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UN Whistleblower Speaks Out: “Why I Resigned From the UN”

June 17, 2016 - 08:51

Anders Kompass leaked information from the UN about peacekeepers’s sexual abuse and exploitation of children. For this, he was asked to resign and put under investigation. Although he was exonerated, he believes the only reason this happened was because internal UN employees leaked information about his investigation, forcing the UN to act ethically. If it were up to the UN the truth would be buried forever. Kompass says that the United Nations rarely holds its employees accountable for their unethical actions, and they punish those who choose to take the ethical but unpopular stance. In his own words, “the UN promotes an atmosphere of fear and marginalises individuals seen as not toeing the line.” The international justice system is extremely flawed, yet there has been no effort to improve the system. Anders Kompass says he resigned because he could not continue to fight for human rights while working within the structure of the United Nations.

Click HERE for the full article.

EXCLUSIVE: The ethical failure – Why I resigned from the UN

Anders Kompass, Irin News

June 17th, 2016

By the time I reported the sexual abuse of children by peacekeepers in Central African Republic in 2014, I had worked for the UN for nearly 20 years.

There is no hierarchy in the horror and brutality I witnessed during those two decades – massacres, torture, killings, the displacement of populations – but an eight-year-old boy describing in detail his sexual abuse by the peacekeepers meant to protect him is the kind of account I wish I’d never had to read.

I’d also seen a lot of the UN’s dysfunction over the years, but I wasn’t prepared for how the organisation would deal with these events, with the ensuing scandal – and with me.

Cholera in Haiti, corruption in Kosovo, murder in Rwanda, cover-up of war crimes in Darfur: on too many occasions the UN is failing to uphold the principles and standards set out in its Charter, rules and regulations. Sadly, we seem to be witnessing more and more UN staff less concerned with abiding by the ethical standards of the international civil service than with doing whatever is most convenient – or least likely to cause problems – for themselves or for member states.

Click HERE for the full article.

 

After Haiti Earthquake Donation Misuse, Red Cross Needs to Win Back Trust

June 17, 2016 - 07:50

The American Red Cross needs to “make every effort to win [donors’] confidence” back after reports have revealed gross mis-spending of the money donated after the 2010 earthquake in Haiti. For example, 25% of the donations were spent on administrative costs and fundraising though those are usually reported at 9%. Senator Charles Grassley has been investigating this issue since a 2015 report by ProPublica and NPR called attention to it.

Trust Deficit at the Red Cross

Editorial, The New York Times

June 17, 2016

After calamities, people donate millions of dollars to the American Red Cross, believing it is uniquely equipped to provide prompt humanitarian aid. The latest evidence that their faith has been misplaced came this week in a report by Senator Charles Grassley about the charity’s poor response to the 2010 earthquake in Haiti.

The earthquake killed an estimated 160,000 people and left much of the already impoverished island in ruins. The Red Cross provided food, medical care and emergency shelter in the immediate aftermath of the quake, and it has since funded dozens of projects to improve schools, hospitals and infrastructure.

But Senate investigators found that the Red Cross spent about 25 percent of the $488 million raised for Haiti relief on administrative costs and fund­raising. That is unusually high; the charity has previously said it typically sets aside about 9 percent of donations for administrative costs. In one notable example, investigators found that the Red Cross earmarked $2 million to manage a $4.3 million contract it had awarded to the International Federation of the Red Cross, a partner organization.

The report also criticized the organization for downsizing its ethics office, which acts as a watchdog, from 65 employees a decade ago to just three.

“People who give generously to any charitable cause expect transparency and the careful use of every dollar,” Mr. Grassley said. “That’s especially true for the Red Cross, as an organization we all rely on for disaster relief.”

Mr. Grassley’s investigation began after a 2015 report by ProPublica and National Public Radio found that the Red Cross had managed to build only six permanent homes in what had been billed as one of its landmark reconstruction projects in Haiti. That report quoted a former Red Cross official who said the charity came to see the Haiti disaster as a “spectacular fund­raising opportunity.”

