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UN Secretary-General Finally Apologizes to Haiti for Cholera

December 2, 2016 - 06:23

Since United Nations peacekeepers brought cholera to Haiti in 2010, the UN has neither acknowledged its culpability nor apologized. On Thursday, December 1 though, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon apologized to the Haitian people in a briefing that was also broadcast live. After that, Ban outlined the new $400 million plan to eradicate cholera from Haiti.

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

At Last! UN General Secretary apologies to Haiti for Cholera epidemic

CaribbeanNationalWeekly.com

December 2, 2016

Since a cholera epidemic broke out in Haiti shortly after the devastating 2010 earthquake, Haitians have pointed their fingers at United Nation peacekeepers originating from Nepal as the source of the epidemic. Persistently, Haitian officials have called on the UN to acknowledge that the peacekeepers were the source of the disease, apologize for this unfortunate situation, and make financial restitution to the country to enable it to effectively fight the disease. However, the UN through its chief UN Secretary Ban Ki-Moon neither apologized or acknowledged for, or that, the UN peacekeepers were responsible for causing the cholera outbreak that has been responsible for the death of over 9,000 Haitians.

However, on Thursday, Ban who will soon be demitting his 10-year tenure as UN chief, finally apologized in a live broadcast to Haitians from his offices in the UN. In the broadcast Ban said, “On behalf of the United Nations, I want to say very clearly: We apologize to the Haitian people …..We are profoundly sorry for our role.” He also  acknowledged the UN had not done enough regarding  the cholera outbreak and its spread in Haiti.

 

Click HERE for the full text.

Ban Ki-moon Finally Apologizes For Cholera, More Work to Be Done

December 1, 2016 - 16:31

After nearly six years of denial in order to avoid accountability for bringing a deadly cholera epidemic to Haiti, Secretary-General Bakn Ki-moon finally apologized in an address before the UN General Assembly. In the same address, he also provided more details on a new two-track UN plan to eliminate cholera from Haiti and provide “material assistance.” The UN plans to meet with Haiti and with victims and their families to flesh out the plan. During the Assembly, over 20 countries spoke to commend the plan, the apology, and pledge their aid. This article also quotes Mario Joseph, Managing Attorney of BAI.

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

After 6 years, U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon finally says “sorry” to Haiti’s cholera victims

Jacqueline Charles, Miami Herald

December 1, 2016

 

 

The day before United Nations Secretary Ban Ki-moon was set to make the case that ridding Haiti of the scourge of cholera should be a humanitarian funding priority, human rights attorney Mario Joseph wondered whether the outgoing world leader would finally issue a long-sought public apology.

For six years, Ban had refused to either apologize or acknowledge the role of his blue-helmeted peacekeepers in introducing the deadly waterborne disease to Haiti during relief efforts after a devastating earthquake that killed more than 300,000.

“The U.N. secretary general has always hidden behind lies in order to avoid admitting that they were the ones responsible for bringing cholera to Haiti,” said Joseph, who heads the Bureau des Avocats Internationaux, a partner of the Boston-based Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti, which filed a lawsuit on behalf of 5,000 cholera victims.

 

Click HERE for the full text.

Victims & Advocates Commend Announcement of New UN Haiti Cholera Response

December 1, 2016 - 15:38

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact:

Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti (New York and Boston): media@ijdh.org, +617-652- 0876

Bureau des Avocats Internationaux (Port-au-Prince) : sienna@ijdh.org, +509-4875-3444

 

Victims & Advocates Commend Announcement of New UN Haiti Cholera Response

Secretary-General Issues Historic Apology to Victims

(NEW YORK, PORT-AU-PRINCE, December 1, 2016)–Advocates for cholera victims in Haiti welcome the announcement of a new UN response that promises to reduce cholera in Haiti and provide material assistance to the most affected victims.  The plan pledges to place victims at its center and to involve them in the developments of the details of the plan. The Secretary-General also apologized to Haitian victims, saying that the UN “simply did not do enough with regard to the cholera outbreak and its spread in Haiti” and “we are profoundly sorry for our role.”

The advocates called the Secretary-General’s apology “a crucial step towards justice for the Haitian people.” The statement was broadcast on national television in Haiti, and victims watching the statement in Haiti at the office of the Bureau des Avocats Internationaux, which has pursued legal claims for the cholera against the UN, broke into spontaneous applause when they heard it.

