Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti

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Speak Out for Haiti Seeks Volunteer

April 17, 2015 - 07:47

Volunteer Position—Speak Out for Haiti         

Speak Out for Haiti (www.speakoutforhaiti.org/) provides resources for U.S. friends of Haiti to advocate for policies that will enhance stability and prosperity in Haiti, and learn about political and institutional challenges to justice and democracy in the country. With a particular attention to connecting the many U.S. faith-based Haiti charitable and service efforts to advocacy, we provide educational resources as well as email and social media alerts. The mission is to provide U.S. friends of Haiti with reliable information as well as regular opportunities to take action in support of our Haitian brothers and sisters.

Position Description:

A volunteer is needed to help move Speak Out for Haiti up to the next level by increasing its membership and improving its communications and action alerts. The Volunteer will coordinate the drafting and sending of monthly alerts and twice-weekly social media notices. The volunteer will also maintain the website and reach out to people and organizations wishing to advocate for fairness and opportunity for Haitians.

This is an excellent opportunity for someone interested in making a difference for Haitians by promoting international policies that help Haitians learn, earn, organize and vote their way out of poverty.  The position does not require in-depth knowledge or experience as much as strong communications and organizations skills, and a willingness to learn more about Haiti and Haiti advocacy.  It is a leadership position- the volunteer will take the lead in outreach, advocacy and shaping the direction of Speak Out for Haiti (with support).

The volunteer will work closely with Fran Quigley, Indiana law professor and author of How Human Rights Can Build Haiti, and Speak Out for Haiti partner the Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti, as well as an enthusiastic group of church leaders, political leaders, solidarity activists, medical professionals and human rights advocates who have been touched by Haiti.

Estimated time commitment of four hours per week; a one-year commitment is requested.

Qualifications:

  • Experience with Facebook, Twitter, and MailChimp or a willingness to learn
  • Ability and enthusiasm for engaging people in social justice advocacy through strong written and oral  communications skills
  • Leadership and ability to work independently to complete tasks
  • Commitment to making a difference in Haiti

Application Procedure:

Interested applicants should contact Fran Quigley at quigley2@iupui.edu, with a cover letter and a current resume. The deadline for this position is rolling.

HFRP Information Session

April 16, 2015 - 16:00

Join US Citizenship and Immigration Services in FL for Haitian Family Reunification info.

WHAT:

This is a Haitian Creole-language session on the new Haitian Family Reunification Parole Program. It is free and open to the public, so please share widely!

WHERE:

Deicke Auditorium
5701 Cypress Rd.
Plantation, FL 33317

WHEN:

7-8:30pm
April 16, 2015

 

Click HERE for the pdf flyer.

Plus de 50.000 personnes vivent toujours dans des camps

April 15, 2015 - 07:39

Après le tremblement de terre en 2010, des millions de personnes ont été déplacées et ont dû vivre dans des camps. Maintenant, plus de 5 ans plus tard, 64,680 personnes vivent toujours dans des camps! Tandis que  les programmes de subvention au logement ont aidé, plusieurs personnes qui ont reçu les subventions ont fini par revenir dans les camps après un certain temps. Haïti a besoin de solutions durables de logement.

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

Haïti – Social : 64,680 personnes vivent toujours dans des camps (mars 2015)

HaitiLibre
15 avril 2015

La dernière Matrice de Suivi du Déplacement (DTM) d’Haïti de l’Organisation Internationale pour les Migrations (OIM), allant de juillet 2010 au mois de mars 2015 indique que 16,230 ménages déplacés soit 64,680 Personnes Déplacées Internes (DPI), demeurent toujours dans 66 sites de déplacés ; 59% de ces sites se composent de tentes ; 9% de ces sites se composent d’un mélange de tentes et d’abris transitoires ; 32% de ces sites se composent d’abris transitoires (T-Shelters) ; 39 sites PDI ont été fermés entre le 1er Janvier et le 31 mars 2015 ; 1 site d’abris transitoires a été fermé spontanément du fait du départ des PDI qui y résidaient ; 38 sites (correspondants à 3,322 ménages) ont été fermés grâce aux programmes de subventions au logement et 4,988 ont été relocalisés grâce aux subventions au logement.

Plus de cinq ans après le séisme du 12 Janvier 2010, il est estimé que 16,230 ménages, soit 64,680 personnes, demeurent dans 66 sites.

La majorité des communes affectées se trouvent dans la zone métropolitaine de Port-au-Prince (Carrefour (4 sites), Port-au-Prince (21 sites), Delmas (15 sites), Cité Soleil (1 site), Pétion-ville (2 sites), Tabarre (5 sites) et Croix-des-Bouquets (4 sites)) et dans la région des Palmes qui comprend Léogâne (11 sites) (considérée comme l’épicentre du séisme) et Gressier (3 sites).

 

Cliquez ICI pour le texte complet.

Statelessness in Our Hemisphere

April 13, 2015 - 06:00

In NYC, attend a conference on statelessness, particularly in the Dominican Republic.

