Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti

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Sen. Markey: UN Response to Matthew in Haiti “Grossly Inadequate”

October 18, 2016 - 12:01

Senator Markey (D-MA) makes a statement regarding UN aid to Haiti following Hurricane Matthew.  He states that the UN’s actions thus far are “grossly inadequate” and calls for increased leadership by the UN in response to the destruction of Hurricane Matthew.

PRESS RELEASE: Senator Markey Criticizes United Nations Response to Hurricane Matthew in Haiti

Senator Ed Markey

October 18, 2016

Washington (October 18, 2016) – Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), top Democrat on the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Africa and Global Health Policy, today called the United Nations (UN) effort to remedy the humanitarian crisis in Haiti following Hurricane Matthew grossly inadequate. Approximately 546 people have been killed as a result of the deadly storm, 438 injured, and 128 are missing. At least 2.1 million people in Haiti have been affected by Hurricane Matthew’s damage, with more than 1.4 million in need of assistance. Despite UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s immediate appeal for $120 million to aid the emergency effort, only five percent has been raised, totaling little more than $6 million. Meanwhile, the people of Haiti continue to suffer from food insecurity, limited access to clean drinking water, crippled sanitation infrastructure, and fear the ever-growing threat of cholera. There are reports of 477 new suspected cases of cholera that have emerged since the hurricane hit the country.

“The United Nations and its member countries are utterly failing to meet the dire needs of the people of Haiti in the wake of Hurricane Matthew. Providing adequate and accelerated relief to people suffering from food insecurity and a cholera epidemic isn’t simply a matter of moral obligation but of human decency.

“The people of Haiti have waited long enough for a meaningful UN response to the cholera epidemic they created by introducing the disease to Haiti during 2010 earthquake response operations. We need the UN to serve as a forceful, hands-on leader of the hurricane relief effort, and we need Member States to immediately step up and participate with robust financial support. This is the very least we can do for the Haitian people who are suffering in great part due to UN negligence.

Last week, the UN also outlined its two-track plan to remedy Haiti’s public health emergency. The UN’s announcement neglected to underline the importance of broadly expanded Member State support, lacked a formal apology to the people of Haiti, the victims of cholera and their families, and failed to mention any financial adjudication of claims against the organization for those impacted by the outbreak.

Earlier this year, Senator Markey called on the United Nations to publicly apologize for their role in the cholera outbreak and subsequent epidemic, provide material resources to end the threat of the disease in Haiti and deliver financial assistance to victims and their families that were affected by the epidemic.


Click HERE for the original text.

Critique and analysis of UN’s “moral responsibility” rhetoric

October 16, 2016 - 11:38

IJDH’s Nancy Young discusses and critiques the UN’s strategic rhetoric on how it is to tackle the cholera epidemic in Haiti. Young argues that the UN’s discussion of the need to end cholera not only comes six years too late, but that it fails to demonstrate any understanding of it’s direct culpability in the 2010 outbreak.

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

The Immoral “Moral Responsibility” of Ban Ki-moon and the UN

Nancy Young,

October 16, 2016

Protesters at a demonstration in Port-au-Prince in March 2016 demand the United Nations take responsibility for the massive cholera epidemic it started in October 2010. (Photo from original article)


UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon spent 4 1/2 hours in Haiti on October 15 and surveyed the damage from Hurricane Matthew — including the spike in the cholera misery caused by the organization he leads.

He feels really, really bad. No, really.

That’s what he’s got for the Haitian people. Really.

In 2014, Ban came to Haiti to say how bad he felt about cholera and that things were going to be different now because the UN understood its “moral responsibility.”…

Click HERE for the full article.

Advocates Denounce UN Chief’s Failure to Acknowledge Responsibility for Cholera

October 15, 2016 - 17:30



Sienna Merope-Synge, Port-au-Prince, +509-4875-3444, (English, French, Creole)

Mario Joseph, Port-au-Prince, +509-3701-9879, (Creole, French, English)

Beatrice Lindstrom, New York, +1-404-217-1302; (English, French, Creole)



Advocates Denounce UN Chief’s Failure to Acknowledge Responsibility for Cholera

Ban Visits Haiti Amidst Surging Cholera Outbreak in Hurricane-Ravaged South

(BOSTON, NEW YORK, PORT-AU-PRINCE, October 15, 2016)–Advocates for victims of the UN-caused cholera epidemic in Haiti expressed shock that the Secretary-General did not acknowledge responsibility for introducing the epidemic while explaining his much-heralded “new approach” to cholera while in Haiti today. “It is outrageous for the Secretary-General to come to Haiti, see how much we are suffering, and once again refuse to acknowledge what everybody in Haiti knows that he knows to be a scientific fact,” said Mario Joseph, Managing Attorney of the Bureau des Avocats Internationaux, which has led a campaign for justice and reparations for victims of cholera since 2011. “The UN’s own experts concluded–five years ago–that the UN brought cholera to Haiti. But the Secretary-General pretends that Haitians do not know that.”

Speaking at a press conference in Port-au-Prince after touring areas devastated by Hurricane Matthew, the United Nations Secretary-General today expressed his solidarity with victims of the hurricane and deplored the continuing cholera epidemic, describing it as “sad and troubling.” He discussed the UN’s “moral responsibility”, as he did during a July 2015 visit, but failed to acknowledge the UN’s own responsibility for introducing the disease.

Hundreds of Haitians have contracted cholera in the past week, after the hurricane caused massive flooding. With health centers lacking basic supplies to treat the surge in new cases, relief workers warn that Haiti is “in a race against time,” and that there will be a spike in the epidemic in the coming weeks if water treatment, rehydration supplies, and medical care is not provided immediately.

On August 18, 2016, the UN conceded that it “has become convinced that it must do much more in response to its own involvement in the initial outbreak,” and the Secretary-General vowed to announce a “new response” within two months that would include cholera control and material assistance for victims. On Friday, the UN launched a new cholera response trust fund, which is not yet funded. Further details of the new approach are yet to emerge.

Victims and their advocates have called on the Secretary-General for years to publicly apologize for the UN’s introduction of cholera to Haiti through reckless waste management, and for its continuous denials and gross mishandling of the situation over the past six years. “Human rights are something that all people must respect no matter how powerful you are,” wrote cholera victim Viengemene Ulisse in a personal letter to the UN in December 2015, one of more than 2000 victims to send such appeals.

In his final address to the General Assembly, the Secretary-General expressed “tremendous regret and sorry [sic] for Haitians affected by cholera,” but still refused to acknowledge the UN’s own responsibility for causing that suffering.

“Ban now has less than three months left in office. He is running out of time to repair the deep stain on his legacy caused by six years of denial and deception about the cholera epidemic” said Sienna Merope-Synge, a lawyer with the Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti (IJDH), which represents the victims of the epidemic.  “A good step would be acknowledging the basic facts, over which there has been no serious scientific dispute for over five years.”

Ban spoke about the difficulties in fundraising for the new cholera initiative, but advocates say admitting responsibility is a critical prerequisite and component of a just response. “Member states must step up and fund the UN’s new response, but unless the UN publicly takes responsibility for bringing cholera to Haiti, its efforts will not be credible in the eyes of the donor community, or in the eyes of the Haitian people” said Beatrice Lindstrom, also a lawyer with IJDH and counsel for victims in a lawsuit filed in U.S court.

