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Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti
Updated: 2 min 11 sec ago
As of Wednesday morning, officials have announced that at least 108 people have died in Haiti from Hurricane Matthew. Evaluation is only in initial stages at this time, and as time progresses we should know more. The Haitian government has declared that it will be directing reconstruction after Matthew with the help of the international community.
Part of the article is below. Click HERE for full text.At least 108 dead in Haiti from Hurricane Matthew; number expected to rise
Jacqueline Charles, Miami Herald
October 6, 2016A boy stands inside a church after it was damaged by Hurricane Matthew in Saint-Louis, Haiti, Wednesday, Oct. 5, 2016. Rescue workers in Haiti struggled to reach cutoff towns and learn the full extent of the death and destruction caused by Hurricane Matthew as the storm began battering the Bahamas on Wednesday and triggered large-scale evacuations along the U.S. East Coast. (Picture from original article.)
PORT-AU-PRINCE – Facing a death toll of at least 108 people and widespread catastrophic damage to their country, Haitian government officials speaking in the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew on Thursday vowed to take charge of their country’s reconstruction — even as they had yet to assess the extent of destruction from the storm.
“The situation is catastrophic,” President Jocelerme Privert said. “The situation is critical.”
Interior Minister Francois Anick Joseph confirmed the number of dead. Privert, who spoke at a press conference on the grounds of the National Palace, said there has been “enormous” damage to the country…
Click HERE for the full article.
The full extent of the damage caused by Hurricane Matthew remains unclear as emergency teams struggle to get to regions cut off by washed-out bridges and landslides. Local teams in isolated regions are currently conducting “search-and-rescue” missions, meaning that the death toll could rise.Aid teams in Haiti struggle to reach regions slammed by Hurricane Matthew
Paul Schemm and Brian Murphy, The Washington Post
October 5, 2016A man pushes a bicycle in a flood zone after Hurricane Matthew passed through Les Cayes, Haiti on Tuesday. (Picture from original article)
Emergency teams in Haiti struggled Wednesday to reach hurricane-ravaged areas cut off by washed-out bridges and mudslides after Hurricane Matthew roared over the nation’s western tip and began a devastating island-hopping path that arcs toward the U.S. coast.
The full extent of Matthew’s blow to Haiti remained unclear, with communications almost fully severed to some regions in the Western Hemisphere’s poorest nation — where tens of thousands of people still live in tents after an earthquake six years ago killed 200,000 people.
At least 11 deaths — including at least four in the neighboring Dominican Republic — have been blamed on the hurricane, which packed winds of up 145 mph when it swept over Haiti on Tuesday and then moved toward Cuba and the Bahamas. A slightly weakened Matthew was expected to make landfall in Florida on Thursday.
“What we know is that many, many houses have been damaged,” Haitian Interior Minister François Anick Joseph said. “Some lost rooftops and they’ll have to be replaced, while others were totally destroyed.”
John Hasse, national director of the aid group World Vision in Haiti, estimated “thousands of houses destroyed or damaged” in the areas hardest hit. The Haitian government said at least 350,000 people were in immediate need of help around the country, the United Nations noted. At the same time, fears rose of possible outbreaks of cholera or other diseases.
Samuel Darguin, a worker with the aid group Haitian American Caucus-Haiti, said relief convoys were prevented from reaching many areas because bridges had been swept away by floodwaters.
Local teams in the isolated regions were in “search-and-rescue mode,” he said, with reports of people missing. That suggested the death toll could rise. The Reuters news agency, citing officials in various countries, placed the tally at 17 dead along Matthew’s path through the Caribbean. The figure could not be independently verified.
Faced with the devastation, Haiti’s electoral council on Wednesday postponed a long-delayed presidential election that was scheduled for Sunday. There was no immediate word on when it would be held.
International aid was underway, meanwhile, with a focus on shelter and clean water. The U.S. Navy has sent three ships to Haiti, including an aircraft carrier and a hospital ship. About 300 Marines were aboard the USS Mesa Verde, an amphibious transport vessel.
The United States announced $1.5 million in aid available to the Caribbean countries in Matthew’s wake. Disaster response teams were pre-positioned with some supplies, and were assessing the damage and urgent relief needs, said Kenneth Merten, deputy assistant secretary of state for the Western Hemisphere and a special coordinator on Haiti.High winds and heavy rain have created a catastrophic situation in Haiti. The U.N. is warning Hurricane Matthe brought the worst humanitarian crisis to Haiti since the 2010 earthquake. (Reuters)
Beyond food, the aid includes shelter, blankets, and kits for hygiene and water purification to help prevent the spread of cholera, said David Harden, an official with the U.S. Agency for International Development.
Venezuela, battered by a major economic crisis, mobilized an airlift of humanitarian supplies, and the British-based group Oxfam concentrated on sanitation and clean water efforts.
Many people live in rudimentary shacks crowding the hillsides that are especially vulnerable to the high winds and lashing rains of a hurricane — as well as the landslides that often occur afterward in rain-loosened soil.
In Port-au-Prince, the capital, water remained knee-deep in some low-lying districts. Boats and other flotsam were wedged amid stores and homes.
Mourad Wahba, the U.N. deputy special representative for Haiti, called Matthew “the largest humanitarian event” in the nation since the earthquake and said that “much of the population” has already been displaced.
Jean-Michel Vigreux, director in Haiti for the aid group CARE, said estimates on damage have reached as high as $1 billion even before the full extent of the devastation is tallied.