WHAT:

On April 13th, legal scholars, activists, and community leaders from the U.S., Haiti, and the Dominican Republic will gather in New York City to address one of the most essential rights of human rights: the right to a nationality.

Nobel Laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu and actress Angelina Jolie recently announced an ambitious global campaign to end the plight of 10 million stateless people around the world – those who are without a country to call home. As the United Nations’ refugee agency head Antonio Guterres recently noted: “Statelessness makes people feel like their very existence is a crime.” Ironically, on the very same day, the Dominican Republic reaffirmed its decision to disenfranchise hundreds of thousands of its own citizens. This effort did not merely do away with classic birthright citizenship moving forward: This overzealous xenophobic effort stripped birthright citizenship for all those born in the country since the 1920s. Sadly, this event by our Caribbean neighbor went unnoticed in the United States. Though a country’s effort to create a stateless group is universally condemned, rogue countries have sadly used such a tactic to harm its most vulnerable minority groups. Such a status leaves these former citizens without the most basic of rights you and I take for granted. In other words, they exist as the most invisible and deprived people on the planet.

As represented in article 20 of the American Convention on Human Rights and which the Dominican Republic is a signatory. Article 20:

Every person has the right to a nationality!

WHERE:

Church Center for the United Nations
777 United Nations Plaza, 2nd floor
New York, NY

WHEN:

9am to 5pm*
April 13, 2015

 

*Light breakfast and lunch will be served

Mining in Haiti on Hold Since 2012

April 12, 2015 - 10:25

The current Haitian government and a few companies have been trying to develop Haiti’s mining sector but, even with support from the World Bank, have been unsuccessful. President Martelly and the Senate were unable to come to an agreement before Parliament became non-functional in January. People living in the rural areas under consideration for mining are hopeful that mining will bring new roads and electricity but others caution that those improvements will only apply to the mines, and that the best jobs will go to foreigners.

Mining in Haiti on hold amid uncertainty and opposition

Ben Fox, Associated Press
April 12, 2015

CAP-HAITIEN, Haiti (AP) – The 50-year-old man from the village scrambled up a grassy hill to ask the onsite manager of a U.S. mining company for work. Joseph Tony had heard VCS Mining Inc. was bringing jobs, along with paved roads and electricity, to this corner of rural northern Haiti. “Everybody is waiting,” he said.

But Williamcite Noel, the only VCS employee in Haiti, had nothing to offer. Although the company received one of two gold mining permits in December 2012, the project known by the hill on which is located, Morne Bossa, was frozen two months later when Parliament imposed a moratorium on mining activity amid deep concerns about whether the country has the capacity to adequately regulate such a complex industry.

Mining had been seen as a potential new source of revenue and jobs for impoverished Haiti after the January 2010 earthquake devastated the capital in the south. Companies spent $30 million prospecting, with the encouragement of a government eager to bring development to the countryside, where most people get by on subsistence farming and lack even basic services.

But the new era in mining that some had predicted remains out of reach because the Haiti has been unable to enact a revised mining law establishing such fundamental issues as the environmental regulations and royalty revenues.

Now it’s too late for this government. The administration of President Michel Martelly, a musician who had little support in the Senate and Chamber of Deputies when he took office in May 2011, was unable to get the law completed and passed before Parliament was dissolved in January. The prospects when a new government takes over next year are uncertain.

“Everything is being put on hold,” said Tucker Barrie, vice president of exploration for Majescor Resources Inc., a Canadian company that received the other production permit, for two concessions north of Morne Bossa.

Majescor once had up to 100 workers in Haiti assisting with its exploration, but went down to a single caretaker. After spending $5 million, the company last month turned over its stake to its Haitian subsidiary in exchange for a share of any future royalties. Barrie said that will require the local firm to find a new partner or outside capital.

“There will be little interest until the mining law issues are resolved,” he said.

Mining giant Newmont Mining Corp., which was studying Haiti for potential sites in partnership with Eurasian Minerals Inc., suspended active exploration in the country in 2012, according to spokesman Omar Jabara.

Before the post-quake mining push, the mineral extraction industry had been dormant in Haiti since a copper mine near Gonaives closed in the 1970s. The country is believed to have the same veins of copper and gold found across the border in the Dominican Republic and could yield an estimated $20 billion in gold and other metals.

Angelo Viard, the Haitian-American president of VCS, pledged to hire locals, pave roads and bring electricity to the village near his 31-acre claim on Morne Bossa. The company built a basketball court and sponsored a soccer tournament, and Tony said that generated goodwill. “People have a lot of hope in the company,” he said.

Many Haitians are not eager to see the development of mining, skeptical of an industry that could pollute a country with a history of weak regulation and environmental problems. Camille Chalmers, an economics professor and member of an advocacy group called the Mining Justice Collective, said any potential benefits for Haitian workers are vastly overstated.

“All the important jobs, with decent salaries, will go to people from abroad,” said Chalmers, who has tracked the industry with lawyers from New York University’s Global Justice Clinic. “The paved roads and the electricity are for the mines, not for the people.”

Chalmers said the delay is good. “We would need a moratorium of at least 10 years to really create the conditions that would enable rational regulation of the industry in the public’s interest,” he said.

