Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti

Syndicate content
IJDH.org
Updated: 2 hours 58 min ago

Welcome to the IJDH/BAI Community

March 31, 2015 - 07:16

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

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

Another Contractor Suspended for Faulty USAID Housing

March 30, 2015 - 13:49

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

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

Second USAID Contractor Suspended Following Caracol Housing Debacle

Center for Economic and Policy Research
March 30, 2015

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

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

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

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

 

Click HERE for the full text.

Hastings Law Students Partner with Haitian Law Students

March 30, 2015 - 11:17

Over their spring break, a delegation of 9 students from UC Hastings College of the Law went to Haiti to support Haiti’s legal education system and engage in human rights advocacy. The trip was led by IJDH’s own Nicole Phillips, along with another Hastings professor. Among the activities during the trip, the Hastings students learned from BAI about the cholera case and BAI’s response to rapes of poor women and girls. As Mildred Aristide pointed out about trips like these: “Aid can only go so far. Training partnerships are more effective and are what’s needed.”

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

Not Your Typical Spring Break The Hastings to Haiti Partnership Delegation spent the week engaging with Haitian law students and legal organizations.

UC Hastings College of the Law
March 30, 2015

“For many, Haiti evokes images of devastation and poverty,” wrote 3L Jessica Huang in an email after returning from spring break.

“But to me, Haiti represents perseverance. It is a country of great joy, even in the face of unyielding hardship.” Huang has been to Haiti three times, twice as a student leader for HHP. Each time she said she finds it “overwhelming and exciting.”

Huang and seven other students were selected to go on the nine-day trip to Port-au-Prince and Jérémie, led by Professor Nicole Phillips and accompanied by Professor Richard Boswell, who established the partnership with Professor Karen Musalo in the late 1990s. The purpose of the delegation, which raises its own travel funds, is to support the country’s legal education system and engage in human rights advocacy.On the nearly annual trips, students visit École Supérieure Catholique de Droit de Jérémie (ESCDROJ), the only law school in Haiti dedicated to preparing students to serve the public interest.

Click HERE for the full text.

Les craintes de résurgence du choléra en Haïti

March 28, 2015 - 05:56

Le Ministère de la santé a récemment publié des statistiques sur le choléra en Haïti. Ces statistiques indiquent une résurgence du choléra si les précautions nécessaires, telles que la décontamination de l’eau et des sérums orals, ne sont pas prises. Jusqu’ici, presque 9,000 personnes sont mortes du choléra et plus de 730,000 haïtiens ont été affectés.

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

Haïti – Choléra : 20 communes en alerte rouge

HaitiLibre
28 mars 2015

 Les statistiques publiées par le Ministère de la santé publique et de la population (MSPP) indiquent une augmentation du nombre de cas de choléra vus pour le début de cette année. En effet, durant les 9 premières semaines épidémiologiques (Du 1er janvier au 28 février 2015), 7,833 cas suspects (4,149 en janvier 2015 et 3,684 en février 2015 comparé à 1629 en janvier 2014 et 1259 en février 2014) et 72 décès ont été enregistrés.

De plus le MSPP indique, qu’une vingtaine de communes sont déjà en alerte rouge où plus 440 cas vus ont été déjà répertoriés pour la 10e semaine épidémiologique (du 3 au 9 mars 2015). La situation est beaucoup plus critique dans les communes de Port-au-Prince (65 cas), St Marc (60 cas), Cabaret (47 cas) et Tabarre (40 cas).

 

Cliquez ICI pour le texte complet.

“Angaje” Dance Series in Boston

March 27, 2015 - 17:00

Join Jean Appolon Expressions in Boston for a justice-themed dance series.

WHAT:

Jean Appolon Expressions (JAE) is a Haitian contemporary dance company directed by Jean Appolon. Combining Modern technique, Haitian folkloric dance and live percussion, JAE inspires and educates audiences about Haitian culture, traditions and current issues. “Angaje,” (“committed” or “engage”), will explore themes of injustice, inequality and homophobia in the context of contemporary Haiti.

WHERE:

Plaza Theater
Boston Center for the Arts
539 Tremont Street
Boston, MA 02116

WHEN:

8pm
March 27 and 28, 2015

 

Click HERE for more on JAE and this event.

HFRP Program Information Session

March 26, 2015 - 14:30

Miami: Learn about Haitian Family Reunification in this info session.