“It is very scary,” he said in a statement.
By early afternoon Wednesday, Matthew’s eye was about 70 miles south of Long Island in the Bahamas, with maximum sustained winds of 120 mph, the National Hurricane Center reported. The storm — now downgraded to a Category 3 hurricane — was heading northwest at 12 mph on a path that would take it through the Bahamas before spinning toward Florida.
Officials in the Bahamas urged residents to move to higher ground amid the dozens of low-lying islands in the archipelago. In Cuba, the damage appeared limited as authorities spent days preparing, including moving people out of threatened coastal areas.
At the Guantanamo Bay naval base on Cuba’s eastern tip, about 700 family members of U.S. personnel and others were evacuated before Matthew hit.
Images posted on social media showed raging, muddy floodwaters nearly overflowing river banks and driving wind and rain that bent palm trees nearly in half. The winds sheared roofs from ramshackle houses, uprooted trees, washed out bridges, and clogged rivers and roads with debris.
In one dramatic video, a man shouted in English, “Pray for us,” as Matthew lashed the small port of Les Cayes on Haiti’s southwestern coast Tuesday.
Chris Bessey, a Catholic Relief Services representative based Port-au-Prince, said the storm blew part of the roof off the charity’s two-story building in Les Cayes and knocked out its generator. The main road to southern Haiti was cut because a bridge was washed out at Petit-Goave, he said by telephone from Port-au-Prince.
“Yet right up until the storm hit, we still heard many people saying, ‘We’re waiting on God’ and not making preparations,” said Hasse, the World Vision official. He said that the charity has warehouses stocked with blankets, tarps, water cans and hygiene kits to assist nearly 100,000 people, but that “we expect it to go well over a million to even millions of people affected by this.”
Relief officials said many people rejected pleas to evacuate, fearing that they would lose their belongings to looters. For some, who changed their minds as the storm unleashed its fury, it was now too late to help them, the officials said.
In the vast Cité Soleil slum in Port-au-Prince, 130 children were evacuated from an orphanage ahead of winds and rain that authorities feared could ravage the densely populated area of tin shanties, open sewers and canals.
Click HERE for the original article.
With the official UN Secretary Council vote to ratify António Guterres’s nomination as Secretary General, there has been much discussion over the challenges the new UNSG will face. Among Guterres’ various challenges is the problem of the UN’s “moral accountability” to Haitian people affected by the ongoing cholera epidemic. Though the UN has taken several years to acknowledge a need for greater action in Haiti, the cholera epidemic has become a routine topic in the discussion on the new UNSG.A New Voice for a Complicated World
The Editorial Board, The New York Times
October 5, 2016(Photo from original article.)
By any measure, António Guterres of Portugal is an excellent choice to replace Ban Ki-moon of South Korea as the next United Nations secretary general. He has experience, energy and diplomatic finesse, all of which he’ll need to lead the United Nations as it confronts regional wars, rising tensions between Russia and the West, China’s aggressive posture in Asia and the refugee crisis in the Middle East and Europe.
Against these challenges, the secretary general post has only limited power, and its diplomatic influence is even more attenuated with stateless terrorist groups and insurgencies that cross international borders. A good part of Mr. Guterres’s work will be to figure out how the United Nations, a 193-member body, can navigate a world in which terrorism and war are melded and now are driven by multiple forces.
After leading Portugal as prime minister, Mr. Guterres served as the United Nations high commissioner for refugees for a decade until 2015, dealing with the displacement of millions fleeing wars in Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere by providing food and shelter and finding them refuge in other countries. Mr. Guterres was effective at pressing Western nations to do more to help and at hammering out agreements in difficult circumstances. As the refugee crisis has worsened, it has generated a nationalistic backlash in Europe and the United States. Mr. Guterres’s understanding of the problem and his passionate advocacy for just and compassionate solutions could persuade governments to keep accepting refugees, rather than shut them out.
Wars in the Middle East and elsewhere have eroded confidence in the United Nations’ ability to be a force for peace, its core mission. Mr. Guterres has spoken of intensifying diplomatic efforts to reach peace agreements in Syria, Libya and Yemen. He will need to do that while also seeking to mitigate the dangerous rivalry between Iran and Saudi Arabia, overseeing implementation of the Iran nuclear deal, enforcing nuclear sanctions against North Korea and feeding millions of people at risk of starvation.
The demand for peacekeepers in conflict zones is greater than ever, requiring the United Nations to persuade more countries to contribute troops. Its inadequate efforts to stop sexual assaults and other abuses by these troops is a shameful record that Mr. Guterres will have to work hard to correct. He will also have to insist that United Nations officials stay focused on reforming the agencies that failed to respond adequately to the Ebola crisis in 2014 and ensuring a better means of accountability for harm done, like the cholera epidemic caused by United Nations peacekeepers in Haiti after the 2010 earthquake.
Though Mr. Guterres had been the front-runner for the job for many months, there were more than a dozen other candidates, including qualified female candidates, especially Kristalina Georgieva of Bulgaria, a European Commission vice president and former World Bank official. In the end, the 15-member Security Council coalesced around Mr. Guterres. An official Council vote ratifying the choice is expected Thursday, with a vote of the General Assembly after that. Mr. Guterres has said he will appoint women to leadership positions, a pledge he must keep.
Mr. Guterres, a forceful personality and an effective political communicator, may become, as Matthew Rycroft, the British ambassador to the United Nations, said, the kind of secretary general “who will provide a convening power and a moral authority at a time when the world is divided on issues, above all like Syria.” If Security Council members permit Mr. Guterres to do that, he may yet restore the mission and reputation of an international institution that is still trying to find its role in a perilous and complicated world.