The Red Cross was criticized after its state chapters kept money that had been donated for the victims of the Sept. 11 attacks. After Hurricane Katrina in 2005, it was assailed for its chaotic and slow response.

Established by congressional charter, the Red Cross is a nonprofit that does not receive federal funds for its operating budget, although it gets money from the federal and state agencies that it works with on individual projects.

It is understandable that the charity would set aside money for future crises, but it should be absolutely transparent with donors when it does so. It should also significantly beef up its oversight and accounting operations and provide detailed, timely information about how it spends and accounts for relief funding. Early this month, it took a step in the right direction by releasing a breakdown of the money it had spent on Haiti relief.

It would be unfortunate if Americans were hesitant to donate after the next catastrophe. The Red Cross should make every effort to win their confidence.

 

Click HERE for the original article.

Owning Our Future – Haitian Perspectives in Film [Event]

June 17, 2016 - 06:48

Join the Irish International Immigrant Center for a screening and discussion of short films made by Haitians during a training and production process led by Boston-based Community Supported Film. Haitian documentary filmmakers, with backgrounds in journalism, theater and poetry, provide a unique opportunity to experience Haiti as it is lived by street vendors, business women, artists, farmers and more. Their stories nourish an understanding of Haiti that goes beyond the western media’s focus on crises and disasters.

WHEN: 

Wednesday, June 29, 2016
6-8:30pm

WHERE: 

Irish International Immigrant Center
100 Franklin Street, Lower Level
Boston, MA 02110
(Door on 201 Devonshire Street)

 

For more information, or to RSVP, contact Sarah Chapple-Sokol at 617-542-7654 extension 36 or sarahcs@iiicenter.org.

Senator’s Investigation Reveals Problematic Spending of Haiti Earthquake Donations

June 16, 2016 - 13:31

Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley has lead an investigation into the American Red Cross use of donations in the 2010 Haiti earthquake campaign. Receiving little to no feedback or answers to his questions, Senator Grassley has had a hard time finding information about the internal spending even though American Red Cross CEO Gail McGovern has claimed to work with the investigation. Though met with subpar communication, Grassley found that the organization has spent around 25 percent of the Haiti donations on internal expenses with ambiguous and unfounded titles such as ‘program expenses,’ a discovery that stands in direct violation of McGovern’s claim that all but 9 percent of donations go to humanitarian aid. The lack of support for internal policing mechanisms by the organization may hold a piece of the blame.

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

Report: Red Cross Spent 25 Percent Of Haiti Donations On Internal Expenses

Laura Sullivan, NPR

June 16th, 2016

The American Red Cross spent a quarter of the money people donated after the 2010 Haiti earthquake — or almost $125 million — on its own internal expenses, far more than the charity previously had disclosed, according to a report released Thursday by Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley.

The report also says the charity’s top officials stonewalled congressional investigators and released incomplete information about its Haiti program to the public. It concludes “there are substantial and fundamental concerns about [the Red Cross] as an organization.”

The report follows a nearly yearlong investigation by the Iowa Republican and his staff, launched after coverage by NPR and ProPublica of the Red Cross’ Haiti response. The venerated charity raised nearly $500 million after the disaster, more than any other nonprofit, but an ambitious plan to build housing resulted in just six permanent homes, NPR and ProPublica found.

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

Help End Cholera in Haiti – Call Congress Today!

June 14, 2016 - 11:30

Help put us over the top! As of Tuesday morning, 96 U.S. Representatives in Congress, including no less than 14 members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and six Republicans, had already endorsed a bi-partisan letter to Secretary John Kerry urging UN accountability on Haiti’s cholera epidemic! The letter, co-sponsored by Democrat John Conyers and Republican Mia Love, remains open through the close of business this Thursday, June 16, and we want to break the record for congressional sign-on letters — 104 members signing in 2012 on another cholera letter. WE NEED YOUR HELP TO DO SO! Please call your Representative today to ask if they’ve ALREADY SIGNED the Dear Colleague letter on Haiti’s cholera letter, THANK THEM if they have, and ask them to PLEASE JOIN 93 of their colleagues by this Thursday if they haven’t already signed on! Just dial 202-224-3121 and ask to be connected to your Representative’s office. (If you don’t know your Rep., just give your zip code.) Once connected with the Rep’s receptionist, ask to speak with the Staff member who handles international issues. If that Staffer is unavailable, leave a message.

