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UN’s Belated Owning Cholera Responsibility Demonstrates Accountability Crisis

August 22, 2016 - 14:58

Though it shouldn’t have taken the United Nations nearly six years to own up to its involvement in the cholera epidemic in Haiti, this editorial board isn’t surprised given the past lack of UN accountability. In both cases of sexual abuse and the cholera epidemic, the UN has focused more on covering the problem up than actually addressing it. Now that it has admitted responsibility for cholera, hopefully an apology and compensation will come next.

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

Dodging Accountability at the United Nations

Editorial, The New York Times

August 22, 2016

It shouldn’t have taken five years and a scathing report by an internal human rights watchdog for the United Nations to acknowledge that it bears responsibility for the cholera epidemic in Haiti sparked by its peacekeepers deployed after the 2010 earthquake.

And yet, the yearslong effort to dodge accountability in an emblematic case of institutional failure was predictable. A string of recent scandals has shown that the United Nations has been unwilling to police itself, learn from its errors, correct course and make amends. When a new secretary general takes over next year, she or he should make it a priority to revamp the organization’s oversight entities and create a culture of accountability.

For years, the United Nations asserted that there was no conclusive proof that peacekeepers were the source of an outbreak of cholera that has killed more than 10,000 people. News accounts and experts offered substantial evidence to the contrary. The organization’s denial is one of the main reasons the international community has not mustered an effective response to the epidemic, which spread to other countries. New cases of cholera, which is transmitted through water and food contaminated by sewage, have increased annually since 2014. The country’s wastewater and sanitation systems remain rudimentary.

Click HERE for the full text.

How did the cholera epidemic get so bad, and what’s next?

August 22, 2016 - 13:53

Journalist Kim Ives and IJDH’s own Sienna Merope-Synge discuss the United Nations’ role in the cholera epidemic in Haiti in a radio segment on black resistance. This includes discussion of a U.S. Appeals Court’s decision to uphold UN immunity in the lawsuit that seeks justice for the epidemic. The interview starts at about 17:10.

Black August Commemorates Four Centuries of African American Resistance

Brian Becker, Sputnik

August 22, 2016

http://www.ijdh.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/2016_08_20_LoudClear164Normalized_nz1ja230.3n2.mp3

 

Click HERE for the original posting.

Plan Proposed for Eradicating Cholera from Haiti

August 22, 2016 - 13:10

Ever since the United Nations began a cholera epidemic in Haiti in 2010, it has been covering that fact up. Now that the UN has finally admitted its involvement, there are steps it can take to stamp out the disease during Haiti’s dry season, before the wet season exacerbates the problem and cholera can claim more lives. These steps have been drafted by one of the epidemiologists who took the lead on uncovering the source of the epidemic. Will the UN heed the advice?

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

What the UN must do to wipe out cholera in Haiti

Ralph R. Frerichs, Boston Globe

August 22, 2016

IT IS NOT enough that the United Nations is finally beginning to acknowledge its involvement in the lethal cholera epidemic in Haiti. Now it must urgently do everything in its power to eliminate cholera in Haiti before thousands more die.

Cholera was brought to Haiti in October 2010 by UN peacekeepers from Nepal. Some of the Nepalese peacekeepers had been infected with the disease in their home country. And due to close quarters and poor sanitation practices, the disease quickly spread throughout the Nepalese camp near the interior town of Mirebalais.

Early on, some contaminated fecal waste from the Nepalese camp leaked into a nearby stream, infecting a few Haitians. Then the accumulated camp waste was dumped into the local river by a poorly supervised UN vendor. This local river flowed on to the mighty Artibonite River, which runs through the breadbasket of Haiti before emptying into the Caribbean Sea.

An explosive epidemic ensued in communities along the Artibonite, eventually killing 10,000 or more persons, with more still dying every month. The deaths in this one poor country are comparable in number to all the deaths attributed to the Ebola epidemic that erupted in several nations of West Africa in 2014.

 

Click HERE for the full text.

UN admission of cholera involvement should be a first step

August 21, 2016 - 10:31

Last week, the United Nations admitted that it was involved in Haiti’s deadly cholera epidemic, for the first time in nearly six years. Advocates praised the admission but also cautioned that it should be a first step towards justice for the cholera victims. Real action needs to be taken to make sure that the epidemic stops infecting and killing Haitians.

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A note of hope for Haitian cholera epidemic

Editorial, Boston Globe

August 21, 2016

FOR THE LAST six years, the United Nations has held fast to a deadly and amoral bit of fiction in Haiti. It is now generally settled truth that UN peacekeepers from Nepal introduced a ravaging cholera epidemic to the island in 2010. The genetic evidence, after all, seems incontrovertible: The Nepalese let their sewage flow into a Haitian stream, contaminating it with the vibrio cholerae microbe that causes severe diarrhea, dehydration, and agonizing death. Since then, this scourge has infected an estimated 800,000 people and killed as many as 10,000.

The United Nations has consistently denied responsibility, taking cover in the principle of diplomatic immunity. It has even gone to court in New York to fight claims of damage. But this fiction began to unwind last week, when the office of Secretary General Ban Ki-moon took the unprecedented step of acknowledging a UN role in the outbreak. A UN spokesman told The New York Times that a new response will be forthcoming — although Haiti will have to wait a month or two longer to see what shape that takes.

Ban’s statement could, and should, transform a shameful stalemate. It comes after he received a confidential report earlier this month by New York University law professor Philip Alston. Alston was correct when he reported, in the bluntest possible language, that the UN’s policy on cholera in Haiti “is morally unconscionable, legally indefensible, and politically self-defeating.” The world can hope that Alston, an expert adviser to the UN known as a special rapporteur, carries the status needed to push recalcitrant diplomats onto a higher moral plain.

A spokesperson said the US State Department “welcomes collaboration between the UN and Haiti, and discussion with UN member states, to devise appropriate additional actions in response to the crisis.” The United States has dedicated $95 million in aid to fund prevention programs and to address local outbreaks of the disease.

But the UN’s promises don’t amount to a cure. The real test is what happens next. The UN should follow quickly with a transparent and victim-centered process that ensures real action. Victims’ voices must be put at the center of the process. Haitians deserve a sweeping apology, compensation for families who have suffered, and robust investment in water and sanitation infrastructure to eliminate cholera.

“In Haiti we say viktwa se pou pep la — victory is for the people,” said Mario Joseph, managing attorney of the Bureau des Avocats Internationaux, which has led a campaign for justice and reparations for victims of cholera since 2011. “This is a major victory for the thousands of Haitians who have been marching for justice, writing to the UN, and bringing the UN to court.”

The Charter of the United Nations was signed in late 1945, as shaken nations emerged from a global conflict. Human rights and cooperation are at its core. The UN has taken an important first step and should work with the people of Haiti to end the epidemic once and for all.

 

Click HERE for the original post.

Will the UN show humanity in dealing with Haitian cholera victims?

August 20, 2016 - 12:24

This blog post quoting Mario Joseph and IJDH attorney Nicole Phillips analyzes the United Nations’ admission of responsibility for Haiti’s cholera epidemic. It asks whether this admission will lead to further action or whether the UN will continue to act ‘without humanity’ towards the victims of the epidemic it brought to Haiti.

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

Humanity vs Impunity. Will the UN now compensate Haiti’s cholera victims?