“This was a victory for us today. It wasn’t easy. We sent thousands of letters and were in the street to get this victory for them to say today that they were responsible,” said Desir Jean-Clair from Boucan Care, who is a cholera survivor and whose mother died from cholera. “They said that and we thank them. But it can’t end here. Because today there is still cholera in the whole country,” he added.

“This marks a remarkable shift in the UN’s response, and is a major victory in the cholera victims’ six-year long struggle for compensation, cholera treatment and elimination, and an apology,” said Brian Concannon, Jr., a lawyer for victims and Executive Director of the Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti.  “Victims have demanded justice from the streets of Port-au-Prince to the courts of New York, and finally they are being heard.”

Cholera has killed over 9,300 people and sickened over 753,000 since UN peacekeepers introduced it to Haiti by discharging untreated human waste into Haiti’s largest river in 2010.  Cholera continues to kill at an alarming rate.  If the new response is effectively implemented, it is expected to save hundreds of lives and alleviate suffering for tens of thousands of families in Haiti.

The new plan is set out in a report by the Secretary-General. Lawyers for victims particularly welcomed the material assistance component of the plan. “Compensation for the injuries suffered is critical to start making victims whole,” said Attorney Beatrice Lindstrom, who led the IJDH legal team. “Our clients have lost breadwinners and gone into debt to pay for funeral costs. Children have been pulled from school when cholera-stricken families could no longer afford the fees. Cholera has been crushing in so many ways, and it is promising that victims will now have an opportunity to weigh in on how this assistance can best be provided.  It is critical that Member States recognize the importance of this initiative and provide support for it.”

Mario Joseph, Managing Attorney for the BAI, noted that “Today the UN took a step towards restoring its reputation and its leadership in promoting the rule of law. It is now time for the international community, especially UN Member States, to demonstrate their commitment to justice and fighting disease by providing the resources necessary to make these promises a reality.”

“What we want is for [the UN] to come and sit down with us so that we can tell them what we need. We have suffered so much, people who died people who still have cholera in their blood and are still suffering. They need to compensate us properly” said Leon Paul, who survived cholera and follows today’s historic address from the BAI’s office in Port-au-Prince.

This victory for justice was the product of an unprecedented advocacy network, that brought together cholera victims, grassroots activists in Haiti and abroad, Haitian-Americans, international media, academics, members of the U.S. Congress,  doctors, filmmakers, human rights groups,UN Member States and eventually the UN’s own human rights apparatus.The network’s persistent advocacy forced the UN to confront the gap between its principles of promoting the rule of law and fighting disease, and its practices of refusing to comply with its legal obligations to the victims. The network has allowed the victims of cholera to directly command the attention of the world through protests, short video, letter-writing and photography.

“I salute everyone here and the General Assembly and we accept the declaration that [the Secretary-General] made… We’re moving forward but we’re not finished. We want eradication and compensation. So we’re asking Haitians everywhere all over the world to mobilize peacefully and join with us,” said Jean-Charles August, a teacher from Petit-Goâve.

 

###

Haitian Cholera Victims React to UN Apology

December 1, 2016 - 14:40

December 1, 2016

Haitian cholera victims watched a live webstream of the United Nations briefing on the new cholera plan, which included a long-awaited apology from Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. There was a spontaneous cheer and applause when Ban Ki-Moon apologized during his speech and an extraordinary atmosphere in the room. In reaction to the Secretary-General’s address, victims were clear that words aren’t enough and that concrete action on eradication and compensation is needed, but welcomed and accepted the apology itself.

These are unofficial translations:

Desir Jean-Clair, Boucan Care: This was a victory for us today. It wasn’t easy. We sent thousands of letters and were in the street to get this victory for them to say today that they were responsible. They said that and we thank them. But it can’t end there. Because today there is still cholera in all the country. I got cholera. My mother died from cholera too. This battle hasn’t finished. And they can’t just talk about this doing this in 2017; this is urgent. They need to say how much money the are giving to each person and exactly how they will eliminate cholera. Our children died, our wives died.