In August, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit affirmed an earlier dismissal of the lawsuit from the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, holding that any violation of the UN’s obligations to provide remedies for personal injury claims out of court does not impact its immunity from suit.

Victims are now weighing whether to pursue an appeal to the Supreme Court of the United States.


New York Times front page on UN-cholera

October 15, 2016 - 09:00

UN-Cholera made the front page of the New York Times after Hurricane Matthew, with heart-breaking photography.

“When you look around you, it’s like the end of the world,” said Joseph Kenso, 33.

The article relates the emotional toll on victims and their families, in addition to medical staff. Families risk it all to remain with victims in the clinic of the remote town of Rendel, four-hours away from a paved road. The people abandoned the town, and the victims of cholera remained often-times dispossessed.

Cholera Deepens Haiti’s Misery After Hurricane

by Azam Ahmed, photographs by Meridith Kohut, New York Times

October 15th, 2016

Relatives risk disease to tend to loved ones at the clinic in Rendel.

RENDEL, Haiti — There is a plague on this town. Even before the winds and rain toppled nearly everything standing, cholera was already here. It came down from the mountains, washing into the lives of the thousands who once lived above the river.

Now the only sign of life is in a makeshift clinic dealing with hundreds of suspected cholera cases, a small concrete building where just a few nurses contend with the swarms of patients arriving every hour.

There is only one public official left. The mayor was struck by cholera and left on foot to seek treatment hours away. One deputy died of the disease last week. Another fled, like so many others, to escape the ruin visited on the town of Rendel by Hurricane Matthew and its aftermath.

“Ninety percent of our village is gone,” said Eric Valcourt, a priest in the Roman Catholic parish that runs the clinic and a school that now serves as a shelter for those too sick or poor to leave. “Many left by foot to escape the disease and devastation. The rest died from cholera or the hurricane.”

A week has passed since the hurricane tore through this remote stretch of Haiti’s southern peninsula, leaving an apocalyptic landscape of treeless countryside, disarticulated homes and a land robbed of its natural riches.

But for many, the torment has only started. Cholera, the disease at the heart of Haiti’s last disaster, is being spread again by this one.

About 10,000 people have died and hundreds of thousands have been sickened since cholera first appeared in late 2010. Scientists say it was brought to Haiti by United Nations peacekeepers stationed at a base that leaked waste into a river. After years of deflecting blame, the United Nations this summer acknowledged “its own involvement” in the suffering Haiti has experienced from the disease.

Now, cholera is stalking the areas gutted by the hurricane, a long peninsula of coastal towns and mountain villages where clean water was already hard to find, long before the storm. Here in the remote town of Rendel, a grueling four ­hour trek to the nearest paved road, the disease has spread to every crevice of this valley and the hills above.

“We are all at risk,” said the last official in Rendel, Pierre Cenel, the magistrate.

A father raced down the hill to the clinic with his young daughter draped over his back, clutching her legs, his face fixed in fear.

“She must have cholera,” the magistrate said. “He is running to save her life.”

Cholera was creeping through the mountains even before the hurricane, claiming the lives of untold numbers as its pushed toward town. First came the sick, who trudged down to Rendel, desperate for medical care.

Then, when the floods came, cholera was carried down by the water itself, which swept up fecal matter dumped on the hillsides, contaminating the river and other drinking supplies.

Inexperience did the rest. Water unboiled or unchlorinated and poor hygiene meant the infections spread rapidly.

The town of Rendel and its surroundings, which once sheltered 25,000 people, are the epicenter of a potential disaster. Thousands have left on foot, forging a waist-high river that bends so often that it requires nine crossings along the way. The things they carry are all they have left: split bags of clothes and small livestock. They carry disease, too, destined for towns connected to the rest of the country by road.

One family braced for a river crossing, the youngest daughter in a purple dress with a pink sweater, clutching a live chicken in her arms.

“I don’t know what we will do, but we can’t live here,” said her father, Donald Augustin, 37, balancing a black suitcase on top of his head. “The people are dying of cholera.”

Those who remain bear witness to the slow release of misery. Heroic nurses care for patients splayed on the floor like rag dolls, some resting atop the improvised stretchers they arrived on. Patients vomit and defecate on the floor or into small yellow buckets, too sick to leave their stifling confines. The waste is emptied into an hole on the hill just behind the clinic, awaiting the next rainfall to overflow once again. The smell of bile and excrement stings the nostrils.

Patients come and go to escape the stench and the oppressive heat, while relatives risk disease to tend to their loved ones. Many refuse to come to the clinic at all, fearful of being blamed for the outbreak. Sick people midway through their recoveries are shown the door to make way for new patients. A single lantern is the only light for the nurses to work by during grueling 12­-hour shifts.

A lowing child is rocked on her mother’s lap as an IV drip pumps fluids into her tiny arm. A young husband feeds his pregnant wife hot porridge, blowing over each spoonful as patients writhe beside and beneath them. A father kisses the ear of his 4­-year­-old son to soften the taste of saline solution.

“I spent the night here with her but the bed is too small for both of us so I slept outside and checked on her every hour,” said Jean Romit Cadet, 22, the young husband, handing the spoon to his wife and urging her to eat. “If I get sick, I get sick. I’m responsible for her.”

One morning this week, a rush of patients poured into the clinic, some carried on stretchers. A nurse tried to register each patient but lost track in the chaos, unable to take down everyone’s details.

A young girl entered the clinic and told the head nurse she was suffering from diarrhea.

“For how many days?” the nurse asked.

“Three,” the girl replied.

“Why are you only coming now?” the nurse demanded. “We need to hook you up to an IV.”

The girl refused.

“I’m not vomiting,” she yelled over her shoulder as she left the clinic.

The nurse turned to the crowd in the entrance of the clinic, a porch robbed of its roof by the storm. In its place hung a sagging blue tarp.

“This is the problem,” she told the crowd of patients, parents holding sick children and others laid out on the floor, their eyes lolling back into their heads. “She doesn’t want to use the IV because she isn’t vomiting. But that doesn’t mean she doesn’t have cholera.”

Another nurse approached and whispered that they were running out of needles for the IVs, which dangled like translucent vines from the rafters of the clinic. The nurse disappeared into a back room.

A patient seated on a bench near the entrance erupted from his seat and vomited over the edge of the porch, onto ground where people walk to and from the back of the building.

A mother and father tried to force­-feed their 4­-year-­old son rehydration salts, sending the boy into fits. The child tried to bite the hand of an aide holding his arms. A nurse approached and asked the family if they had symptoms.

A cholera patient was bathed with soap and water with bleach.

The mother, Osila Cominan, said it was her third day with diarrhea, but quickly added that she was not vomiting and did not need treatment.

“You should be on an IV, too,” the nurse said, before rushing to another patient vomiting on the floor.

In the town, citizens had set up a roadside cleaning station, a simple affair with a tank of chlorinated water that was sprayed onto the shoes and hands of those fleeing. With all the departures, the fear of carrying cholera to bigger cities was a real one.

The town itself was hollowed out. Those still here stood on what remained of front porches, mired in a state of shock, hoping the people would return.

The stasis was interrupted every so often by another patient heading to the clinic, staggering down the rocky paths or carried aloft by family. A few concrete homes provide the only reminder of the town that was. Lesser houses have been stacked into piles along with the trees and branches scattered by the storm.

