Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti

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Haiti’s trials just beginning as world shifts focus

November 7, 2016 - 08:46

Mark Schuller discusses the lack of response in Haiti post-Hurricane Matthew. From Haiti’s historic centralization to the agricultural crisis, Schuller highlights the need for a much stronger response.

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

As The World Looks Elsewhere, Haiti’s Disaster Is Just Beginning

Mark Schuller, Huffington Post

November 7, 2016

I returned from my shortest trip to Haiti last week, back to DeKalb, Illinois, an agribusiness hub, hosting Nestle and Monsanto processing plants. Most cornfields have been harvested. The Cubs won the world series for the first time in 108 years. Another of Illinois’ home grown, Hillary Rodham Clinton, has an 84% likelihood of being elected the U.S. first female president in a couple of days, per the New York Times.

Meanwhile Haiti is all but forgotten.

A month ago, Hurricane Matthew ripped through Haiti. News from the assessment was slow to arrive…

 

Click HERE for the full article.

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees seeks temporary Protection Associate

November 7, 2016 - 08:17

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)
Washington, D.C.
Temporary Appointment (TA)
External Vacancy Announcement

 

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is seeking a temporary Protection Associate for its Regional Office in Washington, D.C.

 

TITLE: Protection Associate (Caribbean Protection Unit)
CATEGORY / GRADE: General Service 6 (G6)
TYPE OF APPOINTMENT: 3-4 month Temporary Appointment (TA) (beginning December 1, 2016 or January 2, 2017 through March 17, 2017)

 

The Protection Associate (TA) will be a member of the Caribbean Protection Unit (CPU) in UNHCR’s Washington regional office, under the supervision of the Senior Regional Protection Officer. The CPU monitors the protection of persons of concern to UNHCR in 27 countries and territories in the Caribbean. The vast majority of these countries and territories do not have functioning asylum systems. As a result, UNHCR conducts refugee status determination (RSD) under its mandate and/or provides Advisory Opinions on individual cases for asylum-seekers in a number of countries in the Caribbean. The Protection Associate will contribute to UNHCR’s mandate RSD activities in the Caribbean, as well as a number of other strategic protection interventions, including: promoting alternatives to detention for asylum-seekers, providing support to Caribbean governments to strengthen and establish asylum procedures, and participating in ongoing capacity-building efforts with government authorities and local partner organizations.

 

ACCOUNTABILITY:

  • -The protection of asylum-seekers, refugees and stateless persons is promoted through the application of international and national law, relevant UN/UNHCR protection standards and IASC principles.
  • -Protection activities are guided by the CPU protection strategy and respect UNHCR’s policy on age, gender and diversity (AGD).
  • -Protection incidents relating to persons of concern to UNHCR are immediately identified and addressed.

 

DUTIES:

  • -Support initiatives to advocate with and support government authorities and legal partners to establish and strengthen fair and efficient asylum procedures and RSD decision-making in the Caribbean.
  • -Draft correspondence and reports relating to the RSD activities of the operation.
  • -Assist with conducting interviews and preparing written assessments of asylum-seekers’ claims as part of UNHCR mandate RSD activities in the Caribbean.
  • -Conduct research on country of origin information (COI) and other issues related to RSD.
  • -Stay abreast of legal, political, security and other developments which impact on the protection environment in the Caribbean , and in particular, on protection delivery through RSD.
  • -Provide counselling to, and respond to queries from, asylum-seekers and refugees.
  • -Maintain accurate and up-to date records and data related to all work on individual cases.
  • -Assist in developing and maintaining processes to ensure that persons of concern, authorities and partners have accurate information on the RSD procedures, including UNHCR standards, policies and practice.

 

REQUIRED QUALIFICATIONS:

  • -University degree in international law, political science or related field.
  • -Minimum 6 years of relevant professional job experience.
  • -Strong research and analytical skills, oral and written communication skills.
  • -Fluency in English.
  • -Authorization to work in the United States.

 

DESIRABLE QUALIFICATIONS:

  • -Demonstrated experience working with procedures and principles related to asylum and refugee status determination
  • -Knowledge of International Refugee Law and Human Rights Law and ability to apply relevant legal principles.
  • -Experience counselling asylum-seekers or refugees.
  • -Experience working with vulnerable or traumatized individuals.
  • -Completion of UNHCR’s RSD Learning Programme, COI Learning Programme, or Protection Learning Programme.
  • -Working knowledge of another UN language (including Spanish or Arabic).

 

APPLICATION DEADLINE: November 13, 2016

 

To apply, send a copy of your completed P11 form, a cover letter and resume to: usawaadm@unhcr.org and note in the subject line “Protection Associate (Caribbean) – G6 Temporary Appointment.”

 

Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted.

How the UN Has Failed to Accept Responsibility for the Cholera Epidemic

November 3, 2016 - 11:19

Since the outbreak of cholera in Haiti in 2010, the UN has yet to accept legal responsibility for the epidemic, although it is widely accepted in the medical and scientific fields that the presence of UN peacekeeping forces is what caused it.  It took five years for Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to admit to the UN’s moral responsibility to Haitians in light of the conflict, and Special Rapporteur Philip Alston comments on the poor legal advice that may have gotten the UN to this point.

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

Cholera in Haiti: Has Poor Legal Advice Undermined Efforts to Stop the Crisis?

Ana S. Ayala, O’Neill Institute

November 3, 2016

With only two months left in office, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has announced a $400 million planto eradicate cholera in Haiti, known as the Haiti Cholera Response Multi-Partner Trust Fund (MPTF). Close to 10,000 people have died and around 800,000 people have been infected in Haiti as a result of a cholera epidemic introduced by U.N. peacekeepers in 2010 in the wake of the earthquake that devastated the country. The United Nations surprised the world with its refusal to apologize to the Haitian people and admit legal responsibility for failing to properly screen its peacekeepers from illnesses. The argument? Legal immunity from lawsuits in national courts, a stance that the U.N. continues to hold onto despite the serious criticism that the organization has received since the epidemic started.

