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Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti
Updated: 1 hour 39 min ago
Le Premier Ministre haïtien, Laurent Lamothe, a eu quelques réunions de travail avec l’ONU pour discuter de la stratégie de lutte contre le choléra.L’ONU et Haïti formeront une commission de lutte contre le choléra
Radio Métropole Haïti
October 16, 2013
Un envoyé spécial du secrétaire général de l’ONU effectue une mission en Haïti afin de préparer la formation d’une commission mixte sur la lutte contre le choléra. M. Pedro Medrano, envoyé spécial de l’ONU et la cheffe de la Minustah, Sandra Honoré, ont eu dimanche une première séance de travail avec le Premier Ministre haïtien, Laurent Lamothe.
Au cours de son séjour M. Medrano doit participer aux discussions devant conduire à l’élaboration des termes de références du protocole d’accord entre les Nations Unies et le gouvernement haïtien.
Le chef du gouvernement haïtien a souhaité qu’une grande partie du fonds mondial de lutte contre le choléra soit alloué à Haïti dans le cadre de l’application du plan opérationnel de lutte contre le choléra. De nouvelles séances de travail sont prévues cette semaine entre les officiels onusiens et le Premier Ministre Lamothe qui sera accompagné des ministres de la santé, Florence Duperval Guillaume et des affaires étrangères, Pierre Richard Casimir.
Le secrétaire général des Nations Unies, Ban Ki-moon, veut lancer de nouvelles initiatives tandis que les avocats des parents des victimes du cholera ont, la semaine dernière, lancé officiellement des poursuites judicaires contre l’ONU.
Le dossier déposé auprès d’un tribunal fédéral à New York (Etats-Unis) bénéficie de l’appui des leaders du Parlement. Le président de la commission santé de la chambre des députés, Synal Bertrand, a annoncé qu’il apporte tout son appui aux parents des victimes du choléra. Le président de la commission santé du Sénat, Wesner Polycarpe, appuie également les demandes de dédommagements des parents des victimes. Il avait enjoint le Premier Ministre à supporter les actions des avocats et organisations de défense des droits humains dans ce dossier.
LLM / radio Métropole Haïti
Cliquez ICI pour l’article original.
Join us at Harvard for a panel on the legal implications and health effects of cholera in Haiti. IJDH’s own Beatrice Lindstrom will be speaking.
WHERE: Harvard’s Ticknor Lounge
WHEN: Wednesday, October 16 2013, 6:30-8:30pm
WHY: Cholera continues to ravage Haiti. It’s important to discuss where that leaves Haitians today and in the future.
Click HERE for event poster.
Photo Credit Allison Shelley/Reuters
Haiti Justice Update October 2013Cholera Case Slowly but surely, we’re winning justice for Haiti’s cholera victims. Recent highlights include:
- Filing the cholera suit against the UN
- Demonstration at UN headquarters forces Haitian government to reverse position and support justice for cholera victims
- Letters from US Congress and a Haitian Senate resolution
- UN’s own panel of experts acknowledge UN responsibility
- Helped build the movement for cholera justice by distributing informtation through email, Facebook, and Twitter
- Contacted their members of Congress and signed the petition
- Provided the financial support necessary to keep us fighting on the front lines!
For more on cholera, click here.Martin Ennals Award BAI’s Mario Joseph was honored Wednesday in Geneva, Switzerland as a finalist for the Martin Ennals Award, the most prestigious international human rights award. Mario’s speech was eloquent enough to inspire Navanethem Pillay, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, to depart from her prepared remarks and call for compensation for Haiti’s cholera victims. Click here to watch the Ennals Award’s inspirational video about Mario. Click here to watch the entire ceremony. Rape Accountability Too often, Haitian victims of rape and sexual assault live with their trauma and don’t get the justice they deserve. BAI has been working hard to change that. The Rape Accountability and Prevention Project (RAPP)’s two lawyers are the only Haitian lawyers specializing in rape cases, playing an instrumental role in the prosecution of rape criminals. The team takes the case from the initial police report through the trial period, and has already led seven perpetrators to a guilty verdict. 20 more cases were prepared for trial for 2013, and BAI will continue having special events as well as support groups for rape survivors. Duvalier Prosecution We’ve moved ex-dictator Jean-Claude Duvalier several steps closer to justice. From January, an appeals court held a series of hearings where, for the first time, victims shared their testimonies and Duvalier answered questions under oath. We think enough evidence was presented to convince the appeals court to reinstate the political violence charges against Duvalier. We’re now awaiting the court’s decision. For more on the case, click here. Housing Rights 3 years after the earthquake, people are still living in tents. Even worse, they face constant threats of illegal eviction from the land where they seek refuge. Since 2 million people lost their homes due to the 2010 earthquake, IJDH and BAI have teamed up with several organizations to advocate for adequate housing and stop forced evictions. In March 2013, we won our second Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) order on behalf of 500 families in the Grace Village camp. IACHR ordered the Haitian government to provide potable water and protection from illegal evictions. The IACHR order has also ensured that more lights are installed and patrols are increased in the Grace Village Camp. Defending Human Rights Defenders Can you imagine living in constant fear and stress because of your job? One of the major challenges of human rights work in Haiti is constant threats, harassment, and intimidation. In the past few months, we have had to defend Attorney Patrice Florvilus; members of the LGBT organization, Kouraj; and two men who filed suits against the Martelly family, Andre Michel and Newton St. Juste. BAI and IJDH increase our impact by ensuring other human rights lawyers can work safely. Without our collaboration and fight for protection, these people wouldn’t be able to do their jobs helping those who can’t yet help themselves. Click here for another example of our work defending human rights defenders. For more information about the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti (IJDH), the Bureau des Avocats Internationaux (BAI), or human rights in Haiti, see our website, http://www.ijdh.org. 666 Dorchester Avenue | Boston, MA 02127 | (617) 652-0876 | email@example.com | www.ijdh.org IJDH is an approved 501(c)(3) charitable organization and all donations are tax deductible to the full extent of the law. Table of Contents Cholera Case Martin Ennals Award Rape Accountability Duvalier Prosecution Housing Rights Defending Human Rights Defenders Quick Links and Interesting Articles
- Our Website
- Donate Now
- A Hero in Haiti
- Cholera Complaint Against the UN
- United Nations must admit its role in Haiti’s cholera outbreak
- “Now They are all Dead”: Threats of Assassination to Human Rights Advocates in Haiti
- Why Some Haitians Are Still Waiting on Family-based Visas to Come to the US
- L’onu en grave conflit de droits en Haiti
- IACHR tells Haitian Government to Stop Violent Evictions from Earthquake Displacement Camp, Provide Clean Water
Here’s what the original looks like:
Cette communiqué de presse décrit les événements et les manifestations à venir à Port-au-Prince.
Communiqué de presse
Pour diffusion immédiate
LES TROIS ANS DU CHOLÉRA NÉPALAIS EN HAÏTI
APPUI À LA MOBILISATION EN HAÏTI
New-York, le 14 octobre 2013 – Le Collectif Solidarité avec les victimes du choléra apporte son plein soutien à la mobilisation en faveur des victimes du choléra annoncée conjointement par l’association Défenseurs des opprimés, le Collectif pour le dédommagement des victimes et Mouvman moun viktim kolera (Mouvement des personnes victimes du choléra) du 15 au 19 octobre en Haïti. M. Jose Davilmar, Dr Jean Ford Figaro et Me Olicier Pieriche représenteront le Collectif Solidarité avec les victimes du choléra à différentes activités planifiées dans le cadre de la mobilisation en Haïti.
