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U.N. Secretary-General Recommends ‘Gradual’ Withdrawal of Military Peacekeepers

March 17, 2017 - 07:44

U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres submitted a report detailing his suggestions for MINUSTAH’s gradual withdrawal from Haiti. He suggests phasing out the military component, and replacing it with a smaller mission to focus on strengthening the Haitian police force, the judiciary and human rights. Haiti is still in a period of transition, marked by a new and politically-inexperienced government and recovery from years of vulnerability to natural disasters. Guterres urges partners and U.N. member states to remain committed to supporting Haiti, leading up to and after MINUSTAH’s withdrawal, in order to ensure continued progress in Haiti.

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

U.N. secretary general: Time for peacekeeping mission in Haiti to end

Jacqueline Charles, Miami Herald

March 17, 2017

It’s time for the United Nations’ 2,300 blue-helmet soldiers in Haiti to head home after 13 years, the head of the world body recommended in a report to the U.N. Security Council this week.

U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres said that the peacekeeping operation in Haiti should close by Oct. 15. Guterres made the recommendation in a 37-page U.N. report obtained by the Miami Herald.

“The military component should undergo a staggered but complete withdrawal of the 2,370 personnel,” Guterres said of the U.N. Stabilization Mission in Haiti, which is more commonly known by its French acronym, MINUSTAH.

Guterres’ recommendation comes as President Donald Trump seeks to significantly cut the United States’ U.N. contribution with a particular focus on reductions in peacekeeping, environment and development. At the same time, the Trump administration is proposing to slash funding for the U.S. Agency for International Development, Haiti’s biggest donor.

Click HERE for the original article.

BAI and IJDH Request Cholera Meeting with New Secretary-General

March 16, 2017 - 19:29

March 16, 2017

H.E. Secretary-General António Guterres

United Nations

New York, N.Y. 10017

Dear Mr. Secretary-General,

We write to you on behalf of the Bureau des Avocats Internationaux (BAI) and the Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti (IJDH) to request a meeting to discuss the UN’s New Approach to Cholera in Haiti. As advocates for Haitian cholera victims, we congratulate you on your declared vision of building a culture of accountability in UN peacekeeping and ensuring effective remedies to victims of peacekeeping harms. The New Approach to Cholera in Haiti is a vital opportunity to realize that vision, and to ensure that the rights and dignity of victims are put first throughout the UN’s responses to peacekeeping harms. We are deeply concerned, however, that the current trajectory of fundraising and elaboration of the New Approach is betraying the UN’s promises of a meaningful and accountable response in Haiti.

For the past six years, BAI and IJDH have been the lead organizations advocating for remedies for victims of the cholera epidemic. We filed claims on behalf of 5,000 victims with the UN’s third-party claims process; represented Haitian and Haitian-American cholera victims in Georges v. United Nations in federal court in New York; and filed a complaint with the UN Special Procedures system that culminated in the report by Philip Alston, the Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights. We continue to engage in advocacy with the UN system and to work with some of the most affected communities in Haiti to share information, facilitate conversations and organize actions toward the realization of their rights.

Last December, we welcomed Secretary-General Ban’s apology to the Haitian people and the two-track plan officially launched before the General Assembly, particularly the commitment to a $200 million package of material assistance to those most affected by cholera. We celebrated the pledge to “put victims at the centre of the work and be responsive to their needs and concerns” and to “consult with victims and their families and communities” in developing the material assistance package. We were heartened by the commitment, reiterated in your letter to member states of February 21, 2017, to explore a multi-funded solution in the absence of sufficient voluntary contributions to finance the New Approach.

Your administration is now faced with the challenge of transforming the promises in the New Approach into concrete results for the people of Haiti. We are deeply concerned that three months after the launch of the New Approach, it remains woefully underfunded at only 2%. While we are sensitive to the political challenges of fundraising, we are disappointed that the Secretariat does not intend to present the New Approach to the resumed session of the Fifth Committee, and will instead continue to rely on other forms of voluntary contributions that show no promise of bringing the New Approach anywhere close to being fully funded. We are deeply concerned that if the UN continues on this path, the commitments made in the New Approach will not be honored, cholera in Haiti will continue unabated, and victims will not be able to access remedies.

Righting the UN’s wrongs in Haiti is a collective responsibility of the Organization as a whole, and the resourcing of the New Approach falls on Member States. But progress on this issue has always required courageous leadership by senior UN leadership to overcome reluctance in other parts of the UN system. We urge you to build on your recent letter to Member States, by making resolving the Haiti cholera situation one of your key priorities. Without strong, visible leadership from the Secretary-General, we fear that the New Approach will produce yet another broken promise in Haiti and only serve to deepen the stain on the Organization’s reputation.

