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Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti
Updated: 2 hours 55 min ago
Des milliers ont manifesté lundi à Port-au-Prince contre l’organisations du second tour de la présidentielle le 29 janvier et pour le respect de la date constitutionnelle: le 7 février. Ils on manifesté pour protéger et promouvoir l’inauguration du nouveau président ou de la nouvelle présidente, comme prévue par la loi-mère.
Une partie de l’article ci-dessous. Cliquez ICI pour le text complet.Des Milliers de Membres des Bases Lavalas Ont Manifesté Lundi À Port-Au-Prince Contre L’Organisation du Second Tour de la Présidentielle le 29 Janvier 2017 et pour le Respect de la Date Constitutionnelle du 7 Février 2017
Agence Haïtienne de Press
Octobre 25, 2016Port-au-Prince, le 24 octobre 2016 – (AHP) – Des milliers de membres des bases Lavalas ont manifesté lundi à Port-au-prince contre l’organisation du second tour de la présidentielle le 29 janvier 2017 et pour le respect de la date constitutionnelle du 7 février 2017.Les manifestants qui scandaient des slogans en faveur du respect de la constitution, ont réclamé l’avancement de la tenue du second tour , pour permettre la publication des résultats définitifs bien plus tôt et favoriser ainsi l’investiture du nouveau président ou de la nouvelle présidente à la date prévue par la loi-mère.Le sénateur Nenel Cassy, candidat de Fanmi Lavalas à sa réélection dans les Nippes, s’est déclaré lui aussi contre l’idée d’organiser le second tour de la présidentielle le 29 janvier 2017 comme le prévoit le nouveau calendrier électoral révisé…Cliquez ICI pour l’article complet.
The United Nation’s Human Rights Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights, Philip Alston, release a report to the UN General Assembly criticizing its decision to follow what he calls “flawed and unfounded” legal advice, preventing them from accepting legal responsibility of the cholera outbreak in 2010. The Guardian’s Ben Quinn explains and analyzes the report in the article below.
Part of the article is below. Click HERE for the full text.UN’s own expert calls its actions over Haiti cholera outbreak ‘a disgrace’
Ben Quinn, The Guardian
October 25th, 2016A man with cholera symptoms is carried to a small clinic in Randelle, Haiti, on 19 October 2016. (Photo from original article)
The United Nations’ refusal to accept responsibility for the devastating cholera outbreak that has claimed more than 9,000 lives in Haiti has been branded a “disgrace” by the organisation’s own human rights special rapporteur.
Human rights groups working with victims had reacted with jubilation earlier this year following the UN’s first tacit admission that it was to blame for the outbreak after doggedly refusing to address how its peacekeepers brought the disease to Haiti in 2010.
However, in a scathing report (pdf) to the UN general assembly, the organisation’s special rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, Philip Alston, said that flawed and unfounded legal advice provided by the UN lawyers was preventing it from accepting responsibility for the outbreak…
Click HERE for the full article.
UN Special Rapporteur Philip Alston, who criticized the UN cholera response as “morally unconscionable, legally indefensible and politically self-defeating,” presented to the Third Committee of the UN General Assembly today. There was time for UN member states to make statements and ask him questions. Below are the statement and question from Jamaican Ambassador Rattray.Intervention by Jamaica in the interactive dialogue between the Third Committee and the Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and Extreme Poverty
25 October 2016
My delegation thanks the special rapporteur for his presentation today. We have read with keen interest his groundbreaking report on the situation surrounding the introduction and outbreak of cholera in Haiti.
The report gives us hope. It renews in us a confidence that the calamitous situation in Haiti and the UN’s denial of responsibility has not gone unnoticed. Countless lives were lost and others devastated by what occurred in Haiti, a close neighbour of Jamaica. We concur with the SR that the “abdication approach” that was undertaken by the UN does a grave disservice to the people of Haiti, which is a founding Member of this organisation. This approach has also called into question our organization’s impartiality and credibility. Just yesterday, we read in the New York Times of the “damage that cholera has done to the reputation of the United Nations, which regularly presses governments around the world to pursue accountability.”
While we welcome the announcement of an assistance package, we emphasize that the humanitarian response should not be conflated with the responsibility to provide redress to those affected by the cholera outbreak. Furthermore, every effort must be made, in collaboration with Haiti and its partners, to advance Haiti’s development goals including to build resilience and reduce vulnerability.
We would ask the Special Rapporteur:
– What role does he believe that Member States can play, whether through the General Assembly or another organ or subsidiary body, to move our organization’s response further in the right direction?
Statement of Lawyers for Victims of the UN Cholera in Haiti on the Report of UN Special Rapporteur Alston
Sienna Merope-Synge, Port-au-Prince, +509-4875-3444, firstname.lastname@example.org (English, Français, Kreyol)
Mario Joseph, Port-au-Prince, +509-3701-9879, email@example.com (Kreyol, Français, English)
Beatrice Lindstrom, New York, +1-404-217-1302; firstname.lastname@example.org (English, Français, Kreyol)
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE/POUR DIFFUSION IMMEDIAT (Français en bas)
Statement of Lawyers for Victims of the UN Cholera in Haiti on the Report of UN Special Rapporteur for Extreme Poverty and Human Rights Phillip Alston
Déclaration des avocats des victimes du choléra de l’ONU en Haïti face au Rapport du Rapporteur Spéciale sur l’extrême pauvreté et droits humains Philip Alston
NEW YORK, PORT-AU-PRINCE, October 25, 2016—
The Report on cholera in Haiti delivered on October 25 by UN Special Rapporteur Phillip Alston is a vindication of the cholera victims’ rights and testament to their six-year struggle for justice. The report is critical of the UN for trying to respond to Haiti’s cholera epidemic in a way that rejects any legal responsibility. Professor Alston is concerned that this would “be a lamentable outcome that is inconsistent with the rule of law, contrary to human rights and undermines the principles and credibility” of the UN.