The U.N.’s unwavering position has raised serious questions about a double-standard, particularly from an organization that has always proclaimed the importance of fundamental principles that include accountability. To no one’s surprise, the U.N.’s reputation has taken a toll for the organization’s actions and inactions. After all, it took five years since the outbreak and various calls for U.N. accountability for Secretary-General Ban to publicly state that the U.N. bears a “moral responsibility” to help the cholera victims, and yet, the U.N. has not admitted legal responsibility or offered an apology to the Haitian people.

Click HERE for the full article.

Former UN Staffer Discusses Accountability for Sexual Abuse and Cholera

November 3, 2016 - 10:02

Célhia de Lavarène, a French journalist who worked for many years at the United Nations, discusses the lack of accountability for sexual abuse by peacekeepers and cholera the UN brought to Haiti.

Former UN staffer speaks out about sex abuse scandals

France24

November 3, 2016

Click HERE for the original post.

Faith-based Groups Put Pressure on UN for Cholera Deaths

November 3, 2016 - 06:24

In response to the UN-introduced cholera outbreak in Haiti, IJDH and Mennonite Central Committee collaborated in the Face Justice campaign for the past year to bring attention to the victims’ and survivors’ stories. This article highlights faith-based groups who joined the effort, including the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and Church World Service. IJDH director Brian Concannon notes the network of support includes lawyers, scientists, and doctors, who separately work to benefit the UN’s victims.

“This collaborative, network-based strategy,” Concannon said, “is exciting and a template for how you can do broad social change.”

Below is part of the article from Christian Century. Read the full article HERE.

Faith-based groups, others put pressure on UN for its role in Haiti cholera deaths

Every family in Joseph Dade Guiwil’s community has been harmed by the cholera epidemic in Haiti, the worst outbreak in recent history.

“I say to the UN: give us justice,” Guiwil told Katharine Oswald of Mennonite Central Committee, a Christian relief and development organization.

United Nations peacekeepers have been found to be the source of the cholera outbreak that began six years ago and has killed thousands. MCC has joined other faith-based organizations, Haitian groups, and others in a call for the UN to accept moral responsibility.

“This call for justice for cholera victims in Haiti has been strong and consistent throughout the past six years,” Oswald said.

The devastation of Hurricane Matthew in early October left people with even fewer resources to prevent cholera, which often spreads through contaminated water and causes dehydration that can kill people within hours if they do not receive medical attention. The hurricane ripped away cholera prevention centers as well as health-care facilities and people’s latrines, said Oswald, who has been based in Port-au-Prince with her husband, Ted Oswald, for the past two years but who is currently working in the United States.

As nongovernmental organizations and state authorities respond to the thousands of new infections since the hurricane, some groups are continuing to put pressure on the UN to take responsibility for introducing cholera to Haiti.

“There was waste that was improperly disposed of that leaked into a tributary that spread into the Artibonite River, which is Haiti’s main water source,”  Oswald said. “It just hit like wildfire.”

Scientists traced the bacteria in the river to a base of UN peacekeepers from Nepal.

Click HERE for the full article.

Story Slam Fundraiser for Haiti/Hurricane Matthew [EVENT]

November 2, 2016 - 10:24

Join Haitian Americans United, Inc. (HAU) for some good old storytelling/riddles with storytellers Charlot Lucien and Andrea Lovett, and help to raise funds for hurricane Matthew’s victims. Andrea and friends were there after the 2010 earthquake, sharing Haitian stories and helping raise funds to buy art supplies for Jacmel artists. Some of the paintings that came out of this effort will be sold as well. Thanks to long-term partner Brockton Arts for hosting! Proceeds to go to HAU and partners.

So, bring yourselves, the kids, some good laughter and a $10 donation; Crazy Uncle Bouki, slick Ti Malis (characters in Haitian stories) to join in Haitian Creole as well. Please invite others!

WHERE:

33 Dover Street
Brockton, MA

WHEN:

Friday, November 4, 2016
7pm

 

Click HERE for more info and RSVP.

A Human Rights-based Approach to Disaster Response in Haiti

November 2, 2016 - 08:31

While the devastation of Hurricane Matthew recalled the human rights crises that followed Haiti’s 2010 earthquake, it also brought up a topic that wasn’t discussed as much after the earthquake: a rights-based approach to disaster relief. According to international law, a human-rights-based approach entails capacity-building, participation, transparency, accountability, and non-discrimination. Applying all of these principles will allow organizations and funders to truly collaborate with Haitian people and organizations to make sure that there is lasting change long after debris from the Hurricane has been cleaned up.

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

Applying Human Rights Principles to Disaster Response

Karen Ansara and Brian Concannon, International Human Rights Funders Group

November 2, 2016

Hurricane Matthew’s devastation in Haiti provides both a historic opportunity and a daunting challenge to funders who care about human rights. We have the opportunity to help the world do a better job this time–to learn lessons from the response to Haiti’s 2010 earthquake and other disasters, and ensure more concrete, sustainable interventions. We can achieve this by insisting on a human rights-based approach in our own grantmaking and by leveraging our experience to encourage improvements in the larger disaster and recovery response by governments, NGOs and individuals.

Hurricane Matthew struck Haiti on October 4, 2016 with 145 mile-per-hour winds and 20 inches of rain. It destroyed buildings and crops–over 80% of both in many areas—as well as roads and bridges. An estimated 1,000 people died. Haiti’s death toll will likely continue to rise: on October 18 the Haitian Ministry of Health reported 2,189 suspected cases of cholera since the hurricane and an 85% increase in daily reported cholera cases.