Critics also fear mining companies will have undue influence in a country long plagued by corruption. VCS fended off charges of buying influence after a press release about an upcoming book by author Peter Schweizer reported that the company had named to its board of directors Tony Rodham, a brother of Hillary Rodham Clinton, and ex-Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive, who was co-chairman of a reconstruction commission with former U.S. President Bill Clinton.

Viard said Bellerive and Rodham are advisers, not board members, and they were brought in after he already had the permit. “Mr. Rodham is a person who knows the industry and the financial world and may be able to point us to some party who may be interested in investing.”

He said the country’s uncertain political climate has scared away potential partners. “Any investors we talk to, they say ‘It sounds like a great project but it is Haiti,’” said Viard. “People look at the instability, they look at the history.”

Bellerive said he is an unpaid adviser, and Haiti should consider mining only if it can ensure that the environment will be protected, local communities are developed in conjunction with any mining and the government is fairly compensated. “I am not really sure we are prepared to face all those issues right now,” he said.

Members of Parliament agreed, passing the resolution in December 2012 that halted mining activity after ruling that the permits already issued weren’t legal. The government began working on new regulations with help from the World Bank, but critics say the process was being done without sufficient public input and that the draft was never publicly released.

A standoff between Martelly and the Senate over the legislation needed to schedule elections dragged on until Parliament was dissolved in January, ending prospects not just for the mining law but any other significant legislation. Legislative elections are scheduled for August and a presidential election for October.

The new Parliament won’t be seated until next January, followed by a new president, who will then nominate a new prime minister and Cabinet in a process that typically takes several months in Haiti.  No one knows when, or even if, the new government will submit mining legislation.

In the meantime, Tony and others like him say they will be waiting for mining jobs and the infrastructure that would have to come with it. “The mine should be exploited so this area can be developed,” he says. “It can’t stay like this.”

 

Click HERE for the original article.

Caribbean Arts Gallery Grand Opening

April 12, 2015 - 09:00

Enjoy Caribbean art at the Boston, MA grand opening of the Caribbean Arts Gallery.

WHAT:

Be part of history as the first Caribbean Arts Gallery opens in Massachusetts. An afternoon KidsFest from 12:00-3:00 pm.and Opening Reception from 3:00-8:00 pm will bring members of the community together to celebrate Caribbean culture and enjoy artwork by more than 25 local and international artists. Everyone is welcome to attend. A Key-note speaker and An awards presentation recognizing the artists in attendance will begin at 4:00 p.m. Music and dance performances to follow at 5 p.m.

WHERE:

155-A Washington Street
Dorchester, MA 02121

WHEN:

noon to 3pm KidsFest
3-8pm Opening Reception

Sunday, April 12, 2015

 

With questions or for more info, contact:

Jean Senat Fleury, owner, Caribbean Arts Gallery
Phone: 561-207-1718
Email: jeansentfleury@gmail.com

Communautés haïtiennes se battent des majeures problèmes de l’eau

April 10, 2015 - 12:27

Plusieurs communautés haïtiennes continuent  de lutte contre le choléra, sans les resources de l’eau ou l’assainissement. Récemment, certains d’entre eux ont dû lancer un SOS à l’endroit des autorités pour leur venir en aide. En même temps, l’ONU continue de lutter pour amasser des fonds pour l’eau et l’assainissement, probablement en raison de leur manque de responsabilité pour l’épidémie.

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

Eau: les habitants appellent à l’aide

Joram Moncher, Le Nouvelliste
10 avril 2015

Environ 3 000 habitants de la localité de Lacabouye, dans la troisième section communale de Aguahedionde Rive Droite, commune de Hinche, frôlent une crise humanitaire, en raison d’une pénurie d’eau et de nourriture. Des dizaines d’enfants souffrent au quotidien de colique, de typhoïde sévère et de diarrhée, tandis que des cas d’infection de choléra sont enregistrés à Kèlèsèpè et à Lacabouye, indique le coordonnateur du Conseil d’administration de la section communale, Mérilus Bernard.

« Les paysans doivent parcourir plusieurs kilomètres avant d’atteindre une rivière à Papaye, une autre localité, où les habitants n’ont pas accès à l’eau potable », a déclaré le CASEC Bernard, ajoutant que les autorités locales et sanitaires craignent un rebondissement du virus vibrio cholerae dans toute la section communale, en raison des matières fécales et des tas d’immondices entreposés aux abords de la rivière Samana. « Une pénurie d’eau menace plus de 25 000 personnes à Aguahedionde Rive Droite et Rive Gauche, où les paysans craignent de s’approvisionner dans la rivière de Samana et de Agua Mucho (Guayamuco ) polluée par un déversement de matières fécales et des décharges publiques.

 

Cliquez ICI pour le texte complet.

Making History: 17th Annual NHSA Conference

April 10, 2015 - 05:00

Attend National Haitian Student Alliance’s Atlanta conference.

