- News & Reports
- Take action
- Donate to CHAN Site
Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti
Updated: 33 min 24 sec ago
The United Nations General Assembly recently recognized water and sanitation access as basic human rights but the UN still hasn’t done much to ensure or protect those rights in Haiti, where UN peacekeepers introduced a deadly cholera epidemic in 2010. Now that the UN General Assembly has taken this step, will Haiti’s cholera victims finally have justice?
Part of the article is below. Click HERE for the full text.General Assembly’s Recognition of the Human Right to Sanitation Should Prompt Action In Haiti
Beatrice Lindstrom and Sienna Merope-Synge, Huffington Post – The World Post
February 1, 2016
Last month, the UN General Assembly took an important step forward in promoting access to adequate sanitation, unanimously adopting Resolution 70/169 recognizing the right to sanitation as a distinct human right and emphasizing the need for non-state actors as well as States to do more to realize it.
As noted by the General Assembly, the right to sanitation is too often neglected. Over 2.5 billion people lack access to adequate sanitation, undermining their privacy and dignity and leading to the contamination of water and spread of disease. Over 950,000 people practice ‘open defecation’, something the UN General Assembly described as ‘one of the clearest manifestation of poverty and extreme poverty’. Halving the number of people without access to basic sanitation was one of the Millennium Development Goals, but the international community failed abysmally, missing the goal by almost 700 million people. Further, the UN believes that “official figures…underestimate the numbers of those without access to safe and affordable drinking water and safely managed and affordable sanitation”.
The devastating impact of failure to protect the right to sanitation is evident in Haiti, where a cholera epidemic introduced by UN peacekeepers in 2010 through the reckless discharge of human waste into Haiti’s main river system continues to devastate the country. Cholera poisoned rivers, wells and other water sources and, in the absence of adequate water and sanitation infrastructure, spread quickly and ruthlessly through the population. Five years on, more than 9000 Haitians have died and 745,000 – or 8 percent of the population – have been infected. Victims tell harrowing stories of watching parents, siblings and children die in front of them within a few hours of contracting cholera, of experiencing diarrhea and vomiting so extreme they lost consciousness, and of their fears of contracting cholera again.
Click HERE for the full text.
BUREAU DES AVOCATS INTERNATIONAUX
3, 2ème rue Lavaud
Tel : +(509) 2943-2106/ 07, 3701-9879
Port-au-Prince, le 1er Février 2016
NOTE DE PRESSE
Le Bureau des Avocats Internationaux (BAI), dans sa mission de défendre les droits des plus démunis, les droits inaliénables, imprescriptibles et inhérents à la personne humaine, en particulier ceux des victimes du choléra importé par la MINUSTAH, des Femmes et Filles victimes de viol, d’agressions sexuelles et autres abus de droit, prend acte de la demande de Monsieur Michel Joseph MARTELLY, invitant l’Organisation des Etats Américains (OEA) à s’immiscer dans les affaires internes d’Haiti.
Il est un fait indéniable que l’OEA, conformément aux prescrits de sa charte signée et ratifiée par ses États membres, dont Haïti est partie, consiste à intervenir que dans des cas de tensions entre deux États membres de cette instance régionale, afin d’éviter qu’un État membre ne soit victime d’agressions ou de l’ingérence d’un autre État membre ou de tout autre État que ce soit. Ce qui revient à dire que la Charte de l’OEA interdit formellement toute ingérence dans les affaires internes de ses États membres au regard de l’article 1 du premier chapitre qui, lui fixant sa nature et ses buts, stipule dans le deuxième paragraphe que :“l’organisation des États Américains n’a d’autres facultés que celles que lui confère expressément la présente charte dont aucune disposition ne l’autorise à intervenir dans des questions de la juridiction interne des États membres”.
Par conséquent, le BAI dénonce le caractère illégal et arbitraire de cette demande susceptible d’entrainer la mission de l’OEA qui entre en contradiction avec sa propre charte, tout en soulignant l’attitude irresponsable du chef de l’État qui, en demandant la médiation de l’OEA, a violé l’article 136 de la constitution de 1987 qui donne qu’au Président haïtien, la responsabilité constitutionnelle d’assurer le fonctionnement régulier des pouvoirs publics ainsi que la continuité de l’État.
Le BAI constate également, une fois de plus, l’échec de l’ OEA dans la crise haïtienne qui, devant les ingérences du CORE GROUP ( dont elle est membre) dans les affaires internes d’Haïti, surtout celles des États-Unis, abandonne l’une de ses missions fondamentales que lui attribue le chapitre 2 de sa propre charte, notamment dans l’aliéna (e) stipulant que: “chaque État a le droit de choisir, sans ingérence extérieure, son système politique, économique et social, et le mode d’organisation qui lui convient le mieux. Il a pour devoir de ne pas intervenir dans les affaires des autres États. Sous réserve des dispositions précédentes, les États américains coopèrent entre eux, indépendamment de la nature de leurs systèmes politiques, économiques et sociaux”.
Fort de ces constats, le BAI recommande au Conseil Permanent de l’OEA de se déclarer incompétent par rapport au fait qu’il n’a aucune provision légale pouvant justifier une telle ingérence, à moins qu’il décide de fouler au pied la Charte de l’Organisation et les principes du droit international et ceux de la constitution haïtienne, et revendique une solution inter haïtienne sans ingérence extérieure.
Pour le BAI:
Mario JOSEPH, Avocat
BUREAU DES AVOCATS INTERNATIONAUX
3, 2ème rue Lavaud
Tel : +(509) 2943-2106/ 07, 3701-9879
Port-au-Prince, 1 February 2016
The Bureau des Avocats Internationaux (BAI), in accordance with its primary mission of defending the rights of the most vulnerable, inalienable and inherent human rights, and in particular the rights of victims of cholera introduced by MINUSTAH and of women and girl victims of rape, sexual abuse and other rights abuses, take note of the statement of Mr. Michel Joseph MARTELLY inviting the Organization of American States (OAS) to involve itself in Haiti’s internal affairs.