14 octobre 2010 – 14 octobre 2013, exactement trois ans depuis la découverte du premier patient, ce jeune Haïtien de vingt ans, présentant les symptômes du choléra au village de Meille, non loin de Mirebalais. On oublie souvent que les victimes du choléra ont un nom, une famille, des enfants, des parents. Monsieur Louisac Théolème a perdu son fils qui représentait « tout son espoir ». Mme Félicia Paule a survécu au choléra par contre sa soeur, son frère et son neveu en sont tous morts. Mme Lisette Paul, une autre rescapée, a vu sa fille de 18 mois, son frère et son père mourir du choléra, incinérés dans des conditions inacceptables. Le choléra a laissé dans son sillage des milliers d’orphelins, de veufs et de veuves; des victimes stigmatisées, rejetées par leur entourage et qui doivent se débrouiller seules sans ressources. C’est l’histoire de cette mère atteinte du choléra, Louise, abandonnée par son conjoint et son entourage, qui s’est retrouvée isolée, sans ressources, mais doit quand même subvenir aux besoins de ses neuf enfants. Il nous faudrait plusieurs tomes pour tenter de raconter l’indicible, la mort horrible des 8 500 disparus et essayer de comprendre l’intense désarroi de leurs proches; la désolation qu’a semée dans la classe paysanne cette peste cholérique; la détresse des 700 000 Haïtiens qui ont été infectés par la bactérie népalaise, certains vivent avec la honte du choléra.
Seule l’union de toutes nos voix permettra d’obtenir justice et réparation en faveur des victimes du choléra. Seule la mobilisation générale pacifique poussera le gouvernement haïtien à assumer ses propres responsabilités et créer la Commission permanente des réclamations tel que stipulé dans l’Accord entre l’Organisation des Nations Unies et le gouvernement haïtien concernant le statut de l’opération des Nations Unies en Haïti, signé le 09 juillet 2004.Extrait du point 55 sur les règlements des différends (VIII) : ” 55. Sauf disposition contraire du paragraphe 57, une commission permanente des réclamations créée à cet effet statue sur tout différend ou toute réclamation relevant du droit privé [...]. Le Secrétaire général de l’Organisation des Nations Unies et le Gouvernement nomment chacun un membre de la commission; [...] Les sentences de la commission ne sont pas susceptibles d’appel. [...] le Représentant spécial ou le Secrétaire général de l’Organisation des Nations Unies n’épargne aucun effort pour en assurer l’exécution. ”
Le 26 septembre 2013, lors de son intervention à l’Assemblée générale des Nations Unies, le Premier Ministre Laurent Lamothe a opté pour la création d’une “commission mixte” composée de membres du gouvernement haïtien et de l’ONU avec pour objectif de : “étudier ensemble les voies et moyens pour solutionner définitivement cette question“. Cette question comme l’appelle le Premier Ministre Lamothe étant le choléra. Dans un communiqué de presse du 11 octobre 2013, la Primature nous informe que pour la partie haïtienne ” Les institutions suivantes seront représentées à la commission : le ministère de la santé ; le ministère des Affaires étrangères ; la Primature et la Dinepa.”
Le Collectif Solidarité avec les victimes du choléra en profite pour rappeler que cette “commission mixte” proposée par le gouvernement haïtien est non-conforme aux mécanismes de règlement des différents prévus dans l’Accord sur le statut de la Minustah qui : d’une part, indique clairement que le gouvernement haïtien et le Secrétaire général de l’ONU n’ont droit chacun qu’à un représentant dans une Commission permanente des réclamations; et, d’autre part, ne limite pas la composition de ladite commission aux deux représentants officiels haïtien et onusien. Toute autre commission créée en dehors des normes établies ne sert pas les intérêts du peuple haïtien ni ceux des victimes du choléra. Outre le représentant du gouvernement haïtien et celui de l’ONU, le Collectif Solidarité avec les victimes du choléra insiste sur l’obligation d’inclure dans cette Commission permanente des réclamations des représentants de la société civile haïtienne et des victimes du choléra.
Trois ans après l’introduction du choléra par les contingents népalais de la Minustah en Haïti, il est grand temps que l’Organisation des Nations Unies assume ses responsabilités en traitant les victimes du choléra en Haïti avec respect; en dédommageant les victimes et familles des victimes; en présentant ses excuses au peuple haïtien pour s’être longtemps cachée derrière le mensonge de l’immunité et bafouer ainsi les droits des victimes; en investissant dans les infrastructures adéquates afin de neutraliser et éradiquer le choléra du territoire haïtien.
Le Collectif Solidarité avec les victimes du choléra est un groupe apolitique, à but non lucratif, ouvert et inclusif. Il est formé d’associations, de groupes politiques, de citoyens et de citoyennes indépendants conscients de la nécessité de soutenir le difficile et long combat pour la justice des victimes du choléra en Haïti.
Pour plus de renseignements, prière de nous contacter à : firstname.lastname@example.org
The UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights urged Dominican Republic to ensure Haitian-Born Dominicans’ right to a nationality. This is in light of the recent ruling that strips these Dominicans of their citizenship, all the way back to those born in 1929.UN urges Dominican Republic to ensure citizens of Haitian origin do not lose nationality
UN News Centre
October 1, 2013
1 October 2013 – The United Nations human rights office today urged the Government of the Dominican Republic to take all necessary measures to ensure that citizens of Haitian origin are not deprived of their right to nationality in light of a recent court ruling.
Last week the country’s Constitutional Court ruled that the children of undocumented migrants who have been in the Dominican Republic and registered as Dominicans as far back as 1929, cannot have Dominican nationality as their parents are considered to be “in transit.”
“We are extremely concerned that a ruling of the Dominican Republic Constitutional Court may deprive tens of thousands of people of nationality, virtually all of them of Haitian descent, and have a very negative impact on their other rights,” Ravina Shamdasani, spokesperson for the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), told reporters in Geneva.
She said the decision could have “disastrous” implications for people of Haitian descent in the Dominican Republic, leaving such individuals in a state of constitutional limbo and potentially leaving tens of thousands of them stateless and without access to basic services for which identity documents are required.
Until 2010, the Dominican Republic had followed the principle of automatically bestowing citizenship to anyone born on its soil. But in 2010, a new constitution stated that citizenship would be granted only to those born on Dominican soil to at least one parent of Dominican blood or whose foreign parents are legal residents.
The decision, which cannot be appealed, gives the Central Electoral Board one year to elaborate a list of people to be excluded from citizenship, and it outlines a number of steps leading to the elaboration of a regularization plan for undocumented migrants.
“We urge the Dominican Government to take all necessary measures to ensure that Dominican citizens of Haitian origin are not deprived of their right to nationality in accordance with the country’s international human rights obligations,” said Ms. Shamdasani.
Click HERE for the original article.
Not only did the former UN Canada ambassador clearly state the UN’s responsibility for cholera in Haiti, he also said that he supports our filing of the cholera complaint last Tuesday! This article outlines Lewis’ strong support for the case and UN accountability.Stephen Lewis says United Nations must be accountable for cholera in Haiti
Roger Annis, rabble.ca
October 14, 2013
Stephen Lewis, a former Canadian ambassador to the United Nations who has also served at the world agency in several other prominent postings, says the international organization must accept responsibility for the cholera epidemic that broke out in Haiti in October 2010. He says he supports the legal action against the UN that was formally launched in New York City on October 9 on behalf of the victims of the epidemic.
