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Everything you should know about cholera in Haiti

June 4, 2015 - 14:58

In October 2010, United Nations (UN) peacekeepers started a deadly cholera epidemic in Haiti. Since then, the UN has continued to dodge accountability, despite consensus by scientific experts that the UN did indeed cause the outbreak. Mennonite Central Committee has created a great infographic outlining the epidemic from 2010 to now.

Click HERE to see the infographic.

INFOGRAPHIC: How the U.N. is Failing Haitian Cholera Victims

Ted Oswald and Katharine Oswald, Huffington Post Blog

June 4, 2015

Haiti is a few months away from the five-year anniversary of the introduction of cholera because of the United Nations’ systematic negligence in leaking contaminated human waste into Haitian waterways.

We at Mennonite Central Committee created an infographic to raise awareness of two unfortunate truths: 1) cholera in Haiti is not under control and new cases are surging in 2015; and 2) the U.N. continues to ignore its own values and legal obligations by refusing to take responsibility for importing cholera and compensating its victims.

Haitian lives matter and the fact that hundreds will die this year and thousands more will contract a disease that can be easily treated and prevented is an ongoing emergency that demands the world’s attention.

If you want to join the chorus demanding the U.N. do the just thing and compensate victims while continuing to implement its plan to invest in treatment and water and sanitation infrastructure in Haiti, you can sign and share this petition. It’s just shy of 30,000 signatures, and advocates will be submitting it to Secretary General Ban Ki-moon later this summer.

Click HERE to see the infographic and original post.

Scholars, Rights Experts and Former UN Officials Support BAI/IJDH Cholera Appeal

June 4, 2015 - 11:11

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact:

Kermshlise Picard, Communications Coordinator, Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti; media@ijdh.org, 617-652-0876

Everyone Tells UN To Fulfill Its Legal Obligations to Haiti Cholera Victims

United Nations Faces Pervasive Condemnation of Refusal to Comply With International Law

(Boston and New York, June 4, 2015)— A multitude of leading scholars, human rights experts, Haitian-American leaders and former United Nations officials throughout the world submitted six legal briefs yesterday,

each opposing the UN’s attempt to expand its immunity in United States Courts. The briefs, called amicus curiae (friend of the court) briefs, were submitted to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in New York in support of another brief filed last week by lawyers for the victims of the UN cholera in Haiti. The victims seek justice for the epidemic triggered by waste discharged into Haiti’s environment from a faulty sewage system at a UN base. The epidemic has killed 9,000 Haitians and sickened over 700,000 since it began in 2010.

A brief filed by eleven Haitian-American organizations expressed the outrage felt by Haitians in Haiti and abroad over the UN’s hiding behind immunity while Haitians die by the thousands. “Providing immunity in this case rewards the UN for refusing to honor its obligations and acting in bad faith,” said Emmanuel Coffy Esq., counsel for the Haitian groups. Soeurette Michel of the Haitian Lawyers Association and the Haitian-American Grassroots Coalition added “the facts are there, the laws are there and all we want is to have the laws apply to the facts correctly so the victims and their families find relief.” Marleine Bastien of Haitian Women of Miami promised that “Haitians are determined to keep fighting to hold the UN to its principles. We will stop fighting for justice when the UN cholera stops killing Haitians unjustly.”

A brief filed by six former senior UN officials explains that the UN’s unjust response to its cholera epidemic has created an accountability crisis that threatens the organization’s legitimacy, credibility and ability to fulfill its mission. “The UN calls the Haiti cholera victims’ fight for justice a threat”, said Stephen Lewis, a former Deputy Director of UNICEF and current Co-Director of AIDS Free World, who signed the brief. “But the UN can make this lawsuit disappear by establishing a claims commission. The real threat to the UN here is its misguided refusal to comply with its own principles.”

A brief filed by twenty-four human and civil rights organizations from thirteen countries explains that the UN, which was created by international law and is bound by it, cannot legally avoid its obligation to provide Haiti’s cholera victims a right to a remedy for the harms they suffered.  “The United Nations should demonstrate its commitment to the rule of international law by obeying its dictates,” said Kerry Kennedy, President of Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights, which signed the brief. “It is time for the UN to fulfill its obligations to the people of Haiti, who have suffered so much.”

A brief filed by twenty-two international law scholars and practitioners noted that the cholera victims’ claims are classic “private law” claims, for which the UN has long conceded an  obligation to provide a remedy. The brief explains why the case does not involve the UN’s “operational necessity” exception to this obligation. The brief cites “decades of organizational statements and institutional practice [that] confirm that the UN is obliged to provide a means of redress for claims such as those of Plaintiffs.”

Sixteen European legal experts point out in their brief that European courts balance an international organization’s immunity protection with victims’ right of access to remedies for their injuries. According to Krister Thelin, an ad hoc Judge of the European Court of Human Rights, former Judge of the UN’s International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia and member of the UN Human Rights Committee, “in Europe, UN immunity is important, but not unlimited. Courts require the UN and other organizations to provide reasonable alternative means for adversely affected individuals to seek remedies. And the reason is obvious: absence of remedies undermines the UN ´s very role as a champion of human rights.”

Six prominent professors of United States Constitutional Law signed a brief explaining how the application of absolute immunity in this case, without any justification, violates the plaintiffs’ Constitutional rights to access courts. One of these experts, Erwin Chemerinsky, the Dean of the University of California Irvine School of Law, stated that “access to the courts is a fundamental aspect of due process of law. This case is about whether those who suffered and died as a result of the cholera epidemic in Haiti have a right to be heard in a court of law. It is essential that the courts uphold and vindicate this basic liberty.”