It is undeniable that according to the provisions of its charter, which has been signed and ratified by its member states, including Haiti, the OAS is limited to intervening solely in cases of tensions between two of its member states, in order to avoid aggression or interference by one or several member states in relation to another. This is to say that the OAS charter formally forbids all interference in the internal affairs of member states, as is clear from Article 1 of Chapter 1 which, in fixing the organization’s nature and purposes, stipulates in its second paragraph that “[t]he Organization of American States has no powers other than those expressly conferred upon it by this Charter, none of whose provisions authorizes it to intervene in matters that are within the internal jurisdiction of the Member States”.
As such, BAI denounces the illegal and arbitrary character of this demand, which risks bringing the OAS into conflict with its own charter, while underlining the irresponsible attitude of the Head of State who, in requesting OAS mediation, has violated article 137 of the Constitution of 1987, which vests the Haitian President with constitutional responsibility to maintain the regular exercise of public power and the continuity of the State.
The BAI also once again notes the OAS’ failure in relation to the Haitian crisis. Faced with the interference of the CORE GROUP (of which it is a member) and particularly of the United States’ in Haiti’s internal affairs, it has abandoned one of its fundamental missions, as conferred by Chapter 2 of its charter and notably Article 3(e) which stipulates that “[e]very State has the right to choose, without external interference, its political, economic, and social system and to organize itself in the way best suited to it, and has the duty to abstain from intervening in the affairs of another State. Subject to the foregoing, the American States shall cooperate fully among themselves, independently of the nature of their political, economic, and social systems”.
In light of these observations, the BAI recommends the Permanent Council of the OAS declare itself incapable of assisting by reason of there being no legal provision that would justify such interference without trampling on the organization’s charter and principles of international and Haitian constitutional law, and demand an internal Haitian solution free of external interference.
For the BAI:
Mario JOSEPH, Managing Attorney
This article discusses what led to the postponement of Haiti’s final round of elections, despite the efforts of the international community to proceed regardless of major flaws in the process and outcome. The author also explains how “the international community” is usually a euphemism for the United States and this latest political crisis is symptomatic of the larger problem of US involvement in Haiti.
Part of the article is below. Click HERE for the full text.For US in Haiti, black votes don’t matterIn rare defeat for Washington, Haitians force postponement of elections
Mark Weisbrot, Al Jazeera America
January 29, 2016
Journalists are taught in school to avoid euphemisms. When someone dies, they write that she “died” instead of “passed away.” But one euphemism that has become a fixture in U.S. news reporting is “the international community.” This is generally a substitute for the U.S. government, with or without some input from some of its allies.
Perhaps this is nowhere more true than in Haiti, where Washington has long exercised a veto over the country’s most important decisions. But last week the “international community” suffered a rare defeat when Haitians rejected Washington’s plans for a deeply flawed presidential runoff election to take place on Sunday, Jan. 24.
How did this happen? Basically, Haitians managed to put Washington in the situation of having to maintain that a runoff election with only one candidate, businessman Jovenel Moïse, would be legitimate, or postpone the election. As late as last Thursday, just three days before the election, U.S. officials were insisting that they would go forward even if the second candidate, engineer Jude Célestin, refused to participate. But he stuck to his boycott, and they backed down.
Click HERE for the full text.
Fédération Internationale des Ligues des Droits de l’Homme – FIDH
Réseau National de Défense des Droits Humains – RNDDH
Centre Oecuménique des Droits Humains – CEDH
Haïti : Sortir de la crise politique par des élections apaisées, libres et crédibles
Port-au-Prince, Paris, le 29 janvier 2016 – Haïti est plongé dans une crise politique préoccupante depuis les fraudes constatées lors des scrutins législatifs et présidentiel du 25 octobre 2015 qui ont entrainé la contestation des résultats par les partis d’opposition, des manifestations violentes et un double report du deuxième tour de l’élection présidentielle. Nos organisations appellent le président sortant Michel Martelly à quitter ses fonctions dans le délai prévu par la Constitution, soit le 7 février 2016. Elles appellent également les partis politiques à trouver le plus rapidement possible un accord menant à l’organisation d’élections apaisées, libres et crédibles aux fins d’éviter une triple crise politique, institutionnelle et sécuritaire.
Bien que les conditions d’un processus électoral libre et crédible n’étaient pas réunies, le Conseil électoral provisoire (CEP) a entériné les résultats des scrutins du 25 octobre portant en tête du premier tour de l’élection présidentielle le candidat du parti au pouvoir, Juvenel Moise, devant l’opposant Jude Celestin. L’observation électorale menée par une Coalition d’ONG haitiennes dont le RNDDH a conclu à l’existence de fraudes importantes.
Dans ce contexte, le parti au pouvoir et la communauté internationale à travers le « core group » ont appelé à l’organisation le 24 janvier du deuxième tour de l’élection présidentielle déjà repoussée une première fois le 27 décembre 2015, tandis que le candidat de l’opposition a annoncé son intention de boycotter le scrutin, le qualifiant de « coup d’état électoral ». La crise politique s’est accentuée avec l’annonce par le CEP du maintien de second tour alors qu’une Commission indépendante d’évaluation électorale a confirmé début janvier les graves irrégularités commises lors du premier tour et considéré que les conditions n’étaient pas encore réunies pour l’organisation du second tour.
La tension politique étant à son comble, des affrontements violents ont éclaté les jours précédant la date du second tour dans les rues de Port-au-Prince entre des manifestants de l’opposition et les forces de l’ordre, faisant un blésé par balle et causant de nombreuses destructions. Des journalistes, comme Mme Liliane Pierre-Paul, Directrice de Programmation de la Radio Kiskeya, ont fait l’objet de menaces et de campagnes de dénigrement par les plus hautes autorités de l’Etat pour leur couverture de la crise. C’est par crainte d’une explosion de violence que la décision fut prise le 22 janvier par le CEP de reporter sine die le second tour des présidentielles.
La situation actuelle fait craindre une crise politique prolongée, menant à un vide institutionnel marqué par une vacance de la présidence. Or le pays a besoin d’institutions démocratiques, solides et ayant la confiance des citoyens haïtiens pour faire face aux importants défis économiques, sociaux et humanitaires et en matière de droits humains, 5 ans après le séisme qui a dévasté le pays faisant plus de 300 000 morts.