Lewis spelled out strongly-held views in a nine-minute interview on the national, Saturday morning newsmagazine of CBC Radio One, Day 6 on October 12.
The CBC host began the interview by asking Lewis whether he supports the action. He replied, “I do. I think it is unequivocal, the responsibility of the United Nations for the cholera outbreak.”
Lewis dismissed suggestions that definitive proof of the origin of Haiti’s cholera epidemic has not been established. The disease was not present in modern Haiti before October 2010. The epidemic, he said, “has been traced definitively to the Nepalese peacekeeping force” of the UN military mission in Haiti termed MINUSTAH.
Even the UN’s own study on the matter, he said, “came within a hair’s breath of saying ‘we were responsible’, and in fact, the independent investigations by scientists show there is no question of the origin of the cholera”.
Lewis accuses the world body of hiding behind the Convention on the Privileges and Immunities of the United Nations. It was adopted by the fledgling agency way back in 1946. He explained that the convention is “clear” in providing for a lifting of immunity in cases where the UN secretary-general concludes that it interferes with justice. Moreover, says Lewis, the convention specifically states that the secretary-general has a “duty” in such cases to pursue justice for victims of wrongdoing.
A lifting of immunity in the case of Haiti would be a “very significant precedent”, says Lewis, because it would apply to the world body itself, not simply to individuals working in its name.
Lewis explained that he worked for a lengthy period at UNICEF and learned, “to my amazement, that the UN was immune to everything.”
“Even a charge of sexual molestation had to go through endless approaches before you could get justice.”
He noted that the UN does not test for cholera the soldiers it sends on missions in its name and then asked, “How is that possible?”
Lewis agreed with the host that legal protection for the UN and those working under its authority has a place, but “it should not be universal”. And what is so galling about the case of Haiti, he says, is that the UN will not even agree to establish a commission of inquiry that would seek a rapprochement between the contesting parties.
The Day 6 interview began with several quotes from one of the lead attorneys of the legal action, Beatrice Lindstrom of the Boston-based Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti (IJDH).
In November 2011, the IJDH, its partner office in Port au Prince, the Bureau des avocats internationaux (BAI—Office of International Lawyers) and a legal firm in Miami filed claims with the UN on behalf of 5,000 Haitian victims of cholera, seeking remedies and the establishment of a commission of inquiry. The UN avoided the claim until February 2013, when it refused to receive the claims, saying they were “not receivable” because doing so would “require a review of political or policy matters”.
Among those critical of UN actions in the matter are members of the U.S. Congress and the editors of the New York Times (March 17 and October 12, 2013), Washington Post and New York Daily News. In two extraordinary editorials in August, 2013, the Post editors directly challenged the UN’s refusal to accept responsibility for the cholera epidemic in Haiti.
Navi Pillay, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, is also supporting the call for compensation to the victims of cholera. Speaking at the annual Martin Ennals (human rights) Awards ceremony on Oct 8 in Geneva, she said, “And let me pause here to reflect on some of the work that Mario Joseph [director of the BAI, one of three nominees for the award this year] has been doing on claiming reparations for victims of cholera in Haiti. And let me say to you, I have used my voice both inside the United Nations and outside to call for the right…for an investigation by the United Nations, by the country concerned, and I still stand by the call that victims…those who suffered as a result of that cholera be provided with compensation.”
Stephen Lewis is the first prominent Canadian to date to acknowledge and support the legal action against the UN over cholera in Haiti. He is the board chair of the Stephen Lewis Foundation, Distinguished Visiting Professor at Ryerson University in Toronto and a co-founder and co-director of AIDS-Free World in the United States. His work with the United Nations spanned more than two decades. He was the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for HIV/AIDS in Africa from June 2001 until the end of 2006. From 1995 to 1999, Mr. Lewis was Deputy Executive Director of UNICEF at the organization’s global headquarters in New York. From 1984 through 1988, he was Canada’s Ambassador to the United Nations.
Roger Annis is a coordinator of the Canada Haiti Action Network. The network can be reached at canadahaiti(at)gmail.com or by phone at 778 858 5179.
Click HERE to view original article.
This cultural event in Somerville features Haitian talents including singers, authors, and poets.
WHEN: Friday October 11, 2013, 7-10pm
WHERE: Arts at the Armory
191 Highland Ave Somerville, MA 02143
WHY: To showcase new publications under Trilingual Press.
Click HERE to see the event announcement.
Event Description in French:
Les éditions Trilingual Press sont fières d’annoncer la parution de deux nouvelles collections de poèmes par deux des voix les plus dynamiques de la culture haïtienne en diaspora : 1) La tentation de l’autre rive / Tantasyon latravèse de Charlot Lucien [ISBN: 978-1-936431-11-3], et 2) In the Beast’s Alley de Tontongi [ISBN: 978-1-936431-13-7].
Écrit en français avec des poèmes en créole, La tentation de l’autre rive / Tantasyon latravèse est le premier recueil de poèmes de Charlot Lucien, connu plus pour son oeuvre de conteur. Mais les lecteurs de Tanbou le connaissent aussi comme peintre et poète, avec un verbe tranchant, éloquent et une verve patriotique dans la tradition de Juste Chanlatte (1766-1828), mais avec une sensibilité plutôt moderne.
Dans In the Beast’s Alley, écrit en anglais avec 4 poèmes traduits en créole haïtien, Tontongi continue son emphase sur la poésie comme arme de combat au service de ce qu’il appelle le rêve d’être, le projet de l’être. Récusant la notion que la poésie doive être décorative, divertissante ou consolante, Tontongi la replace au centre de la praxis de l’existence, il appelle sa poésie une poésie de conscience, une poésie de libération (pour lui c’est la même chose).
Les témoignages plus bas montreront aux lecteurs les appréciations d’autres écrivains sur les oeuvres respectives de Charlot Lucien et de Tontongi.
Dans une performance culturelle à être tenue le vendredi 11 octobre 2013 au centre Arts at the Armory, à Somerville, dans le Massachusetts, les deux auteurs présenteront leurs livres et échangeront des commentaires avec le public.
Un autre écrivain haïtien publié par Trilingual Press, Patrick Sylvain, auteur du nouveau recueil de poèmes en haïtien Masuife, dont une annonce de parution a été préalablement circulée au public, présentera aussi son livre.
Danielle Georges, auteure de Maroons, présentera en manuscrit son prochain livre, une étude sur Hilda Flaubert.
Rebecca Zama, jeune chanteuse et écrivain, exécutera des chansons accompagnée de Idi et lira quelques poèmes de son livre Optimum Me.
Le musicien-poète Idi animera un récital avec des chansons non encore mises sur disque.
Le nouveau livre du professeur Georges Jean-Charles Jacques Stéphen Alexis romancier d’avant-garde de Compère Général Soleil sera présenté au public bostonien pour la première fois. Ne pouvant pas se rendre à Boston pour la performance du 11 octobre, Georges Jean-Charles nous fera parvenir un tape de 15 minutes, composé avec Julien Jumelle, pour y être joué pour le public.
Les nouveaux livres ainsi que les précédentes parutions chez Trilingual Press seront disponibles pour la vente.