Rashmee Roshan Lall

August 20, 2016

 

I was in Haiti in February 2013, when the United Nations took the unusual decision to invoke legal immunity as a way of dealing with claims for compensation from 5,000 victims of the Haiti cholera epidemic.

Click here for the story I wrote for The Guardian at the time.

It was a straight up-and-down report on the worst outbreak of cholera in modern times and the outrage and anguish felt by Haitians about the way the UN was simply dismissing their search for justice.

 

Click HERE for the full text.

Rep. Wilson Calls for Further UN Action Against Cholera

August 19, 2016 - 17:37

For Immediate Release                                  For More Information Contact:

August 19, 2016                                              Joyce Jones, Communications Director

202.225.4506 (office)

202.578.0634 (mobile)

Congresswoman Wilson Welcomes UN’s Admission of Role in Cholera Outbreak in Haiti and Calls for Further Actions 

Washington, D.C. – Congresswoman Frederica S. Wilson (D-FL) issued the following statement in response to a New York Times report announcing the United Nation’s (UN) admission of its role in the Haiti cholera outbreak that began in 2010:

“Today’s announcement is a major first step in righting a wrong.  While I welcome the UN’s assumption of responsibility for the cholera outbreak in Haiti, it must be followed with concrete actions that include making cholera victims and their families whole, and investments towards eradicating the epidemic.

The UN’s admission of its role in the deadly cholera outbreak in Haiti is a testament to the work of cholera victims, their families, and advocates.  For more than half a decade, they have organized, marched, written letters, and gone to court for today’s announcement to ensure that the UN fulfills its legal and moral obligations.

More than 10,000 people have died from cholera and many continue to suffer. I will continue working with my colleagues in Congress and advocates to ensure that the UN fulfills its obligations to cholera victims.”

Congresswoman Wilson, the representative of the U.S.’ largest Haitian community, has been a leader in the effort to hold the UN accountable on cholera.  For nearly six years, she has raised the issue to President Barack Obama, Secretary John Kerry, former Secretary Hillary Clinton, and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon.  Additionally, she has held briefings, coordinated conference calls, and supported legislation.

 

 

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Congresswoman Frederica S. Wilson is a third-term Congresswoman from Florida representing parts of Northern Miami-Dade and Southeast Broward counties. A former state legislator and school principal, she is the founder of the 5000 Role Models for Excellence Project, a mentoring program for young males at risk of dropping out of school. Congresswoman Wilson also founded the Florida Ports Caucus, a bipartisan taskforce that coordinates federal action in support of Florida’s harbors and waterways. The Florida lawmaker sits on the House Education and the Workforce Committee and is the Ranking Democrat on the Subcommittee on Workforce Protections.

Will the UN finally stop stonewalling Haiti’s cholera victims?

August 19, 2016 - 17:11

The last few weeks have brought damning reports about the UN’s actions regarding cholera in Haiti. Finally, there was a glimmer of hope when for the first time in almost six years, a UN spokesperson admitted UN involvement in the cholera epidemic. The glimmer was dimmed by an Appeals Court’s decision to uphold UN immunity in a case on behalf of the cholera victims. The UN, however, has welcomed the recommendations from one of the two damning reports, and promises to reveal some new actions against cholera in the coming two months. Are these signs that the UN may finally take concrete action against the epidemic it started back in October 2010?

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UN stonewall on Haiti cholera epidemic starts to crumble

George Russell, Fox News

August 19, 2016

The United Nations’ wall of denial concerning its responsibility for Haiti’s six-year-old cholera epidemic—and claims of diplomatic immunity regarding the consequences– appears to be crumbling.

In a statement issued Wednesday, a U.N. spokesperson declared that the world body “has become convinced that it needs to do much more regarding its own involvement” in the “initial outbreak” of the vicious cholera epidemic that first exploded in 2010, and has killed more than 9,300 Haitians while infecting at least 780,000 overall.

Just what the U.N. will do, however, and when, remains a mystery.

The spokesman said only that “a series of options are under consideration” for “a significant new set of actions” in regard to the catastrophe. He added that the “new response will be presented publicly within the next two months, once it has been fully elaborated, agreed with the Haitian authorities and discussed with [U.N.] member states.”

That small glimmer of accountability, immediately obscured in a fog of continuing backroom maneuver, represented a significant step forward in truth-telling for the U.N. on the cholera issue—or at least an acknowledgment that its old excuses about the disaster are not believed by anyone anymore.

Beatrice Lindstrom, an attorney with the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti, a non-government organization bringing the lawsuit, hailed the latest U.N. announcement as “a groundbreaking first step towards justice.”

But she added immediately that “the U.N. must follow this announcement with action, including issuing a public apology, establishing a plan to provide compensation to the victims who have lost so much, and ensuring that cholera is eliminated in Haiti through robust investment in water and sanitation infrastructure. We will keep fighting until it does.”

It has been a long fight so far. Since 2011, the U.N. has hidden behind a report from a hand-picked panel of experts who pin-pointed the source of the ongoing epidemic as infected human sewage from a contingent of Nepalese peacekeepers in Haiti, part of a U.N. force known as MINUSTAH but then maintained the outbreak “was not the fault of, or deliberate action of, a group or individual.” 

Some members of the expert panel have since changed their minds, as waves of other scientific researchers have shown that the specific cholera strain in the Haitian epidemic could be linked genetically to a strain in Nepal, and that an outbreak had occurred in that country just before its peacekeepers joined the MINUSTAH force.

Even while hiding behind the panel’s wording, the U.N. in 2013 invoked immunity to  insulate itself from a class action lawsuit launched by Haitians who lost family members or suffered from the disease.. The U.S. State Department has backed the U.N.’s immunity defense.

On Thursday a U.S. appeals court dismissed the lawsuit, in effect deferring to the U.N.’s assertion of immunity. The Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti, which has pressed the lawsuit, says it is studying the court decision.

Meantime, the U.N.’s frequent expressions of concern for Haiti’s cholera victims—piggy-backed on pleas for international donors to support an elaborate, multi-billion-dollar water and sanitation development scheme for Haiti—have worn thin, especially in light of its stonewalling attitude on responsibility and troubling signs that nothing else about its behavior in Haiti has changed all that much.

A long-suppressed internal U.N. report examined by Fox News last week has shown that four years after the initial outbreak, U.N. peacekeepers in Haiti were continuing to violate almost all of their own sanitary rules for containing the disease—including the dumping of sewage into public waterways. 

Earlier this week, the New York Times leaked elements of yet another internal U.N. report, by New York University law professor Philip Alston, a long-time U.N. advisor on legal and human rights issues, which also castigated the U.N. for its non-accountable stance.

According to the Times, Alston called the U.N.’s stonewall “morally unconscionable, legally indefensible and politically self-defeating,” and said it “undermines both the U.N.’s overall credibility and the integrity of the Office of the Secretary-General.”

Alston’s report, still in draft stage, will not be published until late September. He declined to comment on the document when queried by Fox News, and its recommendations were not revealed in the Times story on his report.

Even while the Alston document remained under wraps, however, a spokesperson for U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon—who has done much of the public stonewalling—said that the Ban’s office “wanted to take this opportunity to welcome this vital report.”

He added that the Alston report and its recommendations “will be a valuable contribution to the U.N.”

No similar hosannas were raised back in 2013, when a U.N. special rapporteur for human rights in Haiti, Michel Forst, noted tersely in an annual report that “silence is the worst response” to “the need that victims or their families have expressed to know the truth and perhaps even to be given compensation” for the cholera outbreak.