Une mission de la FIDH présente dans le pays du 24 au 30 janvier 2016 a accompagné ses organisations membres, le RNDDH et le CEDH, dans ses rencontres avec des représentants diplomatiques de la France, des Etats-Unis, du Canada, de la Suisse, de l’Union européenne, la Représentante spéciale du Secrétaire général des Nations unies, et nombreuses organisations de la société civile haïtienne.
Face à la crise politique actuelle et au risque de paralysie des institutions qui pourrait entrainer le pays dans un cycle de violence, nos organisations appellent les autorités haïtiennes et les partis politiques à la retenue, en évitant tout discours inflammatoire et demandant à leurs sympathisants que toute manifestation se déroule dans le calme.
Nos organisations appellent également les partis politiques haïtiens à œuvrer pour une sortie de crise en évitant le danger du vide institutionnel. Ceci peut passer par l’instauration d’un régime de transition consensuel et provisoire chargé d’organiser dans le plus court délai le second tour de l’élection présidentielle dans des conditions apaisées, libres et crédibles. Pour légitimer ce processus, nos organisations recommandent la recomposition du CEP, la mise en application des recommandations de la Commission indépendante d’évaluation électorale et la vérification des votes du premier tour par une instance indépendante.
La FIDH, le RNDDH et le CEDH appellent la communauté internationale et notamment le « core group » a soutenir l’organisation d’élections crédibles et pluralistes qui respectent le choix des électrices et électeurs haïtiens, rappelant que la nécessaire stabilité du pays ne peut faire l’économie d’un processus électoral satisfaisant pour l’ensemble de la population haïtienne.
International Federation for Human Rights – FIDH
National Network for the Defense of Human Rights – RNDDH
Ecumenical Center for Human Rights – CEDH
Haiti: Getting out of the political crisis through peaceful, free, and credible elections
Port-au-Prince, Paris, January 29, 2016 – Haiti has plunged into a political crisis since the worrying fraud detected during the legislative and presidential elections of October 25, 2015 that led to the results challenged by opposition parties, violent demonstrations and a double postponement of the second round of the presidential election. Our organizations call incumbent President Michel Martelly to leave office within the period prescribed by the Constitution, February 7, 2016. They also call on political parties to find an agreement as soon as possible leading to the holding of free, credible and peaceful elections in order to avoid a triple crisis: political, institutional, and security.
Although the conditions for a free and credible electoral process were not met, the Provisional Electoral Council (CEP) has endorsed the results of the elections of 25 October with the first round Presidential candidate Jovenel Moise leading over opponent Jude Celestin. A Haitian NGO Coalition including RNDDH, conducted election observations and concluded that there was the presence of significant fraud.
In this context, the ruling party and the international community known as the “Core Group” called for the organization of the second round of presidential elections on January 24th, already postponed once from December 27, 2015. Meanwhile, the opposition candidate announced his intention to boycott the elections calling it an “electoral coup”. The political crisis deepened with the CEP’s announcement of the second round, even while an independent electoral assessment commission confirmed in early January that there were serious irregularities during the first round and considered that the conditions were not yet quite right for the organization of the second round.
Political tensions are at its peak. Violent clashes erupted in in the streets of Port-au-Prince between opposition protestors and security forces in the days preceding the second round, causing one wounded by gunshot and widespread destruction. Journalists, such as Ms. Lillian Pierre-Paul, Programming Director of Radio Kiskeya, has been subject to threats and slander by the highest authorities for their coverage of the crisis. The CEP made its decision to postpone the second round of presidential elections indefinitely out of fear that violence would explode.
The current situation creates fear of a prolonged political crisis, leading to an institution void marked by the outgoing President without a replacement. Now the country needs democratic institutions, strong and trusted by Haitian citizens in order to face significant economic, social, humanitarian, and human right challenges five years after the earthquake that devastated the country leaving more than 300,000 dead.
An FIDH mission was in the country from January 24 to 30, 2016 to accompany its member organizations, RNDDH and the CEDH, in their meetings with diplomatic representatives of France, the United States, Canada, Switzerland, the European Union, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General of the United Nations, and many other Haitian civil society organizations.
Given the current political crisis and the risk of institutional paralysis which could lead the country into a cycle of violence, our organizations call on the Haitian authorities and political parties to exercise restraint and avoid inflammatory speeches so that protests may take place peacefully.
Our organizations also call on Haitian political parties to work towards avoiding the dangerous crisis of an institutional void. This can include the establishment of a consensual and provisional transitional regime tasked with organizing the second round of the presidential elections in the shortest time and under the terms of free and credible. To legitimize this process, our organizations recommend the restructuring of the CEP, the implementation of the recommendations of the Independent Electoral Assessment Commission and verification of votes in the first round by an independent body.
FIDH, RNDDH, and CEDH call on the international community, including the “Core gGroup” to support the organization of credible and competitive elections that respect the choice of the Haitian voters, returning the necessary stability to the country through a satisfactory electoral process for the entire Haitian population.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Advocates Call on UN to Prevent Troops from Introducing Cholera to Host Countries
New Study Suggests Peacekeeping Host Countries Remain Vulnerable
(BOSTON, January 29, 2015)—Human rights advocates welcome a new study by Yale University published this week in the renowned medical journal PLOS Medicine, which provides new evidence that the United Nations (UN) is not using the most effective measures available to prevent initiating another cholera disaster in peacekeeping host countries.
The study examines the effectiveness of three pre-deployment interventions that could stop peacekeepers from bringing cholera to the vulnerable countries where they operate: vaccination, screening, and antibiotic prophylaxis. It finds screening and use of prophylactic antibiotics to be the most effective interventions. Both of these interventions were recommended to the UN by a UN-appointed panel in 2011, but the UN explicitly rejected them as unjustified in a process void of transparency.
“This study shows that five years and 9,000 Haitian deaths have not convinced the UN to take simple steps to reduce the risk of its troops introducing catastrophic epidemics. The citizens of the vulnerable countries that host peacekeeping missions deserve better,” said Brian Concannon, Jr., Executive Director of the Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti (IJDH), which has been advocating for changes to UN protocol to prevent another disaster like the one the UN brought to Haiti.
The UN cholera epidemic in Haiti is the worst single-country cholera epidemic of modern times, with more than 753,000 documented cases, and more than 9,000 deaths. Numerous scientific studies have established that cholera was introduced to Haiti in 2010 by peacekeepers from Nepal, where cholera is endemic. Advocates have since been pushing for policy changes that would prevent future peacekeeper introduction of cholera to vulnerable countries.
