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Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti
Updated: 2 hours 20 min ago
After years of advocacy for its implementation, a limited version of the Haitian Family Reunification Parole Program (HRFPP) is set to begin on February 2, 2015. With that come scams and fees from people hoping to profit from applicants’ lack of familiarity with the regulations. To help prevent that, Senator Linda Dorcena Forry, a State Representative and 2 City Councillors met with members of the Haitian community in Boston to teach them what to look out for. While we are excited about this first step to HFRPP, we will also keep fighting for full implementation of the program.
Part of the article is below. Click HERE for the full text.Haitian community briefed on ‘Family Reunification’ process
Eliza Dewey, Dorchester Reporter
January 29, 2015
Five years after a catastrophic earthquake rocked Haiti, the ongoing impacts of the disaster were evident last Thursday night at an event in Mattapan designed to inform the community about a new federal program that will help an estimated 5,000 Haitians per year join their family members in the United States.
The event, held at the Jubilee Christian Church in Mattapan Square, was hosted by State Senator Linda Dorcena Forry in conjunction with United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and the Mayor’s Office of New Bostonians. State Representative Dan Cullinane and City Councillors Tim McCarthy and Charles Yancey were also in attendance.
The program in focus, known as the Haitian Family Reunification Parole Program (HFRP Program), enables eligible Haitians who have already applied for an immigrant visa to the United States to spend the final two years of their waiting period in this country with their family. The HFRP program does not itself confer any legal immigration status to beneficiaries.
Application to the HFRP Program is by invitation only. Beginning on February 2, 2015, the Department of State’s National Visa Center (NVC) will begin sending out written invitations to American citizens and lawful permanent residents who are eligible to apply to the program on behalf of their relatives living in Haiti. Potential Haitian beneficiaries cannot apply for themselves.
Click HERE for the full text.
Tuesday, January 27, a group of Dominicans hoping to enroll in DR government programs for immigrants were deported instead. When these programs were first announced, many feared they would be used to identify and discriminate against immigrants. Now, many worry that those fears are becoming reality. Please send appeals to Dominican Republic authorities urging them to prevent these human rights violations.
Click HERE for additional information.DOCUMENT – MASS DEPORTATION IN THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
January 28, 2015
UA: 20/15 Index: AMR 27/002/2015 Dominican Republic Date: 28 January 2015
mass deportation in the dominican republic
On 27 January, 51 people, including 30 Dominican-born children, some of their mothers and 14 other adults were deported without due process to Haiti from the Dominican Republic. More mass deportations of Dominicans of Haitian descent and Haitian migrants are feared.
On the morning of 27 January, two mini-buses transporting 30 children aged between seven and 13, all born in the Dominican Republic, accompanied by some of their mothers (7 Haitian women) and 14 other Haitian migrants were travelling with religious officials to San Juan de la Maguana in eastern Dominican Republic. Following a ruling issued by the Dominican Constitutional Court in 2013 that rendered tens of thousands of people of foreign descent stateless, the mothers intended to enrol the children in a naturalization scheme established by the Dominican government in May 2014 to regularize the situation of Dominican children of irregular migrants. The 14 other Haitian migrants sought to enrol in the National Regularization Plan for Foreigners with Irregular Migration Status, established in 2013 for undocumented migrants living in the Dominican Republic.
Around 20 kilometres before reaching San Juan de la Maguana, where the nearest offices that process enrolment for both naturalization and regularization processes are located, the mini-buses were stopped at a military checkpoint. The military officers denied the group access to the city for being “undocumented migrants”. Following negotiations with the religious officials, they were asked to obtain a pass at the office of the Migration Directorate in Elias Piña near the Haitian-Dominican border. Once they arrived at the Migration Directorate office, they were detained and accused of being illegal wanderers. The authorities ordered their immediate deportation to Haiti without giving them the opportunity to have their cases individually examined, and therefore be able to challenge the legality of their detention or appeal the decision.
Following pressure, in the evening the Dominican Ministry of Interior gave authorization to the whole group to re-enter the country. They were still on Haitian territory on the morning of 28 January. The 30 children are in a particular situation of vulnerability as they do not hold Haitian citizenship and remain stateless. �
Please write immediately in Spanish or your own language:
Calling on the Dominican authorities to allow the group to enrol in the naturalization and regularization schemes according to their wishes;
Urging them not to use naturalization and regularization procedures to detect alleged undocumented migrants and to stop all deportations of similar measures against applicants in the naturalization and regularization schemes;
Urging them to fulfil their obligations under international law, which prohibit arbitrary and collective expulsions, and to ensure that all those facing removal from the Dominican Republic have their cases individually examined in a fair and transparent procedure, where they can challenge the authorities’ decisions and have their case reviewed.
PLEASE SEND APPEALS BEFORE 11 MARCH 2015 TO:
Minister of Interior and Police
José Ramón Fadul
Av. México esq. Leopoldo Navarro
Edificio de Oficinas Gubernamentales Juan Pablo Duarte
Santo Domingo, República Dominicana
Salutation: Señor Ministro / Dear Minister
Director of Migration
Lic. Jose Ricardo Taveras
Dirección General de Migración
Avenida 30 de Mayo, Esquina Héroes de
Santo Domingo, República Dominicana
Fax: +1 809 534 7118
Salutation: Dear Director
Minister of Foreign of Affairs
Andrés Navarro García
Ministro de Relaciones Exteriores
Avda. Independencia No.752
Santo Domingo, República Dominicana
Fax: +1 809 985 7551
Salutation: Dear Minister�
Also send copies to diplomatic representatives accredited to your country. Please insert local diplomatic addresses below:
Name Address 1 Address 2 Address 3 Fax Fax number Email Email address Salutation Salutation
Please check with your section office if sending appeals after the above date.
Click HERE for additional information.
In Haiti, those who stand up for the marginalized are often harassed and become victims themselves. This article features an interview with one such human rights defender, who has been threatened and harassed for his work on housing rights. In the interview, he chronicles many recent cases of human rights defenders being threatened, arrested, or even killed for their work. The more we speak out about these cases, the more we can prevent.
Part of the article is below. Click HERE for the full text.The Attack on Human Rights Defenders in Haiti An Interview with Jackson Doliscar, Part II
Beverly Bell, Other Worlds
January 28, 2015
Community organizer and rights defender Jackson Doliscar speaks to efforts of the Haitian government to silence advocates of human rights and land and housing rights, (See part I of Doliscar’s interview.) The attacks are part of the government’s strategy to leave opposition movements defenseless.
The cases that Doliscar discusses here are only a few of the many instances of violence and illegal imprisonment that the government of Michel Martelly has perpetrated since taking power in a fraudulent election three years ago. Other cases even include the public assassination of the coordinator of the Coalition of Haitian Human Rights Organizations (POHDH by its Creole acronym), Daniel Dorsainvil, and his wife, Girldy Larêche, on February 8, 2014.
The Martelly Administration is becoming increasingly autocratic, including disregarding elections and instead ruling by decree. Nevertheless, the US government continues to provide political and financial support, even including assistance to the lawless police.
Click HERE for the full text.
On January 9, 2015 a US judge ruled in favor of absolute UN immunity in the cholera case. The judge cited previous cases where UN immunity was upheld but cholera victims and their lawyers argue that those cases differ from this case. Where the UN has provided alternate means of seeking compensation in the past, it has avoided accountability at every turn in this case. This article features interviews with IJDH Executive Director Brian Concannon, UN press officer Sophie Boutaud de la Combe, and future IJDH Legal Intern Wesley Laine.
Part of the article is below. Click HERE for the original.Lawyers push lawsuit against UN for Haiti cholera outbreak
Claire Luke, Devex
January 27, 2015
Human rights lawyers in New York are preparing to file an appeal against a U.S. judge’s decision to dismiss a class action lawsuit against the United Nations, the next step in an uphill battle that, if successful, may change the way the public can hold the institution accountable for its actions.