The human rights-based approach, established in international law, recommends that response initiatives:

  • -Prioritize capacity-building of the host state and civil society;
  • -Ensure participation of the target population in design and execution;
  • -Practice transparency by making information about the intervention accessible to the community;
  • -Ensure accountability to the target communities and country; and,
  • -Insist on non-discrimination, with particular attention to marginalized groups such as women and people with disabilities.

 

Click HERE for the full text.

UPR: Improving Human Rights in Haiti After Hurricane Matthew

November 1, 2016 - 12:17

WHEN:

Friday, November 4, 2016
1:00 pm

WHERE:

Room XXII
Palais des Nations,
1211 Geneva, Switzerland

 

Click HERE for the flyer.

1804 List Induction Ceremony & Reception

October 31, 2016 - 20:22

The Haitian Roundtable presents its 4th annual 1804 List Event, named in honor of Haiti’s year of independence, recognizing 25 Haitian-American Changemakers and 5 Ones To Watch who are thought leaders, trailblazers, rising stars or unsung heroes who, through their deeds and accomplishments, have helped to create a better understanding of Haiti and the Haitian community.

IJDH collaborators Alix Cantave, Charlot Lucien and Nancy Morisseau are among the honorees.

WHEN:

Saturday November 12, 2016
6 – 11pm

WHERE:

MIST: My Image Studios
46 W 116th St
New York, NY 10026

 

Click HERE for more info and to purchase tickets.

6th Annual Haiti Movie Awards

October 31, 2016 - 20:03

Join the Motion Picture Association of Haiti, Inc. in celebrating Haitian talent at the 2016 Haiti Movie Awards. The event will have four parts:

-Pre-event Dinner (Saturday, Nov 5th: 7pm – 10pm)
-Red Carpet Ceremony (Sunday, Nov 6th: 6pm – 7pm )
-Awards Ceremony (Sunday, Nov 6th: 7:15pm – 9:30pm)
-After Party (Sunday, Nov 6th: 10pm- 1am)

WHERE:

John Hancock Hall
180 Berkeley Street
Boston, MA

Early bird VIP tickets are $100. Early bird general admission tickets are $40.

 

Click HERE for more information.

Haiti’s Cholera Epidemic – An Interview With David Nabarro

October 31, 2016 - 11:08

The Verge interviews David Nabarro, the British doctor responsible for mobilizing the UN’s 2014 response against the ebola epidemic, who has been chosen by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to coordinate action regarding the cholera epidemic currently taking place in Haiti.  He discusses the short-term, immediate action that must be taken, especially in light of Hurricane Matthew, and the longer-term trust rebuilding and assistance the UN must provide to Haiti.

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

How a cash-strapped UN is struggling to solve the cholera epidemic in Haiti

Alessandra Potenza, The Verge

October 31, 2016

Haiti has been grappling with a devastating cholera epidemic for six years. The outbreak began in 2010, nine months after the small Caribbean island of 10 million was hit by an earthquake that leveled much of the capital, Port-au-Prince, and killed as many as 300,000 people.

The unfortunate timing, and the fact that Haiti is the poorest country in the Western hemisphere, has made the epidemic particularly bad. Most of the island lacks an adequate sanitation system and many people don’t have access to clean drinking water. To make things worse, Haiti is in the path of many tropical storms, which cause flooding and destruction that only help waterborne diseases like cholera spread.

Earlier this month, Hurricane Matthew hit the southwest part of the island, destroying cholera treatment facilities and water-distribution systems. And hundreds of new suspected cholera cases have been reported in the areas hit by the storm. The World Health Organization is sending one million cholera vaccines to the island but that’s not enough. Cholera causes severe diarrhea and can kill within hours if it’s not treated. The disease has already killed almost 10,000 people and made about 700,000 ill.

Click HERE for the full article.

51 Prominent Floridians Ask Clinton for Conversation on Human Rights

October 29, 2016 - 08:34

Haitian American voters seek a conversation with Secretary Hillary Clinton on humanitarian issues. 27 Florida-based organizations and 24 other prominent Floridians wrote a letter requesting a meeting with Secretary Clinton. The letter asked for the Secretary’s positions on human-rights issues, specifically petitioning for Temporary Protective Status re-designation for undocumented Haitians. An additionally alarming concern is the November 20 election in Haiti. If immigrant rights are human rights, a humanitarian approach would respect immigrants, fulfill their basic rights such as voting, protect the most vulnerable immigrant, and promote non-discrimination.

“Fifty-one Florida based leaders want to know what Hillary Clinton would do and will do on these issues,” said IJDH’s Steven Forester.

Below is an excerpt from the article. Click HERE for the full article.

In Miami, Haitian-American voters grapple with mixed feelings about Clinton

by Jacqueline Charles, with Patricia Mazzei. Miami Herald

October 29th, 2016

 

 

Haitian Americans have continued to seek a conversation with Clinton. Last week, as she visited South Florida with President Obama, 27 Florida-based organizations and 24 other prominent Floridians wrote to her asking for her positions on issues of concern to the Haitian American community, and for a meeting regarding them.

Among the issues: whether re-designation of Temporary Protected Status for undocumented Haitians would continue and Clinton’s position on the upcoming elections in Haiti.

The letter came on the heels of Hurricane Matthew, which devastated southwestern Haiti, killing at least 546 people, according to the government’s official tally and wiping out 100 percent of the crops in some areas.

“Fifty-one Florida based leaders want to know what Hillary Clinton would do and will do on these issues,” said Steven Forester, a longtime activist in South Florida’s Haitian community.

Click HERE for the full article.

