Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti

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Can apology without admitting fault clear Ban Ki-moon’s legacy?

December 28, 2016 - 17:11

On December 1,before the United Nations General Assembly, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon finally apologized for the UN’s role in the cholera epidemic in Haiti. It was a major moment and much-needed in an effort to salvage Ban’s legacy before he (likely) goes on to run for president of his home South Korea. But the carefully-worded apology didn’t include an acknowledgment of the UN’s fault in the epidemic. A current and a former UN official say that without that, it will be very difficult for the UN to raise funds to support cholera elimination and Ban’s legacy may not be saved after all.

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

With an Eye on South Korea’s Presidency, Ban Ki-moon Seeks to Burnish his U.N. Legacy

Colum Lynch, Foreign Policy

December 28, 2016

On Jan. 15, 2016, Australian lawyer Philip Alston paid a visit  to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on his 38th-floor office at U.N. headquarters. Alston, the U.N. special rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, was preparing a report that would castigate the United Nations for skirting responsibility for introducing cholera into Haiti more than five years earlier. If Ban hoped to salvage the world body’s good name, as well as his legacy, he had better move fast to right a historical wrong.

“It would be a great pity to go out on this note,” Alston said he later told Ban in what amounted to a thinly veiled warning.

For a man weighing a likely run for the South Korean presidency, the hint of a potential scandal proved persuasive. Ban, 72, subsequently ordered a review of the U.N.’s response to Haiti’s cholera epidemic, which has killed more than 9,000 Haitians.

And so on Dec. 1, after months of deliberation, Ban offered an extraordinary apology to Haitians on behalf of the U.N., ending years of denials about the organization’s complicity in the cholera epidemic. In a carefully crafted statement that acknowledged the U.N.’s moral, if not legal, responsibility, Ban said he was “profoundly sorry” and pressed U.N. member states to cough up as much as $400 million to treat and cure Haiti’s cholera victims.


Click HERE for the full text.

“Kenbe Fèm” with BAI and IJDH

December 26, 2016 - 11:30

Dear [[Short_Salutation]],

I know that many of you in the U.S. and elsewhere are concerned about the future. We are concerned in Haiti too—the 21st Century has already brought us a coup d’état, manipulated elections, intense political oppression, an earthquake, a cholera epidemic and several deadly hurricanes.

Haitians often say “kenbe fem”- “hang in there”, “stand firm”. We use it casually, when friends take leave to face the daily challenges of life here. We use it more seriously, too, to encourage each other to stay strong in the face of particularly weighty challenges.

We not only hang in there, but we resist, mobilize and fight back. We successfully reversed the 2004 coup, stopped manipulated elections last January, survived the earthquake and hurricanes, and earlier this month, forced the UN to respond justly to its cholera epidemic. 

Our secret to success is “men anpil, chay pa lou”- “many hands make the load light”. Haitians have been working together to defeat injustice since we kicked out Napoleon and abolished slavery in 1804. We inspired and assisted independence movements in South America, Africa and beyond over the subsequent two centuries and fought off occupations and dictatorships at home. We hope that our example, courage, strategy, persistence and collaboration can inspire and support your efforts to preserve justice in your countries over the coming months and years.

We hope that you can help us too. Friends from abroad have lent their hands to our previous victories, especially our recent ones. We will need you to fight with us now, to kenbe fem by our side, contacting your leaders, writing letters, taking to the streets and educating your media.

And we need your financial support. Year-end donations from allies like you are crucial for BAI and IJDH to keep fighting on the front lines, to keep winning victories against injustice. Together, united, all hands in, we are unstoppable.

Are you with us?

Kenbe Fem,

Mario Joseph

Managing Attorney

Bureau des Avocats Internationaux

Why Re-Designating Temporary Protected Status for Haiti is Much-Needed

December 25, 2016 - 12:40

Temporary Protected Status (TPS) was first designated for Haitians who were in the United States on or before the devastating earthquake of 2010. Now, after Hurricane Matthew has worsened Haiti’s already-poor infrastructure and cholera epidemic, TPS should be redesignated. Haiti cannot currently support people who were deported, and redesignation would also help much-needed remittances be sent back to help Haiti recover. In this article, IJDH’s Steven Forester and FANM’s Marleine Bastien explain the importance of TPS and urge president Obama to redesignate it while he still has the chance.

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

Here’s why Obama should broaden TPS for Haitians

Marleine Bastien & Steven Forester, Miami Herald

December 25, 2016

Last week, Haitian Americans nationwide contacted the White House and their representatives in Congress urging President Obama to act on three goals within his control and moral purview.

When a natural catastrophe in a country makes it unsafe to deport nationals there, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) can designate it for Temporary Protected Status (TPS). Haiti was so designated after the devastating earthquake on Jan. 12, 2010. Nationals who had arrived in the U.S. on or before that date were protected from deportation and, for a significant fee, allowed to apply for a work permit.

TPS for Haiti needs to be updated — “redesignated.” In early October, Hurricane Matthew devastated Haiti’s southern peninsula. The Category 4 hurricane’s 230-mile-per-hour winds and over 10 inches of rain inundated vast areas, killing, injuring, rendering homeless and displacing hundreds of thousands. It left 1,250,000 Haitians, including 500,000 children, without safe water, and more than 800,000 Haitians living in extreme food insecurity because almost 100 percent crop destruction and half of the livestock destroyed. It caused cases of cholera, the water-borne disease introduced to Haiti by negligent United Nations practices.