“When you look around you, it’s like the end of the world,” said Joseph Kenso, 33. “Look around you. The disaster speaks for itself.”

One of the only buildings left is the clinic, a two­-story structure that formerly served as a center for prenatal care.

The original cholera care center was destroyed in the hurricane. It had opened only a week before the storm, to treat people streaming in from the outbreak in the mountains above.

In the center of town, wearing just one flip­-flop, Mr. Cenel, the magistrate, smiled ruefully at the town’s misfortune and his own, estimating that hundreds have died between the hurricane and the disease. But his math is like that of many: a reflection of the emotional toll, not an exact one.

“After a hurricane, if you don’t see someone for a few days, they are usually dead,” he said. Sixty percent of the town has now fled, he said.

“No! I disagree,” said a man standing in the magistrate’s front yard. “It’s at least 85 percent of the population gone.”

Another man standing nearby said the people would return once they could rid the area of cholera. He was sure of it.

“They might,” said the magistrate, whose mother and father are among those who left. “They might.”

But how do you combat cholera in a place where people get their water from the river or surrounding springs, where disinfectant is a luxury?

One woman leaving the clinic with soiled sheets was stopped by a nurse, who asked her to drop them in a pile of clothing to be burned that night. The woman hesitated, throwing her hand over her eyes as she addressed the nurse.

“I can’t,” she said. “This is all I have left.”

The toll from cholera is unknowable. Most of the departed never make it to the clinic and get buried without any record.

“We don’t know how many have died in the surrounding community,” said another nurse, Marie Marguerite Bernadin, 42. “But we know most of the deaths occur outside of here.” If the cases are caught early enough, the nurses explained, treatment is as simple as rehydration.

“They don’t come on time because for some of them it’s an embarrassment and they tried to hide the sick,” explained Alicia Hyppolite, 32, a nurse in the clinic. “And people don’t listen when you tell them things.”

About an hour and a half north is the village of Delibarain, a hamlet near the mountain river that feeds the springs of Rendel. Before the hurricane, residents and officials said there were several deaths from cholera, or what they believed to be cholera, since there were no labs on hand to confirm the disease.

The first ones that residents and local leaders can remember were the members of the Vital family, five of whom died from the disease.

The dead were buried in graves without wrapping them in plastic, wearing gloves or taking the precautionary measures applied to cholera­-infected bodies. Soon, even more people were infected. The rainy season spread the disease farther.

“They just placed them in the earth,” said Thomas Cyril, 47, who lives in the village and knew the family.

Prostrate on the floor were his brother, Faniel Cyril, and his cousin, Alicia Delcy, both of whom were showing symptoms of cholera. Faniel, barely conscious, reached out to grab the hand of Mrs. Delcy from time to time.

Frightened of what was happening in their village, the pair had come down the mountain on Sunday to seek treatment.

It was bad in Rendel, he granted, but up the mountain it was worse.

“Now the people are really dying,” Mr. Cyril said.


Click HERE for the original article.

Health and Human Rights Conference: Conflict, Security, and Health

October 14, 2016 - 14:12

The Queen’s Health and Human Rights Conference has run annually for the past 15 years, and is wholly student-organized. We host a range of students, faculty and community members creating an interdisciplinary learning environment. In the past, we have welcomed speakers such as Samantha Nutt, the Hon. Charlie Angus, Albert Schumacher, Jacalyn Duffin, Beverley Chalmers, and many more. In 2010, the conference was awarded the Queen’s University Human Rights Initiative Award.



School of Medicine Building, Queen’s University
15 Arch St.
Kingston, Ontario
Canada, k7l3n6


Friday, October 21st: 6:00 pm – 10:00 pm
Saturday, October 22nd: 8:45 am – 3:00 pm


Click HERE for the program brochure and registration.

Push-back against UN-like organizations after Matthew

October 14, 2016 - 12:58

After Hurricane Matthew, there has been increased conversation around where people should donate to. Many Haitians have a severe mistrust of the UN after its accidentally introduced cholera in 2010 as well as the Red Cross after a report detailing corruption in donation funds after the earthquake were released earlier this year. IJDH’s Nicole Phillips explains that, post-hurricane, there is a big need for Haiti to shift out of a culture of dependency on international organizations.

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

Why the United Nations is facing push-back as it tries to help Haiti

Zhai Yun Tan, The Christian Science Monitor

October 14, 2016

Town residents help carry hurricane relief supplies, dropped off by a US military helicopter, to a waiting truck in Anse d’Hainault, southwestern Haiti, Friday, Oct. 14, 2016. Haiti struggles to find enough aid to help the millions of residents affected by hurricane Matthew. (Photo from original article)


Tensions are high in Haiti after the country was hit by category 4 hurricane Matthew last week, as thousands continue to seek aid amid collapsed homes and infrastructure.

The increased friction has led to reports of United Nations peacekeepers firing at people attempting to ransack truck convoys carrying food. On Thursday, some Haitians protested and barricaded blue-helmeted peacekeepers, claiming a UN truck had hit and killed a motorcyclist, according to Reuters.

There are also calls for help from rural areas where access is hampered by destroyed roads…


Click HERE for the full article.

Expectation of fresh cholera outbreak after Hurricane Matthew

October 14, 2016 - 12:56

In the wake of Hurricane Matthew, officials and experts discuss and examine what the short and long term impacts will be. IJDH’s Beatrice Lindstrom discusses the major role cholera will play as time progresses and many are left without adequate treatment.

Haiti faces fresh cholera outbreak after Hurricane Matthew, aid agencies fear

Amanda Holpuch, The Guardian

October 14, 2016

Houses damaged and destroyed by Hurricane Matthew line a mountain road in south-western Haiti but a lack of clean water could be the storm’s more deadly legacy. (Photo from original article)


Cholera is surging in Haiti after Hurricane Matthew fouled wells, flooded rivers and latrines and forced survivors to drink contaminated storm water – even in regions that have received some deliveries of emergency aid.

Less than two weeks after the earthquake, at least 200 suspected new cases of cholera have been detected in the country, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), which is sending 1m cholera vaccines to Haiti at the end of this week.

Aid agencies fear that without a major effort by the international community, survivors of the storm will face a fresh outbreak of the disease.

“There will be many more cases of cholera, and unnecessary deaths, all across areas affected by the hurricane if large-scale cholera treatment and prevention response doesn’t reach them immediately,” said Conor Shapiro, president and CEO of the St Boniface Haiti Foundation, which operates a hospital in the southern part of Haiti.

Hurricane Matthew killed at least 473 people, and 752 people are missing, according to the United Nations’ latest tally.

Locals wash clothes in Port Salut south-west of Port-au-Prince on Wednesday. Photograph: Rodrigo Arangua/AFP/Getty Images

And if access to food, water and shelter does not improve immediately, the death toll is expected to increase. In its wake, the hurricane left pools of stagnant water, overflowing rivers and dead bodies – creating a breeding ground for the waterborne disease.

In the worst-hit regions, efforts to deliver water treatment equipment have been hampered by debris that still blocks roads. And even those places that have received support have reported “huge” shortages of clean drinking water, forcing people to drink stormwater, said Beatrice Lindstrom, staff attorney at the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti (IJDH). “It’s a race against time,” she said.

