Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti

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Boston Neighborhood News Report on Haitian TPS Extension Rally

September 22, 2017 - 11:07
On September 20th, a TPS Extension Rally held in front of the State Capital demonstrated how vital TPS extension is for Haiti. Check out Brian Concannon as well as our partner organizations speak about TPS extension and how vital it is for Haitian TPS holders: After having regularly renewed Haiti’s TPS designation in successive 18-month increments, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in early 2017 threatened to end it, but a campaign in which IJDH played a key role won a grudging six-month extension, to January 22, 2018. We are coordinating and participating in renewed efforts to stave off termination and win an 18 month extension: deportations to Haiti remain unsafe due to incomplete earthquake recovery, the unchecked cholera epidemic, and the ravages of Hurricane Matthew and Haiti can’t safely assimilate 50,000 new deportees nor replace their crucial remittances.

Senator Patrick Leahy: ‘The cholera outbreak was caused by an act of extreme negligence’

September 20, 2017 - 11:20
Statement of Senator Patrick Leahy On Funding to Address Cholera in Haiti Mr. President, in 2004 the United States voted to establish the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) to police the country following years of political turmoil. While MINUSTAH was successful in bringing a semblance of order to the country, its mission was severely impacted by the 2010 earthquake which resulted in the deaths of tens of thousands of people and left hundreds of thousands more in need of assistance.  Haiti has not fully recovered since then. Unfortunately, that was not the only tragedy that befell Haiti in 2010.  In October of that year a cholera outbreak spread throughout the country, sickening hundreds of thousands and claiming the lives of more than 9,000.  Even more tragically, and unlike the earthquake, the outbreak could have been prevented, and the […]

IJDH Fall 2017-Spring 2018 Internships: Be Part of a Great Team Fighting for Cholera Justice, Human Rights and Democracy in Haiti

September 19, 2017 - 14:51
About Us IJDH has successfully helped Haitians enforce their human rights since 2004. The Institute partners with BAI to support grassroots struggles for justice in Haiti and in the powerful countries abroad where decisions about Haitians’ rights are often made. IJDH and BAI combine traditional legal strategies with organizing, emerging technology and public advocacy to address the root causes of instability and poverty in Haiti. We fight for justice with routinely excellent legal work, but also with creativity, humility, inspiration and humor, and a supportive work culture. We effect broad changes with modest resources by nurturing large advocacy networks. Employment Opportunities There are no opportunities currently available. Internship Opportunities IJDH Development and Communications Internship, Spring 2018  IJDH is looking for Development and Communications interns to join its Boston office. The position is ideal for an undergraduate or graduate student interested in global human rights advocacy and in development […]

Action Alert: Tell Congress to Support Senate’s $12M to Assist Cholera Victims in Haiti

September 18, 2017 - 08:46
Last week, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved $12 million for the United Nations’ trust fund to assist cholera victims. Though the Trump Administration opposes the funding, it will be delivered if we convince the House of Representatives to keep it in the final Appropriations Bill. There’s no better time to tell your Representative in Washington that HE/SHE should care about Haiti. Call your Rep today, tell HIM/HER to support the Senate Appropriations Committee $12 million to fund the U.N.’s  New Approach to Cholera in Haiti to prevent more Haitians dying from the disease. Let’s make justice happen, one phone call at a time. Its easy, here’s how: 1. Call your Rep’s line, or the switchboard (202) 224-3121, with your Rep’s name or your zip code. 2. Leave a voicemail message. Start with your name and city/state, so they know you are […]

Disco Town Hall: Join the Conversation on Health, Human Rights and Social Justice in Haiti

September 12, 2017 - 13:37
 Hello Boston!  Join Arcade Fire’s Will Butler, Cassia van der Hoof Holstein, Joia Mukherjee of Partners In Health and Brian Concannon of the Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti on September 15 from 11:00 P.M. to 2:00 A.M. at Great Scott in Allston, MA to talk about healthcare and human rights in Haiti. Ticket: $5 per person, age: 21+      