No Decision Made on Privert’s Term: Unrest Continues

June 14, 2016 - 11:00

June 14th was supposed to be the day that Jocelerme Privert ended his 120 day transitional government, but parliament has not yet come to a conclusion on his term. Had elections gone successfully, there would have been a new president in place by now. However, the verification commission found widespread fraud in the elections so Haiti is still without an elected president. Haiti’s national assembly needs to vote on whether or not to prolong Privert’s presidency despite the February accord’s deadline. Anti-Privert protests are being planned, as well as Pro-Privert marches, and it is clear that parliament needs to make a decision.

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

More uncertainty for Haiti as parliament fails to decide on Privert

Jacqueline Charles, Miami Herald

June 15th, 2016

PORT-AU-PRINCE

An upbeat and smiling Jocelerme Privert walked into the waiting room of the presidential suite Tuesday offering pleasantries and looking like anything but a man at the end of a presidency.

While the day was supposed to be the end of a transitional government, capped at 120 days under a Feb. 5 political agreement, it was being treated like any other day by Privert. Last week, he met with different sectors of Haitian society discussing what he had done since his Feb. 14 election to the presidency by parliament, but this week he went back to presidential duties, dropping in on a radio station’s celebration, making a surprise visit to the general hospital where residents have been on strike for three months, and attending a celebration in the Grande Anse Department.

“I was born the first of February, and I regard today like the first of February,” Privert said in a Miami Herald interview. “I was elected provisional president the 14th of February, and I started my day today as if it were the 14th of February.”

Click HERE for the full article.

 

How the UN Can Save Its Image

June 13, 2016 - 08:49

Allan Rock, former Canadian Ambassador to the UN, calls attention to the UN’s slipping image since its 1950s heyday. In current times, the UN fails to hold itself accountable when confronted by such issues as Peacekeepers’ sexual exploitation of vulnerable populations and the cholera outbreak in Haiti.

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

Rock: We Must Fix the UN’s Culture of Coverups Around Peacekeeping

Allan Rock, Ottawa Citizen

June 13, 2016

Last weekend we marked the International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers. Canada has always been closely associated with UN peacekeeping, and with good reason: It was invented by our former prime minister, Lester Pearson, who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts. And Canadian forces have made important contributions to many UN peacekeeping missions over the years, including Cyprus, where we served with distinction for decades.

This subject has special significance for me.

My father spent his working life in the Canadian Army. He joined in 1939. He served overseas during the Second World War. He remained in the army on his return. He retired as a staff sergeant after 26 years in uniform.

 

Click HERE for the original article

The Lancet Journal Calls for UN Accountability

June 10, 2016 - 07:55

The Lancet Medical Journal published and open letter to Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, asking him to take accountability for the Haiti cholera epidemic. The letter cites more than 30,000 Haitians dead and 2 million affected by the outbreak, with no signs of improvement in the past 6 years. Despite over 2,000 letters sent to the United Nations from Haitians struggling with this disease, the UN has continued to claim immunity. The Lancet concludes by urging Ban to “make this a final act in your celebrated career as Secretary General”.

Click HERE for the full letter.

Dear Mr Ban Ki-moon

Joe Raedle The Lancet

June 10th, 2016

We have greatly admired your leadership as Secretary-General of the UN. Over your 10 years heading the world’s most important international organisation, you have played an exemplary part in strengthening the global health agenda—championing awareness of women’s and children’s health, global warming, and humanitarianism. But there is one issue that concerns us deeply.

In 2010, UN soldiers from Nepal were deployed to help after Haiti’s devastating earthquake and cholera contaminated sewage was discarded from their camp into the country’s major river. This triggered the largest cholera outbreak in the world, leaving more than 30 000 Haitians dead and more than 2 million affected.

6 years later a cholera epidemic still rages—14 000 new cases and 150 deaths are reported this year alone. The UN has yet to accept responsibility for introducing cholera into Haiti, despite two investigations establishing these facts.