Click HERE for the original article.
After Hurricane Matthew’s landfall has left five dead, ten injured, and hundreds of thousands of people displaced in Haiti, the Provincial Electoral Council (CEP) has postponed the rerun elections. The CEP has yet to announce a date for new elections. The government estimates that at least 350,000 people are in need of immediate assistance.
Part of the article is below. Click HERE for the full text.Rerun elections in Haiti postponed due to Hurricane Matthew
Jacqueline Charles and Daniel Chang, The Miami Herald
October 5, 2016A car is stranded in the flood waters caused by Hurricane Matthew, in Leogane, Haiti on Tuesday. Matthew slammed into Haiti’s southwestern peninsula early Tuesday with howling winds of 145 mph tearing roofs in the poor and largely rural area. The storm also uprooted trees and swelled rivers already choked with debris. (Photo from original article)
PORT-AU-PRINCE — Haitian elections officials postponed Sunday’s rerun presidential and legislative elections for the second time this year, saying they had yet to assess the extent of damage from Hurricane Matthew, which left at least five people dead and hundreds of thousands of people displaced from their homes.
The country’s Provisional Electoral Council did not provide a new date for elections following the announcement Wednesday, the same day that Haitian National Police and a United Nations logistics team were scheduled to begin moving ballots and other materials to voting centers.
“The passage of the hurricane has provoked a certain amount of damage,” said CEP President Leopold Berlanger. “The arrival of the hurricane has created delays … like the deployment of materials by the Haitian National Police.”…
Click HERE for the full article.
Join the Haiti Development Institute, Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti, The Boston Foundation, and the Raising Haiti Initiative for a film screening, Q&A and reception.
The Boston Foundation
75 Arlington Street #1000
Boston, MA 02116
Friday October 7, 2016
Father Joseph Philippe – Founder of Fonkoze, the Peasant Association of Fondwa and the University of Fondwa
Jeff Kaufman – Director/Producer of “Father Joseph”
Brian Concannon Jr. – Executive Director of Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti
Pierre Noel – Director of Haiti Development Institute
Marcia Ross – Producer of “Father Joseph”
Maggi Alexander (Moderator) – Director of the Center for Global Philanthropy
Click HERE for more info, and to RSVP.
Attend this forum for Haitians and Haitian-Americans to discuss the socio-economic and political issues that impact the Haitian community and set a unifying community development agenda for the next twelve months. Hosted by The Haitian-Americans United, Inc. (H.A.U.) and its partners.
Saturday, October 8, 2016
9:30am to 1pm
6 Livingston Street
Dorchester, MA 02124
Click HERE for more information.
The UN has appointed British physician David Nabarro, who spearheaded the UN’s response to Ebola, to go after cholera on the ground level. Nabarro plans to increase vaccination rates and numbers of rapid response teams to ensure that help gets to the victims before the disease turns fatal. To help cover costs, Nabarro will go after smaller, specific chunks of funding by emphasizing the UN Secretary General’s call for the implementation of an effective program to end cholera in Haiti.
Part of the article is below. Click HERE for full text.British doctor who tackled Ebola now leads fight against cholera in Haiti
By Jacqueline Charles, Miami Herald
September 30, 2016British physician David Nabarro, who led the United Nations’ response on Ebola, has been tapped to do the same with Haiti’s cholera outbreak.
In early August of 2014, the Ebola virus was rapidly spreading through small towns in three West African nations, and doctors were losing the fight to control the outbreak.
David Nabarro, a British physician with more than 30 years of public health experience, had just been appointed coordinator of the United Nations’ Ebola effort. As he worked with the African governments and tried to galvanize international support from a variety of financial sources, Nabarro couldn’t escape the worrying questions from donors.
“Do you know what you’re doing? Do you have a strategy that’s sensible that we can buy into? Do you have the confidence of the national governments?” Nabarro — who ended up raising $3.5 billion to fight Ebola — recalled more than one donor asking him. “There was a question mark always over whether or not we had a strategy that made sense, whether or not we knew what we were up to.”
Click HERE for the full article.
Update on Haitian Entrants to San Diego from Alliance San Diego director Andrea Guerrero
Alliance San Diego
September 30, 2016
US Shuts Out Haitians – Exacerbates Humanitarian Concerns:
- On September 24th, the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) abruptly halted humanitarian parole for Haitians arriving to our California border, citing changed country conditions in Haiti and the need to deter more people from coming.
- The news came as a shock given that our own US State Department has issued travel warnings for Haiti, which is suffering from political and economic instability and is still recovering from natural and other disasters including a devastating earthquake followed by a hurricane followed by a cholera epidemic that have displaced or killed countless Haitians.
- At this moment, another natural disaster, Hurricane Matthew, is hurtling towards Haiti. The country has no sitting president and is embroiled in a controversial election process. Contrary to what DHS has stated, the situation in Haiti has not improved, it has worsened, warranting a humanitarian response, not harsh enforcement.
- The sudden change in policy, which may have been motivated more by politics in the US than conditions in Haiti, has left at least 50 families separated with some family members having been granted humanitarian parole and others caught behind in the line. This includes women and children separated from their husbands and fathers.