The UN’s Liability for Civilian Harms: Lessons from Cholera in Haiti

September 11, 2017 - 06:46
By Beatrice Lindstrom and  Sienna Merope- Synge This article first appeared in the September 2017 issue of the Newsletter of the Human Rights Law Committee of the Public and Professional Interest Division of the International Bar Association (Vol 1, Issue 1), and is reproduced by kind permission of the International Bar Association, London, UK. © International Bar Association. Summary The United Nations enjoys broad immunity from suit, but has well-established legal obligations to compensate civilians harmed by its tortious conduct. Yet, it took years of advocacy – from the streets of Port-au-Prince to legal action in New York – to persuade the UN to redress harms it caused by recklessly introducing cholera to Haiti. Recently, the UN has recognised a moral, but not legal, duty to victims. This gap between the UN’s liability on paper and its practice violates victims’ […]

Haitian-American Community in Boston Rallies in Support for TPS on September 20th

August 31, 2017 - 06:34
Join the Haitian-American Community in Boston on September 20th  from 11:30 A.M. to 1:30 P.M. in front of the Massachusetts State House located in Downtown Boston to rally in support for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Haiti. Over 50,000 Haitian nationals who have been living in the United States in the seven years under TPS could be deported next January if the Trump terminate TPS status for Haiti. Join us, add your voice, you would be glad you did.

Fr. Levêque Bien-Aimé: We Are Still Waiting on U.N. to Deliver on Its Promise to Cholera Victims

August 30, 2017 - 13:43
Fr. Levêque Bien-Aimé urges the United Nations (U.N.) to act to eradicate the cholera epidemic that its soldiers introduced into Haiti and to compensate the victims of cholera. Fr. Levêque encourages Haitian officials at all level to support Bureau des Avocats Internationaux legal and advocacy work aiming at pressing the U.N. to deliver on the promise it made to Haitian people almost a year ago: to eradicate cholera and compensate the victims. Watch the video below: Fr. Levêque Bien-Aimé   Mario Joseph is lawyer who has been playing an important role in the country, and we must support him, particularly in Mirebalais. Mario of Bureau des Avocats Internationaux has been fighting to force the United Nations (U.N.) to redress Haiti for the cholera disease it brought into Haiti. In Mirebalais, we are the first victims [of cholera]. Certainly, the U.N. knows it was the […]

Join Our Team as Legal Intern: An Opportunity to Make a Difference

August 28, 2017 - 06:43
IJDH Legal Internship – Fall 2017 About Us IJDH has successfully helped Haitians enforce their human rights since 2004. The Institute partners with BAI to support grassroots struggles for justice in Haiti and in the powerful countries abroad where decisions about Haitians’ rights are often made. IJDH and BAI combine traditional legal strategies with organizing, emerging technology and public advocacy to address the root causes of instability and poverty in Haiti. We fight for justice with routinely excellent legal work, but also with creativity, humility, inspiration and humor, and a supportive work culture. We effect broad changes with modest resources by nurturing large advocacy networks.   IJDH Legal Internship Description The Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti (IJDH) is seeking 1-2 legal interns (for a minimum of 10 hrs per week) to work in our New York office on legal advocacy to secure a just UN response to the […]

VICTORY in Boston: Boston City Council Unanimously Passes a Resolution in Support of Temporary Protected Status (TPS)

August 24, 2017 - 06:55
Boston, MA – On Wednesday, August 23rd the Boston City Council unanimously passed a resolution urging the extension of Temporary Protected Status (TPS).”Centro Presente thanks City Councilor Josh Zakim for introducing this resolution and the City of Boston for its legacy of support for the immigrant community” said Patricia Montes, Executive Director of Centro Presente. “Boston has consistently shown itself to be a community that appreciates the diversity of its residents and in return immigrants such as TPS holders have helped make the town the thriving and vibrant place that it is.”In the next two years, the current Administration, through the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), will consider whether to extend designations of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for all countries that currently hold TPS. TPS is a form of immigration status that provides employment authorization and protection from deportation […]

Fr Raphaël B. Desras: ‘All Cholera Victims Should Get Justice and Reparations’

August 21, 2017 - 12:30

Saut d’Eau, Haiti: Fr. Raphaël Desras praises the legal work and advocacy of Bureau des Avocats Internationaux (BAI) and its international partners who have been fighting for justice and reparations for the UN-cholera victims in Haiti. He also called on the Haitian Governmen. to support BAI’s work. Fr. Desras denounced the United Nations for not doing more to eradicate cholera and compensate the victims. Watch the video below:

Below is the English version of Fr. Desras’ statement:

To the Haitian Government: Please accompany the Bureau des Avocats Internationaux, and all of the organizations that are fighting for cholera victims to get justice and reparations. If the Haitian government cannot stand with the victims of cholera to get reparations, we will consider our elected officials as irresponsible leaders. Each of us here has a family member who was a victim. The United Nations said they came to help us, but it is the poison of cholera that they disseminated into the water, to kill the our children. With all the other actions they have committed that we know of, we cannot support this. We cannot tolerate this. We cannot accept this.