The appeal is the latest in the much-publicized case alleging that the United Nations negligently introduced cholera to Haiti after the catastrophic 2010 earthquake that tarnished the U.N.’s reputation in the troubled Caribbean state.
The lawsuit, Georges et al. v. United Nations et al., was dismissed Jan. 9 in the Southern District Court of New York on the grounds that the United Nations is exempt to charges against its immunity.
Brian Concannon, executive director of the Boston-based Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti — the first to file claims on behalf of 5,000 cholera victims and their families — told Devex the appeal will argue that the United Nations should not be able to use its immunity as a shield for negligence and misconduct.
Click HERE for the original.
After the United Nations Security Council’s recent visit to Haiti, diplomats were quick to applaud President Martelly’s efforts to work with the opposition and praise his progress. Haitians, on the other hand, recognize the large role the president played in causing the current crisis and his continued shortcomings in resolving it. Martelly has a great opportunity to restore constitutional, inclusive elections in Haiti. The international community’s unbiased support would go a long way in achieving that.
Click HERE for the original.One-man rule in Haiti
Editorial, Miami Herald
January 26, 2015
U.N. diplomats did their best to put a smiley face on the grim picture in Haiti during a weekend visit, but no amount of diplomatic artistry can conceal the ugly truth: Haiti is back to one-man rule, and no one can say how long it will last.
The high-profile visit by representatives of the U.N. Security Council, including U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power, was meant to show the international community’s concern over Haiti. Such gestures are helpful, given that the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere desperately needs the world community’s support to make any progress whatsoever.
But even though it’s customary for visiting dignitaries to say nice things about the host government, the delegation nearly went overboard in praising President Michel Martelly for consulting with the opposition and civil-society groups now that constitutional government has broken down. They were “encouraged,” Ms. Power said, about his promise to keep working at it.
Many discouraged Haitians would beg to differ. Mr. Martelly has been at the center of Haiti’s political turmoil ever since he took office in May 2011. Today, the country is embroiled in a political crisis that has left it with no elected mayors, no head of the Supreme Court and no Chamber of Deputies or working Senate.
A failure to hold elections overdue by more than three years caused the terms of most lawmakers to expire this month. Now Mr. Martelly governs by decree.
The president is not the problem per se. Certainly the electoral impasse cannot be laid solely at his feet. But just as certainly, he’s a big part of it. Throughout his tenure, he has failed to work with adversaries to reach political compromises. His opposition has been just as stubborn, but it’s Mr. Martelly who bears the burden of leadership and during whose watch the country has suddenly regressed to one-man rule.
In an address to the nation days before the U.N. delegation arrived, the president accepted the responsibility for the crisis and promised to reach out to his political opponents to hold credible elections later this year.
That’s a refreshing change, but he’s not off to a good start. He handed all the critical ministries in the interim government to his own followers, including some who would probably be unable to get a clean financial bill of health under provisions of Haiti’s Constitution. Mr. Martelly says he wants to turn the page, yet was about to name a discredited cop to a high government post until the international community warned against it.
All of this suggests Mr. Martelly does not respect the processes of democratic government, which brought him to office, ironically, and often require sharing power with adversaries. Those adversaries, for their part, need to realize that Mr. Martelly is the only president Haiti has. They have to be ready to meet him halfway if he is sincere about reaching out.
The role of the international community in breaking the political stalemate will be crucial, but it doesn’t help when the community’s representatives offer blind support for the president. Diplomats face a credibility problem because they’re seen as enablers instead of impartial mediators.
As he enters the last year of his tenure, Mr. Martelly’s main task is to restore political trust in Haiti. He has a chance to be one of the best presidents Haiti has had by staging free, fair and transparent elections — not for himself or a protégé, but for all candidates. If he fails, he will end up as ill-regarded as some of his terrible predecessors. Or worse.
Click HERE for the original.
Le Premier ministre haïtien, Evans Paul, a installé un ministre délégué auprès du Premier ministre chargé des questions électorales. La position est nouvelle, mais le ministre a travaillé pour le gouvernement haïtien dans le passé: Il était en octobre 2011 secrétaire d’Etat aux collectivités territoriales et, en janvier 2015, secrétaire d’Etat à l’Intérieur. Il a reconnu que le peuple Haïtien “n’acceptera aucune excuse” pour un manque d’élections en 2015. Nous espérons qu’il respectera ses promesses.
Partie de l’article est ci-dessous. Cliquez ICI pour l’original.
Elections 2015 : « la population haïtienne n’acceptera aucune excuse ! »
Jocelyn Belfort, Le Nouvelliste
26 janvier 2015
Plus d’une dizaine de personnes, dont les représentants de l’Union européenne et des Nations unies, des membres du CEP, des ministres et des secrétaires d’Etat, ont assisté à la cérémonie d’installation de M. Jean Fritz Jean Louis comme ministre délégué auprès du Premier ministre chargé des questions électorales. Cette structure ministérielle, fraîchement constituée, sera, selon M. Evans Paul, un atout exceptionnel pour arriver aux prochaines élections tellement attendues par le peuple haïtien, les acteurs politiques et les partenaires internationaux. « Face au blocage récent de la machine électorale, le président de la République avait insisté sur la nécessité de créer, dans les meilleurs délais, toutes les conditions et de donner aux acteurs concernés les instruments fiables devant permettre l’organisation crédible et transparente des élections », a expliqué le chef du gouvernement. «Je mise sur cette structure qui aidera à veiller à ce que la loi électorale soit validée, respectée et appliquée.»
Cliquez ICI pour l’original.
January 23-25, the United Nations Security Council visited Haiti to push for a resolution to the current political crisis. They visited many key sites in Haiti, such as mass graves for the 2010 earthquake victims, but everyone they met emphasized the importance of elections. Ambassador Samantha Power stated that the Council was there to figure out how to help Haiti with the crisis, not to take sides. We hope that those words will be honored.
Click HERE for the original.U.N. Security Councils ends ‘informative’ visit to Haiti
Jacqueline Charles, Miami Herald
January 25, 2015
The United Nations Security Council wrapped up a three-day mission Sunday urging Haiti’s warring politicians to work together to stage elections as quickly as possible while remaining mum on whether it will move ahead with plans to reduce the presence of its 7,100-strong peacekeeping mission beginning in March.
“We are trying to maintain the support to the government of Haiti for the main goal, which is to have elections,” said Chile’s U.N. Ambassador Cristián Barros Melet, the Security Council president. “But it’s too early to say if it’s necessary to continue with the same configuration or not. We have time to do that. It is a very complex process we are living here in the political area.”
During a visit by Barros and the other representatives of the 15-member council to the Haiti National Police (HNP) training academy earlier in the day, Justice Minister Pierre-Richard Casimir reiterated President Michel Martelly’s request that a planned reduction of the 4,957 military troops be delayed until after elections for president, 20 Senate seats, the entire 99-member chamber of deputies and more than 4,000 local posts are completed this year.
“It’s a question of logistics,” Casimir told the Miami Herald. “There are a lot of departments where they will need to transport ballots. If they leave, that will increase the pressure on the HNP.”
The high-level UN delegation arrived Friday amid anti-government protests, and just hours before the country installed a new nine-member provisional electoral board to oversee the balloting. Days earlier, Martelly installed a new prime minister and government on the recommendation of a presidential commission seeking to calm the rising political tensions and anti-government protests. Parliament also dissolved after the terms of a second-tier of the 30-member Senate ended, and the entire lower house because of delayed elections.
