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Rep. Waters Writes to Ban Ki-Moon Demanding Justice for Cholera Victims

July 6, 2016 - 10:43

Representative Maxine Waters of California’s 43 District wrote to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon demanding an appropriate response from the head of the United Nations for its role in the Haiti cholera outbreak. Citing UN human rights experts who called the UN’s failure to respond to the crisis a “challenge to the credibility of the organization,” she urged a sufficient response to match the leadership of the UN and to ensure justice for the Haitian people.

Letter to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

Representative Maxine Waters, U.S. Congress

5 July 2016

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

Dear Secretary-General,

I am writing, as a friend of the people of Haiti and of the United Nations, on the anniversary of your response to the May 30, 2013, letter that I and 18 of my colleagues in the House of Representatives sent you regarding the UN response to the cholera epidemic that UN peacekeepers introduced into Haiti in 2010.

I appreciate the letter that you sent to us on July 5, 2013, but I am deeply concerned that in the three years since our exchange, Haiti’s cholera epidemic continues to infect and kill Haitians at an alarming rate. Meanwhile, the UN has done little to install the water and sanitation infrastructure necessary to stop the epidemic and nothing to compensate the victims for their losses.

Click HERE for the original letter.

 

Haitian Immigration Forum in Providence, RI

July 1, 2016 - 04:59

Attend this forum for a chance to ask questions of federal and local government officials about Haitian immigration. The discussion details are below.

WHERE:

297 Elmwood Avenue

Providence, RI

WHEN:

Sunday, July 17, 2016

1:45-3:30 pm

WHO:

Mayor Jorge Elorza (confirmed); State Senator Juan Pichardo (confirmed); Dorcas International Institute (invited); Senior Obama Appointee (confirmed); USCIS local field director (confirmed); and RI Governor Gina Raimondo (invited)

 

Event Topics By Speakers:

Obama Appointee/Senior Official from USCIS

  • President’s accomplishments for immigrants including the Haitian Family Reunification Parole (HFRP) Program, Deferred action for childhood arrivals, Deferred action for childhood arrivals and Temporary Protected Status for Haitians
  • Immigration brochures will be available to the community in Haitian Creole

Senator Juan Pichardo 

  • In State-Tuition bill
  • Driver’s license bill for undocumented Rhode Islanders
  • What local residents can do to support those bills?
  • Resources available in the community to assist the immigrants

Mayor Jorge Elorza

  • City services for Providence immigrants

USCIS Local Field Director 

  • Pathway to citizenship
  • Naturalization/Green card
  • Refugees and Asylum

Questions and Answers Session.

 

Click HERE for the event flyer.

Dear Colleague Letter Urges John Kerry to Demand Justice for Haiti

June 29, 2016 - 14:16

158 Members of U.S. Congress have endorsed a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry criticizing the support from the U.S. government in supporting UN impunity regarding the cholera outbreak in Haiti. The bipartisan letter sports 12 Republican endorsements and was co-sponsored by Representative Mia Love [R-UT] with John Conyers [D-MI] taking lead. According to the letter, the Obama Administration failed to hold the UN accountable when it unwittingly created a deadly outbreak of cholera by sending Peacekeeping troops into the country after the 2010 earthquake.

Click HERE for the original article.

Congress Faults Obama for Not Being Tough With UN Over Haiti’s Cholera Crisis

Ed Pilkington, The Guardian

June 29, 2016

A bipartisan group of 158 members of Congress has accused the Obama administration of a failure of leadership over the cholera scandal in Haiti in which at least 30,000 people have died as a result of an epidemic caused by the United Nations for which the world body refuses to accept responsibility.

A joint letter highly critical of US policy – and devastatingly critical of the UN – has been sent to the US secretary of state, John Kerry, signed by 12 Republican and 146 Democratic members of Congress. Led by John Conyers, a Democratic congressman from Michigan, and Mia Love, a Republican congresswoman from Utah, the letter’s signatories include many of the most senior voices on foreign affairs on Capitol Hill.

The missive takes the Obama administration to task for failing to admonish the UN for its refusal to accept responsibility for the cholera outbreak. “We are deeply concerned that the State Department’s failure to take more leadership in the diplomatic realm might be perceived by our constituents and the world as a limited commitment to an accountable and credible UN,” the letter says.

It continues: “We respectfully urge the Department of State to treat the issue of a just and accountable UN response to Haiti’s cholera with the urgency that 10,000-100,000 deaths and catastrophic damage to the UN’s credibility deserves.”