Click HERE for the full text.

American Public Health Association Urges UN Accountability for Cholera

December 24, 2016 - 07:36

Recognizing the serious consequences of poor water and sanitation in Haiti in regards to the cholera epidemic, the American Public Health Association (APHA) urges the United Nations to make funding for the National Plan against cholera its top priority. Without proper water and sanitation, cholera will continue to infect and kill Haitians endlessly. Given the UN’s responsibility for the epidemic by ignoring common knowledge of Haiti’s poor infrastructure and carelessly dumping its waste in Haiti in 2010, it is up to the UN to oversee the plan and make sure it’s fully funded.

The abstract is below. Click HERE for the full article.

The United Nations’ Accountability for its Role in the Haitian Cholera Epidemic

American Public Health Association

November 1, 2o16

Decades of neglect of water and sanitation infrastructure have left the Haitian population vulnerable to outbreaks of waterborne illness. Despite the vulnerability of the population, United Nations (UN) forces (troops of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti, or MINUSTAH) have failed to take adequate precautions with their sewage, allowing human waste infected with cholera to contaminate the Haitian water supply. Since the cholera outbreak began in Haiti in October 2010, there have been at least 9,229 deaths and 789,242 Haitians infected. Given the role played by UN troops in the Haitian cholera epidemic, APHA urges the UN secretary-general and Department of Peacekeeping Operations to take leadership in guaranteeing that the National Plan for the Elimination of Cholera in Haiti is properly funded. The United Nations’ own special rapporteur released a report in August 2016 urging the secretary-general to take responsibility for the introduction of cholera in Haiti and advising the UN to make financial restitution for this mistake. Following this report, the secretary-general’s spokesperson acknowledged MINUSTAH’s role in causing the cholera epidemic; however, there has been no commitment on the part of the UN to take financial responsibility for the crisis. Without a long-term plan for building a national water and sanitation system, Haiti will remain vulnerable to cholera outbreaks during the rainy season and whenever a natural disaster occurs. Hurricane Matthew, which struck Haiti on October 4, 2016, has already led to a surge in cases, including more than 1,400 new infections in the 2 weeks immediately after the hurricane.


Click HERE for the full article.

Spend 3 Minutes Celebrating Justice for Cholera Victims

December 23, 2016 - 14:24

Dear Friend,

1. Press play.

2. Pat yourself on the back.

3. Smile!



Kermshlise Picard

Communications Coordinator


NYC Bar Writes Ambassador Power for Cholera Justice

December 23, 2016 - 12:17

The New York City Bar Association wrote to US Ambassador Samantha Power regarding the US support for the United Nations’ new plan to combat cholera in Haiti, which was detailed before the UN General Assembly on December 1. The plan requires funding from UN member states, of which the US is one of the largest contributors.

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

December 23, 2016

The Honorable Ambassador Samantha Power

U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations

799 United Nations Plaza

New York, New York 10017


Dear Ambassador Power:

We write on behalf of the New York City Bar Association to urge the United States to provide support for the United Nations’ new approach to the cholera epidemic in Haiti before you complete your term as the U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations. We applaud Ambassador Isobel Coleman’s December 1, 2016 remarks stating that the United States “recognizes that more must be done” in response to the outbreak and that it “supports the UN’s ongoing efforts.”1 A timely and concrete investment from the United States is essential to ensure that the approach receives full international support and that implementation of the new plan can begin.

The Association is a 145-year-old independent nongovernmental organization of more than 25,000 members in New York City, throughout the United States, and in over fifty other countries. Our membership includes judges, prosecutors, government officials, defense lawyers, and scholars of international and domestic law. The Association has a long history of dedication to promoting human rights and the rule of law, including within the United States. We have long been troubled by the insufficiency of UN efforts to eliminate cholera from Haiti and the lack of any mechanism to hear and resolve claims by cholera victims, and we are encouraged by the UN’s recent progress to develop a just response to the cholera crisis.2


Click HERE for the full text.

An honor to collaborate with BAI and IJDH

December 22, 2016 - 07:40



It has been an honor to work in collaboration with the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti (IJDH) and the Bureau des Avocats Internationaux (BAI) over the last several years. They have been a strong force fighting for social justice and for human and civil rights in Haiti.

As a State Senator, I have seen firsthand IJDH’s work with the Haitian diaspora and friends of Haiti. The devastating earthquake of 2010 led to my partnership with IJDH and other community organizations, in response to the disaster. Petitioning our government to allow a Haitian Family Reunification Parole (HFRP) Program for people already approved for visas in Haiti was no small feat, yet IJDH was there with us collecting signatures. Before long, President Barack Obama granted HFRP for Haitian families. IJDH led the charge addressing the cholera epidemic by taking the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) to court. IJDH and BAI’s fight was successful when the UN finally recognized and apologized for it.