- Today, the NYT reported in its article, “Haitian Men Cut Off From Families as U.S. Tightens Entry Rules,” on the tragic consequences of the abrupt shift in policy, highlighting the story of Sandra who was let through first because she was pregnant, leaving her fiancé and father of her unborn baby behind. On Sunday, Sandra gave birth to their daughter, with the father desperately seeking entry but prevented from entering the country because of an arbitrary halt to humanitarian parole that did not take into account the separation of families.
- Without an effort to rectify this situation, DHS’ forced separation of family members may mean that families are separated for a lifetime. Those who crossed through will be able to stay in a humanitarian status in the US. Those who were caught on the other side will be stuck in Mexico or detained if they approach the border under threat of deportation until Haiti is able to receive them back, if it ever is.
- Alliance San Diego and our allies are advocating that DHS, at a minimum, allow Sandra’s fiancé, as well as other separated families, to enter the country, recognizing that these families were separated when the music stopped in a tragic game of musical chairs played by the US government without regard to the human consequences.
San Diego Humanitarian Response:
- Although the flow of Haitians entering California ceased on 9/24, there were roughly 175 who still needed shelter at the beginning of the week. Our local San Diego Immigrant Rights Consortium (SDIRC) responded as it has done for some time with support from state agencies and community volunteers (some of whom have flown in from other parts of California and the US) to provide shelter to our Haitian brothers and sisters in National Guard facilities.
- Christ Ministry Center, has shouldered the weight of providing support for the Haitian entrants all summer long, providing transition shelter to an estimated 4,000 in waves through the course of the summer until the National Guard stepped in two weeks ago. Although the bulk of the people in need of shelter moved over the National Guard facilities, CMC has continued to shelter pregnant women and their families. At the beginning of the week they had approximately 15 pregnant women under their care, three of whom have given birth in the last week, including Sandra.
- Our goal this week has been to assist the Haitian entrants who were destined elsewhere to move on. Catholic Charities, with support from the state and federal government, has provided travel assistance to those in the shelters and by Sunday, everyone moving on will have done so.
- By the end of this week we estimate that 60 people will remain from the National Guard shelter and be in need of transition shelter for another couple of weeks until they are able to access the government programs dedicated for Haitians. We are grateful to Catholic Charities for assisting them to secure housing and settle in San Diego. They will join several hundred other Haitians who will remain in San Diego. By end Sunday, the National Guard facilities will no longer be available, but we are actively pursuing transition shelter for the 60 described above.
- Christ Ministry Center and their tireless Haitian Ministry team will continue to house up to 24 women and children who need greater assistance, and they will continue to provide broader support to the several hundred Haitians who will be staying in the area. CMC has drained its resources to step up with compassion and needs our help to provide ongoing support. If you are able to make a financial contribution, please do so at www.haitisd.com.
Mexico Humanitarian Response:
- Despite the change in US policy on 9/24, the Haitian migrants are still entering Mexico. They are coming mostly from Brazil where they have been living displaced from Haiti since the 2010 earthquake. They are coming now because of the political and economic turmoil in Brazil, which has displaced them yet again.
- The displaced Haitians are coming to the US because they believe the US will help them. We have in fact made a long-term commitment to the Haitian people, with President Obama promising not to forsake or forget them. Unfortunately, that promise was broken last week.
- Approximately 150 Haitians are entering Mexico every day. They are making their way to the California border steadily. Our best estimate is that there are 1,600 Haitians in Tijuana and Mexicali right now. They are given turns to approach the border. Roughly 50 / day are allowed to approach the border from Tijuana and 40 / day from Mexicali. All of them will be detained under threat of deportation to Haiti.
- Despite the change in US policy, which replaces a humanitarian parole with detention and deportation, our Haitian brothers and sisters are still coming forward, stating they cannot turn back after a harrowing journey that has lasted up to four months and have no place else to turn. In some cases, they have claims for asylum based on the fear that the government will harm them or be unable or unwilling to protect them.
- The Mexican government is not currently deporting Haitians and has taken some steps to respond in a humanitarian way, opening up additional shelter space and providing temporary status (30 days), with additional assistance contemplated. But Mexico has not provided any permanent refuge to the Haitians, nor has any other country they have passed through in the western hemisphere. They remain displaced, destitute, and despondent.
- The charitable coalition of shelters in Tijuana and Mexicali has been providing ongoing shelter and other support to the Haitians all summer long. These shelters have the capacity to house, feed, and serve about 600 people total and are struggling to meet the need, especially with the US closing it’s doors to Haitians. If you are able to assist the shelters with financial contributions, please contact Esmeralda Siu at firstname.lastname@example.org.
How You Can Help:
- Spread the word about what’s happening to our displaced Haitian brothers and sisters. Here’s a local TV news story that may help: “U.S. closes door to Haitian earthquake survivors.”
- Sign the petition to the White House started by our friends in Florida to “Tell President Obama to Reverse Deportation Policy against Haitian Refugees.”
- Support the humanitarian response in San Diego at www.haitisd.com.
- Support the humanitarian response in Mexico by contacting Esmeralda Siu at email@example.com.
- Stay connected via Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/immigrantsandiego
The Obama administration’s decision to reverse its policy on Haitian immigrants raises stakes even higher in the upcoming Haitian election. The thousands of Haitians facing deportation will return to Haiti at a historical tipping point for political stability.In Haiti’s upcoming election, the stakes are higher than ever
By the Editorial Board, The Washington Post
September 29th, 2016Presidential candidate Jude Celestin speaks during a debate in Port-au-Prince on Sept. 20. (Picture from original article)
AN ENORMOUS spike in the number of Haitian migrants crossing into the United States from Mexico over the past year prompted the Obama administration this month to order a sudden policy reversal and served as a reminder of the dysfunction and despair driving people from the hemisphere’s poorest nation.