During their visit, members met with Martelly and his government, opposition leaders, civil society and the electoral board. They also took several site visits to better understand the recovery and resettlement of persons affected by the devastating Jan. 12, 2010 earthquake, including laying a wreath in Titanyen where many of the more than 300,000 dead are buried in mass graves.
On Saturday, members toured the Nerette neighborhood in the capital where the government and the U.N. have rehabbed homes and mitigated disaster risks to encourage camp residents to return to the neighborhood. Later, they flew to Cap-Haitien via helicopter where they toured the only hospital in the northern region for handicapped persons, the Haitian Hospital Appeal in Quartier Morin. They also visited with members of the Haitian Coast Guard, who spoke of the challenges of patrolling the open coast line with only two 40-foot boats, and met with tourism students.
But it was Haiti’s ongoing political impasse and elections delay that preoccupied council members.
“We saw on one hand, great signs of progress, whether with regard to health, or education or the removal of rubble or the resettlement of individuals displaced in the earthquake,” said Samantha Power, the U.S. ambassador to the U.N. who co-led the delegation with Barros. “But the vast majority of the individuals with whom we met also stressed alongside this progress, the delicacy and fragility of an election year.”
While Power began the trip by stressing strong support for Martelly, she said at the end, council members are even more convinced of the importance of compromise.
“The council stressed in all of our meetings both with the president and his ministers and the senators and opposition parties, our strong support for the strengthening of checks and balances at a time when parliament is not performing its traditional role,” she said.
In a meeting between the council members and eight of the 10 remaining senators, Sen. Steven Benoit called for the first round of elections to be held by May or June, an idea Martelly supports, and runoffs and presidential balloting by September or October.
Benoit said the international community shared in the blame for the political chaos, which began with the contested 2010 presidential elections in which the U.S. and U.N. representatives in Haiti “handpicked Mr. Martelly as president although he was not qualified to move to the second round of the election, thus moving us further from the spirit of the constitution.”
Benoit said that despite Martelly’s recent concessions to the opposition, “things are not improving.”
Power didn’t cite Benoit’s name in her closing remarks but said, “people who have grievances or who have complaints about the past, can invest their energies constructively in the election process.
“We urge those who have complaints and concerns about recent events or about how Haiti got to this moment, to channel their energies into ensuring fair, transparent and inclusive elections.”
The council, she said, came to Haiti to gain a better understanding of how the international community could help and “to support the Haitian people, not to pick sides.”
“It will have to be Haitian leaders, Haitian opposition politicians and Haitian citizens who come together to ensure that the elections happen in as timely a fashion as is feasible,” she said. “And when that political will is shown across a range of communities, the United Nations and the broader international community will be right there to support Haiti as it takes these next steps.”
Click HERE for the original.
From January 23-25, the United Nations Security Council visited Haiti to assess its progress since the 2010 earthquake, and to press for elections. Below are Ambassador Samantha Power’s remarks at the end of the trip.
Click HERE for the original.Remarks at a Press Conference at the End of the Visit of the Security Council to Haiti
Samantha Power, United States Mission to the United Nations
January 25, 2015
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
My name is Samantha Power and I am the American Ambassador to the United Nations and co-lead, with my colleague Cristian from Chile, of this trip. We, the very diverse members of the Security Council, had a very informative and productive visit to Haiti. We will have time in a minute for questions, but I will just share with you a few of the key messages that we heard from the wide array of actors with whom we met.
We are here as a Council, as Cristian has said, to support the Haitian people, not to pick sides, but to come away with a better understanding of how the international community can help Haiti.
We saw, on the one hand, great signs of progress, whether with regard to health or education or the removal of rubble or the resettlement of individuals displaced in the earthquake. But the vast majority of the individuals with whom we met also stressed, alongside this progress, the delicacy and fragility of an election year.
We heard from a large number of actors about the importance of strong checks and balances on governmental power, wherever it is exercised. And the Council stressed in all of our meetings, both with the President and his ministers, and with Senators and opposition parties, our strong support for the strengthening of checks and balances at a time when the Parliament is not performing its traditional role.
It is clear that leadership will have to be exercised in Haiti in a very inclusive and consultative manner in order to maintain the legitimacy of the state.
We heard a great deal about the importance of democratic expression by the people, but also we underscored how important it is that that democratic expression be done in a non-violent manner.
We came away even more convinced about the importance of compromise. Not everyone in Haiti will be able to get exactly what he or she wants in the coming days or in the coming years, but it will be critical that all actors put Haiti first, and put the overall welfare of Haiti before one’s own particular interests.
And two more points and then we’ll open it up for questions. We heard over and over again a message that we ourselves delivered, which is how critical it is that elections be held as soon as is feasible in a fair, transparent and inclusive manner.
People who have grievances or who have complaints about the past can invest their energies constructively in the election process. And we urge those who have complaints and concerns about recent events or about how Haiti got to this moment, to channel their energies into ensuring fair, transparent and inclusive elections.
And finally, we heard consistently about the importance of security as a foundation for Haiti’s democratic development. And here we witnessed today some of the work of the Haitian National Police, who have not only increased their numbers in the last several years, but have also deepened the quality of their policing. And the Security Council expressed its intention to stand in full support for the HNP and for the work, of course, that MINUSTAH is doing in support of the HNP, because the Haitian Police are the future of security in Haiti.
And we heard from government, from civil society, and from most of the opposition parties, great support and appreciation for the role that MINUSTAH has played in helping Haiti, and supporting Haiti through thick and thin and through significant ups and downs in recent years. And although we are getting on an airplane to go back to New York here in a few minutes, the Security Council is going to remain extremely vigilant over events in Haiti, and we encourage all parties in Haiti to get an election road map in place as soon as possible and to govern, and to perform the role of citizen, in a manner that respects and advances the rights of the Haitian people. And with that I think we are here to take your questions.
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Le Conseil de sécurité de l’Onu a visité Haïti de 23 au 25 janvier afin d’évaluer les progrès accomplis par Haïti depuis le tremblement de terre et de faire pression pour des élections. Ci-dessous est une transcription officielle de la conférence de presse, y compris une séance de questions et réponses.
Cliquez ICI pour l’original.Les notes de presse de la conférence de presse du Conseil de sécurité
CONFERENCE DE PRESSE DES MEMBRES DU CONSEIL DE SECURITE
25 janvier 2015
Introduction de Sophie Boutaud de la Combe
Bienvenue à cette conférence de presse qui clôture la visite de trois jours du Conseil de sécurité en Haïti codirigée par le Président du Conseil de sécurité, le Représentant permanent du Chili aux Nations Unies, l’ambassadeur Cristian Barros Melet et la Représentante permanente des Etats Unis auprès des Nations Unies, l’ambassadeur Samantha Power.
Durant cette visite, les 15 membres du Conseil de sécurité : l’Angola, le Chili, la Chine, l’Espagne, les Etats Unis, la France, la Jordanie, la Lituanie, la Malaisie, la Nouvelle Zélande, le Nigeria, le Royaume-Uni, le Tchad, la Russie, le Venezuela ont rencontré différents représentants des autorités nationales et ont visité plusieurs projets recevant l’appui de la MINUSTAH et des Nations Unies à Port-au-Prince et aux Cap-Haitien.
J’invite les deux codirigeants de la mission du Conseil de sécurité à prendre la parole.
Intervention de l’ambassadeur du Chili, M. Cristian Barros Melet: (traduit à partir de l’anglais)
Un bref résumé ces trois jours, tandis que nous sommes arrivés à la fin de la mission du Conseil de sécurité en Haïti qui nous a permis de rencontrer le gouvernement et le peuple haïtien ainsi que la MINUSTAH et le reste de l’équipe des Nations Unies, je veux les remercier pour leur appui ayant rendu possible cette visite.
