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Haitian Mothers of Children Abandoned by UN Peacekeepers Initiate Paternity and Child Support Claims

August 3, 2016 - 08:02

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Press Contact:

Mario Joseph, Av., Managing Attorney, Bureau des Avocats Internationaux (BAI),  Mario@ijdh.org, +011 509 2943 2106/07 (Haiti) (speaks French and Kreyol)

Nicole Phillips, Staff Attorney, Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti (IJDH), Nicole@ijdh.org, +1 510 715 2855 (United States) (speaks English, French and Spanish)

Haitian Mothers of Children Abandoned by UN Peacekeepers Initiate Paternity and

Child Support Claims

 Port-au-Prince, August 3, 2016 – Today, human rights law firm Bureau des Avocats Internationaux (BAI) initiated paternity claims to nine United Nations peacekeepers from Uruguay, Argentina and Sri Lanka on behalf of nine Haitian mothers who were forced to take sole responsibility of the child(ren) after being abandoned by the soldiers who fathered them. One of the mothers was 17 years old when she gave birth, which amounts to statutory rape under Haitian law. The mothers ask that the biological fathers assume legal and financial responsibility per a Haitian Decree of September 14, 1983 that authorizes child support claims.

The mothers also served notices on Sandra Honoré, the head of UN peacekeeping mission in Haiti (known by its French acronym “MINUSTAH”), and Pierrot Delienne, Haiti’s Minister of Foreign and Religious Affairs, requesting their cooperation with the paternity claims, including identifying the defendants and releasing DNA tests.

According to Mario Joseph, BAI managing attorney who represents the mothers, “The UN Secretary General adopted an official ‘zero tolerance’ policy in 2003 that prohibits sexual relations between peacekeepers and recipients of UN assistance, as well as the abandonment of children born out of these sexual relationships. Nonetheless, the UN has not taken sufficient measures to assist victims and children or maintain accountability for those who break these rules.”

The paternity claims come on the heels of increasing reports of UN sexual exploitation and abuse by UN peacekeepers in Haiti and other countries, as well as lack of accountability for their acts. The UN has also refused to accept responsibility for injuries MINUSTAH peacekeepers caused by contaminating the water supply in Haiti with cholera, which has so far resulted in 800,000 reported illnesses and over 9000 deaths.

Nicole Phillips, staff attorney with the Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti says she hopes these paternity claims will “challenge the UN to comply with its own principles and its promises to better address sexual exploitation and abuse by peacekeepers in Haiti and around the world.”

Joseph cautions that if the peacekeepers responsible, Ms. Honoré and Minister Delienne do not respond within 30 days, the mothers will take legal action in a Haitian court.

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IJDH’s Beatrice Lindstrom Featured in Huffington Post

August 2, 2016 - 13:28

Beatrice Lindstrom is a human rights lawyer who has been fighting for UN accountability in Haiti for the past 5 years. Growing up in Korea and Sweden, she has always viewed her community as global rather than local, but she only became involved with social justice work when she went to Thailand after the tsunami. During her time in Thailand, Beatrice became aware of the many structural injustices that plague the international community.

She attended the NYU School of Law to learn about human rights but never planning on taking the bar examinations. Through her studies and her experiences in Haiti, she realized that litigation was a complement to social justice work and continued with the profession. Beatrice went to Haiti as part of an NYU fellowship where she worked with the Bureau des Avocats Internationaux (BAI). She had only been there only a couple of weeks when the cholera epidemic broke out. Investigations revealed UN peacekeepers were responsible for the outbreak. The UN base was overflowing with waste that leaked directly into Haiti’s main river stream. Beatrice started working on the legal team for IJDH and BAI, trying to develop a strategy to hold the United Nations accountable. She and her team first filed 5,000 claims from Haitian cholera victims seeking compensation. When the UN dismissed these claims, they filed a law suit in the U.S. District Court of New York, which is still underway.

Beatrice is inspired by her mom, the women in Haiti who fight for justice, managing BAI attorney Mario Joseph, and executive director of IJDH Brian Concannon.

Click HERE for the full article.

Beatrice Lindstrom: Human Rights Lawyer Fighting for Accountability for Cholera in Haiti

Bill Quigley, Huffington Post 

August 2nd, 2016

Immunity does not mean impunity,” argued social justice lawyer Beatrice Lindstrom before a packed courtroom to three judges of the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals. Lindstrom, a 2010 graduate of NYU Law School, has spent most of her career fighting for human rights for and with the people of Haiti. She appeared before the court as a lawyer with the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti(IJDH) and Bureau des Avocats Internationaux (BAI).   She argued that the United Nations (UN) must be held accountable for its personnel introducing and spreading cholera in Haiti which has killed more than 9,000 and infected another 800,000 to date.   While there is little question that UN personnel brought and spread cholera to Haiti, the UN continues to argue it is immune from suit. The court has not yet decided whether the victims are going to get their day in court or not.

 

Beginnings

Lindstrom, who speaks, to varying extents, English, Swedish, Korean, French and Haitian Creole, has always had a global vision. She grew up in Sweden and Korea, “two of the least diverse countries in the world, and always felt like somewhat of an outsider. In Korea especially, the national identity doesn’t include a space for biracial people, and so I was often treated like a foreigner by default. Because of this, I’ve always defined my community and interests as more global than local, and I think that may also be what draws me particularly to accountability for powerful international actors.

Click HERE for the full article.

Haiti Launches the People’s Tribunal on U.S. Occupation/Domination

August 2, 2016 - 13:01

This article discusses the 1915-1934 US Marine Occupation of Haiti and the consequences that last even til today, including a reliance on NGOs, land rights problems, and tension between Haiti and DR (which was also occupied by Marines). Haitians are creating the People’s Tribunal “To reinforce the people’s foundations of consciousness-raising and mobilization to accomplish a political de-occupation, economic de-occupation, and a cultural and ideological de-occupation of the country.” One of the organizations helping with this movement is Bureau des Avocats Internationaux.

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

“People’s Tribunal” Launched in Haiti to Commemorate 101 Years of U.S. Occupation

Mark Schuller, Counterpunch

August 2, 2016

Thursday, July 28, when Hillary Rodham Clinton took to the stage to accept the Democratic nomination to be the first female candidate of a major political party for president, was also the 101st anniversary of the U.S. military occupation of Haiti that lasted nineteen years.

Hundreds of people took to the streets and filled a gym named after president Stenio Vincent, who negotiated the departure of the U.S. Marines in 1934, to launch the People’s Tribunal on U.S. Occupation/Domination. The march began at Fort National, of historic significance. Equally significant was the rapprochement of various segments of Haiti’s progressive movements, often fragmented along political lines.