These briefs join a host of people and organizations that have called for the UN to be accountable for its cholera in Haiti, including UN Human Rights Experts, members of the U.S. Congress, editorial boards and legal groups. The UN, for its part, does not seriously contest that it brought cholera to Haiti or that it has a responsibility to the victims. Instead, it maintains that no court can force it to comply with its obligations, because of its immunity. The UN also claims that it is doing everything it can to fight the epidemic. The organization’s cholera response plan, first announced in 2012, is 9% funded.

Beatrice Lindstrom of the Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti, a lawyer for the cholera victims, said the outpouring of support for the victims’ fight for justice shows that “no person is so disempowered as to fall below the law’s protections; no organization is so prestigious as to rise above the law’s obligations.

###

 

IJDH Amici Curiae Worldwide

June 4, 2015 - 10:13

On June 3, 2015, human rights groups, scholars, and members of civil society from all over the world submitted amicus curiae briefs in support of our appeal in the cholera case against the United Nations. The six briefs were written by international law scholars, European law scholars, Haitian Diaspora organizations, former UN officials, human rights organizations, and Constitutional law scholars and practitioners.

Haitian-Americans’ Amicus Brief Supports Cholera Case Appeal

June 3, 2015 - 20:52

Although the United Nations (UN) was responsible for a cholera outbreak that began in Haiti in 2010, it has yet to provide a method for the victims to settle their claims. In January 2015, a US judge dismissed our case against the UN, upholding the UN’s immunity. We appealed the decision on May 27, 2015. 11 Haitian-American civil society organizations have submitted the amicus curiae (friend of the court) brief below in support of our appeal.

Click HERE for the full document.

BRIEF OF HAITIAN-AMERICAN ORGANIZATIONS AS AMICI CURIAE IN SUPPORT OF PLAINTIFFS-APPELLANTS AND SUPPORTING REVERSAL

Emmanuel Coffy

June 3, 2015

INTEREST OF THE AMICI CURIAE

Amici1 are civil society organizations representing Haitian-Americans in the
United States, some of whose family members were afflicted by the cholera
outbreak that is the basis of the current lawsuit.2 Together, Amici possess firsthand
knowledge of the Haitian-American community and current conditions in
Haiti. Amici have a strong interest in ensuring that victims of the cholera epidemic
are provided access to justice, and submit this brief in support of Plaintiffs-
Appellants’ position that Defendants-Appellees may not benefit from immunity
when Defendants-Appellees have refused to abide by their obligations to provide
victims of their wrongdoing with a mode of settlement.
Amici wish to emphasize how important it is that Plaintiffs be accorded a
prompt day in court for the United Nations (UN) to answer the serious allegations
of recklessness and gross negligence contained in the Complaint. See Pls.’ App. A-
15-81.

SUMMARY OF ARGUMENT

Amici respectfully urge this Court to grant Plaintiffs’ appeal and to reverse
the decision of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York
(SDNY), so that the court may decide Plaintiffs’ case on its merits. Amici support
the legal arguments presented in Plaintiffs’ brief in favor of reversal. As members
and family members of the population affected by the United Nations’ (UN)
wrongdoing, Amici wholeheartedly request that this Court also take into
consideration in deciding this appeal, the serious toll that Haiti’s first-ever cholera
outbreak has caused on Haitian society, life, and individuals.
It is particularly important to note that the epidemic has significantly
worsened in 2015 with the number of new cases and deaths reportedly jumping by
300%, as documented in Argument I of this brief and as reported by countless
major news outlets worldwide as recently as June 2, 2015. In effect, the lower
court’s decision denies the opportunity for relief to the more than 700,000
individuals who have already been affected by this outbreak and blocks recovery
of any kind by plaintiffs who will inevitably be added to this class as the crisis
expands, claiming the health and lives of countless more Haitians and Haitian-
Americans. In addition, a decision granting the UN immunity for its tortious
conduct in this case would cement the perception held by many Haitians that the
UN is allowed to operate beyond the bounds of the law, standards that the U.S. and

the UN themselves have both argued must be applied stringently to Haitian
government agencies and political leaders.

Click HERE for the full document.

Where’s the $500 million Red Cross raised for Haiti earthquake relief?

June 3, 2015 - 15:36

After Haiti’s devastating 2010 earthquake, the American Red Cross out-fundraised most other aid organizations, receiving almost $500 million in donations. The Red Cross promised to build thousands of homes but has only built 6 permanent homes in over 5 years. In the interview below, an investigator from NPR explains how she and other journalists discovered this information and why this may have happened.

Millions were donated to Red Cross for Haiti earthquake relief. Why haven’t more been helped?

PBS

June 3, 2015

In 2010, a catastrophic earthquake ravaged Haiti, leaving 1.5 million people homeless. The American Red Cross raised nearly $500 million for relief efforts, announcing plans to create new communities. But an investigation by ProPublica and NPR has concluded that the Red Cross response has been plagued by failures. Jeffrey Brown interviews NPR investigative correspondent Laura Sullivan.

 

Click HERE for the original post and interview transcript.

Human Rights Organizations Support Cholera Case Appeal

June 3, 2015 - 11:27

In January 2015, a US judge dismissed our case against the United Nations for its lack of accountability for Haiti’s cholera epidemic. We have appealed the decision. 24 human rights organizations wrote the amicus curiae brief below in support of our appeal.

Click HERE for the full document.