My parents were born in Haiti and immigrated to the United States, where they began their family. They managed to help extended family and friends, new to America, get on their feet and adapt to American culture. Witnessing the selflessness of my parents led me to pursue a career in public service and so I am able to continue my parent’s legacy of kindness and generosity. As the only elected official of Haitian descent in Massachusetts, it gives me great comfort to see the passion and commitment of IJDH to work and strengthen the people of Haiti with legal support to dismantle barriers to progress and prosperity. I know the impact IJDH and BAI are making and wish to see them continue to accompany the Haitian community.

I have witnessed IJDH’s work with the Haitian community for many years and know how they are influencing policies both here and in Washington, D.C. and making a systemic difference. I am proud to serve as a member of the board and support the work of IJDH, and encourage you to support them by donating today. Thank you.

Wishing you a wonderful Holiday Season,

State Senator Linda Dorcena Forry


1st Suffolk District

How UN’s New Cholera Elimination Plan Began with Haitians

December 21, 2016 - 15:25

Although Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s apology for the United Nations’ role in Haiti’s cholera apology is a major improvement in the UN’s response, there are questions about the UN’s new cholera elimination plan. For one, it doesn’t seem much different from the plan the Haitian government had already announced two years before. Even Ban’s op-ed regarding the plan echoes ideas previously proposed by Haitian public health advocates. The advocate who wrote this article emphasizes the importance of remembering where the cholera elimination work began.

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

The Problem with Ban Ki-Moon’s Plan for Cholera in Haiti

Kenny Moise, Woy Magazine

December 21, 2016

Lately, a spotlight has been placed on the United Nations in Haiti. Outgoing Secretary-General, Ban Ki-Moon has delivered pivotal statements at the General Assembly and via the Miami Herald concerning the UN’s response to the cholera epidemic in Haiti. Right now is as good a time as any to remember the critical work that has already been done to eliminate the disease, long before Ban Ki-Moon’s big statement.  Right now is as good a time as any to remember the fact that Haiti’s future lies only in our own hands.

Before 2010, cholera, which mostly affected Asia and Europe centuries ago, did not exist in Haiti. It was imported from Nepal in October 2010 because of the continuous dumping of feces into a river by UN peacekeepers based in Meyes, near Mirebalais, in central Haiti. Weak hygiene and sanitation conditions since the beginning of the last decade, partly due to political instability, facilitated the rapid spread of the disease to the rest of the country. This shows the UN’s direct responsibility in the emergence of the disease in Haiti, a claim which epidemiologists have backed, and which the UN has fiercely denied and hidden over the last few years.


Click HERE for the full text.

There is still time for President Obama to pay the US debt to Haiti

December 20, 2016 - 13:09

…or rather, begin repaying the debt, which has been imposed on Haiti almost since the country claimed its independence in 1804. The US has long been involved in Haiti in detrimental ways but by redesignating Temporary Protected Status for Haitians, and expanding the Haitian Family Reunification Program, which is currently too limited, President Obama has a chance to begin to make things right. There is still time before he leaves office. Will he heed the calls for justice?

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

Dear President Obama, while there is time

Nancy Young, Medium

December 20, 2016

Dear President Obama:

I tried to call you yesterday on a matter of great urgency and justice to the people of Haiti and those who love them here in the US.

But the White House comments line was already “closed” for the holidays and I was directed to the website where I could leave a “reflection” for you.

I bristled a little at the term “reflection” because what I wanted to leave was a call to action while you still have the power to take it and make the lives of thousands of people better.

Here is the call to action:


Click HERE for the full text.

New State Department Report on Haiti Aid Lacks Transparency, Accountability

December 20, 2016 - 11:04
US Haiti Aid Reports to Congress Include “Incomplete Data,” Fail to “Link Projects and Outcomes,” New Review Finds

State Department Reports Also Fail to Adequately Identify Mistakes and Lessons Learned

December 20, 2016

Contact: Dan Beeton, (202) 239-1460

Washington, DC – A new paper from the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) and the Haiti Advocacy Working Group (HAWG) reviews reports released by the US State Department on contracts for Haiti aid and finds significant omissions and deficiencies, including incomplete data, a failure to link projects and outcomes, and a failure to adequately identify mistakes and lessons learned. The State Department reports are intended to comply with the Assessing Progress in Haiti Act, which was signed into law in August 2014. CEPR and HAWG incorporated Haitian civil society feedback in their review of these reports.

“The Assessing Progress in Haiti Act represents a significant, bipartisan effort by the US Congress to shed light on how effectively US taxpayer dollars are being used to assist Haiti with its ongoing rebuilding efforts years after its devastating 2010 earthquake,” CEPR analyst and report coauthor Alexander Main said. “Unfortunately, while State is releasing some information, there is still a great need for additional clarity and detail to obtain the transparency and accountability that people in both the US and Haiti deserve.”

“Nearly seven years after the earthquake, much of the Haitian population still struggles to meet basic needs; there has been improvement in some sectors, but key national indicators such as food security and economic growth have actually worsened,” Jasmine Huggins, paper coauthor and Senior Policy and Advocacy Officer for Church World Service, said. “As Haiti addresses future development challenges in the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew, it is critically important that we all understand how past US aid was spent, who benefitted and what lessons we have learnt from projects implemented.”

