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The U.N. Has not Done Enough to Provide for Victims of Sexual Abuse

June 23, 2017 - 06:20

The United Nations will end its 13-year peacekeeping mission in Haiti on October 16, but its legacy is on the line. The mission has been plagued by a series of controversies, ranging from sex scandals to the cholera outbreak. Failing to address the above issues, the U.N. risks tarnishing its global image and undermining its credibility around the world.

Click HERE for the full article.

Haitian minors claim UN peacekeepers fathered their children

CGTN, June 21, 2017

For more than a decade, the United Nations has established a peacekeeping mission in the country, one of the longest-running in the world. In October, that will come to an end.

Their presence has been controversial because U.N. peacekeepers face accusations of sexual abuse.

Some of those claims come from teenagers who will bear a great burden long after the U.N. troops are gone.


CGTN’s John Zarrella spoke with one of those alleged victims.

Meet Rosemina. She asked us to conceal her identity. She is scared people will think less of her because the father of her child is a soldier who was attached to the United Nations peacekeeping mission in Haiti.

Rosemina was 16 years old, a minor, when she said she had a romantic relationship with the man.

“We were lovers. We were together but sometimes he used to force me to have sex with him,” said Rosemina.

The soldier, from Uruguay and nearly three times her age, she said, gave her many gifts and made many promises.

“Yes, he promised me a house when I’d deliver. He’d take care of the baby and everything,” recounts Rosemina. “But it’s just two months after I’ve delivered I realized all that was lies.”

Click HERE for the full article.

ATTENTION HAITIAN FAMILIES: You are invited to a special information session on Temporary Protective Status (TPS)

June 22, 2017 - 06:24

Join us on Thursday, June 29 at 6:00PM for a special information session on TPS at IFSI-USA/ TBC (Tabernacle Baptist Congregation) located at 575 American Legion Highway, Boston, MA 02131. This event is sponsored by:

Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office – USCIS (United States

Citizenship and Immigration Services Offices- True Alliance

Center – St. Mark’s Community Education Center – Gilbert Albert

Community Center -Immigrant Family Services Institute (IFSIUSA)

– Massachusetts Association of Haitian Parents -New

England AILA (American Immigration Lawyer Association) – PAIR

(Political Asylum/Immigration Representation) Project –

Immigration Impact Unit- HAU (Haitian American United)

For more  information, please contact True Alliance at (617) 799-7009 & (617) 288-8515 and/or BMBCc, Inc : 617-756-4413. You can also download the announce HERE.

Cholera Victims to Protest as UN Security Council Lands in Haiti

June 21, 2017 - 13:52

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti (New York and Boston): media@ijdh.org, +1-617-652-0876

Bureau des Avocats Internationaux (Port-au-Prince): brian@ijdh.org, +509-3701-9879

Cholera Victims to Protest as UN Security Council Lands in Haiti

Call on UN to Deliver on Promised Response by MINUSTAH Withdrawal

Wednesday, June 21, Boston, Port-au-Prince—Haitian cholera victims and their advocates called on the UN Security Council to deliver on the promise of a new, victim-centered approach to cholera during its visit to Haiti this week, by meeting directly with victims and committing to funding the $400 million initiative before MINUSTAH –the peacekeeping mission that caused the cholera epidemic—pulls out in October.

“The UN’s apology and promises were promising in December,“ said Mario Joseph, Managing Attorney of the Bureau des Avocats Internationaux (BAI) that has led the fight for justice for cholera victims. “But seven months later, with only a pittance raised for the so-called ‘New Approach’ and not a single promised consultation with the cholera victims, they look like empty public relations gestures. It is time for the UN to deliver.”

The 15-member Security Council is in Haiti from June 22-24 to finalize the transition from MINUSTAH to a new mission focused on supporting justice that will be known as MINUJUSTH. The BAI announced two protests during the visit: one at the UN logistics base in Haiti on Thursday at 11 am, and a second one in Champs de Mars on Friday at 11. Advocates at the Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti (IJDH) simultaneously launched an international campaign calling on Member States to contribute their fair share to the New Approach by MINUSTAH’s closure. The campaign was launched on www.time2deliver.org.

“The UN Member States brought MINUSTAH to Haiti, and they have a collective responsibility to pay for the damage caused by its peacekeeping operations,” said Sienna Merope-Synge, IJDH Staff Attorney. “They must either contribute their fair share, or agree to draw funds from the UN’s budget by MINUSTAH’s withdrawal.”

To date, the UN has raised only 2% of the $400 million promised to implement its New Approach to Cholera in Haiti — a plan intended to eliminate cholera and provide remedies to the hundreds of thousands who have suffered from the epidemic.  As a result of the funding shortfall, implementation has stalled, and the UN has refused to begin even consulting with victims about the plan.

On Tuesday, the Secretary-General appointed a new high-level special envoy, Josette Sheeran, to lead the fundraising efforts. Ms. Sheeran has a strong record of leadership, including as the former head of the World Food Program, and has previously raised billions of dollars for UN humanitarian efforts. But she is the third senior official to be assigned to the cholera issue. Her two predecessors did not succeed at raising any substantial funds.

“Ms. Sheeran’s nomination is a welcome acknowledgement of the UN’s predicament, of launching a justice support mission while the organization continues to disdain its well-documented legal obligations to Haiti’s cholera victims,” said Brian Concannon, Executive Director of IJDH. “But her efforts and experience will bear no results unless the Secretary-General and Security Council Members provide leadership. They led enough to find $7 billion for MINUSTAH peacekeepers in a country that had no war, they now need to lead enough to find $400 million for a real cholera epidemic their troops introduced.”

“Promoting rule of law requires abiding by the rule of law. The UN cannot succeed in its mission unless it sheds its double standard and complies with its obligations to repair the harms it caused,” said Beatrice Lindstrom, IJDH Staff Attorney.