BRIEF OF AMICI CURIAE HUMAN RIGHTS ORGANIZATIONS IN SUPPORT OF PLAINTIFFS-APPELLANTS

Baher Azmy, William J. Aceves, Sarah Davila-Ruhaak

June 3, 2015

 

STATEMENT OF INTEREST

Amici Curiae1 consist of twenty-four human rights organizations from the
United States and around the world that are committed to the rule of law and
respect for fundamental rights, including the essential requirement of
accountability for wrongdoing.2 Amici are deeply concerned that thousands of
innocent victims of the 2010 cholera outbreak in Haiti, which is widely
acknowledged to have been caused by the United Nations and the United Nations
Stabilization Mission in Haiti (“MINUSTAH”), have received no redress for their
suffering and injuries. This cholera epidemic compounded the profound suffering

already experienced by the Haitian people as a result of the massive earthquake
that destroyed much of the country on January 12, 2010.
Amici are equally concerned with the decision of the district court which
effectively grants the United Nations impunity for its wrongful actions. Impunity is
contrary to the entire architecture of international law, including human rights law,
to which the United Nations is inextricably bound. As such, the district court’s
decision incorrectly interprets the governing treaty provisions in this case and
inappropriately absolves the United Nations from its firm duty to prevent the
arbitrary deprivation of life and provide remediation for its own wrongdoing.
Amici write to provide the Court with an understanding of the governing
international law principles that constrain the U.N.’s entitlement to immunity in
this case.
SUMMARY OF ARGUMENT
Despite the substantial harm inflicted on the Haitian people by the cholera
epidemic and the U.N.’s persistent failure to provide any remedies to the victims in
any form, the district court held that the Defendants in this case were categorically
immune from suit pursuant to the Convention on the Privileges and Immunities of
the United Nations, art. II(2), Feb. 13, 1946, 1 U.N.T.S. 16 (“CPIUN” or
“Convention”). In Georges v. United Nations, 2015 WL 129657 (S.D.N.Y. 2015),
the district court failed to acknowledge the significant constraints that international

law places on claims of absolute immunity asserted by international organizations
such as the United Nations and, thus, this Court’s previous ruling in Brzak v.
United Nations, 597 F.3d 107 (2d Cir. 2010), is not dispositive of the claims
asserted by the Plaintiffs here.

Click HERE for the full document.

 

Where’s the $0.5 billion dollars donated to Red Cross for post-quake reconstruction?

June 3, 2015 - 09:09

The Red Cross received the majority of donations sent to Haiti after the 2010 earthquake, adding up to half a billion dollars. Yet, a recent investigation shows that the Red Cross only built 6 out of the thousands of homes it promised to build. When Red Cross officials were asked to explain the programs to which they allocated the donations, they declined to comment in most cases. This article explains all the areas where the Red Cross went wrong, and why.

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

How the Red Cross Raised Half a Billion Dollars for Haiti ­and Built Six Homes

Justin Elliott and Laura Sullivan, ProPublica

June 3, 2015

THE NEIGHBORHOOD OF CAMPECHE sprawls up a steep hillside in Haiti’s capital city, Port-au-Prince. Goats rustle in trash that goes forever uncollected. Children kick a deflated volleyball in a dusty lot below a wall with a hand-painted logo of the American Red Cross.

In late 2011, the Red Cross launched a multimillion-dollar project to transform the desperately poor area, which was hit hard by the earthquake that struck Haiti the year before. The main focus of the project — called LAMIKA, an acronym in Creole for “A Better Life in My Neighborhood” — was building hundreds of permanent homes.

Today, not one home has been built in Campeche. Many residents live in shacks made of rusty sheet metal, without access to drinkable water, electricity or basic sanitation. When it rains, their homes flood and residents bail out mud and water.

The Red Cross received an outpouring of donations after the quake, nearly half a billion dollars.

 

Click HERE for the full text.

Haiti’s List of Presidential Candidates Yet to Be Finalized

June 3, 2015 - 09:00

23 of the 70 hopefuls registered for Haiti’s presidential race were contested. The Provisional Electoral Council, in charge of running the elections, hasn’t released a final list of candidates yet but so far, electoral judges have recommended three people for disqualification. Among them is Haiti’s controversial ex-Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe. The human rights group RNDDH is also advocating for disqualification of certain other candidates on moral grounds, such as involvement with kidnappings, murders and rapes.

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

Former Haiti PM Lamothe’s presidential bid rejected

Jacqueline Charles, Miami Herald

June 3, 2015

Former Haitian Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe is among three individuals whose candidacy for president is being recommended for disqualification by electoral judges.

Of the 70 people who filed to run for president, the candidacies of 23, including Lamothe, were contested. Judges have recommended to elections officials that 13 be allowed to move forward. No opinion was given in seven of the cases, including that of former Police Chief Mario Andresol and Foreign Minister Duly Brutus, according to a list posted late Tuesday by Haiti’s Provisional Electoral Council (CEP) and read over radio airwaves.

Rejected candidates or citizens now have 72 hours to challenge the recommendations to an appeals board for final arbitration.

Lamothe lawyer Salim Succar says he plans to appeal the judges’ decision. Succar had previously gone to court and received a judge’s order that said Lamothe should be allowed to compete in the elections.

…Click HERE for the full text.

Plusieurs candidats aux législatives en Haïti impliquées dans des crimes

June 3, 2015 - 08:18

Jusqu’à présent, il semble que le Conseil Electoral Provisoire (CEP) respecte les lois concernant les prochaines élections en Haïti. Mais le CEP peut s’améliorer quand il vient à la moralité des candidats aux législatives. Le Réseau National de Défense des Droits Humains (RNDDH) a publiée une liste des candidats qui sont impliqués dans la perpétration de crimes graves, mais sont agréés par le CEP. Selon la loi haïtienne, un candidat doit avoir un certificat de bonne vie et mœurs, et aucune poursuite pénale contre lui.

