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UN Experts’ Unseen Peacekeeping Report on Sexual Abuse Unveils Necessity for UN Accountability

March 16, 2015 - 09:46

AIDS-Free World publicly released an unseen peacekeeping report by UN Experts on the ways in which the peacekeeping missions are addressing the issue of sexual exploitation and abuse. The report reveals profoundly different material than the Secretary-General’s annual report regarding this topic. AIDS-Free World conveys a side-by-side comparison of the two reports that sharply contrast one another and delineates the UN’s lack of accountability in regards to sexual abuse.

 

UN Experts’ unseen peacekeeping report: sexual exploitation and abuse

Paula Donovan and Stephen Lewis, AIDS-Free World

March 16, 2015

Open Letter to Ambassadors of All United Nations Member States

Excellency:

As you know, the Secretary-General reports to you annually on progress against sexual violations committed by UN peacekeeping personnel. This year’s “Special measures for protection from sexual exploitation and sexual abuse[1] report, issued on March 13th, highlights the completion of a two-year-long “enhanced programme of action to combat sexual exploitation and abuse, a key aspect of which was the appointment of an independent team of experts to assess how four peacekeeping missions were addressing the challenge.”

That independent team of experts submitted its assessment (the “Expert Team’s Report”[2]) in November 2013. AIDS-Free World was sent a copy of the report by an anonymous UN source, who feared that because it is highly critical of the UN Secretariat and Troop Contributing Countries, the Expert Team’s Report would be quashed. Indeed, the annual report just submitted to you by the Secretary-General would appear to discount virtually the entire Expert Team’s Report.

We know that the UN has never disseminated the Expert Team’s Report. We therefore suspect that few if any governments are aware that independent experts, commissioned by the Secretary-General, made pointed criticisms about the way sexual violations in UN peacekeeping missions are handled. We are releasing the Report today because we believe it contains valuable material that differs profoundly from the Secretary-General’s own annual report on progress. It should be seen by all the Member States of the United Nations.

To illustrate why the failure to disseminate the Expert Team’s Report to Member States is so critical, here is an initial comparison of some of the striking differences between the Secretary-General’s report and the Expert Team’s Report:

1. Reported allegations vs. actual cases of sexual exploitation and abuse 
In his report to the General Assembly, the Secretary-General states that:
“For peacekeeping and special political missions, the total number of allegations received (51) is the lowest recorded since special measures for protection from sexual exploitation and abuse were first put in place and represents a decrease compared with 2013 (66).”[3]

However, the Expert Team reported to the Secretary-General that:
“The UN does not know how serious the problem of SEA [sexual exploitation and abuse] is because the official numbers mask what appears to be significant amounts of underreporting of SEA. There are a number of reasons why, and these include:

  1. Fear of reporting inside and outside the UN /stigmatizing of whistleblowers within the UN and sometimes outside /culture of silence particularly within military and police,
  2. a sense of futility about reporting because of long delays in the enforcement process in NY and in mission and the rarity of remedial outcomes including rarity of victim assistance, and
  3. record keeping problemswith numbers not matching from one source to another.”[4]

 

Click HERE for the entire report.

2015 HAITI – DOMINICAN REPUBLIC SITUATION FORUM

March 14, 2015 - 14:00

Boston! This Saturday, March 14, 2015, come discuss the current tensions between Haiti and the Dominican Republic and its effects on the diaspora population.

2015 HAITI DOMINICAN REPUBLIC SITUATION FORUM

What: A talk with Edwin Paraison, Former Minister of Haitians Living Abroad (MHVE) President of Zile Foundation in the Dominican Republic

INVITE FRIENDS, COLLEAGUES

  • Overview of the current situation of Haitians in the DR
  • Latest efforts in the Diaspora Role of regional organizations such as OAS
  • Identifying human rights allies in the DR and other nations
  • How Diaspora members, leaders and allies can assist?
  • Donations for children of late Harry Claude Jean in DR
  • Questions and Answers

When: Saturday March 14, 5-8 PM

Where: Sant Bèlvi, 6 Frontenac St, Dorchester MA

Coordinated by: Haitian Americans United Inc (HAU) Groupe de reflexion et d’action pour une Haiti nouvelle (GRAHN-USA NE branch) And Partner organizations

Haiti Elections Calendar Released

March 13, 2015 - 08:38

Haiti’s Provisional Electoral Council (CEP) has sent President Michel Martelly a calendar with proposed dates for various legislative elections. The elections are more than three years delayed and have been a source of building tension in Haiti.