Durant ces trois derniers jours, nous avons eu des rencontres avec le Président Martelly, de hauts dignitaires du gouvernement, les représentants de la MINUSTAH, des représentants seniors des Nations Unies, des membres du conseil électoral, des partis politiques et de la société civile. À travers nos différentes visites, nous avons eu l’opportunité de constater les différents aspects de la situation du pays sur le terrain et avions eu la chance de visiter les bataillons de la MINUSTAH au Cap-Haïtien et de rencontrer les pays contributeurs de troupes et de policiers.
Nous avions eu l’opportunité d’écouter et de voir presque toutes les différentes perspectives de la situation du pays dans le domaine de la sécurité, le dével.
En plus d’affirmer notre support au gouvernement et au peuple haïtiens pour leurs efforts en vue de consolider la paix, la démocratie et la stabilité et pour promouvoir le redressement et le développement durable, les membres du conseil de sécurité exhortent les acteurs politiques haïtiens à travailler ensemble et sans plus de délai pour assurer la tenue urgente d’élections libres justes, inclusives et transparentes incluant celles qui auraient dues se tenir en accord avec la constitution d’Haïti.
Intervention de l’ambassadeur des Etats-Unis, Madame Samantha Power : (traduit à partir de l’anglais)
Mon nom est Samantha Power et je suis l’ambassadeur américain aux Nations Unies et, avec mon collègue Cristian du Chili, co-chef de file, de ce voyage. Nous, les membres très divers du Conseil de sécurité, avons eu une visite très instructive et productive en Haïti. Nous disposerons plus tard d’un moment pour les questions, mais je vais simplement partager avec vous quelques-uns des messages-clés que nous avons entendus d’un large éventail d’acteurs avec lesquels nous nous sommes réunis.
Nous sommes ici avec le Conseil de sécurité, qui comme l’a dit mon collègue Cristian, d’abord pour supporter Haïti, pour soutenir le peuple haïtien, sans prendre parti, mais plutôt pour avoir une meilleure compréhension de la façon dont la communauté internationale peut aider Haïti. Nous avons d’un côté vu beaucoup de progrès en termes de santé, d’éducation, de ramassage de débris et de la relocalisation des personnes déplacées suites au séisme. Mais, la plupart des personnalités que nous avons rencontrées ont aussi insisté sur la fragilité et la vulnérabilité d’Haïti en cette année électorale.
Nous avons entendu un grand nombre d’acteurs parler de l’importance du contrôle et de contrepoids dans l’exercice du pouvoir gouvernemental, partout où il est exercé. Et le Conseil a souligné dans toutes ses réunions, à la fois avec le président et le cabinet ministériel, avec les sénateurs et les partis de l’opposition, notre ferme soutien pour le renforcement des contrôles et de contrepoids à un moment où le Parlement n’exerce pas le rôle qui lui est dévolu.
Il est clair que le leadership devra être exercé en Haïti d’une manière très inclusive et consultative, afin de maintenir la légitimité de l’Etat.
Nous avons aussi écouté beaucoup de commentaires au sujet de l’expression démocratique par le peuple, mais aussi nous avons souligné que cette expression démocratique doit se faire sans violence.
Nous sommes encore plus convaincus de l’importance du compromis. Il est sûr que tout le monde en Haïti n’obtiendra pas exactement ce qu’il ou elle veut dans les prochains jours ou dans les années à venir. Il est toutefois important que tous les acteurs priorisent Haïti et le bien-être général au-dessus des intérêts personnels.
Encore deux points, et ensuite nous passerons aux questions. Nous avons entendu maintes et maintes fois le message selon lequel il est essentiel que des élections soient tenues le plus tôt que possible, de manière équitable, transparente et inclusive.
Les gens qui ont des griefs ou qui ont des plaintes à propos du passé peuvent investir leurs énergies de manière constructive dans le processus électoral. Et nous exhortons ceux qui ont des plaintes et des préoccupations au sujet des événements récents ou sur la façon dont Haïti est arrivé à cette situation, de canaliser leurs énergies dans la tenue d’élections justes, transparentes et inclusives.
Et enfin, nous avons beaucoup entendu parler de l’importance de la sécurité comme fondement du développement démocratique d’Haïti. Et ici, nous avons été témoins durant notre visite d’une partie du travail de la Police nationale haïtienne, qui non seulement a augmenté son effectif au cours des dernières années, mais a aussi approfondi la qualité de son travail. Et le Conseil de sécurité a exprimé son intention de fournir son entier appui à la Police nationale d’Haïti et, bien sûr, de supporter le travail de la MINUSTAH en appui à la PNH, parce que la Police haïtienne est le futur de la sécurité en Haïti.
Le gouvernement, la société civile, et la plupart des partis d’opposition, ont exprimé leur appui et leur appréciation pour le rôle que la MINUSTAH a joué pour aider et soutenir Haïti durant ces moments difficiles, les haut et les bas au cours des dernières années. Et bien que dans quelques minutes, nous prenions un avion pour retourner à New York, le Conseil de sécurité va rester extrêmement vigilant sur les événements en Haïti, et nous encourageons toutes les parties en Haïti à mettre en place un plan, à avoir une feuille de route pour les élections qui devront se tenir dès que possible; de gouverner, et de jouer le rôle de citoyen, d’une manière qui respecte et promeut le droit du peuple haïtien. Et avec cela, je pense que nous sommes ici pour répondre à vos questions.
Al Jazeera : Le Conseil de sécurité a une influence considérable sur l’agenda de ce pays, puis-je vous demander qu’elle est maintenant votre position sur cet agenda, pourrait-il y avoir des élections parlementaires avant les élections présidentielles et de l’autre point de l’agenda c’est le futur de cette Mission, combien de temps encore cette mission devrait rester dans le pays? Il n’y a pas de guerre ou de conflit dans ce pays. C’est vrai il y a troubles politiques, mais les gens ne se font pas tuer dans les rues comme c’est le cas dans d’autres Mission à travers le monde ?
Samantha Power : je prendrais la première partie de votre question et laisserai mon collègue chilien répondre à la seconde partie. Concernant l’agenda des élections, il ne revient pas au conseil de sécurité de faire du micro management de la façon dont les haïtien gèrent la question complexe et très technique, politique et financière et les défis de tenir des élections aussi larges
Je peux seulement vous dire que mais nous avons tous été rassurés par les membres du CEP lors de notre rencontre, et bien sûr, la formation de cette institution s’est faite pendant que nous étions ici, que toutes les mesures seront prises pour faire correctement les choses.
Le conseil électoral nous a assurés que des consultations se poursuivent avec un large secteur de la société civile et les sénateurs qui sont encore en fonction, en consultation avec les partis politiques de l’opposition et le gouvernement et qu’ils détermineront un plan pour aller de l’avant et cela sera, j’en suis sûre, un processus consultatif qui permettra de savoir si ce plan est celui qui doit être mis en place.
Cristian Barros: Comme vous le savez, nous avons une résolution qui arrive à échéance en octobre prochain et un mandat qui prévoit d’évaluer le niveau des troupes et ce qui se passe avec le prochain rapport de la MINUSTAH.
La seule chose que je peux vous dire est que maintenant nous avons plus d’informations et nous travaillons très sérieusement avec tous les membres du Conseil de sécurité, mais ce n’est pas possible de dire quelque chose maintenant, alors que nous clôturons cette Mission très fructueuse. Nous allons attendre le rapport de la MINUSTAH.
SCOOP FM : Nous savons que la MINUSTAH avait pour mission de stabiliser le pays. Cela fait quatre ans qu’aucune élection n’a eu lieu dans le pays. Le parlement haïtien est dysfonctionnel, le Conseil Supérieur du Pouvoir Judiciaire (CSPJ) n’a pas de président, n’est-ce pas là un constat d’échec pour les Nations Unies en Haïti ?