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

Haïti – Élections : Des dizaines de candidats aux législatives à la moralité douteuse (liste)

HaitiLibre

3 juin 2015

Le Réseau National de Défense des Droits Humains (RNDDH), qui assure le monitoring du processus électoral, a pris le soin d’analyser la liste définitive des candidats agréés pour les élections législatives de 2015 publiée par le Conseil Electoral Provisoire (CEP)http://www.haitilibre.com/article-13983-haiti-flash-le-cep-accepte-341-nouveaux-candidats-liste.html ethttp://www.haitilibre.com/article-13875-haiti-flash-liste-definitive-des-candidats-agrees.html , le RNDDH affirme que les noms de nombreux individus en conflit avec la Loi figurent dans la liste des candidats aux Législatives agréés par le CEP. Ils sont impliqués dans la perpétration de crimes graves. Certains ont été arrêtés, gardés dans des Commissariats ou des Sous-Commissariats du pays, incarcérés pour être ensuite irrégulièrement ou provisoirement libérés.

Le RNDDH se propose de partager avec tous ceux que la question intéresse, un fait troublant portant spécifiquement sur la moralité des candidats aux législatives et qui est de nature à inquiéter tous les citoyens haïtiens.

Rappelons que le décret électoral du 2 mars 2015 http://www.haitilibre.com/article-13316-haiti-elections-le-premier-ministre-paul-remet-le-decret-electoral-au-cep.html actuellement en vigueur, en son article 90 exige que «Pour être recevable, le dossier de déclaration de candidature à tous les postes électifs doit, par ailleurs, être munis des pièces suivantes :

e) Un certificat de bonne vie et mœurs, délivré par le Juge de Paix de la commune dans laquelle réside le candidat, auquel est annexé un certificat du greffe du Tribunal de Première Instance du lieu de son domicile attestant qu’il n’existe, contre lui, aucune poursuite pénale ayant abouti à une peine afflictive ou infamante ;»

 

Cliquez ICI pour le texte complet.

European Law Scholars Support Cholera Appeal

June 3, 2015 - 08:16

IJDH has appealed the dismissal of its cholera case against the United Nations (UN). Fifteen European law scholars and practitioners signed the following Amicus Brief in support of IJDH’s appeal.

Click HERE for the full document.

BRIEF OF EUROPEAN LAW SCHOLARS AND PRACTITIONERS AS AMICI CURIAE IN SUPPORT OF PLAINTIFFS-APPELLANTS AND SUPPORTING REVERSAL

Monica Iyer

June 3, 2015

INTEREST OF AMICI CURIAE
Amici curiae 1 are professors and scholars of European and human rights
law who have substantial experience researching, publishing and litigating on
the approach of European courts to international organization immunity.2 In
particular, amici possess expertise in how courts confronted with international
organization immunity in jurisdictions outside the United States have applied
such immunity in a manner that comports with international law and respects
individuals’ human right to access effective remedies. Amici have a strong
interest in ensuring that immunity is not interpreted in a way that violates this
right. They submit their brief in support of Plaintiffs-Appellants’ position that immunity should not be accorded in this case, where doing so would deny Plaintiffs-Appellants’ access to any means to obtain redress for the harms they have suffered.
Therefore, amici respectfully seek to leave to file an amicus curiae brief
pursuant to Fed. R. App. P. 29 and Local Rule 29.1, in support of Plaintiffs-
Appellants’ Principal Appellate Brief and in support of reversal of the District Court’s decision to dismiss their case. The proposed brief is submitted herewith.

Click HERE for the full document.

International Law Scholars Urge District Court to Reverse Cholera Dismissal

June 3, 2015 - 07:56

The United Nations (UN) is directly responsible for the catastrophic cholera epidemic in Haiti, although it denies accountability. In January 2015, a NY District Court judge dismissed the cholera case against the UN. Twenty-two international law scholars, including the author, have signed the following Amicus Brief in support of IJDH’s appeal.

Click HERE for the full document.

BRIEF OF INTERNATIONAL LAW SCHOLARS AND PRACTITIONERS AS AMICI CURIAE IN SUPPORT OF PLAINTIFFS-APPELLANTS AND SUPPORTING REVERSAL

Muneer I. Ahmad

June 3, 2015

INTEREST OF AMICI CURIAE
Amici curiae 1 are professors and scholars of international law, including
those who have researched, published and taught on the law of international
organizations.2 Several amici also work frequently with international
organizations. Amici possess expertise on the nature and scope of international
organizational immunity, the drafting history of the Convention on Privileges
and Immunities of the United Nations, the Status of Forces Agreement between
the United Nations and the government Haiti, and the history of third party
claims settlement practice of the United Nations. Amici are therefore interested in ensuring a proper interpretation of international law as it applies in this case.
Therefore, amici respectfully seek to leave to file an amicus curiae brief
pursuant to Fed. R. App. P. 29 and Local Rule 29.1, in support of Plaintiffs-
Appellants’ Principal Appellate Brief and in support of reversal of the District
Court’s decision to dismiss their case. The proposed brief is submitted
herewith.

Click HERE for the full document.

Former UN Officials Support Appeal of Cholera Case Dismissal

June 3, 2015 - 07:49

On January 9, 2015, a NY District Court judge dismissed the Cholera case against the UN, a decision that was subsequently appealed by IJDH. The following Amicus Brief, in support of IJDH’s appeal of the case, was signed by six former UN officials.

Click HERE for the full document.

Memorandum of Law of Amici Curiae Former United Nations Officials in Support of Plaintiffs-Appellants

Howard Schiffman & Daniel L. Greenberg

June 3, 2015

Preliminary Statement:

Amici respectfully submit this brief in support of Plaintiffs-Appellants’ appeal of the District Court’s dismissal of this action on the grounds that the United Nations (“UN”) is immune from suit in U.S. courts, notwithstanding its failure to offer any redress or process in response to the Haitian cholera victims’ tort claims.