WHAT:

An information session in Haitian Creole, on the newly-implemented Haitian Family Reunification Parole Program. This event is free and open to the public. Email Berta.M.Cassidy@uscis.dhs.gov with any questions.

WHERE:

Catholic Charities
Pierre Toussaint Center
9920 NE 2nd Ave.
Miami Shores, FL 33138

WHEN:

Thursday, March 26, 2015
5:30 – 7:00pm

 

Click HERE for the flyer.

105 partis politiques restent dans la course présidentielle d’Haïti

March 26, 2015 - 11:03

À l’origine, environ 192 partis et groupements politiques ont enregistrés pour les élections présidentielles de 2015. Maintenant, ils sont 105 qui ont un dossier en conformité avec les dispositions du Décret électoral en ses articles 100 et suivants. La date limite pour eux de répondre à ces exigences est 27 mars à 4h00 p.m. Cet article contient la liste des 105 groupes qui se qualifient.

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

Haïti – Élections : Liste complète des Partis politiques agréés et non agréés

HaitiLibre
March 26, 2015

Conformément à l’article 102 du Décret électoral du 2 mars 2015 et dans le cadre de l’exécution du Calendrier électoral, le Conseil Électoral Provisoire (CEP), publie la liste des partis et groupements politiques régulièrement enregistrés, habilités à participer aux prochaines compétitions électorales.

Le Conseil Électoral, précise dans une note signée par Pierre-Louis Opont, Président, Pierre Manigat Jr., Vice-président ; Vijonet Demero, Secrétaire Général ; Richardo Augustin, Trésorier et des membres Yolette Mengual, Marie Carmel Paul Austin, Néhémy Joseph, Lourdes Edith Joseph et Jaccéus Joseph, que 105 partis et groupements politiques ont un dossier en conformité avec les dispositions du Décret électoral en ses articles 100 et suivants. Télécharger le décret électoral : http://www.haitilibre.com/docs/decretelectoral2015.pdf

 

Cliquez ICI pour le texte complet.

Cholera Struck 1,000 per Week Since January

March 26, 2015 - 09:02

The cholera epidemic brought to Haiti by UN peacekeepers continues to plague the small nation. So far in 2015, there have been 1,000 new cases each week. The UN also continues to struggle to raise the necessary funds for improved water and sanitation, which would help end the epidemic. We are currently in the appeals process, to get the UN to take responsibility for the damage epidemic.

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

Haiti finds 1,000 new cases of cholera per week in first months of 2015

Circa
March 26, 2015

According to the UN, Haiti remains “the largest cholera epidemic in the Western Hemisphere.”

A UN official in Haiti, Sandra Honore, told the UN Security Council March 18 that the country is on its way to holding general elections, noting, however, that “lingering” problems such as the ongoing cholera epidemic remain. In the first two months of 2015, the government of Haiti reported an average of 1,000 new cases of cholera a week.

 

Click HERE for the full text.

Hillary Clinton Should Denounce Negative Impact of Haiti Mining

March 25, 2015 - 14:01

Hillary Clinton recently came under fire for her brother’s involvement with mining contracts in Haiti, because of her position as Secretary of State and the influence of the Clinton Foundation. This article advises her to focus on the devastating environmental impacts mining would have in Haiti, a country whose environment is already very unstable. It focuses particularly on the negative effect of mining on clean water, which Haiti struggled with even before UN peacekeepers brought cholera to the island.

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

Advice for Hillary Clinton on Her Brother’s Bad Judgment

John Cavanagh, The Nation
March 25, 2015

The Washington Post reported on Saturday that Hillary Clinton’s brother, Tony Rodham, is on the advisory board of a company that is trying to mine gold in Haiti. No one should be judged based on decisions made by family members, but here is why Hillary Clinton is in the middle of this story and needs to act quickly.

Tony Rodham met VCS Mining’s chief executive, Angelo Viard, in 2012 at the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI), part of the Clinton Foundation, where Hillary serves on the Board of Directors. Viard admitted to the Post that he paid the $20,000 entry fee to the Initiative because he thought he could drum up business deals. It’s not clear from the Post story whether Tony Rodham also paid an entry fee for himself, but the meeting between the two delivered a potential financial bonanza for Rodham. As a board member, he holds stock options that will become extremely valuable if the mine comes on line.

There are two problems here. The first is that the Clinton Global Initiative’s integrity is tarnished when some corporate executives are drawn to it out of profit motives rather than charitable ones. Viard told the Post he attended as “a pure marketing operation.”

 

Click HERE for the full text.