Samantha Power: Je pense que ce que nous avons entendu d’un large pan des acteurs et de la société haïtienne est une énorme appréciation du rôle des Nations Unies et de l’engagement de la Représentante spéciale du Secrétaire général en vue d’aider à trouver un compromis.
Les Nations Unies ont fait une énorme différence dans la formation de la police haïtienne, en appuyant l’amélioration de l’état de droit, en aidant dans le domaine de l’assainissement et la reconstruction ; et je pense que vous savez mieux que nous l’important travail réalisé par les Nations Unies.
Ce serait une grande erreur pour des personnes venant d’autres pays, de venir en Haïti et de dicter comment mener votre politique. De ce fait, il revient aux dirigeants haïtiens, à l’opposition haïtienne, aux politiciens et aux citoyens haïtiens à se mettre ensemble pour assurer la réalisation des élections dans le meilleur délai de ce qui est techniquement faisable. Et quand cette volonté politique sera constatée à travers un large pan de la communauté, les Nations Unies et la communauté internationale seront présentes afin d’accompagner Haïti dans les prochaines étapes.
Miami Herald: Le ministre de la Justice Pierre Richard Casimir demande à la MINUSTAH de ne pas réduire les troupes avant la fin des élections. Je voudrais avoir votre réaction là-dessus, je sais que l’année dernière en octobre il y avait un débat sur ce point.
Cristian Barros: Nous n’avons pas une idée spécifique. Mais nous essayons maintenant de maintenir notre appui au gouvernement haïtien avec pour but l’organisation des élections avec les caractéristiques déjà mentionnées. Il est trop tôt pour dire si c’est nécessaire de continuer avec la même configuration ou pas. Nous aurons le temps pour cela. Sans compter que c’est un processus complexe au plan politique. Mais je vous assure que nous prenons ceci très au sérieux et que le Conseil de Sécurité est très attaché à la situation en Haïti.
Samantha Power : Je veux dire une dernière chose aux journalistes haïtiens ici présents. Vous êtes des éléments très importants dans la vérification et l’équilibre des informations. Et votre rôle est très important pour assurer et garantir la démocratie en Haïti, pour que les citoyens connaissent les règles du jeu des élections. On ne saurait insister suffisamment sur votre rôle. Il est crucial. Continuez le bon travail.
Je voulais juste dire cela aux journalistes haïtiens dont le travail est vital pour cette année et celles qui suivront.
Sophie Boutaud de la Combe: Merci beaucoup. Thank you very much. Merci aux journalistes de rester assis pour laisser la délégation sortir.
Cliquez ICI pour l’original.
The UN Security Council is visiting Haiti for 3 days, in order to press for democratic elections. Many also stress the importance of the cholera epidemic in Haiti, which was introduced by UN peacekeepers in 2010. Since then, it has killed over 8000 Haitians. IJDH Director Brian Concannon urged the Council to “reassess its priorities in Haiti.”
Click HERE for the original article.UN Security Council members arrive in Haiti for 3-day visit
January 23, 2015
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — U.N. Security Council members arrived Friday in Haiti for a three-day visit aimed in part at urging the government to hold long-delayed municipal and legislative elections.
Representatives of the council’s 15 member states are expected to meet with President Michel Martelly and other officials. Martelly began ruling by decree last week when Parliament was dissolved after legislators’ terms expired amid a political stalemate.
The U.N. said in a statement that the delegation also would assess the implementation of Security Council resolutions such as the strengthening of Haiti’s police force. Council members last year extended the U.N. peacekeeping mission in Haiti by a year and expect to cut the number of troops from 5,021 to 2,370 by June.
In addition to the capital of Port-au-Prince, the council representatives are to visit the northern coastal city of Cap-Haitien.
The visit comes just days after a new Haitian Cabinet and other government leaders were sworn in. Haiti last week also swore in new Prime Minister Evans Paul, prompting supporters of opposition factions call for more protests demanding that Martelly step down. He became president in 2011 and is scheduled to step down next year.
Martelly on Thursday announced a new, nine-member provisional electoral council that will be in charge of holding delayed elections this year. The members were sworn in on Friday.
Samantha Power, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nation, said she was looking forward to meeting with Haitians and hearing how the U.S. and the Security Council can help them.
“Gains for Haiti will be for naught without political stability and strong democratic institutions,” she tweeted. “Current impasse jeopardizes progress.”
A couple of thousand people participated in a protest Friday demanding Martelly’s ouster, and some also expressed anger at the U.N., accusing it of introducing cholera to Haiti.
A cholera outbreak has killed more than 8,000 people and sickened more than 700,000 after human waste was dumped into Haiti’s main river in October 2010. Scientific studies have said cholera was likely introduced in Haiti by U.N. peacekeepers from Nepal.
A U.S. judge earlier this month ruled that the U.N. is immune from a lawsuit seeking compensation for victims of the deadly outbreak.
Brian Concannon, executive director of the Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti, criticized the U.N. in a statement this week saying it has not funded a plan to contain the epidemic.
“It is time for the Security Council to reassess its priorities in Haiti,” he said.
Click HERE for the original.
The United Nations Security Council, which is visiting Haiti to encourage a resolution to the political crisis, must fight the perception that it is a biased mediator. Many in Haiti and abroad fear that the international community would rather support President Martelly, who is now ruling by decree, than support democratic elections in Haiti. The lack of democratic elections is what led to the crisis to begin with!
Part of the article is below. Click HERE for the full text.International leaders battle perception of bias in Haiti
Benedict Moran, Al Jazeera
January 23, 2015
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — After more than a month of opposition street protests aimed at forcing the resignation of President Michel Martelly, who is now ruling by decree, political graffiti is ubiquitous in the streets of the capital, Port-au-Prince. In Haitian Creole, demonstrators have scribbled “Down with Martelly” and “Resist” on the walls of hundreds of houses and shops.
But there are also slogans that reflect a popular anger directed at leaders outside this Caribbean country. These include phrases like “Bill Clinton equals Al Capone,” a reference to the former president’s role here directing the flow of relief funds after the 2010 earthquake. On the wall of the Senate building is scrawled, “Down with occupation — Long live Moise [Jean-Charles],” a senator who has criticized the international community’s support of Martelly and who has long called for the U.N. peacekeeping force to withdraw from Haiti.
Haiti is in the middle of perhaps the most acute political and constitutional crisis it has seen in years. With elections delayed for the past three years, the country has no elected mayors and no head of the Supreme Court.
On Jan. 12, after Martelly failed to reach an agreement with lawmakers over extending their terms and holding elections, the terms of the entire 99-member Chamber of Deputies, the rough equivalent of the U.S. House of Representatives, expired. The terms of a third of the 30-member Senate also lapsed, leaving only 10 senators in office, below the 15 needed for quorum.
Click HERE for the full text.
The UN Security Council (UNSC) is visiting Haiti to assess the situation after the 2010 earthquake, and to push for elections. President Martelly and his new Prime Minister, Evans Paul, claim that the international community doesn’t need to push for elections because “Elections are indispensable for the stability of Haiti.” During the UNSC visit, Martelly promised free, fair, credible elections and to work with the opposition. He also urged the international community to support cholera eradication.
Click HERE for the original.U.N. Security Council backs Martelly, calls for elections
Jacqueline Charles, Miami Herald
January 23, 2015
PORT-AU-PRINCE - President Michel Martelly said Friday he doesn’t relish ruling by decree and would like to have legislative elections as early as the end of May to fill the institutional void created after parliament dissolved last week.
“I want to reinforce the institutions,” Martelly said at the National Palace after welcoming a 15-member delegation from the United Nations Security Council, which is on a three-day mission. “I don’t want to hold the power just for myself.”
