. They say she has been all too willing to sacrifice the U.N.’s independence and its core principles, including a commitment to human rights, for the sake of political expediency. Sometimes that meant exercising her considerable authority over the U.N.’s informal patronage system, one of the most powerful levers of influence at the U.N., to accommodate the United States and other key powers who will ultimately decide if she will get the top U.N. job.

In her first meeting with President Barack Obama’s new U.N. envoy, Susan Rice, in February 2009, Malcorra, then head of U.N. field logistics, lavished the American diplomat with the kind of VIP treatment reserved for big-power representatives. She presented a list of six vacant high-level jobs that she had either earmarked for an American candidate or for which she encouraged Rice to put forward a U.S. candidate, according to a U.S. diplomatic cable published by WikiLeaks.

Tony Banbury, a Clinton-era National Security Council official who worked with Malcorra at the WFP and was viewed favorably by the Obama administration, was on a “one-man short list” to be her second-in-command, Malcorra told Rice. Banbury got the job. Malcorra also “indicated an openness to considering USG [U.S. government] candidates for four vacant director-level positions in her department,” according to the U.S. cable. Washington wound up with an American in one of those jobs.

When Rice expressed a desire to see a “strong American” as the No. 2 in the U.N. mission in Afghanistan, Malcorra told her that another American she had worked with at WFP was already being considered for the job. But Malcorra said that if Rice had a preference for a different candidate, “we should move quickly” to get him or her on the short list. Rice did.

In the end, the job went to American diplomat Peter Galbraith over the objections of the U.N.’s top man in Afghanistan, Kai Eide of Norway, and other senior U.N. officials, who feared the appointment of a senior American official could compromise the U.N.’s independence from the U.S.-led NATO force. Galbraith was subsequently fired following a bitter dispute over how the U.N. should respond to allegations of voter fraud by supporters of Afghanistan’s then-president, Hamid Karzai.

Galbraith’s appointment in Kabul — and Malcorra’s willingness to accommodate Rice — highlights the transactional nature of international diplomacy at the U.N., where plum assignments are used to lubricate the wheels of statecraft. For her part, Malcorra appealed to Obama’s U.N. envoy to use her government’s influence to encourage governments in Africa, Asia, and Latin America to continue pledging troops for U.N. peacekeeping missions. She also asked the United States to continue the Bush administration’s policy of supporting an African Union peace-enforcement operation in Somalia with logistics and training. The Americans accommodated her.

Malcorra said that there was no favoritism shown to the United States, that she had followed the U.N.’s hiring rules scrupulously, and that all senior officials were required to go through a competitive recruitment process, which requires producing a short list with three candidates, including at least one woman. She added that senior appointments were an “issue that is brought up and raised by every single member state” she dealt with while serving as Ban’s chief of staff and running the logistics division of the U.N.’s peacekeeping logistics branch.

“I would have that kind of conversation with the French, the British, the Americans — or the Kenyans, or the Brazilians, or the Indians,” she said.

The United States has long claimed that it doesn’t engage in the U.N. game of swapping jobs for influence. Despite Washington’s stated preference for merit-based senior appointments that would open key posts to non-Americans, it has long insisted that certain top posts, from the department of political affairs to the head of WFP, remain in the hands of U.S. political appointees. Former U.N. Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali recalled in his memoir, Unvanquished, that his decision in 1995 to reject President Clinton’s first choice to head UNICEF “seemed to irritate” Madeleine Albright, who was then the U.S. ambassador to the U.N., “more than any previous issue between us.” American officials have privately defended the practice, saying they have a record of putting forward talented American nationals who share the values of U.S. policymakers who want the U.N. to succeed while ensuring that billions of American taxpayers’ dollars are well-spent.

But others say the practice has reinforced a troubling pattern of parceling out top jobs throughout the U.N. secretariat to candidates with more political connections than skills and experience. “There is an unfortunate perception, extremely unhelpful, of a secretariat that is in the pocket of the big powers,” Thant Myint-U, a former U.N. political officer, wrote in a recent history of U.N. appointments published by New York University’s Center on International Cooperation. “Change will be difficult, but without the right initial appointments it will be impossible.”

“Susana’s big weakness is she looks at everything through the prism of the member states — she will always make the Russians, the Americans, or anyone else walk away with a feeling that they have a sympathetic ear,” said a U.N. source who worked closely with Malcorra for years. “I have never seen her in all my time as an observer challenging a powerful member state. Sometimes you have to say no.”

That is easier said than done. Another U.N. official pointed out that denying Americans what they want can be fatal to one’s career, recalling how the United States single-handedly blocked former Egyptian Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali from serving a second term after he resisted appeals by the U.S. to authorize airstrikes against the Bosnian Serbs in the 1990s. “The Americans want what they want and saying no to them has a cost,” the official said.

The United States and Britain, in particular, have highlighted the need to appoint a strong secretary-general at a time when the world is confronting a host of thorny challenges, including global warming, the rise of Islamic extremism, and the greatest flight of refugees and migrants since World War II. Before joining the Obama administration, Samantha Power, the current U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, had decried the selection of Ban as an uninspired choice to lead the U.N.

For Power and Rice, installing an effective and inspirational U.N. leader, particularly a woman, could stand as an important legacy. Whether Malcorra fits that bill is a matter of dispute in U.N. circles. There are several other female candidates, including Helen Clark, a former prime minister of New Zealand who now serves as executive director of the U.N. Development Programme, and Irina Bokova, the Bulgarian head of UNESCO, vying for the job. Kristalina Georgieva, a Bulgarian economist and senior budget official in the European Commission, has been informing key powers that she intends to enter the race in early July.