Philip Alston calls Haiti cholera scandal ‘the UN’s Watergate’

October 26, 2016 - 10:51

Philip Alston, the UN’s special rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, released a scathing report to the UN on October 24, 2016. Alston argues that the clear evidence pointing to the UN’s responsibility for bringing cholera to Haiti, and its subsequent refusal to admit culpability, is a scandal comparable to Watergate. Alston calls the UN’s legal position, recommended by its Office of Legal Affairs, “morally unconscionable, legally indefensible, and politically self-defeating.”

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

Haiti cholera scandal ‘the UN’s Watergate’, says body’s own human rights adviser

Sam Ball, FRANCE24

October 26, 2016

(Video from original article.)

 

The UN’s refusal to accept responsibility for bringing cholera to Haiti six years ago, leading to the deaths of more than 9,000 people, is a scandal on the same scale as Watergate, the organisation’s own human rights adviser has told FRANCE 24.

The comparison was made by Philip Alston, professor of law at NYU and the United Nation’s special rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, who labelled the UN’s “explicit and unqualified denial” of being behind the outbreak “a disgrace” in a scathing report presented to the intergovernmental body on Tuesday.

“The situation is completely clear: that the UN was responsible for bringing cholera to Haiti, but the formal position adopted is that ‘we are not culpable’ and that is a scandal comparable to Watergate in my view,” Alston told FRANCE 24…

 

Click HERE for the full article.

UN Denial of Cholera Responsibility Assisted by US, Says Alston

October 26, 2016 - 10:50

In a report issued on the UN’s responsibility regarding the Haiti cholera epidemic, Special Rapporteur and human rights expert Philip Alston condemns both the UN’s inaction in regards to the spread of disease, as well as the US’s involvement in the UN’s unwillingness to accept accountability.

Haiti cholera scandal: US bolsters UN wall of denial, legal investigator says

George Russell, Fox News

October 26, 2016

The United Nations’ wall of denial about its responsibility for causing Haiti’s 6-year-old cholera epidemic is stronger than ever — and a U.N. human rights expert  has put the focus directly on  the Obama administration for helping to keep the barrier in place.

Philip Alston, a New York University law professor, who is currently the U.N. special rapporteur on poverty and human rights, issued a final report on the cholera crisis on Tuesday that sharply castigated the U.N. for a legal stance that is “morally unconscionable, legally indefensible and politically self-defeating.”

He also accused the world organization of “fairly systematic backing down” from a promised change of its long-held position that the specific causes of the cholera epidemic were not known, and that it is not legally responsible for the disastrous outcome of the epidemic, which has killed more than 9,000 people and, according to Alston’s report, stricken 7 percent of the country’s 10.9 million population.

Alston called the renewed hard line of non-responsibility “a huge disservice to the U.N.,” and a “terrible” precedent for the future.”

Among other things, his report said that “without the acquiescence, if not the active support, of the United States and other Security Council members, [that] approach would not have been adopted by the United Nations.” The U.S. is the only nation specifically named in the document.

In an interview with Fox News, Alston said that  meetings with  officials from the U.S. Mission to the U.N., the National Security Council and the State Department in the process of preparing his final report had failed to win any understanding on why the U.S. apparently  backed the no-responsibility position, or “even what the [U.S.] legal position is.”

In a press release, he added that the U.S. “seems to have pressed the U.N. to adopt the position frequently taken by lawyers in the U.S. that responsibility should never be accepted voluntarily, since it could complicate future litigation.

Alston called that rationale “completely inapplicable to the U.N., which enjoys absolute immunity from suit in national courts, and whose reputation depends almost entirely on being seen to act with integrity.”

Questions to the U.S. Mission to the U.N. about Alston’s criticisms were not answered before this article was published.

Nor has the U.N. itself ever revealed what Alston called at a press conference a “phantom legal opinion” by its Office of Legal Affairs, which has anchored the U.N.’s denial of responsibility.  His report hinted that the internal legal opinion may well have been changed as a result of pressure, but added, “this cannot be confirmed since none of the analyses of the Office of Legal Affairs have been made public.”

The Legal Affairs opinion “has provided a convenient justification for States to avoid engagement on the responsibility of the United Nations for the cholera epidemic in Haiti,” his report declares.

CLICK HERE FOR THE REPORT

Behind all of the legal discussion is the ugly reality of Haiti’s plight: stricken in 2010 by a cholera epidemic that virtually the entire scientific world now lays squarely at the door of U.N. peacekeepers from Nepal, whose cholera-infected human waste was dumped in violation of all health procedures into Haiti’s Artibonite River. Haiti had never experienced cholera before.

The disease, while reduced from its ravages in 2011, is now an ongoing aspect of disaster-plagued Haiti’s desperately poor and unstable way of life. Cholera outbreaks flared up again in the wake of the country’s disastrous encounter in early October with Hurricane Matthew — after the destructive winds dissipated, UNICEF called cholera “the largest immediate threat in the affected areas.”

Ever since 2011, however, the U.N. has hidden behind an increasingly threadbare report from a hand-picked panel of experts  who agreed with the source of the epidemic but then maintained the outbreak “was not the fault of, or deliberate action of, a group or individual.”  Some members of the panel have since publicly changed their minds.

Alston acidly noted in his report that the U.N. position “completely fails to mention, let alone address, the central issue of negligence which lies at the heart of the legal issue of fault in this case.”

Meantime, waves of other scientific researchers have shown that the specific cholera strain in the Haitian epidemic was linked genetically to a strain in Nepal, and that an outbreak had occurred in that country just before its peacekeepers joined the Haitian peacekeeping force.

Then, in 2013, the U.N. invoked immunity to insulate itself from a class-action lawsuit launched by Haitians who lost family members or suffered from the disease. The U.S. State Department has backed the U.N.’s immunity defense, which was upheld in a U.S. federal appeals court in August.