Among the shortfalls that CEPR and HAWG identify:

•    Incomplete information: There is a significant quantity of missing data at the subprime level, equivalent to 34 percent of the $300 million awarded to subprime partners.
•    No clear links between projects and outcomes: The report fails to provide information about what benchmarks and goals have and have not been met at the project level.
•    No clear picture of who the beneficiaries of US assistance are.
•    Scant information on US coordination with Haitian and international entities.
•    No information on nongovernmental capacity building.
•    A failure to identify mistakes and lessons learned.

CEPR and HAWG also noted:

Haitian [civil society] groups are largely unaware of the APHA reports, suggesting that USAID and the State Department have done little to familiarize groups with the reports. In addition, no part of the report has been translated into French or Kreyòl, rendering them inaccessible to the vast majority of Haitians.

“As organizations that partner with local Haitian civil society, we continually push the U.S. government to more and better consultation with Haitians to make international aid more accountable to the people it is intended to reach,” noted coauthor Charissa Zehr of the Mennonite Central Committee US Washington Office.

The paper’s authors attempted to remedy this by sharing selections of the State Department reports with Haitian civil society organizations, and included their feedback and questions in the CEPR/HAWG review.

The Assessing Progress in Haiti Act’s key actionable component is its reporting requirement instructing the US State Department to produce four annual reports with detailed information on the status of US aid programs in Haiti. CEPR and HAWG reviewed the 2014 and 2015 reports released by the State Department.

The Haiti Advocacy Working Group is comprised of international development, faith-based, human rights, and social justice organizations advocating on issues related to US-Haiti policy.



Click HERE for the original press release.

Quelques difficultés dans la vérification des élections en Haïti

December 20, 2016 - 08:29

Le BCEN, qui s’occupe directement de la vérification au Centre de tabulation des votes, a commencé le processus de vérification des 12% des procès-verbaux pour les élections du 20 novembre. Le BCEN a rencontré, cepandant, quelques difficultés et le processus doit être complété bientôt: Le CEP doit publier les resultats définitifs le 29 décembre.

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

Au Centre de tabulation des votes (CTV), la vérification se fait difficilement

Robenson Geffrard, Le Nouvelliste

20 decembre 2016

National – Le processus de vérification des procès-verbaux est lancé, hier mardi, au Centre de tabulation des votes (CTV) comme l’avait ordonné le BCEN. Cependant, trouver la méthodologie pour vérifier les 1 560 procès-verbaux, soit 12% et l’appliquer a été l’une des choses les plus difficiles pour les juges électoraux qui ont dû souvent élever la voix et taper sur la table pour avoir le contrôle de la situation et calmer les avocats de LAPEH, Pitit Dessalines et Fanmi Lavalas et du PHTK.

C’est le BCEN qui s’occupe directement de la vérification au Centre de tabulation des votes. Autour d’une grande table, juges électoraux, avocats contestataires et avocats de la partie défenderesse tentent de se faire comprendre et trouver la meilleure façon de vérifier les 12% des procès-verbaux (PV). Entre des « je demande la parole… je propose, je ne suis pas d’accord… », des avocats contestataires et de ceux de la partie défenderesse et les « mettez-vous, cher maître, vous n’avez pas la parole, nous ne sommes pas au tribunal, on doit avancer… » des juges électoraux au BCEN, la confusion règne et les acteurs font du surplace.


Cliquez ICI pour le texte complet.

Untold Damage to Haiti from Hurricane Matthew

December 16, 2016 - 14:40

Haitian towns and cities hit by Hurricane Matthew in October continue to suffer and the authors of this article say that “The story of Matthew’s actual disaster will take decades to unfold.” Besides the obvious structural damage caused by Matthew, many important crops and trees were destroyed and will take much time to recover. In the meantime, people will be hungry and the economy will be depressed. Matthew also revealed (or perhaps reminded) of severe deficiencies in building materials and practices that made many structures so vulnerable to the winds and torrential rain. While Haitians are doing their best to recover on their own, they still need help.

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

A Close-Up Look at Southwestern Haiti, Post-Hurricane Matthew

Andrew Kennedy and Tracy Kijewski-Correa, WunderBlog

December 16, 2o16

Today’s guest post is by Dr. Andrew Kennedy and Dr. Tracy Kijewski-Correa, associate professors in the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering & Earth Sciences at the University of Notre Dame. From November 17 to 25, a reconnaissance team led by Kijewski-Correa visited the most-affected regions and evaluated Matthew’s effects on buildings, infrastructure, and the people of Haiti. Below, Dr. Kennedy and Dr. Kijewski-Correa give us a preliminary account of their trip, which took them to areas seen by relatively few outside observers since the hurricane. We’ll be back on Monday with a new post. –Jeff Masters and Bob Henson

On October 4, 2016, Hurricane Matthew made landfall near the town of Les Anglais, Haiti, as a strong Category 4 storm with estimated sustained winds of 145 mph (65 m/s) (Fig. 1). The landfall region in the western Tiburon Peninsula, more than 150 miles west of the capital of Port-au-Prince, sustained extreme damage to buildings and vegetation. The Haitian government reported 546 fatalities from Matthew, while other sources reported at least 1600 unconfirmed deaths. Rainfall in the peninsula was extreme, estimated by NASA to be 10-20 inches over the course of the storm.