At the Bureau des Avocats Internationaux and the Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti, we agree with the Special Rapporteur’s analysis of the UN’s legal obligations. For the past six years, we have insisted that the cholera victims have a right to compensation, an apology, and the infrastructure necessary to stop the cholera epidemic. If, as Professor Alston fears, the UN does offer the victims material compensation without acknowledging responsibility, it will be up to the victims to decide whether the trade of more financial compensation for less apology is just. But the apology is important for Haitians, and will not be sacrificed lightly. The UN’s six years of deceit and the continued denial of long-established facts are an insult to the cholera victims and to all Haitians, that has caused real harm.
Le Rapport sur le choléra en Haïti rendu le 25 Octobre par le Rapporteur spécial de l’ONU Phillip Alston est une justification des droits des victimes de choléra et témoigne de leur lutte de six ans pour la justice. Le rapport a critiqué l’ONU pour tenter de répondre à l’épidémie de choléra en Haïti d’une manière qui rejette toute responsabilité légale. Professeur Alston craint que ce serait “un résultat lamentable, qui est incompatible avec l’état de droit, contraire aux droits de l’homme et sape les principes et la crédibilité » de l’ONU.
Au Bureau des Avocats Internationaux et l’Institut pour la Justice et la Democratie en Haiti, nous sommes d’accord avec l’analyse du Rapporteur spécial des obligations juridiques de l’ONU. Au cours des six dernières années, nous avons insisté sur le fait que les victimes de choléra ont droit à une indemnisation, des excuses, et les infrastructures nécessaires pour arrêter l’épidémie de choléra. Si, comme le professeur Alston le doute que l’ONU aurait offert des compensations matérielles sans reconnaître leur responsabilité, il appartiendra aux victimes de décider si l’échange en plus des compensations financières pour moins des responsabilités légales sont juste. Mais les excuses de l’ONU sont importantes pour les Haïtiens, et ne seront pas sacrifiées à la légère. Les six années de déception et de tromperies continues des faits établis de longue date par l’ONU sont une insulte aux victimes de choléra et à tous les Haïtiens, dont elle a causé des dommages réels.
In an August 2016 report to the United Nations General Assembly, Special Rapporteur Philip Alston criticized the UN’s response to the cholera epidemic in Haiti as “morally unconscionable, legally indefensible and politically self-defeating. It is also entirely unnecessary.” When the UN later announced that it would soon release a new plan for eliminating cholera from Haiti, Alston wrote a letter to follow up, commending the UN for the new approach but also suggesting ways to make sure it was truly just. The Deputy Secretary-General wrote back the following week with further details on the new plan, including “a package of material assistance and support to Haitians most directly affected by cholera.” Parts of both letters are included below.
Special Rapporteur Alston also spoke at the United Nations General Assembly regarding cholera on October 25. He again emphasized the importance of a just response.
Read the press release about that HERE.
Letter from Philip Alston to the Deputy Secretary-General
October 5, 2016
Dear Deputy Secretary-General,
I am writing in response to your letter of 19 August 2016 concerning the United Nations new approach to the issue of responsibility for the cholera epidemic in Haiti. As you now, I consider the steps that have been taken in recent weeks by the Secretary-General and yourself to be extremely important and very welcome. The commends made by the Secretary-General both in his speech to the General Assembly on 20 September 2016 and in his meeting with President Obama on the same day clearly indicate a willingness to address the question of the United Nations’ responsibility in a way that has been absent until now.
Click HERE for the full letter.Letter from the Deputy Secretary-General to Philip Alston
12 October 2016
Dear Mr. Alston, Dear Philip,
Thank you for your letter dated 5 October 2016, on the cholera epidemic in Haiti. I appreciate your commitment to the issue and your positive words on the new approach of the United Nations to the epidemic.
In our view, the legal position of the United Nations does not constrain the Secretary-General’s new approach to the issue of cholera in Haiti. Now is it correct to see our approach as an act of charity. It is based on a sense of responsibility to assist the people of Haiti and on an acknowledgment of the shortcomings of the Organization’s own involvement in the past.
Click HERE for the full letter.
UN human rights expert: “UN lawyers undermine a just solution for the victims of cholera in Haiti”
NEW YORK (25 October 2016) – United Nations human rights expert Philip Alston claimed today that flawed and unfounded legal advice provided by the UN lawyers is preventing the Organization from accepting responsibility for the cholera outbreak that UN peacekeepers caused in Haiti in 2010. “The UN’s explicit and unqualified denial of anything other than a moral responsibility is a disgrace,” Alston said today. “If the United Nations bluntly refuses to hold itself accountable for human rights violations, it makes a mockery of its efforts to hold Governments and others to account,” he noted.
Cholera was brought to Haiti for the first time in the country’s history by UN peacekeepers exactly six years ago. Almost 10,000 people have died as a result and around 800,000 have been infected, affecting close to ten per cent of the population.
In a report* to the UN General Assembly, the Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights criticised the UN’s Office of Legal Affairs (OLA) for coming up with a “patently artificial and wholly unfounded legal pretence for insisting that the Organization must not take legal responsibility for what it has done.”
Mr. Alston also noted that OLA’s approach “has been cloaked in secrecy: there has been no satisfactory official explanation of the policy, no public attempt to justify it, and no known assessment of its consequences for future cases. This goes directly against the principles of accountability, transparency and the rule of law that the UN itself promotes globally.”
The Special Rapporteur noted that the Organization’s legal position appears to largely explained by the approach of the United States of America, Haiti’s close neighbour and the main contributor to the UN’s peacekeeping budget.
“There are many reasons to believe that the reluctance by OLA to accept legal responsibility is consistent with views strongly pressed by the United States. Despite numerous requests to do so, the United States itself has never publicly stated its legal position on the responsibility of the UN for causing cholera in Haiti,” the expert said.
“Instead, it seems to have pressed the UN to adopt the position frequently taken by lawyers in the US that responsibility should never be accepted voluntarily, since it could complicate future litigation. But this rationale is completely inapplicable to the UN which enjoys absolute immunity from suit in national courts, and whose reputation depends almost entirely on being seen to act with integrity,” he noted.
Mr. Alston explained that, for six years, the UN ignored claims by victims for a remedy, focusing exclusively on measures to contain the outbreak, and only after his draft report leaked to the New York Times in August did the UN announce a ‘new approach’.