It is also essential that the challenges of raising funds not impair a victim-centered elaboration of Track 2. We note that the Secretary-General’s December report pledges to further assess and report on the “feasibility, costs and risks” of direct payments to the families of those killed by cholera, and commits to doing so in consultation with victims. We are concerned that to date, the UN has been unwilling to engage victims directly in such a process, or produce an in-depth analysis of the options for a material assistance package. It is particularly concerning that there does not appear to be a concrete plan for further elaborating or consulting on the individual payment approach, given the long mobilization by victims in Haiti for compensation and its centrality to the right to a remedy.

The UN’s promised engagement with victims cannot wait until the approach is fully designed and funded—their voices must be heard throughout the process of building and elaborating the New Approach if Track 2 is to be accepted as a credible expression of regret in Haiti. A robust and transparent analysis of the options for providing material assistance, informed by victim views, would also greatly increase the likelihood that Track 2 is designed and implemented in a manner that is effective and well-received, while giving Member States and other donors the information they need to make funding decisions.

Since the announcement of a new UN response in August 2016 we have been pleased to engage continuously with the Track 2 team led by Mr. Ross Mountain. We value the critical work they have undertaken to develop the material assistance package. In these meetings, we have repeatedly expressed the above concerns. We now write to you to appeal for your personal resolve to ensure that the promise of a human rights-based and victim-centered New Approach becomes a reality. It would be a travesty of justice if the UN, after having made so much progress towards a just response, abandoned this opportunity to demonstrate accountability in Haiti.

The implementation of the New Approach, although challenging, presents your office with the chance to set a powerful example of a culture of accountability, resolve one of the most damaging episodes in the UN’s history, and end the world’s worst cholera epidemic while rebuilding the lives of thousands of Haiti’s most marginalized people. We strongly encourage you to exercise your leadership to maximize this opportunity, for the people of Haiti and for the United Nations. We are confident that your personal leadership on the matter will affect whether the UN keeps its promises to the Haitian people, and look forward to the opportunity to discuss this potential in person.

Please accept, Excellency, the assurances of our highest consideration.

Sincerely,

Mario Joseph, Av., Managing Attorney of Bureau des Avocats Internationaux

Brian Concannon, Jr., Esq., Executive Director of Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti

Click HERE for the pdf version of this letter.

Haitian Migrants in Mexico Look Towards the Future

March 16, 2017 - 11:03

Thousands of Haitian migrants currently reside in Mexican border towns, stuck in a state of limbo after their dreams of political asylum in the United States were crushed. Many are seeking to start new lives by building houses and seeking approval from the Mexican government to work. The large influx of Haitian migrants to the area has created lively Haitian communities, where many are looking to turn their temporary situations into permanent homes. However, a large number of migrants are still waiting for approval from Mexico’s National Migration Institute to stay in the country, and this uncertainty poses major threats to their security and stability in the future.

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

Stranded Haitian migrants seek new home on Mexico-U.S. border

Lizbeth Diaz, Reuters

March 16, 2017

Kneeling on a patch of flat earth with a shovel in hand, Thea Nonce Jean tips cement where a floor is about to be laid.

His house is the first to be built in a tiny Haitian community on the edge of Tijuana, Mexico, a city just south of the U.S. border.

“There’s room for around 100 families on these plots, that means around 400 people. They can’t keep living in the shelters,” said Gustavo Banda, a local pastor who gave up the land for the construction of the settlement.

Jean, a 32-year-old Haitian stranded thousands of miles from home after hopes of asylum in the United States faded last year, is one of hundreds from the poor Caribbean nation now seeking to make a life in Tijuana.

Click HERE for the original article.

20-0 Vote in Haitian Senate Approves Prime Minister

March 16, 2017 - 09:31

Haitian president Jovenel Moise’s pick for Prime Minister, Guy Lafontant, was approved in the Haitian Senate by a 20-0 vote, with 7 abstentions. This marks his first step forward in pursuit of office, after the Senate confirmation hearing was delayed last Monday. The physician has been criticized for his delinquent tax history; he paid five years worth of taxes only after being nominated. Next, the decision will move on to the lower house, which must also approve the designate before he is to take office.

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

Haiti’s Senate Approves Prime Minister-Designate

Voice of America

March 16, 2017

Haiti’s prime minister-designate has cleared the first major hurdle toward reaching office.

Jack Guy Lafontant was approved early Thursday in the Senate by a vote of 20-0, with seven lawmakers abstaining. He still has to be approved by the lower house and its 119 members. A date has not been set for the balloting.