Cholera erupted in Haiti in October 2010, after the bacterium was brought to the country by UN peacekeepers relocated from Nepal to help with disaster relief in the wake of the January earthquake. The joint letter to Kerry mentions a report by the UN itself carried out in 2010 and leaked recently to the Guardian, which showed that the world body was fully aware that sewage at its peacekeeping bases was being dumped in the open, well after cholera was first detected.

The Congress members are excoriating about the UN’s conduct in the wake of the disaster. They note in their letter that the official death toll is almost 10,000, but the reality might be three to 10 times higher, making the Haiti outbreak the worst cholera epidemic of modern times.

“While the deaths, illness, and evidence of malfeasance mounted … the UN continues to refuse to even discuss providing compensation for the losses incurred by those killed and sickened by the cholera it brought to Haiti. There is no notable progress in its proclaimed efforts to provide the water and sanitation infrastructure necessary to control the cholera epidemic.”

As part of the UN’s dogged denial of culpability, the organization has made a blanket rejection of calls for compensation contained in a class action lawsuitfiled in New York by victims of the disaster. The world body is claiming immunity from damages in the case.

The US government chose to represent the UN’s defense in the litigation in front of the federal second circuit appeals court. That prompted the three-member panel of judges to question US lawyers over the Obama administration’s apparent unwillingness to use its diplomatic muscle to force the UN to shift its contentious position.

Brian Concannon, director of the Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti (IJDH) which is acting as lead counsel on the lawsuit, said: “The US government has made the unfortunate choice to stand up for UN impunity by supporting the UN’s immunity in court without doing anything to ensure that the organization upholds its legal obligations to provide remedies for victims out of court.”

With cholera still raging in parts of Haiti, and aid groups on the ground reporting ongoing suffering amid inadequate provision of medical help and sanitation, the Congress members called on the state department to “immediately and unreservedly exercise its leadership … Each day that passes without an appropriate UN response is a tragedy for Haitian cholera victims, and a stain on the UN’s reputation.”

Click HERE for the original article.

158 Members of Congress Ask to Hold U.N. Accountable for Haiti’s Cholera Epidemic

June 29, 2016 - 14:08

158 outraged members of Congress signed on to a letter sent Mr. John Kerry by Representatives John Conyers, Jr. and Mia Love. The Congressmen and women sent the letter to Mr. Kerry with the hopes of getting him to put pressure on the United Nations, for a response to the Cholera epidemic that has invaded Haiti for the past 6 years. The disease has affected over 800,000 people and has killed roughly 10,000. Research has shown that disease came from the U.N. Peacekeeping mission that was sent to Haiti after the earthquake; however, the U.N. has refused to admit its involvement and has deemed the victims’ lawsuits to be invalid. What makes this letter so powerful is the tremendous bipartisan support. Although mostly supported by Democrats, Republicans have joined the cause to demonstrate that the U.N.’s behavior has been unacceptable.

Lawmakers Urge John Kerry to Press U.N. for Haiti Cholera Response

Rick GladstoneThe New York Times

June 29, 2016

Angry over a six-year cholera epidemic in Haiti traced to infected United Nations peacekeepers, 158 members of Congress asked Secretary of State John Kerry on Wednesday to pressure the United Nations for a more effective response, including reparations to victims.

By official estimates, the epidemic has killed roughly 10,000 people and sickened more than 800,000 in Haiti, the Western Hemisphere’s poorest country. Some research has suggested that the death toll could be far higher.

In a letter sent to Mr. Kerry by Representative John Conyers Jr., a Michigan Democrat who is the longest-serving House member, and Representative Mia Love, a Utah Republican, the lawmakers expressed exasperation with what they described as the United Nations’ failure to “comply with its legal and moral obligations to provide cholera victims with access to an effective remedy.”

While most of the signers were Democrats, the letter was extraordinary partly because of its bipartisanship in a climate of polarized politics in Washington.

Cholera, an infection that spreads through water contaminated by human waste, had been absent in Haiti for a century until the arrival of a United Nations peacekeeping force in 2010 after the country’s devastating earthquake. Medical studies have shown that the disease was reintroduced via infected members of the peacekeeping contingent and their faulty sanitation practices, which leached latrine sewage into the water supply.