As a U.N. insider, Malcorra may lack the political credentials of some of her competitors, including Clark and António Guterres, a former U.N. refugee chief who served as Portugal’s prime minister. Her appointment as Argentina’s foreign minister in December 2015 should help allay some of those concerns, but Latin American diplomats say she has struggled to rally support for her candidacy in the region. She has not received endorsements from any key Latin American countries. Another Latin American candidate, Christiana Figueres, a former U.N. climate chief from Costa Rica, is expected to mount a challenge.

In recent weeks, Malcorra has faced sharp criticism from human rights advocates who claim that as Argentina’s foreign minister she has dramatically dialed back her government’s commitment to promote human rights in Venezuela in a bid to secure Caracas’ support for her bid to become secretary-general.

The issue came to a head this spring, when Argentina reportedly stalled a bid by the secretary-general of the Organization of American States, the former Uruguayan Foreign Minister Luis Almagro, to introduce a resolution evaluating Venezuela’s commitment to democracy, a move that could have resulted in Venezuela’s suspension from the OAS.

“When Malcorra was first named foreign minister and then decided to run for U.N. secretary-general, she softened Argentina’s stand on Venezuela, seemingly to curry vote for her U.N. candidacy,” said Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch.

“A key part of the U.N. secretary-general’s job is to uphold human rights,” Roth added. “If the first thing she does in running for secretary-general is to adopt the language of those who try to avoid international scrutiny of their human rights practices, it is a terrible omen for the kind of secretary-general she would be.”

Malcorra said Roth and other critics are missing the point on Venezuela. There is a false sense that punishing Venezuela and casting them out of the OAS is a “silver bullet,” she told FP.

“Say for a minute that we expel Venezuela. What will that achieve?” she said, noting that Venezuela is facing economic, political, and humanitarian crises. “There is a need to decompress the humanitarian crisis.”

“We have spoken about human rights; we have said it loud and clear,” she said. “But in the end what we need is to have both parties sitting at the table to find a solution. That you will not get by expelling Venezuela from the OAS.”

Malcorra said her position has subjected her to criticism not only from Venezuela’s critics but from the government. “I’m being damned from both sides, which means I must be doing something right,” she added.

In December, Venezuela’s foreign minister, Delcy Rodriguez, criticized Malcorra for allegedly interfering in Venezuela’s internal affairs on behalf of an international “right-wing cartel.” But that was before Malcorra opposed sanctioning Caracas at the OAS.

Malcorra faces other hurdles to ascending to the U.N.’s 38th floor, the secretary-general’s office atop the U.N.’s headquarters building. The job is usually reserved on a rotating basis for candidates from the U.N.’s regional groups. There is broad sympathy for the notion that a candidate from Eastern Europe, which has never produced a U.N. chief, should have a first shot at it. Russia, which enjoys veto power, has expressed a strong preference for an Eastern European. But it has not explicitly warned, as China did eight years ago, that it would block any candidate from outside its region. Meanwhile, Britain, which fought a war against Argentina over the Falkland Islands, or the Malvinas as they are known in Argentina, may have reservations about her candidacy. And Moscow could derail the candidacy of a Latin American like Malcorra if it decides that the next U.N. chief must come from its own neighborhood.

There is speculation that the United States and Russia, which have clashed bitterly over policies from Syria to Ukraine, may not be able to agree on an Eastern European, thereby opening the door to a compromise candidate like Malcorra. It helps that there is mounting support for the idea of a woman ascending to the U.N.’s top diplomatic job for the first time.

“Her entry into the campaign does basically change the nature of this race,” Gowan added. “Now you have a candidate who is very widely believed to have U.S. backing and who can trump the other contenders … in terms of mastery of operational detail.”

But he said there is a “downside” “to her qualifications, Gowan added. If “she is elected this is a continuity candidate.”

“She has been in the system long enough that she is knowledgeable about how it operates,” said a senior U.N. advisor. “With Malcorra you get what you get — someone who knows the beast, knows how to maneuver in it but suffers from the compromises of getting stuff done in a multilateral institution.” That means Malcorra, along with other top U.N. officials, will bear some responsibility for some of the U.N.’s biggest muck-ups, including the failure of the U.N. mission to protect civilians in Darfur and the refusal to acknowledge responsibility for the U.N. cholera epidemic in Haiti.

Malcora’s admirers say she has a distinguished record of administrative achievement, shaped during a 25-year career in the private sector, initially with IBM, and later at director general of Telecom Argentina. In her first few years at the U.N., Malcorra tried to apply cost-saving measures to U.N. peacekeeping by centralizing key administrative functions, like budgeting, human resources, and logistics in regional hubs in Entebbe, Uganda; and Brindisi, Italy.

“Malcorra brought a private sector and operational sensibility to the Department of Field Support, and what is rare in the U.N. — she improved both the effectiveness and the efficiency of the U.N. bureaucracy,” said Bruce Jones, the director of the foreign-policy program at the Brookings Institution, who has worked closely with Malcorra, whom he considers a friend.

Malcorra has also been tasked with handling some of the U.N.’s most sensitive operations, including the creation of a chemical weapons mission that destroyed the vast majority of Syria’s deadliest missiles. She also spearheaded the U.N. response to the Ebola crisis in West Africa and negotiated a peace deal in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. “She was very creative in thinking outside the box,” said one senior colleague.

“We could do a lot worse” than having Malcorra as secretary-general, said another official from the U.N. peacekeeping department. “She’s a thinking person and someone who understands the U.N.’s political and operational realities.”