Témoignage sur Charlot Lucien / Temwayaj sou Charlot Lucien :
«…En lisant ces très beaux poèmes, il m’arrive souvent de visualiser les tableaux que créent les mots que tu utilises, d’autant que les textes en eux-mêmes sont d’une grande variété stylistique qui va du réalisme au surréalisme en passant par les diverses tendances esthétiques de l’art pictural.
J’apprécie la subtilité de certaines critiques aussi bien que ton habilité à faire usage de la métaphore et de la métamorphose pour livrer tes impressions. (…) Enfin, si les textes expriment des sentiments les plus divers en fonction du comportement de l’humain, et s’ils laissent pour la plupart entrevoir le profil moral de l’auteurŠ face à des situations insolites dont il a été sans doute témoin – comme c’est le cas de « L’hommage à l’étudiant inconnu » - il reste cependant que les non-dits de cette intéressante ¦uvre demeureront sans doute le point de focalisation de tout lecteur.
C’est à ne pas douter la force de l’¦uvre, car elle permet ainsi un dialogue constant entre l’auteur et le lecteur.
L’¦uvre fera tache d’huileŠ »
-Joseph A. Pierre Antoine, écrivain
Témoignages sur Tontongi / Temwayaj sou Tontongi :
“Tontongi is a political poet in the best sense of that term. He is a poet of solidarity, who writes of, and speaks for, suffering humanity all around him. He is a poet of vision, who sees the connections between human cataclysms that others may not see. He is a poet of history, who links the struggles of the past with the struggles of the present. He is a poet of both intellect and compassion. We need more like him, in the classrooms and in the streets. ¡Viva Tontongi!”
-Martín Espada, writer, author
“The poet who writes equally in Haitian, French and American-English and who has done more than any other for Haitian literature and the Haitian people in the U.S. through his magazine, Tanbou, and his trilingual press, here shows how immensely engaged he is in our language, whether writing about Mumia Abu-Jamal, Gaza, the Haitian earthquake, the Boston Marathon bombing and the like. A Tontongi triumph of righteousness, poem after poem after poem.”
-Jack Hirschman, Revolutionary Poets Brigade
In the Beast’s Alley is poetry of conscience penetrating centuries of epic resistance to bring us testimonies to our humanity through shared suffering and resilience up to the present – from the Haitian people who refused to “wait for Godot” to salvage and reconstruct after the 2010 earthquake and the city of Boston’s collective stamina in the wake of the 2013 Marathon bombings. Tontongi’s ethical imagination and militantly humane perspectives infuse this poetic journey through “the beast’s alley”, both the elite corridors of power and the thronged quarters of marginalized, oppressed and insurrectionary majorities. The author transforms the language of his second home, the United States, through an original poetic project that refuses to villainize and idealize within the dynamics of oppression, creating pathways for social justice through empathic bonds across local communities that challenge global systems of domination. This is writing that resurrects comradeship as poetic act.”
-Anna Wexler, writer & teacher
The UN Security Counsel unanimously voted to extend MINUSTAH’s mandate, despite cholera complaint. They’re urged to keep up cholera efforts and the number of troops has been reduced slightly.Security Council Urges UN to Combat Haiti Cholera
Edith M. Lederer, Associated Press
October 10, 2013
The Security Council urged the United Nations on Thursday to keep up efforts to combat cholera in Haiti in a resolution extending the mandate of the peacekeeping force whose soldiers have been widely blamed for starting the epidemic.
The council unanimously adopted the resolution a day after human rights groups filed a lawsuit against the U.N. seeking compensation for thousands of cholera victims and the provision of clean water and sanitation for the impoverished Caribbean country.
The lawsuit stems from a cholera outbreak in Haiti that surfaced in 2010, and which health officials say has killed more than 8,000 people and sickened nearly 600,000. Scientific studies have shown that cholera was likely introduced to the country by U.N. troops from Nepal, whose infected waste contaminated Haiti’s principal river. The disease is endemic in Nepal.
Last December, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced a $2.27 billion initiative to help eradicate cholera in Haiti and the neighboring Dominican Republic, which share the island of Hispaniola, but the ambitious 10-year plan is underfunded.
Ban rejected a claim for compensation for cholera victims in February, citing diplomatic immunity.
The Security Council urged the U.N. to continue assisting Haitian efforts to stamp out cholera, especially with improvements to Haiti’s water and sanitation systems.
Haiti was already the poorest country in the Western hemisphere when a devastating earthquake struck in January 2010, killing up to 300,000 people and leaving millions homeless. The cholera outbreak nine months later complicated the country’s recovery.
The U.N. peacekeeping mission, established in June 2004, was beefed up after the earthquake to help with recovery efforts. After presidential elections in 2011, the mission returned to its original mandate, focusing on restoring security and stability.
The resolution adopted Thursday extends the mandate of the force until Oct. 15, 2014 and reduces the troop strength to 5,021 from 6,270. It maintains the number of international police personnel at 2,601
Click HERE for original article.
Click HERE for a copy of the resolution.
A statement from Haitian senator Steven Benoit, seeking fair elections and explaining how President Martelly has not only undermined them but also violated many articles of the Haitian Constitution.
Honorable Senators, Congresswomen and Congressmen
Ladies and Gentlemen,
We are taking the opportunity of this visit to brief you on some of the events that have brought Haiti on the verge of a major political crisis. As legislators and believers in the representation of the people through legislative bodies, it is important for us to submit this analytical paper to your attention. We thank you in anticipation for your kind attention.
Foremost, we would like to state that we are looking for ways to move ahead with Mr. Martelly toward the organization of democratic, fair, transparent elections as quickly as possible to fill hundreds of posts at the local level and in the Senate (10 seats). As legislators we would like to maintain a stable political climate and work in harmony with the executive branch to attract new investments, create new jobs, sustainability and keep the hopes of the Haitian people for a better future.
However, since he arrived in power, Mr. Martelly has shown a profound dislike for democracy, legislative Representatives, as well as for the check and balance of the powers granted to him by the constitution. Currently, municipal government is being managed by hand-picked men and women totally dedicated to Martelly. This means that all 420 municipal executive agents replacing the elected mayors whose term has expired, since 2011, are close Martelly political allies. Thousands of elected county officials have also been hand-picked by Martelly to replace those whose term had run out.
President Martelly has also done all he could to have a hand-picked electoral council he hoped could rig the votes in favor of his political friends.
The following is a summary of the citations and recitals of a resolution proposed by thirteen Haitian Congressmen to have President Michel Joseph Martelly tried by a High Court of Justice as prescribed by the Constitution of the country.
Through this, it is possible to get a good, but incomplete, view of all the violations of Haiti’s laws and constitution by the highest members of the executive branch of the country.
Among other things, President Martelly has been accused of violating article 153 of the constitution when he tried to dispose a neighbor of his private residence of his house and surrounding properties by using the equivalent of the IRS to falsely accuse the individual of not paying property taxes.
As early as October 26, 2011, President Martelly ordered or authorized the arrest of a Haitian Congressman as he stepped out of a plane following an official mission abroad, in violation of article 114.2 of the constitution and without any legal ground to act in such a way. He lied and denied that he had anything to do with it while it is well known that his collaborators are terrified by him and would never act without his approval.