While the United Nations has helped in the effort to combat the epidemic, it has not acknowledged any responsibility for causing it or provided a way for victims to seek compensation. It has also refused to recognize the validity of lawsuits by victims, arguing that diplomatic treaties insulate the United Nations from such actions.

Lawyers for the victims have filed at least three suits in the United States, the host country of the United Nations, which Justice Department lawyers have argued are invalid. But in March, a federal appeals panel in New Yorkagreed to consider whether one of those lawsuits can proceed. The panel’s decision has not been announced yet.

In the meantime, cholera remains embedded in Haiti and appeared to worsen last year, killing roughly three dozen people a month.

“The U.N. continues to refuse to even discuss providing compensation for the losses incurred by those killed and sickened by the cholera it brought to Haiti, and there is no notable progress in its proclaimed efforts to provide the water and sanitation infrastructure necessary to control the cholera epidemic,” the congressional letter to Mr. Kerry said.

It urged the State Department “to immediately and unreservedly exercise its leadership to ensure that the United Nations take concrete steps to eliminate the cholera epidemic.”

Officials at the State Department and the United Nations did not immediately comment.

Mr. Conyers said in a statement that the cholera epidemic was “a darkening stain on the world’s conscience” and was damaging the United Nations’ credibility.

“The U.S. government cannot watch this crisis unfold from the sidelines,” he said. “We need to exercise our leadership to make sure that cholera is eliminated and that the U.N. provides due process and remedies to the victims.”

Ms. Love, citing the role of the United States as the largest financial supporter of the United Nations, said, “It is critical that we use our influence to ensure the U.N. takes responsibility for this outbreak and works to protect the people of Haiti.”

Advocates for cholera victims said they were encouraged by the letter, which they said sent a strong message.

“This letter is a remarkable showing of bipartisanship and consensus that the U.N.’s stonewalling on cholera accountability, and the U.S. government’s acquiescence to it, are unacceptable,” said Brian Concannon Jr., director of the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti, a Boston-based legal advocacy group.

Click HERE for the original article.

 

Congress demands US leadership in addressing UN cholera fiasco

June 29, 2016 - 12:52

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

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

Congress demands US leadership in addressing UN cholera fiasco

Advocates Welcome Unprecedented Demands For Victim Remedies

BOSTON, June 29, 2016 — Today, 158 Members of the U.S. House of Representatives wrote to Secretary of State John Kerry urging the United States to use its leverage with the United Nations to ensure prompt accountability to Haitian victims of cholera.

“This letter is a remarkable showing of bipartisanship and consensus that the UN’s stonewalling on cholera accountability—and the U.S. Government’s acquiescence to it—are unacceptable,” said Brian Concannon, Jr., Esq., Director of the Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti (IJDH).

The letter, sponsored by Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) and Rep. Mia Love (R-UT), is unprecedented in the breadth and bipartisanship of the Congresspersons who signed on.  It calls on Kerry to use his diplomatic powers to ensure that the UN takes immediate steps to eliminate the cholera epidemic it introduced to Haiti through leaking waste from a UN peacekeeper camp in 2010, and to comply with its legal and moral obligations to provide cholera victims with access to an effective remedy.

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

“The U.S. Government has made the unfortunate choice to stand up for UN impunity by supporting the UN’s immunity in court without doing anything to ensure that the Organization upholds its legal obligations to provide remedies for victims out of court,” Concannon explained.

The 158 endorsers on the Congressional letter include 12 Republicans; half of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs (HCFA) i.e. 22 of its 44 members, including six Republicans; ten of the 14 members of HCFA’s Western Hemisphere Subcommittee, four Republicans and six Democrats; and four of the eight members of HCFA’s Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations (“Global Health”) Subcommittee, two from each party. Republican HCFA signatories include former HCFA chair Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, current Global Health Subcommittee Chair Christopher Smith, and Representatives Daniel Donovan, Michael McCaul, Steve Chabot, and Lee Zeldin. The 16 HCFA Democrats include the respective ranking members of the HCFA itself, Rep. Eliot Engel, and of its Western Hemisphere and Global Health Subcommittees respectively, Representatives Albio Sires, and Karen Bass.

Signatories from states with large Haitian-American populations include 20 members from the New York delegation, 15 from Florida, all 9 from Massachusetts, 9 from Illinois, and 7 from New Jersey. Twenty-three members of California’s delegation signed. For a listing, please see this page. Virtually every member of the Congressional Black Caucusendorsed as well.