WHAT:

This year’s conference is about making history, and capturing the essence of what it means to strive for something greater than what the statistics suggest are the probabilities. You have to be there to experience the amount value we will be providing for you this year. Our staff have been working tirelessly, day and night, to produce what you will find to be the best conference experience to date. Watch as we make history before your very eyes; as you emerge from the conference motivated and determined to change your future, your school, and your community.

WHERE:

Sheraton at the Atlanta Airport
1900 Sullivan Road
Atlanta, GA 30337

WHEN:

Friday, April 10 to Sunday, April 12, 2015
*Hotel checkout by 11am Sunday.

 

Click HERE for the full conference information packet.

Haiti Cholera Outbreak is the UN’s Watergate

April 9, 2015 - 15:45

The tide continues to turn against the United Nations’ continued refusal to be accountable for cholera in Haiti. Since UN peacekeepers sparked the deadly epidemic in 2010, the UN hasn’t taken responsibility for the epidemic or provided any mechanism for victims to make claims. Recently, 4 UN experts wrote an allegation letter to the UN, citing the UN’s responsibility for the epidemic and accusing the UN of violating human rights. In response, the UN Secretary General wrote that the UN is doing all it can to fight the epidemic but also maintained the UN’s immunity from prosecution. This “exchange of letters still shows that there’s a growing movement of UN-linked figures who realize the world body’s position on the outbreak is no longer tenable.” It’s an important step towards justice.

How the UN caused a massive cholera outbreak in Haiti

Armin Rose, Business Insider
April 9, 2015

The cholera outbreak in Haiti is the UN’s Watergate, except with far fewer consequences for the people responsible and an immeasurably more disastrous real-world impact.

And an exchange of letters between three UN special rapporteurs and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon late last year shows that the world body is still shielding itself from scrutiny.

A cholera outbreak began about 10 months after Haiti’s catastrophic January 2010 earthquake.

The outbreak was curious even despite the ruination of the country’s infrastructure and the displacement of hundreds of thousands of people after the quake — there hadn’t been a single case of the disease in the country since the mid-1960s or perhaps even earlier.

Scientists and journalists, most notably Jonathan Katz, the Associated Press’s former Port au Prince bureau chief, have conclusively proven that the cholera was brought to the country by Nepalese peacekeepers, and that the disease entered Haiti’s water system through a peacekeeping base’s improperly managed human waste disposal site, which leaked into the Artibonite River.

As Katz has documented, the UN effectively covered up its responsibility in the early days of the outbreak, delaying a potentially life-saving medical understanding of the pathway and nature of the epidemic.

The UN has refused to acknowledge its culpability even as it became apparent that if it weren’t for the UN’s deficient screening of its peacekeepers and the negligence of its Nepalese peacekeeping contingent in Haiti, there wouldn’t be any cholera in Haiti at all.

To date, the epidemic killed around 9,000 people by the end of 2014 and infected more than 1 in 20 Haitians. Thanks to the 1946 Convention on Privileges and Immunities of the United Nations, the UN enjoys broad and nearly absolute legal protection in most places on earth.

Haitian cholera victims have had no luck pursuing cases against the UN in US court. Most recently, a suit against the UN on cholera victims’ behalf was dismissed in US federal court in January of 2015, although there are plans to appeal the ruling later this year.

The UN is required to set up alternative mechanisms within the UN system so that it can redress complaints without waiving immunity. But it hasn’t done this yet for Haitian cholera victims, since it doesn’t think it’s responsible for the outbreak.


If the UN were truly convinced of its actual, long-term legal immunity in this matter, it might be willing to acknowledge its responsibility for the outbreak with complete confidence that it wouldn’t be sued in a national court at some future point.

But instead of either waiving immunity or admitting that its mistakes and misdirections led to the cholera outbreak, the UN has chosen a problematic middle-route. They’ve refused to claim responsibility, deepening distrust of the UN and complicating relief efforts, while invoking legal immunity and resisting any attempt at redress within the UN system itself.

The UN is behaving like an organization that knows it has something to hide — but its immunity gives it a legal out that few other organizations on earth really have.

“If they were confident in the idea that they weren’t responsible, there’s no reason they shouldn’t allow victims to have a fair trial,” Beatrice Lindstrom, a staff attorney at the US-based Institute for Democracy and Justice in Haiti, told Business Insider.

But they haven’t gotten a fair trial. And in October of 2014, three UN special rapporteurs had grown concerned enough to send an accusation letter (embedded below) to the office of Secretary General Ban Ki Moon.

A special rapporteur is an unpaid expert the UN commissions to study various matters of international importance on its behalf. They are not officially UN employees, but are integral parts of the broader UN system.

Special rapporteurs often send accusation letters aimed at states or other institutions who they believe are not fulfilling their obligations under the UN charter or other international conventions.

This one was directed at the UN itself.

“We express serious concern that, allegedly, the United Nations failed to take reasonable precautions and act with due diligence to prevent the introduction and the outbreak of cholera in Haiti since 2010,” Leilani Farha, Dainius Puras, and Catarina de Albuquerque wrote.

They are the “Special Rapporteur on adequate housing as a component of the right to an adequate  standard of living,”  on “the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health,” and on “the right to safe drinking water and sanitation,” respectively.