Unnamed, Bocozel: I accept the statement the Secretary-General made today. He admitted the UN’s responsibility. But Ban Ki-moon also needs to deal with cholera. It’s not just eradication but compensating victims. They need to put their heads together to eradicate cholera but after that, victims need compensation. People have suffered, parents lost children.Me Jean-Charles August, Petit-Goaves: I am a teacher. I salute everyone here and the General Assembly and we accept the declaration that he [the Secretary-General] made. He said they were the ones that brought it. We’re moving forward but we’re not finished. We want eradication and compensation. So we’re asking Haitians everywhere all over the world to mobilize peacefully and join with us.Eliza Vilne, La Chappelle: I represent the Groupman Viktim Kolera Lachapel [Grouping of cholera victims in Lachapelle] and I want to say “hold on” because the battle isn’t over. We accept this apology – it’s right that if you do wrong, you apologize. But we don’t accept the sum [$400 million] the Secretary General talked about and we don’t accept that they can give us charity. They can’t just give a little project and then it will be over; they need to compensate each victim personally.Mme Leon Paul: I am happy with what was said today and I thank all the organizations like BAI, IJDH, MOLEGHAF and PAPDA that got us here today. What we want is for foreigners to come and sit down with us so that we can tell them what we need. We have suffered so much, people who died and people who still have cholera in their blood and are still suffering. They need to compensate us properly.Men Bana: I lost my mother to cholera. The battle hasn’t finished yet. I ask them to put their heads together and I ask them to come and sit with us and not decide for us because we aren’t asking for charity.

Jamaica Rep Responds to New UN Approach to Haiti Cholera

December 1, 2016 - 13:32

Remarks by H.E. Courtenay Rattray, Permanent Representative of Jamaica to the UN, at the Informal Briefing by the Secretary-General on the United Nations’ New Approach to Cholera in Haiti

1 December 2016

 

Mr. President,

Mr. Secretary-General,
Thank you for organizing this briefing for Member States to further update us on this situation, which is of great importance to my delegation and region.

At the outset, allow me to extend congratulations to the government and people of Haiti on the holding of national elections, and to wish President-elect Moïse success in his tenure.

Mr. President,

Jamaica commends the Secretary General for the action that will be taken to support the people of Haiti in the wake of the cholera epidemic. Furthermore, we welcome the issuance of his Report outlining the new approach that the Organization will take in addressing the presence and effect of cholera in Haiti, a neighbouring state to Jamaica. The urgent need to move ahead with a comprehensive programme for sustainably eliminating cholera from Haiti is manifestly clear. We therefore welcome the elaboration of Track One of the response and urge its accelerated implementation.

With respect to Track Two, we fully support the effort to develop a package of material assistance for the victims and families most affected by the cholera epidemic. This  will be of vital importance, not only in addressing the calamity that has befallen a sister Member State of this Organisation, but also in acknowledging the gross injustice that has been visited upon the people of Haiti and the moral responsibility harboured by the United Nations. This is a critical component in the effort to restore the good name of our Organisation.

We concur with the perceived need to ensure consultation with the Haitian people and encourage the Secretary-General to undertake a broad spectrum of engagement, from the family and community level, through local governance structures and up to the national level. We urge the Secretary General to ensure that Haiti is integrally involved in the final determination of the scope, nature and modalities governing the provision of material assistance. Notwithstanding the complexity inherent in any scheme to address individual cases, we encourage the Secretariat to give further consideration to how best this approach could be structured and undertaken.

I wish to underscore the importance of involving the local stakeholders in Haiti at every turn. For too long, Haitians have had external parties descend upon them in the wake of a national crisis or natural disaster with good intentions but, ultimately, little lasting effect. We believe that involving the citizens of Haiti in this response will be critical to gain citizen’s trust and buy-in, which will be critical to ensuring the effectiveness of the new approach.

Mr. President,

In closing let me say that we, as the United Nations, have let down the people of Haiti, a founding Member State of this Organisation. I say this not solely in reference to the introduction of cholera into their nation through our collective presence there, but moreso in relation to our failure to take swift and effective action to address the crisis. As the Secretary General’s report states, “The people of Haiti deserve this tangible expression of our respect and solidarity, as well as our regret, and the genuine support that comes with it.” To heal this grievous wound, the Organisation should begin by expressing its regret directly to the Government and people of Haiti. My delegation implores all Member States in a position to do so to provide the resources that will be required to redress the situation in Haiti in a comprehensive and sustainable way.

Thank you.

 

Victory in the Fight for Cholera Justice – UN Apology!

December 1, 2016 - 13:28

IJDH has been pursuing cholera justice for so many years, and today, we saw major steps towards justice! For the first time, the United Nations held a briefing specifically dedicated to cholera. It is unheard of for a Secretary-General to issue a report like this and hold this type of session. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon also apologized for bringing cholera to Haiti, something that cholera victims, BAI, IJDH and all of our allies have been advocating for since 2010!