The letter, though not binding, adds a critical voice to a groundswell of UN insiders calling for the UN to respond justly. As the UN gears up to select a new Secretary-General, a majority of the candidates who have been asked their position on cholera have publicly promised a more just response to the victims. A number of governments speaking at UN meetings have also called for remedies, including an apology, compensation, and funding for cholera elimination projects. The UN’s own human rights experts have advised the Secretary-General that “it is essential that the victims of cholera have access to a transparent, independent and impartial mechanism that can review their claims and decide on the merits of those claims in order to ensure adequate reparation….” At the opening of the UN Human Rights Council in late May, the UN’s Human Rights Chief also spoke out,calling on governments to “consider what can or should be done to deal with the tragic consequences of the cholera epidemic for Haitians.”

The letter, with a full list of signatures, is available at: http://www.ijdh.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/06_29_16-Kerry-Haiti-Cholera-Letter-Final.pdf

 

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Congressional Black Caucus Signers On June 2016 Dear Colleague

June 29, 2016 - 09:24

June 29, 2016

158 members of the House signed onto a June 2016 Dear Colleague letter to Secretary John Kerry on cholera in Haiti. Virtually every member of the Congressional Black Caucus signed on. The list is below. Red indicates a Republican Representative.

 

 

House Committee on Foreign Affairs Signers On June 2016 Dear Colleague

June 29, 2016 - 07:48

June 29, 2016

158 members of the House signed onto a June 2016 Dear Colleague letter to Secretary John Kerry on cholera in Haiti. Half of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs (HCFA, 22 of 44 members) signed on. The list is below, with blue indicating Democrats and Red indicating Republicans. Breaking the signatories down by Subcommittee, ten of HCFA’s 14-member Western Hemisphere Subcommittee (4 Republicans, 6 Democrats); and four of HCFA’s 8-member Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations (“Global Health”) Subcommittee (2 Republicans, 2 Democrats) signed on.

Delegations Signing Onto June 2016 Dear Colleague

June 29, 2016 - 07:26

158 members of the House signed onto a June 2016 Dear Colleague letter to Secretary John Kerry on cholera in Haiti. The states with large Haitian-American populations are well-represented among the signers and include 20 members from the New York delegation, 15 from Florida, all 9 from Massachusetts, 9 from Illinois, and 7 from New Jersey. 23 members of the California delegation also signed. The lists of Representatives from these delegations are below.

New York

Representative Lee Zeldin
Representative Jerrold Nadler
Representative Daniel Donovan
Representative Carolyn Maloney
Representative Charles Rangel
Representative Joseph Crowley
Representative José Serrano
Representative Eliot Engel
Representative Sean Maloney
Representative Chris Gibson
Representative Paul Tonko
Representative Louise Slaughter
Representative Brian Higgins
Representative Steve Israel
Representative Kathleen Rice
Representative Gregory Meeks
Representative Grace Meng
Representative Nydia Velazquez
Representative Hakeem Jeffries
Representative Yvette Clarke

Florida

Representative Gus Bilirakis
Representative Kathy Castor
Representative Tom Rooney
Representative Patrick Murphy
Representative Gwen Graham
Representative Alcee Hastings
Representative Ted Deutch
Representative Lois Frankel
Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz
Representative Frederica Wilson
Representative Mario Diaz-Balart
Representative Carlos Curbelo
Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen
Representative Corrine Brown
Representative Alan Grayson

Massachusetts

Representative Richard Neal
Representative James McGovern
Representative Niki Tsongas
Representative Joseph Kennedy
Representative Katherine Clark
Representative Seth Moulton
Representative Michael Capuano
Representative Stephen Lynch
Representative William Keating

Illinois

Representative Bobby Rush
Representative Bill Foster
Representative Cheri Bustos
Representative Robin Kelly
Representative Luis Gutiérrez
Representative Mike Quigley
Representative Danny Davis
Representative Jan Schakowsky
Representative Tammy Duckworth

New Jersey

Representative Donald Norcross
Representative Donald Payne
Representative Bonnie Watson Coleman
Representative Christopher Smith
Representative Frank Pallone
Representative Albio Sires
Representative Bill Pascrell, Jr.