“The good news is that, under the courageous leadership of the UN Secretary-General and Deputy Secretary-General, the UN has recently set up the Haiti Cholera
Response Multi-Partner Trust Fund (MPTF) with the goal of raising at least $400 million to greatly enhance its cholera eradication efforts and to assist victims of the disease. The bad news is that the UN has still not admitted factual or legal responsibility, and has not offered a legal settlement as required by international law,” said the independent human rights expert.
Alston said that even sympathetic and well-informed observers had asked him why it was so important that the UN admits legal responsibility. “Far from being a legal technicality, the OLA position has deep and lasting consequences, for Haiti and all future cases,” he noted.
“The current stance of its lawyers ensures that the UN will never admit its responsibility for introducing cholera,” Mr. Alston said. “And avoiding legal responsibility hinders the UN from learning lessons and making sure that the fatal mistakes made in Haiti are not repeated elsewhere.”
“If the UN wants to salvage its reputation and credibility, which have been severely damaged by the cholera crisis, and ensure that this case will not haunt it forever, it needs to do the right thing and admit legal responsibility. There is no justification, legal or otherwise, for any other course of action,” the Special Rapporteur concluded.
*Read the full report at: http://ap.ohchr.org/documents/dpage_e.aspx?si=A/71/367
Mr. Philip Alston (Australia) took up his functions as the Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights in June 2014. The Special Rapporteurs are part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system, is the general name of the independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms of the Human Rights Council that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. Special Procedures experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent from any government or organization and serve in their individual capacity. Learn more, log on to:
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Though United Nations special adviser David Nabarro continues to dodge questions of UN responsibility for cholera, he revealed that the new UN plan against cholera will include money for “material assistance” to cholera victims’ families. Though the exact amount wasn’t specified, about $100 million is expected to go to communities affected by cholera in Haiti. The other $100 million the UN is trying to raise will go to rapid response teams, cholera vaccines, and investing in water and sanitation infrastructure.UN wants $200 million to compensate Haiti cholera victims
Michael Astor, AP/The Washington Post
October 24, 2016
UNITED NATIONS — The United Nations says it is looking to raise $200 million from member states to compensate the families of people who have died from cholera in Haiti.
David Nabarro, a special adviser to the secretary-general, said Monday that the money to “provide material assistance” was part of a new U.N. approach to dealing with the disease that is believed to have been introduced to Haiti by U.N. peacekeepers from Nepal.
He denied, however, that the proposed assistance amounted to acknowledgement of responsibility on the part of the U.N. for the disease which has sickened nearly 800,000 Haitians and killed some 9,300.
“We’re not talking about anything other than a moral responsibility to those most affected by the cholera epidemic,” Nabarro said. “I suppose in my own case, I want to help the people of Haiti to come through a dark, dark period between 2010 and now, where I know from my time working with them, that there is a big sense that this has been a really unfortunate difficulty that they’ve had to cope with.”
For years the U.N. had denied or been silent on longstanding allegations that it was responsible for the outbreak, while responding to lawsuits in U.S. courts by claiming immunity under a 1946 convention. In August, a U.S. appeals court upheld the United Nations’ immunity from a lawsuit filed on behalf of 5,000 Haitian cholera victims who blame the U.N. for the epidemic.
Nabarro said that many details remained to be worked out and that he didn’t want to discuss how much money the victims’ families would receive until there was sufficient money committed to provide compensation.
He also said that he expected half of the $200 million could be distributed to communities where had been most affected by the cholera epidemic.
The payments would constitute the second phase of a two-track plan the U.N. is mobilizing as part of its new approach to cholera in Haiti.
The first part, which also requires some $200 million, would equip rapid response teams that could be dispatched to areas where new outbreaks of cholera are reported. It would also fund cholera vaccines and address medium- to long-term concerns by investing in clean water and sanitation systems.
Nabarro said the rapid response teams were especially important after Hurricane Matthew struck earlier this month, creating conditions for the disease to spread further.
“It’s certainly increasing the risk. Our problem is we don’t have reliable data on numbers of cases associated with the hurricane,” Nabarro said, adding that there have been reports of clusters of the disease in the country’s southwest.
Researchers say there is ample scientific evidence the disease was introduced to Haiti’s biggest river by inadequately treated sewage from a base set up by U.N. peacekeepers from Nepal in 2010.
Cholera is caused by bacteria that produces severe diarrhea and is contracted by eating or drinking contaminated food or water. It can lead to a rapid, painful death through complete dehydration, but is easily treatable if caught in time.
Nearly six years later, there has been scant progress addressing the chronic lack of sanitation and access to clean water in Haiti that allow the disease to flourish.
Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Click HERE for the original article.
The rights of persons with disabilities are routinely left out of the conversation on human rights – especially after major natural disasters like this month’s Hurricane Matthew. Emilio Deas explores what the situation in Haiti is for persons with disabilities before and after Hurricane Matthew.
Part of the article is below. Click HERE for the full text.Rights of Persons with Disabilities in Times of Disaster
Emilio Deas, Disability Rights Fund
October 23, 2016Man with crutch outside his house destroyed by the hurricane. (Photo from original article)
Until a month ago, Emilio Neas’ region in Haiti was rich in agriculture and beautiful sand beaches. Now, as a result of Hurricane Matthew, over a thousand people are dead and thousands have lost their homes and livelihoods. The delivery of humanitarian aid is hampered by impassable roads and now, a heavy rain that is flooding the rivers and streams.
“The country is on its knees. The population is desperate and many persons with disabilities no longer have any shelter and are traumatized by this event that has taken all their possessions. Cholera is on the increase,” said Emilio Neas, lawyer and coordinator of the RANIPH (National Association Network for the Integration of Disabled Persons) Southern Coalition. He shares his first impressions working on the ground in Haiti in our blog series, “Hurricanes in My Backyard.”…
Click HERE for the full article.