Cholera continues to take a grave toll in Haiti, infecting thousands each month, and killing at a rate of one Haitian each day. The UN estimates 30,000 Haitians will contract the disease this year, and the country remains vulnerable to a resurgence of deaths, with few improvements to water, sanitation and health care since the height of the epidemic. For the thousands of families who lost loved ones and livelihoods, the financial and emotional consequences of cholera continue to impose a crushing burden long after the disease has passed.

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Stephen Lewis: U.N.’s Cholera Response “A Betrayal”

June 21, 2017 - 07:45

Stephen Lewis, co-director of AIDS-Free World, spent his weekly update condemning the United Nations’ refusal to honor Ban Ki-Moon’s commitment to make amends for cholera through the UN’s New Approach. Only 2.7 million of the $400 million Ban promised has been raised. U.N. has moved away from Track 2 (individual compensation) to focus on “community projects,” a reversal of the U.N.’s previous position. U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres has proposed using MINUSTAH’s underspend (about $40 million leftover from the mission) to fund the U.N.s New Approach to cholera in Haiti, but even this has been met with resistance from member states. Stephen Lewis finds this a blatant betrayal of the Haitian people.

Visit the IJDH’s Cholera Accountability web page for more information on cholera justice.

Nobel Peace Laureates Urge the U.N. to Keep its Promises

June 21, 2017 - 07:33

Five Nobel Peace Laureates called on the United Nations (U.N.) to keep the promises it made to cholera victims not even a year ago. They urge the members of U.N. Security Council to make reparations to Haitian people a priority during their two-day visit to Haiti this week. Such gestures, according to them, will not only comfort Haiti, but also restore the U.N.’s credibility by showing its determination to correct its wrongs.IJDH has  launched a campaign to urge

IJDH has launched a campaign to urge the U.N. member states to donate to the $400 million cholera fund promised by the U.N. Click HERE for the campaign website.

Click HERE for the full article

The U.N. owes Haiti relief from cholera epidemic it introduced

By Adolfo Pérez Esquivel, Jody Williams, Shirin Ebadi, Rigoberta Menchú Tum, and Betty Williams, Op-ed, Miami Herald

June 21, 2017

Seven years after its soldiers sparked the world’s worst cholera epidemic in Haiti, the United Nations is finally preparing to close its MINUSTAH peacekeeping mission there. As Nobel Peace laureates committed to the U.N.’s ideal of universal human rights, we are deeply concerned that the victims of MINUSTAH’s catastrophic actions remain without justice and reparations, despite U.N. promises to repair the harm it has caused.

As the Security Council visits Haiti this week to wind up the mission, it must ensure that the U.N. settles its debt to the Haitian people before MINUSTAH leaves — for their sake, but also for the sake of the United Nations itself, whose legacy in Haiti risks being defined by scandal, and whose credibility and very ideals are on the line.

When MINUSTAH soldiers discharged contaminated waste into the Artibonite River in 2010, sparking a massive cholera outbreak, the U.N. denied its role in the tragedy, in defiance of overwhelming evidence and the organization’s own obligations.

The U.N.’s denial was an affront to justice — and a betrayal not only of the Haitian people it was purportedly there to serve, but of all the peoples worldwide who constitute the United Nations and hope to see it fulfill its highest ideals. While the U.N. ignored cholera’s victims, at least 10,000 Haitians died from the disease (though the U.N. has reported that the number may be three times as high). Today, cholera continues to wreak havoc on the people of Haiti, and the crisis has weakened the organization’s credibility as a human rights defender.

Click HERE for the full article

U.N. Picks New Envoy for Haiti Cholera Fundraising Efforts

June 21, 2017 - 06:37

The United Nations announced its third official to lead cholera fundraising efforts, a position which has so far produced drastically underwhelming results. There is a growing urgency in Haiti for cholera prevention, relief and compensations for those affected. But the next fundraising chair, Josette Sheeran, faces a significant shortage of donor funds and a resistant international community. Despite promising $400 million to fight cholera in Haiti, the U.N. has only raised $2.7 million, and currently only $183,000 remains in the fund. However, while some may give excuses for the U.N.’s fundraising shortages, one thing is certain: the U.N. is responsible for the deadly cholera outbreak in Haiti, and its victims deserve justice as promised.

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

With little money to combat cholera in Haiti, U.N. names new fundraising chief

Jacqueline Charles, Miami Herald

June 20, 2017

A former top State Department official and head of the United Nations’ World Food Program has been tapped to develop a comprehensive fund-raising strategy to finance the U.N.’s plan to clean up cholera in Haiti — a disease introduced there by U.N. peacekeepers.

Josette Sheeran’s appointment as a high-level envoy for Haiti cholera was announced Tuesday by U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. The announcement comes two days before a planned U.N. Security Council visit to the country on Thursday so members can see first-hand how the 13-year U.N. Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) is continuing its withdrawal of peacekeeping battalions and foreign police units ahead of the mission’s permanent closure in October.

Named as one of the world’s most powerful women by Forbes’ magazine when she was head of the World Food Program from 2007 to 2012, Sheeran is the third senior U.N. official chosen to help the world body raise funds to rid Haiti of the epidemic.

Scientific studies have traced the introduction of cholera in Haiti to Nepalese soldiers stationed near a river in the rural town of Mirebalais in the Central Plateau region after the devastating Jan. 12, 2010, earthquake. Since October of that year, more than 800,000 Haitians have been sickened by cholera and more than 9,000 killed, according to the country’s health ministry.

Click HERE for the full article.

UN Killed 10,000 in Haiti, After Mass Arrests in 2004, ICP To Return to Scene of the Crime with UNSC

June 20, 2017 - 12:13

Matthew Russell Lee, Inner City Press
June 20, 2017

UNITED NATIONS, June 20 – While in some places the UN system may be doing good work, its killing of more and 10,000 Haitians with cholera, and its years of denial, have been a low point. Now with the UN Security Council slated to visit Haiti from June 22 and 24 — Inner City Press will cover it — the strange and some say shameful history of the UN’s MINUSTAH mission comes to the fore.