Some background
Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, with a per-capita GDP of US$846 in 2014. Haiti has many poor people, a few very wealthy families, and a small, weak middle class. Even in the best of times, life is difficult here for most citizens, and these are not the best of times. Except for a few paved national roads that link large cities, many roads are unpaved and often impassable, intercepted by land/rock slides and rivers, and eroded by flash flooding. Four-wheel drive vehicles are necessary in many areas.

Haiti has a largely agricultural economy, historically focused on producing coffee and sugarcane but more recently on exporting oils used in perfumes, bananas, and cocoa. A large portion of the population, particularly in rural areas, survives on subsistence farming, so any interruption to agriculture has immediate impacts on nutrition. Overall, Haiti has little internal resilience to natural disasters and relies on outside aid not just for recovery, but for many of the basic services its citizens require.


Click HERE for the full text.

Letter to UN Independent Expert on Haiti Post-Matthew

December 16, 2016 - 13:25

BAI, IJDH and five other human rights groups wrote a letter to United Nations Independent Expert Gustavo Gallón on the situation in Haiti after Hurricane Matthew. Gallón will report to the UN Human Rights Council at the end of this month. The hope is that he includes language in his report that alerts the international community to the dire situation in post-Matthew Haiti and the need for humanitarian and reconstruction assistance. We also hope that he encourages the Haitian government and international community to use a rights-based approach guided by human rights norms in their assistance to strengthen the country’s infrastructure and reduce their vulnerability to natural disasters.

A rights-based approach to Hurricane Matthew assistance (1) prioritizes capacity-building of the Haitian government and civil society; (2) ensures participation of communities affected by Matthew in the design and execution of assistance programs, with an emphasis on civil society organizations; (3) practices transparency by making information about the intervention accessible to the community; (4) ensures accountability to the target communities and Haitian government by providing monitoring, evaluation and complaint procedures; and, (5) insists on ensuring that the assistance does not discriminate against marginalized groups, with particular attention to women, children and elderly, disabled and LGBTI individuals.

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

December 16, 2016

Dear Mr. Gustavo Gallón, Independent Expert on the Situation of Human Rights in Haiti,
We congratulate you for your press statement issued on October 24, 2016, in particular, your recommendation that efforts to address the needs of Haitians affected by Hurricane Matthew be redoubled.1 We also commend your commitment in prior reports to addressing human rights violations in Haiti that result from natural disasters.2
We would like to provide more information on the economic and social rights situation in Haiti following Hurricane Matthew and the human rights implications of international assistance. The destruction of homes, livelihood, livestock and crops is on a scale similar to the damage from the January 12, 2010, earthquake. Haitians call Matthew “ti 12 janvye” or “little 12 January”. But unfortunately the international community has not stepped up to help Haitian communities impacted by the hurricane. We ask for your help in alerting the international community to the dire situation in post-Matthew Haiti and the need for humanitarian and reconstruction assistance.


Click HERE for the full letter.

Time is Running Out for Obama Administration to Treat Haitians Fairly

December 16, 2016 - 11:49

Even before Hurricane Matthew, Haiti was in no state to accept refugees deported from the United States. After the Hurricane, with the south all but destroyed, spikes in cholera and a precarious political situation, it makes even less sense to deport Haitians but the Department of Homeland Security has announced that it will begin again. Elected officials in Florida, as well as advocates, urge the Obama administration not only to stop these deportations; but also to extend Temporary Status for Haitians and expand the Haitian Family Reunification Program. The latter has allowed only 1,952 Haitians who are approved for visas into the US, due to its arbitrary restrictions.

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

Haitian-American Elected Officials Ask President Obama to Expand Family Reunification

South Florida Caribbean News

December 16, 2016

MIAMI – City of North Miami Mayor Smith Joseph and State Senator Daphne Campbell will be joined by North Miami Vice-Mayor Alix Desulme, Councilman Philippe Bien-Aime, North Miami Beach Councilman Frantz Pierre and others to ask President Obama to free 6,000 Haitian refugees, redesignate Haiti for Temporary Protected Status based on Hurricane Matthew and expand the arbitrarily limited Haitian Family Reunification Parole Program.

“Haiti on October 4 was devastated by Hurricane Matthew, which killed over 1,000 Haitians and nearly destroyed the entire southern peninsula, spiking cholera cases and affected two million people even as the political situation worsened. Deportations to Haiti were and are unsafe,” said Mayor Smith Joseph.

We ask President Obama and Secretary Johnson to release our brothers and sisters, and let them spend Christmas with loved ones,” added Vice-Mayor Alix Desulme.


Click HERE for the full text.

TODAY: Contact White House & Congress & Urge Others to Help

December 16, 2016 - 08:25

Please online-message and spread the word TODAY!

Today, Monday December 19, contact the White House, DHS, and Congress to stop Haiti deportations, redesignate Haiti for TPS due to Hurricane Matthew, expand the Haitian Family Reunification Program (HFRP), and fund UN cholera eradication and justice efforts!  