“We further express serious concern that to this date, allegedly, individuals affected by the cholera outbreak have been denied access to legal remedies and have not received compensation. Finally, we express concern that to date efforts to combat cholera and to improve the water and sanitation facilities in Haiti have been inadequate.”

The letter included an “annex,” citing ”international human rights instruments and standards relevant to these allegations.” In essence, the rapporteurs went on record accusing the UN of violating international human rights law by failing to create an alternative mechanism for cholera victims to bring cases against the UN and for shirking its responsibility to clean up the mess its peacekeepers had made in various other ways as well.

The office of the Secretary General responded about a month later with a 33-page letter of its own, six-times the length of the rapporteurs’ “letter of accusation.”

It recalled that an “independent panel” convened by the UN had “concluded that the outbreak was caused by a confluence of circumstances and that it was not the fault of, or due to deliberate action by, a group or individual.” And it reviewed a series of relief efforts within Haiti and institutional changes that had been implemented since the outbreak, including increased medical standards for peacekeepers from cholera-affected nations.

Ban promised the UN was pursuing a “comprehensive” approach to ending cholera in Haiti. But the letter upheld the UN’s legal immunity, even though it went out of its way to note that cholera victims’ inability to sue didn’t lessen the UN’s moral responsibility to them:

“The Secretary-General has made it very clear, that while the claims have been deemed not receivable under Section 29 of the General Convention and that the immunity of the United Nations before national courts should be upheld, this does not in any way diminish the commitment of the United Nations to do all that it can to help the people of the Haiti overcome the cholera epidemic.”

Some would doubt whether the UN really is doing “all it can.” Although cholera now impacts around .05% of the population, cases creeped upwards at the end of 2014. In January of 2015, there was a 75% higher incidence than experts expected in mid-2014, and a 50% spike in cases compared to the year before.

Even if the epidemic is technically “under control” by epidemiological standards that has more to do with a dry 2014 than than with the disease’s retreat — cholera is water-borne, and the disease is one major hurricane or tropical storm away from an even more accelerated comeback.

Ban’s response also dodges the issue of the UN’s refusal to set up an alternate mechanism for bringing cholera claims against the UN. “What this shows is that they don’t have a real explanation for why they dismissed the claims,” says Lindstrom.

But the exchange of letters still shows that there’s a growing movement of UN-linked figures who realize the world body’s position on the outbreak is no longer tenable.

“This signals an important shift within the UN,” says Lindstrom. “People within the system itself are speaking out against this. They’re basically saying that the UN is violating human rights and are asking critical questions that the UN needs to answer.”

The letters can be found below in full. Business Insider has reached out to Ban Ki-Moon’s office, and will update when we receive a response.

The allegation letter:

SR Allegation Letter 2014

And Ban Ki-Moon’s response:

Secretary General’s response

 

Click HERE for the original article.

Stateless Dominicans Still Face Fears of Deportation

April 9, 2015 - 07:40

Racial tensions have been increasing between Haiti and the Dominican Republic for decades and many fear that over 100,000 Dominicans of Haitian descent may soon be deported. This article describes the current and past conflicts related to immigration, statelessness and racism, which have led us to this point.

Fate of Haitians left hanging in the Dominican Republic

Hisham Ali, Al Jazeera
April 9, 2015

On March 17, the Dominican Republic reopened its consulates in Haiti after weeks of tension and negotiations. The diplomatic outposts had been closed two weeks earlier after thousands of people in the Haitian capital marched from the foreign ministry to the Dominican embassy, protesting the killing of a Haitian man a few days earlier in Santiago, a city in the neighbouring Dominican Republic.

Young men climbed the roof of the diplomatic building in Port-au-Prince and – in retaliation for the burning of a Haitian flag in Santiago – burned a Dominican flag, and tried to raise a Haitian one in its place. Dominican officials subsequently closed their five consulates in Haiti and withdrew their ambassador claiming that the unrest endangered the lives of its diplomatic staff. But last week Dominican officials declared that the Dominican ambassador would return and the consulates would reopen after the Haitian government had agreed to increase security at the diplomatic missions.

This latest flare-up surrounding the status of Haitians in the Dominican Republic comes in the wake of a particularly gruesome hate crime. On February 11, the corpse of a Haitian man was found hanging from a tree – hands and feet bound – in a park in Santiago.

The young man was identified as Henry Claude Jean (better known as Tulile), and worked shining shoes in Ercilia Pepin Park. The Santiago police declared over social media that they “rejected racism as a motive”, suggesting that he was killed by fellow Haitians over a lottery ticket.

Robbery claim

The victim’s family – and human rights activists in Haiti and elsewhere - rejected this robbery claim, arguing that the recent spike in “anti-Haitianism” is the result of long-standing hostility towards and mistreatment of Haitians in Dominican society.

For generations, Haitians have worked in the Dominican Republic doing low-skill, back-breaking work, often coming under harassment, if not outright attack – as occurred in the so-called Parsley Massacre of 1937, when thousands of Haitians were killed under the orders of dictator Rafael Trujillo.