As the U.S. is gearing towards what will almost certainly be an expensive, combative, and highly charged general election, Haitian authorities have rescheduled elections for October 9. While some praised interim President Jocelerme Privert for declaring financial independence from the U.S., vowing to hold the elections without U.S. funding, this assertion of sovereignty was eroded as much of the $55 million budgeted for the elections will go to foreign firms to print the ballots. Privert’s tightening of the state’s belts has asphyxiated the already fragile public sector, notably education and health care. The State University of Haiti is in a prolonged crisis deepened Friday by the arrests of protestors occupying the administrative building, and doctors at the State Hospital have been on strike for months.

 

Click HERE for the full text.

Canadian Government May Improve Relations with Alleged Victims of UN Peacekeepers

July 30, 2016 - 09:17

As Canada’s new Liberal government gears up to reengage with peacekeeping efforts, the issue of peacekeeper sexual exploitation and abuse has been brought into the spotlight and highlighted with the recent accusation of three more Canadian peacekeepers in Haiti. Although the UN has bolstered its talk of “zero-tolerance policies” with regards to sexual misconduct by troops, evidence of actual action to facilitate paternity and abuse claims has proven to be difficult to find. With the recent revelations of the disturbing sexual exploitation of children in the Central African Republic by peacekeepers, the precedent is being set for future transparency and concrete legislation by the UN and member state governments like Canada. Global Affairs within the Canadian government has explicitly stated its intent on finding the best way to address these issues.

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

Ottawa may help alleged victims of UN peacekeepers

Alex Boutelier and Kathleen Davis, Toronto Star

Saturday, July 30

The federal government is considering support for victims of alleged sexual exploitation and abuse by peacekeepers after a damning UN report brought the number of Canadian offenders — whose names are being kept secret — to five, the Star has learned.

The news of potential victim support comes just days after it was revealed two Quebec provincial police officers retired before they faced disciplinary hearings for alleged sexual exploitation or abuse while on a UN mission in Haiti. By leaving, the officers avoided being disciplined by the force.

Documents prepared in February by the deputy minister of foreign affairs for Global Affairs Minister Stéphane Dion show Ottawa was aware of five separate cases of alleged sexual exploitation or abuse by Canadian peacekeepers in Haiti dating back to 2013. In two incidents, Canadian peacekeepers have been accused of fathering children with Haitian women.

Currently, Ottawa has no policy or legislation to address paternity claims for victims abused by Canadian peacekeepers sent to protect them.

Click HERE for the full text.

Civil Society Challenges UN Secretary-General Candidates to Take Accountability Pledge

July 28, 2016 - 06:57

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Press Contact:

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

Gill Mathurin, AIDS-Free World, media@aidsfreeworld.org, +1-646-924-1710

 Civil Society Challenges UN Secretary-General Candidates to Take Accountability Pledge

37 Groups launch 5-part pledge on sexual exploitation and abuse, cholera

 

NEW YORK, July 28, 2016 — Thirty-seven civil society groups are calling on candidates for the next UN Secretary-General to take an Accountability Pledge that signals their commitment to building a more accountable and transparent United Nations.

“The next Secretary-General faces the challenge of ensuring that the UN responds justly when its peacekeepers and staff abuse or harm the very people they are sent to protect. We ask all candidates vying to become the UN’s next leader to commit to championing accountability by publicly taking this pledge,” said Beatrice Lindstrom, Staff Attorney with the Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti, which advocates for remedies for victims of the UN’s cholera outbreak and was one of the groups to initiate the Accountability Pledge.

Over the past year in particular, the UN has been roiled by accountability scandals, including revelations that large numbers of peacekeepers in Central African Republic have sexually abused civilians, including children. In addition to what has emerged as a global crisis of sexual exploitation and abuse, UN peacekeepers in Haiti have also been linked to the introduction of cholera, which has caused an ongoing epidemic in the country that has killed at least 10,000 people in the last six years.

“By failing to accept full responsibility for Haiti’s cholera epidemic and for sexual crimes committed by its own uniformed and non-uniformed peacekeepers, the UN has squandered its moral authority,” said Paula Donovan, Co-Director of AIDS-Free World and its Code Blue Campaign to end impunity for sexual exploitation and abuse by UN peacekeeping personnel. “The next Secretary-General must prove to the world, through her actions, that the UN is more concerned about protecting civilians than its own reputation.”

The pledge consists of concrete commitments: to make UN accountability a personal priority; to end the culture of impunity for sexual exploitation and abuse committed by UN peacekeepers; and to ensure that victims of cholera are provided with remedies.

“Sexual abuse and cholera have received persistent attention throughout the selection process, but few candidates have put forth strategies to address them,” said Dr. Joia Mukherjee, Chief Medical Officer of Partners in Health, one of the organizational endorsers of the initiative.

The Pledge is endorsed by 37 civil society groups, ranging from organizations with a global reach and national human rights groups from around the world, including in countries that host peacekeeping missions.

Twelve candidates have been nominated for the post so far. The UN Security Council is expected to present a recommended candidate to the General Assembly in the fall. The new Secretary-General will succeed Ban Ki-moon in January of 2017.

AIDS-Free World and IJDH will be publishing the status of candidates’ pledges on their websites and via social media, and the organizations invite all member states and members of the public to monitor the candidates’ positions on UN accountability.

The full UN Accountability Pledge is available at: bitly.com/UNPledge

 

The Accountability Pledge is endorsed by the following organizations:

African Women’s Development Fund (Ghana)

AIDS-Free World (Canada, United States)

Albuquerque Center for Peace and Justice (United States)

Alternative Chance (Haiti)

Bureau des Avocats Internationaux (Haiti)

Canadian Voice of Women for Peace (Canada)

CenterLaw (Philippines)

Center for Accountability of International Organizations (Switzerland)

Center for Constitutional Rights (United States)

Center for Justice & Accountability (United States)

Centre for Applied Legal Studies (South Africa)

Defensa de Niñas y Niños – Internacional (Costa Rica)

European Centre for Constitutional and Human Rights (Germany)

Foundation for Fundamental Rights (Pakistan)

Giuristi Democratici (Italy)

Global Justice Center (United States)

Government Accountability Project (United States)

Human Rights Advocates (United States)

International Federation for Human Rights (France)

International Justice Resource Center (United States)

Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti (United States)

Jacob Blaustein Institute for the Advancement of Human Rights (United States)

Labour, Health and Human Rights Development Centre (Nigeria)

Legal Resources Centre (South Africa)

Li,Li,Li! Read (United States)

MADRE (United States)

MATCH International Women’s Fund (Canada)

Mennonite Central Committee (United States)

National Human Rights Defense Network (RNDDH) (Haiti)

Palestinian Center for Human Rights (Palestine)

Partners In Health (United States)

Proyecto de Derechos Económicos, Sociales y Culturales (Mexico)

REDRESS (United Kingdom)

Report the Abuse (Switzerland)

Socio-Economic Rights Institute (South Africa)

World Federalist Movement – Canada (Canada)

World Federalist Movement – Institute for Global Policy (Netherlands, United States)

 

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Lettre au Premier Ministre Trudeau autours des élections Haïtiennes

July 27, 2016 - 09:27

Dirigé par New England Human Rights Organization, nombreuses groupes ont consigné une lettre ouverte adressée au Premier Ministre Trudeau du Canada. Ils demandent qu’il respect la souveraineté du pays et du choix des peuples Haïtiens au niveau des élections gouvernementales.