Hurricane Matthew’s devastation in Haiti is amplified by several remnants of colonial relations, military interventions by Woodrow Wilson and Roosevelt, and now today by “poorly implemented aid projects.” Law Street Media traces the history of economic exploitation of Haiti by France and Spain, and demonstrates the progression of “disappointments” by the United States and the United Nations: the U.S. continuing economic exploitation, and the UN continuing to deny responsibility for the increasing spread of cholera. Law Street cites IJDH’s Beatrice Lindstrom: “The need for a new UN response that both controls and eliminates cholera and compensates the victims who have suffered so much is now more dire than ever.” Using history and recent examples of exploitation, the article concludes: “Haiti will continue to be plagued with problems if the impoverished country is unable to properly recover from disease outbreaks like this, as well as devastating natural disasters.”
Part of the article is below. Continue HERE for the full article.Haiti’s History of Disappointments: Intervention, Exploitation, and NGOs
by Jacob Atkins, Law Street
October 21, 2016
Communities in southwestern Haiti were devastated when Hurricane Matthew struck the Tiburon Peninsula on October 4, 2016. Accompanied by rapid winds, heavy rainfall, and subsequent flooding, the Category 4 storm on the Saffir-Simpson scale killed at least 1,000 people, destroyed countless homes, and displaced thousands. Approximately 2.1 million people have been affected, 1.4 million need humanitarian aid, 750,000 need urgent help, and 806,000 are at an extreme level of food insecurity. Haiti, which is roughly the size of South Carolina, was ill-equipped to withstand another natural disaster. For the past six years this Caribbean country has been trying to recuperate from the 2010 earthquake that left more than 200,000 dead (according to Haitian government figures) and wreacked havoc upon a preexisting weak infrastructure. Now history seems to be repeating itself.
Communication networks are down, crops were destroyed, and roads have been blockaded by debris–making it all the more strenuous for citizens to receive the assistance they desperately need. Simultaneously burdened by two catastrophes, once again Haitians are bracing themselves for another cholera outbreak. Yet with limited financial resources and crumbling medical facilities, some hospitals don’t even have enough gasoline to put into ambulances or any antibiotics left to ward off the waterborne disease.
“Needs are growing as more affected areas are reached,” said UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, whose organization recently pledged $120 million for humanitarian aid in Haiti. “Tensions are already mounting as people await help. A massive response is required.”
Oftentimes referred to as the “republic of NGOs” (non-governmental organizations), Haiti rarely receives the aid it is promised. Although some would consider the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere to be susceptible to certain ailments (like inclement weather and bad governance), the reality of the situation is that Haitians haven’t gotten the necessary support to thrive as a sovereign nation after decades of economic exploitation, American military intervention, and poorly implemented aid projects.
Continue HERE for the full article.
After working as a physician in Haiti for 30 years, Paul Farmer is “terrified” by the spread of UN-cholera. However, Dr. Farmer states unequivocally that Haiti has shown progress.
For example, he recounts the story of a 12-year old who may have been paralyzed by Zika or a number of things. The boy’s mother took him to the emergency room at University Hospital, a half-hour from the capital. The emergency room specialist “thought he would be asphyxiated if the paralysis hit the diaphragm, so she [the doctor] put him on a breathing machine and did a tracheotomy, which saved his life.” Haiti has shown progress in that the Emergency Room was open 24/7 and maintains an Intensive Care Unit.
While Dr. Farmer is “humbled” by his Haitian colleagues, he responds to the notion that Haitians are more resilient than other peoples: “resilience is not the same as survival.”Dr. Paul Farmer Is ‘Surprised And Upset And Humbled’ After Visit To Haiti
Marc Silver, NPR
October 21, 2016
Paul Farmer has spent a lot of time in Haiti over the past three decades. Still, what he saw on his visit this past week left him “surprised and upset and humbled.”
Farmer is a physician and Harvard Medical School professor who co-founded the nonprofit Partners In Health. He has been a tireless advocate for Haitians, Haiti and the universal right to health care in even the poorest of countries. After the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, the group built University Hospital in Mirebalais, which has 300 beds. It’s the largest public sector hospital in the country, it’s funded to a large degree by the government and it helps train doctors and nurses.
Farmer went to Haiti last week to look at the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew. We spoke with him about his impressions.
The conversation has been edited for length and clarity.
What surprised you about the impact of the hurricane?
It’s easy to predict [that if] a Category 4 storm sits on Haiti, there’s going to be massive damage. But it seemed to me that we were unprepared for the gravity of it.
After the quake, it was larger concrete buildings that collapsed. Poor people’s houses were too small to fail. [With the hurricane,] first the roofs were ripped off, and then the trees came down. And what happens when people get hit by flying debris and haven’t had a tetanus shot and don’t have access to primary care? And what’s going to happen with cholera? Cholera treatment centers got blown away because they were built so shoddily.
You mean with tarps and other temporary materials?
Yes. They aren’t meant to last in the elements; they degrade very quickly.
Haiti has been facing a cholera outbreak since 2010. Do you think cholera could spread more widely after the storm as a result of people drinking contaminated water?
I don’t want to say I’m terrified, but that’ll do.
You can die in hours from cholera. It’s one of the true infectious disease emergencies.
In some parts of the country, people are cut off from medical care – local hospitals or clinics were damaged or else roads aren’t passable. How dangerous is that for cholera patients?
There’s a very wide spectrum of cholera. Sometimes it’s like a bad case of diarrhea. But you can die in hours from severe cholera. You can lose up to 10 liters of fluid a day or more. In a few hours you’re completely desiccated. You don’t have a lot of time to replenish the fluid and electrolytes that get lost.
You can do it with oral rehydration but you try drinking 10 quarts of that nasty [rehydration] stuff. It doesn’t taste good, and kids are notoriously noncompliant. I don’t think it’s alarmist to say that it’s an alarming spectacle.
How does the hurricane damage compare to the earthquake damage from 2010?
I ran into a friend of mine I’ve known for 25 years. He’s Haitian, a doctor, currently the No. 2 in the ministry of health. This guy is not given to hyperbole. And he thought in some ways it would be worse than the earthquake. Yes, you lose people and you lose houses with an earthquake, he said, but an earthquake doesn’t take out all the trees and gardens and livestock. What happens to a chicken or a small goat in 145 mile-per-hour winds?