In her vision statement, presented to the U.N. General Assembly, Malcorra said her experience as both an advisor to the secretary-general and implementer of his policies has given her a “unique” perspective on what has worked and what needs to be done differently. “As for whether i would follow in his footsteps, I’m sure there will be things that I will follow and there will be things i will be doing different.” But she made it clear that she would take her guidance from the U.N. member states. The secretary-general must inculcate a culture of humility in the daily work of the organization … to faithfully implement and support member states’ decisions.”

Detractors have challenged her administrative record, citing her failure to elevate women to senior posts and supporting reforms that have imposed cumbersome red tape on hires. A recent analysis of senior posts showed that 92 percent of senior officials hired in 2015, her final year as Ban’s chief of staff, were men. “As the clamor grows for a woman to be chosen as the next secretary-general, other high-level staff appoints have been steadily defying the U.N.’s long-standing goal of gender parity,” wrote Karin Landgren, who served as the U.N.’s top official in Nepal and Liberia.

Malcorra acknowledged that the U.N.’s promotion of women has worsened in her final year as the U.N. leader’s chief of staff. “I’m not going to deny it,” she told FP. “There was a relaxation of the [U.N.’s] very, very hard line on the appointment of women.”

But she appeared to blame her former boss and U.N. member states, saying ultimate responsibility rests with the U.N. secretary-general, whom she alerted to the downward trend in the promotion of women, and the member states, which have not put forward enough good female candidates. “It’s like pulling a tooth out of a tiger, getting women candidates,” she said.

There have also been questions about her judgment in another critical case. In March 2015, the U.N. high commissioner for human rights, Prince Zeid Raad al-Hussein, had grown suspicious that a subordinate, Anders Kompass, had improperly leaked an unredacted copy of a report documenting sexual abuse of children in the Central African Republic by troops from Chad, France, and Equatorial Guinea. Zeid pressed Kompass to resign. But Kompass refused, saying he had acted to stop the abuse. Zeid turned to Malcorra for help.

Malcorra organized a March 20, 2015, meeting in Turin, Italy, with Zeid, Carman Lapointe, then head of U.N. internal investigations, and Joan Dubinsky, then chief of the U.N.’s ethics office, which is supposed to protect U.N. whistle-blowers, to decide how to deal with the problem. Following the meeting, Kompass was placed on administrative leave and Lapointe opened an investigation into possible wrongdoing by Kompass.

But an independent review of the U.N.’s handling of the matter found Malcorra’s decision to organize the meeting was “ill-considered.” The report found that Malcorra “should have known” the high-level meeting “would prompt speculation that a conspiracy was afoot.” She should also have anticipated that by including the head of internal investigations she “was likely to compromise” their independence. The involvement of the ethics chief, the panel added, put her in a conflict of interest.

Kompass, who resigned and plans to re-enter the Swedish foreign ministry, said Malcorra represents the “status quo.”

“Having her as secretary-general would mean more of the same we have seen over the past nine years, which would be a disaster for the United Nations,” Kompass told FP, noting that she had denied him a chance to defend himself. “Please, Obama. Can you give us at least an inspiring secretary-general before you leave?”

Malcorra defended her handling of the Kompass case, telling FP that in organizing the April meeting she “assumed” that Lapointe and Dubinsky had the “judgment to know exactly where their boundaries are.” She also said it was “horrifying” to learn that Kompass had leaked the identities of vulnerable victims as well as the those who investigated the abuse allegations on the ground.

“Often we lose sight of the human rights of the kids that were in this whole story,” she added. “These kids got lost in the translation.”

But the panel dismissed such reasoning in its report. It said that if the U.N. carried so much it did little to respond. If the U.N. really feared that sharing the victims’ identities with French authorities had “been considered such a risk to the children’s safety” they would have taken “urgent steps to protect the children from possible reprisals,” according to the independent panel. “Instead, no one took any steps whatsoever to locate the children.”

Click HERE for the original article.

Rep. Waters Writes to Ban Ki-Moon Demanding Justice for Cholera Victims

July 6, 2016 - 10:43

Representative Maxine Waters of California’s 43 District wrote to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon demanding an appropriate response from the head of the United Nations for its role in the Haiti cholera outbreak. Citing UN human rights experts who called the UN’s failure to respond to the crisis a “challenge to the credibility of the organization,” she urged a sufficient response to match the leadership of the UN and to ensure justice for the Haitian people.

Letter to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

Representative Maxine Waters, U.S. Congress

5 July 2016

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

Dear Secretary-General,

I am writing, as a friend of the people of Haiti and of the United Nations, on the anniversary of your response to the May 30, 2013, letter that I and 18 of my colleagues in the House of Representatives sent you regarding the UN response to the cholera epidemic that UN peacekeepers introduced into Haiti in 2010.

I appreciate the letter that you sent to us on July 5, 2013, but I am deeply concerned that in the three years since our exchange, Haiti’s cholera epidemic continues to infect and kill Haitians at an alarming rate. Meanwhile, the UN has done little to install the water and sanitation infrastructure necessary to stop the epidemic and nothing to compensate the victims for their losses.

Click HERE for the original letter.

 

Haitian Immigration Forum in Providence, RI

July 1, 2016 - 04:59

Attend this forum for a chance to ask questions of federal and local government officials about Haitian immigration. The discussion details are below.