Lettre ouverte adressée au premier ministre du Canada

New England Human Rights Organization (NEHRO)

14 Juillet 2016

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

Monsieur le Premier Ministre,

New England Human Rights Organization [NEHRO], organisme international de défense des Droits de la Personne, dont le siège social est  à Boston dans l’Etat du Massachusetts, vous présente ses respects et s’accorde  la liberté de vous faire part de ses profondes inquiétudes, relatives aux positions  de votre gouvernement sur les élections haïtiennes frauduleuses des mois d’Août et d’Octobre 2015. Ces dernières étaient très largement  contestées et rejetées par l’ensemble du  peuple haïtien tant à l’intérieur qu’à l’extérieur du pays.

Monsieur le Premier ministre, ignoriez-vous que ces élections-sélections organisées par un gouvernement corrompu et détesté, étaient truffées de fraudes massives et d’irrégularités sans nom? Des élections dénoncées par la majorité des observateurs nationaux et internationaux, mais approuvées, par les “Amis d’Haïti” dont hélas! le Canada fait partie. Pourquoi avoir continué de poursuivre l’erreur de vos prédécesseurs? Quand on sait que le peuple canadien croit solidement en la démocratie et en la justice sociale et qu’il aurait désapprouvé cette mascarade s’il en était informé. Pourquoi, Monsieur le Premier Ministre, ne pas avoir orienté la politique étrangère de votre gouvernement concernant Haïti, plutôt du côté des intérêts de la grande majorité du peuple, qui se bat pour sa  survie, sa dignité, la désoccupation de son pays et le respect de ses votes?

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

U.S. Peanuts to Haiti Likely to Have Adverse Effect According to Haitians

July 25, 2016 - 13:45

The U.S. government has a plan to send excess American-grown peanuts to Haiti to feed schoolchildren. For Haitians, this plan is likely to adversely affect the local economy by seeping into local markets and devaluing the already existing, economical peanut industry to negatively affect Haitian peanut farmers. Ted Oswald of the Huffington Post explains the reasons the U.S. wants to send over these peanuts, and why the Haitian farmers are so reluctant to receive this aid.

Haitian farmers to the U.S. Government: “No to Free Peanuts!”

Ted Oswald, The Huffington Post

July 23, 2016

The USDA is planning to ship 500 metric tons of dry-roasted U.S. peanuts to Haiti to feed schoolchildren this fall. Ask Haitian peanut farmer St. Abel Pierre her opinion, and she’ll tell you: she’s worried, and she isn’t alone.

Pierre is a lifelong resident of Kabay, an agricultural community set in the rolling hills of Haiti’s Artibonite Valley. She works with a group of ten other farmers in her area who come together to mitigate the effects of the region’s serious drought and worsening soil on their crops. These difficulties make peanut crops all the more important to farmers like her.

Peanuts are versatile, nutritious, and drought-resistant. Pierre makes protein-rich peanut butter for the family from her homegrown peanuts and packs sachets of grilled nuts to send with her grandchildren to school. Peanuts provide financial security and are a means to get cash quickly. For five pounds of peanuts she can get paid $4 – 6.50. By comparison, the same quantity of corn nets her just $.80. Fleurimond Conserve, another lifelong farmer from Kabay, summed it up this way: “Once you have a peanut plant, you have a heart at ease.”

Pierre and Conserve are just a few of an estimated 500,000 people who make up the Haitian peanut value chain. Merchants who sell snacks outside of schools ― primarily women small-business owners ― would be hit hard by the free snacks. So why would the USDA want to import U.S. peanuts to a country where they are already produced and vitally important for Haitian livelihoods?

The short answer is surplus. The 2014 U.S. Farm Bill incentivizes U.S. growers to increase peanut planting even when prices are in decline. This type of market intervention is nothing new. For decades, federal subsidies have encouraged farmers to overproduce and the excess crops end up stored by the USDA. The price of peanut storage could cost as much as $50 million a year over the next four years. USDA’s Stocks-for-Food initiative is a way to dispose of some of its excess peanuts through domestic and international food aid programs.

When USDA announced the Haiti peanut shipment in March in cooperation with the World Food Program and the Haitian Ministry of Agriculture, they said the peanut shipment wpuld serve 140,000 children in existing school feeding programs. They anticipated future shipments of similar sizes and pointed out that U.S. wheat, peas, and vegetable oil are already used in Haitian school feeding programs. Nonetheless, over 60 aid groups did not mince words in a letter sent to the USDA criticizing the plan. The letter, signed by Partners in Health, Oxfam, and Haitian organization PAPDA among others, states “…[T]his program stands to become the latest in a long history of U.S-sponsored programs that have destabilized Haiti’s agricultural sector, driving the nation further into poverty while increasing its dependence on foreign aid.”

 

For Haitian farmers, the dumping of U.S. agricultural commodities has rocked their communities for decades. In the 1990s, foreign rice flooded Haitian markets when trade barriers were reduced at the U.S. government’s urging. To this day, cheap U.S. rice, flour, and beans dominate the Haitian marketplace, lessening demand for local produce and choking out smallholder farmers. When discussing the USDA peanut shipment, Pierre gave a knowing look and remarked, “It’s a strategy [by the USDA],” and offered a Haitian Creole proverb to sum things up: abitid se vis, habit is vice.Once you start doing something, it’s hard to stop ― so it’s better not to start in the first place!

Meanwhile, the USDA and its opponents made the following arguments in a flurry of tit-for-tat op-eds and letters to the editor.

The USDA argues that:

Opponents respond that:

Even with the criticism, the USDA has not canceled its plans for the first shipment but there are signs behind the scenes that subsequent shipments may be cancelled. This still isn’t enough.