Farmers Pushed Off Land for Haiti Industrial Park

March 25, 2015 - 12:28

 

The USAID-funded Caracol Industrial Park has been under fire for its failure to live up to the promises made after Haiti’s 2010 earthquake. This article sheds light on the failure from a different angle–the challenge to the self-sufficiency of Haiti’s farmers. Over 1,000 were forced off the land to make way for this Park, which is way outside the earthquake-affected area to begin with. If Haitian’s can’t feed themselves, they will continue to be dependent on foreign aid.

Measuring success in Haiti

Marie Clarke Brill, The Washington Post
March 25, 2015

The March 21 front-page article “The Clinton effect: Light and shadow” rightly picked up on the failure of the Caracol Industrial Park but failed to mention the biggest scandal of this Clinton-championed project: More than 1,000 farmers were forced off their land with only a few days’ notice to make way for the park, which was built on some of Haiti’s most fertile land.

Instead of consulting the communities on the kind of support needed, more than $170 million of U.S. emergency aid was spent building the park in an area far outside the earthquake disaster zone.

Five years on, only 4,500 jobs have been created — far short of the 65,000 projected by the State Department. And farmers still have not been properly compensated.

This flagship project for U.S. aid to Haiti is an expensive mistake, with farmers unable to access the land they need to grow food, graze their animals and generate income.

With Haiti struggling to feed its people, donors must invest in Haitian smallholder farmers so they can feed the country, not shove them aside to make a quick buck for foreign investors and local elites.

Marie Clarke Brill, Washington

The writer is executive director of ActionAid USA.

In the first paragraph of “The Clinton effect: Light and shadow,” we learned of a successful Clinton Foundation intervention that increased yields for peanut farmers, but this success is balanced in the second paragraph by the tale of a disappointed worker who cannot get a job at a foundation-supported “struggling industrial park,” implying that this foundation effort did no good. One industry that opened in the park employs 4,500 Haitians. True, had it been able to employ 9,000, the woman mentioned might have gotten a job, but the persistence of disappointed job seekers hardly means the foundation’s effort did little good.

 

Click HERE for the original.

Author Fran Quigley’s Book Tour 2015

March 24, 2015 - 13:30

Fran Quigley’s next speaking engagement is a panel discussion at Harvard University. It will take place at Ticknor Lounge in Boylston Hall, on March 24, 2015 from 4:30 to 6pm. The other panelists will discuss the Haiti/DR citizenship conflict, rights for people with disabilities in Haiti, and human rights in Haiti in general. The discussion will be followed by a Q&A and a book signing. There will also be some books available for purchase.

Below is information on Fran’s past talks this semester.

——————————————————————–

IJDH webinar on Thursday, February 12 at 8pm. Recording available here.

Indiana Council on World Affairs talk on January 21, 2015:

Reception 5:30-6:15 pm, Dinner 6:15 pm, Talk 7:00 pm, Adjournment 8:30pm

The Willows: 6729 Westfield Blvd. Indianapolis, IN 46220 (South of 75th St, just north of the White River bridge on Westfield Blvd, east side of street)

Be Just Legal Fellowship 2015-2017

March 24, 2015 - 10:24

We’re excited to announce our new Be Just Legal Fellowship for 2015-2017. With the generous support of the Bertha Foundation, we are offering a two-year legal fellowship for an emerging lawyer committed to pursuing a career in public interest law. We are particularly interested in candidates who know Haiti and speak Haitian Creole and/or French, as the Fellow will work closely with the team at BAI in Haiti.

Interested applicants should submit a cover letter, resume, short writing sample, and contact information for two references electronically to beatrice@ijdh.org by April 1, 2015. Please include “Be Just Fellow” in the subject line.

 

Click HERE for more information on the fellowship and qualifications.

Haitian Family Reunification Fact Sheet

March 19, 2015 - 12:33

This fact sheet about the Haitian Family Reunification Parole Program (HFRP) was published by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. It contains information from eligibility to apply, to application fees, to work authorization once in the US. If you or someone you know is involved in HFRP, please keep this handy!

Haitian Family Reunification Parole Program

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
March 2015

The HFRP Program offers certain beneficiaries of approved family-based immigration petitions (Forms I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, the opportunity to be reunited with family in the United States up to approximately two years before their immigrant visas are expected to become available. Approved beneficiaries will enter the United States as parolees, but will apply for lawful permanent resident (LPR) status once their immigrant visas become available.