Click HERE for the full article.

 

Free Haitian Dance Workshop June 13

June 9, 2016 - 09:11

WHAT:

Lakou Ayiti: A Haitian Dance Workshop with Jean Appolon

WHERE:

Irish International Immigrant Center
100 Franklin Street, Lower Level
Boston, MA 02110
(Door on 201 Devonshire Street)

WHEN:

Monday, June 13, 2016
6-8:30pm

 

RSVPs required because space is limited. Please RSVP to Sarah at sarahcs@iicenter.org

 

Click HERE for more information.

Concern from E.U. and U.S. Over Election Rerun

June 8, 2016 - 14:05

Both the E.U. and the U.S. have expressed concern with the decision of Haiti’s Provisional Electoral Council to rerun the country’s presidential elections, while the OAS has supported it. In reaction to the decision, the E.U. closed its observer mission in Haiti, while the U.S. State Department announced its “regret” that the election will be prolonged even further. How the reactions of the E.U. and U.S. will affect the funding for the elections remains uncertain, but the OAS has pledged to continue to play a “positive role in the electoral process”.

Part of the article is below, click HERE for the full text.

U.S., EU criticize Haiti presidential elections rerun

Jacqueline Charles, Miami Herald

6/8/2016

 

Haiti’s decision to rerun its disputed first-round presidential vote continued to ripple through the international community Wednesday as the European Union and the United States criticized the move, and the Organization of American States announced its continued support for the process.

All three donors had contributed to last year’s $100 million elections price tag and had praised the Oct. 25 presidential vote that pitted government-backed candidate Jovenel Moïse against Jude Célestin of the opposition.

“Despite a certain number of flaws and irregularities that were observed, they were not however of the nature to alter the results,” the EU’s Electoral Observer Mission said as it announced the closure of the mission while attacking the findings of the special verification commission.

The commission audited 25 percent of the roughly 13,000 tally sheets from polling stations, and found among problems, that there were 628,000 untraceable or “Zombie” votes.

Click HERE for the full article

Where Did $33 Million Spent on Haiti’s Elections Go?

June 7, 2016 - 13:20

Haiti’s recent elections that were marred by fraud cost more than $100 million to finance. Most of this funding came from international donors, and the United States contributed $33 million to the process. Now, US officials are balking to finance yet another election in the fall — but it’s important to note where that $33 million actually went.

For one, US money did not go to electoral authorities, but rather to US programs in support of elections. Money was given to the DC-based Consortium for Elections and Political Processes, the International Foundation for Electoral Systems, and the National Democratic Institute. Over $19 million was given to different United Nations agencies rather than to financing the actual election itself ($9.7 million to UNDP, $7.57 million on UNOPS, and an additional $1.77 million when they threatened to pull out).

So while the United States did indeed spend $33 million on Haiti’s elections, much of the money did not go to the elections, or even to groups that wisely supported the elections.

Click HERE for the full article.

The US Spent $33 Million on Haiti’s Scrapped Elections — Here is Where it Went

CEPR

June 7th, 2016

Haiti’s electoral council announced yesterday that new first-round presidential elections would be held in October after a commission found widespread fraud and irregularities in the previous vote. The prospect of the new vote — to be held alongside dozens of parliamentary seats still up for grabs, has raised questions about how it could be funded. The previous elections — determined to be too marred by fraud and violence to count — cost upward of $100 million, with the bulk of the funding coming from international donors.

But now, donors are balking. Last week the State Department’s Haiti Special Coordinator Ken Merten said that if elections are redone “from scratch” than it would put U.S. assistance in jeopardy. It “could also call into question whether the U.S. will be able to continue to support financially Haiti’s electoral process,” Merten added. In a separate interview, Merten explained:

We still do not know what position we will adopt regarding our financial support. U.S. taxpayers have already spent more than $33 million and that is a lot. We can ask ourselves what was done with the money or what guarantees there are that the same thing will not happen again.

So, what was done with the money? Could the same thing happen again?

Click HERE for the full article.