At the end of last year, the UN finally acknowledged for the first time the public health risks posed by peacekeepers to vulnerable populations in a revised Medical Support Manual for UN Field Missions, which sets the minimum standards for pre-deployment protocols. The manual warns of “the danger inherent in the introduction of diseases into the host country’s environment, particularly where such diseases are assumed to be non-existent prior to peacekeeping. This is especially important for communicable diseases such as cholera.”
But the manual fails to include measures sufficient to address this danger in practice. It did institute mandatory vaccination requirements, but the Yale study demonstrates that vaccination is not the most effective or cheapest option, and would also require a substantial proportion of the global supply of cholera vaccine to be diverted to peacekeepers. On the other hand, the study concludes that with a 90% effectiveness and cost of less than $1 per peacekeeper, prophylaxis offers the least expensive and most effective solution.
The UN appointed a task force to study these interventions when they were first proposed by its own panel of experts in 2011. The task force ultimately rejected screening and prophylaxis. The reasoning and evidence relied upon in reaching this conclusion, as well as the membership of the taskforce itself, were never made public.
By contrast, the new Yale study not only helps to fill the evidentiary gap, but is publicly available for scrutiny and discussion by the scientific community in developing the most effective strategy for preventing cholera introduction.
“Health policy should be evidence-based, but when we have a case as extreme as Haiti showing the status quo doesn’t work, we should be working to build evidence for a solution that does, not using a lack of proven solutions as an excuse not to act,” said Adam Houston, a doctoral candidate and Canadian Institute of Health Research Fellow in Health Law, Ethics & Policy at the University of Ottawa. “The UN needs to actively engage with emerging evidence in a transparent, productive fashion in order to advance effective measures to prevent the introduction of disease into vulnerable communities.”
For more information, including legal documents and background materials, see www.IJDH.org.
A timeline of the UN’s decision making process on medical protocols is available here: http://www.ijdh.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/UN-Policies-on-Medical-Cholera-Prevention-Timeline.pdf
Click HERE for the pdf version of this press release.
Jusqu’à l’annulation des élections en Haïti, la communauté internationale poussait Haïti pour procéder malgré les défauts graves. Le Canada a été l’un de ces pays. Dans cet article, le Canada défend ses actions, notant le gros investissement financier qu’il a apporté à ces élections.
Partie de l’article est ci-dessous. Cliquez ICI pour le texte complet.Le Canada défend son rôle dans le fiasco électoral
Guillaume Bourgault-Côté, Le Devoir
28 janvier 2016
Les critiques abondent à Port-au-Prince pour dénoncer les pressions que la communauté internationale aurait mises pour que se tiennent à tout prix les élections avortées du 24 janvier. Et c’est là une crise politique qui touche aussi le Canada : Ottawa a en effet investi 20 millions dans l’organisation de ces élections, a appris Le Devoir.
Selon les informations transmises par le cabinet du ministre des Affaires étrangères, Stéphane Dion, le Canada a « versé près de 11 millions pour la tenue des élections en Haïti, au moyen du Programme des Nations unies pour le développement ». À cette somme s’ajoutent « 9 millions pour l’observation électorale », versés à l’Institut national démocratique, qui soutient des organisations de la société civile haïtienne.
Le coût total des élections est estimé à 60 millions $US, d’après des chiffres transmis mercredi par le Conseil électoral provisoire (CEP). Le New York Times a révélé la semaine dernière que les États-Unis ont fourni près de 33 millions $US de leur côté.
Cliquez ICI pour le texte complet.
After a trip to the Dominican Republic, a group of U.S. rabbis is inspired to speak out against DR’s unjust citizenship polities, which have resulted in countless people becoming stateless. The rabbis likened the treatment of people of Haitian descent in DR to the treatment of Jews at tragic times in world history. One rabbi hopes to mobilize American Jews on this issue.
Part of the article is below. Click HERE for the full text.US rabbis speak out against Dominican Republic’s citizenship lawDominican Republic’s treatment of people of Haitian descent is like discrimination Jews have faced, rabbis say
Renee Lewis, Al Jazeera America
January 28, 2016
The Dominican Republic’s treatment of people of Haitian descent resembles the discrimination Jews have faced through their history, said a group of U.S. rabbis who visited the Caribbean island Thursday.
Hundreds of thousands of Dominicans of Haitian ancestry have been threatened with deportation by the Dominican government, which stripped them of their citizenship through a series of laws and court rulings beginning in 2013.
“This trip to the Dominican Republic strengthened my ability to stand with oppressed Dominicans of Haitian descent as an ally,” said Rabbi Ronit Tsadok, of Los Angeles’ IKAR synagogue, in a press release. “We will raise awareness about the human rights crisis in the Dominican Republic, which echoes some of the most difficult and disturbing chapters of Jewish history.”
Click HERE for the full text.
January 27, 2016
The Bureau des Avocats Internationaux (BAI), in its primary mission as defender of the rights of poor, and of inalienable and inherent human rights, the Movement for the Freedom and Equality of Haitians and Fraternity (MOLEGHAF), the Movement of Students to Free Haiti (MELA), Fos Lwès, and the Socio-Political Movement of Workers and Citizens (MSPTC), together invite the national and international press to a protest to be held tomorrow Thursday, January 28th from 11 am to 1 pm in front of the United States Embassy, to denounce the unacceptable interference of the United States of North America’s government in Haiti’s internal affairs, and to express the Haitian people’s condemnation of the behavior of countries which call themselves friends of Haiti but do not respect the right of the Haitian people to choose their leaders.
In recent weeks the US has tried to crush the country’s sovereignty and force an electoral coup. Faced with irrefutable proof of massive electoral fraud and collusion between the Provisional Electoral Council (CEP) and the Martelly / Paul government, the US government and the international community have sought to ignore the democratic demands of the people for a credible and inclusive election and to force the continuation of an electoral farce. Through their injunctions to Haitian institutions the Embassy of the United States and the US State Department’s Haiti Special Coordinator, Kenneth Merten, have violated the diplomatic representation principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of host countries, as set out in the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.