WHERE:

297 Elmwood Avenue

Providence, RI

WHEN:

Sunday, July 17, 2016

1:45-3:30 pm

WHO:

Mayor Jorge Elorza (confirmed); State Senator Juan Pichardo (confirmed); Dorcas International Institute (invited); Senior Obama Appointee (confirmed); USCIS local field director (confirmed); and RI Governor Gina Raimondo (invited)

 

Event Topics By Speakers:

Obama Appointee/Senior Official from USCIS

  • President’s accomplishments for immigrants including the Haitian Family Reunification Parole (HFRP) Program, Deferred action for childhood arrivals, Deferred action for childhood arrivals and Temporary Protected Status for Haitians
  • Immigration brochures will be available to the community in Haitian Creole

Senator Juan Pichardo 

  • In State-Tuition bill
  • Driver’s license bill for undocumented Rhode Islanders
  • What local residents can do to support those bills?
  • Resources available in the community to assist the immigrants

Mayor Jorge Elorza

  • City services for Providence immigrants

USCIS Local Field Director 

  • Pathway to citizenship
  • Naturalization/Green card
  • Refugees and Asylum

Questions and Answers Session.

 

Click HERE for the event flyer.

Dear Colleague Letter Urges John Kerry to Demand Justice for Haiti

June 29, 2016 - 14:16

158 Members of U.S. Congress have endorsed a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry criticizing the support from the U.S. government in supporting UN impunity regarding the cholera outbreak in Haiti. The bipartisan letter sports 12 Republican endorsements and was co-sponsored by Representative Mia Love [R-UT] with John Conyers [D-MI] taking lead. According to the letter, the Obama Administration failed to hold the UN accountable when it unwittingly created a deadly outbreak of cholera by sending Peacekeeping troops into the country after the 2010 earthquake.

Click HERE for the original article.

Congress Faults Obama for Not Being Tough With UN Over Haiti’s Cholera Crisis

Ed Pilkington, The Guardian

June 29, 2016

A bipartisan group of 158 members of Congress has accused the Obama administration of a failure of leadership over the cholera scandal in Haiti in which at least 30,000 people have died as a result of an epidemic caused by the United Nations for which the world body refuses to accept responsibility.

A joint letter highly critical of US policy – and devastatingly critical of the UN – has been sent to the US secretary of state, John Kerry, signed by 12 Republican and 146 Democratic members of Congress. Led by John Conyers, a Democratic congressman from Michigan, and Mia Love, a Republican congresswoman from Utah, the letter’s signatories include many of the most senior voices on foreign affairs on Capitol Hill.

The missive takes the Obama administration to task for failing to admonish the UN for its refusal to accept responsibility for the cholera outbreak. “We are deeply concerned that the State Department’s failure to take more leadership in the diplomatic realm might be perceived by our constituents and the world as a limited commitment to an accountable and credible UN,” the letter says.

It continues: “We respectfully urge the Department of State to treat the issue of a just and accountable UN response to Haiti’s cholera with the urgency that 10,000-100,000 deaths and catastrophic damage to the UN’s credibility deserves.”

Cholera erupted in Haiti in October 2010, after the bacterium was brought to the country by UN peacekeepers relocated from Nepal to help with disaster relief in the wake of the January earthquake. The joint letter to Kerry mentions a report by the UN itself carried out in 2010 and leaked recently to the Guardian, which showed that the world body was fully aware that sewage at its peacekeeping bases was being dumped in the open, well after cholera was first detected.

The Congress members are excoriating about the UN’s conduct in the wake of the disaster. They note in their letter that the official death toll is almost 10,000, but the reality might be three to 10 times higher, making the Haiti outbreak the worst cholera epidemic of modern times.

“While the deaths, illness, and evidence of malfeasance mounted … the UN continues to refuse to even discuss providing compensation for the losses incurred by those killed and sickened by the cholera it brought to Haiti. There is no notable progress in its proclaimed efforts to provide the water and sanitation infrastructure necessary to control the cholera epidemic.”

As part of the UN’s dogged denial of culpability, the organization has made a blanket rejection of calls for compensation contained in a class action lawsuitfiled in New York by victims of the disaster. The world body is claiming immunity from damages in the case.

The US government chose to represent the UN’s defense in the litigation in front of the federal second circuit appeals court. That prompted the three-member panel of judges to question US lawyers over the Obama administration’s apparent unwillingness to use its diplomatic muscle to force the UN to shift its contentious position.

Brian Concannon, director of the Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti (IJDH) which is acting as lead counsel on the lawsuit, said: “The US government has made the unfortunate choice to stand up for UN impunity by supporting the UN’s immunity in court without doing anything to ensure that the organization upholds its legal obligations to provide remedies for victims out of court.”

With cholera still raging in parts of Haiti, and aid groups on the ground reporting ongoing suffering amid inadequate provision of medical help and sanitation, the Congress members called on the state department to “immediately and unreservedly exercise its leadership … Each day that passes without an appropriate UN response is a tragedy for Haitian cholera victims, and a stain on the UN’s reputation.”

Click HERE for the original article.

158 Members of Congress Ask to Hold U.N. Accountable for Haiti’s Cholera Epidemic

June 29, 2016 - 14:08

158 outraged members of Congress signed on to a letter sent Mr. John Kerry by Representatives John Conyers, Jr. and Mia Love. The Congressmen and women sent the letter to Mr. Kerry with the hopes of getting him to put pressure on the United Nations, for a response to the Cholera epidemic that has invaded Haiti for the past 6 years. The disease has affected over 800,000 people and has killed roughly 10,000. Research has shown that disease came from the U.N. Peacekeeping mission that was sent to Haiti after the earthquake; however, the U.N. has refused to admit its involvement and has deemed the victims’ lawsuits to be invalid. What makes this letter so powerful is the tremendous bipartisan support. Although mostly supported by Democrats, Republicans have joined the cause to demonstrate that the U.N.’s behavior has been unacceptable.