Eligibility to Apply

The Department of State’s National Visa Center (NVC) will issue invitations to U.S. citizens or LPRs who filed Forms I-130 for Haitian family members that were approved on or before December 18, 2014, and for which immigrant visas are expected to be available approximately within 18 – 30 months from the date of the invitation. Only U.S. petitioners who receive invitations from the NVC will be eligible to apply for the HFRP Program. The NVC will begin issuing invitations to eligible U.S. petitioners beginning in mid-March 2015. Invitations will be issued at least once per year.

Click HERE for the full document.

HFRPP Informational Meeting in NYC

March 19, 2015 - 06:30

In NYC, learn more about the new Haitian Family Reunification Program.

WHAT:

US Citizenship and Immigration Services officials will provide an overview of the Haitian Family Reunification Parole Program and address questions about its implementation.

WHERE:

Room 300
26 Federal Plaza
New York, NY

WHEN:

Thursday March 19, 2015
9:30am

Haitian Family Reunification Parole Program Meeting

March 19, 2015 - 06:30

New York! This Thursday, come learn more about the Haitian Family Reunification Program (HFRP).

WHAT:

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) along with the U.S. Department of State will host a meeting about the implementation of HFRP and invite you for a discussion. Don’t miss the opportunity to gather more information and ask the experts!

WHERE:

26 Federal Plaza, Room 300, New York, NY

WHEN:

Thursday, March 19, 2015
9:30 AM

Friend of Haiti’s President Accused of Running a Kidnapping Ring

March 18, 2015 - 07:44

A friend of Haitian president, Michel Martelly, was recently accused of leading the Galil Gang, a kidnapping ring which has allegedly abducted 17 businessmen in the last six years for ransom. Woodley Ethéart, a former music promoter in Haiti, was indicted this week. However, the prosecutor overseeing the case opposed the investigation’s findings and recommended that Ethéart be released, despite a 30-page report outlining Ethéart’s role in the kidnapping. Human rights activists argue that this case highlights how prosecutors appear to represent the interests of the administration that appointed them, rather than abiding by the rule of law, which has been an ongoing theme since Martelly took office.

Ex-Promoter in Haiti Charged in Kidnapping Ring

Andre Paultre and Frances Robles, The New York Times

March 18, 2015

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — A former music promoter with ties to the Haitian president, Michel Martelly, was indicted this week, accused of running a kidnapping ring said to be responsible in the killing of a police inspector and the abductions of 17 people.

But the surrogate prosecutor overseeing the case disagreed with the investigation’s findings and recommended dropping the charges, according to a charging document made public Wednesday.

Human rights activists in Haiti said the mixed message in the indictment of the promoter, Woodley Ethéart, underscored how prosecutors often represent the interests of the administration that appointed them — a particularly strong trend since Mr. Martelly took office in 2011.

He has been running the country without a Parliament, and several people in his circle have arrest records.

Mr. Ethéart was accused of leading the Galil Gang, which is accused of abducting businessmen for ransom. In a six-year period, the gang abducted 17 people, an investigating judge wrote.

The judge issued a 30-page report that said Mr. Ethéart had made several calls to the kidnappers. He also owns six cars and has seven bank accounts, despite a Ministry of Interior salary of just under $1,500 a month.

 

Click HERE for the entire article.

IPI Releases Report on Implications of UN Peacekeeping on Health

March 17, 2015 - 13:00

The International Peace Institute (IPI) has released a 40-page report titled “Healing or Harming? United Nations Peacekeeping and Health” focusing on the implications of United Nations peacekeepers on the overall health of the populations it serves. The attached report discusses extensively the case of cholera in Haiti, highlighted from page 12-15. The authors explore the implications of the UN’s introduction of cholera to Haiti on the Haitian population devastated by the disease, and on the reputation of the UN as an institution in light of their inadequate response. IPI finds that the UN’s introduction of cholera and its response “have damaged the organization’s legitimacy and moral standing. This represents a clear risk to the overall reputation of UN peacekeeping…” (15).

In section one, Peacekeeping as a Health Problem, the report found “a need for greater attention to medical checks and health care provision for peacekeepers both before and during deployment” (1).

In the second section, Peacekeeping as an Opportunity to Improve Population Health, they point to cholera in Haiti as “the clearest example in the history of peacekeeping of the detrimental health impact that missions can have” (13).