In a letter to his Dominican counterpart, the Haitian Foreign Minister Duly Brutus denounced the recent burning of the Haitian flag, and called on Dominican officials “to respect the fundamental rights of every Haitian in the Dominican Republic”.

The place of Haitians in the Dominican Republic has been in the news of late, because in September 2013, the Dominican constitutional court ruled that people born to illegal migrants do not have a right to citizenship – even if they were born and lived in the country all their lives.

The court ordered a review of the Dominican Republic’s birth records and civil registry, starting from June 1929, to assess who can qualify for citizenship. This court decision sparked an international outcry, and the Dominican government was denounced for its “Negrophobia” – given that the ruling disproportionately affects people of Haitian descent.

As the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees then warned, the court’s decision “may deprive tens of thousands of people of nationality, virtually all of them of Haitian descent”.

‘Foreigners in transit’

The Dominican government used to grant citizenship to all those born in the country, with the exception of children born to foreign diplomats and foreigners “in transit”, that is people who were in the country but on their way to another country.

But over the decades, the category of “foreigners in transit” has been more narrowly defined. In 2004, a new Migration Law expanded the category of “foreigners in transit” to include non-residents, such asundocumented Haitian migrants.

Dominican officials then began refusing to grant certified copies of birth certificates to the Dominican-born children of Haitian immigrants. In 2005, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights denounced the Dominican government for denying birth certificates to two young Dominican girls of Haitian descent, in contravention of the American Convention on Human Rights.

But there is domestic opposition to granting Haitian migrants and their children citizenship. On the day before the Haitian man’s body was found, a group of Dominican nationalists gathered in Santiago calling for the deportation of Haitian migrants.

In response to the widespread criticism, in May 2014, the Dominican Senate approved a law creating a path for people of Haitian descent – thrown into legal limbo by the 2013 law – to normalise their status and apply for citizenship. Dominican authorities have since declared that by June 2015 they will resume deporting people who have not legalised their status. Thus far less than 10,000 people have applied for naturalisation under the new law.

Human right groups are warning that tens of thousands of individuals born in the Dominican Republic, mostly of Haitian descent, are at risk of expulsion.

Hisham Aidi teaches at Columbia University. He is the author of the critically acclaimed Rebel Music: Race, Empire and the New Muslim Youth Culture, a study of black internationalism and global youth culture.

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera’s editorial policy.

 

Click HERE for the original article.

April 2015 Update

April 9, 2015 - 07:02

Over 100k Haitian-Descended Dominicans at Risk of Deportation

April 8, 2015 - 08:24

In September 2013, a Dominican Republic Constitutional court issued a ruling that retroactively stripped citizenship from hundreds of thousands of Haitian descent. Many were shocked but many also recognized it as part of a long history of racism and discrimination against Haitians and their descendants in DR. After much international pressure, DR agreed to establish a regularization/naturalization program but it hasn’t been effective. Now over 100,000 Dominicans of Haitian descent are at risk of deportation.

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

How a group of Dominicans were stripped of their nationality and now face expulsion to Haiti

Eve Hayes de Kalaf, The Conversation
April 8, 2015

Just because people feel that they are a national of a country does not mean the state necessarily agrees. While tourists flock to the Dominican Republic – the most visiteddestination in the Caribbean – few are aware of the struggle that tens of thousands of people are currently facing to prove their right to a Dominican nationality.

Born and raised in the country, many had the birth certificates, ID cards and passports to prove it. Yet the state is claiming that for over 80 years a bureaucratic mistake led them to issue this documentation. Those affected have been left stateless.

The DR shares an island with Haiti. For almost a century Haitians were a cheap source of labour for the sugar industry. As economic interests shifted, migrants and their descendants moved into different professions from construction to domestic labour. Tens of thousands settled in the country and had children. Their children had children.

 

Click HERE for the full text.

Other Worlds Seeks “Another Haiti is Possible Coordinator”

April 8, 2015 - 06:49

JOB ANNOUNCEMENT:

ANOTHER HAITI IS POSSIBLE COORDINATOR

April 8, 2015

Organizational Description: Other Worlds is a women-driven education and movement-support collaborative. We inspire hope and knowledge that other worlds are possible, and also help build them. We compile and bring to light just alternatives that are flourishing throughout the world, and open up new pathways for the public to adapt and integrate them. Globally, we support the movements that are propelling the alternatives. In the U.S., we seek to draw in new participants and strengthen existent efforts for economic, social, and gender justice; environmentally sound systems; and participatory democracy.

Job Description: The Another Haiti Is Possible Coordinator advances Other Worlds’ political and programmatic objectives in Haiti. These include: (a) strengthening struggles of movements there, in ways they themselves identify, for democracy, land security, food sovereignty, gender justice, and human rights; (b) providing information and other support that the movements need; (c) creating a better international understanding of Haiti and what is at stake; and (d) building the political engagement of international allies.