Interests of Amici Curiae:

Amici are a group of six former senior UN officials with extensive experience in a diverse set of roles at the highest levels of the UN, including a former Under-Secretary General, Permanent Representative, Deputy Executive Director of a UN agency, Director of a UN bureau, and Special Rapporteurs on the human rights to physical health, safe drinking water, and sanitation.2 experience and insight, Amici write to provide their perspective on critical policy issues raised by this appeal that are relevant to the Court’s decision, as well as the impact that the Court’s decision will have on the UN’s ability to fulfill its mandate.

Notwithstanding the historical and practical importance of the UN’s immunity to fulfill its mission, Amici respectfully submit that affirming the District Court will allow the UN to act with impunity for both the injuries its actions have caused and its refusal to provide any redress or process to the victims of the Haitian cholera disaster. The UN’s actions in this case unquestionably violate its express obligations to provide adequate remedies for victims of private law claims. They also are contrary to the values the UN professes, including the importance of the rule of law and access to remedies as a fundamental human right. Endorsing the UN’s position is not only contrary to the very foundation for its immunity, it will threaten the UN’s legitimacy and its ability to fulfill its vital mission.

Click HERE for the full document.

BAI Hosts Seminars with Human Rights Experts and Students

June 2, 2015 - 13:25

June 1, 2015

May was a great month for human rights collaboration at the BAI office in Port-au-Prince. From presentations by human rights legends to student delegation visits, there was a strong focus on examining human rights problems in Haiti, and working together towards solutions.

The series of seminars started with renowned civil rights lawyer Walter Riley, who spoke to BAI’s Young Lawyers Program about the parallel struggles for justice for blacks in the United States and Haiti. Mr. Riley is a veteran civil rights advocate who participated in sit-ins and desegregation demonstrations, defended anti-war activists and has been a vocal supporter of Haiti’s democracy.

On May 19, he spoke to the BAI about the history of racialized oppression in the United States, and his current work representing racial justice activists. Many of the young lawyers were struck by the similarities between the Black Lives Matter movement and current political struggles in Haiti.

The Young Lawyers Program was also visited by Canadian prosecutor, Jean Roch-Poulin. Mr. Poulin is a seasoned prosecutor and advocate who has visited Haiti several times with the International Senior Lawyers Project. From May 15 to May 19, Mr. Poulin gave a series of talks on professional ethics, standards of proof and a comparative analysis of the legal systems in Canada and Haiti. His seminar on how to resolve ethical dilemmas truly resonated with BAI’s young lawyers, as many gave personal accounts of the dilemmas they have faced in their work, and lamented the fact that legal ethics are not uniformly taught in Haitian law schools.

Lastly, BAI’s Managing Attorney Mario Joseph treated a group of students from Centenary College of Louisiana to a passionate talk on BAI’s Civic Engagement Program and the struggle for human rights in Haiti. Two of these students shared their reflections on the visit and their appreciation for those who are fighting for justice in Haiti, despite the odds and lack of recognition.

Centenary College junior DeiAnna Hall wrote, “People like him inspire me to become a person who looks to help, not for the sake of myself, but for those who aren’t fortunate enough. With so many corrupt things going on in this world and especially in Haiti, I find the BAI to be a blessing. So, as in the [words of] Mario Joseph, for whenever there is an attempt to stop the advancement of people and the community, “Nou la,” which means “We’re here.”

Junior Rebecca Thompson echoed these thoughts, writing, “I learned that in Haiti every project should include community building. Whether it is science, philosophy, law, or any other discipline, community is central for projects to be successful here. Mario Joseph works very hard to be close to the people he wants to help and to respect what they need and want . . . Mario Joseph helped to kick that ball down the mountain, now it is gaining momentum. I will always think of him when I reach the next mountain.”

Centenary College students with their Philosophy Professor

American Friends Service Committee Hiring Country Rep

June 1, 2015 - 14:25

American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) is now hiring a full-time Country Representative for their work in Haiti. Benefits are included. Details below. Learn more about AFSC on their site, here.

Department: International Programs

Location: Port au Prince, Haiti

Application Deadline: June 21, 2015

Summary of Principal Responsibilities

The Country Representative is responsible for the overall management and program direction, legal obligations, reporting, and stewardship of all AFSC resources. The Representative serves as official representative of the AFSC; manages contacts in Haiti with government ministries, UN agencies, and local and international NGOs. He/she reports to Regional Director for Latin America and Caribbean, supervises Haiti program staff; consults and collaborates with Philadelphia based staff and others as appropriate.

Essential Functions/Responsibilities: The key responsibilities of the Country Representative, Haiti include the following:

 

Program Development and Management

  1. Plan, develop and provide overall management and coordination for AFSC’s longer term relief, recovery and development programs in Haiti, within the context of the AFSC, International Programs and Latin America and Caribbean strategic plans.
  2. Ensure programs are developed and implemented adhering to AFSC principles and internationally accepted program quality standards.
  3. Incorporate and adapt regional strategies into program approaches and contribute to regional and organizational learning.
  4. Working with AFSC U.S. based staff, seek and nurture opportunities for collaboration and joint programming as appropriate.
  5. Participate in regional strategic planning activities and other joint planning and program review meetings as required.
  6. Establish regular program monitoring and evaluation procedures in close collaboration with the Regional office, the International Programs unit and others in the AFSC central office.
  7. Ensure timely and accurate annual and semi-annual narrative reports, reports to appropriate Haitian authorities and regular correspondence and written reports to the Latin America and Caribbean Regional Director.