After the UN Security Council on April 30, 2004 approved the deployment of MINUSTAH, by September 30, 2004 protesters were being killed, then further protesters arrested and loaded into UN Armored Personnel Carriers. Particularly given the position of CARICOM and the African Union, this was a low for the UN. But it would go lower still. On June 20, 2017 the departing MINUSTAH mission will hold a ceremony to close its regional bureau in the south, again bragging of spending $48 million. But given the reneging on much larger sums for bringing cholera, advocates slammed the “statement delivered by Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed in a briefing to the General Assembly appealing for member state funding and reporting on the UN’s progress in implementing the New Approach.

Ms. Mohammed announced that the UN proposes taking a ‘community approach and establish[ing] priorities for projects in consultation with victims and their families and communities.’ The statement reverses the UN’s previous position, which committed to assessing the feasibility of individual victim payments before making any decision, including through ‘consultations on the ground with victims and their communities.’

Mario Joseph, Managing Attorney of the Bureau des Avocats Internationaux said that ‘Powerful governments’ refusal to allocate even MINUSTAH’s leftovers to save lives from the cholera outbreak it caused demonstrates their lack of commitment to Haiti, to UN accountability and to the rule of law. Since the cholera epidemic started in 2010, these governments have found $4 billion to maintain soldiers in a country that has not had a war in anyone’s lifetime, and want to continue spending money on an unwanted peacekeeper presence, but they cannot find 1% of that amount to fight the worst cholera epidemic in modern times.” This is a pattern on which we’ll have more.

After then-President Aristide was forced into exile in, echoing today, the Central African Republic, the UN Security Council on April 30, 2004 dutifully created a mission to take over from the US, French and Canadian troops who has deployed during Guy Philippe’s force’s killing spree. Promoting it was then French Ambassador de la Sabliere, self-described father of the UN’s since-questioned (at least on Yemen) Children and Armed Conflict mandate. Given today’s Security Council splits, particularly on regime change, one marvels that Resolution 1542 was passed unanimously. Already in the mix was, for example, Haitian rights attorney Mario Joseph, now an astute critic of the UN’s total evasion of responsibility for killing over 10,000 Haitians with cholera. We’ll have more on this.

On June 14, 2017 the new (well, 162 day old) UN presented what it called a new approach on cholera – not long after Secretary General Antonio Guterres’ delayed approach to the UN’s lead poisoning victims in Kosovo was criticized. Inner City Press asked the UN about it on June 16, in the run-up to the UN Security Council’s visit to Haiti next week (we will cover that).

Click HERE for original article.

Advocates Denounce UN Breaking Promise of Compensation for Cholera Victims

June 15, 2017 - 12:03

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti (New York and Boston): media@ijdh.org, +617-652- 0876

Advocates Denounce UN Breaking Promise of Compensation for Cholera Victims

Call on governments to fulfill UN’s promises to right wrongs in Haiti

Wednesday, June 15, Boston — Human rights advocates denounced yesterday’s UN announcement that it will unilaterally replace compensation for victims of the UN-caused cholera outbreak in Haiti with “community projects,” in violation of its promise to involve victims in that decision. Since announcing a “New Approach” to cholera in Haiti last August, the UN has repeatedly pledged to place victims at the center of the process and consult with them on the elaboration of its promised material assistance package. Ten months later, without holding a single consultation session with the victims, the UN made the decision to abandon the compensation that the UN’s own human rights experts acknowledge the victims are entitled to.

“Consulting victims after the important decisions have been made is not a ‘New Approach’,” said Beatrice Lindstrom, an attorney with the Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti (IJDH), which has sought justice for victims through the UN’s claims process and in US courts. “It is a continuation of seven years of ignoring the rights and the dignity of the cholera victims, and all Haitians.” In October, UN Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty Phillip Alston characterized the UN response to date as “morally unconscionable, legally indefensible … politically self-defeating [and] entirely unnecessary.”

Yesterday’s statement was delivered by Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed in a briefing to the General Assembly appealing for member state funding and reporting on the UN’s progress in implementing the New Approach. Ms. Mohammed announced that the UN proposes taking a “community approach and establish[ing] priorities for projects in consultation with victims and their families and communities.”  The statement reverses the UN’s previous position, which committed to assessing the feasibility of individual victim payments before making any decision, including through “consultations on the ground with victims and their communities.”

Cholera has killed more than 9,600 Haitians and sickened more than 800,000 since it was introduced to Haiti through reckless disposal of human waste at a UN military base. It continues to kill at the rate of one Haitian every day, and the country remains vulnerable to a new wave of infections with the return of hurricane season. Tens of thousands of already-impoverished families have had to go into debt to pay transportation, healthcare and burial costs from cholera. Children forced to leave school because of family cholera expenses are faced with generational poverty. “In focus groups, victims repeatedly explain that they need money to pay off the crippling debts that the UN’s cholera epidemic imposed on them and get their kids into school” said Brian Concannon, Jr., Esq., Executive Director of IJDH. “As a matter of decency, of common sense, and of international law, they should be compensated.”

Advocates also expressed outrage to opposition by the United States and other large donors to viable initiatives to fund the New Approach, including to a proposal presented by the Deputy Secretary-General to reallocate the $40 million left over in MINUSTAH’s budget to urgently-needed cholera control efforts. Earlier this month, the US and France reportedly blocked a UN plan to require the funds to be reallocated, leaving the Secretariat to ask governments to voluntarily waive their shares. The US stated yesterday that it would not allow its share to be used for cholera. Meanwhile, the United States has also refused to make a separate contribution to the New Approach.