Key dates
August 9: Legislative elections for two thirds of the 30-member Senate and 118 members of the lower Chamber of Deputies.
October 25: Parliamentary runoff elections, first round of presidential and local elections
December 27: Presidential runoff elections
January 17, 2016: President Martelly to be replaced

Full Elections Calendar

Haiti elections calendar sent to Martelly

Jaqueline Charles, Miami Herald

March 12, 2015

Haiti’s Provisional Electoral Council has sent a proposed calendar for the country’s long anticipated elections to President Michel Martelly for publication in the official gazette.

The panel, responsible for overseeing the vote, is recommending that legislative elections for two thirds of the 30-member Senate and 118 members of the lower Chamber of Deputies be held on Aug. 9.

Parliamentary runoff elections are scheduled for Oct. 25, the same day as the first round of presidential and local elections. Presidential runoff elections are being proposed to take place on Dec. 27.

Council members presented the calendar Wednesday to representatives of political parties. The delayed balloting has been the source of increasing protests and turmoil in Haiti where both Martelly and the opposition have accused each other of not wanting to go to the ballot box. Protesters have demanded the ouster of Martelly.

View the elections calendar

The international community, led by the United Nations and the United States, have also been pushing for elections, which are more than three years delayed. Martelly has been ruling by decree since January when parliament was rendered non-functional after the terms of the entire lower chamber and another one third of the Senate expired.

Under Haiti’s constitution, Martelly cannot seek back-to-back five years presidential term. The definitive date for knowing who will replace him as president is listed as Jan. 17, 2016.

Click HERE for the original article.

Election Dates Almost Finalized

March 12, 2015 - 11:31

The Provisional Electoral Council (CEP) recently proposed election dates to nearly 300 representatives of parties, groups, and alliances of political parties. Among major parties, INITE has approved of the electoral timetable, while Fanmi Lavalas Electoral believes the timetable is too long. The official electoral timetable will be finalized in the next few days.

Important dates of the Electoral Timetable

Haiti Libre

March 12, 2015

Wednesday at the Hotel Karibe Convention Center, the Provisional Electoral Council (CEP) presented to some 300 representatives of parties, groups and alliances of political parties, its revised proposal provisional of Electoral Timetable. This timetable is not final, the dates proposed could undergo possible changes, however, it has a good chance of being selected as most political organizations seems to approve it.

Among the major parties, INITE, has indicated its acceptance in full of the electoral timetable while Fanmi Lavalas Electoral considers that this Electoral Timetable is not a good idea. Fanmi Lavalas believes that the proposed electoral period is too long, the political parties will not have the sufficient financial resources to participate in a lengthy electoral process and that this election period, represents prolonged risk to the stability of the country.

Most political parties believe that the CEP should have resolved beforehand, the issue of members of Departmental Electoral Offices (BED) and Communal Electoral Offices (BEC) before working on an electoral timetable. They want the CEP conducts a new recruitment for the members challenged of BEC and BED.

Note that the “Patriotic Movement for Democratic Opposition” (MOPOD), a group of opposition parties and the “platform Piti Desalin” of the former Senator Moïse Jean-Charles did not take part in the meeting.

The final Timetable should be known in the coming days.

Key dates to retain in CEP’s proposal :

Friday, June 19: Start of the electoral campaign

Reopening of the Political Parties Registration :
Monday, March 16, 2015: parties, groups and alliances of political parties will have a deadline of 5 days to register.
onday, March 23, 2015: Publication of the list of recognized parties.

Partial Legislative Elections : (20 Senators and 118 deputies)
Monday, April 6 to Sunday, April 19, 2015: Application deadline for legislative

Sunday, August 9, 2015: 1st round
Sunday, October 15, 2015: 2nd round (at same time as the first round of presidential elections)

Sunday, November 22, 2015: Publication of the final results of the 2nd round

Presidential election :
Monday, May 11, 2015: Closing of the general electoral roll.

Monday 11 to Wednesday, May 20, 2015: Filing of candidacies for the presidential
Sunday, October 25, 2015: 1st round (at same time as the 2nd round of legislative)

Sunday, November 15, 2015: Publication of the final results of the 1st round

If no candidate wins at the 1st round:

Sunday, December 27, 2015: 2nd round

Sunday, January 17, 2016: Publication of the final results of the 2nd round

Sunday, February 7, 2016: Inauguration of the new Head of State (Constitutional date)

Municipal and local elections :
Thursday, December 31, 2015

Sl/ HaitiLibre

 

Click HERE for the original article.