Stephen Lewis, former Canadian Ambassador to the UN and now co-Director of AIDS-Free World, describes the fight for cholera justice in vivid terms:

Transcript of cholera apology, in three languages

Reactions from cholera victims in Haiti

UN Secretary General’s report on the new plan

UN Secretary General’s Report on the New Haiti Cholera Plan

December 1, 2016 - 09:24

Today, December 1, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will present the following report in a briefing on the UN cholera response in Haiti.

………….

Aujourd’hui, le 1er décembre, le secrétaire général des Nations Unies, Ban Ki-moon, présentera le rapport suivant dans un briefing sur la réponse des Nations Unies contre le choléra en Haïti.

Cliquez ICI pour le rapport en français.

A new approach to cholera in Haiti

Report by the Secretary-General

Summary

On 19 August 2016, the Secretary-General announced a new approach by the United Nations to cholera in Haiti. In his accompanying public statement, he indicated that he deeply regrets the terrible suffering the people of Haiti have endured as a result of the cholera epidemic and that the United Nations has a moral responsibility to the victims of the cholera epidemic and to support Haiti in overcoming the epidemic and building sound water, sanitation and health systems. He stressed that eliminating cholera from Haiti will take the full commitment of the Haitian Government and the international community and, crucially, the resources to fulfil this shared duty.

The new approach has two tracks. Track 1 involves intensifying the Organization’s support in order to reduce and ultimately end the transmission of cholera, improve access to care and treatment and address the longer-term issues of water, sanitation and health systems in Haiti. Track 2 involves developing a package that will provide material assistance and support to those Haitians most directly affected by cholera. These efforts must include, as a central focus, the victims of the disease and their families. The Secretary-General urged Member States to demonstrate their solidarity with the people of Haiti by increasing their contributions to eliminate cholera and provide assistance to those affected.

Click HERE for the full report.

Cliquez ICI pour le rapport en français.

UN explanation of new cholera approach pre-SG address

November 30, 2016 - 12:45

In anticipation of the UN Secretary General’s address on December 1, 2016, the UN News Centre published this article explaining what the Secretary General is expected to address in his speech. Specifically, Ban Ki-moon is expected to elaborate on and explain the UN’s new approach to cholera that was announced in August, and is scheduled to be launched on December 1st.

Haiti: UN’s new approach on cholera puts people at heart of the response

UN News Centre

November 30, 2016

A shipment of cholera vaccines arrives in Haiti. (Photo from original article)

 

30 November 2016 – The response to cholera in Haiti will be a “long and thorough battle,” but the United Nations will stand by the Haitian people and authorities, Stéphane Dujarric, the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General, said on the eve of the launch of the world body’s new approach to tackling the epidemic in the country.

The new approach on cholera was announced last August and will be launched bySecretary-General Ban Ki-moon to the UN General Assembly on Thursday, 1 December. It includes action such as rapid interventions in areas where cases are reported and the prevention of future high-risk public health crises, and focuses on support for those Haitians directly affected by the disease.

Haiti has been dealing with a cholera outbreak since October 2010, some nine months after it suffered a major and deadly earthquake. The outbreak has affected an estimated 788,000 people and claimed the lives of more than 9,000. Concerted national and international efforts, in which the UN has played a key role, have resulted in a 90 per cent reduction in the number of suspected cases.

While the number of those affected remains high, and recent outbreaks – partly heightened by the impact of Hurricane Matthew – show the continued vulnerability of the population to the disease, UN officials have said the challenge is not insurmountable. A recent vaccination campaign, backed by the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO)/ UN World Health Organization (WHO), reached more than 729,000 people in Haiti’s areas devastated by the hurricane.

Track 1

Specifically, the new approach has two tracks. The first consists of a greatly intensified and better-resourced effort to respond to and reduce the incidence of cholera in Haiti, though addressing short- and longer-term issues of water, sanitation and health systems and improved access to care and treatment.

Cholera patients receive treatment at a centre in Cap-Haïtien in Haiti. Photo: UNICEF/Maxence Bradley

This is expected to involve intensifying efforts to mobilize adequate funding for an increased number of rapid response teams; strengthened epidemiological surveillance; the rapid detection, reporting and treatment of cases; the combined use of cholera vaccinations with targeted water and sanitation interventions; more focused geographical targeting; improved communication and behavioural change strategies; and strengthened support to longer-term water and sanitation services.“This is an approach that goes to the root of the problem with long-term investments in the sanitation facilities that the country needs to eradicate cholera; short-term investments to halt the progression of cholera; and, most importantly, putting people and communities affected by cholera at the heart of our efforts,” Mr. Dujarric said in an interview with the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) FM Radio.