Lindstrom’s group has led a campaign to hold the UN accountable for its role in the cholera outbreak that hit nine months after the January 2010 earthquake. The disease was previously unknown in Haiti, and overwhelming evidence suggests that it was introduced to the country by UN peacekeepers from Nepal.

More than 9,200 people have since died from cholera and more than 769,000 have been treated in hospitals for the disease – and Lindstrom said that the hurricane has prompted fears of a fresh epidemic.

“In the first month after cholera broke out, after the earthquake, a thousand people were impacted,” said Lindstrom. “We’re really afraid that the same thing will happen in this situation – it just seems like access to water is already so, so limited.”

Those seeking treatment for the disease must confront a depleted healthcare system – a quarter of Haiti’s healthcare facilities, including cholera treatment centers, have been destroyed.

“What Matthew didn’t kill, cholera and infections are going to. Infections are coming in,” said the Haitian Health Foundation country director, Nadesha Mijoba,speaking from Jérémie, a city of 30,000 that was hit by the full force of the category 4 hurricane.

People with cholera symptoms receive medical care in Saint Antoine hospital in Jérémie on Thursday. Photograph: Orlando Barria/EPA

The foundation serves Jérémie and 105 nearby mountain villages and is sending weekly food dispatches to 15 local orphanages, which have no refrigeration or storage. Of the foundation’s 184 staff members, 130 were made homeless by the hurricane.

“The situation was not easy after the earthquake, and with Hurricane Matthew, the situation has become more critical,” said Marie Thérèse Frédérique Jean Pierre, the Haiti director for children’s humanitarian group, Plan International.

In some places, 80% of the roofs have been lost, and 100% of the crops – which are grown primarily to feed the people who harvest them – have been destroyed. “The devastation will have a direct consequence on the population [and] will increase the malnutrition problems, mainly for children,” said Jean Pierre.

“I’m not afraid to say it, but in another three, four months, Haitians are going to die of starvation,” Emmanuel Valcourt, a farmer in the south, told the Miami Herald. “I really don’t see how we’re going to rebuild. We don’t have the financial means. We don’t have a job that would have allowed us to have savings. The few animals that we had are all dead.”

Jean-Luc Poncelet, a WHO representative in Haiti, said crop destruction in Haiti is particularly devastating because the food is grown by people to feed themselves. “That [food] has been washed away either by floods, and landslides and winds,” said Poncelet.

Hurricane Matthew victims wait to receive food from the UN’s World Food Program in Roche-a-Bateaux, in Les Cayes, south-west Haiti. Photograph: Hector Retamal/AFP/Getty Images

He said that since only 10% of the country’s population was affected by the hurricane, recovery efforts and resources should be channeled through the country’s remaining population and institutions. “Channeling through institutions that exist in the country would be the most efficient,” Poncelet said.

But amid these concerns about food and shelter, the threat of contaminated water reigns.

“It really does seem like this is one of the most urgent situations that’s facing people after the hurricane,” said IJDH’s Lindstrom.

“The reports we’re getting from the ground so far are pretty horrific. There are still a number of towns that are completely cut off from aid because they are so inaccessible by road and even the ones who are slowly getting aid in, there is a huge shortage of potable water,” she said.

Plan International’s Jean Pierre said: “All our action through this emergency response will be to make sure children are safe and their families have some opportunities, some capacities to return to the normal life.”


Click HERE for the original article.

Haitian Professionals of Philadelphia Hurricane Matthew Town Hall Meeting

October 14, 2016 - 09:03

HPP has been meeting with several groups supporting immediate initiatives to address needs. In addition, HPP has met with and decided to link with three other Haitian organizations to ensure that supports are considered and planned for the long haul as well as for the here and now. It is estimated that Haiti’s damaged lands, vegetation and animal life will require 1-2 years to address; hopeful estimations with the understanding that financial support and strategic planning are in place.

Well, HPP along with these other groups, want to hear from you about what should be done. They do not want to just share what was done during the earthquake and what you all feel should occur. They also want to know if you are willing to provide aid (financial or otherwise).


Ebenezer Haitian Baptist Church
258-60 East Roosevelt Blvd., (corner of B Street)
Philadelphia, PA 19120


Saturday, October 15, 2016


Click HERE for more information.

American Red Cross donations and local organizations

October 14, 2016 - 08:29

After the 2010 earthquake, many donors were pained to learn how little of their contributions actually went to Haiti. The American Red Cross was a prime example, according to an investigation by ProPublica and NPR.

“The reputation of the Red Cross in Haiti is very negative,” Nicole Phillips of IJDH said.

In the same way consumers “shop local,” the solution is to give local. Rather than donating to foreign NGOs with high overhead costs to help Haitians after Hurricane Matthew, Edwidge Danticat and others advocate for organizations based in Haiti. Nicole Phillips, who lives in Haiti, said, “By giving money directly to the Haitian network, you’re cutting out a huge sum of cost that otherwise would have to pay for the middleman, for plane tickets, accommodations, et cetera  — it’s going directly to Haitians.”

Local organizations, and NGOs with a proven track record, are listed at the end of the article, and here.

Should You Trust The American Red Cross With Your Donation For Haiti?

by David Hamze, Huffington Post

October 14th, 2016

Hurricane Matthew left a catastrophe behind in Haiti, killing 1,000 people and displacing thousands more. Public health experts fear the situation could get worse if contaminated water leads to a cholera epidemic like the country saw after a 2010 earthquake.

People and aid organizations from all over the world are responding with donations of money and supplies. But activists working in Haiti increasingly ask donors to give to local organizations ― not the American Red Cross, traditionally one of the biggest disaster-relief charities.

The Red Cross, the world’s 16th-largest charity with a yearly budget of more than $3.1 billion, has a complicated history in Haiti. The group raised $500 million in donations after the 2010 earthquake, promising to provide shelter, rebuild infrastructure and meet basic needs.

But a 2015 investigation by ProPublica and NPR found that the Red Cross fell short of its promises. The charity had only built six permanent homes in the entire country, the media organizations found, and its efforts were plagued by internal disorganization, lack of experience in Haiti, use of donations for its own expenses, and tensions with residents and government officials.

The Red Cross claimed 91 percent of all donations went directly to charity. ProPublica and NPR found that in 2010, only 60 percent did. The remaining 40 percent of donations funded Red Cross program management and overhead costs. Haitians told reporters that aid the Red Cross promised was simply never delivered.

The Red Cross disputes the reporting. “Our expansive program was reduced to a headline, and it’s completely unfair,” said Lesley Schaffer, regional director for Latin America and the Caribbean for the Red Cross. “These people did not spend any more than just a few days in Haiti. They did not give us a chance to show them the work that we do.”

Still, the report has tainted the image of the Red Cross, particularly in Haiti, and prompted calls for Hurricane Matthew relief to be directed to local groups.

“The reputation of the Red Cross in Haiti is very negative,” Nicole Phillips, a staff attorney with the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Port-au-Prince, told The Huffington Post in an interview. “Some good work was done by the Red Cross, but I think the overwhelming experience from Haitians with the Red Cross has been disappointment and frustration.”

Acclaimed Haitian author Edwidge Danticat suggested sending donations to Haitian aid groups that have been working in the country for years, including Paradis des Indiens, The Three Little Flowers Center, and the St. Boniface Haiti Foundation.