IJDH 2015/2016 Legal Fellowship Announcement

March 11, 2015 - 08:36

Are you a lawyer passionate about social justice and seeking to participate in a ground-breaking case? IJDH is now accepting applications for a one-year Legal Fellow, to start in mid-to-late July. The Legal Fellow will be working closely with a team of lawyers in the United States and Haiti on advocacy and legal work, primarily aimed at seeking accountability from the United Nations (UN) for causing Haiti’s cholera epidemic.

Qualified attorneys interested in the position of IJDH Legal Fellow should submit a cover letter, resume, short writing sample, and contact information for two references. Please send all application materials electronically to Ruth Vaughan (ruth@ijdh.org). Include “IJDH Legal Fellow” in the subject line.

Click on the link below for a full description of the fellowship:

IJDH Legal Fellowship 2015-2016

COMBATING GENDER-BASED VIOLENCE IN HAITI

March 9, 2015 - 15:15

Join Mario Joseph and an all-star panel in NY to discuss gender-based violence in Haiti.

WHAT:

Violence against women and sexual exploitation of girls is a problem in many countries around the world. In Haiti, however, the problem is exacerbated by poverty, a lack of public education about rights and widespread insecurity.  Survivors of gender-based violence (GBV) have had little recourse in the Haitian justice system, both because of structural weakness and the attitudes of police officers. In addition, factors such as social stigma lead to the underreporting of sexual violence. This panel will discuss in depth the scope of the problem, strategies for combating GBV in Haiti, and what partners and allies outside of Haiti can do to support advocacy there.

Speakers:

Rashida Manjoo, UN Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women.

Eramithe Delva, co-founder and head of Komisyon Fanm Viktim pou Viktim (KOFAVIV) (Commission of Women Victims for Victims), a Haitian organization dedicated to providing legal and medical support to women victims of sexual violence.

Mario Joseph, Managing Attorney at the Bureau des Avocats Internationaux (BAI), a public interest law and human rights organization in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

Paula Donovan, co-founder of AIDS Free World, an organization that advocates for addressing the myriad of underlying factors that allow for AIDS to proliferate, especially in vulnerable communities.

Moderated by Kerry McLean, human rights lawyer and board member of the National Lawyers Guild.

WHERE:

Church Center of the United Nations
771 1st Avenue, 2nd floor
New York, NY

WHEN:

6:15pm
Monday, March 9, 2015

 

For more information, contact Kerry McLean at antisexism@nlg.org

Over 80 Organizations Stand Against Mining in Haiti

March 9, 2015 - 07:33

Despite outcry from the Haiti Mining Justice Collective and other Haitians, the World Bank continues to support mining in Haiti. In a country that already struggles with public health and water issues, mining could easily cause more devastation. Last month, World Bank rejected a petition from these groups. Now, over 80 organizations are demanding that the World Bank act more responsibly.

International Outcry Over World Bank Role in Haiti Mining Sector

Accountability Counsel
March 9, 2015

Today more than 80 organizations from around the world joined with the Haiti Mining Justice Collective, the NYU Global Justice Clinic and Accountability Counsel to demand that the World Bank take responsibility for its actions in Haiti.  Through a dangerous policy loophole, the Bank has provided support to develop the Haitian mining sector without applying its own standards for protecting vulnerable populations and the environment.  Signatories fear that this loophole may continue to be used by the Bank to avoid applying social and environmental standards to development funding in risky industries, like extractives.  Read the full letter here (also available in Spanish and French).

 

Click HERE for the original.

Rising Tensions Drive Increased Security at Dominican Consulates

March 9, 2015 - 07:22

Tensions between the Dominican Republic and Haiti have continued to increase due to tightening restrictions on citizenship, strict border security forces in the Dominican Republic, and the recent lynching of a Haitian man in the Dominican Republic. After 10,000 Haitians protested in Port-au-Prince against the mistreatment of Haitians in the Dominican Republic, five Dominican consulates in Haiti were shut down. Now, Haiti has consequently increased security at the diplomatic missions.