They don’t make it?
My friend said they think 90 percent of all poultry were destroyed and probably more than half of the goats. Only big livestock wouldn’t be blown away.
Besides cholera, what pressing medical problems does Haiti face?
Care for pregnant women, for people who get pneumonia, [delivering] routine vaccinations.
And what would happen if you have a patient with tetanus? At the Brigham [and Women’s Hospital] here in Boston, they would be intubated and then paralyzed with drugs to stop spasms — the spasms can be so horrific you can fracture your backbone. And then their wound would be cleaned, and they would recover. We can do that now in central Haiti. We have an ICU. But we can’t get patients to the ICU by road. We have to send teams from central Haiti [to areas hit hardest by the hurricane].
When you talked with people, what was their reaction to the storm damage?
It was hard-bitten realism: “Look, our homes and livelihoods are destroyed.” But some people would say, “Hey, at least we’re not dead, at least the kids are alive.” If I were in that situation, I’d be ready to give up. I left thinking there were low-volume complaints for high-volume distress.
Is aid from outside groups arriving?
I think we could do better. I feel bad being critical of humanitarian responses but I feel worse for the people who lost everything. In the neighborhood where I was talking to people, they didn’t have shelters built and were asking for tarps. And this was Day 9.
In the presidential debate, Hillary Clinton talked about “all of the terrible problems” in Haiti. And as she noted, it is “the poorest country in our hemisphere.” Are there signs of progress?
The head of the University Hospital emergency room, a young Haitian woman I’ve known for some years, told me about a boy of 12 who was brought in at midnight. This was before the hurricane struck. He was coming home from school, felt numbness in his feet and couldn’t feel his legs — it’s what’s called ascending paralysis. He was an orphan. His aunt took him to five hospitals in Port-au-Prince and then at midnight came all the way to University Hospital — at least an hour and a half away [from Port-au-Prince]. The emergency room specialist thought he would be asphyxiated if the paralysis hit the diaphragm, so she put him on a breathing machine and did a tracheotomy, which saved his life.
And I was thinking, “Thank God we had an ER open 24/7 and an ICU.”
Did the hospital find out what caused the paralysis?
It could be Zika; it could be a lot of things.
What happened to the boy?
His paralysis started to subside. He could move his arms. He left in a wheelchair, and he’s going back to school.
How did you feel when you left Haiti after your week’s visit?
When I left, I felt inhabited by sadness, which you don’t necessarily feel in the middle of it. Because it wouldn’t be very effective if all the doctors were walking around crying.
And, as I said, I was humbled. I admire my Haitian colleagues and I admire the tough-minded lady I met who lost her crop and said, “Well, you know, I gotta go get more peanuts and corns and plant it.” I didn’t feel like asking the question: “What about between now and when you can harvest?”
It seems she has a spirit of resilience.
I heard last week, well, the Haitians are resilient. That 12-year-old boy seemed bright and resilient but he needed to be on a breathing machine to survive. In Sierra Leone during Ebola, I knew three doctors and two were dead of Ebola by November and, let me tell you, they were plenty resilient. That’s why I worry about the term “resilient.” Resilience is not the same as survival.
Residents of Little Haiti reject Trump claims during the third debate that they hate Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. Residents say that they are waiting for a visit from Secretary Clinton, especially after a letter went out on October 20th on behalf of 50 Florida Haitian-American organizations and leaders.
Part of the article is below. Click HERE for the full text.Little Haiti residents deny claim of Clinton hate
Jeff Lenox, 7 News Miami
October 20, 2016
MIAMI (WSVN) – Residents of Miami’s Little Haiti neighborhood are denying claims that they dislike Hillary Clinton after Donald Trump made the claim in the final presidential debate.
In the third presidential debate Wednesday, Donald Trump claimed the residents of Little Haiti in Miami do not like the Clintons. “You take a look at the people of Haiti,” he said. “I was in Little Haiti the other day, in Florida, and I want to tell you, they hate the Clintons because what’s happened in Haiti with the Clinton Foundation is a disgrace, and you know it, and they know it, and everybody knows it.”
The Republican nominee is referring to his visit to the Little Haiti Cultural Center in September. The statement came after an exchange where moderator Chris Wallace asked Hillary Clinton about allegations of special favors for donors to the Clinton Foundation when it came to helping Haiti…
Click HERE for the full article.
The International Association of Democratic Lawyers included two Haiti updates from IJDH in its latest bulletin – one on cholera, and one on elections. This bulletin covers United Nations activities around the world, in preparation for the November meeting of representatives to the UN.
Part of each IJDH update is below. Click HERE for the full bulletin.
JUSTICE FOR CHOLERA VICTIMS IN HAITI
(Report by Shannon Jonsson, Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti [IJDH])
In a breakthrough for victims seeking to hold the United Nations (UN) accountable for causing the cholera epidemic in Haiti, the organization has finally acknowledged its role in introducing the disease to Haiti, and Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon recently announced a new plan to combat the epidemic and provide material assistance to victims and their families. In his September opening statement to the General Assembly, Ban expressed “tremendous regret and sorrow at the profound suffering of Haitians affected by cholera” and called on member states to provide political and financial support for the new package in order to “meet [the UN’s] obligations to the Haitian people.” Ban also appointed Dr. David Nabarro, previously head of the UN’s response to ebola, to lead the new cholera response.. At the end of September, Nabarro announced that the UN is mobilizing $180 million for cholera response, and “at least an equal amount” for the victims. The details of the UN plan are to be released at the end of October.
The announcement signals a momentous change in the UN’s approach to calls for accountability, and came as pressure mounted for the organization to provide a just response to cholera victims. Prior to the announcement, Philip Alston, the UN Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights, submitted a report highly critical of the response to the epidemic. In the powerful document, Mr. Alston stated: “The UN’s policy [in response to the Haiti cholera epidemic] is morally unconscionable, legally indefensible, and politically self-defeating.” He urged the Secretary-General to issue an apology and take responsibility for the cholera epidemic, as well as create a plan for compensation of the victims.