President Obama Needs to Hear From the Haitian Diaspora And Its Supporters!  REDESIGNATE TPS, EXPAND HFRP, HALT DEPORTATIONS, ERADICATE CHOLERA!

TPS was designed for disasters like Matthew rendering deportations unsafe! And only 1,952 Haitians have succeeded under HFRP (compared to over 100,000 under the Cuban program)! Like deportations to a nation reeling from Matthew, inaction on TPS and HFRP makes no sense; and the UN’s cholera eradication plans need US funding. PRESIDENT OBAMA SHOULD ACT NOW!

CALL TO ACTION: Contact the White House, your Representative in Congress and the Department of Homeland Security on Monday, December 19!


Submit your message online at for President OBAMA (only, not his successor please)! (The comment phone number has just closed; and our presidential target is Obama only – writing his successor could be counterproductive.)

Here’s what you can write: “Mr. President, please urgently redesignate Haiti for Temporary Protected Status due to Hurricane Matthew’s massive destruction in October; expand the much-too-limited Haitian Family Reunification Program, under which fewer than 2000 people have succeeded, defeating its purpose to create an orderly outflow mechanism and help Haiti recover by generating remittances; and stop the unsafe deportations to Haiti which DHS resumed in November! Haiti is reeling from Matthew and can’t safely reintegrate deportees! And the US must do its full part to fund the UN’s cholera eradication and justice plans! Thank you, Mr. President!”


1. Dial the Capitol Switchboard – 202-225-3121. Ask to be connected with your Representative’s office. (Click here to find your Representative by zip-code; Click here to find your Senator by name or zip-code.)

2. You will be connected with Your Representative’s receptionist. Ask to speak to the staff person who handles immigration policy or international issues. (If the receptionist can’t connect you with the aide who handles Haiti, you can just ask the receptionist to take down your message and relay it to both the staff person and to your Representative.)

3. Whether you speak to the staffer in person or just leave a message on his/her voicemail, here’s what you can say:
“My name is ___________ and I am a constituent from __(your city)___.  I am calling to ask that Representative ___________ please immediately urge President Obama to redesignate Haiti for Temporary Protected Status due to Hurricane Matthew’s massive destruction in October; expand the much-too-limited Haitian Family Reunification Program, under which fewer than 2000 people have succeeded, defeating its purpose to create an orderly outflow mechanism and help Haiti recover by generating remittances; and stop the unsafe deportations to Haiti which DHS resumed in November! Haiti is reeling from Matthew and can’t safely reintegrate deportees! And the US must do its full part to fund the UN’s cholera eradication and justice plans! Thank you!


If time permits, Secretary Jeh Johnson: Comment Line 202-282-8495 and simply amend the message to Obama (above) by replacing “Mr. President” with “Mr. Secretary”
You can use your own words if you prefer, but remember to keep it brief. Do not worry that you are not prepared for a long discussion. The staff member will just take your message without asking for more details.


Be sure on your calls to thank everyone for their time!
Please write and call today, Monday, December 19! And tell your friends and family to write and call too, and share this with others. Let’s show how powerful our united voices can be! Thank you for taking a minute and making this important contact.
In solidarity,
Marleine Bastien, Executive Director, Fanm Ayisyen nan Miami (FANM), Haitian Women of Miami, Inc.

Jean Robert Lafortune, Chairperson, Haitian American Grassroots Coalition (HAGC)

Jimy Mertune, Representative, Collective in Solidarity With the Victims of Cholera (Collective Solidarité Avec Les Victimes de Cholera), Orlando, FL

Be Part of the Solution for Haiti

December 14, 2016 - 12:41

Dear Friend,

As the holiday celebrations approach, please join the Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti (IJDH) and the Bureau des Avocats Internationaux (BAI) in celebrating a year of victories for justice in Haiti. Along with our collaborators in Haiti and abroad, we have made historic and sustainable impact in 2016, including:

•A series of reports from UN Human Rights experts urging the UN to respect the cholera victims’ human right to compensation;

•Letters from 160 Members of the U.S. Congress—Democrats and Republicans—calling on the U.S. State Department to seek a just resolution of the cholera crisis;

•Editorial Boards from the New York Times (twice), the Washington Post, Boston Globe (twice), Miami Herald, The Lancet and many other outlets supported the victims’ fight for justice. Hundreds of articles appeared in audio and print, in dozens of countries on every inhabited continent.

  • •Deeply flawed Presidential elections were stopped in January and irregularities were investigated. This victory provided Haitian voters a second chance to choose their government, and established the precedent that Haitian voters and civil society, supported by allies abroad, can overcome election manipulation by Haitian and foreign governments. Although the rescheduled elections held in November were an improvement, there are claims of widespread fraud and voter disenfranchisement. We are pushing for a full investigation into these problems.
  • •Several BAI rape clients—all poor women and girls—had their day in court, while children abandoned by UN Peacekeeper fathers launched an unprecedented campaign for child support.
  • •BAI continued to provide legal representation, meeting space and advice to Haitian activists and grassroots groups standing up against injustice, and to train the next generation of Haitian human rights lawyers.
  • •IJDH continued to amplify and support BAI’s work, bringing Haitian voices abroad where decisions about Haitian rights are routinely made.