Forst resigned from his U.N. position shortly afterward for “personal reasons.”

The fact that a new report telling the U.N. that its actions in evading truthful accountability in a horrendous humanitarian disaster could be hailed by the U.N. itself “is a sign of how misplaced its priorities are,” commented Brett Schaefer, an expert on the world organization at the conservative Heritage Institute.

As far back as 2013, Schaefer noted that the U.N. already has a legal mechanism that would allow it to consider compensation for cholera-afflicted Haitians, in the form of a “standing claims commission” that is written into the normal legal agreements allowing peacekeepers to operate in host countries like Haiti. The commissions have never been established in any country by the U.N. since peacekeeping’s inception, he observed.

“This has left Haitians with no recourse but to go to court,” he says.

Schaefer has always supported U.N. immunity to lawsuits like the Haiti class-action effort, on the grounds that member states—especially the U.S.—would pick up the tab, and that the “people responsible, in MINUTAH or the senior leadership of the U.N.” would not “bear the cost of their poor judgment.”

Nonetheless, he notes, some form of accountability is needed “to create incentives to not have these situations arise in the first place.”

So far, the U.N. stonewall has not crumbled enough to provide an answer.

 

Click HERE for the original article.

Former UN Official Lauds the Fight for Cholera Justice

August 19, 2016 - 13:28

“The United Nations has capitulated on the question of Haiti and cholera. After nearly six years of denial and hiding behind the pretext of immunity, the United Nations has finally conceded that it had real responsibility in bringing cholera to Haiti.” In the video below, Stephen Lewis, a former Canadian Ambassador to the UN, comments on the UN’s admission of involvement in the cholera epidemic in Haiti. He also commends BAI and IJDH for our work fighting for justice and helping make this happen. He reminds everyone who cares about justice that it is important to keep fighting despite the challenges.

Stephen Lewis: The Week in Review 128 — The UN Admits Responsibility in Haiti

Stephen Lewis, AIDS-Free World

August 19, 2016

Shortly After Admission of UN Involvement in Cholera, Court Dismisses Case

August 19, 2016 - 11:59

After nearly six years of denying responsibility for bringing cholera to Haiti, a spokesman for the United Nations conceded UN involvement. Shortly after that, a U.S. Appeals Court upheld the UN’s immunity from suit in a claim on behalf of the victims of the UN’s epidemic. The three judges who made the decision said that the appeal was “without merit,” despite the fact that the UN has not held its end of the treaty by providing the victims with access to justice. Lawyers for the victims, who have 90 days to decide whether to appeal to the Supreme Court, “will decide how to proceed based on whether the U.N.’s actions fulfill the cholera victims’ rights to an effective remedy.”

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U.S. judge upholds U.N. immunity in Haiti cholera case

Anastasia Moloney, Thomson Reuters

August 19, 2016

BOGOTA, Aug 19 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – A U.S. federal appeals court has upheld the United Nations’ immunity from a damage claim filed by human rights lawyers on behalf of thousands of Haitians killed or sickened by a cholera epidemic they blame on U.N. peacekeepers.

In a decision late on Thursday, the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals in New York upheld a lower court’s January 2015 dismissal of a lawsuit brought by lawyers seeking compensation and a public apology for 5,000 Haitian cholera victims.

“We have considered all of plaintiffs’ arguments on appeal and find them to be without merit,” the U.S. appellate judges concluded.

Cholera, a water-borne disease, has killed more than 9,000 Haitians and infected over 770,000 since the outbreak began in 2010, U.N. figures show.

The court’s decision came shortly after Farhan Haq, spokesman for U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, admitted the U.N.’s possible involvement in the introduction of cholera to Haiti.

“…over the past year the U.N. has become convinced it needs to do much more regarding its own involvement in the initial outbreak and the suffering of those affected by cholera,” he told reporters on Thursday.

Lawyers for the plaintiffs said the remarks were a breakthrough because it was the first time the U.N. had acknowledged any involvement in causing the cholera outbreak.

A 2011 study by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said U.N. peacekeepers from Nepal, where cholera is endemic, were the likely cause of the outbreak. The peacekeepers on mission in Haiti were stationed near a river and discharged raw sewage.

Brian Concannon, executive director of the Boston-based Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti (IJDH), the group that filed the lawsuit on behalf of cholera victims, said they had 90 days to decide whether to seek an appeal with the U.S. Supreme Court.

“We will decide how to proceed based on whether the U.N.’s actions fulfill the cholera victims’ rights to an effective remedy,” Concannon said in a statement.

A previous January 2015 ruling on the cholera case by a U.S. court said that the U.N. can block lawsuits established by a 1946 international convention and is thus immune to such legal action.

But lawyers for the plaintiffs have long argued that the U.N. is not entitled to immunity under the convention because it has failed to establish any kind of settlement process for the cholera victims, as required by the same convention.

“This outcome places the onus back on the U.N. to follow through on its commitments to respond justly to victims out of court if it does not want to be an organization that stands for impunity,” Mario Joseph, a Haitian lawyer who heads the Bureau des Avocats Internationaux, IJDH’s partner in Haiti, said in a statement.

Health experts say cholera, which had not been documented in Haiti in almost 100 years prior to the outbreak, will continue to kill and infect Haitians as long as they lack access to clean water and sanitation.

(Reporting by Anastasia Moloney, editing by Ros Russell.; Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women’s rights, trafficking, corruption and climate change. Visit http://news.trust.org)

 

Click HERE for the original article.

Second Circuit Court Upholds UN Immunity in Cholera Case

August 18, 2016 - 20:42

On the same day that those who care about Haiti were celebrating the United Nations’ admission of responsibility in Haiti’s cholera epidemic, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit decided to uphold UN immunity in the same epidemic. The panel of three judges who decided the case argued that even though the UN provided cholera victims no chance to seek justice, it is still entitled to immunity. A UN spokesman has promised that the UN will “do much more” for cholera victims, and that new actions will be presented in two months. The plaintiffs in this case have 90 days to decide whether to appeal to the Supreme Court. If those actions really are taken, Beatrice Lindstrom, the lead lawyer for the plaintiffs, says another appeal will be unnecessary.

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

U.S. Court Upholds United Nations’ Immunity in Cholera Suit

Jonathan M. Katz, The New York Times

August 18, 2016

A United States federal appeals panel has upheld that the United Nations cannot be sued in American courts, dealing a setback in a class-action lawsuit brought on behalf of thousands of cholera victims in Haiti.

The ruling by the three-judge panel in New York was released on Thursday, a day after a spokesman for Secretary General Ban Ki-moon acknowledged for the first time that the United Nations played a role in the outbreak, which killed thousands of people.

In the decision for the panel, Judge José A. Cabranes of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit wrote that the United Nations did not lose its legal immunity even if it failed to give the plaintiffs a chance to seek a settlement, as required by an international convention.

The decision slammed the door on a day of muted celebration by the plaintiffs and many people in Haiti who had greeted a statement by Farhan Haq, the deputy spokesman for Mr. Ban, that the United Nations had “become convinced that it needs to do much more regarding its own involvement in the initial outbreak” of cholera and that officials were considering a “significant new set of U.N. actions” to be presented publicly within two months.

Click HERE for the full text.