Funding will be key for this track. For the past six years, both the immediate response and longer-term efforts have been severely hampered by limited and inconsistent funding, which has made it impossible to fully treat or eliminate what is generally a treatable and preventable disease.

Track 2

The second track of the new approach is the development of a package of material assistance and support to those Haitians most directly affected by cholera. It is expected that it will also involve consulting with affected individuals and communities in the development of the package.

“The United Nations must listen to the Haitian people, must listen to the communities that have been affected by this disease,” he stated. “Only communities will be able to explain what they need and how we can help them.”

The new strategy will examine the feasibility of an individual approach, the Spokesman continued, noting that such an approach would require precise identification of the victims of cholera and their family members, as well as an adequate amount of funding.

“We know very well, and the Secretary-General knows very well, that the United Nations has a moral responsibility to the people most affected by the cholera epidemic. We regret the terrible suffering endured by the Haitian people as a result of the epidemic,” said Mr. Dujarric.

The ability of the UN to fulfil this moral responsibility will depend on the financial and political support of Member States, UN officials have previously indicated.

According to UN estimates, the programme is expected to cost about $400 million over the next two years. “It is not an insurmountable sum, and the Secretary-General is very hopeful that the General Assembly and the international community will show solidarity and will be there to help Haiti at a time when aid is needed,” the Spokesperson said.

“The most important in the long term is a sustained investment in the health network in Haiti to ensure that water distribution is at a level where water saves and feeds and water no longer poisons, as we have seen with cholera,” he added, while also noting the moral aspects to the world body’s efforts.

 

Holding the UN to account for Cholera in Haiti [event]

November 30, 2016 - 06:54
Holding the UN to account for Cholera in Haiti: Are lawyers the real problem?

2 December 2016

Time: 5:00 – 6:00pm
Venue: Ground floor lecture theatre, ArtsOne Building, Queen Mary University of London, Mile End Road E1 4NS United Kingdom

‘Holding the UN to account for Cholera in Haiti: Are lawyers the real problem?’ Public Policy Lecture is delivered by Professor Philip Alston and hosted by the Centre for Law and Society in a Global Context (CLSGC).

About the speaker

Philip Alston is John Norton Pomeroy Professor of Law at New York University School of Law. His teaching focuses primarily on international law, human rights law, and international criminal law. He co-chairs the NYU Center for Human Rights and Global Justice.

He has previously been Professor of Law and Foundation Director of the Center for International and Public Law at the Australian National University and Professor of International Law at the European University Institute (EUI) in Florence where he was also Head of Department and Co-Director of the Academy of European Law.

Alston was appointed in 2014 as the UN Human Rights Council’s Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights. He was previously UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary, or arbitrary executions from 2004 to 2010 and undertook fact-finding missions to: Sri Lanka, Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Philippines, Israel, Lebanon, Albania, Kenya, Brazil, Central African Republic, Afghanistan, the United States, Albania, and Ecuador. He was a member of the Group of Experts on Darfur appointed in 2007 by the UN Human Rights Council, and was special adviser to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights on the Millennium Development Goals. He chaired the UN Committee on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights for eight years until 1998, and at the 1993 World Conference on Human Rights he was elected to chair the first meeting of the Presidents and Chairs of all of the international human rights courts and committees (including the European and American Human Rights Courts and the African Commission). He was UNICEF’s legal adviser throughout the period of the drafting of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and directed a major project funded by the European Commission, which resulted in the publication of a Human Rights Agenda for the European Union for the Year 2000 and a volume of essays on that theme. In 2010-11 he was a member of the Independent International Commission investigating human rights violations in Kyrgzstan.

 

How to book

This event is free but prior booking is required. Register online via Eventbrite.

Contact

For more information on this event, please email lawevents@qmul.ac.uk.

Giving Tuesday All Week – Donate to IJDH

November 29, 2016 - 08:36

 

 

Why give to your favorite nonprofits only on November 29? At IJDH, we declare that it is #GivingTuesday this entire week. Please donate now to help us keep fighting for protection for activists, fair U.S. policy towards Haitians, cholera justice, rape accountability, fair elections, civic engagement and more. Activism and advocacy are more important now than ever. We can’t do it without you.