New Dates Set for Haiti’s Elections

June 7, 2016 - 08:01

Haiti’s verification commission has determined that the elections held last October were illegitimate and contained fraudulent activity. The Provisional Electoral Council (PEC) is about to set out a new electoral timetable.  Presidential elections will occur on October 9th, and a second round will occur on January 8th, 2017 if no candidate obtains enough ballots to win in the first elections.

Jude Celestin, the runner-up in this past round of elections, agrees with the council’s timeline. Jovenel Moise on the other hand, candidate from the PHTK party, has rejected the verification report entirely.

Click HERE for the full article.

Haitian elections officials say new presidential vote to take place in October

Jacqueline Charles, Miami Herald

June 7, 2016 

Haiti election officials are poised to accept the recommendations of a special verification commission calling for last year’s disputed first round presidential elections to be re-run in October.

In a meeting Saturday with representatives of major political parties, the nine-member Provisional Electoral Council (CEP) said it’s prepared to publish an electoral timetable calling for the presidential balloting to occur on Oct. 9. If a candidate doesn’t get the required votes to win, the second round would occur on Jan. 8, 2017, with the final election results published on Jan. 30, two political party representatives confirmed to the Miami Herald.

The October elections would also include balloting for one-third of the Senate . Still unclear, elections officials said, is what to do about the commission’s findings concerning legislative candidates who were defrauded out of their seats by alleged payoffs and bad decisions by the electoral courts.

Click HERE for the full article.

New Round of Haitian Family Reunification Invites Going Out

June 6, 2016 - 13:42

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has announced a third round of invitations for people to apply for Haitian Family Reunification on behalf of their family members in Haiti. The program was officially launched in early 2015, after years of advocacy by IJDH, members of Congress and other allies.

USCIS Message: Haitian Family Reunification Parole (HFRP) Program

USCIS

June 6, 2016

Dear Stakeholder, 

We are pleased to share with you an important update regarding the Haitian Family Reunification Parole (HFRP) Program.

On Friday June 3, with the help of the U.S. Department of State’s National Visa Center (NVC), U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issued the third round of invitations to apply for the HFRP Program

The HFRP Program allows certain eligible Haitian beneficiaries of family-based immigrant visa petitions approved on or before Dec. 18, 2014, to be paroled into the United States up to approximately two years before their immigrant visa priority dates become current. Once paroled into the United States, these beneficiaries will be able to apply for work permits while waiting for their immigrant visas to become available. Once their visa is available, they can apply for lawful permanent resident status. 

The invitations that were sent to eligible petitioners provide instructions on how to apply to the program and also include important information petitioners should consider as they determine if the program is right for them and their eligible family members. Only individuals who receive an invitation will be eligible to apply for the HFRP Program on behalf of their family members. For additional information on the invitation process, please seeuscis.gov/HFRP

If you believe that you may be eligible for this program, please ensure that the NVC has your most current mailing and email address. You may update your mailing address by emailing the NVC at asknvc@state.gov or by completing the Public Inquiry Form on the NVC’s website at travel.state.gov

Kind regards, 

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services  

Public Engagement Division

 

Click HERE to learn more about the Haitian Family Reunification program.

Haiti’s Major Foreign Donor Concern About Presidential Rerun

June 6, 2016 - 11:37

After Haiti’s special vote commission’s recommendation to completely restart the 2015 presidential elections from scratch was accepted, the United Nations, in conjunction with ambassadors of the largest donors to Haiti’s election cycle, voiced their concern and subsequent likely financial consequences of the decidedly failed presidential run. Set to put the next president in office in February of 2017, the next elections will be held to hopefully elect the next Haitian national leader without the 2015 elections’ ‘zombie votes,’ forged fingerprints, and fake ID cards.

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

Haiti gets reluctant go ahead to rerun presidential vote

Jacqueline Charles, Miami Herald

June 6, 2016 

Haiti’s major foreign donors reluctantly gave the green light Monday to the country’s elections body to rerun last year’s contested presidential elections in October but they remain “deeply concerned” about the consequences of not having an elected president and government until February 2017.