Following UN Admission of Responsibility for Haiti Cholera, U.S. Appeals Court Upholds UN Immunity

August 18, 2016 - 19:37

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact:

Mario Joseph, Av., Bureau des Avocats Internationaux, (in Haiti), mario@ijdh.org, +509-3701-9878 (French, Creole, English)

Brian Concannon, Jr., Esq., Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti, brian@ijdh.org, +1-541-263-0029 (English, French, Creole)

Beatrice Lindstrom, Esq., Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti, beatrice@ijdh.org, +1-404-217-1302 (English, Creole, French)

Following UN Admission of Responsibility for Haiti Cholera, U.S. Appeals Court Upholds UN Immunity

Thursday August 18, Port-au-Prince, Boston, New York— In a decision released late today by the United States Second Circuit Court of Appeals, the Court upheld the United Nations’ immunity from claims filed on behalf of Haitian cholera victims. The decision concerned whether the UN’s alleged breach of obligations to settle claims out of court constituted a condition precedent to its immunity, such that the UN would not be able to claim immunity in court unless it offered another way for victims to seek a remedy.

The decision, authored by Judge Cabranes, held that the UN’s immunity from judicial process was not conditional on its obligation under Section 29 of the Convention on the Privileges and Immunities of the United Nations to provide individuals harmed by UN operations access to an “appropriate mode to settle claims.” The Court wrote: “…we hold that the UN’s fulfillment of its Section 29 obligation is not a condition precedent to its Section 2 immunity.”

The highly technical legal decision comes less than a day after the UN publicly admitted responsibility for its role in the cholera outbreak and acknowledged it needed to “do much more to address the suffering of those affected.”  The UN announced that it will be rolling out a “significant set of new actions” to address cholera in Haiti in the coming two months. The announcement marks a significant shift for the world organization, which for the past six years has refused to acknowledge responsibility for introducing cholera to Haiti in 2010 though reckless waste disposal from a UN peacekeeping base.  Cholera has since killed more than 9,300 Haitians and infected more 800,000, making it the worst cholera epidemic of modern times.

“We are disappointed that the Court upheld the dismissal of the case, but this only reinforces our commitment to keep fighting for justice for victims,” said Mario Joseph, Managing Attorney of the Bureau des Avocats Internationaux (BAI), which has been advocating for justice for cholera victims since 2011. “This outcome places the onus back on the UN to follow through on its commitments to respond justly to victims out of court if it does not want to be an organization that stands for impunity.”

According to Beatrice Lindstrom, Esq. of the Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti (IJDH), “the UN has repeatedly used pending litigation as a pretext for avoiding a real discussion of remedies. This decision removes that pretext, and we are ready to work with the UN to ensure that it follows through on its commitment to a ‘new response’ to the Haiti cholera crisis that reaches ‘those who are still affected but also…those who were affected in the past’.”

IJDH filed the class action lawsuit against the UN in October 2013 in the Southern District of New York on behalf of five Haitians and Haitian-Americans whose family members died of the disease or who were infected but managed to survive life-threatening cholera.

Plaintiffs now have 90 days to decide whether to seek an appeal with the U.S. Supreme Court. “We will decide how to proceed based on whether the UN’s actions fulfill the cholera victims’ rights to an effective remedy,” said Brian Concannon, Jr. Esq., Executive Director of IJDH. “Our goal has always been to secure remedies for victims, whether in or out of court and we will keep working through all available forums until that occurs.”

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UN Admits Role in Haiti Cholera – Media Coverage

August 18, 2016 - 11:19

U.N. Admits Role in Cholera Epidemic in Haiti – The New York Times, August 17, 2016

UN Concedes Role in Haiti Cholera Crisis – The Daily Beast, August 17, 2016

Choléra : l’ONU admet enfin une responsabilité – Le Nouvelliste, August 17, 2016

Ban Claims Will Reverse Self on Haiti Cholera, Sell-Out to Saudi on Yemen, Cover Ups – Inner City Press, August 17, 2016

U.N. accepts role in deadly Haiti cholera outbreak for first time – The Washington Post, August 18, 2016

Épidémie de choléra en Haïti : l’ONU reconnaît en partie ses fautes – Le Figaro, August 18, 2016

Haïti: victoire en demi-teinte pour les victimes du choléra face à l’ONU – Le Point, August 18, 2016

Choléra : l’ONU admet enfin une responsabilité – Radio Television Caraibes, August 18, 2016

As the UN finally admits role in Haiti cholera outbreak – here is how victims must be compensated – The Conversation, August 18, 2016

U.N. Admits Role In Haiti Cholera Outbreak That Has Killed Thousands – NPR, August 18, 2016

UN Admits Role in Haiti Cholera Outbreak for First Time EverteleSUR, August 18, 2016

U.N. Admits Role in Causing Haiti Cholera Outbreak That Killed 9,000 – Democracy Now!, August 18, 2016

UN says it needs to do ‘much more’ for Haiti cholera victims – U.S. News, August 18, 2016

UN admits it played role in Haiti cholera epidemic – The Telegraph, August 18, 2016

UNO räumt erstmals Rolle bei Cholera-Ausbruch in Haiti ein – Die Presse, August 18, 2016

U.N. remarks on Haiti cholera a “groundbreaking” step to justice, say lawyers – Reuters, August 18, 2016

Haiti cholera victims welcome UN recognizing role in outbreak – The Guardian, August 18, 2016

United Nations admits to role in Haiti cholera epidemic – UPI,  August 18, 2016

U.N. Admits Role in Cholera Outbreak in Haiti Essence, August 18, 2016

UN makes first public admission of blame for Haiti cholera outbreak – The Guardian, August 18, 2016

The U.N. may finally admit it caused the Haitian cholera outbreak – Humanosphere, August 18, 2016

Haiti cholera victims welcome UN recognizing role in outbreak – Medical Xpress, August 18, 2016

UN: Must mix compassion and legal line on Haiti cholera – CNN, August 18, 2016

The U.N. finally owns up to its role in Haiti’s cholera outbreak – The Washington Post (editorial), August 18, 2016

After Conyers’ Push, UN Admits Wrong Doing in Haiti Cholera Crisis; Conyers Calls for Full Funding for Cholera Eradication Efforts – John Conyers press release, August 18, 2016

The United Nations admitted its role in the 2010 cholera outbreak that killed thousands – PBS NewsHour, August 18, 2016

UN admits role in 2010 cholera outbreak in Haiti – World Socialist Web Site, August 19, 2016

U.N. admits to role in Haiti cholera epidemic – The Hindu, August 19, 2016

UN ‘brought cholera to Haiti’ Ban Ki-Moon admits blame for disease that killed 9,000 – Express, August 19, 2016

UN admits playing role in cholera outbreak that killed almost 10,000 people in Haiti – Independent, August 19, 2016

UN accepts ‘involvement in the outbreak’ of deadly Cholera in Haiti – International Business Times, August 19, 2016

The UN admits responsibility in Haiti – AIDS-Free World, August 19, 2016

UN admits role in Haiti’s deadly cholera outbreak – BBC, August 19, 2016

L’ONU admet ses fautes du bout des lèvres – Le Devoir, August 19, 2016

UN Admits Role in Haiti’s Cholera Outbreak After Years of Denial – The Real News, August 19, 2016

UN to Provide ‘Material Assistance’ to Haiti Cholera Victims – The New York Times, August 19, 2016

UN stonewall on Haiti cholera epidemic starts to crumbleFOX News, August 19, 2016

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News Roundups:

Cholera in Haiti” – The Bulletin, August 18, 2016

PE Hub First ReadPE Hub, August 18, 2016

UN Admits Responsibility for Haiti Cholera

August 18, 2016 - 08:06

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact:

Mario Joseph, Av., Bureau des Avocats Internationaux, (in Haiti), mario@ijdh.org, +509-3701-9878 (French, Creole, English)

Brian Concannon, Jr., Esq., Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti, brian@ijdh.org, +1-541-263-0029 (English, French, Creole)

Beatrice Lindstrom, Esq., Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti, beatrice@ijdh.org, +1-404-217-1302 (English, Creole, French)

UN Admits Responsibility for Haiti Cholera

Advocates Hail Major Breakthrough, But Commit to Continued Advocacy

Thursday August 18, Port-au-Prince, Boston, New York —For the first time in the six years since it brought the world’s worst cholera epidemic to Haiti, the United Nations has publicly admitted its role in causing the outbreak.  In a statement released today, the UN Spokesperson recognized the need for the organization to do “much more regarding its own involvement in the [cholera] outbreak and the suffering of those affected by cholera.”