Help IJDH Fight for Fair Treatment of Haitians in the U.S.!

Giving Tuesday: Don’t Just Get Mad, Get Justice!

…………….

 

 

Haiti’s Presidential Election Results Protested

November 29, 2016 - 07:07

Haiti’s Provisional Electoral Committee, CEP, declared Jovenal Moïse the winner of Haiti’s presidential election, with 600,000 votes. 2nd was Jude Célestin, and third was Moïse Jean-Charles. After hurricane Matthew and lacking funding for elections, voter turnout was especially low. Due to “irregularities,” 10% of the tallying sheets were thrown out, and without explanation three of CEP’s nine members did not sign off on the results. Below is an excerpt of The Guardian‘s report.

Haiti: violent protests erupt over presidential election

The Guardian/Reuters

November 29th, 2016

Moïse, a banana exporter who ran for former president Michel Martelly’s Bald Heads party, won with 55.67% of votes cast in the 20 November election, the electoral council said on Monday. The result avoids a second round run-off next year.

Jude Célestin, a mechanical engineer who had led a government construction firm, came in second. He received just under a fifth of the vote.

Moïse Jean-Charles, a leftist senator, netted 11%, while Maryse Narcisse, running for Aristide’s Fanmi Lavalas party, won around 9%, the preliminary results showed.

However, turnout was low and 10% of sheets tallying votes were thrown out because of irregularities. In a country of 10 million people, Jovenel Moïse received just 600,000 votes.

 Three people on the nine-member electoral council did not sign the report declaring Moïse the winner, although the council’s president did not say who had abstained.

Those elements fueled a universal condemnation of the results from the losing candidates, who have 72 hours to contest before the final results are released on 29 December.

“We reject the results because they are invalid votes that have been counted,” said Michel André, a lawyer for second-place finisher Célestin. “Jude Célestin will challenge the results.”

Moïse Jean-Charles also said on Tuesday that he would fight the results. “The outcome of the election is the result of a conspiracy by the economic oligarchy and sectors of the international community,” he said.

 

Click HERE for the full article.

 

Sen. Nelson and Rep. Wilson Letter Regarding US Assistance to Haiti

November 28, 2016 - 16:47

Sen. Bill Nelson and Rep. Frederica Wilson are urging the U.S. State Department to continue their efforts to help the people of Haiti recover from Hurricane Matthew. In a letter today to Secretary of State John Kerry and U.S. Agency for International Development Administrator Gayle Smith, the Florida lawmakers asked the State Department to provide a detailed plan to address the island nation’s shortage of food and shelter and to combat the increasing spread of cholera in the wake of the recent storm.

Letter to Secretary of State and USAID Regarding US Assistance to Haiti

November 28, 2016

The Honorable John F. Kerry
Secretary of State
U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street NW
Washington, DC 20520

The Honorable Gayle E. Smith
Administrator
U.S. Agency for International Development
1300 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20004

Dear Secretary Kerry and Administrator Smith:

We write to express our concern for the people of Haiti, who are still struggling to recover from Hurricane Matthew. At this difficult time, continued support for the Haitian people is critical.

We are grateful for your efforts in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Matthew to provide shelter, food, water, and other supplies to all those affected. The storm’s impact on Haiti was devastating, killing 1,000, leveling homes, and destroying existing crops and much of the usable agricultural land. The need for food and shelter remains urgent.

Click HERE to read the full letter.

VICE documentary on UNaccountable Peacekeepers in Haiti

November 27, 2016 - 06:51

VICE documentary chronicles the UN peacekeepers’ crimes in Haiti.

“A perpetrator certainly can be brought to justice. If you look at the UN system there’s lots of procedures that allow that to happen. It’s just that those procedures in practice are not allowed to work,” Brian Concannon.

The documentary features interviews from Haitian victims of sexual assault, a former Haitian prime minister, former staff against whom the UN retaliated, and Brian Concannon of IJDH. Watch the video HERE.

“Peacekeepers Turned Perpetrators”Gianna Toboni, VICENovember 28th, 2016

Click here to view VICE documentary

 

Switzerland Wants to Return Duvalier Funds ASAP

November 26, 2016 - 07:31

Click here to read the original article.

Haiti – Politics : Switzerland wants to return Duvalier funds but…Haiti LibreNovember 26th, 2016

According to Roberto Balzaretti, the Director of the Directorate of International Law of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs of Switzerland, his country wants to return as soon as possible to Haiti, the confiscated money of the former dictator Jean-Claude Duvalier totaling +/- 7 millions of dollars.