Better prospects in Haiti depend on political stability, which is at a make-or-break juncture. With a redo, scheduled Oct. 9, of last year’s failed, allegedly fraud-ridden presidential vote, Haiti has a chance to regain a measure of prosperity following years of mismanagement and suffering. It must seize that chance.
A devastating earthquake in 2010 led U.S. officials to adopt a lenient stance toward Haitian migrants without visas, who have been granted admission and temporary work permits on the grounds that conditions in Haiti were so dire. The administration abruptly reversed course this month after more than 5,000 Haitians, many of whom had undertaken an odyssey through South and Central America, were processed through the San Ysidro Port of Entry near San Diego since last October. Just 339 Haitians crossed there in all of fiscal 2015.
The stated rationale of U.S. officials was that conditions in Haiti had improved. That’s a stretch. While most of the 1.5 million people displaced by the earthquake have been resettled, economic growth is all but nonexistent. Investment is sluggish, and a drought has contributed to food shortages.
In fact, the administration could ill afford another migrant crisis; hence the change in policy on Haitian migrants. For a more durable solution, what is needed as a first step is a fair and transparent election in Haiti, whose political history offers few such examples.
The most recent vote, last October, was seen by most Haitians as riddled with fraud, including “zombie voters,” multiple voting and other irregularities. U.S. officials, who provided most of the election funding, deemed it good enough; so did some European observers. That just reinforced the widespread view in Haiti that Washington was in bed with the then-ruling party, whose candidate finished first despite being a political novice.
Following months of postponements and squabbles, the results of that vote were annulled and the runoff, originally scheduled for January, was canceled. The question now is whether the rerun, set for a week from Sunday and funded this time by Haiti without international help, will be an improvement.Click HERE for the original article.
This article analyzes the hypocrisy of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) decision to resume noncriminal deportations to Haiti. The decision came soon after President Obama spoke about the need to have “open arms” for refugees around the world at the United Nations General Assembly. DHS’ justification of the deportations – that country conditions are stable enough and that Temporary Protected Status and the Haitian Family Reunification Program (HFRP) will help Haitians – also rings hollow. Haiti is still facing both a cholera and a political crisis, both of which the U.S. was involved in. HFRP is also severely limited, leaving thousands who have been approved for visas waiting in Haiti for up to 13 years.
Part of the article is below. Click HERE for the full text.Obama’s contradictory stance toward black asylum seekers
Opal Tometi, The Hill
September 28, 2016
Last week President Barack Obama hosted a Leaders’ Summit on Refugees as part of his final presidential duties at the United Nations General Assembly. During the summit, President Obama called on fellow member nations to make a greater commitment to addressing the record-breaking numbers of displaced people worldwide. Urging cooperation and “open arms” during his remarks, he conveniently neglected to mention the plight of thousands of Haitian migrants arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border. In fact, just days after the meeting where 193 countries adopted theNew York Declaration, aimed at improving the lives of the 65.3 million people forcibly displaced due to political crises and wars, the Obama Administration’s own Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced thatit will expedite the deportation of nearly 3,000 Haitian migrants, including asylum seekers,that sought entry into the country through the U.S.-Mexico border over the summer, arriving now at the rate of over 100 per day.
Far from the refuge and aid Obama urged at United Nations, this shift in policy towards survivors of the 2010 earthquake slams the door shut on thousands of desperate men, women and children. AsMarleine Bastien of Haitian Women of Miami and Steven Forester of the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti recently decried in the Miami Herald, this decision is inhumane. Obama’s decision is not only unconscionable, but the ultimate contradiction. Our nation’s first black president, himself the child of an immigrant, turning his back on thousands of black immigrants in their time of need at the end of a presidential term where he has repeatedly made claims to progress on immigration represents a disparity of the highest order.
Ironically, it is America’s own actions that have brought Haitian migrants to our borders, both through a legacy of intrusive policy and the continued undermining of Haitian sovereignty. For these reasons and more, the Obama Administration is obligated to extend humanitarian service to this vulnerable population without delay, and must direct DHS to reverse its decision to resume deportations to Haiti.
Click HERE for the full text.
September 22’s U.S. Department of Homeland Security policy change – resuming noncriminal Haiti deportations to Haiti (for the first time since the 2010 earthquake) despite continued unstable conditions there – shocked and disappointed Haitian Americans. It also renewed questions about the fairness of DHS’ Haitian Family Reunification Program (HFRP). Renewing deportations can only be destabilizing, since Haiti is in no position to receive additional deportees. Meanwhile, as of June 30, only 1,952 beneficiaries had been approved under HFRP, which was created in part to generate additional remittances to help Haiti recover. (In contrast, DHS has welcomed over 100,000 under its Cuban FRP.) The low HFRP number is due to DHS’s arbitrary limitation of eligibility to beneficiaries already within at most three years of getting their visas, although the approved wait list extends to about 13 years. DHS should expand HFRP to include those further years back on the wait list, which would increase the applicant pool and facilitate more applications by making HFRP more affordable. Fairness compared to the more robust Cuban FRP, and meeting DHS’s stated goal of reuniting families and helping Haiti recover through more remittances, require no less.