“In Haiti we say ‘viktwa se pou pep la’ — victory is for the people. This is a major victory for the thousands of Haitians who have been marching for justice, writing to the UN and bringing the UN to court,” said Mario Joseph, Managing Attorney of the Bureau des Avocats Internationaux, which has led a campaign for justice and reparations for victims of cholera since 2011.

The UN also announced that it will be rolling out a “significant set of new actions” in the coming two months, and that “a series of options have been under consideration.” The Spokesperson added that a “new response will be presented publicly within the next two months, once it has been fully elaborated, agreed with the Haitian authorities and discussed with member states.”

“This is a groundbreaking first step towards justice,” said Beatrice Lindstrom, Esq., of the Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti (IJDH), which has filed a lawsuit against the UN for the reckless sanitation practices that caused the epidemic. “But promises will not stop cholera’s killing or compensate for the damage to poor families in Haiti. The real test is in what comes next. The UN must follow this announcement with action, including issuing a public apology, establishing a plan to provide compensation to the victims who have lost so much, and ensuring that cholera is eliminated in Haiti through robust investment in water and sanitation infrastructure. We will keep fighting until it does.”

“We welcome this announcement, but the UN must ensure that the victims have a central voice in this process,” added Joseph.

The acknowledgment follows a six year global campaign that has brought together cholera victims, Haitian grassroots groups such as MOLEGHAF, activists worldwide, legal experts,human rights and civil society groups, Haitian diaspora organizations, community and political leaders, scientists, academics and media around the world, as well as many of the UN’s own human rights experts, in calling for a just response.

“This is also a victory for people around the world who believe in a United Nations that practices what it preaches on human rights,” said Brian Concannon, Jr. Esq., Executive Directory of IJDH. “The UN’s previous denials of responsibility have left an enormous stain on the organization’s credibility and Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s legacy.”

The UN’s announcement was made in response to a critical report by prominent UN adviser Philip Alston, one of several UN-appointed human rights experts who have used their positions to call for a just response from the organization since 2014.

According to the New York Times, the report, which has not yet been publicly released, chastises the UN for a position that “is morally unconscionable, legally indefensible and politically self-defeating.”

This development comes amidst a new report by the UN’s audit office showing that the UN was still discarding contaminated waste into Haitian waterways as recently as June 2015.

“It is high time for the UN to make this right and prove to the world that “human rights for all” means for Haitians too,” said Joseph.

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UN Peacekeeper Babies Spark Outrage

August 12, 2016 - 08:21

There have been many cases of UN Peacekeepers fathering children with Haitian women during their time stationed in the country. However, when they leave, they do not provide any type of child support, making the women responsible for raising the child alone. Recent charges have been brought up against 2 Quebec police officers who face charges of sexual misconduct for their actions in Haiti. To evade disciplinary hearings, the two officers retired days before the hearings were supposed to start. BAI lawyer Mario Joseph is representing 9 Haitian women who had children with peacekeepers . He says that countries need to have a legal framework to ensure that peacekeepers face justice for their actions.

Click HERE for the full article.

Top Haitian human rights lawyer slams UN over sexual misconduct allegations

Benjamin Shingler, CBC News 

August 12th, 2016

The case of two Quebec police officers who avoided disciplinary hearings into allegations of sexual misconduct by retiring points to systemic problems involving the United Nations in Haiti, says one of that country’s leading human rights lawyers.

Mario Joseph says countries such as Canada need to have a legal framework in place to ensure peacekeepers accused of fathering a child or sexual abuse face justice.

“There need to be laws to deal with this,” Joseph said Wednesday in an interview in Montreal, where he was part of a World Social Forum panel on peacekeeping in Haiti.

Often, the worst punishment they face is repatriation, he said. Last month, CBC News reported that a Sûreté du Québec sergeant under investigation for sleeping with Haitian women while working as a United Nations peacekeeper was able to evade a disciplinary hearing by retiring days before the hearing was to begin.

Click HERE for the full article.

New Report Reveals Abysmal Sanitation Practices on UN Bases in Haiti

August 11, 2016 - 13:48

A recently-released report shows that sanitation and water purification practices on MINUSTAH bases in Haiti were even worse than previous reports have indicated, including years of dumping sewage into Haiti’s canals even after the cholera epidemic had begun. This calls into question the credibility of UN efforts to improve Haiti’s water and sanitation systems, especially as these practices continued even after the UN launched its cholera elimination plan. At least 9,300 Haitians have died of cholera and 780,000 have been infected.

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Amid Haiti cholera epidemic, UN peacekeepers spill sewage and ignore water treatment, says internal report

George Russell, Fox News

August 11, 2016

While the United Nations touted its efforts in Haiti aimed at ending the world’s worst modern cholera epidemic — a calamity many experts assert the U.N. itself caused — U.N. peacekeepers were blatantly violating their own sanitary rules for containing the disease, according to an internal U.N. report that was suppressed for months.

Among other things, the peacekeepers for years after the cholera eruption began in October 2010:

  • -poured inadequately-treated sewage wastewater into Haitian public canals;
  • -ignored urgent laboratory warnings that some of the tainted liquid contained fecal contamination, as well as other indicators that it was improperly cleansed;
  • -ignored maintenance of water treatment plants at U.N. peacekeeper camps;
  • -failed to inspect water treatment plants, as well as septic tanks, as required;
  • -skipped vital chlorination of wastewater treatment sites and other disposal facilities;
  • -left abandoned camps laden with garbage and sometimes with toilets and septic tanks overflowing with human waste;
  • -failed to demand proof that contractors disposing of human sewage from peacekeeping latrines were  actually depositing their cargos, as required, in -government-approved dumping sites;
  • -allowed a garbage contractor, sometimes using substandard trucks that spilled parts of their load, to dump material at unauthorized open sites, including one close to a local water supply.

The stunning array of negligent practices are laid out in an 18-page audit report by the U.N.’s watchdog Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS), titled, “Audit of waste management in the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti,” which blandly declared that the “overall results” were “initially assessed as unsatisfactory.”

CLICK HERE FOR THE AUDIT REPORT

According to its cover page, the report was completed on June 30, 2015. Such audits customarily appear on the OIOS website about a month or so after their cover date; this one appeared without fanfare about a year late — after being designated on the website for months as “withheld.”

Public withholding usually happens with OIOS reports that examine such things as U.N. security practices in terror-afflicted zones, where danger to human life could result from publication. In this case, questions sent to OIOS by Fox News last week about the reasons behind the “withheld” status, and why it was lifted, were unanswered at the time this story was published.