Everyone who was a victim of cholera should get justice. Because we have the right as a people, to get justice when [they violate our rights.] Like all other nationalities, we are people. We have blood running in our veins. The government can’t stand down. We have to force the government to stand up with the Bureau des Avocats Internationaux and all the other organizations that are defending the victims of cholera, for the country to get justice and reparations, and to compensate all the victims that they [the United Nations] harmed.


Haitians Migrate to Canada to avoid Deportation

August 18, 2017 - 12:32

Over 3,800 Haitians have illegally crossed the border from the New York to Canada. Around 58,000 Haitians have been living in the United States under Temporary Protection Status since the Haiti earthquake in 2010. Over the course of the past seven years, many TPS recipients have given birth to American-citizen children. Now that TPS may be coming to an end, families must decide whether the best course of action for their children. Parents must weigh the risk of remaining in the United States and separation if TPS ends, against seeking asylum in Canada and possible deportation. Unless TPS is renewed, many more will have to make this decision in the coming months.

Read full Article HERE

For More information on TPS click HERE

Fearing Trump deportation, Haitians head to Canada and risk dividing their families

Jacqueline Charles, Miami Herald 

August 17, 2017

Beads of sweat trickled down her forehead as Carole Wembert dragged one bulky black-and-red suitcase and toted two other bags, the load weighing heavy on both her mind and body as she approached the border crossing.

After 15 years in the United States, the Haitian immigrant had quit her job at Walmart in Fort Lauderdale. She packed up her four children, flew 1,200 miles to New York City, took a bus for seven hours and then a taxi before finally reaching the heavily forested spot on the U.S.-Canada border that has become a word-of-mouth entry point to a new life for immigrants.

The future in Canada was uncertain, but she was pretty sure what faced her in the United States: deportation.“The president doesn’t want the immigrants to stay,” Wembert said.

Continue Reading HERE

Over 6,800 Migrants have Crossed the border from U.S to Canada since July 1st

August 18, 2017 - 11:20

In July, 3,996 migrants crossed the border from the United States to Canada seeking asylum. Although the Safe Third Country Agreement bars applicants from applying for refuge at legal checkpoints if they have come from the United States, the influx of migrants from the United States has increased.

This month, an estimated 250 migrants cross the border per day. In the first two weeks of August, 3,800 migrants have been arrested crossing the border at unregulated checkpoints.  An estimated 85-89% of the asylum seekers are Haitian, choosing to flee to Canada rather than possibly face deportation from the United States, as TPS is slated to end for Haitians in January. Due to a backlog in cases, these migrants face months, possibly even years before they can make their cases for asylum-a process that is usually completed in weeks.

To Learn More About TPS Click HERE

3,000 asylum seekers crossed border in July. Even more have crossed in August

CTV News, Montreal

August 17, 2017

The flood of asylum seekers crossing the Canadian border shows no sign of slowing down.

Immigration officials said that in July, 2,996 people were intercepted as they walked across the border with the United States. That’s four times the number of people who arrived in June: 781.

However in the first two weeks of August alone, more than 3,800 people crossed the border, mostly at Roxham Rd. in Hemmingford.

The influx of thousands of migrants has created massive backlogs as Canada Border Services Agency conducts background checks on each person, then hands them over to the Immigration and Refugee Board to accept or reject their claims.

It’s taking two to four days for asylum seekers to be processed at the border, during which time they are living in military tents.

Following that the hearing process — which used to be finished in a matter of weeks — is now expected to take months, perhaps more than a year, for some applicants.

Building Health: An Interview with Jim Ansara

August 15, 2017 - 10:20

The Boston Network for International Development published an insightful interview with Jim Ansara, an IJDH adviser, collaborator and supporter. This interview explores “sustainability” in an incredibly interesting way. Jim has worked side by side with  Partners In Health (PIH) to build a community hospital in Mirebalais located in Haiti’s Central Plateau. It is the largest employer in central Haiti and the largest solar-powered hospital in the world. Build Health International founded by Jim Ansara, is a private operating foundation addressing the unique challenges of building healthcare infrastructure projects in remote and under resourced settings.