“Despite their failure to impose fraudulent elections in Haiti, the United States is still seeking to impose a puppet president who will facilitate the exploitation of the country’s mineral resources by international companies,” states BAI Managing Attorney Mario Joseph. “International interference has impoverished and weakened Haiti. It is clear that the international community is interested in increasing its own power and the wealth of foreign companies to the detriment of the Haitian people. Today a transition free from foreign interference is necessary to define a more just and equitable future: a new plan for education, health, housing, work… and respect for fundamental and inalienable rights and the dignity of the Haitian people.”
BAI MOLEGHAF, MELA, Fos Lwès and MSPTC denounce the US government’s neocolonialism and total lack of respect for the sovereignty and human rights of the Haitian people, whether it is in supporting the electoral fraud of the Martelly/Paul government, the exploitation of the country’s mineral wealth by foreign companies, or opposing the claims of MINUSTAH cholera victims who are calling for justice and reparations.
The international community’s interference in the internal affairs of the country, notably that of the United States, constitutes a flagrant violation of the rights, honor and dignity of the Haitian people, which our ancestors paid with their blood to obtain. As such, we demand that these actors behave with respect for the inalienable human rights of the Haitian people.
NOTE DE PRESSE
Le Bureau des Avocats Internationaux (BAI), dans sa mission première de défendre les droits des plus démunis, les droits inaliénables, imprescriptibles et inhérents à la personne humaine, le Mouvement de Liberté, d’Egalité des Haïtiens et de la Fraternité (MOLEGHAF), le Mouvement Etudiants pour Libérer Haiti (MELA), Fos Lwès et le Mouvement Socio-Politique des Travailleurs et des Citoyens (MSPTC) invitent la presse nationale et internationale a un sit-in qui se tiendra demain Jeudi 28 Janvier de 11h a.m à 1h p.m. en face de l’ambassade des Etats-Unis, pour dénoncer l’ingérence du gouvernement des Etats-Unis D’Amérique du Nord dans la politique interne du pays et pour exprimer la réprobation du peuple haïtien contre le comportement des pays qui se disent amis d’Haïti mais qui ne respectent pas le droit du peuple Haïtien de choisir ses dirigeants.
Pendant ces dernières semaines, les Etats-Unis ont essayé de fouler aux pieds la souveraineté du pays et de forcer un coup d’état électoral. Face aux preuves irréfutables de fraudes électorales massives et d’une collusion entre le Conseil Electoral Provisoire (CEP) et le Gouvernement Martelly/Paul, le gouvernement des Etats Unis et la communauté internationale ont cherché à ignorer les appels démocratiques du peuple pour une élection crédible et inclusive et à forcer la continuation d’une farce électorale. Par ses injonctions aux institutions Haïtiennes, l’ambassade des Etats-Unis et le Coordonnateur Spécial au département d’Etat pour Haïti, Kenneth Merten, ont violé les principes de représentation diplomatique de non-interférence dans les affaires intérieures du pays hôte, telle que définie dans la Convention de Vienne sur les Relations Diplomatiques
« Malgré leur défaite à imposer des élections frauduleuses en Haïti, les Etats-Unis cherchent toujours à imposer un président marionnette qui facilitera l’exploitation des ressources souterraines du pays par des firmes internationales » déclare Maitre Mario Joseph, l’avocat responsable du BAI. «L’ingérence internationale a appauvri et affaibli Haïti. Il est clair que l’intérêt de la communauté internationale est de faire accroître leur propre pouvoir et la richesse des entreprises étrangères, au détriment du peuple Haïtien. Aujourd’hui une transition sans ingérence étrangère s’impose pour définir un avenir plus juste et équitable: un nouveau plan d’éducation, de santé, de logement, de travail etc…, pour le respect des droits fondamentaux et inaliénables et la dignité du peuple haitien ».
BAI, MOLEGHAF, MELA, Fòs Lwès et MSPTC dénoncent le néo-colonialisme du gouvernement des Etats-Unis, et son manque total de respect pour les droits humains et la souveraineté du peuple Haïtien, soit en soutenant la fraude électorale du gouvernement Martelly/Paul, soit en exploitant les richesses minières du pays par les entreprises étrangères, soit en s’opposant aux revendications des victimes du choléra MINUSTAH qui réclament justice et réparations.
L’ingérence de la communauté Internationale, notamment les Etats unis dans les affaires internes du pays constitue une violation flagrante a l’égard du droit, de l’honneur et de la dignité du peuple haïtien, lesquels ont été obtenus par nos ancêtres au prix de leur sang. Ainsi donc, nous exigerons de ces acteurs qu’ils se comportent avec respect pour les droits inaliénables et imprescriptibles du peuple haïtien.
Haiti avoided a political disaster by postponing elections that were wildly unpopular due to fraud and other concerns about their legitimacy. Now, the situation is still troubling but Haiti has an opportunity to have more fair, democratic elections in the future. What will happen next?Haiti’s leadership is in limbo as political crisis looms
Ann M. Simmons, Los Angeles Times
January 27, 2016
With Haiti’s presidential elections postponed again and just over a week left until the current leader’s term expires, various political factions are negotiating to avert a constitutional crisis that could leave the Western hemisphere’s poorest nation with nobody clearly in charge.
The vote was supposed to occur last Sunday, but election authorities last week postponed it indefinitely due to security concerns, including attacks that had occurred on election offices. It was the third time the vote — a runoff originally scheduled for Dec. 27 — has been delayed. President Michel Martelly must leave office by Feb. 7.
The crisis threatens to throw the poor and troubled Caribbean country back into the instability and political morass that it has long struggled against.
“You’re looking at a country absolutely mired in institutional chaos,” said Eduardo Gamarra, a professor of political science at Florida International University. “They are teetering on the brink. They are there on the edge of the precipice.”
The elections were already troubled, with opposition candidate Jude Celestin planning to boycott. The former government construction ministry director alleged vote rigging in the first round of elections that took place in October.
The ruling party candidate, Jovenel Moise, a banana exporter and political newcomer, won that round but failed to secure the required majority, thereby necessitating the runoff.
Now the countdown has begun to avert a political catastrophe.The negotiations include Martelly, parliamentary leaders, opposition groups and members of the private sector.
International observers and academics with knowledge of the proceedings said several scenarios are being weighed. Among them is shelving the current elections, ensuring that Martelly leaves office as scheduled, installing an interim government and holding a completely new vote within weeks or months.