“Powerful governments’ refusal to allocate even MINUSTAH’s leftovers to save lives from the cholera outbreak it caused demonstrates their lack of commitment to Haiti, to UN accountability and to the rule of law,” said Mario Joseph, Managing Attorney of the Bureau des Avocats Internationaux and Haiti’s lead lawyer for cholera victims. “Since the cholera epidemic started in 2010, these governments have found $4 billion to maintain soldiers in a country that has not had a war in anyone’s lifetime, and want to continue spending money on an unwanted peacekeeper presence, but they cannot find 1% of that amount to fight the worst cholera epidemic in modern times.”

Reallocating the unspent funds left over in MINUSTAH’s budget would serve as a stop-gap measure to address the most urgent humanitarian needs. While not a long-term solution, it would relieve the funding shortage that currently threatens to reverse progress made this year to control the epidemic.

Several other governments declared their support for reallocating the underspend, notably governments from the global south such as the CARICOM bloc, India and Senegal.

 

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Cholera Justice: U.N.’s Proposal to Transfer MINUSTAH’s Underspent Dollars to the Cholera Fund Meets with Resistance  

June 14, 2017 - 07:21

The United Nations’ (U.N.) proposal to use MINSUTAH’s leftover dollars to fund its New Approach to cholera in Haiti is “the least U.N. can do” for the victims. In four months and one day, MINUSTAH will end its 13-year-old controversial mission in Haiti. But the U.N.’s legacy is in the line. Failure to fulfill its promises to Haitian people could tarnish U.N. global image and undermine its credibility around the world.

Visit the IJDH’s Cholera Accountability web page for more information on cholera justice.

Read the full article HERE

U.N. pushes to finance Haiti’s Cholera Cleanup with Leftover Peacekeeping Dollars

By Jacqueline Charles, Miami Herald

June 14, 2017

With most U.N. member nations, including the United States, refusing to contribute toward a $400 million trust fund to eliminate an imported cholera epidemic from Haiti, U.N. Secretary General António Guterres has cobbled together another way to get the money.

Guterres wants member countries to voluntarily turn over $40.5 million that will be left over when the U.N. Stabilization Mission in Haiti ends in October.

Deputy Secretary-General Amina J. Mohammed touted the unusual proposal during a public hearing on cholera at U.N. headquarters in New York on Wednesday. It comes as UNICEF and the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization face a $15 million funding shortage for this year. That shortfall, she said, threatens to reverse the progress the U.N. has made in controlling the cholera outbreak in Haiti, which was caused by U.N. peacekeepers.

“PAHO/WHO no longer has resources available for the medical and health aspects of the intensified cholera response as a result of the withdrawal of donor funding,” according to the Secretary-General’s latest report on incidences of suspected cholera and the U.N.’s new approach to the disease in Haiti.

Without the money, “it is very likely that the outbreak will intensify and potentially spread to other parts of the country, causing further suffering among the population and a significant setback in the elimination plans,” the report said.

The report was presented to member countries ahead of Mohammed’s speech. She told member states that while the new approach is helping Haiti reach its lowest level of cholera cases since 2014, “without your political will and financial support, we have only good intentions and words.”

But not all member nations are on board with the new plan. Japan’s permanent representative, Hiroshi Minami, promised to “seriously consider your proposal.” Egypt’s representative was much more blunt: “Any resources remaining should be given back to the states.”

U.S. Deputy Permanent Representative Ambassador Michele Sison told fellow ambassadors that they could contribute to the trust fund or waive their peacekeeping refund — but don’t count on the U.S. doing the same.

Saying that the U.S. “is not in a position to contribute in this way,” Sison reminded the group that in the last six years, the country has “provided over $100 million dollars to prevent, detect and respond to cholera, working side-by-side with the government of Haiti and other partners.”

Luis Alberto Moreno, the head of the Inter-American Development Bank, which is investing millions of dollars in water and sanitation in Haiti, said “it’s a shame” that U.N. members are not doing their part. “There’s a responsibility from the U.N., and they should be able to find the money.”

Attorney Beatrice Lindstrom, who represents cholera victims in U.S. courts, agreed: “The U.N. is breaking its promises to Haiti not because of a shortage of money, but a shortage of political will.”

She criticized the U.S. specifically. “The Trump administration holds itself out as a champion for U.N. accountability, but when it’s time to act, the U.S.’s only contribution is obstruction. Governments who truly believe in an accountable U.N. must stand up to the U.S.’ inhumane approach.”

A consequence of the funding shortage is that the U.N. also lacks the money to compensate the more than 800,000 who have been sickened by cholera and more than 9,000 killed by it, and their families and communities.

Of the $400 million the U.N. has asked for, only 3 percent or about $2.7 million has been raised, with most of it already spent.

Read the full article HERE

Central American and Haitian Advocates Team Up for TPS Extension

June 12, 2017 - 11:31

Haiti isn’t the only country facing a potential termination of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) in the coming months— TPS-holders from Central American countries such as Honduras, El Salvador and Nicaragua are also at risk of losing their TPS designations. Central American and Haitians activists have banded together to advocate for TPS extension. They’ve scheduled meetings with the presidents of Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala in hopes of gaining their support in the fight for TPS extension.

Visit our immigration page for more information about TPS extension.

Read the full article HERE

Haitians, Central Americans unite to fight deportation orders

By Glenn Garvin, Miami Herald

June 7, 2017

Banding together for the first time, activists from Haiti and three Central American countries announced Wednesday they’ll meet next week with the presidents of Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala to try to enlist their aid in persuading the Trump administration to halt plans to ship several hundred thousand immigrants back to Central America.

The newly allied activists also invited immigrants with Temporary Protected Status, or TPS — a Department of Homeland Security designation that allows otherwise undocumented immigrants to live and work in the United States — to an open meeting Thursday night to help plan strategy against deportations.