Isha Rosemond, public relations manager for Camp-Pericare, a Haitian-run organization that coordinates with aid groups, said philanthropy must engage with locals in order to be effective.

“It provides perspective from the people running it to understand how past organizations may have taken the accolades that come along with time without actually affecting change,” said Rosemond. “Many Americans see Red Cross as the pinnacle for giving, but when in places like Port au Prince, you hear the disdain locals have toward the organizations. Haitian-run organizations also have the advantage of community, knowing who to reach out to when needing something.”

Critical reporting on the Red Cross isn’t limited to Haiti. Other ProPublica investigations found that the organization’s spending commitments can be misleading. Reporting revealed instances where the Red Cross diverted funds from aid to public relations after Superstorm Sandy and Hurricane Isaac, according to ProPublica.

The Red Cross’ Schaffer rejected the suggestion that donors should avoid giving to her organization.

“We’re passionate about Haiti. We do excellent work in Haiti,” said Schaffer. “Hurricane Matthew was very serious. It’s caused severe damage to the country. This is a tragedy of historic proportions. We’re proud of our work in Haiti. We’re distressed if people aren’t confident in donating to the Red Cross.”

Despite the Red Cross defense, many activists point out the advantages of contributing to Haitian-run groups.

“Haitians know how to help other Haitians better than we do, and their efforts are extremely impressive,” said Phillips, an American who now lives in Haiti. “By giving money directly to the Haitian network, you’re cutting out a huge sum of cost that otherwise would have to pay for the middleman, for plane tickets, accommodations, et cetera  — it’s going directly to Haitians.”

How You Can Help

Here are charities, most of them local, suggested by author Edwidge Danticat:


Click HERE for the original article.

Code Blue plan to end impunity for peacekeeper sexual abuse

October 13, 2016 - 12:59

Code Blue has released a comprehensive plan to end impunity for UN peacekeeper sexual abuse by establishing special independent courts to deal with this issue. The plan aims to tackle the three largest issues surrounding peacekeeper sexual abuse: the historical and long-existing documentation of sexual abuse by peacekeeping personnel, the current system that allows perpetrators to escape prosecution, and the failure of the UN to address the underlying sturctural issues that allow for sexual abuse to occur.

A Practical Plan to End Impunity for Peacekeeper Sexual Abuse

Code Blue


Download as a PDF

October 13, 2016: Three facts imperil the United Nations, its global peacekeeping operations and  the vulnerable civilians who have no choice but to rely on them.

First: the documented cases of sexual abuse by peacekeeping personnel stretch back for decades and  continue to this day.

Second: the system now in place permits almost all criminal perpetrators within peacekeeping missions—whether they are employed as UN staff, officials, consultants, soldiers or police—to escape prosecution.  Report after report from its own commissioned analysts have declared the Organization’s response to peacekeeper sexual exploitation and  abuse a “gross institutional failure” that  breeds a “culture of silence” and  is sustained by a “culture of impunity.”

Third: while it accepts this grave diagnosis—Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon pronounced it a ‘malignancy’ and  a ‘cancer on the system’—the United Nations continues to minister to the symptoms rather than  undergo life-saving surgery. Mr. Ban’s blunt  metaphor suggests one inevitable prognosis: without proper treatment, the Organization’s culture of impunity for peacekeeper sexual abuse will metastasize to the UN’s major organs.

There is a cure.

We have consulted worldwide with authorities on international law and  human rights law; academics; past and  current UN officials and  staff, peacekeepers and  police officers; diplomats and civil servants; human rights practitioners; victims’ rights professionals and  sexual violence experts. We have analyzed the problem and  surveyed the existing options. Those deliberations led to the 2015 launch of the Code Blue Campaign and, ultimately, to the solution we’re proposing today: the UN’s Member States must create special courts for each peacekeeping mission to ensure impartial justice for everyone involved in or affected by cases of sexual offenses by UN peacekeeping personnel.

These international legal entities, funded directly by Member States, would necessarily be established and  run entirely separate from, independent of, and  unconnected to the UN Organization. These special courts would focus exclusively on allegations of sexual offenses lodged against personnel operating under the UN banner. Further, they would assume full responsibility for every step on the path to justice, from accepting reports made by victims and witnesses through to sentencing those found guilty.

Staffed by impartial, centrally appointed international and  national police, lawyers and  judicial professionals, this new, independent system of special courts would investigate, charge, prosecute, try, sentence, and  incarcerate. They would carry  out all their functions in the peacekeeping countries where the crimes occurred, implementing the rule of law in full view of victims, witnesses, and  communities. For would-be perpetrators, having the courts in country would serve as an active deterrent. For victims, the courts’ presence would restore faith that  the risks of reporting are outweighed by the benefits of seeing justice served. For the many UN personnel who aid and  abet the culture of impunity by remaining silent, the possibility of reporting to authorities outside the UN system would liberate them from their roles as complicit bystanders.

The special courts would receive all reports, referring cases where appropriate to troop- contributing countries with jurisdiction, and  handling the remainder. Member States would give the courts full legal authority to investigate and  try UN non-military personnel accused of sexual offenses, as well as soldiers sent by troop-contributing countries that  can  not or do not respond when allegations are referred.  In the spirit of UN system-wide coherence, alleged perpetrators would be held to a common standard—an agreed international definition of what  constitutes crimes of sexual abuse—and would submit to one system of due process.

Overnight, this solution would correct the two major defects in the current system of “justice.” It would end the intolerably unfair conflict of interest that  occurs every time the UN’s own staff  step in as unauthorized intermediaries in criminal matters. And it would begin to repair the damage done when the UN preaches good governance without practicing it. Citizens of peacekeeping host countries, activists, journalists and  the global public have followed this crisis with mounting anger and  cynicism. Respect will be restored when the UN eliminates the double standard, and  removes its staff  members from a range of conflicting roles, as legal advisors to both the accused and  the accusers, as unqualified investigators in criminal cases involving their colleagues, as prosecutors with no legal authority or credentials to assess, substantiate or dismiss evidence, and as magistrates rendering private, extrajudicial decisions affecting the lives of victims and criminals.

The UN declares one universal standard: zero tolerance for sexual exploitation and  abuse, The Organization has  even conceded that  the necessary protection provided by the “Convention on Privileges and  Immunities” simply does not apply to sexual abuse. But in reality, each of the many people associated with UN peacekeeping missions can  be subject to different processes, different standards, different consequences. As a result, impunity reigns.

Under pressure and the sustained glare of the global media, the UN Secretariat has slowly and reluctantly begun to pull back the curtain on how allegations of sexual exploitation and  abuse are handled. Each new revelation begs further questions, and reveals even greater gaps in how allegations are reported, recorded, investigated, prosecuted and punished.

The Code Blue Campaign is built on a strong commitment to multilateralism. We believe that  this increasingly complex world cannot survive and  thrive without the United Nations. That’s why we press hard for a strengthened, accountable, and transparent UN, with a policy of ‘zero tolerance for sexual exploitation and abuse’ that truly lives up to its name.


Click HERE for the original press release.