Haiti promises to tighten security at Dominican consulates as tensions increase

Gabrielle Meyer, Voxxi

March 9, 2015

Less than a week after the Dominican Republic announced the closing of five consulates in Haiti due to the rising “aggression” between the neighboring countries, the Haitian State has promised to tighten up security at the Dominican diplomatic missions.

“We welcome this measure to increase security around our diplomatic missions provided by the government of president Michel Martelly, which we’re confident will allow us to reopen the five closed consulates in a short time,” the Dominican Foreign Affairs Ministry declared in a statement, according toDominican Today.

The consulates were shut down after 10,000 Haitians marched through Port-au-Prince to protest the alleged widespread mistreatment of Haitians in the Dominican Republic.

Tensions between Haiti and the Dominican Republican have continued to grow over the past several years, especially after the Dominican Republic announced in 2013 that they would no longer guarantee citizenship to those born in the country to non-citizens.

 

Click HERE for the original article.

How Cholera Reached Haiti & How It Can Be Addressed

March 6, 2015 - 13:26

The following is a statement from Dr. Louise Ivers, Senior Health and Policy Advisor for Partners in Health, during a Haiti Advocacy Working Group (HAWG) panel. The panel was part of HAWG’s “Haiti Advocacy Week,” a series of events aimed at getting Haiti more attention on Capitol Hill. This particular panel focuses on the cholera epidemic and how the US government can better address it.

Dr. Louise Ivers
March 6, 2015

Cholera is a gram negative bacterial infection that is spread by contaminated water or food, and to some degree between people in households where someone is sick with symptoms. Its an ancient disease that has long been eradicated in parts of the world where simple things like clean water, latrines, soap and basic medical care are available.

In Haiti, the cholera epidemic began in October 2010 and spread with a tsunami of cases throughout the whole country within 2 months. No cases of cholera had ever been reported in Haiti before 2010, even during the Latin American epidemic of the 1990s. In fact, there is nice historical documentation of the absence of cholera cases from Hispaniola over those times.

The most dramatic volume of cases that we saw first was in the coastal city of St Marc in late October, but quickly public health specialists and health workers traced back the first cases to the town of Mirebalais in Central Haiti a week or two earlier – a town where Partners In Health works to support the Ministry of Health and where a large river crosses en route to St Marc and the ocean. Later studies would show that the cholera strain circulating in Haiti was the same strain circulating in an outbreak in Nepal, and an independent panel of experts determined that cholera had been introduced to Haiti by human activity associated with poor sanitation practices at a UN peacekeeping military base in Mirebalais.

Prevention and treatment for cholera is simple – clean water and food and hand hygiene. But both individual and public access to water, latrines and even soap is seriously limited, especially in rural Haiti and in urban slums, where few people have latrines, almost no-one has flush toilets, and families chose between buying a meal and buying soap. In addition, poor health infrastructure, poor supply chains for medication and a lack of healthcare workers made (and still makes) cholera much more difficult to prevent and treat.

What’s clear from the data is that cholera disproportionately affects poor people. Poor households have been up to 5 times more affected by cholera and 4 times more likely to die from cholera than wealthier counterparts. What is also clear is that we have effective ways to prevent, treat and eliminate cholera (including cholera vaccination as one part of the strategy), but not enough is being done.

In 2014 there were 27,388 cases of cholera, and almost 300 deaths – entirely preventable and treatable deaths from diarrhea and dehydration!!!

In the first 8 weeks of 2015, there were 7225 cases, and already 86 deaths. This is much worse than the same period of 2014 – so although we have reduced cases a lot since 2010, there is a lot of concern about continuing inability to completely control the epidemic.

US government has been a leader in the response to cholera in Haiti, and a major contributor to the reduction in cases so far – through support of the government of Haiti’s national laboratory, through surveillance, and through supporting prevention and treatment as well as clean water activities in the country – but a lot remains to be done and funding for treatment is drying up.

Since the epidemic began 4 and a half years ago, more than 730,000 Haitians have been documented to have been sick because of cholera – many more likely went unreported. 8741 people have died. – and people continue to die every week from this ridiculously-simple-to-prevent-and-treat disease.

We know what to do, and how to do it — so it’s not the time now to retreat.

Mario Joseph Brings Haiti Elections to Capitol Hill

March 6, 2015 - 11:40

The following is a statement from Mario Joseph, BAI Managing Attorney, during a Haiti Advocacy Working Group (HAWG) panel. The panel was part of HAWG’s “Haiti Advocacy Week,” a series of events in D.C., aimed at getting Haiti more attention on Capitol Hill.