Even if the shipment won’t overwhelm Haitian markets, and even if the U.S. peanuts reach their intended beneficiaries, the shipment reflects bad policy and outdated practice. Malnutrition is a serious problem in Haiti, but USDA’s approach is treating the disease with the wrong medicine. Redoubling efforts to support local farmers like St. Abel, as the U.S. government’s Agency for International Development is already doing and USDA claims to do, and procuring peanuts locally, are better answers than paying to package, ship, and distribute free peanuts to the detriment of Haitian peanut producers and sellers.

When Pierre and Conserve gathered with a group of 60 Kabay farmers to discuss the USDA plan, they wanted to send a message to the USDA: “No to free peanuts!” Haitian farmers have reaped undue hardship under U.S. agricultural policy, and they should not be made to do so again.

Read the original article HERE.

Senators Call on Secy. Kerry to Address Cholera in Haiti

July 25, 2016 - 11:40

U.S. Senators Ed Markey [D-MA] and Marco Rubio [R-FL] came together on a letter asking that Secretary of State John Kerry appropriately address the cholera outbreak in Haiti. The bipartisan duo demands immediate action, echoing the recent letter to the Secretary sent by 158 members of the U.S. House of Representatives.

Cholera Epidemic in Haiti Demands Immediate Action Say U.S. Senators Markey and Rubio

Ed Markey, United States Senator for Massachusetts

July 22, 2016

As Haiti continues to suffer from a cholera epidemic that has resulted in more cases and deaths than any other known cholera outbreak in the Americas, Senators Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, called on the State Department to address the crisis and urge the United Nations (UN) to take responsibility and appropriate steps to remedy the public health emergency. An independent report found that faulty sanitation from the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti introduced the cholera bacteria, which has since led to more than 731,000 suspected cholera cases and nearly 9,000 deaths since 2010.

Read the Press Release from Sen. Markey’s office HERE.

 

Dear Secretary Kerry,

We write to encourage the State Department engage with the international community to expeditiously address the ongoing cholera epidemic in Haiti and urge the United Nations (UN) to remedy this public health emergency. The situations originated from infected members of the UN’s peacekeeping contingent who were in Haiti responding to the humanitarian crisis that emerged after the 2010 earthquake.

As the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, Haiti has struggled to recover from the strongest quake to affect the nation in over two centuries. Today, six years later, over 60,000 people remain displaced and require humanitarian assistance to support their basic needs and protection. Despite an independent report stating that faulty sanitation from the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) introduced the cholera bacteria, the UN has refused to take responsibility. Instead, the UN asserted immunity under the 1946 Convention on Privileges and Immunities, and claimed that a confluence of factors caused the epidemic. While Haitians are denied remuneration or a transparent mechanism to resolve claims for compensation, cholera continues to cause significant morbidity and mortality across the country.

Read the full letter HERE.

 

Senators demand US lead on UN accountability and immediate action for Haiti cholera

July 25, 2016 - 11:13

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Press Contact: Kermshlise Picard, Communications Coordinator, Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti, media@ijdh.org; +1-617-652-0876 (Interviews available in English, French & Kreyòl).)

Senators demand US lead on UN accountability and immediate action for Haiti cholera

Foreign Relations Committee Members Join Rising Chorus of Voices Supporting Cholera Victims’ Rights

 

BOSTON, July 25 2016 – U.S. Senators Ed Markey (D-MA) and Marco Rubio (R-FL) are calling on the United States to “utilize its leadership position to stress the importance of UN accountability and action to remediate the ongoing impact of cholera in Haiti.”

The two Senators, both members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and representing states with substantial Haitian-American constituencies, conveyed their concerns in a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry on July 21. The letter is the first statement from the Senate regarding accountability for the cholera epidemic introduced to Haiti through reckless disposal of waste at a UN peacekeeper base in 2010, and a rare example of bipartisan advocacy in the U.S. Congress (see also Senator Markey’s press release).

“The calls for accountability are now too pervasive and too loud for the UN to ignore,” said Brian Concannon, Jr., Esq., Director of the Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti (IJDH).  “Especially coming from a U.S. Congress that provides over one fourth of the funding for the UN Peacekeeping and regular budgets.”

The letter notes that while “Haitians are denied remuneration or a transparent mechanism to resolve claims for compensation, cholera continues to cause significant morbidity and mortality across the country,” including over 36,000 sickened and 309 deaths in 2015. It warns of “a sustained presence of the disease without immediate action by global partners, and perhaps more importantly, UN accountability.”

The Senate letter endorses the call made in a June 25 letter signed by 158 Members of the U.S. House of Representatives calling on Secretary Kerry “to ensure that claims related to the cholera outbreak are appropriately and transparently adjudicated, and that the UN institutes proactive measures to reduce risks for the host nations in which it operates.”

Senators Rubio and Markey are adding their voices to others calling for a better UN response, including a majority of the candidates top succeed UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, the UN’s own human rights experts, editorial boards at the New York Times, The Lancet, the Boston Globe, the Washington Post and newspapers around the world, thousands of cholera victims, Haitian-American organizations, public health specialists, former UN Ambassadors and many others. Many actors have particularly stressed the need for Secretary-General Ban to act on cholera before he leaves office in December in order to prevent the cholera crisis from becoming a permanent scar on his legacy.

To date, the UN has rejected claims filed by victims, a move widely viewed as inconsistent with its treaty obligations to settle claims by individuals harmed by its operations.  The UN has also claimed immunity from a lawsuit filed in U.S. court, effectively blocking an independent review of its responsibility.  The U.S. Government has come to the UN’s defense in the litigation, which is currently pending decision by the Second Circuit Court of Appeals.

 

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UN Impunity Hurts Those it Intends to Help

July 25, 2016 - 07:10

The United Nations has a long and storied history of mistreating the vulnerable populations it seeks to help. From the withholding of food to those in refugee camps to allegations of sexual assault and abuse by UN Peacekeepers and even the outbreak of cholera in Haiti, the international organization has failed to reform such behavior and hold itself accountable. Immunity from local laws permits UN personnel to exist without repercussions for their actions leading to atrocious crimes against vulnerable populations and protection for aggressors.

End the UN’s Legal Immunity

Ian Hurd, The Hill

July 22, 2016

 

When the United Nations housed Roma refugees in Kosovo, it built their camp next to a lead-smelting plant. For years, the UN ignored the residents’ complaints that toxic waste was causing seizures, miscarriages, brain damage, and more. A UN report last week excoriated the organization for not taking them seriously. It called the organization’s complaints process a “sham” that abused the very people it was supposed to protect. It is well known that the UN operates with impunity when it harms innocent people – Congress and the White House can bring that to an end.