“There has been a deeply fraudulent and violent electoral process up until now,” said Brian Concannon, executive director of the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti, a Boston-based human rights group. “There is an opportunity now to step back and create a much better process. If elections are forced through, it will be setting Haiti up for another very difficult five years.”
Jake Johnston, a research associate at the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, D.C., who observed last October’s elections, said a new government would need to consider deeper restructuring, such as an overhaul of the electoral process.
“You have a lot of systemic problems which require not just cosmetic fixes but serious reforms,” he said.
Martelly, a popular former musician who came to power after winning a presidential runoff in 2011, for years failed to hold local and parliamentary elections and has essentially ruled by decree since January 2015.
The country has struggled to establish a steady democracy since the Haitian Revolution of 1986 that toppled President Jean-Claude Duvalier, whose family had ruled the island with an iron fist since 1957.
Longtime polarization among Haitian politicians and a history of intransigence is going to make it difficult to reach a consensus of any kind, analysts said.
Haiti “has a zero-sum political environment, which means if you don’t win, you lose,” Gamarra said. “In a zero-sum environment, losers are never going to accept the outcome. It’s going to be a long, long negotiation because people are not going to cede.”
Tensions have flared for the last several days as unruly protesters have taken to the streets in Haiti’s capital Port-au-Prince, triggering clashes with security forces.
Haitian police patrol the street during a protest in Port-au-Prince on Monday.
(Hector Retamal / AFP/Getty Images)
The United States, which considers Haiti a “policy priority” and backed Martelly’s presidency, is calling for calm. Washington, which has pumped $33 million into the elections, had been pushing for the final round to take place before the Feb. 7 deadline. But since the postponement last week, U.S. officials have acknowledged that the chance of new elections happening quickly was unlikely.
“Realistically speaking, we may be looking at some sort of temporary solution until there is a handover to a new elected president,” U.S. Haiti Special Coordinator Kenneth Merten told Reuters. “Our fear is that we go into a situation that is open-ended.”
“In our analysis, that is a dangerous place to go,” Merten said.
Since an earthquake in 2010 devastated Haiti, killing hundreds of thousands and rendering just as many homeless, the U.S. has made available nearly $4 billion to the impoverished nation to help with post-disaster relief as well as reconstruction, development programs and longer-term recovery.
But continued progress in rebuilding the fragile island nation will likely be halted unless Haiti emerges smoothly from its political quagmire, analysts said.
Click HERE for the original article.
As Haiti’s current political crisis began to unfold, the United States continually tried to force fraudulent elections to continue despite broad popular disapproval. Now that the elections have been postponed in hopes of a more legitimate strategy, the State Department “reaffirms its support for credible, transparent, and secure elections that reflect the will of the Haitian people.” But has the State Department ever supported the will of the Haitian people? This article outlines U.S. intervention in Haiti over the past century, in ways that certainly did not support the Haitian people.
Part of the article is below. Click HERE for the full text.Sure, Washington Has Always Supported Democracy in Haiti
Greg Grandin, The Nation
January 26, 2016
“As in the past, the United States is taking great interest in how elections in Haiti are unfolding,” a State Department spokesperson announced a few days ago; “The United States reaffirms its support for credible, transparent, and secure elections that reflect the will of the Haitian people.” George Orwell couldn’t have said it better: “We’ve always been at war with Eastasia.” And we have always supported democracy in Haiti.
The remark was in response to the country’s current political crisis—a crisis largely created by Washington—that forced the postponement of a runoff presidential election. The first-round vote, last October, was so marred by fraud, corruption, and violence that all other candidates, save Washington’s favored and handpicked successor to the current president, Michel Martelly—Jovenel Moïse—were boycotting the second runoff round.
In other words, the runoff had only one candidate: Washington’s. For months, the Obama administration insisted that the runoff take place, working hard to discredit the fraud charges. The goal of the United States, the State Department said in a “Fact Sheet” updated just last week as street protests were gaining force, was “credible, inclusive, and legitimate elections that genuinely reflect the will of the Haitian people.”
Click HERE for the full text.
With all the fraud, violence and other issues in both of the first two rounds of elections in Haiti, it became abundantly clear that the process couldn’t proceed as it was going. This excellent editorial summarizes the issues which led to the final round (second round of presidential elections) being put on hold. The next step is for Haitians to find a way to hold free and fair elections and “emerge from the crisis with a politics worthy of its people.”
Part of the article is below. Click HERE for the full text.Democracy on Hold in Haiti
The Editorial Board, The New York Times
January 26, 2016
A runoff election on Sunday for president in Haiti was postponed indefinitely late last week. The decision made sense, because with protesters in the streets, violence and gunfire and the torching of electoral offices, it was clear that any vote would be marred by bloodshed and chaos.
It was also good because, with only one candidate participating, any result would be ludicrous and fraudulent.
That candidate is Jovenel Moïse, a political unknown who is the handpicked successor to President Michel Martelly, whose term is up. Mr. Moïse finished first in a first-round election in October, but that election was so tainted by accusations of rigged voting and intimidation that the runner-up, Jude Célestin, denounced the result and refused to campaign in round 2.
Click HERE for the full text.
A new study shows that for less than $1 per peacekeeper, the United Nations could have reduced the chance of introducing cholera into Haiti by over 90% by issuing antibiotics pre-deployment! Despite similar recommendations by the UN’s own panel of experts, the UN still doesn’t follow this procedure. It has been over five years since UN peacekeepers first brought cholera to Haiti and Haitians are still becoming sick with and dying from cholera. Below is a press release from the Yale researchers who conducted this new study.
PRESS RELEASEStudy: Haiti’s Cholera Epidemic Could Have Been Prevented
Cholera remains a critical risk for U.N. peacekeeping operations, years after Nepalese troops inadvertently the disease to Haiti in fall of 2010 and triggered one of the worst epidemics in recent years.
New research by scientists at Yale School of Public Health, in partnership with colleagues at the Yale Law School, has found that simple and inexpensive interventions—which the United Nations has yet to implement—would be effective in preventing future outbreaks of the bacterial infection.