Director Balzaretti reminded reporters that the final decision in Switzerland on this case, which lasted several years, dates from 2013, when the Federal Court confirmed that it was legal to seize the money of the now deceased Duvalier.

Explaining that “The Swiss Confederation wants to return the money to Haiti and has been in contact with the Haitian authorities and the successive presidents… there is a general memorandum with Haiti and Switzerland knows what the Haitian authorities want to do with this money, but the political situation, repeated elections, hurricanes and other circumstances have made things a bit difficult,” adding “Our goal is to finalize as soon as possible an agreement with Haiti to allocate funds to projects such as civil rights, democracy or memory initiatives to help communities return to normal life… […] But we need an appropriate framework that is not there yet, to ensure that the money is properly spent on what was agreed in the memorandum.”

 

Click HERE for the original article.

U.S. increasing rate of deportations to Haiti

November 23, 2016 - 11:33

After ending a 6-year moratorium on non-criminal deportations to Haiti, the Department of Homeland Security, has recently announced that it will begin to pick up the pace of deportations to Haiti, to keep pace with the increase of Haitian nationals arriving at the southern US border. The current deportations will not affect Haitians with Temporary Protection Status in the US, and their protection has been extended through July 22, 2017.
Part of the article is below. Click HERE for the full text.

U.S. picking up pace of deportations to Haiti

Jacqueline Charles, Miami Herald
November 23, 2016

United States Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson has decided to step up deportations of undocumented Haitian migrants after an influx along the U.S. border with Mexico. (Photo from original article)

Facing an influx of undocumented Haitian migrants arriving at the U.S. southern border with Mexico and a lack of jail space, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security said Wednesday that it would step up deportations to Haiti in the coming weeks.
“Recently, we have seen an increase in the numbers of those apprehended on the southern border. I have instructed our border security and immigration enforcement personnel to take steps to keep pace with this increase,” Homeland Secretary Jeh Johnson said.
Earlier this month, U.S. immigration officials decided to release some Haitians arriving in California and Arizona because of a lack of beds in detention facilities. The number of available beds is between 31,000 and 34,000…
Click HERE for the full article.

Haiti’s Rival Parties Claim Victory in Elections

November 22, 2016 - 07:15

Former president Martelly’s PHTK party declared victory, despite the continuation of ballot counting by Provisional Electoral Council (CEP). With partial voting returns, PHTK spokesman precipitously declared the election victorious for Jovenel Moise; “hundreds” of Fanmi Lavalas supporters in Port-au-Prince also claim they secured victory in Maryse Narcisse. CEP head Leopold Berlanger warned directly after polls closed Sunday of provisional and incomplete returns “should not be used to predict the result.” State Department spokesman John Kirby encouraged preparing a second round vote if needed and a new president “in early 2017″ in Haiti.

Read part of the article below.

Rival parties claim victory in Haiti’s presidential election

American Foreign Press, France 24

November 22nd, 2016

Two of Haiti’s biggest parties stoked tension on Monday by claiming victory for their candidates in a long-delayed presidential election days before official results are due to be released.Nearly 6.2 million people were eligible to vote in the Caribbean nation, parts of which are still struggling to recover from a devastating hurricane, and long lines formed Sunday as many cast their ballots.There were scattered reports of civil unrest and a small number of arrests, but order generally held, boosting hopes that at long last institutions may be renewed and constitutional rule returned.

But Haiti is not yet free of the fear that this year’s attempt to choose a leader will end as it did in 2015, when election results were cancelled amid protests and reports of massive fraud.

Former president Michel Martelly‘s mandate expired after last year’s cancelled poll, but his party is still keen to see his anointed successor Jovenel Moise take office.

In the meantime Haiti has had an interim leader, Jocelerme Privert, who was chosen by the legislature.

But Haiti must wait to find out if a split in opposition support has given Moise an early victory. The CEP is not due to report official tallies for eight days.

CEP head Leopold Berlanger warned Sunday after polls closed that partial returns cited on the group’s online tally are provisional and incomplete and should not be used to predict the result.

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Haitian Elections: A Step in the Right Direction

November 21, 2016 - 11:14

After a concerted effort and many setbacks, Haiti was finally able to host elections on Sunday, November 20.  In recent months, Haiti has suffered through the devastation of Hurricane Matthew, and the subsequent flooding and mudslides; fraudulent elections; and a cholera epidemic.  These elections are a step in the right direction.