In Central African Republic, French peacekeepers used local teenagers as sex slaves. In Kenya, the UN withheld food from an entire refugee camp to punish people for a protest there. In Haiti in 2010, peacekeepers accidentally contaminated the water supply with cholera and launched an epidemic that has killed 8000 people and counting. In 2012, Pakistani peacekeepers in Haiti repeatedly raped a 14-year old boy. When officials came to investigate, their commanding officer sent the boy to another town so that he could not be interviewed. The local courts are powerless to address any of these wrongs. This is a tragedy for the people who suffer, as well as for the UN and its reputation.

When the UN sends peacekeepers abroad they arrive at their destination in a bubble of legal immunity. No matter how badly things go on the mission, how poorly the peacekeepers behave or what harm they cause, no courts have the capacity to hold them accountable. This is an untenable situation – it’s bad for the UN, bad for the peacekeepers, and especially bad for the people who have no choice but to live under their authority.

The UN is perfectly insulated from legal accountability in any form, civil or criminal. Its founding treaties say that it “shall enjoy immunity from every form of legal process” in all its operations, This makes it impossible for individuals to sue the UN for any harm it might cause. In addition, peacekeepers are exempt from local criminal laws. Neither the UN nor its peacekeepers can be brought before local courts. These protections remain in place whether the harms are caused by willful malevolence or mere negligence on the part of the UN. The rapes in the CAR fit the first of these and Haiti’s cholera the second. Both speak to a pervasive lack of effective oversight of field operations, made possible by its immunity.

To make matters worse, individuals have no right to present their own claims claim for damages to the organization. The UN does sometimes pay out compensation, and it sometimes waives the immunity of its officials, but this is at the discretion of the Secretary-General. The three Pakistani peacekeepers were sent back home and the UN decided not to lift their immunity. Their commanding officer was allowed to stay on the job in Haiti. The case was recognized inside the UN as so egregious that it became a ‘poster case’ for better accountability. But none came. Even in the worst cases, the people who are harmed by the UN are shut out, and the organization continues as before.

Two simple changes would go a long way toward holding the UN accountable. First, the State Department should issue a statement recognizing the UN’s legal immunity as functional rather than absolute. The original UN Charter gave the UN immunity only for acts necessary to its public duties, not for cholera and rape. But the US has for many years taken the view that the organization should be entirely untouchable by domestic courts. And so, when cholera victims tried to sue the UN in New York the US government reminded the judges of this broad interpretation of immunity and encouraged them to dismiss the suits. This creeping extension of immunity is a mistake. The US should push the UN back to the black-letter law of the Charter. This would set a model for other countries to follow and open the door to legal accountability. The same limited version of immunity should apply to individual peacekeepers so that they become subject to the jurisdiction of local criminal courts.

Second, every new UN peacekeeping operation should include an office tasked with considering claims for damage by private individuals. This would give local people someone to appeal to when they suffer at the hands of the UN. While every peacekeeping agreement between the UN and the host government already includes the possibility of a ‘claims commission’ of this kind, not a single one has actually been brought on line by the UN. A pathway for private claims should be mandatory for all missions.

Defenders of the UN will counter that the organization must be free from legal liability in order to function effectively. To take one pressing example, it is easy to imagine that fears of liability could make the UN unwilling to house refugees who have fled the Syrian war. So many things could go wrong that the UN might simply decide it is not worth the risk. This could leave a highly vulnerable population even more adrift.

This sad scenario offers a false choice between a reckless UN and an immobile one. Neither is acceptable. The potential for legal liability would induce the UN to improve its operations. It would encourage those in charge to take a realistic look at all acts that might be legally attributed to the organization and think harder about how to hold those who act its name accountable for their actions.

The business sector has taught us that corporations perform poorly when internal oversight is weak. If subordinates are unaccountable to superiors and the costs of bad choices are not felt by the firm then those in the executive suite have little incentive to care about what is happening down the chain of command. This same holds at the UN. While legal accountability cannot fix everything in UN operations, it is a crucial first step to empower local people in situations where things have gone wrong.

To be sure, ending the UN’s special privileges would increase the legal and financial risks of UN operations. It might require that the organization buy insurance, monitor its peacekeepers, and on occasion pay compensation when it makes a mess of things. These are reasonable costs that should be internalized by the organization as part of the cost of doing business. At present, those costs are being exported onto the people the UN purports to be serving. Compared to the children of CAR and the people of Haiti, the UN is rich and powerful. It can afford the costs and risks that accompany its global operations.

By demanding that the UN accept a greater share of its real liability, the next US president can contribute to more careful decision-making in the organization and, more importantly, improve the welfare of ordinary people who live under UN authority.

 

Click HERE for the original article.

50 Federasyon ak òganizasyon kanpe kont don pistach Etazini an

July 24, 2016 - 17:20

Reprezantan 50 Federasyon ak òganizasyon ayisyen pibliye yon deklarasyon kont don pistach Depatman agrikilti peyi Etazini (USDA) vle voye ane sa-a. USDA gen lentansyon voye 500 tòn metrik pistach ayiti, swadizan pou ede timoun ki grangou. Men ayiti deja pwodwi pistach, donk chajman sa kapab gen yon trè move efè sou ekonomi ayiti. Gwoup sa yo sonje jan masak kochon kreyòl yo ak chajman diri etazini te detwi ekonomi ayiti nan ane 1980 yo epi yo pa vle menm bagay la rive ak pistach yo tou.

Yon pati deklarasyon an pi ba. Klike ISI pou li tout tèks la, e ISI pou wè siyati yo.

DEKLARASYON OGANIZASYON POPILÈ SOU KOZE ENPÒTASYON PISTACH

20 jiyè 2016

Nou menm reprezantan 50 Federasyon ak òganizasyon, ki sòti nan 10 depatman yo e ki te reyini nan Montrouis sòti 10 pou rive 21 jiyè nan okazyon reyalizasyon Inivèsite Popilè a pou ane 2016 la, nou aprann ak anpil sezisman ak endiyasyon Depatman agrikilti peyi Etazini (USDA) gen lentansyon voye nan peyi a 2 chajman pistach – premye chajman 500 tòn metrik prevwa pou li rive pandan mwa out 2016 la. Pistach sa yo gen pou distribiye nan lekòl pou soulaje malnitrisyon 140.000 timoun, dapre deklarasyon Gouvènman meriken.