UPDATE ON ELECTIONS IN HAITI
THE CONTROVERSIAL ROLE OF OAS AND EU OBSERVERS IN HAITI’S FAILED 2015 ELECTIONS
(Report by Nik Barry-Shaw and Nicole Phillips, IJDH)
IADL members, led by Bureau des Avocats Internationaux (BAI) and its U.S.-based affiliate, the Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti (IJDH), have been working with Haitian human rights groups to defend the right to vote.
Last October, a delegation of election monitors from IADL and the National Lawyers Guild (NLG) spent two weeks in Haiti observing the 2015 electoral process. The elections were to elect the country’s next President, two-thirds of the Senate, all 119 members of the House of Deputies, and all local mayors. First-round legislative elections that had taken place on August 9, 2015 were denounced by Haitian observers due to widespread violence, fraud and disruptions at polling places. Despite protest from opposition parties and civil society, the government went ahead with the second round of legislative elections, along with the first round of Presidential and mayoral elections, on October 25, 2015. The IADL/NLG delegation observed the vote at 15 voting centers in the greater Port-au-Prince region.
Echoing the conclusions of Haitian civil society electoral observers, the IADL/NLG delegation found that the October 25 elections were more orderly than the August 9 vote but still fell far short of minimum standards for fair elections. The vast majority of registered voters—over 70 percent—did not vote; many expressed fear or lost confidence in the electoral process. Forty percent of ballots were cast using political party and other observer accreditations, which allowed fraudulent, multiple voting outside the rules applicable to regular voters and had a decisive influence on the electoral results. A lack of transparency in the tabulation process also raised significant questions about whether votes were properly counted and verified for fraud. Ordinary voters frequently faced undue influence and violations of privacy at polling places.
Click HERE for the full bulletin.
October 20, 2016
27 Florida-based organizations and 24 other prominent Floridians have written Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton asking her to promptly inform them of her positions on crucial issues of concern to the Haitian American community, a key electorate, and for a meeting regarding these issues.
Noting that “Hurricane Matthew devastated Haiti, affecting two million Haitians; stranding hundreds of thousands; killing at least 1,000; obliterating tens of thousands of homes; destroying and inundating towns, livestock, crops, and livelihoods; and causing a surge in cholera cases,” they ask Secretary Clinton “to promptly inform of us of your views on the following concerns, which are of great importance to the Haitian-American community.”
In successive sections, the letter describes policy needs and “asks,” all made more urgent by Matthew’s devastation, regarding the needs for U.S. leadership to eradicate Haiti’s cholera epidemic and compensate its victims; to re-designate Haiti for Temporary Protected Status; to expand the arbitrarily limited Haitian Family Reunification Program; to support the positive steps being taken by the interim authorities in Haiti to restart the electoral process; to engage the government of the Dominican Republic to reverse its discriminatory denationalization policies against citizens of Haitian descent; and for the Department of Homeland Security to revert to its pre-September 22 parole and non-detention policy.
The endorsers include a broad range of established service, immigration, labor, and advocacy groups and political and religious leaders, attorneys, and academics.
The letter concludes, “We hope to meet with you promptly, Madam Secretary, regarding these urgent community priorities and asks, and we thank you in advance for your consideration and prompt reply.”
Click HERE for the letter.
This story tracks cholera in Haiti, from when United Nations peacekeepers first brought the previously-unknown disease to Haiti in 2010 to the UN finally admitting involvement in the epidemic in 2016. When the epidemic first began, the UN tried to cover up its involvement and the World Health Organization helped by saying that the focus needed to be on stopping the disease rather than finding the origin. For years, the UN denied involvement and also dodged responsibility in court, using immunity against the lawsuit IJDH filed against it. Now that Hurricane Matthew has brought more water into Haiti, the risk of cholera spiking has increased. What will the UN do about it?The UN’s Role in the Devastating Cholera Epidemic in Haiti
Gillian Mahoney, ABC News
October 20, 2016
As Hurricane Matthew churned off the coast of Haiti earlier this month public health officials and aid groups issued warnings not just about the dangers from the storm itself but what could follow: a cholera outbreak.
In 2010, a devastating cholera outbreak infected hundreds of thousands in Haiti just months after a severe earthquake left more than 100,000 dead. Prior to the outbreak, there were no reported cases of cholera in Haiti.
This summer, the United Nations finally acknowledged that it was involved in the initial outbreak and the profound suffering that has followed.
Cholera is a bacterial infection that can lead to potentially serious symptoms of watery diarrhea, nausea, vomiting and muscle cramps, according to the CDC. Often spread through contaminated water or food, the incubation period of the disease can be as short as two hours, meaning it can move quickly through a densely populated area. As the mucus membrane of the intestinal wall is affected, it can lead to diarrhea that can cause severe dehydration.
The disease appeared in Haiti in October 2010 and spread quickly, causing an estimated 770,000 infections in the years since and approximately 9,200 related deaths, according to a 2016 report in the American Medical Association Journal of Ethics.
Within days of the first diagnosis, the AP reported that local politicians and other residents suspected the source of the outbreak was the human waste entering a river system from a military camp for the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti. A group of peacekeeping soldiers had recently arrived there from Nepal, where cholera is endemic. AP reporters found U.N. investigators testing samples for cholera and a septic tank that was overflowing with broken pipes.
At the time U.N. officials strongly denied the base was linked to the outbreak and reportedly told the AP that no Nepalese soldiers had the disease and that the liquid being tested was from kitchens and showers and not from human waste.
On November 1, 2010, the CDC, working with Haitian public health experts, announced that the strain of the disease was similar to one seen in South Asia.
John Mekalanos, a cholera expert and chairman of Harvard University’s microbiology department, told the AP in a November 3 news report that early evidence suggested military UN members likely brought the disease to Haiti from Nepal where an outbreak had recently been reported.
Dr. Renaud Piarroux, an epidemiologist at the University of Aix-Marseille, then worked on the ground in Haiti with Haitian and French experts in the days and weeks that followed to confirm the source of the outbreak. They quickly identified the U.N. camp as the likely cause of the outbreak.