“Together, we think we can achieve this,” said Francisco Portillo, head of the Francisco Morazan Honduran Organization. “Unity is the name of the game,” agreed Marleine Bastien, from the Haitian Women of Miami group.

Read the full article HERE

Fundraiser for Summer Fun in L’Asile Haiti

June 9, 2017 - 13:50

Join Haiti Global Youth Partnership for their 2nd annual fundraising dinner to support their activities in L’Asile, Haiti, on Saturday June 17  from 6:30-10pm at Sant Belvi, 6 Frontenac Street, Mattapan, MA. Donation: $40 for adults, $15 for students.

Thank you for your support!

Save TPS: Immigration Advocates, Faith-Based and Humanitarian Groups Vow to Stay Mobilized

June 9, 2017 - 07:00

On May 22, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS)  Secretary John Kelly extended Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Haitian nationals for only six months instead of the usual 18 months. This was a disappointing decision and U.S. lawmakers, Haitian American community, immigration advocates and faith-based groups were dissatisfied and vowed to stay mobilized. DHS’ decision reflects poorly Haiti’s current conditions. It also fails to take into account the Haitian government’s direct request  to redesignate “TPS for at least 18 months” for Haiti. While the DHS’ decision is not a total victory, it does reflect the power of the advocacy groups such as Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti (IJDH) whose work on that front has broadened support for TPS extension.
Visit our immigration page for more information about TPS extension.
Read the full article HERE

How Mobilization Won a Partial Victory on Haiti TPS

By Steven Forester, Center of Constitutional Rights (CCR)
June 7, 2017
Secretary John Kelly’s May 22 announcement that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will extend Haiti’s Temporary Protected Status (TPS) designation for only six months rather than the usual 18, and may not extend it again, ignored the facts.  But that he didn’t kill it altogether, as anti-immigrant zealots around him were urging, is testament to a continuing advocacy campaign.
Haiti is a textbook case for TPS, which was granted in 18-month increments after the massive 2010 earthquake, which killed 250,000.  Quake recovery remains incomplete: tens of thousands remain homeless.  An unchecked cholera epidemic introduced by U.N. peacekeepers in October, 2010 has killed 9,700 Haitians and sickened over 800,000 to date.  Hurricane Matthew last October killed 1,000 Haitians and affected two million more, caused Haiti nearly $2 billion in damage, destroyed crops and animals and inundated broad regions, left hundreds of thousands without safe water, exacerbated the cholera epidemic, and has caused a widespread food insecurity crisis.[1]
DHS’s U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) concluded in a detailed December assessment that conditions persist warranting Haiti TPS’s extension beyond its scheduled July 22, 2017 expiration date, and then-Secretary of State Kerry recommended its extension.
Donald Trump’s victory upended such expectations, galvanizing into action by early March an ad hoc coalition of Haiti activists and others worried about the imminent threat to Central Americans and others with TPS.  DHS’s Haiti decision would be a first test; it was due by May 23, 60 days before the July 22 expiration date.
Consisting of religious, humanitarian, labor, immigration, and rights groups including SEIU, the Center for American Progress, and the Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti, to unjustly name only a few, the coalition contacted editorial writers and congressional staffers and drafted resolutions and national action alerts, amid a range of activities coordinated by weekly conference calls and daily email exchanges.  Coalition members hosted telephonic media briefings with Haiti experts, organized advocacy letters, fed journalists compelling human interest stories, gave TV and radio interviews, wrote op-eds and press releases, shared reports on the dire economic consequences of ending TPS, organized rallies, and encouraged outreach to U.S. officials by Haiti’s government.
The array of powerful support materials they proactively solicited, generated, and publicized included ten New York Times, Washington Post, BostonGlobe, Miami Herald, New YorkDaily News, Sun Sentinel, Palm Beach Post and Orlando Sentinel editorials and support expressed in letters, op-eds, and one-on-one meetings.  Urging Secretary Kelly to extend Haiti’s TPS designation were Republican Governors Rick Scott of Florida and Charlie Baker of Massachusetts; 100 members of Congress including 18 senators, e.g. 10 members of Florida’s congressional delegation including both senators and four Republicans; the entire Massachusetts congressional delegation and at least 14 members of New York’s, including House Homeland Security Emergency Preparedness Subcommittee Chairperson Dan Donovan; Congressional Progressive Caucus leaders and the Congressional Black Caucus; as well as 14 big city mayors, 550 U.S. physicians, 416 faith leaders, national Catholic leaders, 35 humanitarian organizations working in Haiti, and 330 organizations, leaders, and activists.
Read the full article HERE

Advocacy Works: IJDH and BAI Keep Pushing for Cholera Justice

June 8, 2017 - 09:26

On December 1, 2016—World AIDS Day—then UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon made a landmark announcement; Ban apologized for the UN’s role in causing Haiti’s cholera outbreak. Former IJDH legal fellow Adam Houston explains how the IJDH and BAI’s advocacy and legal efforts pushed the cholera UN to apologize publicly for causing the epidemic after years of denial. 

Part of the article is shown below. Click HERE to read the full article.

UNstoppable: How Advocates Persevered in the Fight for Justice for Haitian Cholera Victims 

Adam Houston, Health and Human Rights Journal

June 6, 2017

In 2016, December 1st—already an occasion to highlight the importance of health and human rights as World AIDS Day—took on new significance as a landmark in one of the highest-profile health and human rights cases of the 21st century. This was the day that UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon finally issued an apology on behalf of the organization for its role in causing the Haitian cholera epidemic that has claimed close to 10,000 lives and made another 800,000 fall ill.1 This simple apology is something that victims of the epidemic have been waiting to hear for years, ever since cholera-infected feces from a United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) peacekeeping base were allowed to enter the river system relied on by tens of thousands of Haitians back in October 2010. That the apology took this long to receive highlights the struggles that advocates continue to face in getting the UN to make things right for victims of the epidemic.