Mario Joseph
March 6, 2015

Bonjou.  Good morning. I would like to thank the Haiti Advocacy Working Group for organizing this panel and for inviting me to participate on it. I would like to thank all of you for coming, and I look forward to our discussion about politics and elections in Haiti.

In light of the conference’s theme, “Haiti for Whom?”, I think it is worth posing the question “elections for whom?” at this panel. That is a good question. We hear a lot from the perspective of the Haitian government, the international community and the political parties. But we need to keep in mind that the most important perspective in any voting is the voters. The voters want three things: they want to vote freely, they want to choose freely from all eligible candidates, and they want that vote counted.

Voters have a right to these three things, a right recognized by Haitian and international law.  The right is protected by a series of rules, in Haiti’s Constitution, and our laws. I would like to address three groups of rules that are particularly important for the next elections: rules on timing of the elections, rules on who runs them, and rules on who gets to be candidates.

This whole political crisis has been generated by a failure to respect the timing of elections.  Regular elections in Haiti are clearly set out in our constitution, as in the US constitution, but those rules have been ignored. All our mayors are appointed and 1/3 of our Senate seats are vacant because elections that the constitution scheduled for 2011 have not yet happened. Then we lost another third of our Senate, and all of the house of deputies when elections did not happen last fall.  This situation is, obviously, a serious violation of the right to vote.

The second important group of rules is who gets to run the elections.  That has been the center of the political crisis the last three years. The real solution, according to the Constitution, is a Permanent Electoral Council.  A permanent Council has never been formed in the nearly thirty years of our constitution, so the current administration inherited the problem. But President Martelly missed the opportunity to have elections that could create a permanent council by proposing a series of electoral councils that fell short of constitutional requirements in in very important ways. The current council is the least unconstitutional, and least controversial of the series. But it still raises important concerns, particularly about whether voters will be allowed to choose from all eligible candidates and whether their votes will be counted.

The third group of rules is who gets to be candidates.  The electoral council and the government have been saying the right things about allowing all parties to participate, as has the US government.  But a lot of those right things were said before Senate elections in 2009 and Presidential and parliamentary elections in 2010, which systematically and illegally excluded candidates from Fanmi Lavalas and other parties. In fact, members of the US Congress, both Democrats and Republicans, warned Secretary of State Clinton that proceeding with the exclusive elections would lead to exactly the political crisis we now have.

Another issue that is important to raise here in Washington is the issue of election financing. It has become a tradition in Haiti that most of the election financing has come from the international community, especially the US. While we appreciate the generosity, Haitians have the same concerns about foreign funding of elections that Americans would have. Voting is an exercise of national sovereignty , and should be paid for with sovereign funds.  Some would argue that international financing provides the international community leverage to advocate for better elections.  I am afraid the International community’s actual practice, especially the generous financial and diplomatic  support for the predictably disastrous 2010 elections does not support that argument.

Review: How Human Rights Can Build Haiti

March 6, 2015 - 06:38

Carol Strazer
March 2015

Not since Tracy Kidder’s masterful narrative of Mountains beyond Mountains have I found an author who could provide a clearer picture of Haiti and some of the people who work there. Unlike Mountains… Quigley’s well-researched book studies Haiti’s broad, systemic difficulties. Yet, like Tracy Kidder, Fran Quigley shines hope on Haiti’s future as he includes in his book, not one, but two courageous men—one American, one Haitian—and their supporters, as they apply the tools of their lawyerly trade in the pursuit of Haitian human rights.

Author Fran Quigley delves further into Haiti’s complicated problems and explains the challenges Haiti faces. He methodically constructs each chapter with interviews, facts, and observations. For those readers concerned about our poorest neighbor and its struggles with human rights abuses, the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake, and the cholera epidemic, this is a must read. If you wonder, as I have, why nearly five years after the earthquake, thousands of Haitians still live in enormous tent cities and why over 8,000 people have died from cholera, then you must read Quigley’s book. The author recounts the intense collaboration and support Brian Concannon, International Human Rights Lawyer, and his Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti provides to Mario Joseph and his team of lawyers at Haiti’s Bureau des Avocats Internationaux. Concannon’s and Joseph’s human rights approach provides Haitians with a real promise for justice by respecting Haiti’s constitution and demanding its enforcement.