The Senate vote came at roughly 6:30 a.m. local time, capping nearly 17 straight hours of deliberations about Lafontant’s record and his proposed policies.

Click HERE for the original article.

Haitian Senate Urges Immediate Return of Guy Philippe in New Resolution

March 15, 2017 - 11:48

The majority of the Haitian Senate voted in favor of a resolution that strongly condemns the arrest and extradition to the United States of elected Senator Guy Philippe. The resolution describes Philippe’s arrest as unconstitutional and cites an agreement dated October 17, 1997 as the source of the conflict. It urges the Haitian government to take the necessary steps for Philippe’s immediate return to Haiti and to assist Philippe and his family.

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

The Senate votes a resolution in favor of Guy Philippe

HaitiLibre

March 16, 2017

19 out of 24 Senators voted a resolution strongly condemning the arrest and extradition of their colleague, the elected Senator of Grand’Anse, Guy Philippe, on January 5 http://www.haitilibre.com/en/news-19721-haiti-flash-senator-guy-philippe-extradited-to-the-usa.html

In this resolution (proposed by Senators Carl Murat Cantave, Jean-Marie Ralph Féthière, Jean-Marie Salomon, Jean Renel Sénatus, Jean Rigaud Bélizaire, Kedlair Augustin, Pierre François Sildor and Richard Lénine Hervé Fourcand), the conscript fathers demand the return of Guy Philippe and all those who are illegally detained in the United States under the agreement of 17 October 1997.

Click HERE for the original article.

After Half-Apology for Cholera, UN Still Has Much to Do Towards Justice

March 13, 2017 - 17:33

Mennonite Central Committee, one of IJDH’s partners in the fight for cholera justice, describes some of the steps that led to then-Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s apology to the Haitian people on December 1, 2016. Although such an admission was unprecedented in UN history, it still only represented a half-apology, as Ban failed to mention the UN’s responsibility for bringing the cholera epidemic to Haiti in 2010. The UN also has yet to make good on the new cholera plan that Ban announced the same day as the apology. As Ban himself said that day, “words cannot replace action and material support.”

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

U.N. Witness: Half an apology

Kati Garrison, Mennonite World Review

March 13, 2017

On Dec. 1, the staff of the Mennonite Central Committee United Nations Office awaited the commencement of Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s address to the people of Haiti. After more than six years of advocacy efforts, we eagerly anticipated an apology for bringing cholera to the region.

In October 2010, only nine months after an earthquake devastated the capitol area of Haiti, a cholera outbreak hit the country. Since then, this disease, which formerly had no record in Haiti, has killed more than 9,300 Haitians and sickened more than 753,000.

A panel of experts reported that cholera emerged from bacterial contamination of the Meye Tributary System near the base of U.N. peacekeepers who “routinely disposed of untreated fecal waste in unprotected, open air pits . . . that caused a serious risk of overflow.”

Over the past six years, the MCC U.N. office has called for justice for Haiti’s cholera victims. Direct communication with MCC staff in Haiti guided these endeavors. Through collaboration with strong partners, such as the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti, we have pursued multiple avenues to a comprehensive response.

Click HERE for the full text.

12 Congresspeople Urge Trump Administration to Keep Haiti State Department Office

March 13, 2017 - 15:25

A bipartisan group of 12 lawmakers wrote to President Trump urging the administration to keep the State Department office dedicated to providing assistance to Haiti. This office has overseen $4.6 billion in humanitarian relief since it was created in 2010. The letter was spurred by the Trump administration’s current consideration of budget cuts to the State Department.

Lawmakers urge Trump administration to keep Haiti office

Kevin Freking, The Washington Post

March 13, 2017

WASHINGTON — A bipartisan group of lawmakers asked the Trump administration on Monday to maintain an independent State Department office dedicated to assisting poverty-stricken Haiti even as it weighs major budget cuts for the department.

The letter from a dozen lawmakers noted that Haiti has been struck by several natural and man-made disasters in recent years. A 2010 earthquake displaced more than 1 million Haitians and killed many thousands. A cholera epidemic ensued. Also, Hurricane Mathew killed about 1,000 Haitians last year and caused more than $1 billion in property damage.

“These events have created unique challenges that require designated State Department staff to coordinate relief to the Western Hemisphere’s most distressed economy,” said the lawmakers’ letter, which was spearheaded by Rep. Yvette Clarke, D-N.Y. The letter was signed by 10 Democrats and two Republicans, including Rep. Mia Love, R-Utah, a daughter of Haitian immigrants.