The Alston report’s central contention, however, is that the U.N. does not need to give up its cherished immunity to accept responsibility for the disaster it caused. Indeed, he says, the U.N.’s internal legal framework already provides the way to do it.

“The United Nations has long accepted that. . .  it can incur obligations and liabilities of a private law nature,” Alston’s report notes. And the U.N. already “recognizes its international responsibility for damages caused by the activities of United Nations forces within this framework,” it adds.

As evidence, the report cites a 1998 U.N. General Assembly resolution that “set up a special regime to deal with third-party claims in the context of peacekeeping missions, although it set temporal [time-limited], financial and other limitations to that liability.” The individual claim limit under the resolution is $50,000.

CLICK HERE FOR THE RESOLUTION

Moreover, Alston’s report notes, “the United Nations has frequently processed claims involving alleged negligence, especially, for example, in relation to traffic accidents.”

The report lauds the U.N. for the so-called “new approach” it hinted at last August.

According to a letter the special rapporteur received at the time from U.N. Deputy Secretary General Jan Eliasson, the deal would “be elaborated through “a transparent process” involving consultation with the Haitian authorities, Member States and victims.”

Since then the U.N. has revealed that the “new approach” includes a  $400 million trust fund –which still needs to be funded by U.N. member states — to provide unspecified  “material assistance” to those affected by the disease and also bolster water and sanitation resources,

The report, however, calls the new policy “critically incomplete.”

“There is not yet a promise of an apology or an acceptance of responsibility,” it notes. The U.N.’s legal position, “ which is to deny all legal responsibility, is comprehensively reaffirmed.”  Even the remedies are to be dispensed through political and diplomatic, rather than legal means.

“In other words,” Alston concludes, “the lamentably self-serving legal contortions devised to escape any form of legal responsibility still remain in place.”

Amid the contortions, whether the remedies will ever include the promised amounts of money is also still open to question.

In another letter to Alston on October 12, Eliasson said that the U.N. was “making every effort to engage Member States and raise funds and support” for the ostensible new approach, but that Hurricane Matthew had impeded the effort.

Click HERE for the original article.

L’Expert indépendant de l’ONU présente ses conclusions au terme de sa mission en Haïti (FR, ENG)

October 26, 2016 - 10:08

 

English version, see below

La version anglaise se trouve ci-dessous

L’Expert indépendant de l’ONU présente ses conclusions au terme de sa mission en Haïti

PORT-AU-PRINCE (26 octobre  2016) – L’Expert indépendant des Nations Unies sur la situation des droits de l’homme en Haïti, M Gustavo Gallón, a terminé sa sixième visite officielle en Haïti pour évaluer la situation des droits humains dans le contexte politique actuel.

L’expert indépendant a commencé réitérant sa solidarité avec les victimes de l’ouragan Matthew et avec le peuple Haïtien.  «L’affectation des droits des personnes en Haïti à cause des catastrophes naturelles est l’un des cinq aspects prioritaires que j’ai indiqués dans mes rapports précédents. C’est ainsi que je me suis rendu à Jérémie, dans le département de la Grand’Anse, où j’ai visité le Lycée Nord Alexis, qui abrite 525 familles victimes du cyclone. Leur situation est similaire à celles que j’ai vues auparavant dans les camps de personnes déplacées par le tremblement de terre de 2010, ceux abritant les personnes émigrées de la République dominicaine dans la zone frontalière, ou même la situation des personnes privées de liberté dans les prisons du pays», a dit M Gallón. Il a souligné qu’il faut redoubler les efforts pour faire face aux besoins des personnes touchées par cette catastrophe.

L’Expert indépendant a apprécié le passage pacifique de la dernière présidence de la république à une présidence provisoire ainsi que les efforts déployés par le Gouvernement pour assurer les élections. Néanmoins, l’ouragan Matthew a déplacé la date des élections du 9 octobre et « il va influencer aussi la nouvelle date fixée pour le 20 novembre car beaucoup de personnes affectées par l’ouragan auront des difficultés pour participer aux éléctions», selon l’Expert indépendant. Il a souligné que le Gouvernement a le devoir de réaliser les élections malgré les circonstances difficiles mais il est optimiste que l’existence d’un nouveau Conseil Électoral Provisoire ainsi que d’un climat politique plus détendu que l’année dernière permettront d’aboutir le procès électoral. «J’espère que ces élections se tiendront sans surprises et qu’on aura un nouveau président élu en février de l’année prochaine ainsi qu’une normalisation des institutions étatiques», a exprimé M Gallón.

En ce qui concerne la détention préventive prolongée, l’Expert indépendant a pris note de la création d’une commission présidentielle pour faire face à cette violation grave des droits humains. Il a réitéré au Ministère de la justice la nécessité de mettre en œuvre des actions urgentes visant à l’abolition de la détention préventive prolongée et à reformer le système judiciaire. M Gallón a visité la nouvelle prison de femmes construite à Cabaret. Même si « cette prison est un exemple d’installation non surpeuplée, l’endroit n’a pas d’eau potable, l’intimité n’est pas assurée dans les douches et les toilettes, le temps de recréation est limité à trois heures par semaine, et il y a un réfectoire qui n’est pas utilisé», il a dit. Il a déclaré qu’il faut faire encore plus d’efforts pour améliorer les conditions dans les prisons  à fin de garantir la dignité des détenus.  

L’Expert indépendant a réitéré sa recommandation d’alphabétiser dans un temps raisonnablement court les gens qui ne savent pas lire ni écrire. « Il n’est pas nécessaire de dépenser de grosses sommes d’argent pour réussir, mais plutôt d’organiser une campagne basée sur la décision gouvernementale d’éliminer entièrement et de façon rapide le problème », il a souligné. M Gallón a invité le gouvernement à reprendre le plan d’éducation élaboré en 2010 et repris en 2011, où il était prévu  d’éliminer l’analphabétisme dans le pays dans un délai de cinq ans.Il a aussi insisté sur ses recommandations de créer une commission de vérité, justice et réparation pour éclaircir les violations du passé, et une commission similaire pour réparer les victimes du choléra. « Il faut rendre justice aux victimes des violations du passé et aux personnes qui ont subi les conséquences du choléra pour batir une société plus égalitaire, basée sur la justice », il a indiqué.