California

Representative Mark DeSaulnier
Representative Barbara Lee
Representative Jackie Speier
Representative Michael Honda
Representative Zoe Lofgren
Representative Sam Farr
Representative Julia Brownley
Representative Judy Chu
Representative Adam Schiff
Representative Tony Cardenas
Representative John Garamendi
Representative Brad Sherman
Representative Grace Napolitano
Representative Ted Lieu
Representative Norma Torres
Representative Karen Bass
Representative Linda Sanchez
Representative Mark Takano
Representative Janice Hahn
Representative Loretta Sanchez
Representative Alan Lowenthal
Representative Susan Davis
Representative Jerry McNerney

David and Goliath: An Epidemiological Perspective on Cholera, Haiti, and the UN

June 27, 2016 - 13:40

Jason Silverstein reviews the case of cholera in Haiti through an epidemiological perspective, covering the alleged cause of the epidemic as well as the reactions of the international community both within and outside the United Nations. Silverstein advocates for the establishment of an official forum that would examine why the epidemic happened and who is responsible.

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

…..

Why the Haitian Cholera Victims Deserve Their Day in Court

Jason Silverstein, PLoS

June 27, 2016

The battle between victims of the cholera epidemic in Haiti and the United Nations may resemble a classic David and Goliath story except in this case Goliath hasn’t even shown up to fight.

The reason is that the United Nations is granted “immunity from every form of legal process”—even though public health experts believe UN peacekeeping troops are responsible for the cholera outbreakin Haiti, which has infected more than 750,000 people and killed more than 9,000 since October 2010. (Though a recent paper from Médecins Sans Frontières researchers suggests that there may be “a substantially higher cholera mortality rate than previously reported.”)

Nevertheless, on January 9, 2015, US District Court Judge J. Paul Oetken dismissed a class action lawsuit brought by the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti. But in March the Second Circuit Court of Appeals agreed to review the District Court’s ruling. The decision of the three judges is pending.

….

Click HERE for the full article.

A New UN: Independent Tribunal as a Solution to Immunity Abuse

June 26, 2016 - 06:25

With the issue of widespread peacekeeper sexual abuse arising amidst cases such as cholera in Haiti, the United Nations must take steps to stop the misuse of its immunity.  In this opinion piece, Danny Bradlow explores the establishment of an independent tribunal within the UN as a potential solution to the general lack of accountability. He maintains the necessity of an independent justice mechanism, putting it into the context of the upcoming 2017 appointment of the new Secretary General.

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

…..

What can be done to stop the United Nations abusing its immunity

Danny Bradlow, The Conversation

June 26, 2016

The passage of time can play cruel tricks on noble intentions. The person selected as the new United Nations (UN) Secretary-General later this year should keep this in mind as he or she evaluates how effectively the UN is responding to the challenges of the 21st century.

When the UN and its specialised agencies were created after the Second World War, their founders were concerned that they would not be able to perform their assigned functions – to promote peace and security, international economic and social cooperation, economic development and human rights – if they were vulnerable to legal pressure from their member states. For example, the organisations would not be able to perform their assigned functions if a member state could threaten to arrest the officials of these organisations or to confiscate the materials they had collected when they were on official missions to the state.

…..

Click HERE for the full article.

Reyinyon ki gen rapò ak imigrasyon | Haitian Community Meeting on Immigration

June 24, 2016 - 12:00

Vinn patisipe nan yon reyinyon ki gen rapò ak imigrasyon. | Participate in a special information session on immigration.

Ki lè | When: 

Wednesday, June 29 2016

5pm

Ki kote | Where: 

Kay Pam

6 Livingston Street

Dorchester, MA 02124

Klike ISI pou plis enfòmasyon. | Click HERE for more information.

DEA Fugitive Philippe Enters Political Alliance With Ambitions

June 23, 2016 - 06:32

As President Privert’s mandate expires, Guy Philippe, a notorious paramilitary leader who led attacks in 2004 prior to the coup d’état, has joined a political alliance. Alongside former president Martelly and his political allies, they are lobbying for the removal of Privert in what many perceive as a move vying for the presidency.

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

Martelly Bloc Formalizes Alliance with DEA Fugitive Guy Philippe

Haiti Relief and Reconstruction Watch

June 23, 2016

Days before the June 14 end of provisional president Jocelerme Privert’s mandate, a coalition of political parties close to former president Michel Martelly formalized an alliance and began advocating for Privert’s removal. Led by former de facto prime minister under Marelly, Evans Paul, the “Entente Democratique” (ED) or “democratic agreement” as they have called themselves, have denounced the “totalitarian tendencies” of Privert and categorized the possible extension of his mandate as an illegal power grab.