     

    Representation and Networking 

  1. Develop, strengthen, and expand AFSC contacts in Haiti. Articulate AFSC’s basic philosophical and faith-based commitments as appropriate, including the organization’s commitment to a nonviolent approach to conflict and long-term strategy for peacebuilding.
  2. Establish and strengthen institutional relationship and partnerships with Haitian institutions, government ministries, international NGOs, coordinating bodies, and UN agency officials.
  3. Develop familiarity with government reconstruction, and urban security plans, and other INGO and local NGO peace-building, relief, and development efforts. Participate in INGO coordinating meetings as appropriate and relevant.
  4. Provide to LAC Regional Director timely information on changes in the national/regional context or program locations that affect AFSC work.

     

    Stewardship of Resources

  1. Ensure sound fiscal management of supervised programs including oversight of budgeting and accounting procedures defined by AFSC and donor partners; preparation and timely processing of monthly financial reports; oversight of contracts, equipment and materials.
  2. With the guidance of the LAC Regional Director, the Development and Communications Departments in the AFSC central office, contribute to the planning and implementation of fundraising and communication strategies including preparation of materials, periodic donor visits in Haiti, speaking tours in the U.S. and Europe as agreed upon.

     

    Administration and Supervision 

  1. Develop country-relevant personnel and administrative policies and procedures; establish salary structure and benefits; oversee registration of the offices with government agencies as needed, consistent with AFSC guidelines and in consultation with LAC Regional Director.
  2. Recruit, hire, and supervise national staff, including staff development, performance planning and review. Ensure that all staff are familiar with and work toward the long-term vision and strategic goals of AFSC and incorporate the organization’s values and principles in their work.
  3. Following the guidelines of AFSC’s security policies, develop security protocol, manage emergency situations as they arise, and make recommendations to the LAC Regional Director regarding security and emergency response.

Minimum Qualifications

Education: Bachelor’s degree or equivalent experience. Master’s degree in international development, peace studies or urban studies is desirable.

 

Experience:

  1. Six years of experience with increasing responsibility in international development work, including planning and managing humanitarian assistance, recovery and development programs and budgets.   Experience with peacebuilding programs a plus.
  2. Fluency in written and spoken English and French; demonstrated ability to report orally and in writing; ability to write and edit materials for publication in English. Knowledge of Creole a plus.
  3. Experience working and living outside of one’s own country in the global south.
  4. Experience supervising staff in multi-cultural settings.

 

Other Required Skills and Abilities:

  1. Commitment to Quaker values and testimonies. Understanding of and compatibility with the principles and philosophy of the American Friends Service Committee including non-violence and the belief in the intrinsic worth of every individual.
  2. Understanding of and commitment to the principles, concerns, and considerations, of AFSC in regard to issues of race, class, nationality, religion, age, gender and sexual orientation, and disabilities. Demonstrated ability to work and communicate with diverse staff.
  3. Proven ability to work with diverse staff and to reach out collaboratively to individuals, groups and organizations.
  4. Track record of managing complex programs, ideally with an emphasis in conflict resolution or transformation and peacebuilding, and in urban settings. Demonstrated experience in strategic thinking, fundraising, grant writing, program planning and implementation.
  5. Ability to work independently in an unstructured setting and program, yet within a framework of long-distance communication, consultation, and decision making.
  6. Capacity for coping in situations of high risk and in compliance with security measures, to work under pressure, and to organize time effectively.
  7. Demonstrated administrative ability, including experience with staff supervision, financial management, narrative and financial reporting, and budgeting
  8. Understanding of macroeconomic and political developments in the world and the ability to interpret their impact within the context of regional issues and concerns.
  9. Experience with peace-building, conflict transformation programs, and nonviolent approaches to problem solving highly desirable.
  10. Ability to travel regularly, nationally and internationally, and to attend frequent evening and weekend meetings, working overtime as needed.
  11. Excellent computer skills.

Compensation: Salary range starts at $60,440 – Exempt – Comprehensive medical and hospitalization plan; term life, accident and salary continuation insurances, defined benefit pension plan, plus fringe benefits.

The American Friends Service Committee is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer. Qualified persons are encouraged to apply regardless of their religious affiliation, race, age, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation or disability.

“AFSC’s Central Office and some of its offices in the U.S. are unionized workplaces. This position is not represented.”

The American Friends Service Committee is a smoke-free workplace.

Protests in Canada over Deportations to Haiti and Zimbabwe

May 31, 2015 - 08:16

Hundreds of Canadians protested this past weekend against the likely deportation of thousands of Haitian and Zimbabwean migrants that had been denied refugee or immigration status in Canada. Until recently, these individuals were allowed to remain under humanitarian grounds. However, the Canadian government has lifted this protection, putting them at great risk of deportation to unsafe and uninhabitable conditions in their countries of origin.

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

About 500 march against deportation of migrants to Haiti and Zimbabwe

Susan Semenak, Montreal Gazette

May 31, 2015

About 500 people marched Sunday afternoon in Montreal in support of people facing deportation to Haiti and Zimbabwe. They walked from the St. Michel métro station to Jarry Park. It’s a protest march held every year to demand an end to the deportations of tens of thousands of people who are refused refugee and immigration status in Canada.

But Sunday’s march was especially important, says organizer Romina Hernandez of Solidarity Across Borders, because as of Monday, some 3,500 people from Haiti and Zimbabwe who have been rejected as refugees lose all status in Canada.

 

Click HERE for the original article.