The Another Haiti Is Possible Coordinator’s primary work will be to co-plan and coordinate – following the lead of Haitian allies – an international campaign to protect land rights against massive grabs being promulgated by foreign investors, Haitian elite, and Haitian government (with strong backing of the US, World Bank, and IDB). The campaign will both fortify Haitians’ efforts and add global muscle. The coordinator’s work will guide popular and public education, strategy development, media work, movement support, network-building, coordination of international advocacy, and organizing. It will also involve a political campaign against one or two targets, be it/they a corporation, US government, or IFI. Because Other Worlds is so small, a focus will be on finding key players who can carry various pieces of the work.

The Another Haiti Is Possible Coordinator will also play a key role in fundraising for the land rights campaign.

Job Requirements:

  • Fierce and proven commitment to economic and social justice, and leadership by movements of those directly impacted;
  • Strong familiarity with Haiti and social movements;
  • Excellent strategic thinking and execution;
  • At least three years of experience in grassroots advocacy, organizing, and/or campaigning, preferably involving both Haitians and U.S. allies;
  • Ability to attend to the large and the small, managing a grand strategy without losing sight of the details;
  • Good human relations, communication, and writing skills;
  • The ability to work independently while being accountable to a team;
  • Fluency in English and Creole. Spanish a plus.

Location: Oakland, CA, with regular travel to Haiti.

Start Time: Immediate.

Time Commitment: Full-time.

Salary and Benefits: Salary commensurate with experience (or as best as a small collaborative can do). Flexible hours, generous vacation and holiday policies, full health coverage.

To apply: Please send a cover letter explaining interest and qualifications, a resume, and three references to info.otherworlds@gmail.com.

Other Worlds is an equal opportunity employer. People of color and people from the global South are strongly encouraged to apply.

Haitian Perspectives in Film: Premiere Screening & Discussion

April 7, 2015 - 16:00

In Boston: see Haitians’ perspectives on post-quake relief efforts, through film.

WHAT:

View a number of new Haitian-made films portraying the Haitian experience of the post-earthquake reconstruction.  Michael Sheridan has an outstanding reputation as a documentary filmmaker and trained Haitians to produce these films so that their voices could be heard. Going beyond disaster reporting, these films seek to include the experiences and points of view of Haitians in the international conversation about what has and has not happened since the 7.0 earthquake 5 years ago.  The films will also be used to increase dialogue and influence public policy internationally and in Haiti regarding effective foreign aid and sustainable development.

WHERE:

Jamaica Plain Forum
6 Eliot Street
Boston, MA

WHEN:

7-9pm
Tuesday April 7, 2015

 

Click HERE for more information.

Forum Sur Les Relations Haitiano Dominicaines

April 4, 2015 - 14:00

Attend this Miami forum on the crisis of Haitian-Dominicans in the Dominican Republic.

WHAT:

Rev. Edwin Paraison is continuing with the campaign in the Diaspora Communities about the “Forum sur les Relations Haitiano Dominicaines”.  He will be in Miami this weekend. He will be joined by Edwidge Danticat on Saturday April 4 to conduct a Town Hall meeting on the issue. Please feel free to join, share and circulate.  It is important to spread the word.

WHERE:

6744 North Miami Ave
(St. Paul et les Martyrs d’Haiti, Salon pariossial)
Miami, FL 33150

WHEN:

5-8pm
Saturday, April 4, 2015

Contradictory Poll Examines Popular Opinion on Martelly Government

April 3, 2015 - 11:29

Recent headlines have reported that Haitian President Martelly’s approval ratings are above 50%. This didn’t make sense given that there have been continuous protests against the current government for months. This article analyzes possible reasons for this inconsistency, including flaws in the methodology of polling and the fact that the poll was conducted by a man with former government ties.

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

Poll: Majority of Haitians Say Country “Headed in the Wrong Direction”

Center for Economic and Policy Research
April 3, 2015

A new opinion poll, reported on Wednesday by Jacqueline Charles of The Miami Herald, reveals that while Haitian President Michel Martelly’s personal approval rating remains high, more than 50 percent of respondents thought the country was “headed in the wrong direction.” The Herald reports:

Martelly, who will begin the final year of his five-year term in May, got a 57 percent job approval rating. But it’s an open question whether his popularity will give his choice of presidential candidate the win. Martelly is barred from running again, and Haitians are waiting to see which candidate gets his support.

More than half of Haitians believe the country is headed in the wrong direction, while nearly 70 percent do not believe things are going well today.

Eduardo Gamarra, a professor at Florida International University who conducted the poll (PDF), told the Herald that “members of the private sector” funded the poll and had contracted him to do a number of polls over the past few years. Gamarra was also an advisor to the Government of Haiti, contracted by the Ministry of Planning, until August 2014.

 

Click HERE for the full text.

Haitian American Caucus Seeks Executive Assistant

April 1, 2015 - 09:01

The Haitian American Caucus (HAC)- US is a grassroots movement of leading young Haitian professionals whose mission is to provide the Haitian Diaspora in New York City with access to information and resources that will foster self-development and success. Advocacy and services are at the core of all of our initiatives. Our goal is to improve the reputation and visibility of Haitian Americans by breaking barriers we face in America. We are dedicated to educating young Haitian professionals and providing them with essential tools to ensure success in their personal and professional lives.