Follow this link to read the full report: IPI_Rpt_Health_and_Peacekeeping

IADL Statement for Committee on the Status of Women

March 17, 2015 - 11:46

IJDH Staff Attorney Beatrice Lindstrom delivered this statement at the Committee on the Status of Women. It includes discussion of the need for elimination of all forms of violence against women, implementation of laws and resolutions towards that goal, and gender equality. The statement was made on behalf of the International Association of Democratic Lawyers, of which BAI is a member.

March 17, 2015

Oral Statement: CSW59 “Beijing+20″

Presented by the International Association of Democratic Lawyers and the Member Organisations of the Vienna NGO Committee on the Status of Women to the participants of the 59th Commission on the Status of Women:

Considering the political declaration of CSW59 2015;

Considering the urgency of unrestricted implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action in the UN Member States;

 

Click HERE for the pdf.

Haitian Family Reunification Provides Hope for About 7000 People

March 17, 2015 - 09:27

This month, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services began sending out invitations for a new Haitian Family Reunification Parole Program (HFRP). The HFRP, though limited, will provide about 7,350 beneficiaries the opportunity to wait for their visas with their families in the US. Concerns with implementation of HFRP include address changes and fees for applicants but advocates, like IJDH’s Steven Forester, are working to make the process as smooth as possible.

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

Hope for Haitian Families Under New U.S. Immigration Program

Tricia McCarter, Potent Magazine
March 17, 2015

A new reunification program to allow the Haitian relatives of eligible U.S. citizens and permanent residents the opportunity to apply for early entrance to the United States began this year, according to the Department of Homeland Security.

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services announced last October that it would begin offering certain select beneficiaries currently residing in Haiti, an invitation to apply for an immigration visa two years before their visa dates were current. A similar program offered to Cuban families began in 2007.

Ever since the January 2010 earthquake that killed over 200,000 people and left millions of people displaced, an organization called the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti, says it has continuously worked to get a reunification program for Haiti off the ground.

“We generated over 80 items of support during the ensuing nearly five years,” said Steven Forester, Immigration Policy Coordinator at the IJDH. “All urging [President Obama] to create such a program to save lives, reunite families, and help Haiti recover by generating a new source of remittances back to Haiti.”

 

Click HERE for the full text.

UN Has Impunity Problem with Sexual Abuse

March 16, 2015 - 11:05

United Nations personnel are involved in rapes, sexual assault and sex trafficking worldwide but especially in the most vulnerable areas: In 2014, most of these cases were in Haiti, Democratic Republic of the Congo, and South Sudan. UN reports on the matter are released quietly, as the lack of justice for these crimes can hurt the UN’s reputation. Currently, accused UN personnel can’t be tried in the country of their crimes unless the UN waives its immunity.

United Nations Workers Accused of Sexual Abuse

Somini Sengupta, The New York Times
March 16, 2015

UNITED NATIONS — United Nations personnel were accused in nearly 80 cases of rape, sexual assault and sex trafficking in 2014 alone, with the bulk of the cases involving peacekeepers deployed to some of the most troubled parts of the world.

The findings, part of a 32-page report released quietly last week, are part of a decade-long effort by the organization to stanch sexual abuse by its own staff and soldiers.

The report resurrects some tough proposals that countries in the General Assembly had quashed in the past, including holding courts-martial in the countries where complaints were made, rather than simply sending the accused soldiers home, as is often the case.

The report proposes to establish a trust fund for victims, including “children born as a result of sexual exploitation and abuse.”

Complaints have declined in the last four years, the report said. Still, the issue remains delicate for the United Nations system. It can hardly afford for its blue-helmeted troops to be seen as exploiting those they are sent to protect. At the same time, the United Nations must depend on contributing countries to pursue accusations of wrongdoing involving its military personnel.

The report found that in 2014, 51 allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse were reported in peacekeeping missions.

The majority came from three large missions, in Haiti, the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan. Among them were 13 allegations of sex with minors. There were paternity claims in 12 cases.

Civilian agencies were not immune. The United Nations refugee agency reported six cases in which its staff exchanged money, employment or goods for sex.

The report added that about 60 percent of complaints made since 2010 were found to be unsubstantiated.

The advocacy group AIDS-Free World accused the United Nations of painting too rosy a picture of its efforts to curb sexual exploitation. It cited an unpublished 2013 report, which had been commissioned by the United Nations and which found that the problem was underreported and warned that “impunity is more norm than exception.”

United Nations personnel can only be tried in the countries where they are posted if the organization specifically waives their legal immunity.

Click HERE for the original article.