“It is the responsibility of an elected government to address the socio-economic and humanitarian challenges Haiti is facing,” the Special Representative of the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Sandra Honoré, said in a joint statement with the ambassadors of Brazil, Canada, Spain, France, the United States, the European Union and the Special Representative of the Organization of American States.

Click HERE for full article.

Professor Ulysse on the United Nations: Juxtaposing Its Mandates and Its Actions

June 6, 2016 - 07:34

Professor Ulysse calls into question the U.N.’s deflection of responsibility concerning the cholera epidemic, recounting Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon’s benevolent narrative as a guise for a larger threat. In mentioning commentary by journalist Jonathan M. Katz and law actions by IJDH, her personal piece draws upon the perception of the United Nations as hypocritical, juxtaposing its mandate and its actions.

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

30 Thousand Haitian Lives Lost to U.N. Cholera

Gina Athena Ulysse, Huffington Post

June 6, 2016

While some claim the U.N. official’s promise to fully commit to ensuring the organization fulfills its human rights obligations concerning the cholera epidemic in Haiti as a potential breakthrough, I remain rather reserved with tremendous trepidation because, to use an old cliché, actions speak louder than words.

I am not a pessimist. Far from it, but the fact remains that the United Nations has yet to take the step most crucial to rectify this problem for which they are responsible. Until the organization assumes full liability for the disease brought into the fragile republic by their peacekeepers, any promise is empty. Accountability remains elusive and Haitians, once again, are left alone to bear the brunt of the burden of another catastrophe that is not of their causing.

Click HERE for full article.

Haiti Elections at a Standstill

June 3, 2016 - 11:00

After former Haitian President Michel Martelly’s term expired, Haiti seems unable to hold legitimate elections to elect a new president. Jovenel Moïse of the PHTK party (Martelly’s former party) was declared the front-runner after the first round of elections. However, the verification committee set up to monitor the 2016 elections found widespread fraud and irregularities in the election. Sir Ronald Sanders, who led a Special Mission on the Organisation of American States, remarked that the Haitian population would not see the results as democratic. What is perhaps even more perplexing is how little both the United Nations and the United States are involving themselves. Normally at the forefront of pushing countries to have valid elections, both actors have failed to emphasize that in these elections.

Click HERE for the full article.

Commentary: Haiti: No moving out and moving on

Sir Ronald Sanders, Caribbean News Now!

June 3rd 2016

There is a certain illogic in the reaction of both the UN Secretary-General and the US State Department over the findings of a Haitian Verification Commission that evaluated the 25 October 2015 first round general elections. The Verification Commission (Cieve) presented a report on 30 May calling for the first round elections to be scrapped and the elections redone because of what it concluded were widespread fraud and irregularities.

The UN Secretary-General expressed concern that “this situation has the potential to adversely affect international support to Haiti” and “reiterates the need for a democratically elected leadership to take on the growing socio-economic and humanitarian challenges the country faces”.

What this seems to suggest is that the UN Secretary-General wishes Haiti to ignore the findings of Cieve and to proceed with a second round of elections even though the first round is regarded as seriously flawed. It is an odd position for the UN Secretary-General to adopt, particularly as, in its worldwide position on elections, the UN insists on transparency and fairness in general elections as a basis for democracy.

Click HERE for the full article.

 

 

The UN’s Cover Up in Haiti’s Cholera Crisis

June 3, 2016 - 08:59

The Takeaway Magazine spoke with Jonathan Katz, the first journalist to document the U.N’s role in Haiti’s cholera crisis. The disease initially killed 5,000 people and has since claimed up to 30,000 lives. Despite Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon’s claims that the UN has a moral responsibility to help end the outbreak, they have denied responsibility for starting the outbreak despite almost indisputable scientific research. The Haiti Aid fund that the United Nations pledged has also been vastly underfunded, reaching only 18%.

After the initial outbreak, the UN actively tried to cover-up their involvement, destroying evidence and putting out press releases disclaiming their responsibility.  Even after an independent UN-appointed panel found the organization responsible for causing epidemic, the UN still refused to acknowledge the findings of the report.