12 US Senators Urge Temporary Protected Status for Haitians in Wake of Hurricane Matthew

October 13, 2016 - 12:03

Senators Menendez, Nelson, Leahy, Durbin, Warren, Markey, Booker, Feinstein, Wyden, Franken, Brown, and Reed have joined in the calls for the Obama administration to re-designate Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Haitians. TPS was last granted to Haitians after the 2010 earthquake. After Hurricane Matthew, the Senators “believe the reports of widespread damage and destruction in Haiti make TPS designation appropriate.” They also request clarification of the Department of Homeland Security’s plan to pause non-criminal deportations to Haiti, given that the situation there was poor even before Hurricane Matthew.

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

Sens. Menendez and Nelson Lead TPS Request for Haitians in Wake of Hurricane MatthewRequest clarification of new deportation policy of Haitians

Senator Bob Menendez

Thursday, October 13, 2016

WASHINGTON, DC – Following the devastation and humanitarian disaster suffered by Haiti as a result of Hurricane Matthew, Senators Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) and Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) lead a group of 12 Democratic senators in asking the Obama administration to grant Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Haitians who recently arrived and are living in the United States. TPS has been historically granted to foreign nationals who are unable to safely return to their native country, including some Haitians who were displaced after a catastrophic natural disaster struck their home country in 2010.

“As Haiti is already the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, it will be in desperate need of humanitarian aid for years to come…Hurricane Matthew only complicates an already desperate situation for Haitian nationals,” wrote the Senators. While the totality of Hurricane Matthew’s damage and destruction has not been determined yet, the lawmakers make the case for TPS protections for victims as part of the United States’ response by citing a growing death toll of over 1,000 deaths in Haiti and some early damage estimates reaching $1 billion.

In their letter addressed to Secretary of State John Kerry and Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson, the Senators also asked for additional details about the September 22, 2016 announcement by DHS to resume deportations of non-criminal Haitian nationals and use of expedited removal and mandatory detention policies. DHS recently announced a temporary suspension of removal flights to Haiti in light of Hurricane Matthew. “The United States’ focus should be to prioritize disaster assistance and recovery, not to return Haitian nationals to a country lacking the capacity to support them. We ask that you take the urgent humanitarian situation into account when considering TPS designation and evaluating the new deportation policy,” concluded the senators.

Click HERE for the full text.

Hurricane Matthew’s Destruction Demands Action Against Cholera

October 13, 2016 - 09:20

The destruction caused by Hurricane Matthew has hit hard in Haiti.  The damage and flooding have only served to make the cholera outbreak that began in 2010 worse, and the international community, in particular the United Nations, needs a plan to combat the cholera outbreak and help Haiti in the wake of this devastating natural disaster.

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

Hurricane Matthew’s destruction in Haiti demands an aggressive plan to fight cholera

Michael Posner, The Miami Herald

October 13, 2016

Last week, Hurricane Matthew slammed into Haiti, dealing another blow to our poorest, most challenged neighbor. After an earthquake in 2010 killed more than 200,000 people, a United Nations peacekeeping force introduced cholera to Haiti, infecting almost 800,000 people. According to Doctors Without Borders, there have been close to 30,000 cholera-related deaths. Six years later, the U.N.’s failure to address the cholera outbreak in Haiti and to develop a viable long-term plan to eradicate the disease continues to seriously undermine the credibility of its peace-keeping operations.

In the wake of Matthew, the challenge to the U.N. and the international community is now exponentially greater and more urgent. Many of Haiti’s 11 million people are now without safe drinking water, and the further spread of cholera is all but certain.

…Click HERE for the full text.

Discuss Hurricane Matthew Relief with Two Haitian Mayors [EVENT]

October 13, 2016 - 08:04

Fellow Haitians and friends of Haiti,

Many of you have seen the devastation that hurricane Matthew caused during its passage through the southern part of Haiti. Today we write you with our hearts full of sadness and worries for our homeland.  “In unity there is strength, ‘l’union fait la force “.  We must rally  to form a chain of solidarity to bring much needed support to the population in dire needs.

Fondasyon Mapou and 1804 Institute, two Haitian American organizations that promote sustainable development and Haiti’s cultures around the world invite you to a conference call on Thursday, October 13, 2016 at 7:00pm (Eastern Time).

Conference call Access

Telephone number: 712-432-3447

Access code: 172344#

It is a chance to dialogue with local elected officials from Petit-Goave and Baraderes and other possible members of the Haitian government. You will get first-hand accounts of the situation in these areas and the best way for us to assist.

Representing Petit-Goave: Mayor Jean Limongy Samson

Representing Baraderes: Mayor  Jean Josely and Vice-Mayor Francio Lindor

For more information please contact Fondasyon Mapou 301-537-8162 (Eugenia Charles).




Kamarad Ayisyen ak zanmi Ayiti,

Anpil nan nou te wè dega ki fèt pandan pasaj siklòn Matye nan pati Sid peyi d’Ayiti. Jodi a nou ekri ou ak kè nou plen tristès ak enkyetid pou peyi nou an. “Nan inite gen fòs, ‘l’union fait la force”. Nou dwe rasanble poun fòme yon chèn solidarite pou pote sipò nesesè bay popilasyon an ki nan bezwen.

Fondasyon Mapou ak Enstiti 1804, de òganizasyon Ayisyen Ameriken kap ankouraje devlopman dirab ak kilti Ayiti atravè mond lan envite nou nan yon apèl konferans jou kap Jedi, 13 Oktòb 2016 la, à 7:00 nan aswe (Eastern Time).

Men fason poun patisipe nan apèl konferans sa a

Nimewo telefòn: 712-432-3447

Kòd Aksè: 172344#

Se yon chans poun dyaloge ak otorite lokal yo ki soti nan Ti-Gwav ak Baradè e si posib kek lòt manm gouvènman Ayisyen an. Nap gen chans jwenn enfòmasyon nan bon jan timamit sou eta ak kondisyon zòn sa yo, de fason pou nou konnen koman n ka ede yo.

Reprezantan Ti-Gwav: Majistra Jean Limongy Samson

Reprezantan Baradè: Majistra Jean Josely ak Majistra Francio Lindor

Pou plis enfòmasyon tanpri kontakte Fondasyon Mapou nan nimewo sa a 301-537-8162 (Eugenia Charles) oubyen ekwil nan adrès sa

Discuss Haiti Cholera and Hurricane Response with Massachusetts Senators [EVENT]

October 13, 2016 - 06:17

Senator Ed Markey just returned from a trip to Haiti to observe the hurricane response, and now he wants to hear from all of us. This Friday, State Senator Linda Dorcena Forry will host a panel at the State House on cholera and the response to Hurricane Matthew. This is also an opportunity to urge Senator Markey to do more for Haiti.

Eyes on Haiti: A conversation about cholera and disaster response

When: 1-2:30pm on Friday, October 14

Where: Massachusetts State House room 428

Who: Senator Ed Markey, Massachusetts

Brian Concannon, IJDH Executive Director

Whether or not you can attend, please share this post or the Boston Haitian Reporter notice with anyone you know who cares about Haiti.

Sen. Ed Markey Visits Haiti to Deliver Humanitarian Relief

October 12, 2016 - 13:41

U.S. Senator Ed Markey (D-MA) visited Haiti earlier this week to assess the current situation following the devastation of Hurricane Matthew and help provide aid to the Haitian people.  He also has written to Samantha Power, the US Ambassador to the UN, asking for accountability and assistance in the cholera outbreak.