Lawmakers Urge John Kerry to Press U.N. for Haiti Cholera Response

Rick GladstoneThe New York Times

June 29, 2016

Angry over a six-year cholera epidemic in Haiti traced to infected United Nations peacekeepers, 158 members of Congress asked Secretary of State John Kerry on Wednesday to pressure the United Nations for a more effective response, including reparations to victims.

By official estimates, the epidemic has killed roughly 10,000 people and sickened more than 800,000 in Haiti, the Western Hemisphere’s poorest country. Some research has suggested that the death toll could be far higher.

In a letter sent to Mr. Kerry by Representative John Conyers Jr., a Michigan Democrat who is the longest-serving House member, and Representative Mia Love, a Utah Republican, the lawmakers expressed exasperation with what they described as the United Nations’ failure to “comply with its legal and moral obligations to provide cholera victims with access to an effective remedy.”

While most of the signers were Democrats, the letter was extraordinary partly because of its bipartisanship in a climate of polarized politics in Washington.

Cholera, an infection that spreads through water contaminated by human waste, had been absent in Haiti for a century until the arrival of a United Nations peacekeeping force in 2010 after the country’s devastating earthquake. Medical studies have shown that the disease was reintroduced via infected members of the peacekeeping contingent and their faulty sanitation practices, which leached latrine sewage into the water supply.

While the United Nations has helped in the effort to combat the epidemic, it has not acknowledged any responsibility for causing it or provided a way for victims to seek compensation. It has also refused to recognize the validity of lawsuits by victims, arguing that diplomatic treaties insulate the United Nations from such actions.

Lawyers for the victims have filed at least three suits in the United States, the host country of the United Nations, which Justice Department lawyers have argued are invalid. But in March, a federal appeals panel in New Yorkagreed to consider whether one of those lawsuits can proceed. The panel’s decision has not been announced yet.

In the meantime, cholera remains embedded in Haiti and appeared to worsen last year, killing roughly three dozen people a month.

“The U.N. continues to refuse to even discuss providing compensation for the losses incurred by those killed and sickened by the cholera it brought to Haiti, and there is no notable progress in its proclaimed efforts to provide the water and sanitation infrastructure necessary to control the cholera epidemic,” the congressional letter to Mr. Kerry said.

It urged the State Department “to immediately and unreservedly exercise its leadership to ensure that the United Nations take concrete steps to eliminate the cholera epidemic.”

Officials at the State Department and the United Nations did not immediately comment.

Mr. Conyers said in a statement that the cholera epidemic was “a darkening stain on the world’s conscience” and was damaging the United Nations’ credibility.

“The U.S. government cannot watch this crisis unfold from the sidelines,” he said. “We need to exercise our leadership to make sure that cholera is eliminated and that the U.N. provides due process and remedies to the victims.”

Ms. Love, citing the role of the United States as the largest financial supporter of the United Nations, said, “It is critical that we use our influence to ensure the U.N. takes responsibility for this outbreak and works to protect the people of Haiti.”

Advocates for cholera victims said they were encouraged by the letter, which they said sent a strong message.

“This letter is a remarkable showing of bipartisanship and consensus that the U.N.’s stonewalling on cholera accountability, and the U.S. government’s acquiescence to it, are unacceptable,” said Brian Concannon Jr., director of the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti, a Boston-based legal advocacy group.

Click HERE for the original article.

 

Congress demands US leadership in addressing UN cholera fiasco

June 29, 2016 - 12:52

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Press Contact: Kermshlise Picard, Communications Coordinator, Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti, media@ijdh.org; +1-617-652-0876 (Interviews available in English, French & Kreyòl).)

Congress demands US leadership in addressing UN cholera fiasco

Advocates Welcome Unprecedented Demands For Victim Remedies

BOSTON, June 29, 2016 — Today, 158 Members of the U.S. House of Representatives wrote to Secretary of State John Kerry urging the United States to use its leverage with the United Nations to ensure prompt accountability to Haitian victims of cholera.

“This letter is a remarkable showing of bipartisanship and consensus that the UN’s stonewalling on cholera accountability—and the U.S. Government’s acquiescence to it—are unacceptable,” said Brian Concannon, Jr., Esq., Director of the Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti (IJDH).

The letter, sponsored by Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) and Rep. Mia Love (R-UT), is unprecedented in the breadth and bipartisanship of the Congresspersons who signed on.  It calls on Kerry to use his diplomatic powers to ensure that the UN takes immediate steps to eliminate the cholera epidemic it introduced to Haiti through leaking waste from a UN peacekeeper camp in 2010, and to comply with its legal and moral obligations to provide cholera victims with access to an effective remedy.

To date, the UN has rejected claims filed by victims, a move widely viewed as inconsistent with its treaty obligations to settle claims by individuals harmed by its operations.  The UN has also claimed immunity from a lawsuit filed in U.S. court, effectively blocking an independent review of its responsibility.  The U.S. Government has come to the UN’s defense in the litigation, which is currently pending decision by the Second Circuit Court of Appeals.

“The U.S. Government has made the unfortunate choice to stand up for UN impunity by supporting the UN’s immunity in court without doing anything to ensure that the Organization upholds its legal obligations to provide remedies for victims out of court,” Concannon explained.

The 158 endorsers on the Congressional letter include 12 Republicans; half of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs (HCFA) i.e. 22 of its 44 members, including six Republicans; ten of the 14 members of HCFA’s Western Hemisphere Subcommittee, four Republicans and six Democrats; and four of the eight members of HCFA’s Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations (“Global Health”) Subcommittee, two from each party. Republican HCFA signatories include former HCFA chair Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, current Global Health Subcommittee Chair Christopher Smith, and Representatives Daniel Donovan, Michael McCaul, Steve Chabot, and Lee Zeldin. The 16 HCFA Democrats include the respective ranking members of the HCFA itself, Rep. Eliot Engel, and of its Western Hemisphere and Global Health Subcommittees respectively, Representatives Albio Sires, and Karen Bass.