The lawmakers noted that the Haiti-focused office has overseen $4.6 billion in humanitarian relief since it was created following the 2010 earthquake. That aid has allowed for significant economic progress, they said, and is important to “maintain this progress and institutional knowledge at this critical juncture.”

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

 

Click HERE for the original article.

Migrants Face Impending Humanitarian Crisis Along Mexican Border

March 13, 2017 - 08:13

The situation along the northern border of Mexico is approaching a humanitarian crisis, experts say. Thousands of migrants lack shelter, food or any source of income, as uncertainty looms surrounding the possibility of asylum. Many individuals and civil associations are taking the initiative to launch pilot programs to help the dislocated migrants meet their basic needs.

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

Thousands Of Deported Haitians And Africans Wait To Cross The Border In Tijuana

Aída Chávez, Konbini

March 13, 2017

In recent years the number of deportees living in El Bordo zone that forms part of the drainage system from the Tijuana River located at the border with San Diego has escalated to catastrophic levels. According to the National Institute of Migration, this community of deported migrants is formed mainly of Haitian and African refugees, and between 2016 and 2017 reached almost 3,700 people – all stranded in Tijuana and hoping for re-entrance to the US.

The deportees, waiting to pass into the United States without documentation, are living in impoverished conditions where drugs (especially heroin) are only too easy to come by due to the presence of organized crime at the border.  

Click HERE for the original article.

UN Fundraising for Cholera Victims at 2% of Necessary Funds

March 12, 2017 - 11:15

After admitting the role of UN peacekeepers in causing Haiti’s deadly cholera outbreak, the UN is far behind in its goals to remedy the crisis. The ambitious $400 million plan would provide reparations to cholera victims, decrease the number of yearly cholera cases and invest in development projects to provide more clean drinking water and toilets. However, voluntary contributions to the campaign have constituted a mere 2% of necessary funds, sending a clear red flag that cholera victims may continue to wait for their promised reparations, or not receive them at all.

An excerpt is shown below. Click HERE for the full story.

UN Fund to Fight Cholera in Haiti at 2 Percent of Goal

Voice of America Learning English

March 12, 2017

Late last year, the United Nations promised to strengthen its fight against the spread of the deadly cholera disease. U.N. peacekeeping troops unknowingly brought the disease to Haiti seven years ago.

But, so far, the U.N. has raised just a small amount of the estimated $400 million it needs over the next two years to fight the disease.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres wrote that the voluntary funding received so far makes up only 2 percent of its goal. It has received around $8 million in funding.

The letter said that, as of February 8, Chile, France, India, Liechtenstein and South Korea together had promised almost $2 million. Outside of that fund, Japan has promised $2.6 million and Canada has committed about $6 million.

Guterres asked all member states to notify him by March 6 of their plans to help finance the campaign.

Click HERE for the full story.

UN Secretary-General Promises to Combat Sex Abuse and Exploitation

March 9, 2017 - 13:56

Haiti hosts a peacekeeping mission with one of the largest numbers of reported sexual exploitation and abuse. The UN Secretary-General is urging MINUSTAH to appoint a victims’ rights advocate to address the increase in reported cases. In a new report, he puts forth a four-part strategy to address policy changes regarding, among others, fraternization of peacekeepers, investigations into sexual abuse and victims’ rights.

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

UN will put sex abuse victims first, urge action on abusers

Edith Lederer, Associated Press

March 9, 2017

Secretary-General Antonio Guterres announced new measures Thursday to tackle the increase in sexual abuse and exploitation by U.N. peacekeepers and staff, calling for a new focus on victims and bans on alcohol and fraternization for troops.

The report released Thursday also calls on the General Assembly to back the U.N. chief’s call for financial penalties for the failure to investigate allegations and conclude the probe “in a timely manner” — and to put that money into the Trust Fund already established for victims. But it didn’t specify who would have to pay.

“I fully recognize that no magic wand exists to end the problem of sexual exploitation and abuse,” Guterres said. “Nevertheless, I believe that we can dramatically improve how the United Nations addresses this scourge.”

Click HERE to read the full article.

Controversial UN Peacekeeping Mission to Leave Haiti

March 9, 2017 - 08:10

The UN peacekeeping mission in Haiti, which is known by its French acronym MINUSTAH, is likely to significantly downsize its presence in Haiti in the near future. Over 2,000 soldiers from 19 contributing countries will be sent home, although the plans for foreign police officers and civilian staff remain uncertain. Some suggest that civilian staff will remain in Haiti alongside the UN police, an unprecedented move in UN peacekeeping history.