Violation of article 218 of the constitution by President Martelly when he unilaterally levied two (2) taxes on international phone calls and money transfers from abroad without any law supporting that decision. No one beside President Martelly and Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe have control over those funds which surpass US $200 million today. He has been trying to get Parliament to ratify his decision at posteriori …
President Martelly also violated articles 200 and 236 of Haiti’s constitution when he designated (January 24, and June 15, 2012) his wife and his 23-years old son to coordinate and manage millions of US dollars in public funds and run social and sports development programs outside of all legally-established channels. For several months, contracts were granted to companies owned by or connected with friends of the Martelly family among rumors of millions being kicked back to the wife and son (the latter is currently building a million dollar-commercial building in one of Haiti’s most expensive neighborhoods. When two Haitian lawyers filed a legal complaint against the Martellys, the District attorney and the investigating Judge received threats. Finally, the investigative Judge accused the Chief Judge of the Court of 1st Instance of taking him to a meeting with President Martelly, Prime Minister Lamothe and Minister of Justice Jean Renel Sanon. That was a clear violation of the separation of powers under Haiti’s constitution.
But things went even further as the investigative Judge stated that President Martelly addressed him disrespectfully and threatened him and summoned him to stop the investigation of his wife and son. The next day, the Judge told his associates that he would abandon the investigation and leave the country. But he was to die the day after under mysterious circumstances that remain to be explained. Both the Congress and the Senate undertook an investigation of the matter that points to violations of the separation of powers by the leaders of Haiti’s executive branch and their Minister of Justice and conclude by making them liable of a trial by the High Court of Justice.
If all of these illegal and unconstitutional decisions could take place, it is because President Martelly had also previously violated other articles of the constition when he was making the nominations of the Judges of the Cour de Cassation (equivalent of the US Supreme Court). He managed to select at least three Judges (disregarding all protests by the Senate) who did not meet the requirements and to have one of them (whom he has known since his childhood) become Chief Justice and President of the Higher Council on Justice.
Through a number of nominations of District Attorneys, Prosecutors, Judges and Justices of the Peace (by Chief Justice Anel Joseph his childhood friend), etc., President Martelly and his Minister of Justice have been able to turn the Haitian justice system into a political arm at the service of the executive branch (or the Martelly crew: he used to call himself and his close friends ‘’legal bandits’’ and has a song written on the topic). A very dangerous and scary development.
Two accusers of Mrs. Martelly are currently in jail under trumped-up charges, awaiting a trial that may never come … Two lawyers who were very critical of the Martellys’ ways in running the affairs of Haiti are now in hiding and one of them is forbidden to leave the country/travel abroad. No later than yesterday, one of the most critical journalists of the Martelly government has been ordered to surrender all documents pertaining to an information she had on a contested Judge in office which had been nationally disbarred for ten years by the bar associations (federation) of Haiti.
Last but not least, a close friend of the President came to port with 55 packs of marijuana on his private yatch and called the police and the District attorney to come and get them at his beach hotel. When the Prosecutor had him come to his office for questioning and later sent him to a District Attorney, the police spokesperson and even the Minister of Justice scolded him and the Minister threatened to remove him from office. Only the scandal throughout Haiti’s public opinion and press forced the Minister to back-track.
Being the first person to agree to this. His election was a controversial one as he did not win the first round but was forcefully imposed as a winner. Winning the second round against Mrs. Manigat was easier and he may have won it. Haiti’s political class let Mr. Martelly have his days for two years, despite warning signs that the man was an admirer and follower of former Presidents for Life and well-known dictators François and Jean-Claude Duvalier. Indeed President Martelly had several run-in with members of Congress and of the Senate were he clearly said he would rather run the country without a Parliament.
After two years of hide and seek first to publish the amendments of the constitution, then to form an electoral council, then to send the electoral law to Congress (he kept the document for two months at the palace), President Martelly waited for the lower Chamber to almost end its regular session before depositing the electoral law. The way things look today, there is no way the latest electoral law can be worked on by both Chambers unless the President calls Congress back into session. Last week, Mr. Martelly told a crowd that for the next two years he would ‘’ … run Haiti as he saw fit to him since he is the only Chief in the country. Whatever he says will have to be done …’’.
Having President Martelly run Haiti without a Congress and without holding elections, with practically all elected and public administration positions filled by his nominations, would be equal to going back to the political instability and turmoil of the years that followed President Aristide’s departure from power in 2004. A perspective of violence that Haiti is incapable of sustaining on top of all its other ills: vulnerability to earthquakes, tropical storms and hurricanes and deforestation and erosion, without mentioning lack of investments and jobs …
As responsible politicians we are counting on the understanding and support of all the hemispheric democracies to assist Haiti in ending its years of political upheavals and confrontations. We are looking forward to having good and peaceful elections, but above all an executive branch respectful of the constitution and of the laws of the land and of its opposition, of the right to demonstrate, speak out and criticize peacefully and in order, rights which thousands of Haitians have died for from 1957 to now …
Long live HAITI, longue vie a notre chere HAITI
Steven I. Benoit
Senator of the proud Republic of Haiti.
Geneva, Tuesday 8 October 2013
Joint Mobile Group Selected as the 2013 Laureate Martin Ennals Award
for Human Rights Defenders
The Joint Mobile Group was selected by the International Human Rights Community (See Jury Below). The Award is given to Human Rights Defenders who have shown deep commitment and face great personal risk. The aim of the award is to provide protection through international recognition. Strongly supported by the City of Geneva, the Award was presented on Oct. 8th.
Joint Mobile Group, Russia: After the murder of several human rights activists working in Chechnya, Igor Kalyapin started the Joint Mobile Group. To reduce the risk they send investigators on short missions to Chechnya to document Human Rights abuses. This information is then used to publicise these abuses to seek legal redress. Igor Kalyapin speaking of the effect of international publicity said “… when the international community is watching us it is more difficult for the authorities to take steps against us…”
Micheline Calmy-Rey, Chair, Martin Ennals Foundation said “The choice of the Jury has again shown that human rights defenders are the most crucial actors and can make a difference on the ground””
The Jury also selected two recipients of the New Martin Ennals Prizes:
Mona Seif, Egypt: Core founder of the” No To Military Trials for Civilians”, Mona has brought together activists, lawyers, victims’ families, local stakeholders and started a nationwide movement against military trials.
Mario Joseph, referred to as Haiti’s most important Human Rights lawyer, he has worked on some of the most important cases in Haiti, including the current case against the former dictator Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier.
The main award of the human rights movement. The Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders (MEA) is a unique collaboration among ten of the world’s leading human rights organizations to give protection to human rights defenders worldwide. The Jury is composed of the following NGOs:- Amnesty International,
- Human Rights Watch,
- Human Rights First,
- Int’l Federation for Human Rights,
- World Organisation Against Torture,
- Front Line Defenders
- International Commission of Jurists,
- German Diakonie,
- International Service for Human Rights
Electronic version with Video: bit.ly/ZkmpKf
Haitian Creole version here.
For further information, please contact: Michael Khambatta +41 79 474 8208
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Beatrice Lindstrom, Esq., IJDH Staff Attorney, email@example.com, +1-404-217-1302, (in the U.S., speaks English, French and Kreyol)
Haitian Cholera Victims Sue UN for Gross Negligence
October 9, 2013, New York— Attorneys from the human rights groups Bureau des Avocats Internationaux (BAI) and Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti (IJDH), and civil rights law firm Kurzban, Kurzban, Weinger, Tetzelli & Pratt (KKWT), announced today the filing of a class action lawsuit against the United Nations (UN) on behalf of victims of the deadly cholera epidemic in Haiti. Since October 2010, when the UN contaminated Haiti’s principal river with cholera-infected human waste, the disease has killed over 8,300, sickened more than 650,000, and continues to kill about 1,000 Haitians per year.