SEEKING: Full-time interns in New York City who are looking to work hard to help develop and grow the organization.

RESPONSIBILITIES:
Executive Director (ED) assistance may include, but not be limited to:

  • Manage & maintain day-to-day calendars & itineraries for Executive Director
  • Maintain & update files & assets
  • Provide on-site assistance for ED as needed and/or directed
  • Create or assist with creating event flyers for social media
  • Create & maintain event/workshop guest lists
  • Send out announcements/press releases to media & company contacts
  • Create & help update monthly newsletters to blast to media & company contacts
  • Provide on-site production assistance for events as needed and/or directed

Administration / Back Office assistance may include, but not be limited to:

  • Send & track information to HAC Administration & Support Staff
  • Maintain & update ED calendar

Social Media/Digital assistance may include but not be limited to:

  • Curating daily content & posts for Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr & Facebook
  • Help Communications Director maintain & update website as needed
  • Assist with capturing & editing video content for Youtube Channel

Working smart and hard is the key to moving ahead here at HAC. At times you will be asked to follow specific instructions, and at other times you will need to think on your feet and self-direct/think outside the box. This would be a non-paid internship position to start, with hope for and room to grow into a full-time paid Assistant position.

Please send resumes and/or relevant portfolios to TInnocent@hacus.org to apply for a position and schedule an interview.

World Bank Pursues Mining Goals Despite Civil Society Objections

March 31, 2015 - 12:06

The World Bank has been involved in beginning mining projects in Haiti. This, despite 92 civil society organizations signing a letter to World Bank outlining the issues with mining in Haiti and their desire to be included in mining-related decisions. The World Bank rejected their claims and continues to be involved with the mining sector. This article also discusses World Bank involvement in mining in Honduras and Armenia.

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

World Bank support for mining expansion criticised

Bretton Woods Project
March 31, 2015

Despite civil society criticism of World Bank-supported large-scale mining activities, the Bank is still involved in controversial extractives projects (see Observer Summer 2014Bulletin Dec 2013). Local and international campaigners argue that, through technical assistance, the Bank facilitates the opening up of countries’ extractive industries to transnational companies over supporting domestic industry; and doing so without providing governments with the tools to adequately protect marginalised communities against harmful social and environmental consequences of projects originating from Bank technical support.

Haiti: CSOs concerned by Bank’s role

Since 2013 the Bank has provided technical assistance to the Haitian government in drafting new mining laws intended to increase foreign investment in the sector under the Extractive Industries Technical Advisory Facility (see Bulletin Dec 2013). In March, a letter to Bank president Jim Yong Kim, signed by 92 civil society organisations and individuals, expressed deep concern that the Bank “is helping to develop Haiti’s mining sector, an inherently high-risk industry, without applying any social or environmental standards to ensure transparency and meaningful public participation.”

 

Click HERE for the full text.

Welcome to the IJDH/BAI Community

March 31, 2015 - 07:16

Thank you for signing up for IJDH’s email list. Once a month, you will receive an email with the latest news on our work. You will also receive notifications of events in your area or breaking news a couple times a month. If you’d like to hear more about any of our programs, let us know! In the meantime, feel free to learn more about us, donate, or volunteer.

Brian Concannon, Mario Joseph, and some BAI staff travel to a remote village for the Civic Engagement Project.

Another Contractor Suspended for Faulty USAID Housing

March 30, 2015 - 13:49

CEEPCO Contracting, which USAID used for their poorly-constructed Caracol housing project, has now been suspended. This comes after USAID extended CEEPCO’s contract in 2014, despite knowing about the construction problems. All of the houses suffer from construction problems including concrete that is below the required PSI. This is especially worrisome as such poorly-constructed housing was a major cause of the massive death- and injury toll of the 2010 earthquake.

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

Second USAID Contractor Suspended Following Caracol Housing Debacle

Center for Economic and Policy Research
March 30, 2015

On March 25, 2015, USAID suspended CEEPCO Contracting – which had been working on shelter programs in Haiti –from receiving further government contracts, pending the outcome of an ongoing investigation. CEEPCO joins Thor Construction, which was suspended in early February. The investigation concerns faulty construction practices related to 750 houses built in Caracol, Haiti by USAID. CEPR Research Associate Jake Johnston reported in February for VICE News:

CEEPCO’s CEO is Harold Charles, a Haitian-American who was formerly one of the Haitian government’s representatives to the Interim Haiti Reconstruction Commission (IHRC), run by Bill Clinton and meant to be in charge of the $10 billion in earthquake relief. The IHRC had initially approved the USAID shelter program back in December 2010.

Charles also enjoys a close, personal relationship with Haitian President Michel Martelly. In an interview in 2013, Charles said, “I do know and have very close friends up through the highest ranks of government,” adding, “Martelly is a childhood friend of mine.” One former government official in Haiti said in an interview, “this was seen as a deal that would please Martelly.”

Despite the initial assessment in August, 2014 that revealed the construction problems, USAID extended CEEPCO’s contract for work at other shelter sites in Haiti this past January.

 

Click HERE for the full text.