One reason why the Haiti audit report could be considered ultrasensitive, however, is that the practices it described were unfolding even as the U.N., faced with international concern about its role in the original cholera disaster, was deeply involved, as it still is, in elaborate programs to help Haiti control and combat the epidemic, which so far has infected more than 780,000 Haitians and killed 9,300 of them– and is once more on the rise.

Most of those programs ignored or downplayed the mountain of medical evidence and expert opinion — disputed mostly by the U.N. — that the original source of the epidemic was a contingent of Nepalese peacekeepers in the U.N. force known as MINUSTAH, whose very similar bad hygienic practices were the initial cause of the cholera outbreak, the first in Haiti in 100 years.

For its part, the U.N. continues to cite a 2011 study by a hand-picked group of experts — some of whom have publicly changed their minds — that pointed to the Nepalese as the cholera source but said the outbreak “was not the fault of, or deliberate action of, a group or individual;”

The U.N. has invoked diplomatic immunity to shield itself from potentially massive lawsuits by Haitian families seeking compensation for lost family members and other ravages of the disease.

The audit investigation — and its tardy publication — collide head-on with the U.N.’s efforts to show that it is a big part of Haiti’s cholera solution rather than the cause of  much of the problem, and raise additional questions about what the world body says it is doing in conference rooms and diplomatic venues, vs. how it behaves in the field.

The report says the audit was conducted from July 2014 to December 2014, and covered peacekeeper practices from July 1, 2012 to June 30, 2014.

The gap between the end of that period of investigation and the June 2015 publication date also indicates a longer-than-usual delay in “finalizing” the document; that is, relaying its findings back to responsible U.N. officials and negotiating resolution of the uncovered issues.

As it happens, U.N. records show that start-point for the period of MINUSTAH peacekeeping activity that OIOS investigators were examining — June 2012 — was nearly six months before U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in December announced the advent of a multibillion-dollar cholera elimination mega-program across Hispaniola (the island incorporating both Haiti and the neighboring Dominican Republic), which he said would “take a holistic approach in tackling the cholera challenge.”

By that, he meant an emphasis on “clean drinking water and sanitation systems” as well as a vaccination campaign centered on Haitian urban areas — largely a strategy that focused on social development as a means of disease prevention, rather than aggressive elimination of existing outbreaks, which was encompassed in a short term “operational plan” costing much less money.

At that time, the worst initial wave of the cholera epidemic had abated: some 7,750 people had died, out of more than 620,000 infected.

The ambitious capital-spending campaign, however, was already under-funded. The clean-water plan, the U.N. said, needed some $500 million for its first two years, with only $215 million forthcoming, including $23.5 million from the U.N. itself.

The Haitian government formally launched its $2 billion, long-range version of the National Plan for cholera the following February, coupled with a two-year “operational plan” cholera elimination program, while the U.N. chimed in again in November 2013 with “special initiatives that required MINUSTAH to support and coordinate with the government” in implementing the national plan.

By the time the auditors actually began their examination in July 2014 — which was nearly four years after the initial outbreak — Secretary General Ban was back in Haiti again, trying to breathe new life into both efforts.

The U.N. had been unable to raise $400 million for the first phase of the grandiose plan — though it had spent more than $600 million over the previous 12 months supporting its MINUSTAH peacekeepers.

By that time, the Haitian cholera death toll exceeded 8,500.

The beginning of the OIOS probe coincided with the end of the period they were examining. What they found out about the MINUSTAH efforts to observe basic hygiene over the previous two years is depressing reading.

Among other things, the auditors noted that MINUSTAH’s Water and Sanitation Unit, along with an engineering section, had installed 32 wastewater treatment plants to make sure the blue-helmeted troops and police cleaned up after themselves, along with 38 septic tanks and 55 soak pits for liquid waste, and had trained staff well on how to use them effectively.

Staffers just didn’t do much after that to maintain them properly.

Filter “membranes” in the treatment plants were supposed to be cleaned “thoroughly” once a year; MINUSTAH records showed that fewer than half – 15 — were cleaned in 2013, and only 10 from January to June 2014.

The treatment plants included ultraviolet lighting to kill bacteria that had to be changed after 9,000 hours of operation; MINUSTAH didn’t keep records to show it did any lighting replacement at all.

One result: over a 12-month period starting in May 2013 — when there were roughly 6,200 U.N. troops and 2,600 U.N. police authorized for MINUSTAH — laboratory tests showed that 23 of 32 tested water treatment plants failed to meet “eight key water quality parameters” for judging that the output was acceptable.

Wastewater samples from six of the plants also “contained fecal coliform” bacteria, associated with human feces. The acceptable level of fecal coliform for potable water is zero.

Moreover, the audit noted, at 7 of 31 sites visited — the audit does not explain the absence of a 32nd site — “MINUSTAH was discharging its treated wastewater into public canals,” including two where the canals ran through MINUSTAH campgrounds.

Among other things, the report noted, five pleas from MINUSTAH testing labs over 14 months, urging that treatment plants be “urgently maintained,” were ignored.

The same inattention applied to septic tanks and other filtration systems, where human waste was supposed to be periodically removed (known as “desludging”) and other maintenance performed.

The audit says that from May 2013 to June 2014, “an average of 21 sites” were supposed to be treated with chlorine — which also kills cholera bacteria — “but these recommendations were not acted on.”

MINUSTAH’s response to the cleansing directive, according to the report, was that the treatment plants and soak pits “did not need regular cleaning,” and the lab results “were based on wrong parameters.”

What OIOS inspectors observed during actual visits to the treatment sites, however, was disturbing.

At two treatment plants, holding tanks full of “black water” — a mixture of urine and feces — were overflowing. An unspecified number of septic tank manholes “either did not have covers or were covered by temporary materials.” At seven sites, “gray water” from showers, dish-washing and laundry was seeping into the surrounding environment.

When it came to local garbage haulers, MINUSTAH was, it seemed, more demanding, but for a long time no more effectual.

“On several occasions” the peacekeepers complained about their contractor’s unsatisfactory performance, on a contract that ran from June 2010 to the end of May 2013 — and then was extended.

It wasn’t until the end of July 2014 — not long after OIOS auditors arrived — that the garbage contractor was suspended for a year.

According to the OIOS report, the contractor was dumping waste at sites “in an open area without protections from intrusion,” with one site close to water “used by the local population.”

A U.N. peacekeeping spokesman told Fox News that the reprobate hauler was “terminated for poor performance on solid waste management and not reinstated.”

The problems with sewage disposal could have been even worse than the garbage mess — but it seems no one actually knows for sure.

MINUSTAH had contracts with two service vendors to clean septic tanks and dispose of untreated wastewater at two government-approved sites. Haitian regulations demanded that MINUSTAH drivers were supposed to get receipts from government officials to show that they had disposed of the sewage as required.

Instead, as the report notes, “MINUSTAH relied on sewage collection coupons prepared by the contractor at the time of waste collection from the Mission’s premises to confirm that the service had been provided.”

In other words, the peacekeepers accepted receipts more or less from themselves, testifying that the sewage had gone out the door, as evidence that it had been driven to the appropriate place and disposed of properly.

Moreover, the contract with the sewage haulers failed to include a no-notice inspection clause that would have acted as another check on the vendor until September 2014.

U.N. peacekeeping headquarters staff had ordered the no-notice inspection provision as far back as June 7, 2011, the report indicated. It didn’t happen due to “inadequate staffing resources.”