 

Author Fran Quigley is a clinical professor at McKinney School of Law, Indiana University. Vanderbilt University published How Human Rights Can Build Haiti, Activists, Lawyers, and the Grassroots Campaign in 2014.

Reviewer Carol Strazer is the author of Barbed Wire and Daisies, a historical fiction novel based on WWII Germans’ true stories of ethnic persecution.

Haitian Family Reunification Stakeholder Meetings

March 6, 2015 - 06:30

Learn about how Haitian Family Reunification is being implemented, in Miami, Boston, and New York City.

Miami

HFRPP Stakeholder Meeting

Intended for Haitian community stakeholders, immigration service providers including community based organizations, attorneys, Congressional staff, elected officials and other intergovernmental partners. Special Guest Speakers: Maura Nicholson, Deputy Chief, International Operations Division, Refugee Asylum and International Operations (RAIO) Directorate AND Erin Fatica, District Director, Latin America, Canada, and Caribbean (LACC) District

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
8801 NW 7 Ave.
Miami, FL 33150

Tuesday, March 3, 2015 at 11:30am – 1pm

(Please leave extra time to go through security.)

If you wish to attend this session, please RSVP to berta.m.cassidy@uscis.dhs.gov no later than Friday, February 27th.

 

Haitian Family Reunification Parole Program Town Hall

North Miami Adult Education Center Auditorium
13110 NE 8th Avenue
North Miami, FL 33161

Tuesday, March 3, 2015 at 7-9pm

Boston

Information Session: Implementation of the Haitian Family Reunification Parole Program 

During this session, USCIS subject matter experts (Maura Nicholson, Deputy Chief, International Operations Division, Refugee Asylum and International Operations (RAIO) Directorate AND Erin Fatica, District Director, Latin America, Canada, and Caribbean (LACC) District) will discuss the implementation of the HFRP Program.

USCIS Boston District Office
JFK Building, Conference Rm 900B (9th floor)
15 New Sudbury St, Boston MA 02203 (Government Center)

Thursday, March 5, 2015 at 10am

New York

Haitian Family Reunification Parole Program Meeting

US Citizenship and Immigration Services officials from D.C. will provide an overview of the HFRP Program and address questions about its implementation.

26 Federal Plaza, Room 300
New York, NY

Friday, March 6, 2015 at 9:30am

Haiti for Whom?

March 6, 2015 - 06:00

Attend these exciting panels in DC, about aid accountability after Haiti’s quake.

WHAT: 

Haiti Advocacy Working Group (HAWG) has organized several panels and events to discuss Aid accountability and inequality five years after Haiti’s devastating earthquake. We’re especially looking forward to panels where Mario Joseph will be speaking, including one in which he’ll describe his work since the earthquake, and one in which he and some of our allies will discuss the cholera epidemic caused by the United Nations.

WHEN:

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Friday, March 6, 2015

WHERE (respectively):

421 Cannon House Office Building

2168 Rayburn House Office Building, Gold Room

 

Here‘s the program, with information on the speakers.

Here‘s a list of the panels and their descriptions.

Why Was USAID’s Haiti Housing Project So Disastrous?

March 5, 2015 - 02:25

There have been a few articles and reports on how USAID’s housing project in the north of Haiti failed to live up to projections and also cost millions more than planned. This article delves deeper into how that happened, including lack of oversight from USAID, failure to respect quality control measures and mismanagement of the project. The article includes interviews with some of the contractors who mismanaged the funds and built the poorly-constructed, largely dangerous homes.

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

How the US Plan to Build Houses for Displaced Haitians Became an Epic Boondoggle

Jake Johnston, Vice News
March 5, 2015

After the devastating earthquake that hit Haiti in January 2010, the US government responded with an ambitious plan to build 15,000 new houses in the country. But the ensuing program to put roofs over the heads of displaced Haitians has included a boondoggle of epic proportions at one $35 millionhousing development, where shoddy construction practices and faulty sewage systems are currently the subject of an ongoing investigation.

On February 3, the US-based company Thor Construction was suspended from receiving government contracts because of its work in Haiti. Another contractor with close ties to the Haitian president has so far escaped punishment.

As the relief effort’s flagship housing project comes under increased scrutiny, interviews with involved parties and an analysis of contract documents, independent reports, and congressional testimony reveals that the problem is far from a simple case of contractor malfeasance. Rather, USAID, the government agency responsible for administering foreign civilian aid, simply failed to provide meaningful oversight of its contractors and ensure adequate results for US-taxpayer financed projects.