Read More HERE

Building Health: An Interview with Jim Ansara

JON: Obviously I have gotten to know you a bit over the last few years and I am quite familiar with your work especially in connection with Partners in Health (PIH), but I wonder if we could maybe start fairly broadly, and I would love to know a bit more about you, Jim, and what your background is, where you grew up, what has influenced you, and how you, as someone with a construction background, found yourself invested in global heath and international development.

JIM: Right, so, I grew up in Boston/Cambridge and my family, my mother in particular, was very progressive politically, especially for the time, which had a great influence on our whole family. I am the youngest of four and most of my siblings have gone into some sort of social or political action work. I ended up on a different path. I was very focused in high school and college initially on playing sports and having fun. I started at Brown University and lasted almost one semester, and then dropped out and played hockey on a minor league team for a year and a half. I was then accepted to Amherst College and went there and lasted a year and a half there! At the same time, I met Karen [my wife and co-founder of the Ansara Family Foundation] and found myself back in Boston needing a job, and talking my way into work as a carpenter. This then started a long adventure in construction for me. Very quickly I began working for myself doing small projects in Dorchester and Roxbury and started a little company which became a little bigger and eventually grew to become a very large company, Shawmut, which we sold in 2006 to the employees. Our family had had a small foundation which we started in 1999 but, with the sale of Shawmut, we took half the proceeds from that sale and started a much larger philanthropic foundation.

Also, we had adopted 4 children, 3 from South America and had traveled a lot, and especially throughout Latin America, and had become much more involved in international development. My wife Karen had a background in international development which began at Wellesley where she went to college. My interested in international development really came from our travels and from my children. I began to think about key issues of women, children, poverty and equality which is how Karen and I began to shift our focus from domestic giving to a more international focus.

JON: I am interested to know a bit more about how Build Health International came to be, it makes sense and I definitely understand the progressive roots and the interest in international engagement but Build Health International in particular, how did that originate?

JIM: For many years my wife Karen was involved with Oxfam America where she worked very hard on a capital campaign. Through Karen’s work with Oxfam, we met Cate Oswald and Paul Farmer and others involved in an economic development project in the Central Plateau of Haiti. In traveling to Haiti, I was really shocked by the level of poverty, injustice and inequity. At this time I was no longer running Shawmut and was really trying to find something to plug into that was of real value. I had tried a number of things – boat building, fishing, etc. – but it was sort of indulgent and wasn’t adding a lot to the world. I was really looking for something deeper in which to become involved and make a significant contribution. Then, in the summer of 2009, Dr. David Walton from PIH called and said PIH was building a community hospital in Mirebalais in Haiti’s Central Plateau. David explained that my background in construction could be of great help for the project, after which I immediately became involved. I then started traveling to Haiti in September of 2009 with David working on plans for what was then a 100-bed hospital in Mirebalais. Then…in January 2010, the earthquake struck in Haiti, and everything changed.

So that is how I became involved in PIH and in Haiti. The hospital in Mirebalais was finished in late 2012 and officially opened in May 2013. At that time, I began thinking I was going to be a part-time volunteer who would maybe travel to Haiti once a month. But, over the course of the Mirebalais project, I didn’t realize I was going to be essentially living in Haiti and building a team of people who would work together to complete the project. I often say it would be a completely separate interview to discuss the process experienced in the Mirebalais project and touch on the mistakes and lessons learned which were numerous, but very  helpful. The entire project was a very unique situation.

As we continued work in 2011, Haiti was still very much in the vortex of the earthquake. There were really good and bad parts of the Mirebalais experience, but it was a very unique way to learn how to approach building in such a unique environment with a very distinct set of circumstances at play. The project was funded and collaborating with David [Walton], who had worked in Haiti for so long, was a really direct way in which to learn, and re-learn, everything I thought I knew about planning and design and construction and hospitals. I also had to quickly unlearn ways in which we had operated at my company for so many years. I had an unusual background where I had started my career in the building trades during which time I gained direct hands-on experience. I then had experience running a large company which provided another set of skills in terms of management and project overview. As it turned out, I was also uniquely well suited for the work we were doing in Haiti – because I had been an electrician, plumber and carpenter and had also worked on large-scale projects as well, I could see the overall project from both the macro and micro levels.