Piarroux and his co-authors later published a study about the source of the outbreak inEmerging Infectious Diseases medical journal in 2011. The study’s findings “strongly” suggested that the United Nations camp led to the contamination of the Artibonite river and one of its tributaries, which helped to trigger the cholera epidemic. The tributary system was a source of water for bathing, drinking and cooking for those living downstream from the camp. Early findings from Piarroux’s report were published by the AP, in 2010 putting additional pressure on the U.N. to investigate the source of the outbreak.
However, confirmation by officials was hampered since, in the weeks after the outbreak began, officials at the CDC, UN and the World Health Organization said finding the source was not a priority.
“Our primary focus here is to save lives and control the spread of disease,” CDC medical epidemiologist Dr. Jordan Tappero, who was leading the CDC cholera response team in Haiti, said in its that Nov. 1, 2010, press release. “We realize that it’s also important to understand how infectious agents move to new countries. However, we may never know the actual origin of this cholera strain.”
A WHO spokesman told the AP in November 2010 that the question of whether U.N. peacekeepers from Nepal were to blame was “not a priority.” Riots broke out after the U.N. dismissed the allegations about the peacekeeping camp, saying its sanitation was airtight, according to the AP. By December, however, the AP reported that the U.N had relented, calling for a probe into the cause of the outbreak.
In February 2011, independent investigators sent by the United Nations finally arrived in Haiti to examine the possible cause of the outbreak.
Their report, released in May 2011, acknowledged that members of the United Nation Stabilization Mission in Haiti arrived in the country after working in Nepal, where the disease is endemic. They also found that the water system at the camp was “haphazard,” and that human waste was being disposed of near a tributary where the early cholera cases were reported. Furthermore, local hospital staff reported to the U.N. researchers that the first severe cases of cholera came from an area named Meye, which is located 150 meters downstream from the U.N. camp where the soldiers had been staying.
However, that 2011 U.N. report stopped short of putting blame specifically on that camp, going only so far to say there was an “hypothesis” that the source was the soldiers from a cholera-endemic country was “a commonly held belief in Haiti”. The report went on to say that the country of origin of the strain was “debatable” and instead cited multiple factors for the spread of the disease, including the widespread use of the tributary system by Haitians, their lack of immunity to cholera, and the conditions within medical facilities treating the victims.
“The Independent Panel concludes that the Haiti cholera outbreak was caused by the confluence of circumstances as described above, and was not the fault of, or deliberate action of, a group or individual,” the report said.
The United Nations refusal to accept responsibility for the outbreak led to continued demonstrations in Haiti. Members of the medical community also railed against the U.N. for shirking responsibility.
In 2013, researchers from the Yale Law School and the Yale School of Public Health released a report called “Peacekeeping without Accountability” to analyze the actions of the U.N.
“By causing the epidemic and then refusing to provide redress to those affected, the U.N. has breached its commitments to the Government of Haiti, its obligations under international law, and principles of humanitarian relief,” the report authors wrote.
That same year, a number of advocacy groups filed a class-action lawsuit on behalf of five U.S. and Haitian citizens affected by the cholera outbreak against the U.N. and certain U.N. officials alleging they were responsible. A United States District Judge found that the U.N. had immunity from prosecution, according to court documents.
The decision was appealed this year but the original decision was affirmed. The plaintiffs have until mid-November to decide whether to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Then, this past August, The New York Times broke the news of a confidential report from New York University law professor and U.N. special rapporteur, Philip Alston, to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. In his report, Alston wrote, “The fact is that cholera would not have broken out but for the actions of the United Nations.”
Shortly after that report was made public, the United Nations finally acknowledged that its personnel likely played a part in the Haitian cholera outbreak. “Over the past year, the U.N. has become convinced that it needs to do much more regarding its own involvement in the initial outbreak and the suffering of those affected by cholera,” Farhan Haq, deputy spokesman for the U.N. secretary-general, told reporters on August 18.
The following day, Haq said, “The Secretary-General deeply regrets the terrible suffering the people of Haiti have endured as a result of the cholera epidemic.” “The United Nations has a moral responsibility to the victims of the cholera epidemic and for supporting Haiti in overcoming the epidemic and building sound water, sanitation and health systems.”
Piarroux, the lead author of the 2011 study published in Emerging Infectious Diseases, wrote an op-ed in The New York Times in September, decrying the United Nations for taking so long to acknowledge its role and respond to the crisis.
“By admitting that it was involved in the outbreak, the United Nations made only a first and timid step toward a full assessment of its responsibility,” he wrote. “The United Nations must continue to open up about what happened in Haiti, rectify the damage, and establish policies that prevent such disasters in the future. Its credibility is still on the line.”
A spokesman for the U.N. secretary-general told ABC News a full presentation on the assistance and support to combat the Haitian cholera outbreak will be presented later this month.
Today, the U.N. camp at the center of the outbreak controversy is no longer fully functional and has no military members, according to a spokesperson for the U.N.’s Departments of Peacekeeping and Field Support.
Since the 2010 outbreak, the U.N. Stabilization Mission in Haiti has pursued a multi-pronged course of action to adequately deal with the waste management of its peacekeeping forces. It was not until October, 2015, that the U.N.’s oversight services department found the Mission to be in compliance with all of the recommended procedures.
In addition, as of late 2013, the peacekeeping forces have been supporting the Haitian government in its long-term plan to eradicate cholera.
In the meantime, in Haiti today, cholera remains stubbornly endemic. This week, the Pan American Health Organization reported there have been 1,351 suspected cases of cholera identified since Hurricane Matthew hit the country. PAHO has identified the disease as a main priority in the storm’s aftermath.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This report replaces an earlier story on the same subject.
Click HERE for the original article.
Diplomacy in the Time of Cholera: Immunity Not Impunity
October 15th, 2016
Brian Concannon gave an interview with Alexandra Arneri-Matsis of The Gravity podcast. Concannon discusses the U.N.’s actions in causing, covering up and refusing to accept responsibility for the cholera epidemic in Haiti. Alexandra and Brian discuss the legal and policy issues behind the U.N.’s diplomatic immunity, including the Second Circuit’s decision in Georges et. al. v. the U.N., the U.N. Charter, the 1946 Convention of the Privileges and Immunities of the U.N. and the Status of Forces Agreement with Haiti. Additionally, they discuss the U.N.’s obligations under the Convention and the Status of Forces Agreement and its refusal to perform its obligations of providing redress in Haiti and throughout its other peacekeeping missions.