Council members planned to examine how the country is doing five years after a devastating 7.0 earthquake toppled homes and government buildings, left more than 300,000 dead and an equal number injured, and forced 1.5 million Haitians into camps.
As part of the evaluation, they are also looking at security, development and the ongoing political impasse between Martelly and the opposition that has plunged Haiti deeper into political turmoil.
The country now has no elected mayors, no head of the Supreme Court and no Chamber of Deputies or working Senate. Last week, on the fifth anniversary of the quake, lack of elections overdue by more than three years caused the terms of the entire lower house to expire as well as a second-tier of the 30-member Senate.
Despite the crisis, Chilean U.N. Ambassador Christian Barros Melet and U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power, who led the delegation, said they were encouraged. The pair commended Martelly for his efforts in trying to break the impasse by reaching out to the opposition and promising to continue the dialogue to bring opponents demanding his resignation off the streets and to the negotiating table.
“We are very encouraged by the effort at consultations with the opposition, with civil society that the president has made and out of this meeting, even more encouraged by his determination to continue those consultations even after the lapsing of the parliament,” Power said.
“The democratic contract between the government and the governed is a critical part of Haiti’s development and we on the U.N. Security Council want to offer Haiti all of the support we can,” she said.
Power said members were further encouraged by Friday’s installation of a new nine-member Provisional Electoral Council (CEP) to organize the balloting. It is the fifth since Martelly’s 2011 election, and was sworn-in just hours before the delegation touched down.
During the installation ceremony at the council’s headquarters in Petionville, recently installed Prime Minister Evans Paul said, the international community does not have to direct Haitians to hold elections.
“We have to do it,” he said. “Elections are indispensable for the stability of Haiti.”
As Paul spoke, across town thousands of anti-government demonstrators took to the streets in the second day of consecutive protests demanding Martelly’s resignation and accusing him of foot-dragging on elections and of trying to be a dictator.
“Since Martelly came to power, everyone can see how he’s violated the Constitution,” said protester Ronald Fareau, 46, carrying a mini Haitian flag in his hands as he walked down a capital street. “He’s had nine carnivals but not done one election, and instead of defending us, the people, the international community is defending its own self-interests.”
Protesters not only asked for Martelly’s departure but also that of the U.N.’s nearly 7,000 peacekeeping force, known as MINUSTAH. The force is marking its 11th year in Haiti, where it is accused of introducing a deadly cholera outbreak that has killed more than 8,700 and sickened more than 720,000.
Earlier this month, Judge J. Paul Oetken of U.S. District Court in Manhattan dismissed a lawsuit filed by human rights lawyers seeking compensation for thousands of cholera victims. The judge ruled that the U.N. has legal immunity.
Lawyers for the plaintiffs said they plan to appeal, and this week joined human rights groups here and in the United States in urging the Security Council delegation to address the cholera crisis. The U.N. has refused to take responsibility for allegedly introducing the disease in Haiti through one of its battalions 10 months after the earthquake, but last year on the eve of a visit to Haiti, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon told the Miami Herald that the global body has “a moral responsibility” to help Haiti.
Martelly reminded Security Council members of that responsibility, asking them to help support Haiti’s national plan for cholera eradication.
Martelly said Haitians have the right to protest and while conditions “can’t always be beautiful,” he remains committed to reaching out to the opposition to help develop Haiti.
He also said he was determined to hold free, fair, credible and transparent elections, something council members welcomed.
“Having one election keeps the parliament out for too long,” he said. “So I hope that in a first phase we can have one election for the legislative branch.”
For its part, the Haitian government hopes that council members, which include representatives of all 15 nations including nine ambassadors, see that Haiti remains peaceful despite the ongoing political turmoil and demonstrations.
Paul, in a Miami Herald interview Friday, said he and Martelly plan to reiterate that “we will do all possible for elections to happen in the country this year.”
At the top of the delegation’s agenda is also the future of the military mission, which has been drawing down.
“We plan to talk with them about not disengaging this year so as not to further weaken the fragile security situation,” Paul said. “We also want them to influence donors to respect the promises they gave Haiti and to engage with Haiti to support the country’s budget.”
On Saturday, council members will begin the day with a visit to a housing development where formerly homeless earthquake residents reside. About 80,000 earthquake victims remain in tent cities.
Soon after, they will fly to Cap-Haïtien, Haiti’s second-largest city. They also plan to meet with opposition leaders and members of civil society.
Click HERE for the original.
This article discusses a US Federal Court’s decision to uphold UN immunity in the cholera case, in the context of foreign interference in Haiti. It includes the crippling “debt” Haiti paid France in exchange for independence, the US-led coup against former president Aristide, and the failed post-earthquake reconstruction.
Part of the article is below. Click HERE for the full text.US Court Dismisses 8,700 Haitian Lives
Joe Emersberger, teleSUR
January 22, 2015
Those responsible for continued Haitian suffering enjoy impunity.
Throughout its history, Haiti has received lessons in savagery from the world’s big imperial powers. The latest lesson was delivered about a week ago by a U.S. court that said the UN cannot be held accountable for criminal negligence that has killed 8,700 Haitians from cholera since 2010. The Obama administration, needlessly worried that the court might take the side of common decency, formally urged the court to rule the way it did. The Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti (IJDH) noted that “Despite calls from around the world — including from the UN’s own human rights chief — that the UN must provide remedies to the victims of cholera, the organization has persistently refused.”
UN troops (known as MINUSTAH) have been stationed in Haiti since 2004 when they took on the task of consolidating a coup directly perpetrated by the U.S. government with considerable assistance from France and Canada. As U.S. troops kidnapped Jean Bertrand Aristide, Haiti’s democratically elected president at the time, and flew him off to Africa, Canadian troops secured the airport in Port-au-Prince. French troops also participated. Days after the coup, a New York Times headline explained things to its readers as follows: “U.S. and France Set Aside Differences in Effort to Resolve Haiti Conflict.” The “free press” of the self-proclaimed “civilized” countries seldom fails to dazzle. MINUSTAH propped up a dictatorship headed by Gerard Latortue which presided over the murder of about 4000 of Aristide’s supporters in the greater Port-au-Prince Area from 2004-2006 according to a study published in the Lancet medical journal. 
Click HERE for the full text.
Join Senator Forry in Boston for a meeting on immigration programs for Haitians.
A special meeting that Senator Linda Dorcena Forry will be hosting with United States Custom & Immigration Services (USCIS) and the Mayor’s Office of New Bostonians to discuss federal programs HFRPP, DAPA and DACA and their positive impact on the Haitian community. The purpose of the meeting is to bring the Haitian community together to discuss the various programs and to share up to date information and next steps in the implementation of HFRPP, DAPA and DACA.
St. Angela’s Parish Hall
1554 Blue Hill Avenue
Thursday, January 22, 2015
6pm to 8pm
*Parking accommodations generously provided by Jubilee Christian Church located at 1500 Blue Hill Avenue, two doors down from St. Angela’s Parish.
Click HERE for the flyer.
Partout en Haïti, les gens sont préoccupés par le rôle actuel de la communauté internationale dans la crise politique. La communauté internationale n’a pas mis assez de la responsabilité de la crise sur le président Martelly et plutôt, a promis de le soutenir. Afin d’être un médiateur efficace dans la crise, la communauté internationale doit être impartiale et se tenir sur le côté de la démocratie. Lors de leur visite cette semaine, le Conseil de sécurité des Nations Unies a l’occasion de le faire. Haïti a besoin d’élections constitutionnelles et équitables, qui incluent tous les partis politiques.