JON: So how did you go from constructing the Mirebalais hospital, a huge endeavor with many challenges and many successes, to founding Build Health International and creating the organization that it is now?

JIM: My plan was to finish the Mirebalais hospital in the spring of 2013, stay for the inauguration in May of 2013, and then re-retire. I was thinking to continue working with PIH as a consultant on different projects. However, we came to the realization that there was a lot more work to do in Haiti for PIH, a lot more to do at Mirebalais, and so much more to do in the rest of the health care delivery system within Haiti overall.

We had also learned so much, and survived so many mistakes and missteps that I felt like we couldn’t let those lessons learned go to waste. At the same time, other organizations working in Haiti, like the Saint Boniface Haiti Foundation were coming to us for help. These organizations were telling us that they just couldn’t figure out how to move forward on infrastructure, planning, design, and construction to ensure their essential health care delivery programs could be executed in the most impactful way possible. On the surface Mirebalais is such a big success, there are a lot of things I’d do differently, but to people looking from the outside, it’s sort of unbelievable. Here’s this huge hospital that was done so quickly for comparatively far less cost than other big development projects and, from that, other organizations were hoping to learn how to move ahead with their own projects.

By December of 2013, the team that had worked on Mirebalais had sort of disbanded, a few people had gone to work for PIH and I was continuing to help in directing them. Eric Benson [Build Health International’s Director of Construction and Senior Project Manager] was working at Saint Boniface with me at this point but I had no office and we had no infrastructure, no team. Carroll Huss [Build Health International’s Director of Internal Operations and Finance] who had worked with me on the Mirebalais project was interested in continuing the work as well, so that was really the genesis of Build Health International. From there, we rented a little office and warehouse in Beverly and began working as BHI in early 2014. At that point, we were still working as the infrastructure arm of PIH which continued until about a year ago. Since then, BHI has really taken on a life of its own.

JON: It seems like it! I wonder if you could talk about some of the other projects you have been engaged with, and what else you are excited about within Build Health International.

JIM: During 2015, BHI was pretty well focused on doing work almost exclusively for PIH and Saint Boniface, with the majority of work concentrated on PIH in Haiti, Malawi, and West Africa. For example, we helped organize a logistics team during the Ebola response. During this time we also had people consistently reaching out to us for help. We continued working with St. Boniface and experience success replicating what we had done in Mirebalais and improving on it. We focused on how we could even further improve, while also simplifying, the facilities we were constructing, looking at sustainability, not just in the green sense, but from an operations and maintenance management perspective. This extended to work on renewable energy sources, especially in Haiti where energy is such a huge operating expense. We continued to take lessons learned from Mirebalais, such as best practices for operating budgets, and examined ways to challenge preconceived notions of building in resource constrained settings. By looking at ways to build ‘less’, we could examine impact on both budgetary planning and also facility longevity, allowing resources to be allocated to towards maintenance and repairs, rather than just on the initial cost of the capital investment. These are certainly challenging, but important, conversations to have.

JON: It’s almost unimaginable, it’s a huge amount of work and really incredible to hear the breadth of it, honestly. I am interested to know what your view is on the broader field of global health construction and infrastructure. Obviously, players like the World Bank and USAID have some funding and have done infrastructure projects in the past, but do you see other organizations perhaps taking on the work of designing and building appropriate health oriented infrastructure?

JIM: That is a very good question and a very important one. Within the sector it appears there are two extremes…there are the large organizations such as the USAID contractors. There seems to be a struggle to clearly define the role of these companies in terms of mission and ability to deliver sustainable facilities that meet the needs of the communities in which they are constructed. That then becomes one type of international development delivery in which European and North American style hospitals and clinics, which are often very expensive capital costs and usually don’t have much funding for sustained operating budgets, become the norm in places like Haiti. As it happens, the buildings constructed in this model don’t really end up being sustainable for geographic locations like Haiti, given its climate and the feasibility of continued operating support. We have certainly experienced some of these same challenges in our past projects, and have learned from our experiences as we try to match the capacity of the community in which we’re working with the scale of the project.