Speaking from Geneva, where he is being honored as a finalist for the Martin Ennals Human Rights Award, BAI Managing Attorney Mario Joseph said: “The filing of this lawsuit marks a critical step towards justice for Haiti and all those who have suffered and are suffering because of cholera.” Joseph is co-counsel on the case and has led the fight for justice for cholera victims since 2011.
The plaintiffs in the case are five Haitians and Haitian-Americans whose family members died of the disease or who were infected but managed to survive life-threatening cholera. The plaintiffs are asking the court to certify the case as a class action, which will allow the plaintiffs to represent and obtain relief for the hundreds of thousands Haitians and Haitian-Americans who suffered injuries or died from cholera.
“The Plaintiffs have undergone indescribable suffering as a result of cholera and have to live with the knowledge that cholera can strike again. They have rights to have a Court hear their case and rights to damages that will help them go on with their lives and access clean water,” said Brian Concannon, Jr., Esq., director of IJDH and co-counsel for the plaintiffs.
The 67-page complaint, filed today in federal court in the Southern District of New York, details extensive evidence demonstrating that the UN knew or should have known that its reckless sanitation and waste disposal practices posed a high risk of harm to the population, and that it consciously disregarded that risk, triggering an explosive epidemic. The plaintiffs seek damages for personal injury, wrongful death, emotional distress, loss of use of property and natural resources, and breach of contract.
“We anticipate that the UN will seek to avoid responding to the evidence presented by the victims by arguing that the court does not have jurisdiction to hear the case. We are prepared for that challenge, and are confident that the court will find that the case must proceed because the victims have a recognized right to access courts that must be protected,” said Ira Kurzban, Esq., a civil rights litigator with KKWT and co-counsel on the case.
The UN has legal obligations under international treaties to provide people harmed by its operations either compensation or a fair forum to present their claims, but the organization has not complied with this requirement. In November 2011, BAI, IJDH and KKWT filed claims with the UN on behalf of 5,000 Haitian victims of cholera, seeking remedies and the establishment of the commission.
The UN refused to receive the claims in February 2013, claiming that they were “not receivable” because considering them would “require a review of political or policy matters.” The UN has come under strong criticism for its handling of the case, which includes denial of responsibility, stonewalling press inquiries, and a refusal to even meet with the cholera victims or their lawyers.
For more about the cholera case, click here.
For more information about BAI and IJDH’s work, please visit: www.ijdh.org
The U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, stated at a human rights award ceremony that cholera victims be compensated for their suffering. Pillay’s comments–deemed “a rare admission by a U.N. official”–come at a crucial time, as IJDH’s lawsuit against the UN was filed only a day later.UN Official Makes Rare Case For Compensation For Haiti Cholera Victims
By TRENTON DANIEL , Huffington Post
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — A United Nations official on Tuesday made a rare case for compensation for the thousands of Haitians who have died of a cholera outbreak in the Caribbean nation.
U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay didn’t say who she thought should pay, but activists have demanded the world body provide compensation to the victims of a disease believed brought in by U.N. peacekeepers.
“I have used my voice both inside the United Nations and outside to call for the right — for an investigation by the United Nations, by the country concerned, and I still stand by the call that victims of — of those who suffered as a result of that cholera be provided with compensation,” Pillay said at an awards ceremony for human rights activists in Geneva.
The U.N. maintains it has legal immunity from such compensation claims.
Pillay’s remarks, streamed live on the Internet, were a rare admission by a U.N. official about the need to provide compensation following a complaint filed by the Boston-based Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti and the Haiti-based law firm run by Haitian attorney Mario Joseph, one of the finalists at the Geneva ceremony.
The complaint came in the aftermath of a cholera outbreak in Haiti that surfaced in 2010 and health officials say has killed more than 8,000 people. Scientific studies have shown that cholera was likely introduced to the country by U.N. troops from Nepal, where the disease is endemic.
Pillay said she raised the compensation issue almost a year ago when she was asked a question at a lecture at Oxford University
Asked about Pillay’s comments, U.N. associate spokesman Farhan Haq, said it is not the “United Nations’ practice to discuss in public claims filed against the organization.”
Nicole Phillips, lawyer for the Boston-based IJDH, said that Pillay’s “public support for the cholera victims’ claims could be a game changer in their claims against the U.N.”
Click here for the original article.
An article by Al Jazeera covers the basics of the cholera case. It also touches upon Section 29 of the Convention on the Privileges and Immunities, which provides the basis for the UN’s response to the lawsuit.UN faces lawsuit over Haiti cholera epidemic Al Jazeera, 09 Oct 2013 Lawyers representing Haitian victims of a cholera epidemic they blame on UN peacekeepers announced they were filing a lawsuit against the UN, with a New York court seeking compensation from the world body.The decision to file the legal case comes after the UN said earlier this year that it would not pay hundreds of millions of dollars in compensation claimed by cholera victims in impoverished Haiti, where the epidemic has killed more than 8,300 people and sickened more than 650,000 since October 2010.
“The plaintiffs include Haitians and Haitian Americans who contracted cholera themselves as well as family members of those who died of the disease,” the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti said in a statement on Wednesday.
An independent panel appointed by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to study the epidemic issued a 2011 report that did not determine conclusively how the cholera was introduced to Haiti.
But the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that evidence strongly suggested UN peacekeepers from Nepal were the source.
Cholera is an infection causing severe diarrhoea that can lead to dehydration and death. It occurs in places with poor sanitation.
In November 2011, the Boston-based Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti filed a petition at the UN headquarters in New York seeking a minimum of $100,000 for the families or next-of-kin of each person killed by cholera and at least $50,000 for each victim who suffered illness or injury from cholera.
Ban’s spokesman Martin Nesirky said in February of this year that the world body advised the representatives of the cholera victims that “the claims are not receivable pursuant to Section 29 of the Convention on the Privileges and Immunities”.
Under Section 29 the United Nations is required to make provisions for “appropriate modes of settlement” of private law disputes to which the world body is a party or disputes involving a UN official who enjoys diplomatic immunity.
The Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti said at the time it was disappointed by the UN decision and would pursue the case in court.
It was not immediately clear how the issue of diplomatic immunity for the United Nations would impact the lawsuit being filed in the New York court.
Ban launched a $2.2bn initiative in December 2012 to stamp out cholera over the next decade in Haiti.
Click here for the original article.
IJDH represents plaintiffs in a federal lawsuit filed against the UN on October 9, 2013. The Introduction of the legal Complaint is below. Click HERE for the full version.
1. This class action arises out of an epidemic of cholera that broke out in
Haiti in October 2010. At the time of this filing, the epidemic has killed at least 8,300
people and sickened at least 679,000 others in Haiti, and has resulted in additional
cholera cases in at least the United States, the Dominican Republic, and Cuba.
2. The outbreak resulted from the negligent, reckless, and tortious conduct of
the Defendants: the United Nations (“UN”); its subsidiary, the United Nations
Stabilization Mission in Haiti (“MINUSTAH”); and at least two of their officers.
3. Prior to Defendants’ introduction of the cholera bacterium to Haiti in
October 2010, Haiti had no reported cases of cholera.