The repercussion of the UN’s lack of moral responsibility is particularly damaging because moral authority is the United Nations’ most powerful tool. How do they have any credibility to impose moral regulations on other countries, when they themselves do not uphold the humanitarian principles of the UN charter?

Cholera has now become endemic to Haiti while the country had never experienced the disease before 2010. There are still no clean water and sanitation facilities in Haiti to help the country and its victims recover. The UN needs to invest in the country to prevent more spread of the disease.

Click HERE for the full audio interview.

U.N. Accused of Cover Up as Cholera Ravages Haiti

The Takeaway

June 3rd, 2016

Click on the ‘Listen’ button above to hear this interview.

Since cholera first broke out in Haiti five years ago, Doctors Without Borders estimates that it has killed as many as 30,000 people, and another 2 million have survived the disease.

Journalists and scientists have traced the disease back to a U.N. compound that was housing peacekeepers from Nepal. The cholera outbreak was sparked after the compound began disposing of raw sewage in a nearby water way.

The U.N. has never taken responsibility for the outbreak or the deaths, but Secretary General Ban Ki Moon has said the U.N. has “a moral responsibility” to help end the spread of the disease.

Click HERE for the full audio interview.

 

UN Finally Taking Steps Towards Cholera Remediation

June 1, 2016 - 12:05

For 5 years, the UN has refused to engage with claims that peacekeepers brought cholera to Haiti in 2010. Despite numerous advocacy efforts to hold the UN accountable and even lawsuits brought against the organization, the UN has hidden behind immunity. Although UN treaties obligate the UN to establish claims commissions for individuals harmed by UN actions, the organization has not done so.

The UN’s most recent response however, signals a potential breakthrough in attempts to hold the UN accountable for its actions. Deputy Secretary General, Jan Eliasson, wrote that both the Secretary General and he are committed to fulfilling the UN’s human rights obligations. He also wrote that he was willing to engage further to assist the victims of cholera and their communities. This letter is a response to a group of the UN’s own human rights experts, and shows a significant change in attitude by Ban Ki-Moon. In the final few months of Ban’s term, he will hopefully open up a dialogue on how justice can finally be achieved.

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

UN response to Haiti cholera epidemic critics signals ‘potential breakthrough’

Ed Pilkington, The Guardian

June 1st, 2016

The United Nations is showing the first signs of compromise over the Haiti cholera epidemic, after more than five years in which it has consistently refused to accept responsibility for a disaster that has claimed tens of thousands of lives.

Groups working with Haitian victims have greeted the apparent shift in the UN’s position as a potential breakthrough in a crisis that has devastated one of the poorest countries in the world and sapped the credibility of the very organization that was supposed to be helping it.

The deadly bacterium was imported into the country in 2010 by infected UN peacekeepers who dumped contaminated sewerage directly into local rivers. Latest studies suggest that at least 30,000 people have died, with more than two million survivors of the illness.

The UN’s olive branch comes in a letter from its second-in-command, Jan Eliasson, in response to sharp criticisms leveled against the UN leadership by the organization’s own human rights experts. Five UN special rapporteurs on human rights wrote to secretary-general Ban Ki-moon in March warning him that his dogged refusal to accept the UN’s role in bringing cholera to Haiti was undermining the world body’s reputation.

In his letter, Eliasson replies: “The secretary-general and I are fully committed to ensuring that the organization fulfills its human rights obligations.” Though he does not mention the vexed question of responsibility for the catastrophe, he does say he is willing to “engage further” in discussing ways in which the UN could do more to “assist the victims of cholera and their communities”.

He even holds out the vague, though significant, promise that resources “could be fine-tuned or expanded as needed”.

Click HERE for the full article.

Les nouvelles interdictions de sortie pour des ex-officielles

June 1, 2016 - 06:12

Les interdictions, émit par Jean Léger, le Chef du parquet de Port-au-Prince, inclut deux anciens Premier Ministres: Laurent Lamothe et Evans Paul entre autres ex-ministres. Selon lui, l’action est un mesure conservatoire pour la justice, pas une manœuvre polico-judiciaire, mais ce n’est pas le premier fois qu’il a fait des interdictions de sortie.