….

Click HERE to read the full article.

Join Our Team: An Opportunity to Make a Difference

June 8, 2017 - 07:02

 Communications and Development Assistant

About Us:

The Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti (IJDH) has successfully helped Haitians enforce their human rights since 2004. IJDH partners with the Haiti-based Bureau des Avocats Internationaux (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 tradition l legal strategies with organizing, emerging technology and public advocacy to address the root causes of injustice and build stability and prosperity in Haiti.

We pride ourselves on utilizing excellent legal and communications work, but also creativity, humility, inspiration, humor and a supportive work culture to affect change. We bring about broad social change with modest resources by nurturing large advocacy networks. Current work includes securing United Nations accountability for cholera in Haiti, fighting for renewal of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Haitians in the U.S., working for justice in cases of gender-based violence, keeping Haitian activists safe and training human rights advocates.

Position Description:

IJDH seeks a Communications and Development Assistant to join our innovative 8-person team, to manage donor systems and provide communications, development and operations support for the office in Boston. We seek a dynamic, detail-oriented individual with strong communication skills, a passion for justice and an appreciation for the power of the advocacy.

Click HERE for the full description of the position.

This Is Why DHS Should Extend TPS for at Least 18 Months for Haitian Nationals

June 4, 2017 - 07:36

First, Haiti is far from recovering from a series of natural disasters like the Jan. 2010 earthquake, Hurricane Matthew, as well as the preventable and curable cholera outbreak.  Hundreds of thousands were killed during the Jan. 2010 earthquake, thousands more wounded, and seven years after thousands of Haitians are still living in the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPS) camp and calling makeshift tents and shellers their home. Last Oct., Hurricane Matthew devastated the most southern part of the country killed several hundreds, destroyed houses and the peasants’ livelihoods. Finally, but not least, the cholera outbreak  introduced by the United Nations peacekeeping soldiers has already killed over 10,000 Haitians and sickened thousands  more, and it has  not been put under control.

For more information on TPS extension, please visit our website.

Read the entire letter HERE.

Protected Status for Haitians

The New York Times

June 4, 2017

To the Editor:

Re “59,000 Haitians Displaced by Earthquake Get Six Months More in U.S.” (news article, May 23):

The refusal of John F. Kelly, the secretary of homeland security, to extend temporary protected status beyond six months for displaced Haitians reflects this administration’s anti-immigrant agenda.

Haiti is a textbook case for generous extension. Secretary Kelly’s statement ignored Hurricane Matthew’s vast destruction last October and the cholera epidemic, which has killed 9,700 and sickened at least 800,000 so far. Thousands of quake victims remain displaced; Haiti’s government requested at least 18 months.

A campaign that included bipartisan support from the Republican governors of Florida and Massachusetts and 100 members of Congress avoided termination of temporary protected status altogether, but the announcement bodes ill for Honduran, Salvadoran and other holders of that status.

Campaigning last September in Miami, Donald Trump called Haitian-Americans hard-working, creative and industrious and promised to be their “greatest champion.” Preparing to separate parents from their American-born children makes a mockery of that promise.

STEVEN FORESTER, MIAMI BEACH

The writer is immigration policy coordinator at the Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti.

Save TPS: Haitian Activists and Immigration Lawyers Say the Fight Goes on

June 2, 2017 - 11:25

Haitian Americans and Immigration lawyers vow to continue to fight to save Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Haitian nationals. The DHS-six-month TPS extension has done nothing than to terrify Haitian TPS-holders. They are worried about what is going to happen to them and their family after Jan. 22, 2018. They are living under fear. Fear of being deported to a land that is unsafe and unsuitable for them and their families. Marleine Bastien, the director of Fanm Ayisyen nan Miyami (Haitian Women of Miami) gave them hope. At a town hall meeting attended by IJDH’s Immigration Policy Coordinator Steve Forester in Little Haiti–Miami, FL, Bastien encouraged his fellow Haitians to be hopeful. She reminds them that Haitians have fought for every little gain since they arrived in this country. She told them that the fight for TPS is not over.  “Since we’ve been here in the ’70s, early ’80s, every little gain, policy-wise, has been a long-term fight. Nothing has been offered to us on a silver platter,” Bastien said.

Read the full article HERE.

Immigration activists and lawyers offer Haitians hope, vowing TPS fight is not over

By Jacqueline Charles, Miami Herald

June 2, 2017


For 29 years, Evette Prosper has called the United States home. It’s where she attended school, got married and gave birth to two children, now 8 and 7.

An only child, Prosper doesn’t know where her father is. And both her Haitian mother, and her grandmother — who migrated with her from Haiti when she was just a year old — are dead.

But her husband of 11 years is a U.S. citizen. That should place her squarely in the category of Temporary Protected Status, or TPS, holders that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security referred to when, announcing a six-month TPS extension last week for Haitians, it said many of the 58,700 recipients could adjust their status to remain and work legally in the United States on a permanent basis.

But Prosper, who was born in the Bahamas, which doesn’t automatically grant citizenship, has neither a Bahamian nor a Haitian passport. And with no proof that she ever entered the U.S., adjusting her immigration status is almost impossible unless she can leave and reenter the country. She is, as one immigration lawyer put it, stateless. Her case exemplifies the challenges some TPS recipients face as they seek to move from temporary to permanent U.S. residency.

“It’s very overwhelming on your future,” Prosper, 30, said. “You don’t know if you should seek future plans. I’ve never been to jail, never been in a cop’s car before. It’s kind of scary not knowing what the future holds.”

On Thursday, Prosper was among dozens of Haitians who poured into the Little Haiti Cultural Complex in Miami hoping to find answers from a panel of immigration lawyers. The town hall-style discussion, one of several that will be offered in coming months, was organized by Fanm Ayisyen Nan Miyami/Haitian Women of Miami and other immigration rights groups.