The receipt failure, the OIOS report notes demurely, “indicated that MINUSTAH was not adequately monitoring the disposal activities of wastewater contractors.”

The outcome was actually more grotesque than the wording indicates, as the most widely accepted reconstruction of how Haiti’s initial cholera epidemic suddenly exploded along the country’s vitally important Artibonite River was the casual dumping into the waterway of an entire truck-load of liquid human waste taken from the camp of the Nepalese peacekeepers.

Their native country contained a cholera strain that independent scientific analysis concluded was identical with the murderous version that suddenly appeared in Haiti, while some of the peacekeepers were anecdotally reported to be afflicted with diarrhea in their unsanitary and poorly maintained MINUSTAH camp.

As part of their finalized resolution process, the OIOS investigators wrote into the report that MINUSTAH provided a notice that a no-notice inspection had taken place on June 27, 2015 — three days before the OIOS report’s final publication date.

Even at the time of publication, however, the OIOS report said the watchdog was still waiting on proof that two of its recommendations about fixing egregious lapses had actually been implemented — new procedures “to ensure wastewater facilities were adequately maintained,” and that laboratory recommendations about treated wastewater quality “are being adequately acted upon.”

According to a U.N. peacekeeping spokesperson, “MINUSTAH provided all the needed evidence on the two recommendations long ago,” and OIOS quit demanding proof in October 2015.

Meantime, however, the struggle against cholera in Haiti goes on, with the disease seemingly regaining strength.

According to French epidemiologist Renaud Pairroux, a world-renowned expert on cholera who has carried out in-depth studies of Haiti’s epidemic, there have been more than 21,000 reported cases so far in 2016, along with 200 new deaths.

The long-term approach supported by the U.N. and the Haitian government, Pairroux believes, “mainly offers the appearance of a development plan” rather than a frontal attack on the disease.

Pairroux notes in a newly-published update paper on the anti-cholera battle  that “most of the goals [of that plan]  will not be  achieved for decades” — even though, in his professional opinion, the epidemic had decreased drastically by November 2013, and was ripe for total elimination if an aggressive approach to isolation and elimination of small flare-ups had been taken.

“If at that time, especially in April-June 2014,” his paper declares, “efforts had been concentrated on extinguishing the last outbreaks, cholera could have been removed from Haiti,” as disease-fighters had already done in a number of African countries where Piarroux had worked.

By the end of 2014, that moment had been lost, Piarroux’s paper argues, due among other things to the sabotage of urban clean-water-delivery systems by gangs seeking to profit from water-selling; Haitian government turmoil; and increasing donor fatigue.

Piarroux argues that the underlying problem, however, is a fatalistic acceptance of a version of the U.N.’s argument that it did not introduce cholera into Haiti, but rather that the epidemic erupted from cholera strains that were always present in Haitian waters –even though such strains had never before produced the toxins that cause cholera victims’ agony, dehydration and death.

Only a radical targeting of actual disease outbreaks, as opposed to a long-term development campaign to transform Haiti’s infrastructure, will change the situation, he concludes.

“The cholera epidemic is a crisis that has outlasted the patience of donor agencies,” he observes.

CLICK HERE FOR PIARROUX’S PAPER

In fact, most of the U.N.’s current anti-cholera efforts are not looking very hale.

A $20.3 million “rapid response” plan to deal with emergent cholera cases this year, the U.N. reports, is only 43 percent funded, and “further support will be needed to sustain efforts and meet urgent needs.”

CLICK HERE FOR A U.N. UPDATE

The world organization also says the ten-year Haitian National Plan for Cholera Elimination is only about 20 percent funded.

 

Click HERE for the original article.

How U.S. Government is Complicit in DR Citizenship Crisis

August 9, 2016 - 11:00

While the Obama administration has criticized Donald Trump’s threats to deport undocumented immigrants, it has allowed the Dominican Republic (DR) to not only do that but also to deport people who were considered Dominican citizens as recently as 2013! In a 2013 court ruling in DR, citizenship was officially stripped from anyone who did not have at least one DR-born parent (all the way back to 1929). This left an estimated 200,000 Dominicans of Haitian descent stateless. The US, however, continues to provide military aid to DR though DR’s military is often involved in deportations.

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

Click HERE to learn more about the citizenship issue.

Inquirer editorial: Dominican Haitians are people without a country

Editorial, Philadelphia Inquirer

August 9, 2016

President Obama has been very critical of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s threat to arrest and send home millions of undocumented immigrants, but his administration has said little about a deplorable deportation program affecting Dominican-born Haitians, the largest stateless population in the Western Hemisphere.

In 2010, the Dominican Republic amended its constitution to deny citizenship to anyone born in the country who didn’t have at least one parent who was born there too. Overnight, 200,000 Dominicans of Haitian descent were stripped of citizenship. The country’s Supreme Court upheld the amendment in 2013, and in the past year more than 60,000 people have been deported.

Some deportees moved into pop-up shantytowns on Haiti’s border without anyone to contact on that side of the Caribbean island of Hispaniola. Neither did they speak Creole, as Haitians do; Dominicans speak Spanish. Quener Joseph, a Philadelphian of Haitian descent, says “a lot of kids with ID now can’t go to high school, definitely not college. They can’t open a bank account or buy a car. It’s shameful, and humiliating.”

 

Click HERE for the full text.

Click HERE to learn more about the citizenship issue.

Canada’s Renewed Interest in Peacekeeping Must Prioritize Accountability

August 5, 2016 - 07:48

Canada has been making moves towards increasing its involvement in UN peacekeeping but this editorial board wants to remind the government that peacekeeping comes with challenges. The UN is currently facing a serious accountability problem, particularly with the cholera epidemic it began in Haiti, and the sexual abuse perpetrated by peacekeepers all over the world. If Canada is to increase its troop commitment, it must also take steps to ensure that these human rights violations are addressed and don’t continue to happen under its watch.

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

Editorial: Peacekeeping is no picnic

Ottawa Citizen Editorial Board, Ottawa Citizen

August 5, 2016

Soon after his election victory in 2015, Justin Trudeau declared, “We’re back.” It was a message to both reassure and vindicate those who “worried that Canada (had) lost its compassionate and constructive voice in the world.” But back to what? Among other things, enthusiasm for the United Nations and its peacekeeping operations.

To some internationalist policy wonks and cabinet ministers, this is an unalloyed good. Victims of abuse or indifference in many countries, however, might need a little more reassurance.

Two Quebec provincial police officers recently retired before they could be subjected to internal disciplinary hearings about alleged sexual misconduct during a peacekeeping mission in Haiti. These are not the only cases involving accusations against Canadians, and they are part of a larger context of impunity that taints UN peacekeeping operations in several countries, where peacekeepers have been accused of either perpetrating abuse themselves, or ignoring horrific crimes under their noses.

 

Click HERE for the full text.

La Mission d’observation électorale de l’OEA accepte le rôle et recommande le changement

August 4, 2016 - 14:08

La Mission d’observation électorale de l’Organisation des Etats américains confirme qu’elle observera
les élections du 9 octobre prochain. Après les irrégularités et manquements des dernières élections, l’OEA se mettre d’accord sur la néccesité de refaire des élections. Mais, ils ont fait clair que des changements doivent être apportés au système avant le vote.

Une partie de la lettre est ci-dessous. Cliquez ICI pour le texte complet.