Researchers developed a mathematical model for the arrival of peacekeepers carrying cholera and the early spread of the disease in Haiti. The model estimated the probability of an epidemic occurring under current U.N. protocols, and compared this against the probability of an epidemic if peacekeepers had been given antibiotics for cholera, screened or vaccinated. A team of independent scientific and medical experts had previously recommended that the United Nations consider these interventions to limit peacekeepers’ risk for spreading cholera. However, their implementation by the UN has been complicated by a lack of evidence to support decision-making.
The Yale team found that all three strategies could significantly reduce risk for cholera epidemics such as occurred in Haiti following a massive earthquake that devastated parts of the Caribbean nation. Antibiotic prophylaxis beginning one week before peacekeepers depart their home countries was the most promising strategy, reducing the probability of an epidemic by over 90 percent, at a cost well below $1 per peacekeeper. Screening for cholera infection was found to reduce the probability of an epidemic by over 80 percent at around $2.50 per peacekeeper.
The findings are published today (January 26) in the journal PLOS Medicine.
“More needs to be done by the United Nations to protect both peacekeeping personnel and the populations that they serve from cholera,” said senior author Virginia Pitzer, assistant professor in the Department of Epidemiology of Microbial Diseases at the School of Public Health. “This study provides quantitative support to show that effective strategies are available.”
Vaccination, meanwhile, was estimated to reduce the probability of an outbreak by around 60 percent at best. While cholera vaccines prevent severe symptoms when people are exposed to the pathogen, they do not necessarily prevent people from becoming infected and unknowingly transmitting to others. Given the limited supply of cholera vaccines, the researchers argue that vaccination might be better used in response to emergencies.
“One of the goals of modeling is to get a sense of the potential large-scale outcomes of different policies,” said Joseph Lewnard, the study’s lead author and a Ph.D. student at the School of Public Health. “Evidence that the available interventions are effective substantively changes the conversation about preventing cholera introduction during deployments.”
Haiti’s cholera epidemic killed close to 9,000 people and hospitalized hundreds of thousands more. The epidemic also spread to several neighboring countries.
Cholera is a diarrheal disease transmited through contaminated food and water. Severe cases can cause some victims to die of dehydration the same day they fall ill. However, far more people carry cholera bacteria without suffering severe symptoms, making it hard to know who is infected and capable of spreading the disease.
Other authors include Marina Antillón and Gregg Gonsalves, Ph.D. candidates at the School of Public Health; Alice Miller, associate professor (adjunct) at Yale Law School and assistant clinical professor at School of Public Health; and Albert Ko, professor at the School of Public Health.
Yale’s Global Health Justice Partnership (GHJP), a partnership between the Yale schools of public health and law, co-authored a previous report in 2013 about the role of the United Nations in causing the cholera epidemic in Haiti. The 58-page report, titled “Peacekeeping without Accountability,” examined the U.N. role in precipitating the crisis and the U.N.’s responsibilities to provide legal remedies to victims of the epidemic. The GHJP was established in 2012 to promote interdisciplinary, innovative, and effective responses to global health disparities.
Questions can be directed to Michael Greenwood, email@example.com.
After weeks of pushing Haiti to go forward with elections that are widely seen as illegitimate, the U.S. government has finally acknowledged the need for a transitional period. In the interview below, Haiti Special Coordinator Kenneth Merten says that the U.S. opposes a long transitional period but know that a temporary solution is needed. What remains to be seen is whether the U.S. government will support a more democratic elections process going forward.
Part of the article is below. Click HERE for the full text.Exclusive – Short-term interim government likely in Haiti – U.S. official
Frank Jack Daniel, Reuters
January 25, 2016
PORT-AU-PRINCE (Reuters) – Haiti is likely to install an interim government to transfer power to a new president, a senior U.S. official said on Monday, after the Caribbean nation called off an election days before current President Michel Martelly is due to leave office.
The United States’ Haiti Special Coordinator Kenneth Merten said Washington wanted to see new elections quickly and opposed a long transitional period, but acknowledged elections were unlikely to be held before Martelly’s Feb. 7 departure date.
“Realistically speaking,” Merten told Reuters, “We may be looking at some sort of temporary solution until there is a handover to a new elected president. Our fear is that we go into a situation that is open ended.”
Click HERE for the full text.
After weeks of the international community and Haiti’s current president pushing an illegitimate electoral process forward, Haiti’s Electoral Council finally cancelled the elections to prevent worsening of the political crisis. So far, CARICOM has only had a “mildly worded press release” on the issue but it has taken strong stances on Haiti in the past. Now, CARICOM has an opportunity to help Haitians keep fighting for the fair elections that the postponement can allow.
Part of the article is below. Click HERE for the full text.CARICOM must demonstrate leadership in Haiti’s electoral process this time around
Kevin Edmonds, Stabroek News
January 25, 2016
Haiti’s most recent cycle of presidential elections has been marred by irregularities and significant allegations of corruption to the point that a group of eight leading opposition candidates, the Haitian Senate and leading figures in civil society had been calling for a postponement of the elections. On Friday afternoon, Haiti’s electoral council wisely gave in to the opposition in an effort to limit the deepening of the nation’s political crisis.
While the holding of regularly scheduled elections is often pointed to as a sign of a healthy and vibrant democracy, holding elections at any cost and ignoring the repeated warnings of the electorate, civil society and opposition candidates would only serve to weaken Haiti’s fragile democracy. If the elections had gone forward as planned, it would have happened with only one candidate’s participation – that of current president Michel Martelly’s handpicked successor, Jovenel Moise.
Click HERE for the full text.
For weeks, protesters in Haiti, along with human rights organizations, churches, and Haiti’s Chamber of Commerce, had been calling for postponement of the January 24 elections due to massive fraud in previous rounds. Now that the elections have been postponed, the protesters have a new demand: that President Michel Martelly resign. As the situation in Haiti continues to be tense, many wonder whether Martelly will last until his constitutionally-mandated departure date of February 7th.
Part of the article is below. Click HERE for the full text.Protesters in Haiti Demand That President Quit
Frances Robles, The New York Times
January 24, 2016
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — Volcy Assad, a Haitian political activist, stood before an enormous plume of black smoke emanating from a pile of burning tires and made it clear that the demands of protesters had changed.