L’Expert indépendant a finalisé en déclarant son indignation par les attaques verbales et physiques contre la communauté LGBTI suite à l’interdiction du festival international Massi Madi organisé par cette communauté. « Ces attaques sont contraires au droit à l’égalité et à la non-discrimination reconnu par les traités internationaux souscrits par Haïti. Je fais un appel spécial, aussi bien aux autorités qu’à la société, à respecter aussi bien les traités que toutes les personnes». M. Gallón a conclu en rappelant aussi qu’il va présenter son rapport au Conseil des droits de l’homme en mars 2017 et qu’il espère pouvoir montrer des progrès dans la mise en œuvre de ses recommandations.

(*) Voir la déclaration complète de fin de mission :
http://www.ohchr.org/FR/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=20760&LangID=F
 
FINLe Conseil des droits de l’homme a nommé M. Gustavo Gallón comme Expert indépendant sur la situation des droits de l’homme en Haïti en juin 2013. M. Gallón a plus de 30 ans d’expérience en tant que défenseur des droits de l’homme et professeur universitaire en droit public et droits humains. Il a été Représentant spécial de la Commission des droits de l’homme des Nations unies pour la Guinée équatoriale  1999-2002. Il est actuellement le directeur de la Commission colombienne des juristes depuis sa création en 1988. Pour en savoir plus: http://www.ohchr.org/FR/HRBodies/SP/CountriesMandates/HT/Pages/IEHaiti.aspx

Les Experts indépendants font partie de ce qui est désigné sous le nom des procédures spéciales du Conseil des droits de l’homme. Les procédures spéciales, l’organe le plus important d’experts indépendants du Système des droits de l’homme de l’ONU, est le terme général appliqué aux mécanismes d’enquête et de suivi indépendants du Conseil qui s’adressent aux situations spécifiques des pays ou aux questions thématiques partout dans le monde. Les experts des procédures spéciales travaillent à titre bénévole; ils ne font pas partie du personnel de l’ONU et ils ne reçoivent pas de salaire pour leur travail. Ils sont indépendants des gouvernements et des organisations et ils exercent leurs fonctions à titre indépendant.

Nations Unies Droits de l’Homme, fiche pays – Haïti :
http://www.ohchr.org/FR/countries/LACRegion/Pages/HTIndex.aspx
 
Pour davantage d’informations et demandes de presse, veuillez contacter Mme. Laia Valls Senties (+41 22 917 93 70 / lvalls@ohchr.org)

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___________________________

NEWS RELEASEThe UN Independent Expert on Haiti presents its findings at the end of its sixth missionPORT-AU-PRINCE (26 October 2016) – The Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in Haiti, Gustavo Gallón, has concluded his sixth official mission to Haiti to monitor the human rights situation within the current political context.

The Independent Expert has reiterated his solidarity with the victims of hurricane Matthew and with the Haitian people. “The violation of rights in Haiti due to natural disasters is one of the five priority areas I have highlighted in my previous reports. Therefore, I have gone to Jérémie, in the Grand’Anse department, where I visited the High School Nord Alexis, where 525 families affected by the cyclone have found shelter. Their situation is similar to the situation of internal displaced people living in camps since the 2010 earthquake, of people deported from the Dominican Republic settled at the border side, or of detainees in the country prisons”, said Mr. Gallón. He stressed that efforts should be redoubled to address the needs of those affected by this catastrophe.

Since his previous mission in Haiti last February and March 2016, the Independent Expert has welcomed the peaceful transition of last Presidency to current Provisional Presidency as well as the efforts made by the Government to ensure the elections. However, as a result of hurricane Matthew the election date of October 9 has been postponed and “Matthew will also affect the new date of November 20 since many people affected by the hurricane will have difficulties to participate”, according to the Independent Expert. He has stressed that the Government has the duty to hold the elections under difficult circumstances but he is optimistic that the new Provisional Electoral Council and the more relaxed political environment compared to last year will allow concluding the electoral process. “I hope that these elections will be held without any surprises and that there will be a new President elected in February next year as well as stable State institutions,” Mr. Gallón expressed.

Regarding long pretrial detention, the Independent Expert has taken note of the creation of a Presidential Commission to address this serious human rights violation. He has reiterated to the Ministry of Justice the need to urgently take measures to abolish long pretrial detention and to reform the judiciary. Mr. Gallón has visited the new women’s prison built in Cabaret. Although “this prison is an example of a not overcrowded facility, the building lacks safe drinking water, privacy is not ensured in the showers and toilets, the time allocated for outside recreation of inmates is limited to three hours a week in a courtyard, and the dining room is not used”, he said. He stated that more should be done to improve prison conditions in order to guarantee the detainees’ dignity.

The Independent Expert has reiterated his recommendation to alphabetize people that cannot read or write in a reasonably short time. “It is not necessary to spend a large amount of money to be successful on that endeavor, but especially to organize a campaign based on the Government’s decision to eliminate thoroughly and quickly the problem,” he said. Mr. Gallón has invited the Government to resume an education plan developed in 2010 and resumed in 2011, which foresaw the elimination of illiteracy in the country within five years.

He has also stressed his recommendations to create a commission of truth, justice and reparation of violations of the past, and a similar commission to compensate victims of cholera. “We must bring justice to victims of past violations and to people who have suffered the consequences of cholera to achieve a more equal society, based on justice,” he said.