So there is a huge void between the widely accepted status quo, and what BHI is trying to address. There are definitely other organizations also trying to fill this void. Organizations like MASS Design are addressing the design and architecture challenges – BHI is currently working with MASS Design on a number of projects such as Redemption Hospital and JFK Hospital in Liberia. Another organization, Construction for Change in Seattle, is a spinout from a foundation working with PIH on projects in Malawi. And there are organizations such as Building Goodness who BHI is working with in Haiti. The central point which I keep returning to is that if you amass all of the work done by these various organizations, it can still feel that the work is only a tiny drop in the bucket of what is needed. There are thousands of facilities globally (in places such as Haiti, Sub-Saharan Africa, parts of Asia, etc.) which are operating in rapidly declining conditions and are in need of equipment, infrastructure, running water, sewage, improved ventilation systems and so on.

Keeping all of this in mind, one of the larger scale questions that I am always trying to address is: beyond the immediate work we do, how our organization Build Health International can have greater, more direct impact. I recently turned 60 and was reflecting that if I work like a maniac for another 20 years until I am 80, I still really believe we will only accomplish a tiny fraction of the larger scope of the work that needs to be done. So, the continuing challenge is to try to figure out how to capture what we are learning in each of our projects and disseminate this information to help other organizations leverage their impact as well. To this end, we are currently working with a number of universities on a range of projects so that students at the forefront of their academic training can begin to interface with ideas of best practices in architecture, engineering, design and so forth. We are also just finishing a pilot project examining the Emergency Department at Mirebalais where Drs. Reagan Marsh and Shada Rouhani from PIH just did a presentation at a national emergency medicine conference around that project and what we have been doing. BHI has also started a pilot project that we are calling, for lack of a better title, the Mirebalais Learning Project, in which we are documenting the vitally important lessons learned from Mirebalais as well as the other facilities in which we have been involved. Rather than sort of just celebrating what we did right, it is so important to really look at what could have been done differently and learn from those challenges moving ahead.

JON: It is a fascinating thing. I mean, how do you digest the deep lessons that you all have learned along the way while continuing to pioneer this work to galvanize more support and encourage more people to take it on. It is a really fascinating challenge. As we wrap up, it would be great to learn a little about the BHI outlook as you move ahead into the future.

JIM: Certainly a great question – I think at this stage looking ahead, BHI is in a unique position to continue pushing forward. We will continue focusing on individual projects while also contributing to the larger conversation about health care delivery, infrastructure frameworks and ways in which building and design can impact successful outcomes. Together with our partners, we are certainly looking forward to this next phase of Build Health International’s evolution.

Haitian Immigrants Seeking Refuge in Canada Face Arrest at the Border

August 14, 2017 - 08:19

For Haitians fleeing the United States, Canada offers a pseudo sense of security as Lacolle, Quebec becomes an attraction not only for the tourists but for immigrants seeking a new life. Canada however is not the safe haven that it’s perceived to be. Upon crossing the border, migrants are arrested and detained. Although Canadian refugee camps offer basic amenities, migrants continuously face uncertainty. In the past,  only 50% of Haitians seeking asylum in Canada have had their requests granted and there is no guarantee it will be the same this time.

Read full Article HERE 

For Haitians in U.S., the road to refuge runs straight to Canada — and arrest

Jacqueline Charles, Miami Herald 

August 12, 2017



The Canadian police officer at the border was adamant: If you cross here, you will immediately be arrested. The Haitian woman dragged her bulging suitcase across the dirt-covered mound to the Canadian side anyway.

She was determined. And so were the mother and her four teenage children who came after, and the Latino family of three after them, and the 39-year-old Haitian father of four who soon followed, his friends keeping a watchful eye in a waiting car as he jumped out of a taxi cab.

While U.S. President Donald Trump is clamping down on illegal immigration, thousands of migrants from Haiti, Central America and Africa are rushing to this border crossing in upstate New York, willing to face arrest in their pursuit of a better life. The popular stop near the border station at Lacolle, Quebec, is quickly becoming a path to a new life for immigrants — and something of a tourist attraction.

Continue Reading HERE 

Haiti: Fr. Robinson Alexis Urges Justice and Individual Compensation for the Victims of Cholera

August 14, 2017 - 08:13


During the celebration of Feast of Saint Clare in Municipality of Marchand Dessalines, Artibonite, Fr. Alexis Robinson, the pastor of the church and the responsible of Justice and Peace for the Department of Artibonite urges Haitian officials to act to eliminate the cholera epidemic once for all. He also demands reparations for the victims of the cholera and commends the Bureau des Avocats Internationaux (BAI)  and its partners for their advocacy and legal work on behalf of the victims. Amongst the attendees were Haiti’s Prime Minister Jack Guy Lafontant and the Artibonite’s Senator Gracia Delva, also a native of Marchand Dessalines and Mario Joseph of BAI.