Part of the article is below. Click HERE for the full text.New policy to deport Haitians is inhumane
Marleine Bastien & Steven Forester, Miami Herald
September 27, 2016
The Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) decision last week to resume deportations of noncriminal Haitian, disingenuously citing improved conditions despite political and economic turmoil and an unchecked cholera epidemic, is inhumane, ill-advised and shocking to the Haitian-American community. It may rip families apart and curtail life-saving remittances to Haiti.
DHS should immediately reverse it.
It evokes another administration failure that any presidential candidate seeking Haitian-American votes should address. That is DHS’ failure to significantly expand the Haitian Family Reunification Program (HFRP), announced in October 2014 as a way to promote orderly outflow and to help Haiti recover by generating additional remittances.
Click HERE for the full text.
After an arduous journey across several countries, during which they often face physical and sexual abuse, Haitians will soon be detained at the U.S. border before being deported. Since the 2010 earthquake, the U.S. had stopped non-criminal deportations of Haitians but now, the Department of Homeland Security has announced that the policy will change. Right now, it seems that many Haitians are continuing on their journey to the US border but it is likely that those on their way may start finding alternate paths into the country to get around the new restriction. IJDH Immigration Policy Coordinator Stevne Forester is quoted in this article.
Part of the article is below. Click HERE for the full text.Uncertainty for Haitians in Tijuana
Sandra Dibble, The San Diego Union-Tribune
September 23, 2016
Hundreds of Haitians in Tijuana preparing to present themselves to U.S. officials at the San Ysidro Port of Entry face an unpleasant surprise: the probability of detention — and eventual deportation to their impoverished country — under a new policy announced this week by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
A day after the changes went into effect, the Haitian men who gathered in small groups on Friday morning outside the Desayunador Salesiano Padre Chava, a shelter and soup kitchen, said they had heard nothing, and asked anxiously for details.
“I don’t believe it,” Miterson Derisseau, a 25-year-old tile-setter from Port-au-Prince said in French.
“Did Obama’s party decide this? He has a generous heart, he cannot deport us to our country, ” added Derisseau, who hopes to join his sister in Boston.
Click HERE for the full text.
For Immediate Release For More Information Contact:
Congresswoman Frederica S. Wilson on the Third Anniversary of the Dominican
Constitutional Court’s Decision to strip Citizenship from Dominicans of Foreign Descent
Today marks the third anniversary of the Dominican Constitutional Court’s decision to strip the hundreds of thousands of Dominicans of foreign descent of their citizenship, the majority of whom are of Haitian descent. They are also being denied the legal rights and protections to which they were previously entitled. The court’s decision has created a devastating human rights crisis and an unprecedented level of statelessness. It is particularly devastating for children who can no longer attend school or seek medical care.
According to a report from the International Organization for Migration, more than 100,000 Dominicans of Haitian descent have been forced to return to Haiti. In addition to not speaking the language or having any familial connections to Haiti, they are living in deplorable conditions. Those who have not yet been deported or forced to flee from the Dominican Republic live each day in fear that their time will soon come.
As the proud congressional representative of one of the largest Haitian populations in the United States, I am committed to doing whatever I can to help mitigate the court’s ruling, which is causing significant harm and simultaneously affects generations of Dominicans of Haitian descent. That includes calling on my congressional colleagues to join me in a letter urging President Obama to address this growing crisis and working with advocates.
Congresswoman Frederica S. Wilson is a third-term Congresswoman from Florida representing parts of Northern Miami-Dade and Southeast Broward counties. A former state legislator and school principal, she is the founder of the 5000 Role Models for Excellence Project, a mentoring program for young males at risk of dropping out of school. Congresswoman Wilson also founded the Florida Ports Caucus, a bipartisan taskforce that coordinates federal action in support of Florida’s harbors and waterways. The Florida lawmaker sits on the House Education and the Workforce Committee and is the Ranking Democrat on the Subcommittee on Workforce Protections.
This has been a year of first steps towards justice for Haiti’s cholera victims. For the first time since cholera was brought to Haiti by United Nations peacekeepers in 2010, a Haitian leader (interim President Jocelerme Privert) has made a statement demanding justice. About a month before that, a UN spokesperson finally admitted the UN’s involvement in causing the epidemic. Hopefully the Haitian government can keep the ball rolling towards cholera eradication and reparations.
Part of the article is below. Click HERE for the full text.Haiti calls on UN to eradicate cholera, assist victims
Valéry Bennett, Haiti Sentinel
September 23, 2016
NEW YORK, New York, US (sentinel.ht) – For the first time since its introduction, a Haitian leader has joined the calls of its citizens in demanding the United Nations eradicate cholera and provide reparations to those affected by it.
Haitian President Jocelerme Privert, Friday, called on the United Nations to eradicate the cholera disease introduced by its peacekeepers and that has killed more than 10,000 and sickened millions.
Privert made the declaration during his speech to the 71st General Assembly. He made reference to the world organization’s recognition of its role in the outbreak and the “moral responsibility” the UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon had declared.
Click HERE for the full text.