All this progress was only possible because of our generous donors. We are reaching out to ask you to make more victories possible through financial support of our work.

When you give the gift of justice to Haiti, you strengthen the foundations of stability and prosperity for Haitian generations to come.

With hope and gratitude,


P. S. BAI and IJDH depend on private funds to support all of our work.

What’s Next with the UN’s New Cholera Plan?

December 14, 2016 - 12:37

Partners in Health, which has been treating Haiti’s cholera victims since the epidemic began in 2010, sat down with its senior health and policy advisor to answer some key questions after Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s apology and promise of further action. Dr. Ivers answers questions like: “What does the UN mean by material assistance?” and “How much did public pressure play a role in forcing the U.N.’s hand?”

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

Dr. Louise Ivers on U.N.‘s Apology for Role in Cholera Epidemic

Partners in Health

December 14, 2016

One month before leaving office, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon apologized publicly for the United Nations’ role in the cholera outbreak that has killed 10,000 and sickened 800,000 in Haiti since 2010. Most important to Haitians and their allies, he also promised to right its past wrongs.

“On behalf of the United Nations, I want to say very clearly: we apologize to the Haitian people,” Ban read from a prepared statement, translated into French and Haitian Creole. “We simply did not do enough with regard to the cholera outbreak and its spread in Haiti. We are profoundly sorry for our role.”

“We have a moral responsibility to act,” he continued. “And we have a collective responsibility to deliver.”

Click HERE for the full text.

New UN Approach to Cholera in Haiti

December 12, 2016 - 15:03

The United Nations has issued a General Assembly resolution on its new approach to fighting the cholera epidemic in Haiti.

December 12, 2016

Argentina, Bahamas, Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Croatia, Dominican Republic, France, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Ireland, Jamaica, Mali, Malta, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Spain, Switzerland, Trinidad and Tobago, United States of America, Uruguay and Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of): draft resolution

The new United Nations approach to cholera in Haiti

The General Assembly,

Recalling its resolutions 65/135 and 65/136 of 15 December 2010,

Expressing concern at the recurrent outbreaks of cholera in Haiti, which have affected nearly 800,000 people and caused over 9,000 deaths to date,

Deeply concerned that there has been an increase in the number of persons affected by cases of cholera and other diarrhoeal diseases as a result of Hurricane Matthew, which struck Haiti on 4 October 2016, and about the continued vulnerability of Haitians as a result thereof,

Recognizing the considerable national, regional and international efforts deployed in the fight against cholera in Haiti since 2010, and acknowledging that, while important progress has been made in combating cholera, Haiti continues to face significant challenges,

Underscoring the need to address this prolonged public health crisis owing to its grave humanitarian, economic and social consequences, and stressing the importance of strengthening the Haitian national health institutions,


Click HERE for the full text.

Editorial: What Comes Next for UN & Haiti Cholera

December 12, 2016 - 12:44

Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s apology to the Haitian people for the UN’s involvement in the spread of cholera has been long awaited and was long overdue.  Now that he has apologized, a long road lies ahead for the UN to truly help end the epidemic in Haiti.

The United Nations comes clean(ish) on cholera in Haiti

The Editorial Board, The Washington Post

December 12, 2016

MORE THAN six years after a brigade of U.N. peacekeepers from Nepal introduced cholera in Haiti, triggering an epidemic that has killed at least 10,000 and sickened many more, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has finally uttered the word “sorry.” Mr. Ban’s tortuously worded apology, delivered recently in a speech to the U.N. General Assembly, must be the beginning, not the end, of official contrition and accountability by the United Nations in Haiti.

The glacial rate at which the United Nations grasped its moral responsibility for having wreaked a public-health disaster in the Western Hemisphere’s most impoverished nation has tarnished the institution. Cowed by its lawyers, jealously guarding its prestige, the United Nations averted its gaze from the victims, ignored incontrovertible scientific evidence and trembled at its potential legal liability.

Only when it became clear that its credibility was in tatters, and its authority to insist that member states adhere to international norms was in jeopardy, did the United Nations finally come to terms publicly with its culpability in the cholera outbreak. “We simply didn’t do enough with regard to the cholera outbreak and its spread in Haiti,” Mr. Ban said. “We are profoundly sorry about our role.”

His statement, coming just a month before his term as the United Nations’ eighth secretary general expires, painstakingly avoided an overt admission of what is already known: that the outbreak began when Nepalese peacekeepers, failing to use basic protocols of sanitation at their base when they arrived in 2010, contaminated a nearby river that provided drinking water for Haitians. Cholera was rampant in Nepal at the time; it had been unknown in Haiti for decades.

What is critical now, as U.N. officials have acknowledged, is that the organization take concrete steps to make amends, namely by leading a public health blitzkrieg to eradicate the disease in Haiti and by making reparations, to victims’ families, their communities or both.

Legal accountability is not the point; a federal appeals panel ruled this summer that the United Nations enjoys diplomatic immunity from the victims’ claims. But moral accountability demands a sustained effort to wipe out a disease that has caused so much suffering in that country.