Senator Markey Visits Haiti to Assess Humanitarian Response After Hurricane Matthew

Senator Ed Markey

October 12, 2016

Washington (October 12, 2016) – Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), top Democrat on the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Africa and Global Health Policy of the Foreign Relations Committee, traveled this week to Haiti to observe the humanitarian response to Hurricane Matthew and assess any public health conditions, including the possible aggravation of Haiti’s cholera epidemic. The cholera epidemic started in Haiti in 2010 after United Nations (UN) Peacekeeping Forces introduced cholera when deployed there for earthquake relief. More than 779,212 cholera cases and 9,145 deaths are a direct result of the UN’s presence in Haiti.

This week in Haiti, Senator Markey met with patients, doctors and other health providers at a cholera treatment center in Port-au-Prince and helped deliver aid to Dame Marie, a severely hit community at the edge of the Western Claw in Haiti. Senator Markey delivered humanitarian relief with Joint Task Force Commander Rear Admiral Cedric Pringle and United States Agency for International Development (USAID) officials. Senator Markey also met with Haiti Prime Minister Enex J. Jean-Charles and Minister of Public Health Daphnée Benoit Delsoin, as well as Provisional President Jocelerme Privert.

(PHOTO CAPTION, from left to right: Senator Markey, Haiti Prime Minister Enex J. Jean-Charles and Minister of Public Health Daphnée Benoit Delsoin; Senator Markey at cholera treatment center in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, October 10, 2016)


“I have grave concerns that the cholera epidemic that has ravaged Haiti will only be made catastrophic in the wake of Hurricane Matthew,” said Senator Markey. “We need to immediately accelerate relief to isolated areas of Haiti, including provision of basic food, clean drinking water and medicine. But we must also mobilize to stop the spread of cholera and address any new public health threats that emerge. This includes long-term development of infrastructure to provide safe drinking water, safely manage and dispose of wastewater through effective public sanitation systems, and ensure adequate electrical energy to make such systems feasible. We must help Haiti rebuild and get communities back on their feet as quickly as possible.”

Yesterday, Senator Markey led a letter to Samantha Power, United States Ambassador to the United Nations, seeking clarification about the official position of the United States in relation to the cholera epidemic in Haiti, calling on the UN to accept full responsibility for the cholera outbreak and begin the process of resolving claims for victims. Other Senators signing the letter include Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Robert Menendez (D-N.J.).


“The recent devastation of Hurricane Matthew has only amplified Haiti’s humanitarian crisis and provided a situation that is likely to intensify the impacts of cholera in the country,” write the Senators in the letter. “It is imperative, now more than ever, to develop a focused effort on eradicating disease transmission, and provide an expeditious path to material and financial assistance for cholera victims and their families.”


A copy of the letter to the Senators’ letter to the UN can be found HERE.


Earlier this year, Senator Markey called on the United Nations to publicly apologize for their role in the epidemic andprovide material resources to end the threat of cholera in Haiti and deliver financial assistance to victims and their families that were affected by the epidemic.

Click HERE for the original article.

CoEH Calls on International Community After Matthew

October 12, 2016 - 13:22

Coordination Europe-Haiti writes in support of Haiti in the wake of Hurricane Matthew’s destruction and calls for international action to assist in reconstruction.

CoEH expresses its profound solidarity with the Haitian people

Evert-Jan Brouwer, Coordination Europe-Haiti

October 12, 2016

Early October, Haiti has been hit very hard by hurricane Matthew. The Coordination Europe-Haiti expresses its profound solidarity with the families of the victims. Thousands of people have lost their houses and means of living. There is considerable loss of harvests. Long-term consequences for agriculture and food security are still to be assessed. Infrastructure has been severely damaged, as well as public services in the affected areas. The inundations enhance the risk of a new cholera epidemic. To this socio-economic consequences we must add the probability of increased political instability, which already characterises the country for more than a year. The elections which were planned for 9 October, have again been postponed indefinitely.

The Coordination Europe-Haiti appeals to the international community to act with solidarity, generosity and discernment. It is necessary to draw lessons from humanitarian and development aid in the post-earthquake reconstruction process in Haiti.

The Coordination Europe-Haiti invites to respect the following principles :

–       The assessment of the current situation and the formulation of urgent needs, as well subsequent projects and programmes, should be led by Haitians themselves

–       A triple approach is needed for programmes and projects :

• Structural : in all emergency programmes a long-term development perspective must be taken into account from the start

• Rights-based : in order to strengthen government institutions, since they are the primary structures which bear the primary responsibility for the wellbeing of the Haitian population

• Focused on strengthening local civil society, which is most close to the affected communities and can act in direct solidarity

–       Not charity, but the principle of solidarity should guide international support

–       In order to be coherent, the international support should benefit to the maximum extent possible from human and material resources which are present in Haiti. For example, instead of importing food items from abroad, priority should be given to products that are available at the local market.

–       Real transparency, both towards Haiti and towards supporters abroad, is needed in the programmes and projects which are managed by international organisations in response to the disaster.

Our platform strongly appreciates the initiatives that have been taken by its members and by other actors in solidarity with Haiti. In its contacts with the European Union, an important actor in Haiti, the Coordination Europe-Haiti will insist on the principles formulated above.

On behalf of the Coordination Europe-Haiti,

Evert-Jan Brouwer, coordinator

Church World Service Demands TPS, No Deportation for Haitians

October 12, 2016 - 12:46

Last month, Secretary Jeh Johnson announced that the US Department of Homeland Security would resume non-criminal deportations to Haiti. After Hurricane Matthew, Haiti is devastated and at increased risk of cholera outbreaks, as it is a waterborne disease. Now is not a time for deportations, but increasing Temporary Protected Status for Haitians, as was done in after the 2010 earthquake. Church World Service’s action alert below demands just that.


October 12, 2016

Dear Friend,

Last weekend, Hurricane Matthew decimated Haiti, a country that was already struggling to recover from the devastating 2010 earthquake. In the wake of the earthquake, the U.S. government promised to help displaced Haitians and support the country’s recovery. The U.S. government designated Haitians who were already in the United States in 2011 for Temporary Protected Status (TPS).

Still, 65,000 Haitians have been displaced in their own country, while thousands more have sought refuge in Central and South America, as well as the United States. Though the full impact of Hurricane Matthew is not yet known, 350,000 Haitian men, women, and children are in need of assistance, and the cholera outbreak in Haiti – already the worst epidemic that the world has seen – is worsening.

Despite the U.S. commitment to protect Haitians, Secretary Jeh Johnson announced that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) would fast-track the detention and deportation of Haitians in the United States. Although DHS is temporarily halting deportations in Hurricane Matthew’s immediate aftermath, resuming a deportation policy flies in the face of our American values to welcome and protect those seeking safety. While individuals who have TPS will continue to be protected, there is a clear need to expand TPS to Haitians who arrived in the United States between 2011 and today, and to ensure that Haitians are not detained and deported. A detention and deportation policy means turning our backs on the Haitians we pledged to welcome, separating families, and disregarding the significant damage to Haitian communities caused by multiple horrendous disasters.

Make your voice heard and tell Secretary Johnson to immediately stop detaining and start protecting Haitians, including by re-designating TPS for Haitians.

As people of faith, we are called to welcome the stranger, stand with the vulnerable, and love our neighbor. Right now, we have a moral and legal obligation to Haitians seeking safety, work, and a better future for their families.

Take action today to call on Secretary Johnson to keep families together and reverse its detention and deportation policy for Haitians.