Nap pwoteste kont desizyon sa a e nap mande Ministè agrikilti (MARNDR) pou li kanpe sou enpòtasyon pistach la pou rezon sa yo:

1.- Pistach sa yo yap voye ban nou se paske gen twòp kantite pistach yo pwodwi nan peyi Etazini e gen pwoblèm twòp pistach ak pwoblèm estokaj. Peyi Dayiti pa dwe tounen poubèl !!

2.- Ayiti pwodwi plizyè dizèn milye tòn metrik pistach chak ane. Menmsi pwodiksyon an bese anpil depi 2014 aktivite sa a rete enpòtan, kote souvan se pistach ak pwa kongo ki se 2 pwodiksyon ki pèmèt fanmi peyizan yo reziste anba frap sechrès la, nan plizyè rejyon nan peyi a.

 

Klike ISI pou li tout teks la, e ISI pou wè siyati yo.

How UN Immunity is Allowing Human Rights Violations

July 22, 2016 - 17:51

United Nations peacekeepers brought cholera to Haiti in 2010 and have used “absolute immunity as a bureaucratic tactic to avoid responsibility” since then, despite over 9000 deaths from and over 770,000 cases of cholera in Haiti. This article discusses how the UN’s self-protective ducking behind immunity is actually self-destructive for an organization purported to stand for human rights.

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

No Immunity from Cholera: the UN’s Role in the 2010 Haitian Outbreak

Madlen Nash, McGill Blog

July 22, 2016

The United Nations cannot claim to address and prevent human rights violations while simultaneously failing to acknowledge the culture of impunity and alarming lack of accountability within the organization. Immunity should exist solely to ensure the security of UN peacekeepers during their missions. Instead, the UN uses absolute immunity as a bureaucratic tactic to avoid responsibility when their soldiers violate the human rights of the citizens they are mandated to protect. The UN continues to hide behind its shield of impunity despite its recent unequivocal violation of human rights in the case of the cholera outbreak in Haiti.

In October 2010, an outbreak of cholera appeared in Haiti for the first time in nearly a century(1). As of February 2016, there have been 770,000 reported cholera cases and 9,200 deaths (2). The first reported cases coincided directly with the arrival of peacekeepers from the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH). The troops were deployed from an area of Nepal, a cholera endemic country, which had just experienced a major outbreak in the month prior to their departure (3). Evidence overwhelmingly confirmed that the source of the Haitian cholera outbreak was due to “contamination of the Méyè Tributary of the Artibonite River with a pathogenic strain of South Asian type Vibrio cholerae as a result of human activity” (4). The evidence not only confirms that the UN was responsible for bringing cholera into Haiti, but that it did so recklessly, allowing human waste from the peacekeeping base to be discharged into the tributary leading to Haiti’s principle water source (5). Despite the knowledge of the recent cholera outbreak in Nepal, the organization only tested symptomatic soldiers for cholera, even though 75% of cholera cases present as asymptomatic (6).

 

Click HERE for the full text.

Seed Global Health Hiring for Two Positions

July 22, 2016 - 12:45
Director of Communications

The Director of Communications (DC) will be a mission-focused, seasoned, and creative communicator. S/he will have experience building the brand and telling the story for a dynamic, expanding and inspiring enterprise. The DC will report to the Director of Operations but will be expected to take direction from the Chief Executive Officer and provide substantial support to the Seed development team. This is an outstanding opportunity for a highly motivated professional to take on a pivotal role in the evolution of a fast-growing, well respected organization. Responsibilities will include but are not limited to:

Strategic and Continuous Communication Leadership and Execution:

• Work across the staff, and in particular with the CEO and development team, to formulate and implement a high-impact communication strategy

• Establish goals and objectives related to Seed communication investments and monitor and report progress against those metrics

• Manage communications aspects of high-value and complex external partnerships (e.g., with communications counterparts at Peace Corps and among key private donors and academic partners)

• Establish and nurture relationships with multiple news, social media, and other outlets to promote the Seed story and generate positive coverage

• Lead a small but dedicated communications team including interns and para-professionals

• Support the CEO in her role as chief spokesperson for Seed and “build the bench” of surrogates who can support and complement the chief spokesperson role

 

Click HERE for the full position description.

——————————————————

Director of Operations

The Director of Operations (DO) will be a mission-focused, seasoned, and process-minded leader with experience scaling an organization, and developing a performance culture among a group of diverse, talented individuals. The DO will report to the CEO. The DO must be a leader who is able to help others at Seed deliver

measurable, cost-effective results that make the vision a reality. This is an outstanding opportunity for a highly

motivated professional to take on a pivotal role in the evolution of a fast-growing, well respected organization.

A smaller organization currently, Seed is poised to grow significantly over the next few years requiring the DO to

assume greater responsibilities and to oversee increasingly complex programming and strategy.

Responsibilities will include but are not limited to:

Operations

• Contribute to the development of Seed Global Health’s strategic goals and objectives as well as

• Ensure that Seed Global Health is adhering to the strategic plan, delivering status reports to the

• In close collaboration with the CEO and Chief Strategic and Clinical Officer, help oversee and

• Help establish international operations in partner countries including registration, legal counsel,

• Manage operations in partner countries ensuring accountability and performance of staff there;

• Administer contracts with including, but not limited to, consultants, Seed Plus volunteers, and

• Oversee facility and office management logistics and decisions including administering and

• Supervise insurance protocols including, but not limited to: general liability, fiduciary, foreign

• Upgrade and implement an appropriate system of policies, internal controls, accounting

• Coordinate the quarterly reports to the Peace Corps;

• Oversee the organizations’ reporting to operational partners and contracts, ensuring the reports

• Represent the organization externally, as necessary, particularly in legal negotiations, contracts, promotional activities and fundraising efforts

Click HERE for the full position description.

Programme d’Engagement Civique (PEC-BAI/IJDH): encore une séance de formation pour les animateurs

July 20, 2016 - 13:03

July 20, 2016

Dans le cadre du Programme d’Engagement Civique (PEC), en cours de réalisation au niveau de ces quatre communes : Saut d’Eau,  Lachapelle, Boucan carré et Mirebalais, pour renforcer la capacité des animateurs à aider les accompagnateurs à orienter les membres   de leur communauté ( participants) en termes de plaidoyer afin d’interpeler les autorités locales gouvernementales autour de leurs droits économiques, sociaux et culturels, particulièrement leurs droits à l’éducation et à la santé, le Bureau des Avocats Internationaux (BAI) a entrepris une journée de formation ce mercredi 13 juillet 2016 dans la commune de Saut d’Eau.