“Today we are demanding the departure of Michel Martelly,” Mr. Assad said on Saturday, referring to the Haitian president. Around him, groups of young men, faces covered with T-shirts and bandannas to shield from tear gas, had blocked the streets with rocks.
One day earlier, officials had bowed to widespread civil unrest and postponed a single-candidate presidential runoff vote that was to be held on Sunday. Now, feeling emboldened in their objections to the first round of voting that many saw as deeply fraudulent, protesters are demanding the ouster of President Martelly. With just two weeks left in office, he has become the central figure in a growing political scandal here that threatens the stability of a nation with a long history of social unrest and turmoil.
Click HERE for the full text.
Accused drug trafficker Guy Phillippe, who was also a leader in Haiti’s 2004 coup, has claimed he is “ready for war” if Haiti’s transitional government isn’t representative of the provinces. Now that Haiti’s second round of presidential elections have been cancelled with the current president’s term set to expire February 7th, Haiti seems poised for a transitional government but it’s unclear who would head or choose it. No date has been set for the next round of elections yet.
Part of the article is below. Click HERE for the full text.Ex–Haiti coup leader decries canceled presidential election
Al Jazeera America
January 24, 2016
A Haitian former coup leader wanted by the United States for smuggling cocaine called on his supporters on Sunday to resist “anarchists” who forced a presidential election to be canceled — a sign of deep polarization that could lead to more unrest.
The former rebel, Guy Philippe, called for counterprotests and said he would not recognize any transitional government put in place when outgoing President Michel Martelly leaves office on Feb. 7 unless it was representative of the provinces.
“We are ready for war,” Philippe said. “We will divide the country.”
It was not clear how much support he can muster, but he remains popular in his southern stronghold of Grande-Anse, and the tone of his remarks points to the depth of polarization over the political crisis.
Click HERE for the full text.
IJDH’s Nik Barry-Shaw discusses the recent postponement of Haiti’s presidential elections, what led up to that, and what it needed to make the electoral process more democratic going forward.International community appeals for dialogue, calm in Haiti
January 24, 2016
Click HERE for the original post.
In the statement below, written right before the postponement of the January 24th presidential “run-off” election, 68 grassroots organizations in Haiti issue an urgent call for solidarity with their struggle for free and fair elections, dignity and justice. The statement was written as tens of thousands of Haitians have taken to the streets – braving assassination, tear gas, beatings, and police torture – demanding the annulment of the fraudulent elections that gave the lead positions in the legislative and presidential races to the hand-picked candidates of President Michel Martelly. The January 22 postponement of the presidential election was a dramatic and hard-won victory for the people’s movement, which had insisted that no election take place until it could be free and fair and democratic.Part of the statement is below. Click HERE for the full statement.Statement from Haiti’s popular movementHaiti Action CommitteeJanuary 22, 2016“We Will Not Obey” / “Nou Pap Obeyi”A Call for Solidarity from Haiti’s Popular MovementReflecting on the voting rights struggle led by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and so many other courageous fighters for justice fifty years ago in the US; on the one person one vote struggle led by Mandela’s comrades in South Africa; reflecting on struggles everywhere, we came to the conclusion that a people can’t be sovereign if they don’t have the right to vote. No people can retain their dignity if their vote does not count. As clearly stated by President Aristide: “If we don’t protect our dignity, our dignity will escape us!” That is why we struggle and ask that people the world over with a history of struggle stand in solidarity with us.
Six years after the earthquake that jolted the country, causing the death of hundreds of thousands of Haitians, we, Haitian organizations, in the context of reflection, take our hats off and humbly say to the people all over the planet who opened their hearts to us, “We have not forgotten your acts of solidarity”. The sharing impulse manifested by people the world over, should have helped the Haitian people to rebuild their environment, rebuild their lives. Pity! To this day, the people’s lot has not changed. Adding insult to injury, shameless characters, local slave owners, empowered by various international organizations, hijacked the reconstruction funds.…Click HERE for the full statement.
Tensions mounted in Haiti in recent weeks as the current government and the international community seemed poised to push forward with fraudulent elections on Sunday, January 24. Suddenly on Friday, January 22, election officials announced that the elections were postponed. Many in Haiti and abroad are celebrating this victory for democracy.
Part of the article is below. Click HERE for the full text.Haiti elections scheduled for Sunday have been canceled
Jacqueline Charles, Miami Herald
January 22, 2016
PORT-AU-PRINCEHaitian elections officials Friday afternoon abruptly canceled Sunday’s planned elections amid escalating protests and violence around the country.Moments earlier, the officials had halted the distribution of voting materials and began recovery of those that had already gone out.Elections officials said at a news conference that safety could not be guaranteed for voters or poll workers.The cancellation is “a victory for all of the democratic sector,” said Jude Célestin, the main opposition candidate in Sunday’s election.“This isn’t just about me. It’s also about all the people who supported me and who fought for us to arrive here,” he told the Miami Herald.The electoral commission’s about-face came after the international community said it is leaving the door open for Haitians to find a political consensus that could lead to the postponement of Sunday’s partial legislative and presidential runoff.
Click HERE for the full text.
After countless protests and threats of violence, Haiti’s Electoral Council (CEP) announced the cancellation of the presidential runoff election, two days before it was scheduled to happen. Protests against the election were based on perceptions of the election being illegitimate, given the fraud that marred the electoral process in previous rounds. The CEP hasn’t yet announced a new date for the presidential runoff but the current president’s term is Constitutionally required to end February 7th.
Part of the article is below. Click HERE for the full text.Haiti Postpones Presidential Runoff as Violence Rises
Frances Robles, The New York Times
January 22, 2016
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — A runoff election to choose the next president of Haiti was delayed on Friday, less than 48 hours before it was to take place, as protesters who expected a rigged outcome began to block roads and burn voting centers.
Haiti, the Western Hemisphere’s poorest country, has been mired in an election-related political impasse since October, when 54 candidates ran for president in a race that opposition leaders and human rights groups said was mired in fraud.
The current president’s handpicked successor, Jovenel Moïse, a banana exporter who was a virtual unknown in Haiti, officially came in first with 32.8 percent of the vote. Jude Célestin, a former state construction company official who was ousted from the 2010 race after election fraud, came in second with 25 percent. Mr. Célestin has refused to campaign and was boycotting the second round.
Click HERE for the full text.