Watch the video below:

English transcript will come soon.

An Evaluation of the Causes and Results of U.N. Peacekeeper Actions

August 10, 2017 - 08:58

This four part series details the history of sexual assault by UN peacekeepers and what has been done to combat it. The UN peacekeeping mission began in 1948, right after WWII. In order to protect the soldiers who were deployed, the U.N provided its soldiers with impunity (all cases against peacekeepers had to be brought in the parent country, in order to protect the soldiers from fraudulent charges.)However, this protection has been the cause of many grievances for the women and children of these nations—victims of sexual assault are unable to take their assailants to court.

Between 2004 and 2016, the UN received almost 2000 reports of sexual assault perpetrated by peacekeepers. In predominately black nations with a low socioeconomic status, the rate of sexual violence is much more  significant and leads researchers to believe that the idea of racial and economic superiority and supremacy plays a role in the inflated volume of assaults. Even with this information readily available, the UN has not made a substantial effort to provide aid to the victims or prevent further assaults.


Read Article one HERE

Read Article two HERE

Read Article three HERE

Read Article four HERE 


Why do some UN peacekeepers rape?

Azad Essa, Al Jazeera 

August 3, 2017

UN peacekeepers are sent to the most war-ravaged countries on Earth, ostensibly to help them transition to peace.

But some stand accused of committing crimes against the very people they are supposed to protect.

According to a recent investigation by the Associated Press (AP), between 2004 and 2016, the United Nations received almost 2,000 allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse against its peacekeepers.

The UN says it has a zero tolerance policy on sexual exploitation and abuse, but survivors, activists, lawyers and human rights organisations say such crimes have been allowed to continue with impunity.

Through conversations with UN peacekeepers and officials, gender experts, academics, researchers and activists, as well as through an investigation of UN data, in this four-part series, we try to navigate these competing accounts to answer the question: How did some peacekeepers become predators?

Continue reading HERE

Is the UN sending the wrong people to keep the peace?

Azad Essa, Al Jazeera 

August 3, 2017

UN peacekeepers are sent to the most war-ravaged countries on Earth, ostensibly to help them transition to peace.

But some stand accused of committing crimes against the very people they are supposed to protect.

According to a recent investigation by the Associated Press (AP), between 2004 and 2016, the United Nations received almost 2,000 allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse against its peacekeepers.

The UN says it has a zero tolerance policy on sexual exploitation and abuse, but survivors, activists, lawyers and human rights organisations say such crimes have been allowed to continue with impunity.

Continue Reading HERE


Do UN peacekeepers do more harm than good?

August 9,2017

In her 2015 book, Peaceland, Severine Autesserre, a professor of political science at Barnard College of Columbia University in the US, writes about a “community of interveners for whom peace is either the primary objective (like peacekeepers) or part of a broader set of goals (such as diplomats or development workers)” who often exist in a parallel world to the people they are meant to serve.

She argues that the way in which this community lives, talks and collaborates with locals reinforces “a pervasive power disparity between the interveners and their intended beneficiaries”.

The “peacekeeping economy” – in which millions of dollars arrive, circulate between external actors and rarely reach or benefit the local community – emboldens a sense of impunity and superiority among this community of interveners, says Marsha Henry, an associate professor at the London School of Economics’ Gender Institute in the UK, pointing to how peacekeepers and the aid community often live privileged, if precarious, lives in an economy that caters more to their needs than to the development goals of the country they are in.

Continue Reading HERE

Why do some peacekeepers rape? The full report

Read summary Article HERE


50,000 Haitians Could Lose Temporary Protected Status in the US But Canada May Not Be the Solution

August 9, 2017 - 08:20

As TPS expiration looms, thousands of Haitians who have been living in the United States in the past seven years are fleeing to Canada seeking asylum. Although the Canadian government ended their temporary protection status in 2016, their warm reception towards refugees makes Canada an attractive second choice. Although they could face deportation from Canada, many have taken the risk. for those Haitian families, leaving the U.S. is the only way for them to keep their families together.

To learn more about TPS Click  the link to our  TPS PAGE

To learn more about Cholera in Haiti click the link to our  Cholera Page 

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 Why are thousands of Haitians streaming into Canada from the U.S.?