Seize animateurs, accompagnés d’avocats de ces communes, d’avocats stagiaires et d’étudiants finissants du BAI avaient pris part à cette séance de formation autour de ces  thèmes : politique et les trois pouvoirs de l’Etat, techniques d’animation, de supervision et de plaidoyer. Elle a été animée, principalement par Me Mario JOSEPH, Responsable du BAI. Les animateurs, visiblement très satisfaits, ont salué cette série de formations et exprimé leur détermination de continuer à conscientiser les membres de leur communauté sur les obligations de l’Etat, au regard de leurs droits économiques, sociaux et culturels,  tout en exerçant un leadership pouvant les persuader à s’engager en tant qu’acteurs de changement de leur communauté autour de ses enjeux sociaux et politiques.

A ce propos, Me Mario JOSEPH a tenu à souligner et nous citons : «  vous autres,  animateurs,  vous devez être des avant-gardistes des intérêts de votre communauté ; voilà pourquoi vous avez la responsabilité de doter à vos concitoyens des outils nécessaires leur permettant de faire des choix politiques éclairés en vue de l’avancement de la communauté ».

La méthode participative a été amplement utilisée lors de cette formation. Et cela a semblé très bénéfique pour le programme.  A ce propos, un animateur a déclaré : «  Cette méthode  nous  a permis de prendre conscience  des  différents  défis   à   relever et surtout, la nécessité de les affronter ensemble ».

A titre de rappel, le PEC est un programme pilote que BAI exécute dans les quatre communes mentionnées ci-dessus, visant à développer une prise de conscience chez les membres de ces communautés sur les obligations de l’Etat vis-à-vis de leurs droits économiques, sociaux et culturels. Les animateurs sont des leaders communautaires qui accompagnent sur le terrain des accompagnateurs dont leur tâche consiste à orienter les membres de la population (participants) en matière des droits à l’éducation et à la santé.

Haitian Senate Candidates Overwhelmingly Male

July 19, 2016 - 07:47

Despite a Constitutionally-mandated quota of 30% female participation, 91.27% of candidates for Haiti’s Senate are male: Out of 149 candidates for Haiti’s various departments, only 13 are women. This article breaks those numbers down by department and also provides a list of the woman candidates.

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

Haiti – FLASH : 149 candidates for 10 seats in the Senate (list)

HaitiLibre

July 19, 2016

149 candidates (13 women and 136 men) will compete on 9 October for the first round of elections of the renewal of third of the Senate.

The dominance of the number of men candidates (91.27%) over the women candidates is overwhelming, far from the respect of minimum 30% quota for women stipulated in the amended Constitution.

Click HERE for the full text.

Is the United States Undermining Haiti’s Democracy?

July 18, 2016 - 15:35

Now that the United States has decided to withdraw funding from the redo of Haiti’s presidential elections, Haitians are starting to unite to find a way to fund the elections themselves. Unfortunately, the U.S. withdrawal, as well as the country’s continual denouncing of Haiti’s attempt at a more democratic process, may be detrimental to the credibility of the elections. While many take Haiti funding its own elections as a step towards sovereignty and improving the process, the electoral process is still being blocked by a portion of Parliament and there are also many concerns about what the U.S. will do once the elections have taken place.

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

Will a Haiti election without U.S. dollars undermine the vote?

Jacqueline Charles, Miami Herald

July 18, 2016

For months, the United States has stressed the importance of Haiti scheduling elections, holding them and quickly inaugurating a democratically-elected government.

But as Haiti now prepares to complete the election cycle that began last year, the Obama administration has said it won’t finance the effort a second time. It won’t underwrite the Oct. 9 vote. It’s demanding the return of unspent elections dollars it granted. And it’s asking two U.S.-based elections organizations to stop supporting the process.

In Haiti, the combination of those moves is adding up widespread concern over one question: Is the U.S. undermining the election?

“We find it bizarre that they don’t want to support the democratic process,” said Léopold Berlanger, president of Haiti’s nine-member Provisional Electoral Council charged with organizing the vote for president, members of parliament and thousands of local seats. “I don’t see how their behavior is rational.”

Click HERE for the full text.

Triple Murder of Deaf Women Spurns Activism

July 18, 2016 - 13:03

Following the brutal killings, Haitian civil society has come together to demand action. Activists have called for the inclusion of women with disabilities into the national gender equality plan in an attempt to remedy the causes of this event. IJDH Staff Attorney Nicole Phillips is also cited in this article.

Click HERE for the original article.

Murder of three deaf women in Haiti must be a starting point for change

Anna Leach, The Guardian

July, 18 2016

On Saturday 11 June government ministers and campaigners attended the funeral of three female street vendors, laid to rest in sturdy white coffins laden with flowers, with more than 2,000 people in attendance. Their brutal murders had shocked a country.

Jesula Gelin, a mother of six, Vanessa Previl and Monique Vincent were all deaf and worked in Haiti’s capital. That is itself was notable – they were economically independent and lived away from their families in a deaf community in Leveque, a village about an hour from the city.

On 18 March they had spent the morning in Port-au-Prince buying business supplies and visiting their families. They set off home in the early afternoon, leaving plenty of time to get back before dark on a normal day. However, a bridge had collapsed on Route Nine, one of the main thoroughfares, bringing traffic to a standstill. “It was on the radio, TV, so everybody knew to avoid those areas,” says Nicole Phillips, a lawyer who is representing the women’s families. “But if you’re deaf, you’re not going to benefit from any of that. They had no idea that the bridge had collapsed.”

The women had been travelling on a tap tap – the privately run Jeeps that are the equivalent of buses in Haiti. But at some point, in the heavily congested traffic, they got off the tap tap to continue their journey on foot. “They got exhausted,” says Phillips. “And then late at night, we don’t know what time, they stopped off in one of the victim’s relative’s house.

The house was owned by a distant relative. “She had been there before, by car it’s just 20 minutes from where she lives,” says Phillips. “She and the two other ladies went there to spend the night.”

Reports of what happened next are from two women who have been arrested in connection with the triple murder. They lived at the house and say that when the three deaf women arrived they were frightened and thought that they were lougawou. In Haitian mythology, lougawou or lougarouare evil spirits who come out at night and cause mischief such as killing your goats or eating your dog. They are something to be feared. Disabled people are sometimes labelled bad spirits. “They think that they are a different creature of god,” says Phillips. “That helps them justify the stigma of disabled people. You can tell yourself this [that they are different] and feel more justified morally.”

The sequence of events is not entirely clear, but at some point between 8pm and midnight the women were tortured and brutally murdered. Phillips has seen photographs of the bodies with burn marks and machete cuts. The two women who were in the house and a male accomplice have been arrested in connection with the murder. But the police have not captured another main suspect, a distant relative of one of the victims.