4. Defendants have long known that Haiti’s weak water and sanitation
infrastructure created a heightened vulnerability to waterborne disease but failed to
exercise due care to prevent the devastating outbreak of such disease.
5. In or around October 2010, Defendants knowingly disregarded the high
risk of transmitting cholera to Haiti when, in the ordinary course of business, they
deployed personnel from Nepal to Haiti, knowing that Nepal was a country in which
cholera is endemic and where a surge in infections had just been reported. Defendants
failed to exercise reasonable care to test or screen the personnel prior to deployment,
allowing them to carry into Haiti a strain of cholera that a UN-appointed panel of experts
and other independent scientific experts have since determined is the source of Haiti’s
present cholera epidemic.
6. Defendants stationed their personnel on a base on the banks of the Meille
Tributary, which flows into the Artibonite River, Haiti’s longest river and primary watersource for tens of thousands. There, Defendants discharged raw sewage from poor pipe connections, haphazard piping, and releases of water contaminated with human waste.
They also regularly disposed of untreated human waste in unprotected, open-air pits
outside the base where it flowed into the Meille Tributary. Defendants’ sanitation
facilities and disposal pits overflowed in heavy rain, emitted noxious odors, and exposed
the local community to raw sewage.
7. Defendants knew or should have known that their release of raw sewage
into Haiti’s primary water source created a high risk of contamination, but they did not
take any steps prior to the outbreak to mitigate the dangers or to prevent highly
foreseeable harm to the local population, environment and any visitors to the area.
8. In or around October 2010, human waste from the base seeped into and
contaminated the Meille Tributary with cholera. From the Meille Tributary, the
contaminated waters flowed into the Artibonite River, resulting in explosive and massive
outbreaks of cholera along the river and eventually throughout the entire country.
9. Defendants recklessly failed to take remedial steps necessary to contain
the outbreak of cholera, willfully delayed investigation into the outbreak, and obscured
discovery of the outbreak’s source. As a result of Defendants’ tortious acts and
omissions, cholera continues to present an ongoing grave threat to water quality, public
health and safety in Haiti, resulting in additional injuries and deaths.
10. The Named Plaintiffs and the members of the proposed Class they seek to
represent have been proximately harmed through Defendants’ acts and omissions. These
plaintiffs, who are residents in Haiti and the United States, have been or will be sickened,
or have family members who have died or will die, as a direct result of the cholera
introduced to Haiti by Defendants.
11. Defendants UN and MINUSTAH have well-established legal obligations
to provide redress to victims of harm caused by acts or omissions attributable to the
Defendants, which includes the members of the proposed Class. The Convention on the
Privileges and Immunities of the UN of 1946 (“CPIUN”) expressly requires Defendant
UN to provide appropriate modes of settlement for third-party private law claims. The
Status of Forces Agreement (“SOFA”) signed between Defendant UN and the
Government of Haiti expressly requires the UN to establish a standing claims
commission to address claims for harm.
12. In November 2011, pursuant to and relying on the obligations mandated
by the CPIUN and SOFA, members of the proposed Class filed claims with Defendants
UN and Ban, formally requesting that the UN comply with their obligations by
establishing a standing claims commission and/or providing settlement for the victims’
injuries. In February 2013, the UN refused to receive those claims and, to date, has failed
to establish any such commission or otherwise provide members of the proposed Class
with any form of redress.
13. For the foregoing reasons, under the common law of torts, Plaintiffs are
entitled to compensation and other remedies as requested herein.
Click HERE for the full version.
Today, October 9, 2013, we filed a complaint against the UN in NYC Federal Court! A press conference on the case will be held at 11:30am at
Center for Constitutional Rights, 6th Floor
666 Broadway, Manhattan, NY
Here’s a link to the live stream of the conference, for those who can’t make it to New York: http://ustre.am/Y6TF
A recent ruling by the Dominican Republic Constitutional Court strips citizenship from the children of Haitian migrants born after 1929 could potentially leave tens of thousands of people stateless. The Haitian government has been mostly silent on this issue but has recently recalled its ambassador to the Dominican Republican and issued a statement criticising the ruling.Haiti ‘strongly disagrees’ with DR migrant ruling
October 5, 2013
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti – Haiti said Saturday that it “strongly disagrees” with a court ruling in the Dominican Republic that strips citizenship from the children of Haitian migrants.
The Haitian government had been mostly silent on the court decision that threatens to render hundreds of thousands of people stateless but announced this week that it was recalling its ambassador to the Dominican Republic.
“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs deeply regrets that Haitians and their Dominican descendants who have contributed significantly to the current progress of the Dominican Republic for their work and sacrifice are now treated as foreigners in transit,” the statement said.
The Dominican Republic’s Constitutional Court ruled last week that it will block citizenship for thousands of people born to Haitian migrant workers since 1929. This could affect about 300,000 people, the bulk of them Dominican-born people of Haitian descent.
Haiti’s foreign affairs ministry claimed that the court decision violates several international laws and agreements, including a 2005 decision by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights.
It also urged Dominican authorities to address in an “objective and fair manner” the role of Dominicans of Haitian descent in the Dominican Republic.
The court ruling has aggravated already uneasy relations between the two countries, which share the Caribbean island of Hispaniola. Tensions between the neighbors worsened this summer when the Haitian government imposed a ban on Dominican chicken and eggs, citing a false report that the Dominican Republic had avian flu.
Haitian officials acknowledged the error but have kept the ban in place for reasons they haven’t fully explained.
Dominican officials have promised to create a path to legal residency for those whose birth certificates are voided, but have provided no details on how that might work.Read original article HERE.
A concise handout explaining why fair elections are so important for preventing political crises in Haiti.The United States Government Should Support Prompt and Fair Elections in Haiti
September 19, 2013
The U.S government should support prompt elections in Haiti, but also insist that those elections be fair and inclusive. Elections in 2009 and 2010 excluded many qualified candidates and parties without legal justification, leading to fundamental governance problems that were not only predictable, but were anticipated by members of U.S. Congress on both sides of the aisle. Two more election cycles are overdue, leading to a Senate with 1/3 of its seats open and struggling to obtain a quorum. Further, since he took office, President Michel Martelly has appointed 129 non-elected “municipal agents” to replace elected mayors whose terms expired last year.
Click HERE for the full version.
Un article qui décrit la situation des droits humains en Haïti.Haïti-Droits humains : Le pays sur la mauvaise voie en termes d’État de droit, relève l’expert indépendant des Nations Unies
2 octobre 2013
P-au-P, 02 oct. 2013 [AlterPresse] — Des mesures urgentes doivent être appliquées pour renforcer les institutions en Haïti, notamment en ce qui concerne l’accès à la justice et la défense des droits humains, préconise l’expert indépendant des Nations Unies, le Colombien Gustavo Gallon, qui a séjourné, pour la première fois depuis sa nomination, dans la république caribéenne, du lundi 23 septembre au mardi 1er octobre 2013.
Il est important d’avoir un plan stratégique pour développer la capacité des institutions à protéger les droits humains et à résoudre la situation de crise dans le pays.
Constatant une crise de droits humains dans le pays, l’expert souligne que le pays est sur lamauvaise voie en ce qui a trait à l’État de droit.
Gallon appelle le gouvernement à considérer, de façon plus intégrale, les travaux réalisés à ce niveau, avec une notion de droit, tout en harmonisant les efforts.