It won’t be easy. U.N. officials say they have nearly raised the $200 million they sought to overhaul water and sanitation infrastructure in Haiti, and to treat cholera’s steady flow of fresh patients there. That’s a first step toward what is likely to be a long struggle for eradication. Unfortunately, they have made little progress in raising from member states what they hope will be an identical amount of money to provide payouts, scholarships and other benefits to the relatives and communities of the dead.

Under Mr. Ban’s successor, former Portuguese prime minister Antonio Guterres, who takes office Jan. 1, the United Nations has every incentive to press ahead both to heal Haiti to the extent possible and to restore its own moral standing.

Click HERE for the original article.

As Haitians observe International Human Rights Day, lawyers concerned that low turnout and voter exclusion indicate threats to Haitians’ right to vote

December 10, 2016 - 09:31


For Immediate Release


Mario Joseph, Av., Bureau des Avocats Internationaux (in Haïti), +509-3701-9879 (French, Kreyol)

Nicole Phillips, Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti (in US), +1-510-715-2855 (English, French, Kreyol)

As Haitians observe International Human Rights Day, lawyers concerned that low turnout and voter exclusion indicate threats to Haitians’ right to vote

(Port-au-Prince, December 10, 2016) – Following the November 28 announcement of preliminary results for Haiti’s presidential elections, human rights lawyers are concerned by the extremely low turnout, and the potentially massive exclusion of voters and allegations of fraud during the vote tabulation process. “Many Haitians faced serious obstacles to voting on November 20,” said Mario Joseph, managing attorney of the Port-au-Prince-based Bureau des Avocats Internationaux (BAI). “Fixing problems that excluded voters from casting their ballots is crucial for the integrity of Haiti’s electoral system,” Joseph said.

On election day, many voters could not find their names on the electoral list of their voting center, while others discovered that they had been assigned to voting centers far away from their place of residence. Problems with the electoral list were compounded by difficulties Haitians had obtaining their Carte d’identification nationale (CIN) from the Office Nationale de l’Indentification (ONI). In hurricane-affected areas of the south-west, Haitians who lost their CIN cards were unable to vote, even if they had an attestation form issued by the ONI.

International and national observers indicate that voter exclusion was a common problem on election day. According to the Provisional Electoral Council (CEP)’s preliminary results, only 21 percent of registered voters cast a ballot in the election, though the turnout declines to 17.3 percent in counting only the valid votes. Unfortunately, election workers did not document the number of voters turned away due to errors in the electoral list or unavailability of identification.

“Voter exclusion has been a problem in every election I’ve observed since 2010, as voter turnout continues to plummet. More efforts need to be made by the Haitian government and the international community to update voter registration lists and issue national identity cards so that everyone can vote,” said Nicole Phillips, a lawyer with the Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti who observed the elections. “The failure to do so violates Haitians’ fundamental human right to vote under Haitian and international law.” The scope of voter exclusion must be investigated and the electoral lists corrected before the next round of elections in 2017, Phillips added.

Election observers with a delegation from the U.S.-based National Lawyers Guild witnessed encouraging improvements to Haiti’s electoral system on November 20, in particular the professionalism of polling station workers. Election day was calmer and had reduced instances of fraud, due to the pre-registration of political party monitors (mandataires), the usage of indelible ink and better-trained security agents at polling places. Voting booths were larger and better designed, providing voters with greater secrecy when filling out their ballots. The CEP also released its procedures manual for the vote tabulation process, a demand of Haitian civil society.

Despite these advances, three challenges were filed by presidential candidates and 27 challenges were filed by legislative candidates objecting to the integrity of operations at the Vote Tabulation Center, which resulted in a high proportion (10.4 percent) of polling stations’ vote tallies being excluded due to irregularities. Decisions on the challenges are expected any day. Three members of the CEP did not sign the council’s declaration of the preliminary results, citing concerns over how irregularities were dealt with.

The CEP must investigate the allegations, clarify its decisions and address other serious incidents, such as reports of bags of discarded ballots found in the Nord Department, the BAI’s Joseph insisted, before finalizing the results. “These elections will not produce a legitimate government unless the challenges are fully investigated and publicly explained.”

Whether due to exclusion or discouragement or both, November 20’s low voter turnout is a worrying sign for Haiti’s fragile democracy. In the presidential race, PHTK candidate Jovenel Moïse finished first with 595,430 votes. If the preliminary results stand, Jovenel Moïse will have won presidency with the support of less than 10 percent of Haiti’s 6.2 million registered voters. Voter turnout has declined steadily since 2000, when the winning candidate won over twice as many votes (2.63 million) as the top four finishers in the 2016 official results combined (1.02 million).

“The U.S. and its allies in the international community bear some of the blame for Haitians’ political disengagement,” said Brian Concannon Jr., executive director of IJDH.  “After more than a decade of foreign-backed coups d’état, military occupation and interference by outside powers, Haitians have well-founded concerns about whether their votes will be respected or their elections can truly change anything.” UN troops have occupied Haiti since 2004, after a U.S.-backed regime change overthrew the elected government.

For more information, see the National Lawyers Guild and International Association of Democratic Lawyers’ November 2015 report calling for an independent investigation to address widespread allegations of fraud in Haiti’s October 25 elections and their September 2016 report calling on neutrality and independence of international electoral observers in Haiti.