Signatories from states with large Haitian-American populations include 20 members from the New York delegation, 15 from Florida, all 9 from Massachusetts, 9 from Illinois, and 7 from New Jersey. Twenty-three members of California’s delegation signed. For a listing, please see this page. Virtually every member of the Congressional Black Caucusendorsed as well.

The letter, though not binding, adds a critical voice to a groundswell of UN insiders calling for the UN to respond justly. As the UN gears up to select a new Secretary-General, a majority of the candidates who have been asked their position on cholera have publicly promised a more just response to the victims. A number of governments speaking at UN meetings have also called for remedies, including an apology, compensation, and funding for cholera elimination projects. The UN’s own human rights experts have advised the Secretary-General that “it is essential that the victims of cholera have access to a transparent, independent and impartial mechanism that can review their claims and decide on the merits of those claims in order to ensure adequate reparation….” At the opening of the UN Human Rights Council in late May, the UN’s Human Rights Chief also spoke out,calling on governments to “consider what can or should be done to deal with the tragic consequences of the cholera epidemic for Haitians.”

The letter, with a full list of signatures, is available at: http://www.ijdh.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/06_29_16-Kerry-Haiti-Cholera-Letter-Final.pdf

 

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Congressional Black Caucus Signers On June 2016 Dear Colleague

June 29, 2016 - 09:24

June 29, 2016

158 members of the House signed onto a June 2016 Dear Colleague letter to Secretary John Kerry on cholera in Haiti. Virtually every member of the Congressional Black Caucus signed on. The list is below. Red indicates a Republican Representative.

 

 

House Committee on Foreign Affairs Signers On June 2016 Dear Colleague

June 29, 2016 - 07:48

June 29, 2016

158 members of the House signed onto a June 2016 Dear Colleague letter to Secretary John Kerry on cholera in Haiti. Half of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs (HCFA, 22 of 44 members) signed on. The list is below, with blue indicating Democrats and Red indicating Republicans. Breaking the signatories down by Subcommittee, ten of HCFA’s 14-member Western Hemisphere Subcommittee (4 Republicans, 6 Democrats); and four of HCFA’s 8-member Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations (“Global Health”) Subcommittee (2 Republicans, 2 Democrats) signed on.

Delegations Signing Onto June 2016 Dear Colleague

June 29, 2016 - 07:26

158 members of the House signed onto a June 2016 Dear Colleague letter to Secretary John Kerry on cholera in Haiti. The states with large Haitian-American populations are well-represented among the signers and include 20 members from the New York delegation, 15 from Florida, all 9 from Massachusetts, 9 from Illinois, and 7 from New Jersey. 23 members of the California delegation also signed. The lists of Representatives from these delegations are below.

New York

Representative Lee Zeldin
Representative Jerrold Nadler
Representative Daniel Donovan
Representative Carolyn Maloney
Representative Charles Rangel
Representative Joseph Crowley
Representative José Serrano
Representative Eliot Engel
Representative Sean Maloney
Representative Chris Gibson
Representative Paul Tonko
Representative Louise Slaughter
Representative Brian Higgins
Representative Steve Israel
Representative Kathleen Rice
Representative Gregory Meeks
Representative Grace Meng
Representative Nydia Velazquez
Representative Hakeem Jeffries
Representative Yvette Clarke

Florida

Representative Gus Bilirakis
Representative Kathy Castor
Representative Tom Rooney
Representative Patrick Murphy
Representative Gwen Graham
Representative Alcee Hastings
Representative Ted Deutch
Representative Lois Frankel
Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz
Representative Frederica Wilson
Representative Mario Diaz-Balart
Representative Carlos Curbelo
Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen
Representative Corrine Brown
Representative Alan Grayson

Massachusetts

Representative Richard Neal
Representative James McGovern
Representative Niki Tsongas
Representative Joseph Kennedy
Representative Katherine Clark
Representative Seth Moulton
Representative Michael Capuano
Representative Stephen Lynch
Representative William Keating

Illinois

Representative Bobby Rush
Representative Bill Foster
Representative Cheri Bustos
Representative Robin Kelly
Representative Luis Gutiérrez
Representative Mike Quigley
Representative Danny Davis
Representative Jan Schakowsky
Representative Tammy Duckworth

New Jersey

Representative Donald Norcross
Representative Donald Payne
Representative Bonnie Watson Coleman
Representative Christopher Smith
Representative Frank Pallone
Representative Albio Sires
Representative Bill Pascrell, Jr.

California

Representative Mark DeSaulnier
Representative Barbara Lee
Representative Jackie Speier
Representative Michael Honda
Representative Zoe Lofgren
Representative Sam Farr
Representative Julia Brownley
Representative Judy Chu
Representative Adam Schiff
Representative Tony Cardenas
Representative John Garamendi
Representative Brad Sherman
Representative Grace Napolitano
Representative Ted Lieu
Representative Norma Torres
Representative Karen Bass
Representative Linda Sanchez
Representative Mark Takano
Representative Janice Hahn
Representative Loretta Sanchez
Representative Alan Lowenthal
Representative Susan Davis
Representative Jerry McNerney

David and Goliath: An Epidemiological Perspective on Cholera, Haiti, and the UN

June 27, 2016 - 13:40

Jason Silverstein reviews the case of cholera in Haiti through an epidemiological perspective, covering the alleged cause of the epidemic as well as the reactions of the international community both within and outside the United Nations. Silverstein advocates for the establishment of an official forum that would examine why the epidemic happened and who is responsible.