Haitian parliamentarians were expected to vote earlier this week on extending or replacing Privert, who was appointed provisional president in early February after Martelly’s term ended with no elected replacement. The vote was delayed, as it has been previously.

 

Click HERE for the original article.

 

Exposing the Cause of Cholera in Haiti

June 22, 2016 - 06:50

Dr. Renaud Piarroux looked into exposing the true cause behind the cholera outbreak in Haiti. There had been rumours that the disease was brought over by Nepalese peacekeepers, but Piarroux’s investigations were to confirm if this was really the case. Piarroux was suspicious because UN agencies seemed uninterested in finding the cause of the outbreak. In fact, both US and UN authorities both tried to attribute the spread of cholera to bacteria that already existed in the environment. Before leaving Haiti, Piarroux received a secret document from the Haitian Ministry of Public Health and Population that confirmed the source of outbreak as the Nepali MINUSTAH camp. Officials had known all this time and yet, tried to cover-up the wrongdoing. As article author Crawford Killian’s words, “they sacrificed Haiti simply to escape political embarrassment”.

Click HERE for the full article.

Cholera in Haiti: A True-Crime Medical Thriller

 

Crawford Killian, The Tyee 

June 22nd, 2016

In October 2010, Dr. Renaud Piarroux, a French epidemiologist, was invited by the government of Haiti to investigate the unexpected appearance of cholera in towns and villages along the Artibonite River, the country’s largest. Piarroux had extensive cholera experience, notably with a serious outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The outbreak had startled everyone: cholera had never been known in Haiti before, and within days of its first known case on Oct. 14, it had infected thousands and killed scores.

Like any good epidemiologist, Piarroux knew that finding the source of an epidemic is critical — especially in a country as poor as Haiti, which had scarcely recovered from the earthquake of January 2010 that had killed a couple hundred thousand people. (The death toll has been a subject of controversy.)

His search — and shocking discoveries — are at the centre of Deadly River: Cholera and Cover-Up in Post-Earthquake Haiti by Ralph R. Frerichs.

Rumours blamed sewage from a camp of Nepali peacekeepers. Jonathan Katz, an American journalist, had documented those suspicions, but they were far from proven. The United Nations peacekeeping force, known as MINUSTAH, had been installed in Haiti after the 2004 ouster of democratically elected president Jean-Bertrand Aristide. But instead of keeping hostile armed forces from attacking one another, the peacekeepers were a kind of heavy-handed police force.

Click HERE for the full article.

Justice pour les enfants haïtiennes abandonné par Les Casques bleus

June 22, 2016 - 06:44

Le Bureau des avocats internationaux (BAI) a annoncé des recours contre des Casques bleus qui ont abandonné leurs enfants nés de mères haïtiennes. Les mères ont fait appel à ces avocats pour trouver reconnaissance et assistance pour leurs petits, les enfants de Les Casques bleus uruguayens et sri-lankais. L’auteur affirme que, tandis que l’ONU prône le respect des droits de l’enfant à travers une convention internationale, elle prives ces petits de tous leurs droits en les abandonnant à leur sort.

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

….

Des soldats de la MINUSTAH abandonnent leurs enfants nés de mères haïtiennes

Ricardo Lambert, Le Nouvelliste

22 juin 2016

Au nom de la paternité responsable, le Bureau des avocats internationaux (BAI) a annoncé des recours, par-devant la justice haïtienne, contre des Casques bleus uruguayens et sri-lankais qui ont abandonné leurs enfants nés de mères haïtiennes. Après des démarches sans succès auprès de la mission onusienne en Haïti, ces mères, poussées dans leurs derniers retranchements, ont fait appel à ces avocats pour trouver reconnaissance et assistance pour leurs petits.

….

Cliquez ICI pour le texte complet.

 

Une existence menacé pour les Haïtiens au RD

June 21, 2016 - 14:12

La loi dominicaine, crée en 2013 et visant aux étrangers dans le pays, spécifiquement les haïtiens, ont eu le résultat des expulsions en masse. De juin 2015 à mai 2016, 106,000 haïtiens ont été expulsé ou ont quitté, maintenant beaucoup d’autres sont menacés avec cette possibilité.