Ci-dessous est la traduction non-officielle. Click HERE for the original article, in English.Choisi le côté de la démocratie en Haïti
Par Morenike Fajana and Nicole Phillips
Publié dans le Miami Herald le 22 janvier 2015
Si la communauté internationale veut aider à résoudre la crise politique polarisant en Haïti, elle doit s’établir comme une médiatrice neutre, prête à encourager tous à respecter les règles du jeu démocratique. L’opinion publique en Haïti, qu’il s’agisse de la presse, l’Assemblée nationale ou dans la rue, nous indique que ceci sera difficile car la plupart des haïtiens croient que les Etats-Unis, les Nations-Unis (ONU) et d’autres prennent parti pour le président haïtien Michel Martelly, au lieu du processus démocratique. La visite du Conseil de sécurité de l’ONU en Haïti se présente comme l’occasion d’inverser cette perception.
Le retardement des élections compromet la démocratie en Haïti. Les délais d’élection expirés depuis parfois plus de trois ans résultent aujourd’hui dans le non-fonctionnement de l’Assemblée nationale. Tous les sièges de l’Assemblée nationale, sauf dix du sénat, sont actuellement vacants, et tous les officiers municipaux normalement élus ont été remplacé par des officiers nommés par l’exécutif. Effectivement, le président Martelly dirige l’Etat sans respecter la séparation des pouvoirs.
Les causes de cette impasse sont complexes. Alors que les avis sont divers, en Haïti, la faute est le plus souvent attribuée au président. Durant ces derniers quatre ans, le président Martelly a proposé l’établissement de plusieurs conseils électoraux chargés d’organiser les élections qui ne conforment pas aux exigences constitutionnelles. Par contre, ces conseils dites indépendants, laissaient une place trop importante à l’influence du président. Ainsi, son gouvernement a arrêté plusieurs adversaires politiques et des manifestants sur la base de preuves insuffisantes.
Cependant, la communauté internationale appuie publiquement les conseils électoraux du président Martelly et blâme les membres de l’Assemblée nationale pour la crise car ils ont utilisé leurs pouvoirs législatifs pour faire obstacle aux conseils électoraux anti-constitutionnels. Le Département d’Etat américain a affirmé, dans une lettre daté de décembre 2014, son soutient du président et a applaudit ses mesures prises pour résoudre la crise électorale. L’ambassadrice américaine en Haïti, Pamela White, s’est rendue à l’Assemblée Nationale le 12 janvier, le jour même de l’expiration des mandants de la majorité des parlementaires, pour presser la législature à voter sur une série d’accords conclut à la dernière minute, souvent inconstitutionnels. L’Organisation des états américains, dans une déclaration du 14 janvier 2015, a reproché les sénateurs de l’opposition d’avoir « choisit la stratégie du chaos ».
Le fait que la communauté internationale ne reconnait pas que le président Martelly est responsable de cette crise électorale va nuire à sa crédibilité comme médiatrice neutre. Les Parlementaires s’opposaient à l’intervention de l’ambassadrice White. Les manifestants qui descendants dans les rue d’Haïti, au moins une fois par semaine, orientent une partie de leur colère envers les Etats-Unis et l’ONU. La presse haïtienne de tous horizons politiques déplore la perte de souveraineté que représentent ces interventions.
Si le Conseil de Sécurité de l’ONU et la communauté internationale veulent contribuer à une solution durable de la crise politique en Haïti, ils doivent encourager tous à respecter les règles du jeu démocratique, et ne pas appuyer sur un seul joueur. Afin de respecter ces règles, il faut, autant que possible, un conseil électoral en conformité avec la constitution qui mène des élections impartiaux, permettant la libre participation des tous les partis politiques. Ainsi, il faut laisser les politiciens s’organiser et les manifestants se manifester sans risque d’être arrêté sans raison légitime.
Le Conseil de sécurité de l’ONU va probablement se réunir avec une diversité d’acteurs différents ce vendredi, et les encourager de s’accorder pour organiser les élections. Le Conseil peut soutenir le bon fonctionnement du system démocratique en avertissant le président Martelly qu’il va soutenir les élections que si elles sont équitables, ouvertes et constitutionnelles, et en assurant tous les haïtiens que la communauté internationale est du côté de la démocratie.
MORENIKE FAJANA, Avocat au Bureau des Avocats Internationaux (BAI) à Port-au-Prince, Haïti, NICOLE PHILLIPS, Avocat À L’Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti à Boston, qui travail ensemble avec BAI, et professeur à L’Université de la Californie Hastings, École du Droit.
Click HERE for the original article, in English.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Mario Joseph, Av., Bureau des Avocats Internationaux (in Haiti), firstname.lastname@example.org, +509‑3938-9831 (French, Creole, English)
Brian Concannon, Jr., Esq., Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti (Boston), email@example.com, +1-617-652-0876-263‑0029 (English, French, Creole)
Rights Groups Urge Security Council to Address UN Cholera on Haiti Trip
Port-au-Prince, Boston, January 21, 2015 — As the United Nations Security Council prepares to travel to Haiti this week, human rights groups in Haiti and the United States are urging the delegation to address the worsening cholera crisis that has plagued Haiti since UN peacekeepers introduced the disease in 2010. Since then, cholera has sickened over 720,000 and killed 8,700 people in Haiti alone— more than the total number of people killed by Ebola worldwide over that span.
Members of the Security Council are traveling to Haiti on a three-day trip beginning January 23 to address the electoral crisis. Elections have not been held in Haiti for over three years, resulting in the majority of Parliamentary terms expiring on January 12, 2015 and leaving the legislature unable to pass laws. Meanwhile, no date has been set for elections, and human rights groups have urged the international community to support a constitutional electoral process.
“It is shameful for the Security Council to come to Haiti in support of democracy when it has never even acknowledged that UN wrongdoing has caused tremendous pain and suffering in our country,” said Mario Joseph, Managing Attorney of the Bureau des Avocats Internationaux (BAI) in Haiti, which has been working with cholera victims to seek justice from the UN since 2010.
Cholera was introduced to Haiti by UN peacekeepers stationed at a MINUSTAH base that regularly discharged raw sewage into Haiti’s largest river. The UN’s refusal to acknowledge its role in causing the epidemic and to respond justly has caused a credibility crisis for MINUSTAH. The Security Council oversees MINUSTAH’s mandate and function, but beyond mentioning cholera as a humanitarian crisis in its report, the Council has not acknowledged UN responsibility or taken action in favor of a just response.
“The Security Council will lecture Haitians on respecting the rule of law while its own organization refuses to respect its legal obligations to victims of cholera. To Haitians, this is a hypocritical position and undermines the UN’s credibility here,” Joseph stated.
Cases of cholera have surged recently, yet cholera treatment centers around the country are increasingly shut down. “The epidemic is spiking, but UN efforts are receding,” said Joseph. While, the Council has spent over $2.5 billion in funding for MINUSTAH since the cholera outbreak, the UN’s plan to eliminate cholera continues to be underfunded at only 13%.
Brian Concannon, Executive Director of the Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti, stressed, “Since the cholera epidemic broke out, MINUSTAH has spent $2.5 billion on a peacekeeping mission in a country with no war, while failing to fund the plan to control a real cholera epidemic. It is time for the Security Council to reassess its priorities in Haiti.”
All over Haiti, people are concerned by the international community’s current role in the political crisis. The international community hasn’t placed enough of the blame for the crisis on President Martelly and instead, has vowed support for him. In order to be an effective mediator in the crisis, the international community must be unbiased and stand on the side of democracy. During their visit this week, the UN Security Council has an opportunity to do just that. Haiti needs fair, constitutional elections that include all political parties.
Click HERE for the original article.No cheerleading for Martelly
Morenike Fajana & Nicole Phillips, Miami Herald
January 21, 2015
If the international community wants to be part of the solution to Haiti’s polarizing political crisis, it must establish that it is a neutral broker, willing to encourage all sides to respect the rules of the democratic game.