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

…..

Why the Haitian Cholera Victims Deserve Their Day in Court

Jason Silverstein, PLoS

June 27, 2016

The battle between victims of the cholera epidemic in Haiti and the United Nations may resemble a classic David and Goliath story except in this case Goliath hasn’t even shown up to fight.

The reason is that the United Nations is granted “immunity from every form of legal process”—even though public health experts believe UN peacekeeping troops are responsible for the cholera outbreakin Haiti, which has infected more than 750,000 people and killed more than 9,000 since October 2010. (Though a recent paper from Médecins Sans Frontières researchers suggests that there may be “a substantially higher cholera mortality rate than previously reported.”)

Nevertheless, on January 9, 2015, US District Court Judge J. Paul Oetken dismissed a class action lawsuit brought by the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti. But in March the Second Circuit Court of Appeals agreed to review the District Court’s ruling. The decision of the three judges is pending.

….

Click HERE for the full article.

A New UN: Independent Tribunal as a Solution to Immunity Abuse

June 26, 2016 - 06:25

With the issue of widespread peacekeeper sexual abuse arising amidst cases such as cholera in Haiti, the United Nations must take steps to stop the misuse of its immunity.  In this opinion piece, Danny Bradlow explores the establishment of an independent tribunal within the UN as a potential solution to the general lack of accountability. He maintains the necessity of an independent justice mechanism, putting it into the context of the upcoming 2017 appointment of the new Secretary General.

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

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What can be done to stop the United Nations abusing its immunity

Danny Bradlow, The Conversation

June 26, 2016

The passage of time can play cruel tricks on noble intentions. The person selected as the new United Nations (UN) Secretary-General later this year should keep this in mind as he or she evaluates how effectively the UN is responding to the challenges of the 21st century.

When the UN and its specialised agencies were created after the Second World War, their founders were concerned that they would not be able to perform their assigned functions – to promote peace and security, international economic and social cooperation, economic development and human rights – if they were vulnerable to legal pressure from their member states. For example, the organisations would not be able to perform their assigned functions if a member state could threaten to arrest the officials of these organisations or to confiscate the materials they had collected when they were on official missions to the state.

…..

Click HERE for the full article.

Reyinyon ki gen rapò ak imigrasyon | Haitian Community Meeting on Immigration

June 24, 2016 - 12:00

Vinn patisipe nan yon reyinyon ki gen rapò ak imigrasyon. | Participate in a special information session on immigration.

Ki lè | When: 

Wednesday, June 29 2016

5pm

Ki kote | Where: 

Kay Pam

6 Livingston Street

Dorchester, MA 02124

Klike ISI pou plis enfòmasyon. | Click HERE for more information.

DEA Fugitive Philippe Enters Political Alliance With Ambitions

June 23, 2016 - 06:32

As President Privert’s mandate expires, Guy Philippe, a notorious paramilitary leader who led attacks in 2004 prior to the coup d’état, has joined a political alliance. Alongside former president Martelly and his political allies, they are lobbying for the removal of Privert in what many perceive as a move vying for the presidency.

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

Martelly Bloc Formalizes Alliance with DEA Fugitive Guy Philippe

Haiti Relief and Reconstruction Watch

June 23, 2016

Days before the June 14 end of provisional president Jocelerme Privert’s mandate, a coalition of political parties close to former president Michel Martelly formalized an alliance and began advocating for Privert’s removal. Led by former de facto prime minister under Marelly, Evans Paul, the “Entente Democratique” (ED) or “democratic agreement” as they have called themselves, have denounced the “totalitarian tendencies” of Privert and categorized the possible extension of his mandate as an illegal power grab.

Haitian parliamentarians were expected to vote earlier this week on extending or replacing Privert, who was appointed provisional president in early February after Martelly’s term ended with no elected replacement. The vote was delayed, as it has been previously.

 

Click HERE for the original article.

 

Exposing the Cause of Cholera in Haiti

June 22, 2016 - 06:50

Dr. Renaud Piarroux looked into exposing the true cause behind the cholera outbreak in Haiti. There had been rumours that the disease was brought over by Nepalese peacekeepers, but Piarroux’s investigations were to confirm if this was really the case. Piarroux was suspicious because UN agencies seemed uninterested in finding the cause of the outbreak. In fact, both US and UN authorities both tried to attribute the spread of cholera to bacteria that already existed in the environment. Before leaving Haiti, Piarroux received a secret document from the Haitian Ministry of Public Health and Population that confirmed the source of outbreak as the Nepali MINUSTAH camp. Officials had known all this time and yet, tried to cover-up the wrongdoing. As article author Crawford Killian’s words, “they sacrificed Haiti simply to escape political embarrassment”.

Click HERE for the full article.

Cholera in Haiti: A True-Crime Medical Thriller

 

Crawford Killian, The Tyee 

June 22nd, 2016

In October 2010, Dr. Renaud Piarroux, a French epidemiologist, was invited by the government of Haiti to investigate the unexpected appearance of cholera in towns and villages along the Artibonite River, the country’s largest. Piarroux had extensive cholera experience, notably with a serious outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The outbreak had startled everyone: cholera had never been known in Haiti before, and within days of its first known case on Oct. 14, it had infected thousands and killed scores.

Like any good epidemiologist, Piarroux knew that finding the source of an epidemic is critical — especially in a country as poor as Haiti, which had scarcely recovered from the earthquake of January 2010 that had killed a couple hundred thousand people. (The death toll has been a subject of controversy.)

His search — and shocking discoveries — are at the centre of Deadly River: Cholera and Cover-Up in Post-Earthquake Haiti by Ralph R. Frerichs.