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

A Very Good Day for Haiti

Robert Maguire, Focus On Haiti Initiative

November 21, 2016

If ever a country and its people needed a good day, it was Haiti and the Haitian people.  Over the past two months, they have been battered by a monstrous hurricane and, more recently, by widespread flooding and mudslides.  Over the past year, they have been subject to fraudulent elections and, when the country’s political, social, civic and economic leaders sought to rectify them, resistance and pressure to accept the election results status quo from external forces who ironically often present themselves as Haiti’s ‘friends.’  And, in the five years prior to those denigrating elections, the country and its people were subject to a government more known for organizing carnivals, engaging enthusiastically in debt-inducing political patronage and shady dealings, and disrespecting democratic process and practice than for leading the country to a stronger, more prosperous future.

It is through this lens that Sunday, November 20, 2016 was a very good day for Haiti.  On that day, the bruised country held an election and determined citizens went to polling places around the country in what has been described by the head of the elections council as “a successful day… that unfolded in calm, serenity… and, in general… without violence.” Voters went to cast ballots for president, and in certain constituencies, for senators and lower chamber deputies engaged in a run-off election.  Should no single candidate for the presidency receive more than 50% of Sunday’s votes, a presidential run-off between the two top vote getters is scheduled for January 29, 2017.

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Observation préliminaires sur l’organisation et la réalisation de l’élection

November 21, 2016 - 10:11

Après l’élection du 20 Novembre 2016, la Coalition D’Observation Electorale a observé le processus ayant abouti au scrutin susmentionné. La Coalition a trouvé des points positifs et negatifs sur le scrutin, et ils sont détaillés dans le rapport complet.

Une partie des observations est dessous. Cliquez ICI pour le texte complet.

Observations préliminaires de la Coalition sur l’organisation et la réalisation du scrutin du 20 novembre 2016

Réseau National de Défense des Droits Humains

21 Novembre, 2016

Le 20 novembre 2016, les élections présidentielles et  législatives partielles se sont tenues sur le territoire national.

La Coalition d’Observation Electorale composée de SOFA, CNO, CONHANE, RNDDH, CARDH et POHDH a observé le processus ayant abouti au scrutin susmentionné…

 

Cliquez ICI pour le rapport complet.

Editorial: UN’s Failure to Accept Haiti Cholera Responsibility a “Stain”

November 20, 2016 - 11:04

An editorial on the UN’s lack of action in taking responsibility for the cholera outbreak in Haiti.  Even the UN Special Rapporteur on human rights has openly criticized the United Nations for refusing to accept legal responsibility in the outbreak.

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

U.N. Watch: Haiti’s cholera stain

The Tribune Review

November 20, 2016

Six years later, the Haiti cholera epidemic that killed more than 9,000 people is revisited in a new report that calls the United Nations’ refusal to accept responsibility a “disgrace.”

The world body’s special rapporteur on poverty and human rights minces no words in blasting the U.N.’s ineffectual response as “morally unconscionable, legally indefensible and politically self-defeating.” Since the 2010 cholera outbreak in the wake of a major earthquake in Haiti, the scientific consensus (apart from the U.N.’s panel of hand-picked experts) has directly linked the contamination to U.N. peacekeepers from Nepal, who dumped cholera-infected human waste into Haiti’s Artibonite River in flagrant ignorance of commonsense sanitation, Fox News reports.

Click HERE for the full text.

Haiti Elections Vote Count Now Underway

November 20, 2016 - 07:39

After many delays and even a cancellation, Haitians finally went to the polls on November 20 to vote for a president and members of Parliament. The voting was orderly, despite the fact that Haiti is still recovering from the effects of Hurricane Matthew. The official results are expected in eight days, with a runoff scheduled for January 29.

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

Vote Count Begins in Haiti Presidential Poll

Aline Barros, VOA

November 20, 2016

Vote counting has begun in Haiti’s repeatedly derailed presidential election. The vote went off relatively smoothly Sunday after an annulled election in October and Hurricane Matthew’s serious damage in the Caribbean nation last month.

No official results were expected to be issued for eight days, and Provisional Electoral Council executive director Uder Antoine has said it might take longer than that.

Six million Haitians were eligible to vote for one of 27 presidential candidates, as well as for members of both houses of parliament.

According to reports, voters patiently waited for their turn at the many polling stations throughout the island.

Click HERE for the full text.