September 23, 2016
Friday morning, Provisional President of Haiti Jocelerme Privert addressed the 71st General Assembly of the United Nations. In his speech, he pledged the country’s support for the U.N.’s Sustainable Development Goals for 2030, stressed the importance of the U.N.’s efforts to address the global refugee crisis, and made the case that Haiti was ready for its October 9th elections despite financial, technical, and logistical problems. It was the final portion of his remarks, though, that victims of cholera introduced by U.N. peacekeepers were most pleased to hear:
(translated from French)
“Over recent years, my country and people have suffered tremendously from waves of infectious diseases such as malaria, cholera, Zika, chikungunya, dengue, and I spare you more. In order to overcome these scourges, declarations of good intent, comforting though they are, are of no effect. We need real and effective support when it comes to drinking water systems, waste treatment, etc. The outbreak once again of cholera over recent months is one of the challenges which is most acute in Haiti. It is a clear illustration of the perceptible deterioration of the humanitarian situation, as was emphasized by the Secretary General in a recent report to the Security Council. Here, the government of the Republic of Haiti has noted and welcomes the statements of the Secretary General on two situations which have caused discomfort for the United Nations: the many cases of sexual abuse perpetrated by the blue helmets, and the introduction of cholera in Haiti. The recognition of the United Nations for its moral responsibility in this latter instance opens the way for real discussions regarding the obligation to definitively eliminate cholera in Haiti. In this sense, we would like to hope that the urgent appeal of the Secretary-General in favor of the implementation of a substantially strengthened program of fighting cholera and assistance to victims and their families will be heard and will fully meet the expectations of the Haitian people.”
In the wake of Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s historic statement, Privert has affirmed that the Haitian government stands with cholera victims in calling on the U.N. to truly fulfill its moral responsibility.
The audio of Privert’s full remarks in Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian, and Spanish, as well as the prepared remarks written in French are available on the U.N.’s website HERE.
After the 2010 earthquake, Haitians were welcomed into Brazil to find new opportunities. Now that the economy there is in a downturn, thousands have started coming to the U.S. to seek a better life. At first, border agents were allowing them to come in through Southern California. Now, the Obama administration has decided to tighten its immigration policies regarding Haitians and deport most of those without visas as soon as they reach the border. Many of the people at risk of deportation have crossed through several countries–as many as nine–to reach the U.S., facing incredible obstacles and costs along the way.
Part of the article is below. Click HERE for the full text.Haitians, After Perilous Journey, Find Door to U.S. Abruptly Shut
Kirk Semple, The New York Times
September 23, 2016
TIJUANA, Mexico — They passed the corpses of other migrants who had tried to cross the Americas. They were cheated by smugglers and fleeced by armed bandits, and they suffered long stretches of hunger.
Finally, after months of traveling across nine international borders, the Haitians made it to Tijuana, where thousands of their countrymen had already been allowed to enter the United States this year. All they had to do, they thought, was wait for their appointments with immigration officials and they, too, would be allowed on American soil.
Then, suddenly, they learned that their journey — and the hopes of thousands of others like them heading toward the American border — had most likely come to an abrupt, crushing end.
On Thursday, the Obama administration, in an effort to halt an extraordinary wave of Haitian migrants streaming to the United States, announced that it was tightening its immigration policy on Haitians. Those who appeared at the American border without visas would almost certainly be sent back to Haiti.
The unexpected change sowed deep disappointment and confusion among the hundreds of Haitians at the border who thought they were only days away from entering the United States. Thousands more are still on their way, risking their lives on a perilous trip, probably in vain.
Click HERE for the full text.
Pòtoprens, 20 Septanm 2016
Lèt tou louvri Viktim Kolera yo pou Prezidan Repiblik Dayiti a
Objè : Mande prezidan Jocelerme Privert pran pozisyon piblik pou kòz Viktim kolera yo
Prezidan Repiblik la,
Nou menm, 5000 viktim Kolera Misyon Nasyonzini pou Estabilize Ayiti (Minista) pote nan peyi a, ki te pote plent kont Loni, ekri w pou mande Leta Ayisyen pran pozisyon piblik ki marande ak revandikasyon viktim yo, kont Nasyonzini. Epi chita sou sipò entènasyonal la, kit se nan okazyon Asanble Jeneral Nasyonzini kap kòmanse 13 septanm pou bout 26 septanm nan, pou rive jwenn nan men Nasyonzini yon repons ki koupe fache ak zak vyolasyon dwa moun lap fè sou nou depi lane 2010 ak maladi kolera li pote a.
Sa fè sis (6) lane depi sòlda Minista yo vini ak kolera nan peyi a, nan jete matyè fekal (poupou) nan flèv latibonit lan. Nan moman nap ekri lèt sa, maladi sa deja touye 9300 moun epi kite ak maladi plis pase 780 000 lèzòt. Chak semèn ki pase, kolera kontinye ap touye Ayisyen. Plis pase 227 konpatriyòt nou mouri ak kolera pou ane sa, san konte plis pase 24,000 lèzòt ki tonbe malad.
Pandan 6 lane, nou te rete mobilize pou nou mande Nasyonzini Jistis ak Reparasyon : nou te pran lari a, fè anpil konferans pou laprès, ekri anpil lèt, epi depoze plizyè plent kont Loni. Nou te mande twa (3) bagay : 1) pou Loni rekonèt se li ki responsab kolera vini nan peyi a epi prezante eskiz piblik li bay viktim yo ak pèp Ayisyen ; 2) pou Loni dedomaje tout viktim kolera yo pou soufrans yo sibi ak ak vyolasyon dwa fondal natal yo ; 3) pou Loni mete yon fon pou dlo pwòp ak asenisman pou elimine kolera nan Peyi a.
17 dawou 2016 la, nou fini pa genyen yon gwo viktwa. Pou premye fwa, Loni rekonèt piblikman se li ki vini ak kolera nan Ayiti, e pran angajman nan 2 mwa l ap vini ak yon repons tou nèf pou viktim yo. Men, nou konnen yon deklarasyon Loni pa menm bagay ak Jistis. Loni dwe respekte pawòl li nan poze bon jan aksyon, kote l ap reponn ak 3 revandikasyon nou sot site la yo.