Rumours blamed sewage from a camp of Nepali peacekeepers. Jonathan Katz, an American journalist, had documented those suspicions, but they were far from proven. The United Nations peacekeeping force, known as MINUSTAH, had been installed in Haiti after the 2004 ouster of democratically elected president Jean-Bertrand Aristide. But instead of keeping hostile armed forces from attacking one another, the peacekeepers were a kind of heavy-handed police force.

Click HERE for the full article.

Justice pour les enfants haïtiennes abandonné par Les Casques bleus

June 22, 2016 - 06:44

Le Bureau des avocats internationaux (BAI) a annoncé des recours contre des Casques bleus qui ont abandonné leurs enfants nés de mères haïtiennes. Les mères ont fait appel à ces avocats pour trouver reconnaissance et assistance pour leurs petits, les enfants de Les Casques bleus uruguayens et sri-lankais. L’auteur affirme que, tandis que l’ONU prône le respect des droits de l’enfant à travers une convention internationale, elle prives ces petits de tous leurs droits en les abandonnant à leur sort.

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

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Des soldats de la MINUSTAH abandonnent leurs enfants nés de mères haïtiennes

Ricardo Lambert, Le Nouvelliste

22 juin 2016

Au nom de la paternité responsable, le Bureau des avocats internationaux (BAI) a annoncé des recours, par-devant la justice haïtienne, contre des Casques bleus uruguayens et sri-lankais qui ont abandonné leurs enfants nés de mères haïtiennes. Après des démarches sans succès auprès de la mission onusienne en Haïti, ces mères, poussées dans leurs derniers retranchements, ont fait appel à ces avocats pour trouver reconnaissance et assistance pour leurs petits.

….

Cliquez ICI pour le texte complet.

 

Une existence menacé pour les Haïtiens au RD

June 21, 2016 - 14:12

La loi dominicaine, crée en 2013 et visant aux étrangers dans le pays, spécifiquement les haïtiens, ont eu le résultat des expulsions en masse. De juin 2015 à mai 2016, 106,000 haïtiens ont été expulsé ou ont quitté, maintenant beaucoup d’autres sont menacés avec cette possibilité.

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

Plus de 130,000 Haïtiens menacés d’expulsion de République dominicaine

FranceTV

le 21 juin 2016

En un an, de juin 2015 à mai 2016, 106.000 Haïtiens ont déjà été expulsés ou ont quitté la République dominicaine. Les relations entre deux pays qui se partagent l’île caribéenne d’Hispaniola ont toujours été difficiles, envenimées par l’immigration illégale d’Haïtiens en République dominicaine.Face au tollé provoqué par une décision de la Haute cour de justice dominicaine qui, fin 2013, a retiré la nationalité dominicaine aux citoyens d’origine étrangère nés après 1929, le gouvernement dominicain a commencé à régulariser les Haïtiens nés sur son sol et les migrants illégaux. Ce plan national de régularisation des étrangers (PNRE) a permis à plus de 130.000 Haïtiens d’obtenir une carte de séjour mais d’une validité de seulement un an.

…Cliquez ICI pour le texte complet.

Red Cross used donations meant for Haiti on own expenses

June 21, 2016 - 07:36
A recent report released by the office of Iowa senator Chuck Grassley found that the American Red Cross used approximately one quarter of the donations it received to aide Haiti (about $125 million) to cover its own internal expenses. The report also found that the charity impeded government efforts to obtain information on the Red Cross program in Haiti, and understaffed and underfunded its own internal investigation unit, which is responsible for looking into incidences of misconduct and abuse within the organization.

Red Cross mismanaged money meant for earthquake relief in Haiti

RT America

6/21/2016

 

Click HERE for the original video.

REDRESS Report: How the UN Should Address Cholera

June 20, 2016 - 11:56

REDRESS has recently published a report the provides concrete options for responding to the cholera outbreak in Haiti. The organization is an international human rights non-profit that seeks to obtain justice for victims of harm and suffering. This report provides several channels to combat the outbreak including compensation of losses, victim rehabilitation, environmental remediation to eliminate the disease, acknowledgement of wrongdoing, and guarantees of non-repetition.

Click HERE for the full report.

Responding to the Introduction of Cholera to Haiti: Policy Options

REDRESS

June 21st, 2016

I. Introduction

The purpose of this paper is to provide concrete options for responses to the introduction of cholera to Haiti, which reflect international law and standards on reparations applicable to the current context. The paper seeks to draw attention to comparative case studies and best practice approaches that may be helpful to those engaged in finding appropriate responses.

REDRESS is an international human rights organisation with a mandate to assist survivors of torture and related international crimes to obtain justice and other forms of reparation for the harm suffered.1 REDRESS is contributing this analysis on the basis of its expertise in devising and analysing redress mechanisms in a variety of contexts in different parts of the world and its understanding of the range of procedural and other practical challenges associated with developing, agreeing to and implementing complex reparations programmes involving numerous victims and other stakeholders.

The bulk of the paper explains the principles which should guide the policy and other responses and explains in detail the most crucial aspects of a comprehensive response. Each of these aspects is explained in turn, considering the rationale, the operational challenges and providing where applicable, examples of past practice.

The paper is not intended to serve as a blueprint for a reparations framework. In contrast, the overarching purpose is to assist those engaging in discussions to have a better understanding on the relevant concepts and challenges so that such discussions are as practical as possible. The paper also helps identify certain processual steps, such as how to progress consultations with victims and the wider affected communities on remedies and related justice responses and areas which may warrant further data collection to determine the full extent of economic losses.

II. Background

Click HERE for the full report.