« La construction d’un État de droit est un défi et un besoin essentiel en Haïti, aussi bien pour la jouissance des droits civils et politiques, que pour, parallèlement, les droits sociaux, économiques et culturels soient également garantis ».
La visite de l’expert indépendant des Nations Unies en Haïti a eu pour but d’analyser la situation des droits humains dans le pays, en vue de préparer un rapport et de faire des recommandations qu’il doit présenter au conseil des droits humains en mars 2014.
Le Colombien Gustavo Gallon a eu des rencontres avec les autorités haïtiennes, les membres de la société civile, le corps diplomatique ainsi que des représentants de la Mission des Nations Unies pour la Stabilisation en Haïti (Minustah). [emb kft rc apr 02/10/2013 12:00]
Cliquez ICI pour l’article original.
Haitians are outraged by the Dominican Republic Constitutional Court’s recent decision that strips Dominican-born Haitians of citizenship. Many believe the ruling was influenced by racism–a desire to “whiten” the population of DR–and plan to fight back.Haiti recalls envoy, activists plan protests over Dominican court decision
Ezra Fieser and Jacqueline Charles, Miami Herald
October 1, 2013
SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic – Dominican human rights activists Tuesday announced planned demonstrations across the country in coming days to protest a court ruling that effectively strips citizenship rights from Dominican-born children of Haitian immigrants.
The announcement came as Haiti recalled its ambassador to the country for consultation on what Foreign Minister Pierre-Richard Casimir called a worrying decision by Dominican authorities on the fate of up to 300,000 people born in the country since 1929, most of whom are descendants of Haitians. The ruling from the nation’s top court cannot be appealed.
Dominican officials defended the ruling, saying it ends uncertainty for children of immigrants and opens the door for them to apply for residency and eventually citizenship but no plan is currently in place.
“The ruling unifies the country,” said Roberto Rosario, president of the Central Electoral Board, which is charged with creating the plan. “It clarifies and defines a legal way and provides a framework to seek a humanitarian way out for those people.”
In South Florida and Haiti, activists denounced the ruling. Jean-Robert Lafortune, head of the Haitian-American Grassroots Coalition in Miami, said it was “as barbaric and vicious of the ethnic cleansing action undertaken by” former Dominican dictator Rafael Leonidas Trujillo. Thousands of Haitians were rounded up and killed under Trujillo 76 years ago this month. Some say he was attempting to whiten the Dominican population.
“The current court decision demands strong action against the Dominican Republic,” said Lafortune, who plans to meet Wednesday with other Haitian activists to consider, among other things, protests in front of Dominican consulates across the United States.
Antonio Pol-Emil, a member of the Dominican-Haitian Cultural Center in Santo Domingo, said “racism permeated” the high court’s decision.
“There are social groups in the Dominican Republic and in politics that work on the issue of immigration and because of their racist and anti-Haitian beliefs, they hold onto the idea that children of Haitian don’t have a right to citizenship,” he said at a Tuesday news conference called by more than a dozen Dominican civil society groups.
The birth-right decision came just days before the U.S. Department of Labor also cast a harsh spotlight on the state of Haitians in the Dominican Republic. A highly critical report found those working in the country’s profitable sugar industry are exposed to deplorable conditions that violate labor laws. Among the findings: Haitian sugarcane cutters were underpaid, overworked, living in unsanitary conditions, and many tricked into coming to the Dominican Republic.
Taken together, the court ruling and labor report paint a bleak picture of life for Haitian immigrants and their families in the neighboring country on the island of Hispaniola.
“The truth is finally coming out,” said Father Christopher Hartley, a Roman Catholic priest who filed a complaint in 2010 under a trade pact that prompted the U.S. government to investigate practices in the Dominican sugar industry.
“These are very clear human rights abuses, including the issue of statelessness,” Hartley told the Miami Herald in a telephone interview from his mission in a remote village in Ethiopia.
In Port-au-Prince, Haitian officials said Ambassador Fritz Cineas will consult with Casimir, Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe and others about how to further respond to the ruling.
“The [foreign minister] is very concerned by this decision,” a government statement said.
Over the years, hundreds of thousands of Haitian workers have crossed into the wealthier Dominican Republic. The 2013 immigrant survey found 458,233 Haitians live in the country, the vast majority of them without documentation.
But with economic opportunities have also come hardship and a life of uncertainty.
Juliana Deguis Pierre’s father migrated from Haiti to the eastern Dominican Republic decades ago. Despite being born on Dominican soil and given citizenship, she was stripped of it in 2008 because her parents were undocumented.
She has been unable to get a certified copy of her birth certificate, which is needed in the Dominican Republic to do basic tasks, such as work in the formal sector, marry, get health insurance and apply for a passport.
“I’m Dominican,” Deguis said. “I’ve never been to Haiti, not once.”
The latest legal decision even affects her children. Her 12-year-old son has been unable to take required exams because school officials have asked for his birth certificate.
“It’s essentially a life suspended,” her lawyer, Manuel de Jesus Dandre, said.
Deguis’ case was used by the Constitutional Court in its ruling last week, in which they decided she could apply for residency as a foreigner but did not qualify for citizenship.
After the ruling, the UN Refugee agency said it is “deeply concerned by a [decision] … that could render as stateless countless Dominican-born persons of Haitian descent, many of whom have lived in the Dominican Republic for decades.”
A leading Haiti opposition leader Tuesday called for a united stand by the country’s politicians and civic leaders.
“If Haitians are to be respected everywhere, they have to first be protected where they live,” said Sauveur Pierre Etienne, the national coordinator of the Organization of People in Struggle (OPL). “It concerns the opposition civil society, the diaspora. This isn’t a question of which party is in power.”
The Dominican government estimates 244,151 children of immigrants live in the Dominican Republic, but the number affected by the ruling is exponentially higher because it covers all those born since 1929.
And just like those who have lived in the Dominican Republic for decades don’t enjoy much protection, so too is the case among those working in Dominican sugar fields, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.
The report, released Friday, marks the first time that the U.S. government has exhaustively investigated and condemned the situation. Investigators interviewed dozens of workers, industry executives, government officials and members of civil society.
It found laborers often work more than eight hours but are paid less than the minimum wage because they are paid by the amount of cane they cut. Workers live in squalid communities, known as bateys, that, “often lack adequate housing, medical services, other basic sanitary services,” and clean drinking water, the report said.
“Some days are good, some days are bad. But it’s always hard work,” Luis Nacis Ramon, a Haitian who migrated in 1982, told the Herald.
The report has potentially far-reaching consequences, as the U.S. imports more sugar from the Dominican Republic than any other country. The Labor Department made a series of recommendations, including strengthening inspections and enforcing labor laws. It also announced it will spend $10 million to reduce child labor and improve conditions in the country. The department said it would revisit the situation in six months and in a year.
The Dominican sugar industry dismissed the report, saying it reflected claims of a man who was kicked out of the country years ago.
Hartley, an outspoken advocate for Haitian workers who took on the country’s powerful sugar barons and was forced out in 2006, said he felt vindicated by the ruling.
“This is not me saying this anymore,” he said. “The situation is clear.”
Click HERE for original article.
HAITI’S FORGOTTEN: Helping Survivors of Sexual Violence
Where: Fordham University School of Law
140 W. 62nd Street
New York, NY 10023
When: October 1, 2013, 6-8:30pm
Why: Honest dialogue is the first step in solving any problem.
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