Nou konnen tou leta Ayisyen gen yon gwo wòl pou l jwe. Paske li klè Loni pwal defini repons li an nan tèt kole ak Leta, kidonk se Leta ki pwal reprezante enterè pèp Ayisyen an.
Pou rezon sa, nou mande w 2 bagay sa yo : 1) profite entèvansyon Ayiti nan okazyon asanble jeneral Loni nan New York la, pou fè yon deklarayon piblik an favè kòz viktim kolera yo ; 2) Angaje peyi vwazen Ayiti yo ak tout lòt zanmi pèp Ayisyen an, nan mande yo apiye tout demach kap pouse Loni bay yon repons ki respekte dwa moun viktim kolera yo
Nap fini pou n di w mèsi pou konsiderasyon w, pandan nap tann ak enpasyans repons ou. Tanpri, montre nou angajman ou genyen pou revandikasyon nou yo, nan tabli yon rankont ak reprezantan nou Mèt Mario Joseph Biwo Avoka Entènasyonal yo (BAI), nan yon ti tan tou kout.
Tanpri souble , Prezidan Repiblik la, resevwa salitasyon espesyal nou.
Fanm Ayisyen Nan Miyami, Inc. (FANM)/Haitian Women of Miami
100 NE 84th Street, Suite 200, Miami, FL 33138
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Press Conference: Obama Administration Betrays Haiti and Haitian Americans
When: September 22, 2016 at 3:15 PM
Where: FANM 100 NE 84th Street, Suite 200, Miami, FL 33138
The Haitian American community and allies are outraged by today’s announcement of the completely inappropriate resumption of deportations (“removals”) to Haiti of persons with no criminal record. A press conference to register that displeasure will be held today.
DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson’s statement that conditions in Haiti had “improved sufficiently to permit the U.D. government to remove Haitian nationals on a more regular basis” is completely inaccurate, unsupported by any economic or political facts, and flies in the face of Haiti’s cholera epidemic. On the contrary, Haiti is unable to receive, house, feed or employ additional numbers. Resuming removals now will add to Haiti’s troubles and threatens to further destabilize the nation, which is in the midst of a political crisis; it’s also bad for U.S. national security. Haiti has not recovered from the devastating 2010 earthquake and it has been and remains in political turmoil as well.
Click HERE for the full press release.
The Obama administration announced Thursday that the six year post-earthquake pause on the deportation of undocumented Haitian migrants will end, with deportations resuming in full. Thousands of Haitian migrants who have dangerously made their way to the San Diego border crossing in the last year are now facing deportation. The Obama administration claims there has been sufficient progress in Haiti to warrant the change in policy, but political stability, and therefore the safety of repatriated migrants, is already questionable and could deteriorate quickly depending on what happens in the upcoming elections on October 9th. This policy change also leaves thousands of Haitians currently en route to the US-Mexico border in dangerous limbo in the hands of non-sympathetic Central American governments.
Part of the article is below. Click HERE for the full text.U.S. shifts Haiti deportation policy, and gives a warning
Jacqueline Charles, Miami Herald
September 22, 2016
The U.S. Department of Homeland and Security has a warning to undocumented Haitians enroute to its southwestern border with Mexico — turn around. Otherwise, you will be deported back to Haiti.
After a six-year moratorium on deportations to the earthquake-scarred country, the Obama administration is resuming them, citing “improved conditions in Haiti” since the devastating Jan. 12, 2010, earthquake and “a significant increase in Haitians arriving at the Southwest border in San Diego, Calif.”
“The United States has recently witnessed a sharp increase in the number of Haitian nationals taking dangerous smuggling routes to apply for admission to our country in the San Diego, California, area without advance authorization,” said an official with DHS, which announced the policy shift Thursday.
In fiscal year 2015, the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol only apprehended 339 Haitians at the San Ysidro Port of Entry, the world’s busiest border crossing, officials said. But that number jumped sharply from Oct. 1, 2015, to Sept. 4, with officials processing more than 5,000 Haitians at the California entry point, overwhelming the facility, which is undergoing construction.
“Effective immediately, enforcement decisions with respect to Haitian nationals should be consistent with the practice regarding other nationalities,” Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said.. . .Click HERE for the full text.
In a policy reversal, the Obama administration announced Thursday that it will remove the limitations on the deportation of undocumented Haitian migrants. Thousands of migrants have faced a perilous journey through Central America after losing work in Brazil to make it to the Southern California border crossing. Many now face deportation back to Haiti, regardless of criminal record or threat to American security.
Part of the article is below. Click HERE for the full text.U.S. to Step Up Deportations of Haitians Amid Surge at Border
Kirk Semple, New York Times
September 22, 2016
MEXICO CITY — The Obama administration, responding to an extraordinary wave of Haitian migrants seeking to enter the United States, said on Thursday that it would fully resume deportations of undocumented Haitian immigrants.
After an earthquake devastated parts of Haiti in 2010, the United States suspended deportations, saying that sending Haitians back to the country at a time of great instability would put their lives at risk. About a year later, officials partly resumed deportations, focusing on people convicted of serious crimes or those considered a threat to national security.
But since last spring, thousands of Haitian migrants who had moved to Brazil in search of work have been streaming north, mostly by land, winding up at American border crossings that lead to Southern California.
. . .
Click HERE for the full text.