Verity Stevenson, CBC News

August 3, 2017

Heading to Canada is one of the only options seen by many of the 50,000 Haitians who’ve been living under temporary protection status in the U.S. — but many don’t know they face deportation here, too, should their asylum claim be rejected.

The temporary protection status for Haitians in the U.S. granted after the 2010 earthquake is set to expire in January.

The Department of Homeland Security considers Haiti to be a safe country now, and it’s warned that the U.S. doesn’t intend to renew that status, prompting the deluge of asylum seekers crossing into Canada.

“There is a major humanitarian crisis coming up this January,” said Emmanuel Depas, a New York-based immigration lawyer, who was born in Haiti.

Depas said many of his clients’ only hope is coming to Canada. Going back to Haiti would mean living in poverty, facing persecution or, for a fifth of them with U.S.-born children, being separated from their families, he said.

“I’ve even suggested looking into Canada to people because there aren’t that many options,” he told CBC News Thursday.

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Peacekeeping Comes With a Price: The Legacy of U.N. Cholera on Haiti’s Public Health

August 9, 2017 - 08:03

 After 13 controversial years in Haiti, the United Nations  will withdraw its troops. However, the U.N. Peacekeepers (MINUSTAH) will leave a significant public health burden on the backs of Haitian people.

The UN plans to replace MINUSTAH with a smaller mission, “the Mission for Justice Support in Haiti” or “MINUJUSTH” mandating to strengthen the rule of law in the country.Given the current state of the MINUSTAH’s legacy, “MINUJUSTH”‘s legitimacy could be undermined and in question.

To learn more about the U.N. promise to Haiti Click Here

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The Price of Peace? Peacekeeping with Impunity Harms Public Health in Haiti

by Louise C. Ivers and Yodeline Guillaume, The American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, August, 2017

Division of Global Health Equity, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts; Department of Global Health and Social Medicine, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 

Address correspondence to Louise C. Ivers, Division of Global Health Equity, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, 641 Huntington Ave, Boston, MA 02115. E-mail:

In April, 2017, the United Nations (UN) announced that it will withdraw peacekeeping soldiers from Haiti after 13 years there.1 Known by its French acronym MINUSTAH, the mission has been controversial in security terms, but in terms of public health, it is not controversial to state that peacekeepers will be leaving a heavy mark on the health of Haitians. The UN has acknowledged that peacekeeping soldiers were responsible for both the introduction of cholera (which sparked a nationwide epidemic) and the sexual abuse and exploitation of Haitians, including minors. Despite these acknowledgments, there has been insufficient action to result in justice for either the victims of cholera or the victims of sexual abuse. On July 13, 2017, the UN General Assembly passed a resolution asking the UN member states to consider contributing $40 million in leftover funds from MINUSTAH to the control of cholera in the country, and the member states have 60 days to act.

The UN plans to replace MINUSTAH with a smaller peacekeeping operation; the U.N. Mission for Justice Support in Haiti (MINUJUSTH) mandated to strengthen the rule of law and to engage in human rights monitoring, reporting, and analysis. This new justice mission can have little legitimacy in Haiti given the current legacy of the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations there, but there is still time to act.

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Haitian and Canadian Activists Demonstrate in Front of Quebec Olympic Stadium in Support of Refugees  

August 9, 2017 - 07:40

Worried about Trump’s next  move, hundreds of TPS recipients which have been predominately Haitian have fled from the United States to Canada. Some Haitians have been held at Quebec’s Olympic Stadium waiting for Canadian authorities to process their documents.

Meanwhile, pro-immigration activists demonstrated in front of the Stadium to show their support to the refugees. It is important to point out that Haiti is and won’t be ready to welcome thousands of its citizens who have been living in the U.S. for the past seven years and more.

For more information on TPS extension, please visit our website

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Hundreds gather outside Olympic Stadium in support of refugees

by Matt Grillo, Global News, August 6, 2017

Just outside where approximately 500 asylum seekers are being housed in a temporary shelter inside Montreal’s Olympic Stadium, hundreds gathered for a demonstration to show their support for refugees.

“Human beings cannot be alien on planet earth,” Jean Saint-Vil, a participant in the demonstration, said.

“Who tells us that the next Canadian astronaut has not just crossed the border today?”

Continue reading HERE.