More Incriminating Details Released on UN Sexual Abuse Scandal

May 29, 2015 - 08:55

Earlier this year, UN officials came under fire for attempting to cover up sexual abuse by French peacekeepers in the Central African Republic by suspending a whistleblower. More details about this scandal have now been revealed: UN officials knew about the abuse for months and when they failed to act, a staff member, Anders Kompass, passed the information along to the French government. When France began to investigate, UN officials became determined to fire Kompass but settled on suspending him when he threatened to make the information public. The investigation is ongoing and organizations like AIDS-Free World are demanding accountability for peacekeeper sexual abuse.
 
Part of the press release is below. Click HERE for the full text.
 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT
Gill Mathurin: +1 646-924-1710 (EDT), gm@aidsfreeworld.org
Christina Magill: +1 416-657-4458 (EDT), clm@aidsfreeworld.org

TOP UN OFFICIALS IGNORED CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE, PLOTTED REMOVAL OF SENIOR UN HUMAN RIGHTS OFFICIAL

— New leaks of internal documents and emails show high-level UN staff knew of CAR abuse and failed to act, plotted Anders Kompass’ removal —
Read AIDS-Free World’s full statement here and view the previously unseen UN documents.
Download a PDF version of this statement.

May 29, 2015 (New York) — AIDS-Free World has obtained several previously unreleased internal UN documents, memos, and emails that implicate high-level United Nations officials in ignoring documented child sex abuse by international peacekeepers in the Central African Republic (CAR), of making no attempt to stop the ongoing crimes or protect children, and then attempting to cover up the UN’s inaction.
UN interviews with child victims of sexual abuse first surfaced on April 29, 2015 after AIDS-Free World leaked the document to the Guardian newspaper. Printed on the letterhead of MINUSCA, the UN peacekeeping mission in CAR, the interviews detail multiple cases of forced oral sex and anal rape by troops from France, Equatorial Guinea, and Chad.
Additional internal documents that AIDS-Free World is releasing today show that as early as May 19th, 2014, officials in MINUSCA, in the UN’s Office for the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), and in UNICEF knew that peacekeepers working closely with the UN were regularly preying on hungry 8- to 15-year-old boys, promising them food and cash. UN staff continued to document the children’s testimonies and collect evidence while higher-ranking officials who were handed each completed interview neither alerted authorities nor intervened to prevent further crimes. A final compilation of interviews only made its way to New York and Geneva in mid-July, two months after the interviewing began.

 
Click HERE for the full text.

Early Start to Rainy Season Brings Cholera Spike

May 28, 2015 - 15:39

Since cholera was brought to Haiti by UN peacekeepers in 2010, each rainy season has brought concerns of a surge in cholera cases. This year was no different as the rainy season arrived early, signalling a harsh year for Haitians without proper water and sanitation. While the UN still maintains its commitment to eradicating cholera, it still hasn’t accepted responsibility for the epidemic or provided redress to the victims. Meanwhile, cholera treatment centers continue to treat new patients.
 

Cholera Surges In Haiti As Rain Arrives Early

Peter Granitz, NPR
May 28, 2015

 
At a government-run clinic in Diquini, near Port-au-Prince, doctors are treating a handful of cholera patients.

One of them is Givenchi Predelus. For five days, the high school sophomore has been lying on a cot with a towel over his midsection and an IV in his arm, listening to tinny music on his bare-bones cellphone.

Predelus speaks in a whisper, a sign of what cholera has done to his strength. “Only one other person in my area has cholera,” he says, through an interrupter. “She sells patties on the side of the road. I’m the second victim.”

Cholera causes profuse diarrhea and vomiting, which can lead to death by dehydration, sometimes within a matter of hours.

An unusually early start to the rainy season has brought a spike in the waterborne bacteria — and thus the number of infections. In the first four months of this year, the number of reported cholera cases was nearly 400 percent higher than that reported in the same period in 2014.

This outbreak in Haiti has been ongoing since October 2010 — 10 months after the catastrophic earthquake. So far, nearly 9,000 people have died, and more than 730,000 have been infected.

Scientific studies show that U.N. peacekeepers from Nepal likely imported the bacteria causing the outbreak in 2010. The U.N. says it’s committed to eradicating cholera from Haiti, but it hasn’t accepted responsibility for inadvertently introducing the disease.

An unprecedented surge in cholera cases at the end of the last year and a harsh, early start to the rains mean this year will be bleak, says Oliver Schulz, who, until last week, led Doctors Without Borders’ mission in Haiti.

Some illegal behavior could be contributing to the spread of the disease, Schulz says. “People [are] breaking the official water pipes to illegally take the water,” he says. “There’s the risk of contamination. If you have an open water pipe on the ground, and there’s a heavy rain, perhaps there’s a latrine nearby that floods into the pipe, and it contaminates the whole system.”

More than 15,000 people have been infected and another 126 have died this year, says Haiti’s health ministry.

But despite the grim totals, the number are slowing. The health ministry says 2,400 cases were reported last month, which is down from 4,000 in January.

Back at the cholera treatment center, a man rushes in with his 1-year-old daughter. She already has an IV in her arm. She is vomiting, and workers rush to surround her metal cot with buckets.

Workers at a clinic near the man’s home sent him and his daughter by motorcycle taxi here because the clinic is better equipped than the one nearby.

Across the room, Rinel Mathurin holds her 3-year old daughter, Williana, who after three days of treatment can finally sit up.

Rinel says the center staff told her to watch Williana’s interactions with other kids to avoid spreading infections — and to purify the home’s water to keep other kids safe.

“We need to treat the water we drink with chlorine tabs,” Rinel says through an interrupter. “We need to clean the house with Clorox. We need to buy chlorine tabs.”

But chlorine tabs at the market cost money, she says. And she’s not sure she can afford them.
 
Click HERE for the original article and audio.