Prosper, like many others, is fearful of possible deportation and what that could do to her family, especially after DHS advised Haitian TPS recipients to get their affairs in order.

“What will they do with people who have kids?” she asked the lawyers at the meeting.

“That’s a very good question,” said Adonia Simpson, supervising attorney for Americans for Immigrant Justice’s Children’s Legal Programs, which represents unaccompanied immigrant children.

“You need to think hard about potentially what you want to happen to your children,” Simpson advised. “Make sure your children have passports, documents.”

Sensing the panic among some in the room, Catholic Charities Legal Services attorney Georges Francis said: “Don’t freak out. Be calm.”

“TPS has not ended yet,” Francis said. “It’s been extended for six months.”

Last week, after months of advocacy, letters and protests, DHS Secretary John Kelly announced that the immigration benefit, provided by the Obama administration to Haiti in the days after its devastating Jan. 12, 2010, earthquake, would be extended an additional six months. Instead of expiring on July 22, TPS for Haiti will now expire on Jan. 22.

Read the full article HERE.

The U.N. Should Stop Ignoring Victims of Sexual Assault and Children Fathered by Peacekeepers

June 2, 2017 - 08:02

In less than five months the United Nations will wrap up its 13-year controversial peacekeeping mission in Haiti known as MINUSTAH, but failure to take necessary step to remedy the victims of cholera and sexual abuse in Haiti, U.N. can risk tarnishing its global image.

The U.N. mission has been marred by a series of scandals. A mission the was supposed to protect human rights in the countries is now responsible for spreading a deadly but preventable disease in the country which is responsible for the death of nearly 10,000 Haitians, and sickened many more thousands. Additionally, its peacekeeping soldiers have sexually abused women, men and children. All those victims from cholera outbreak to sexual abuse and child support.

Read  the full article HERE.

Haitian women press for recognition from U.N. peacekeeper fathers 

Makini Brice, Reuters

Jun 1, 2017

For Roseleine Duperval, the United Nations mission to stabilize Haiti will always remind her of one thing – her 8-year-old daughter, who she says was fathered by a Uruguayan peacekeeper.

Duperval is among a group of Haitian women who embarked on a long and largely fruitless journey to try to force peacekeepers who they say fathered their children to contribute to their upbringing. While some have succeeded with their paternity claims, barely any have secured any form of child support.

“Since I became pregnant, he never sent money,” said Duperval, who still has identity documents she says her daughter Sasha Francesca’s father left behind, apparently because he wanted to be legally recognized as the father. “I have to call friends all the time to help me support my (child).”

The paternity and child support issue is another awkward legacy of the 13-year U.N. mission, known as MINUSTAH, which is winding up in October after being sent in to stabilize a country riven by political turmoil. The mission introduced a cholera epidemic that killed about 10,000 people and has also been dogged by accusations of sexual assault.

Paternity cases in recent years have confirmed seven children in Haiti as having had U.N. peacekeepers as their fathers, according to figures released on the peacekeeping body’s conduct and discipline website. More than two dozen Haitian women are still pursuing paternity claims, second only to Democratic Republic of Congo in the number of claims against a U.N. mission worldwide since 2010, according to U.N. data.

The cases also highlight a lack of accountability, critics say, since many of the women’s paternity claims are never confirmed either way. Even when paternity is proven, the process rarely delivers any financial support for mothers.

Under the United Nations’ “zero-tolerance policy” against sexual exploitation and abuse, sexual relationships between peacekeepers and residents of countries hosting a U.N. mission are strongly discouraged.

However, the world body says its peacekeeping arm does not take responsibility for financial assistance to children fathered by peacekeepers. It says the peacekeepers’ countries, or the fathers themselves, must organize payment.

In practice, that often means mothers must raise children alone in some of the world’s poorest, most troubled nations.

“If you ignore the problem of paternity long enough, it will go away,” said Sharanya Kanikkannan, from the New York-based advocacy group Code Blue, which aims to end impunity for sexual abuse by U.N. personnel. “Missions move on; children grow up.”

WAITING FOR ANSWERS

A Reuters reporter interviewed four women in the Haitian seaside town of Port-Salut, who had, along with their children, undergone DNA tests with a view to establishing paternity.

They said U.N. officials tracked them down in 2014 by asking members of the local community who claimed to have given birth to “MINUSTAH babies” to come to the capital, Port-au-Prince, for tests.

Ismini Palla, spokeswoman for U.N. peacekeeping in New York, confirmed the DNA tests took place. She said the United Nations facilitated tests but did not provide them. It was not immediately clear who provided or paid for the tests.

The four women’s samples were sent to Uruguay, the country of origin of the supposed fathers. Uruguayan authorities were tasked with locating the men and conducting their own DNA tests, Palla said.

Of the four Port-Salut women interviewed by Reuters, DNA testing proved two of the Uruguayan peacekeepers were the fathers, Palla said.

However, the other two claims, including Duperval’s, could not be confirmed because the Uruguayan military was unable to locate the alleged fathers, Palla said.

Read  the full article HERE.

Cholera Victims Call on the U.S. and Other Member States to Fund the UN’s New Approach

June 1, 2017 - 14:24

The Trump administration will not commit to a U.N. appeal to contribute to the New Approach plan to compensate the victims of a cholera epidemic that has killed more nearly 10,000 Haitians and sickened  800,000 more. The disease was introduced into Haiti more than six years ago by infected U.N. Nepalese peacekeepers. It took U.N.  nearly six years to apologize to the Haitian people. During the public apology, the then- U.N. Secretary General  Ban Ki-mo0n promised to raise $400 million dollars from member states to provide assistance to the victims of cholera. So far the U.N. has collected only about $2.7 million from 7 of the 193 member states. The Trump administration has not contributed a penny to the fund, arguing that the U.S. should not pay for the U.N. irresponsibility.“What happened in Haiti was a travesty, and yet even after the U.N. belatedly agreed to provide compensation to the victims, the United States and others that share responsibility for the peacekeepers have done nothing,” bemoaned Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont).