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

Plus de 130,000 Haïtiens menacés d’expulsion de République dominicaine

FranceTV

le 21 juin 2016

En un an, de juin 2015 à mai 2016, 106.000 Haïtiens ont déjà été expulsés ou ont quitté la République dominicaine. Les relations entre deux pays qui se partagent l’île caribéenne d’Hispaniola ont toujours été difficiles, envenimées par l’immigration illégale d’Haïtiens en République dominicaine.Face au tollé provoqué par une décision de la Haute cour de justice dominicaine qui, fin 2013, a retiré la nationalité dominicaine aux citoyens d’origine étrangère nés après 1929, le gouvernement dominicain a commencé à régulariser les Haïtiens nés sur son sol et les migrants illégaux. Ce plan national de régularisation des étrangers (PNRE) a permis à plus de 130.000 Haïtiens d’obtenir une carte de séjour mais d’une validité de seulement un an.

…Cliquez ICI pour le texte complet.

Red Cross used donations meant for Haiti on own expenses

June 21, 2016 - 07:36
A recent report released by the office of Iowa senator Chuck Grassley found that the American Red Cross used approximately one quarter of the donations it received to aide Haiti (about $125 million) to cover its own internal expenses. The report also found that the charity impeded government efforts to obtain information on the Red Cross program in Haiti, and understaffed and underfunded its own internal investigation unit, which is responsible for looking into incidences of misconduct and abuse within the organization.

Red Cross mismanaged money meant for earthquake relief in Haiti

RT America

6/21/2016

 

Click HERE for the original video.

REDRESS Report: How the UN Should Address Cholera

June 20, 2016 - 11:56

REDRESS has recently published a report the provides concrete options for responding to the cholera outbreak in Haiti. The organization is an international human rights non-profit that seeks to obtain justice for victims of harm and suffering. This report provides several channels to combat the outbreak including compensation of losses, victim rehabilitation, environmental remediation to eliminate the disease, acknowledgement of wrongdoing, and guarantees of non-repetition.

Click HERE for the full report.

Responding to the Introduction of Cholera to Haiti: Policy Options

REDRESS

June 21st, 2016

I. Introduction

The purpose of this paper is to provide concrete options for responses to the introduction of cholera to Haiti, which reflect international law and standards on reparations applicable to the current context. The paper seeks to draw attention to comparative case studies and best practice approaches that may be helpful to those engaged in finding appropriate responses.

REDRESS is an international human rights organisation with a mandate to assist survivors of torture and related international crimes to obtain justice and other forms of reparation for the harm suffered.1 REDRESS is contributing this analysis on the basis of its expertise in devising and analysing redress mechanisms in a variety of contexts in different parts of the world and its understanding of the range of procedural and other practical challenges associated with developing, agreeing to and implementing complex reparations programmes involving numerous victims and other stakeholders.

The bulk of the paper explains the principles which should guide the policy and other responses and explains in detail the most crucial aspects of a comprehensive response. Each of these aspects is explained in turn, considering the rationale, the operational challenges and providing where applicable, examples of past practice.

The paper is not intended to serve as a blueprint for a reparations framework. In contrast, the overarching purpose is to assist those engaging in discussions to have a better understanding on the relevant concepts and challenges so that such discussions are as practical as possible. The paper also helps identify certain processual steps, such as how to progress consultations with victims and the wider affected communities on remedies and related justice responses and areas which may warrant further data collection to determine the full extent of economic losses.

II. Background

Click HERE for the full report.

 

UN Whistleblower Speaks Out: “Why I Resigned From the UN”

June 17, 2016 - 08:51

Anders Kompass leaked information from the UN about peacekeepers’s sexual abuse and exploitation of children. For this, he was asked to resign and put under investigation. Although he was exonerated, he believes the only reason this happened was because internal UN employees leaked information about his investigation, forcing the UN to act ethically. If it were up to the UN the truth would be buried forever. Kompass says that the United Nations rarely holds its employees accountable for their unethical actions, and they punish those who choose to take the ethical but unpopular stance. In his own words, “the UN promotes an atmosphere of fear and marginalises individuals seen as not toeing the line.” The international justice system is extremely flawed, yet there has been no effort to improve the system. Anders Kompass says he resigned because he could not continue to fight for human rights while working within the structure of the United Nations.

Click HERE for the full article.

EXCLUSIVE: The ethical failure – Why I resigned from the UN

Anders Kompass, Irin News

June 17th, 2016

By the time I reported the sexual abuse of children by peacekeepers in Central African Republic in 2014, I had worked for the UN for nearly 20 years.

There is no hierarchy in the horror and brutality I witnessed during those two decades – massacres, torture, killings, the displacement of populations – but an eight-year-old boy describing in detail his sexual abuse by the peacekeepers meant to protect him is the kind of account I wish I’d never had to read.