The Independent Expert has concluded by declaring his outrage by verbal and physical attacks against the LGBTI community, following the ban of the Massi Madi international festival organized by this community. “These events are contrary to the rights to equality and non-discrimination which are recognized in international treaties to which Haiti is a party. I urge both the authorities and society to respect them”. Mr. Gallón has concluded that he will present his report to the Human Rights Council in March 2017 and that he hopes to show progress concerning the implementation of his recommendations.

(*) Read the Independent Expert full end-of-mission statement (in French): http://www.ohchr.org/FR/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=20760&LangID=F

ENDS

The Human Rights Council appointed Mr. Gustavo Gallón
as Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in Haiti in June 2013. Mr. Gallón has over 30 years of experience as a human rights defender and as university professor in public law and human rights. He was the Special Representative of the United Nations Human Rights Commission to Equatorial Guinea from 1999 to 2002. He is currently the director of the Colombian Commission of Jurists since its inception in 1988. Mr. Gallón is independent from any government and conducts his mandate in his sole individual capacity. To know more: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/SP/CountriesMandates/HT/Pages/IEHaiti.aspx

The independent experts are part of what is known as the special procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special procedures, the most important body of independent experts of the UN Human Rights System, is the general term applied to investigative and independent monitoring mechanisms of the Council that look into specific situations countries or thematic issues throughout the world. The experts of the special procedures work as volunteers; they are not part of the UN staff and they receive no salary for their work. They are independent of governments and organizations, and they exercise their functions independently

UN Human Rights, country page – Haiti:http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Countries/LACRegion/Pages/HTIndex.aspx

For more information and press inquiries, please contact Ms. Laia Valls Senties (+41 22 917 93 70 / lvalls@ohchr.org)

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Questions over funding source for UN cholera compensation plan

October 26, 2016 - 10:07

Supporters of cholera accountability in Haiti were given good news recently, as the UN announced its plan to treat, eliminate, and compensate for cholera in Haiti. While this announcement has been deemed a big step in the right direction by many, major questions persist over where this proposed $400 million will come from.

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

UN Approves Haiti Cholera Compensation Plan. But Who Will Actually Pay for It?

Mark Leon Goldberg, UN Dispatch

October 26, 2016

Argentinian peacekeepers with the United Nations Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) gave medical aid to people affected by Hurricane Matthew. (Photo from original article)

 

The United Nations has agreed to compensate the victims of Haiti’s cholera outbreak as part of a $400 million aid package that also includes the goal of eradicating cholera from the country.

The decision comes six years after Nepalese UN Peacekeepers likely introduced a deadly cholera strain to the country through improper sanitation practices at a peacekeeping outpost. The resulting epidemic has killed over 9,500 people and sickened thousands more.  Speaking to reporters yesterday, Deputy Secretary General Jan Eliasson said “We want to do this because we think it’s the right thing to do for the Haitian people, but frankly speaking, it’s the right thing to do for the United Nations.”

The details of the $400 million aid package are still being worked out, but it includes three “tracks:” Cholera eradication; building up Haiti’s water and sanitation infrastructure; and compensation for the victims, which the UN is calling “material assistance” to those affected…

 

Click HERE for the full article.

Nicole Philips interview with Africa Now: Haiti Beyond Hurricane Matthew

October 26, 2016 - 09:13

Check out the podcast below for an interview with IJDH’s Nicole Philips with Africa Now. Philips discusses the Haiti’s history before Hurricane Matthew, including the 2010 earthquake and its aftermath, Haiti today, Hurricane Matthew, responsible donations, elections, and cholera accountability.

Africa Now: Haiti Beyond Hurricane Matthew

Africa Now

October 26, 2016

 

President Obama: Redesignate Haiti for TPS and Expand HFRP Now!

October 26, 2016 - 08:00
Developments

On October 20, 51 Florida groups and leaders wrote Hillary Clinton urging this and other actions: http://www.ijdh.org/2016/10/topics/politics-democracy/51-florida-groups-and-leaders-ask-hillary-clinton-meeting-and-views-on-urgent-haiti-issues/

On October 18, the Philadelphia Inquirer editorial board urged both TPS redesignation and HFRP expansion: http://www.philly.com/philly/opinion/20161018_Inquirer_Editorial__U_S__shouldn_t_wait_until_the_next_disaster_to_do_more_for_Haiti.html

On October 13, Senator Bill Nelson co-sponsored a letter from 12 U.S. senators urging TPS redesignation in light of Matthew: http://www.ijdh.org/2016/10/topics/immigration-topics/12-us-senators-urge-temporary-protected-status-for-haitians-in-wake-of-hurricane-matthew/

On October 8, the NYT editorial board urged TPS redesignation too and a halt to deportations: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/08/opinion/haitis-new-catastrophe.html?_r=2

On September 27, Steve Forester (IJDH) and Marleine Bastien (FANM) op-ed urging such expansion at paragraphs 3-11: http://www.miamiherald.com/opinion/op-ed/article104481046.html[miamiherald.com]

Background

Hurricane Matthew’s devastation in Haiti underscores the need for President Obama before he leaves office in January to re-designate Haiti for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and to expand the severely limited Haitian Family Reunification Program (HFRP) to save lives and help Haiti recover by generating life-sustaining remittances.

A few days after the 2010 earthquake, the Depart­ment of Home­land Secu­rity (DHS) des­ig­nated Haiti for TPS because deportations were unsafe; in 2011, DHS re-designated TPS to protect those present in the United States by January 12, 2011. But no one who arrived thereafter is eligible, and DHS on September 22, 2016 announced that it would resume Haiti deportations. Thousands of Haitians who have arrived since then are now detained.