Thank you for all your work and support!

In solidarity,
Jen Smyers
Director of Policy and Advocacy
Immigration and Refugee Program
Church World Service


“Do black lives matter to Obama?” Activists protest deportations

October 12, 2016 - 12:34

Activists in Little Haiti protest U.S. deportation policy of Haitians. They call the deportation policy “fickle,” because it breaks up families, with some freed and some locked up in detention camps awaiting deportation back to hurricane-torn Haiti, where cases of cholera are on the rise. Activists called on President Obama, and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to take action.

Steve Forrester of IJDH said, “They announced they were going to start deporting again, saying conditions had improved. Everybody knows that’s not true; it’s just not true. But Matthew makes it really obscene.”

Activists Call Haitian Deportation Policy “Abomination”

by Gary Nelson, CBS Miami

October 10th, 2016

MIAMI – Speaking in Creole, Marie Carole Jeune sobbed as she spoke to a bank of reporters and television news cameras Monday at a Little Haiti community center.

She explained through her tears that her 20-year-old son is in an immigration detention camp in California, her home in Haiti was destroyed by Hurricane Matthew and her relatives there are all homeless and hungry.

At the news conference attended by a host of human rights organizations and immigrant activists there was a call for humanitarian aid, but a call too for the U.S. to reverse last month’s decision to resume deporting Haitian migrants.

“They announced they were going to start deporting again, saying conditions had improved,” said Steve Forester of the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti.  “Everybody knows that’s not true, it’s just not true. But Matthew makes it really obscene,” said Forester, also noting an on-going cholera epidemic plaguing Haiti.

With the death toll from the hurricane over a thousand now, it promises to get worse.

“There are still some roads that are impassable.  There are still some people who have not been reached,” said Marleine Bastien of the group Haitian Women of Miami.

The new immigration policy appeared fickle at Monday’s news conference. Norde Ludie and her 7-month-old daughter, Ralphaela were there, having been released from detention, but her husband remains locked up, facing deportation.

While the Catholic Church has been busy collecting relief supplies for Haiti, the church also weighed in on immigration.

“Now is the time to stand in solidarity with Haiti. It is not the time to deport people,” said Randy McGrorty, a representative from the Archdiocese of Miami.

The activists noted refugees from Hurricane Mitch in Central America still are protected from deportation, and Mitch was more than 14 years ago.

Former State Representative Phillip Brutus called that disparity “an abomination.”

The president and one who could be president were called out at the news conference.

“Do black lives matter to Obama? Do black lives matter to Hillary Clinton,” asked Ruth Jeannoel of the Power U Center for Social Change.

And the activists called the idea of sending anyone back to Haiti absurd.

“I don’t understand why we can’t get this right when it’s so simple.  It’s about life, it’s about family, it’s about kids,” said Leroy Jones of the Circle of Brotherhood.

Marie Carole Juene, still sobbing, pleaded with President Obama to help both her son and others facing possible deportation and those suffering in Haiti.

The Obama administration thus far has shown no indication it plans to change its Haitian deportation policy.


Click HERE for the original article and video.

Hurricane Relief Efforts Risk Repeating Old Mistakes

October 12, 2016 - 09:59

Although Haitians were much better-prepared to handle Hurricane Matthew than they were for the 2010 earthquake, the media often portrays Haitians as helpless and in need of charity. The other mistake that the media has been making is attributing the cholera epidemic to the earthquake and not United Nations peacekeepers, giving the UN another opportunity to shirk its responsibilities to the victims. Both of these errors are important because they risk increasing the lack of accountability to Haitians. If Haitians are helpless, international aid organizations won’t need to work with local groups to best respond to the disaster. And if the UN didn’t cause cholera, it doesn’t owe Haiti’s cholera victims.

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

An Inconvenient Truth: Hurricane Matthew and Cholera in Haiti

Haiti Support Group

October 2016

Hurricane Matthew made landfall at Les Anglais, Haiti on the 4 October 2016. The category 4 storm brought 150mph winds, sheets of rain and ocean surges that cascaded furiously upon the Haitian shoreline. The areas affected are wounded; homes, businesses, churches and centres of city life have been flooded. Death tolls currently range from 300-1000, and many thousands more have been forced from their homes.

This past week, however, Haitians did not powerlessly watch Matthew wash through their land, waiting for foreign aid to appear. They have banded together – families, neighbours, cooperatives, work societies, community, solidarity and diaspora groups – to begin the clean-up, and get the affected regions back on their feet. Yet, once again, the media and the “international community” have chosen to present Haitians as passive, fatalistic, superstitious and cavalier (yes, all at once!).

Although this is a time of great sadness, we must also be vigilant. Over the course of the past week, the UN, aided by many major charities and NGOs, has done all it can to claim, with a snake-tongued audacity, that Hurricane Matthew represents the “largest humanitarian event” to hit Haiti since the 2010 earthquake.


Click HERE for the full text.

Congressman Hastings Urges Expansion of TPS for Haitians After Hurricane Matthew

October 12, 2016 - 09:18

For Immediate Release                                                                                                Contact: Evan Polisar

October 12, 2016                                                                                                                (202) 225-1313

Hastings Urges President Obama to Expand TPS for Haitians Affected by Hurricane Matthew

(Fort Lauderdale, FL) Today, Congressman Alcee L. Hastings (D-FL) sent the following letter to President Barack Obama, urging him to set a date under Haiti’s Temporary Protected Status (TPS) designation that will account for the effects of Hurricane Matthew on the country.(Please find below and attached a copy of the letter.)

October 12, 2016

The Honorable Barack Obama
President of the United States
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, D.C. 20500

Dear Mr. President:

I write to you today to respectfully request that you set a date under Haiti’s Temporary Protected Status (TPS) designation that will account for the devastating effects Hurricane Matthew has had on that country.

As I know you are aware, on October 4, 2016, Hurricane Matthew hit Haiti causing catastrophic damage throughout the country. As of the writing of this letter, over 800 Haitians are reported dead and 350,000 in need of assistance. Jeremie, Haiti, the capital of Haiti’s Grand’Anse Department, saw 80% of its buildings levelled during the hurricane. In Haiti’s Sud Province, 30,000 homes have been destroyed and crops devastated.

It is generally agreed that when Hurricane Matthew made landfall earlier this week, Haiti had still not fully recovered from the 2010 earthquake, which was responsible for the deaths of over 200,000 Haitians, incredible structural damage and a horrific cholera epidemic.

Given these facts, I believe it is appropriate to grant a TPS designation for those Haitians affected by Hurricane Matthew, and I ask that you do all that you can to ensure that such a designation is made without delay and uses as its Continuous Residence date, October 4, 2016.

Finally, I would like to reiterate that which was stated in the bi-partisan letter I joined with over fifty of my colleagues and was recently sent to you – namely that an immediate halt should be put to the Department of Homeland Security’s recently announced decision to resume deportations to Haiti. Such a policy is ill-advised given Haiti’s current situation.

Thank you for your timely attention to this matter. Should you or your staff have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact my office at 202-225-1313.


Alcee L. Hastings
Member of Congress

Congressman Alcee L. Hastings serves as Senior Member of the House Rules Committee, Ranking Democratic Member of the U.S. Helsinki Commission, and Co-Chairman of the Florida Delegation.