“Violence against women with disabilities is believed to be two or three times higher than against non-disabled women,” says Lisa Adams, programme director of the US-based Disability Rights Fund, which works in Haiti. “Disability, gender and sexuality compound to present a lot of cultural myths and stereotypes about women with disabilities – ranging from infantilising them to making them hyper sexual. I think that has a lot to do with the violence experienced by women with disabilities in Haiti – these three women in particular.”

The murders have brought a furious response from disability rights, women’s rights and human rights campaigners. “This has brought Haiti’s disability rights activists together,” says Phillips. “It has galvanised the community.” On 1 April hundreds of people marched in Port-au-Prince to demand justice for the three murdered women, and several other demonstrations around the country followed, including a march on 9 June in Cabaret near where they were killed.

Disabled people in Haiti are discriminated against in multiple ways. For example, only 5% of children with disabilities are in school, according to a report by the Haitian state submitted in the report to the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. And people with disabilities complain that the police don’t take them seriously when they report crimes and that they are taunted in public as “cocobe” (useless).

“Haiti is a model for exclusion,” says Michel Pean, who was secretary of state for the inclusion of persons with disabilities in Haiti from 2007-11 and is blind himself. “But it’s also a good example of the fight for inclusion of people with disabilities within society.” Pean says that 1 million out of Haiti’s 10 million people have a disability. Since the earthquake in 2010, there are more people with disabilities and they have become more visible.

And those activists are determined to seize this moment of tragedy and force the government to act. “We want to transform this very negative event into something positive,” says Pean. “Something which would ensure that people with disabilities are respected, and their rights are respected. Their right to education, their right to access to health, in other words, their right to live, with dignity.”

In response to the murders, campaigners are calling for the government to include the rights of women with disabilities into a national gender equality plan. The government has not replied to that petition yet, but it did fund the women’s funeral and ministers insist they are doing all they can to ensure that justice is done.

“For me, as a feminist activist,” says Nadine Anilus, a member of the Ministry of Women’s cabinet, “we condemn this criminal act and call the state authorities to take the necessary steps to make justice and reparation to the family of three women. Every Haitian citizen must play their part to improve the situation of people with disabilities. We are calling for a big national campaign.”

She adds that Haiti needs to ensure national accidents are communicated in a way that is accessible for people with disabilities and that more financial resources are needed for organisations working on these issues.

Pean is clear that it will take a long time before people with disabilities are treated equally in the country. “For things to actually change, mentalities as well, takes a long process,” he says. “One of the things that has to change is the economic situation in Haiti. Also, it’s essential that we have political stability. These are necessary conditions to enable us to reach true inclusion.”

 

Click HERE for the original article.

UN Secretary General Candidates Starting to Stand for Cholera Justice

July 14, 2016 - 12:12

In the first-ever televised debate between candidates for the next United Nations Secretary General, a moderator asked about the UN-caused cholera epidemic in Haiti. While justice for the cholera victims may seem like a no-brainer, it has been notoriously tough for the UN, which has dodged accountability for almost six years. In the debate, one candidate stood out by taking a stand for accountability, joining a few other candidates who have also publicly supported justice for Haiti’s cholera victims. This article shows that justice is becoming more and more unavoidable for the UN, and that the next Secretary General may be the one to finally address the ongoing epidemic.

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

Click HERE for more on the fight for cholera justice.

A lone hand raised on the question of U.N. responsibility for cholera in Haiti

Tom Murphy, Humanosphere

July 14, 2016

When it comes to the possibility that the United Nations might claim responsibility for causing the outbreak of cholera in Haiti, Costa Rican diplomat Christina Figueres stands alone. In the first-ever televised debate of the secretary-general candidates, the moderator asked whether they would apologize for the import of cholera to Haiti by Nepalese peacekeepers in fall 2009. Flanked by some of the early favorites to take the job, only Figueres raised her hand.

“I believe that was an unintended consequence of a very important goal of the United Nations,” Figueres said when she was asked to explain why she raised her hand. “But we have to be responsible even for unintended consequences. If I go to the 38th floor I will make sure that during my tenure that we completely eradicate malaria and cholera in Haiti … that is a moral responsibility the United Nations has, and it must be fulfilled.”

 

Click HERE for the full text and video.

12 Haitian Senators Put Their Salaries Towards Elections

July 14, 2016 - 09:33

With the United States’ decision to withdraw funding for Haiti’s elections, Haiti has to find a way to fill the gap in funds for the electoral process. Twelve Haitian Senators have decided to give two months of their salaries to the elections pot. While this article questions the Senators’ motives, this could be a step towards Haiti financing its own elections.

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

Haiti – Elections : 12 senators give their wages

HaitiLibre

July 14, 2016

The majority group to the Senate composed of 12 senators : Nenel Cassy, Evallière Beauplan, Ricard Pierre, Francisco Delacruz, François Luca Sainvil, Stevens Iverson Benoît, Francenet Denius, Jean Baptiste Bien Aimé, Westner Polycarpe, Fritz Carlos Lebon, Ronald Larèche and Antonio Cheramy, indicates in a correspondence that following the precariousness of State revenues to help achieve the next elections, they decided to give 2 months of their salary.

Extract of the correspondence :
“[…] In order to remedy this situation, we have decided the following:

1. The donation of our salaries for the month of August and September 2016 except of operating fees as our participation in the realization of the next elections to elect a legitimate president on 7 February 2017 to fill vacancies to the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies;

 

Click HERE for the full text.

Children of Peacekeepers: Those Left Behind by UN Mission in Haiti

July 14, 2016 - 06:44

The AP investigates children left behind by United Nations peacekeeping troops in Haiti, focusing on the single case of Rosa Mina Joseph, a very young Haitian mother. The father of her child, Julio Cesar Posse, left the country when his rotation ended, leaving Joseph with no contact information and no monetary support. The U.N. has acknowledged the issues of peacekeeper sexual abuse and paternity cases, yet little has been done to support the victims and their children.

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

Support Sought for Kids Left Behind by UN Troops in Haiti

The Associated Press, The New York Times

July 14, 2016

PORT SALUT, Haiti — The first time Rosa Mina Joseph met Julio Cesar Posse he was hanging out in civilian clothes on the beach in her hometown in southern Haiti, where he was stationed as a member of a U.N. peacekeeping force.

Within weeks, she says, the Uruguayan marine was showing up every weekend at her family’s shack, pledging his love in Spanish and broken Haitian Creole.

But about a year later when his rotation ended, Posse quietly returned home. He left behind Joseph, a broken-hearted 17-year-old with an infant and no way to support the child without depending on struggling relatives.

….

Click HERE for the full text.