 

Click HERE for the full text.

Ban Ki-moon Responds to Question about Cholera Crisis

March 3, 2015 - 11:44

After a group of Nepalese U.N. soldiers introduced cholera to Haiti in 2010, at least 8,774 Haitians have died of the infection. Ban Ki-moon waited months before calling for an investigation, while U.N. soldiers at the base in Haiti cleaned out waste pits prior to epidemiological examinations. In January, the United Nations was cited as having ‘absolute immunity’ from being held accountable for bringing cholera to Haiti, and the victims’ lawyers plan to appeal. Although the United Nations has yet to accept responsibility, Ban at last replies to a question about the cholera crisis.

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

The Secretary General in His Labyrinth

Jonathan M. Katz, New Republic

March 3, 2015

Between the lights of Long Island City and Ban Ki-moon stood a stretch of wooden desk, a well-kept ornamental tree, a window, and the East River. The 70-year-old secretary-general was proud of the window, part of the 38-story glass curtain that covers the face of the U.N. building. Its blue-green glass looks like the 1952 original, only stronger and more energy efficient. It’s the crown jewel of a seven-year, $2 billion renovation nearing completion, the sort of administrative housekeeping at which Ban excels. He glanced out, then went back to the papers on his desk. There was, as one of his favorite English expressions goes, no time to lose. In twelve hours, at 8 a.m., Tuesday, September 23, he was to take his seat in front of the General Assembly and open one of the most important conferences of his life—a world summit on climate change. More than 100 heads of state and government would be there, President Obama among the featured speakers. Leonardo DiCaprio would provide opening remarks.

Ban did not know that an argument was raging down the hall which threatened to overshadow the whole thing. Earlier in the day, an American diplomat dropped a hint to a member of Ban’s staff: After more than a month of airstrikes in Iraq against Islamic State militants, the United States was expanding its bombing campaign into Syria. The strikes would begin immediately.

 

Click HERE for the original article.

 

Accusé violeur nominé comme secrétaire général en haïti

March 2, 2015 - 14:56

Josué Pierre-Louis, qui a occupé de nombreux postes gouvernementaux en Haïti, y compris presecutor, ministre de la Justice, et le président du Conseil électoral vient d’être nommé secrétaire général du bureau du Premier ministre. Cette nouvelles est troublant parce que Josue a été accusé de viol en 2012 et a réussi à intimider son accusatuer assez pour abandonner le cas.

Partie de l’article est ci dessous. Cliquez ICI pour le texte complet.

Haïti-Politique/Société : Le Rnddh et la Sofa s’élèvent contre la nomination de Josué Pierre-Louis comme secrétaire général de la primature « Un personnage controversé, impliqué dans plusieurs scandales dont un dossier de viol contre sa subalterne, non encore élucidé »

AlterPresse
2 mars 2015

Communiqué de presse du Rnddh et de la Sofa

Transmis à AlterPresse le 1er mars 2015

Le Président Martelly recycle son allié politique, Me Josué Pierre-Louis, en accord avec le Premier Ministre Evans Paul

Banalisation, abus de pouvoir, népotisme, tolérance, silence complice de la société, sont les meilleurs alliés de l’impunité structurelle qui gangrène notre société. Cette banalisation de l’impunité, est encore plus manifeste quand il s’agit de la violence liée au sexe, instrument puissant de la domination masculine.

La Solidarite Fanm Ayisyèn-SOFA et le Réseau national de défense des droits humains (Rnddh) élèvent la voix encore une fois contre la banalisation des actes et comportements répréhensibles des hauts fonctionnaires de l’Etat par les dirigeant-e-s étatiques.

 

Cliquez ICI pour le texte complet.

No Elections Timetable Yet for Haiti

March 1, 2015 - 09:57

Last Thursday, most of Haiti’s political parties met to decide the electoral timetable for 2015. The parties rejected the preliminary calendar proposed by the Provisional Electoral Council (CEP) on February 10. The parties were also unable to come to a consensus on the timeline of elections, with some preferring two elections this year and some preferring more. The CEP plans to consider all the proposed options and publish a timetable by next week.