Click HERE for the podcast’s website.
Check out Al Jazeera’s “Eyes on Haiti.” This video includes testimonies and arguments from several Haitians and Haiti affiliates, and covers topics including the way Haiti is discussed internationally, the extent of devastation after Hurricane Matthew, and the role of the government in providing aid and structures to its citizens.Eyes on Haiti
October 19, 2016
In the interview below, Jonathan Katz, who was a foreign correspondent in Haiti at the time of the 2010 earthquake and the cholera epidemic later caused by the UN, explains what needs to be done better after Hurricane Matthew. He stresses the needs for accountability from international aid organizations and agencies, partnership with the Haitian government, and building systems to prevent such a devastating impact from the next natural disaster.
Part of the article is below. Click HERE for the full text.Why Haiti wasn’t ready for a hurricane: A Q&A with Jonathan Katz
Jonathan Katz, IRIN News
October 19, 2016
Two weeks after Hurricane Matthew slammed into southern Haiti, the scale of the damage is still becoming horrifyingly apparent. According to the UN, some 1.4 million people are in urgent need of aid and that number is expected to rise, as is the death toll, which now stands at 546. Six years on from the devastating earthquake of 2010 and the billions of dollars in aid that came in its wake, why wasn’t the disaster-prone nation more prepared? IRIN turned to former Haiti correspondent and expert Jonathan Katz for some answers:
Where would you lay most of the blame for the weak preparations for Hurricane Matthew in Haiti: the government, the NGOs, or both?
It’s hard to separate the two, and the problems go a lot deeper than either. Haiti has no real government right now, both in the sense of incredibly weak institutions at the local level, and the fact that there is literally no elected national government, with elections for both the presidency and parliament delayed by more than a year. But a lot of that comes down to the foreign NGOs and the foreign governments and private citizens who sponsor them. The NGOs came into Haiti decades ago expressly with the purpose of supplanting and weakening the government of then dictator Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier. The explicit goal may have faded away, but it is still the effect.
Click HERE for the full text.
This article features IJDH’s Beatrice Lindstrom, the attorney who has been arguing the cholera case against the United Nations in court. When cholera initially broke out in Haiti, the UN origin was so obvious that Beatrice and others expected the organization to take responsibility and immediately begin addressing the problem. Six years later, the UN is only just beginning to admit responsibility and form a new strategy to eliminate cholera. Meanwhile, we have to decide whether to appeal the cholera case in the Supreme Court. Beatrice hopes that the UN plan will be fair enough not to merit this action.
Part of the article is below. Click HERE for the full text.Beatrice Lindstrom ’10 advocates for cholera victims in Haiti
NYU Law News
October 18, 2016
When Beatrice Lindstrom ’10 decided to become a human rights lawyer, she says, “suing the United Nations was very far from my mind.” But as a staff attorney for the Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti (IJDH), Lindstrom has spent the past five years doing precisely that: she has played a key role in litigation holding the UN accountable for Haiti’s cholera epidemic.
Lindstrom, who grew up in Sweden and Korea and speaks five languages (English, Swedish, Korean, French, and Haitian Creole), has a longstanding interest in global justice. Prior to law school, she spent time in Thailand working in communities affected by the 2004 tsunami. Lindstrom did not plan to become a practicing lawyer; rather, she hoped to gain a background in human rights law that could be helpful for international aid work. “But while I was at NYU Law, I fell in love with litigation, and I gained a much better understanding of the ways in which the law can be used to bring about social change,” she says.
In 2010, after Haiti was hit by a devastating earthquake, a consultation with Professor Margaret Satterthwaite ’99 led Lindstrom to work for the Bureau des Avocats Internationaux (BAI), the Haitian partner organization of IJDH.
“It was about a month into my stay in Haiti that suddenly we were hearing these reports coming in from around the countryside about cholera,” Lindstrom says. It quickly became clear that the source of the outbreak was a UN peacekeeper base that had allowed waste to contaminate the water source.
Click HERE for the full text.
Haitian American Productions has created a powerful video to spread the reach of the #EndHaitiCholera movement.
Click HERE to watch the video on Haitian American Productions’ Facebook page.Haitian American Productions joins #EndHaitiCholera
Haiti Advocacy Working Group
October 18, 2016
We have teamed up with Haitian American Productions to expand the reach of the #EndHaitiCholera campaign!
Please check out the powerful video these guys have put together and share it widely. They often post hilarious videos for their fans. This time, they put a serious spin on the serious issue of cholera in Haiti–not a laughing matter.
Like their page, share the video, and make sure to tweet and share your selfie with the hashtag: #EndHaitiCholera.
Be part of the movement to End Cholera in Haiti!
Haiti, while still in the process of recovering from the destruction of the 2010 earthquake and fighting a subsequent cholera outbreak brought by UN peacekeepers, has been devastated by yet another natural disaster – Hurricane Matthew. The US needs to provide aid, both financial and otherwise, to Haiti in this difficult time.
Part of the article is below. Click HERE for the full text.Inquirer Editorial: U.S. shouldn’t wait until the next disaster to do more for Haiti
The Philadelphia Inquirer
October 18, 2016
With so much happening in our country, including a pivotal presidential election and coastal states’ daunting recovery from Hurricane Matthew, maybe it’s understandable that the storm’s impact on Haiti has been an afterthought for many Americans. But the death and destruction in the Western Hemisphere’s poorest nation shouldn’t be ignored.
The United States and Haiti were the first nations in the hemisphere to break free from colonial rule. Americans fighting under George Washington declared their independence from Great Britain in 1776. Haitians led by Toussaint Louverture won their independence from France in 1804. But the Haitian rebellion was, in fact, a slave revolt, which made America’s slave-holding states uncomfortable and European nations dismissive.
Click HERE for the full article.