Opinion in Haiti — widely reflected in the press, in Parliament and on thestreets — indicates that this is an uphill battle, as most Haitians believe that the United States, the United Nations and others are taking the side of Haiti’s President Michel Martelly, rather than their democracy. As the United Nations Security Council heads to Haiti Friday, it has an excellent opportunity to reverse this perception.
Stalled elections have put Haiti’s democracy in jeopardy. As a result of elections delays, some for more than three years, Parliament is no longer operational. All of Parliament except for 10 Senate seats are vacant, and all elected municipal officials have been replaced with executive branch appointees, allowing President Martelly to run the country without any checks or balances.
The causes of this impasse are complex. Although blame has been cast widely, in Haiti, more often than not the fingers are pointed at the president. Over the past four years, President Martelly has proposed a series of electoral councils to run the voting, each of which fell short of constitutional requirements and gave the president significant leverage over the supposedly independent council. His government has alsoarrested many political opponents and protestors on flimsy evidence.
The international community, by contrast, has publicly supported President Martelly’s electoral councils and blamed members of Parliament for using legislative procedures to block the unconstitutional councils.
The U.S. State Department affirmedits continued support in a December 2014 letter in which it “commended” Martelly’s efforts to resolve the crisis. U.S. Ambassador to Haiti Pamela White went to Parliament and pressed legislators to vote on a series of last minute deals — many of them unconstitutional — on Monday of last week, the day the majority of parliamentary terms were set to expire. The Organization of American States (OAS) chastised opposition senators for “choosing the strategy of chaos” in a follow-up declaration two days later.
The international community’s failure to acknowledge President Martelly’s responsibility for the electoral crisis threatens its credibility as a mediator. Members of Parliament objected to Ambassador White’s interference. The protestors who throng Haiti’s streets at least once every week direct part of their ire at the United States and United Nations. Haitian media from across the political spectrum bemoan the loss of sovereignty demonstrated by this interference.
If the U.N. Security Council and the rest of the international community want to contribute to a sustainable solution to Haiti’s political crisis, they will encourage all sides to respect the rules of the democratic game, not act as cheerleaders for one player.
Respecting the rules means installing an electoral council that complies as much as is now possible with the Constitution and runs fair elections that allow the free participation of all political parties.
It means allowing politicians to organize and demonstrators to protest legally without risking arrest.
Security Council members will likely meet with a range of actors Friday, and encourage them to come together to support elections. The diplomats can make the elections worth coming together for by warning President Martelly that it will only support fair, inclusive, constitutional elections, and assuring all Haitians that the international community is on the side of their democracy.
MORENIKE FAJANA IS A HUMAN RIGHTS FELLOW AT THE BUREAU DES AVOCATS INTERNATIONAUX (BAI) IN PORT-AU-PRINCE HAITI. NICOLE PHILLIPS IS A STAFF ATTORNEY AT THE INSTITUTE FOR JUSTICE & DEMOCRACY, BAI’S AMERICAN PARTNER ORGANIZATION, AND ADJUNCT LAW PROFESSOR AT UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA HASTINGS SCHOOL OF LAW.
Click HERE for the original article.
Instead of focusing on the needs of the people it’s supposed to help, USAID’s projects in Haiti after the earthquake have focused on furthering American interests. USAID has used American contractors, which costs a lot more than using Haitians, and has only built a fraction of the houses initially proposed. Attempts to find out where all the money has gone lead into an impenetrable black box, which USAID claims is necessary to prevent demonstrations. As long as aid is disbursed in this way, Haiti will continue to struggle with rebuilding.
Part of the article is below. Click HERE for the full text.Is USAID Helping Haiti to Recover, or US Contractors to Make Millions? The international community pledged enough aid to give every Haitian a check for $1,000. The money went elsewhere.
Jake Johnston, The Nation
January 21, 2015
The corrugated metal fences surrounding construction sites in downtown Port-au-Prince are covered with a simple message: “Haiti ap vanse,” or “Haiti is moving forward.” Where once many thousands of people made tattered tents and makeshift shelters their home, now massive concrete shells and cranes stand tall amidst the rubble. Returning to Haiti, along with much of the world’s major media, for the five-year anniversary of the earthquake that killed more than 200,000 and displaced 1.5 million, it’s impossible not to see some signs that Haiti is in fact “moving forward.” The large camps of internally displaced persons, the most visible sign of the quake’s lasting impact, have for the most part been cleared, though certainly some remain. But beneath the veneer of progress, a more disturbing reality is apparent.
Eighteen kilometers north on the dusty hillsides overlooking the sea is Canaan, an informal city now home to hundreds of thousands of people and, according to the State Department, on its way to becoming the second largest city in Haiti. “It’s a living hell,” says Alexis, one of the area’s residents, as we sit overlooking a new $18 million sports complex built by the Olympic Committee for Haitian national teams at the foot of the hills. “I’ll stay here because I can’t afford to go anywhere else,” she adds. Like many others here, Alexis received rental support from an NGO to move out of the camps in Haiti’s capital, but when it ran out, she was displaced all over again. While no longer facing the constant threat of eviction, Alexis faces a new set of problems: There are no government services in Canaan, water is scarce, employment even more so.
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Join the Indiana Council on World Affairs for a book talk with Fran Quigley.
Reception 5:30-6:15 pm, Dinner 6:15 pm, Talk 7:00 pm, Adjournment 8:30pm
No reservations are necessary for the “talk” portion of the program, however there is a $3 fee for members and a $5 fee for non-members. For those who are not attending the dinner, please do not arrive before 6:50 pm.
Dinner Reservation Procedure
Reservations for the dinner portion of the program must be made in advance. If you are attending, there are three ways to make a reservation: via mail, via phone or via email. All reservations must be RECEIVED by Friday, January 16th at 5:00 pm. The cancellation deadline is also Friday, January 16th at 5:00pm to avoid a financial commitment to ICWA.
Cost: Members and their guests: $27 in advance. Non members: $32 in advance. For phone and email reservations you may pay at the door for a $2 extra fee: $29 members & their guests. Non members $34.
(South of 75th St, just north of the White River bridge on Westfield Blvd, east side of street)
6729 Westfield Blvd.
Indianapolis, IN 46220
Wednesday, January 21, 2015
5:30pm reception, 6:15pm dinner, 7:10pm talk
For more about Fran and making a reservation, click HERE.
On January 9, 2015, a US judge ruled that UN Immunity is absolute in the case of Haitian cholera victims. Since the UN hasn’t provided an alternate method of seeking justice, this implies there is nowhere in the world where cholera victims can find justice. As this author reminds us, many cases of human rights violations were dismissed at first, until public pressure caused justice to be served. The cholera victims and their lawyers will appeal this decision and keep fighting until they get justice.
Part of the article is below. Click HERE for the full text.Haitian Cholera Victims Undaunted by Court Ruling of UN Immunity
Fran Quigley, Common Dreams
January 20, 2015
Earlier this month, on the eve of the 5th anniversary of Haiti’s tragic earthquake, a U.S. District Court judge ruled against Haitians’ class action suit asking the United Nations to take responsibility for the deadly cholera epidemic it triggered in October of 2010. Viewed from both narrow and broad perspectives, the decision in Delama Georges, et al, v. United Nations, et al, was the wrong one, and it will be appealed.
In a narrow sense, the court erred in holding that the UN was immune from any suit. The Convention on the Privileges and Immunities of the United Nations calls for the UN to settle claims like those brought by the Haitian victims, a practice the organization has followed across the globe for decades. Moreover, the UN entered into a specific Status of Forces Agreement with Haiti where it pledged to create a process to address claims by private citizens, a promise the UN never fulfilled.
Click HERE for the full text.