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

Haiti – Elections : No consensus on the electoral timetable

HaitiLibre
March 1, 2015

Thursday in Petionville, nearly 200 representatives of political parties debated for over 6 hours with the 9 advisers of the Provisional Electoral Council (CEP) around the electoral timetable. Unlike the pre-calendar proposed for discussion by the CEP, the majority of leaders of political parties require that all elections (parliamentary, presidential and local authorities) be held before the end of 2015. However, participants have been unable to agree on how elections should be organized first. The only thing that seemed to be a consensus, it was the impossibility to hold elections in July due to the period of state exams.

Note that several parties of the radical opposition including the “Patriotic Movement of Democratic Opposition” (MOPOD), the “National Rally of Progressive Democrats” (RDNP) and “Pitit Desalin” of the former Senator Moïse, were conspicuous by their absence.

 

Click HERE for the full text.

Equality for ALL Dominicans – Documentary

February 27, 2015 - 14:30

See a documentary and panel on the citizenship crisis in DR.

WHAT:

“The Birthright Crisis” documentary, followed by a panel discussion on human rights violations in DR.

WHERE:

John Jay College of Criminal Justice
524 W. 95th St. (btwn 10th/11th Ave)
Room L63 NB
New York, NY

WHEN:

February 27, 2015
5:30pm

 

Sponsored by the Haitian American Lawyers Association of New York, Inc. (HALANY)

UN Response to Cholera Claims Still Inadequate

February 27, 2015 - 14:11

On February 19, Secretary General Ban Ki-moon issued a letter in attempts to explain the lack of UN accountability for cholera. While the letter mostly applauded the UN’s efforts to secure funding for water and sanitation in Haiti, Ban Ki-moon also made the longest statement on the legal claims to date. Unfortunately, the statement continues to be an inadequate explanation of why the UN won’t take responsibility for the epidemic that has ravaged Haiti since 2010.

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

Ban Ki-moon Explains to Congress Why the UN Won’t be Held Accountable for Cholera in Haiti

Center for Economic and Policy Research
February 27, 2015

In December, Rep. John Conyers and 76 other members of congress wrote to United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, urging the U.N. to provide a settlement mechanism for cholera victims and their families and lays out the reasons why the UN should be legally obliged to provide such a mechanism.  The members of Congress add that, “while we applaud the UN’s efforts to secure more funding for cholera treatment….we wish to respectfully remind you that these efforts do not absolve the UN of its obligation to receive legal claims from victims of the epidemic and provide remediation for the affected communities.” 2 months later, Ban Ki-moon has finally sent the members of Congress a lengthy response which the defenders of Haiti’s cholera victims have characterized as “preposterous as a matter of law and logic.”

In a letter, dated February 19, 2015, Ban Ki-moon responds to the 76 members of congress. Most of the letter is dedicated to outlining all the work the U.N. has done to combat cholera in Haiti.  The U.N. has indeed issued calls for cholera funding, but the Haitian government’s 10-year cholera eradication plan remains woefully underfunded. Just 18 percent of the $2.2 billion required has thus far been pledged, with less than 13 percent actually disbursed, according to the most recent data [PDF]. A donor conference in October failed to secure significant additional pledges of support.

 

Click HERE for the full text.

Rapport sur la situation des droits en Haïti

February 27, 2015 - 13:13

C’est un rapport sur la situation des doits humains en Haïti, publié par RNDDH en préparation pour la visite de l’expert indépendant sur la situation des Droits Humains en Haïti. Dans le rapport, RNDDH decrit la crise politique, les problèmes avec le système judiciaire, l’impunité, et la violence dans le pays.

Cliquez ICI pour le pdf.

Etat des lieux à l’occasion de la visite de l’expert indépendant sur la situation des Droits Humains en Haïti.

Réseau National de Défense des Droits Humains
27 février 2015

Introduction 
Quel que soit l’angle considéré, la situation générale des droits humains en Haïti est chaotique. Elle est caractérisée par une rupture de l’ordre démocratique, l’officialisation de l’impunité, la corruption au niveau des institutions publiques, la cherté de la vie, le non-accès aux produits de première nécessité, etc. Conséquemment, les droits civils, économiques, politiques, sociaux et culturels du peuple haïtien sont quotidiennement foulés au pied.

Ce document de synthèse, élaboré en prévision de la rencontre avec l’expert indépendant sur la situation des Droits Humains en Haïti, le sieur Gustavo , présente un état des lieux de cette situation.

 

Cliquez ICI pour le pdf.