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

Nouvelle vague d’interdictions de sortie du territoire

Haiti Libre

1 juin 2016

Lundi dans la soirée le parquet de Port-au-Prince a émit pas moins de 14 nouvelles interdictions de quitter le territoire dont 2 visant deux anciens Premier Ministre : Laurent Lamothe et Evans Paul et au moins 12 anciens ministres du Gouvernement Martelly-Paul (plus de 63% du cabinet ministériel).

Liste des ex-Ministres concernés :
Ariel Henry, ex-Ministre de l’Intérieur et des Collectivités Territoriales et aussi des Affaires Sociales
Florence Duperval Guillaume, ex-Ministre de la Santé Publique et de la Population
Jean François Thomas, ex-Ministre de l’Environnement
Jacques Rousseau, ex-Ministre des Travaux Publics, Transports et Communications
Jude Hervey Day, ex-Ministre du Commerce et de l’Industrie
Lener Renaud, ex-Ministre des Affaires Etrangères et des Cultes et aussi de la Défense
Nesmy Manigat, ex-Ministre de l’Éducation Nationale et de la Formation Professionnelle
Olicier Pieriche, ex-Ministre des Haïtiens Vivant à l’Étranger
Pierre Richard Casimir, ex Ministre de la Justice et de la Sécurité Publique
Rotchild François Jr., ex Ministre de la communication
Stéphanie Balmir Villedrouin, ex-Ministre du Tourisme et des Industries Créatives
Yvrose Myrtil Morquette, ex-Ministre de la Condition Féminine et aux Droits des Femmes

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Attorney Mario Joseph explains to cholera victims the status of their case at a Federal Court of the United States

May 31, 2016 - 12:49

Bureau des Avocats Internationaux

May 31, 2016 

In Saut d’Eau, Mario Joseph, managing attorney of BAI, hosts an exchange with representatives of victims of cholera from the local community

This Wednesday, May 25, 2015, attorney Mario Joseph conducted a field trip to the communes of Saut d’Eau and Boucan Carré, to inform victims of cholera on the progress of their case against the United Nations in the 2 nd Circuit Federal Court in New York, including the recent appeals hearing held in the court in March. Mario Joseph is the head of the Bureau des Avocats Internationaux (BAI), and has been representing victims of cholera in Artibonite department since 2010, when the deadly disease was released into Haitian waterways from a United Nations camp.

In simple language, Mr. Mario Joseph broke down the process to victims, explaining their role in supporting the arguments in the hearing by demonstrating the relevance of the court’s decision, through their recent campaign to deliver more than 2000 letters to US authorities at the Embassy of the US in Haiti on the 12 th of May. The same letters have already been submitted to the United Nations Security Council, and have explained, in the victims’ words, the disastrous consequences of this disease on their physical and mental health.

A group of victims in Boucan Carré gather around the tomb of a woman who died from cholera

Several victims took the opportunity to engage in the exchange. At Boucan Carre, Fernand Joseph, a young man of 25 years, mentioned his deteriorating mental state since contracting this disease, the severity of which has made recovery difficult, as he notes, “The disease has destroyed my memory because I cannot remember my school lessons. I am very worried about my future.” Maciane Moon, a 58-year- old woman, describes her condition, saying, “This epidemic infected me and members of my family, and since then I have no energy because my limbs were completely weakened. I cannot work to take care of my children – that is why the United Nations needs to compensate us.”

In Saut d’Eau, Noel John, a man of 70, requested the floor to express his indignation, stating that “It is necessary that the United Nations take account of their actions, they have to compensate us for all these wrongs they committed by releasing this epidemic. For this, we will continue to fight, with BAI leading our legal action, to get us compensation and restitution from the United Nations.”

At the end of the exchange both at Boucan Carré and Saut d’Eau, Mario Joseph was received with applause by the victims as he reiterated the will of the BAI to continue to fight the immunity of the United Nations mission in Haiti, MINUSTAH, an immunity which is being employed to absolve the UN of its responsibility in the release of the cholera epidemic into Haiti.