Hurricane Matthew’s broad devastation makes deporting anyone to Haiti unsafe and warrants re-designating Haiti TPS to protect all Haitians currently in the United States. Haiti’s government is in no position to receive deportees. Re-designation would save lives, unite families, and generate remittances key to sustaining families in Haiti.

Further, as outlined in the Miami Herald op-ed and in the October 20 letter from 51 Florida-based organizations and leaders, DHS should expand the arbitrarily limited HFRP. It should also immediately release from detention thousands of non-criminal Haitians detained since September 22.

Learn more about HFRP and TPS HERE.

Actions

End Cholera & Aid Elections in Haiti; Protect Haitians in US – Please sign this petition to the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate, which over 4000 people have already signed!

Tell President Obama to Reverse Deportation Policy Against Haitian Refugees! – petition

The Humanitarian Crisis in Haiti is Closer Than You Think – petition to DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson

URGENT: Tell DHS Secretary Johnson to Protect Haitians – call Congress

Articles & Letters

Sens. Menendez and Nelson Lead TPS Request for Haitians in Wake of Hurricane Matthew – October 13, 2016

Senators Schumer and Gillibrand Urge DOS and DHS to Grant TPS to Haitians – October 12, 2016

Hastings Urges President Obama to Expand TPS for Haitians Affected by Hurricane Matthew – October 12, 2016

Congressman Hastings Urges Expansion of TPS for Haitians After Hurricane Matthew – October 12, 2016

Church World Service Demands TPS, No Deportation for Haitians – October 12, 2016

After stay of Haitian deportation policy, local leaders encouraged but still fightingMiami Herald. October 12, 2016

US policy on deporting Haitians on hold in wake of hurricaneThe Washington Post. October 11, 2016

Activists Call Haitian Deportation Policy “Abomination”CBS Local Miami. October 10, 2016

Deportation to a disaster zone: Obama under pressure to stop crackdown on Haitian migrants as Hurricane Matthew wreaks havoc on islandSalon. October 7, 2016

Haiti’s New CatastropheThe New York Times. October 7, 2016

Bipartisan letter (attached) from 57 US Reps Urges President Obama to Halt Haiti Deportation Policy – October 6, 2016

Haitian Men Cut Off From Families as U.S. Tightens Entry RulesThe New York Times. September 29, 2016

Obama’s contradictory stance toward black asylum seekersThe Hill. September 28, 2016

New policy to deport Haitians is inhumaneMiami Herald. September 27, 2016

Haitians, After Perilous Journey, Find Door to U.S. Abruptly ShutThe New York Times. September 23, 2016

Uncertainty for Haitians in TijuanaSan Diego Union Tribune. September 23, 2016

Haitian Reunification fight to continue, activists sayMiami Herald. October 21, 2014

Obama to expedite U.S. entry for thousands of HaitiansMiami Herald. October 17, 2014

International Law Weekend 2016 [EVENT]

October 26, 2016 - 06:45

The American Branch of the International Law Association (ABILA) and the International Law Students Association (ILSA) welcome you to the annual International Law Weekend (ILW) conference in New York City. This exciting event brings together hundreds of practitioners, law professors, members of governmental and non-governmental organizations, and students. The theme of ILW 2016 is “International Law 5.0.” We all know the world is changing at an accelerating rate and those changes pose real challenges for our profession. From technological advances to environmental transformations, international lawyers are forced to confront emerging forces and new scenarios. Even settled principles of law are no longer settled. These tectonic shifts have been felt throughout the geography of international law. Legal professionals at every level – local, national, regional, and international – must change their approaches, indeed their practices, to meet a changing world. Innovation will become necessary for survival. ILW 2016 will explore these issues through a collection of engaging and provocative panels.

*Don’t miss IJDH’s panel at 10:45am on October 29: Above the Law? Innovating New Legal Responses to Build a More Accountable U.N. (Room 2-02A) *

WHERE:

New York City Bar (42 W. 44th Street New York, NY) – Thursday

Fordham University School of Law (150 West 62nd Street, New York, NY) – Friday and Saturday

WHEN:

Thursday, October 27, 2016 at 5:30pm

through Saturday, October 29, 2016

 

Click HERE for more info and registration.

Manifestations contre le déplacement de la date du second tour de la présidentielle

October 25, 2016 - 12:37

Des milliers ont manifesté lundi à Port-au-Prince contre l’organisations du second tour de la présidentielle le 29 janvier et pour le respect de la date constitutionnelle: le 7 février. Ils on manifesté pour protéger et promouvoir l’inauguration du nouveau président ou de la nouvelle présidente, comme prévue par la loi-mère.

Une partie de l’article ci-dessous. Cliquez ICI pour le text complet.

Des Milliers de Membres des Bases Lavalas Ont Manifesté Lundi À Port-Au-Prince Contre L’Organisation du Second Tour de la Présidentielle le 29 Janvier 2017 et pour le Respect de la Date Constitutionnelle du 7 Février 2017

Agence Haïtienne de Press

Octobre 25, 2016

Port-au-Prince, le 24 octobre 2016 – (AHP) – Des milliers de membres des bases Lavalas ont manifesté lundi à Port-au-prince  contre l’organisation du second tour de la présidentielle le 29 janvier 2017 et pour le respect de la date constitutionnelle du 7 février 2017.Les manifestants qui scandaient des slogans en faveur du respect de la constitution, ont réclamé l’avancement de la tenue du second tour ,  pour permettre la publication des résultats définitifs bien plus tôt et favoriser ainsi l’investiture du nouveau président ou de la nouvelle présidente  à la date prévue par la loi-mère.Le sénateur Nenel Cassy, candidat de Fanmi Lavalas à sa réélection dans les Nippes, s’est déclaré lui aussi  contre l’idée d’organiser le second tour de la présidentielle le 29 janvier 2017 comme le prévoit le nouveau calendrier électoral révisé…Cliquez ICI pour l’article complet.