Part of the article is shown below. Click HERE to read the full article.

Trump Won’t Pay a Penny For U.N. Cholera Relief Fund in Haiti

Colum Lynch, Foreign Policy

June 1, 2017

Photo credit: HECTOR RETAMAL/AFP/Getty Images

The Trump administration will rebuff a recent U.N. appeal to contribute millions of dollars to a cash-short trust fund established last year to provide relief to victims of a cholera epidemic that has killed more than 9,000 Haitians and sickened more than 800,000 more, according to U.S. and U.N. officials.

The move will be the latest blow to U.N. efforts to raise $400 million dollars from member states to provide assistance to the Haitian victims of cholera. The disease is widely believed to have been introduced into Haiti more than six years ago by infected U.N. Nepalese peacekeepers. Since the fund was set up in October, the U.N. has collected only a pittance, about $2.7 million, from Britain, Chile, France, India, Liechtenstein, South Korea and Sri Lanka.

….

Click HERE to read the full article.

 

Haitian Officials Discuss TPS Extension With DHS Sec. John Kelly During His Trip

May 31, 2017 - 07:01

Secretary John Kelly declined to commit to extending the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to more than 50,000 Haitians living in the U.S. during his short visit to Haiti on Wednesday. During his visit, Kelly met with the Haitian President Jovenel Moïse, senior government officials, Head of the U.N. Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) Sandra Honoré and MINUSTAH Military Commander Brazilian Lt. Gen. Ajax Porto Pinheiro.

Kelly’s visit came after his agency decided to only extend TPS for six months for Haitian nationals instead of the usual 18 months. This decision left Haitian TPS-holders wondering what is next for them after Jan. 2018.  U.S. lawmakers, Haitians and immigration advocates, who wanted the status to be extended for 18 months, were disappointed by this decision.

Call your representatives and senators to urge them to support TPS extension for Haitians. For more information on TPS extension, please visit our website.

Read HERE the full article.

Homeland Security Chief Kelly leaves door open — slightly — for Haiti TPS

Jacqueline Charles, Miami Herald

May 31, 2017

U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly was noncommittal about whether he would extend temporary immigration relief to thousands of Haitians living in the United States beyond January during a visit to Haiti Wednesday.

But the retired Marine Corps general and former commander of United States Southern Command seemed to leave the door open for discussions.

“I have committed to the president and the government that we can work together as we go forward on any future extensions,” Kelly said during a press conference at the National Palace after meeting with Haitian President Jovenel Moïse, senior government officials, Head of the U.N. Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) Sandra Honoré and MINUSTAH Military Commander Brazilian Lt. Gen. Ajax Porto Pinheiro.

Kelly reminded Haitians that it’s been seven years since the country’s devastating 2010 earthquake, which triggered the use of the Temporary Protected Status, or TPS, program for Haiti.

….

Click HERE to read the full article.

 

IJDH And 37 Organizations Urge Sec. John Kelly to Visit Post-Earthquake IDPs During His Four-Hour Trip to Haiti

May 30, 2017 - 09:22

The Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly is scheduled to arrive in  Haiti today for a four-hour visit. The 38 organizations who wrote Sec. Kelly hope that he will reconsider his May 22 decision to only extend Temporary Protected Status for Haitian nationals for six months instead of 18 months. In an official statement, DHS did not mention TPS but stated that Sec. Kelly will meet with the Haitian President Jovenel Moïse “to discuss international cooperation and issues related to repatriation, as well as efforts to build Haiti’s maritime law enforcement capacity, and to encourage cooperation between the Dominican Republic and Haiti’s nascent border security unit.”

In their letter, the organizations provided Sec. Kelly with a list of individuals and organizations to talk to, and places to visit in order for him to have a better understanding of Haiti’s precarious conditions. Kelly’s four-hour trip already met with disappointment by advocacy groups who believe he should spend more time and visit more places like post-earthquake tent cities, cholera treatment centers or storm-ravaged areas that highlight the conditions of the country.

“That’s horrible,” said U.S. Rep. Frederica Wilson, D-Fla., “We asked him to go to Haiti and survey the conditions on the ground so that he can make an assessment as to Haiti’s ability to absorb deportees back to Haiti. This defeats the purpose.” similarly, Steven Forester,  IJDH’s Immigration Policy Coordinator, said: “Learning about the extraordinary blows Haitians have suffered requires an open mind and more than a quick ‘in-and-out’ visit to the palace.”

Call your representatives and senators to urge them to support TPS extension for Haitians. For more information on TPS extension, please visit our website.

Part of the article is shown below. Click HERE to read the full article.

Will four hours in Haiti influence Homeland Security Secretary Kelly on TPS?

Jacqueline Charles, Miami Herald

May 30, 2017

A week after the Department of Homeland Security gave thousands of Haitians just six more months to legally work and live in the United States, casting doubt on their fate after January, the department’s chief is headed to Haiti.

But don’t expect DHS Secretary John Kelly to visit any post-earthquake tent cities, cholera treatment centers, or the hurricane-ravaged and famine-plagued southern coast after he arrives in Port-au-Prince Wednesday afternoon.

Kelly’s visit, according to sources, will last just four hours, and he will remain on the grounds of the earthquake-destroyed National Palace. There, he will meet with Haitian President Jovenel Moïse and other senior government officials, and the head of the soon departing United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti, Sandra Honoré.

“That’s horrible,” said U.S. Rep. Frederica Wilson, D-Fla., who wrote to Kelly on May 22 inviting him to accompany her to Haiti after he opted to renew the Temporary Protected Status or TPS program for only an additional six months rather than the 18 months she and others had requested.

….

Click HERE to read the full article.