I’d also seen a lot of the UN’s dysfunction over the years, but I wasn’t prepared for how the organisation would deal with these events, with the ensuing scandal – and with me.

Cholera in Haiti, corruption in Kosovo, murder in Rwanda, cover-up of war crimes in Darfur: on too many occasions the UN is failing to uphold the principles and standards set out in its Charter, rules and regulations. Sadly, we seem to be witnessing more and more UN staff less concerned with abiding by the ethical standards of the international civil service than with doing whatever is most convenient – or least likely to cause problems – for themselves or for member states.

Click HERE for the full article.

 

After Haiti Earthquake Donation Misuse, Red Cross Needs to Win Back Trust

June 17, 2016 - 07:50

The American Red Cross needs to “make every effort to win [donors’] confidence” back after reports have revealed gross mis-spending of the money donated after the 2010 earthquake in Haiti. For example, 25% of the donations were spent on administrative costs and fundraising though those are usually reported at 9%. Senator Charles Grassley has been investigating this issue since a 2015 report by ProPublica and NPR called attention to it.

Trust Deficit at the Red Cross

Editorial, The New York Times

June 17, 2016

After calamities, people donate millions of dollars to the American Red Cross, believing it is uniquely equipped to provide prompt humanitarian aid. The latest evidence that their faith has been misplaced came this week in a report by Senator Charles Grassley about the charity’s poor response to the 2010 earthquake in Haiti.

The earthquake killed an estimated 160,000 people and left much of the already impoverished island in ruins. The Red Cross provided food, medical care and emergency shelter in the immediate aftermath of the quake, and it has since funded dozens of projects to improve schools, hospitals and infrastructure.

But Senate investigators found that the Red Cross spent about 25 percent of the $488 million raised for Haiti relief on administrative costs and fund­raising. That is unusually high; the charity has previously said it typically sets aside about 9 percent of donations for administrative costs. In one notable example, investigators found that the Red Cross earmarked $2 million to manage a $4.3 million contract it had awarded to the International Federation of the Red Cross, a partner organization.

The report also criticized the organization for downsizing its ethics office, which acts as a watchdog, from 65 employees a decade ago to just three.

“People who give generously to any charitable cause expect transparency and the careful use of every dollar,” Mr. Grassley said. “That’s especially true for the Red Cross, as an organization we all rely on for disaster relief.”

Mr. Grassley’s investigation began after a 2015 report by ProPublica and National Public Radio found that the Red Cross had managed to build only six permanent homes in what had been billed as one of its landmark reconstruction projects in Haiti. That report quoted a former Red Cross official who said the charity came to see the Haiti disaster as a “spectacular fund­raising opportunity.”

The Red Cross was criticized after its state chapters kept money that had been donated for the victims of the Sept. 11 attacks. After Hurricane Katrina in 2005, it was assailed for its chaotic and slow response.

Established by congressional charter, the Red Cross is a nonprofit that does not receive federal funds for its operating budget, although it gets money from the federal and state agencies that it works with on individual projects.

It is understandable that the charity would set aside money for future crises, but it should be absolutely transparent with donors when it does so. It should also significantly beef up its oversight and accounting operations and provide detailed, timely information about how it spends and accounts for relief funding. Early this month, it took a step in the right direction by releasing a breakdown of the money it had spent on Haiti relief.

It would be unfortunate if Americans were hesitant to donate after the next catastrophe. The Red Cross should make every effort to win their confidence.

 

Click HERE for the original article.

Owning Our Future – Haitian Perspectives in Film [Event]

June 17, 2016 - 06:48

Join the Irish International Immigrant Center for a screening and discussion of short films made by Haitians during a training and production process led by Boston-based Community Supported Film. Haitian documentary filmmakers, with backgrounds in journalism, theater and poetry, provide a unique opportunity to experience Haiti as it is lived by street vendors, business women, artists, farmers and more. Their stories nourish an understanding of Haiti that goes beyond the western media’s focus on crises and disasters.

WHEN: 

Wednesday, June 29, 2016
6-8:30pm

WHERE: 

Irish International Immigrant Center
100 Franklin Street, Lower Level
Boston, MA 02110
(Door on 201 Devonshire Street)

 

For more information, or to RSVP, contact Sarah Chapple-Sokol at 617-542-7654 extension 36 or sarahcs@iiicenter.org.