Quand la mission d’observation de l’OEA se mêle de la partie

Lemoine Bonneau, Le Nouvelliste

le 3 août 2016

Après avoir dressé le sombre tableau des irrégularités et manquements des élections de 2015, la Mission d’observation électorale de l’Organisation des Etats américains confirme, par l’entremise du secrétaire général Luis Almagro, qu’elle observera les élections du 9 octobre prochain. Personne ne s’attendait à ce revirement de l’organisation hémisphérique qui avait donné un blancseing à l’élection présidentielle de 2015, en dépit de certaines irrégularités qu’elle avait relevées. La Mission d’observation formule toute une série de recommandations pour rétablir la confiance dans le processus électoral sur les plans de l’organisation, de la formation, de la communication et de la planification des opérations électorales.

Mis à part les observateurs pro­gouvernementaux ainsi que ceux des missions de l’Union européenne et de l’OEA, tous les autres observateurs qui avaient supervisé les élections de 2015 avaient décelé les irrégularités graves dont ces joutes étaient entachées. Cette nouvelle approche de la Mission de l’OEA constitue un pas dans la bonne direction s’il faut prendre en considération les anomalies relevées dans le processus depuis le recours exercé au Bureau du contentieux électoral national par Fanmi Lavalas et le parti Meksepa. Il s’agit maintenant pour l’institution électorale de contrôler et de vérifier si toutes les étapes de l’organisation des élections seront réalisées dans les délais convenables et dans les conditions prévues.

Cliquez ICI pour le texte complet.

La mise en place des enquêtes électorales pour valider des élections

August 4, 2016 - 09:22

Pour rendre les élections haïtiennes, souvent connu d’être pleines de fraudes, légitimes, des enquêtes sur treize élections des députés vont déterminer la validité des gens élus. Ces enquêtes cherchent les preuves pour les fausses déclarations ou des actes de violence d’après un communiqué public qui a décrit la constitution de ces commissions d’enquêtes.

Le sort des députés « mal élus » connu d’ici mi-août

Noclès Débréus, Le National 

31 Juillet 2016

Une partie de la lettre est ci-dessous. Cliquez ICI pour le texte complet.

Le Conseil électoral provisoire (CEP) dans le cadre de l’application des recommandations de la Commission d’évaluation et de vérification électorale a constitué trois commissions d’enquête pour faire la lumière sur les élections dans treize circonscriptions électorales. Sur les circonscriptions en question, neuf députés en fonction sont sur des sièges éjectables au regard du CEP qui s’est réservé le droit d’invalider les pouvoirs de n’importe quel élu conformément aux dispositions du décret électoral en ses articles 95 et 239.1.

Dans un communiqué rendu public le vendredi 29 juillet, le Conseil électoral provisoire (CEP) a annoncé officiellement la constitution de trois commissions d’enquête pour statuer sur les treize dossiers de 13 circonscriptions électorales retenues par le CEP sur les 42 dossiers indexés dans le rapport de la Cieve. « La Direction exécutive du Conseil électoral provisoire informe la population en général, les candidats, les partis, groupements politiques et les concernés en particulier que,  par résolution des membres du Conseil en date du 25 juillet 2016, trois commissions d’enquête administrative ont été constituées. Les membres de ces commissions sont chargés de réunir notamment les preuves de fausses déclarations, de fraudes avérées et d’actes de violence », a fait savoir l’institution électorale sans préciser les noms ainsi que le nombre de commissaires faisant partie de chaque commission.

Une partie de la lettre est ci-dessus. Cliquez ICI pour le texte complet.

Des mères d’enfants abandonnés des casques bleus de la MINUSTAH notifient des sommations pour rechercher la Paternité, le recouvrement des créances d’aliments et la garde de leurs enfants

August 3, 2016 - 08:56

POUR DIFFUSION IMMÉDIATE

 Contact PRESSE:

Mario Joseph, avocat, Bureau des Avocats Internationaux (BAI), Mario@ijdh.org, +011 509 3701-9879 (Haïti) (français, kreyol)

Nicole Phillips, avocat, Institut pour la Justice et la Démocratie en Haïti (IJDH), Nicole@ijdh.org, +1 510 715-2855 (Etats-Unis) (anglais, français)

Des mères d’enfants abandonnés des casques bleus de la MINUSTAH notifient des sommations pour rechercher la Paternité, le recouvrement des créances d’aliments et la garde de leurs enfants

 Port-au-Prince, le 3 aout, 2016 – Le Bureau des Avocats Internationaux (BAI) annonce aujourd’hui la notification des sommations aux neuf (9) soldats de la MINUSTAH venant de l’Uruguay, de l’Argentine et du Sri Lanka au nom de neuf (9) mères haïtiennes qui étaient tombées enceintes puis abandonnées et laissées toutes seules avec la responsabilité de leurs enfants. L’une des requérantes avait 17 ans quand elle a donné naissance à son enfant, ce qui constitue un crime de Viol en vertu de la loi haïtienne. Les requérantes demandent à ces casques bleus d’assumer leurs responsabilités de père vis-à-vis de leurs enfants conformément au décret du 14 septembre 1983 instituant et réglementant la procédure de recouvrement des créances d’aliments, et celle relative à la garde des enfants.

Les requérantes ont également notifié ces mises en demeure à  Madame Sandra HONORÉ, Représentante Spéciale du Secrétaire Général des Nations-Unies en Haïti et chef de la MINUSTAH, et au Ministre des Affaires Etrangères et des Cultes d’Haiti, Monsieur Pierrot DELIENNE en vue de leur coopération à leurs revendications de paternité. Notamment, elles leur demandent de fournir toutes les informations pouvant permettre d’identifier les défendeurs et surtout de délivrer, dans le plus cours délai possible, les résultats des tests d’ADN réalisés en Février 2014 sur leurs enfants.

Selon Maitre Mario Joseph du BAI, l’avocat des requérantes, « le Secrétaire Général de l’ONU a adopté une politique officielle de « zéro tolérance » en 2003 qui interdit les relations sexuelles entre les casques bleus et les bénéficiaires de l’assistance des Nations Unies, ainsi que l’abandon des enfants nés de ces relations sexuelles. Néanmoins, l’ONU n’a pas pris suffisamment de mesures pour aider les victimes et les enfants ou de maintenir l’obligation de rendre compte pour ceux qui enfreignent ces règles. »

Les revendications de paternité proviennent dans la foulée de l’augmentation des rapports de l’ONU sur l’exploitation et les abus commis par des casques bleus en Haïti et dans d’autres pays, ainsi que du manque de responsabilité  au regard de ces actes. L’ONU a également refusé d’accepter sa responsabilité pour des dommages causés par des casques bleus  qui ont contaminé  l’approvisionnement de l’eau en Haïti en introduisant le choléra, qui a jusqu’à présent abouti à plus de 800 000 maladies rapportées et plus de 9000 décès.

Maitre Nicole Phillips, avocate de l’Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti, espère que ces revendications de paternité seront : « un défi pour l’ONU de se conformer à ses propres principes et ses promesses d’adresser en de meilleurs termes l’exploitation et les abus sexuels commis par des casques bleus en Haïti et dans le monde entier ».

Maitre JOSEPH met en garde ces casques bleus, Mme HONORE et Ministre DELIENNE que s’ils ne répondent pas dans un délai de 30 jours, les requérantes se réservent le droit d’intenter une action par devant le Tribunal de Première Instance de Port-au-Prince.

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