Haitian Heritage Month with Irish International Immigrant Center

May 28, 2015 - 14:30

Join the Irish International Immigrant Center for a short film and a conversation on the Haitian Family Reunification Parole Program (HFRPP), the Guantanamo crisis between 1991 and 1994, and the status of Haitian and American Diplomacy today. Light refreshments will be served.
 
Panel Discussion led by:
– Lindsay Day, Project Manager of Confronting Guantánamo Project – Northeastern University
– Brian Concannon, Executive Director, Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti
– Leticia M. Ripalda, Workforce Program Coordinator, Cuban/Haitian Entrant Program –MA Office of Refugees and Immigrants
– Moderator: Charlot Lucien, Haitian Community Leader and Activist
 
WHERE:
Irish International Immigrant Center
100 Franklin Street Lower Level
Boston, MA 02110
(Enter at 201 Devonshire Street)
 
WHEN:
Thursday, May 28, 2015
5:30-7:30 pm
 
To RSVP or for more information, contact Johanne Méléance:
Phone: 617.542.7654 ext. 13
Email: jmeleance@iiicenter.org
Please reserve your spot in advance.
 
HERE‘s another short video of IJDH Board member Ira Kurzban explaining how Haitian refugees were first brought to Guantanamo, and his work to fight this human rights violation.

Haitian Flag Day at the State House

May 28, 2015 - 10:00

State Senator Linda Dorcena Forry, State Rep Dan Cullinane, and the Massachusetts Black & Latino Legislative Caucus present Haitian Flag Day. Join them in celebrating the rich history and culture of Haitian Heritage Month. Meet artists and leaders from the Haitian community and enjoy delicious local cuisine.

WHERE:
Nurse’s Hall
Massachusetts State House

WHEN:
Thursday May 28, 2015
1 – 2:30pm

For more information, contact Teddy Chery at 617-722-1150.

BAI/IJDH and Cholera Victims Appeal Court’s Dismissal of Their Case

May 27, 2015 - 20:53

In October 2010, United Nations (UN) peacekeepers caused a deadly cholera epidemic in Haiti. Although over 8,000 Haitians have died of the disease and over 700,000 have been sickened, the UN has provided no method for cholera victims and their families to make claims and seek redress. Cholera victims and their lawyers had a hearing of their case against the UN in October 2014 but the judge dismissed the case on the grounds that the UN can’t be sued. In the brief below (just the intro is included), cholera victims and their lawyers appeal the judge’s decision.
Click HERE for the full document.

Principal Appellate Brief of Plaintiffs

May 27, 2015

INTRODUCTION
This case presents an issue of first impression for U.S. courts: whether the United Nations (“UN”) may benefit from immunity under the Convention on the Privileges and Immunities of the United Nations (“CPIUN”), Feb. 13, 1946, 21 U.S.T. 1418, 1 U.N.T.S. 16 (SA-14-37), when it has not complied with its obligation under that treaty to provide modes to settle claims arising from its tortious acts.
The case is a class action lawsuit arising out of the largest cholera epidemic in the world. This epidemic, which has killed and sickened hundreds of thousands of people, was caused by the UN’s discharge of untreated human waste into Haiti’s largest river system. The CPIUN generally grants the UN immunity from suit and service of process, but also unequivocally requires the UN to “make provisions for appropriate modes” to settle private law claims such as those that the Plaintiffs in this case—Haitian and American victims of the cholera epidemic—have against the organization for the harms it caused. § 29(a). The UN violated this requirement by refusing to make any such provisions for the cholera victims’ claims.
The UN’s violation of Section 29 of the CPIUN renders immunity under the treaty unavailable for two reasons: First, compliance with Section 29 is a condition precedent to the UN’s entitlement to immunity, which has not been satisfied here. Second, failure to comply with Section 29 constitutes a material breach of the treaty such that the UN is not entitled to the treaty’s protections. Accordingly, the decision of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York to dismiss the case on the grounds that the UN, as well as its codefendants the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (“MINUSTAH”), a UN subsidiary; UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon; and Edmond Mulet, former Special Representative of the Secretary-General (collectively, “Defendants”), were entitled to immunity was incorrect as a matter of law. The District Court’s application of immunity where Plaintiffs have been denied all alternative means to seek redress was also erroneous because it violated the U.S. Plaintiffs’ constitutional rights to access the courts. The decision results in an expansive application of immunity previously unrecognized by U.S. courts and unintended by the drafters of the CPIUN.
In reaching its decision, the District Court improperly relied on Brzak v. United Nations—a case that is inapposite here because it did not address the legal consequences of the UN’s breach of the CPIUN. See SA-1-8 (Oetken, J.) (citing Brzak v. United Nations, 597 F.3d 107, 112 (2d Cir. 2010)). Brzak was brought by employees of a UN agency who had access to, and used, an internal claims review process. Those plaintiffs argued that the UN had waived its immunity pursuant to Section 2 of the CPIUN, not that it was no longer entitled to immunity after having violated Section 29. Thus, although in Brzak this Court recognized the “absolute immunity” generally available to the UN under the CPIUN, the Court did not have occasion to consider whether that immunity remains available even when the CPIUN has been violated and no alternative remedy whatsoever exists.For any and all of the foregoing reasons, Plaintiffs respectfully urge this Court to reverse the District Court’s dismissal and to remand the case to proceed forward on its merits. Such a ruling would preclude UN immunity in the narrow circumstance where the organization has refused to provide any mode to settle private law claims by tort victims in violation of the CPIUN. It would not unduly expose the UN to the threat of vexatious litigation, as the UN would simply need to comply with its promise under the treaty to guarantee its immunity.

Click HERE for the full document.