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

After lengthy mission, UN peacekeeper pullout looms in Haiti

David McFadden, Associated Press

March 9, 2017

A few dozen Brazilian troops wearing the blue helmets of the U.N. military force stroll through a dense warren of shacks in Haiti’s most notorious slum, facing no greater threat than a few barking dogs along some of the same streets where pitched gunbattles between gangs and peacekeepers used to be a daily occurrence.

Years of easygoing patrols like the one on this recent afternoon in the steamy seaside district of Cite Soleil is a clear sign to many both in Haiti and around the world that it’s time to wrap up a U.N. force that has been cycling through this Caribbean country since a 2004 rebellion engulfed Haiti in violence.

“We have a secure and stable environment,” Col. Luis Antonio Ferreira Marques Ramos, deputy commander of the Brazilian peacekeeper contingent, told The Associated Press. “The important thing is to leave in a good way.”

Click HERE for the original article.

UN Expert Condemns Severe Overcrowding in Haiti’s Prisons

March 9, 2017 - 06:59

Current prison conditions in Haiti compromise the basic human rights and health of approximately 10,500 incarcerated individuals. Haitian prisons are overcrowded by 644%, according to the UN expert on human rights, and many inmates barely have space to stand in Port-au-Prince’s prisons. The horrific sanitary conditions and severe overcrowding will likely lead to unnecessary deaths in the coming months.

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

UN expert flags ‘daily violations’ in Haiti prisons

Jamaica Observer

March 9, 2017

Inmates in Haiti are subjected to “daily violations” of their fundamental rights, mostly stemming from egregious prison overcrowding resulting from the overuse of lengthy preventive detentions, a UN official said Thursday.

Gustavo Gallon, a UN expert focusing on human rights, said the impoverished Caribbean nation often flouts UN incarceration standards of 4.5 metres (14.8 feet) of prison area per inmate.

By those norms, Haiti’s prisons are overcrowded by some 644 per cent, Gallon said at a press conference in Port-au-Prince on his eighth visit to the divided Caribbean island shared with the Dominican Republic.

Click HERE for the original article.

Komite Jistis pou Twa (3) Fanm Soud nan Kabare yo / Justice Committee for the Three (3) Deaf Women in Cabaret

March 8, 2017 - 12:46

Port-au Prince, le 08 Mars 2017

LETTRE OUVERTE A LA NATION HAITIENNE ET AU MONDE ENTIER

A l’approche de 18 mars 2017, date qui marquera le premier anniversaire de l’assassinat des trois (3) femmes sourdes à Cabaret (Sophonie GELIN, Vanessa PREVIL et Monique VINCENT),  le 18 mars 2016. Le KOMITE JISTIS POU 3 FANM SOUD KABARE YO tient à exprimer son indignation face au traitement discriminatoire et laxiste des autorités judiciaires, et au mépris inquiétant des instances se donnant pour tâche  de défendre les droits des femmes en Haïti, en particulier le Ministère à la Condition Féminine et aux Droits de la Femme, à l’égard de ce dossier.

En effet, selon les faits rapportés par le  Réseau National de Défense des Droits Humains (RNDDH) , dans son rapport publié le 26 Avril 2016[1], dans l’après-midi du 18 mars 2016  Sophonie GELIN, Vanessa PREVIL et Monique VINCENT ont eu des difficultés à  rentrer chez elles à Cabaret, en raison du fait que la route a été bloquée suite à l’effondrement du pont Duvivier, au niveau de la Route neuf. Par conséquent, le chauffeur de la camionnette qui les transportait n’a pas pu continuer le chemin, et elles étaient obligées de faire le reste du trajet à pied. Au cours de route, étant donné qu’il se faisait très tard, Vanessa PREVIL a invité ses amies (Sophonie GELIN et Monique VINCENT) à aller dormir chez sa nièce, Alexandre FLEURANVIL, qui vit avec sa famille élargie à Haut Damier. Il était aux environs de minuit quand Vanessa PREVIL et ses amies  sont arrivées devant la maison où habite sa nièce et se mettaient à frapper à la barrière, jusqu’à lancer des pierres en direction de la maison pour se faire entendre car elles ne pouvaient pas répondre à l’appel de Guerlande JEAN qui leur demande de s’identifier. Pensant qu’il s’agissait de loups garous, Guerlande Jean, la sœur du mari de la nièce de Vanessa GELIN, a appelé son compagnon Isemelord MORANCY qui n’était pas dans la maison à ce moment. C’est ainsi que ce dernier, accompagné d’autres agresseurs, ont assassiné  avec une hache et des pierres Sophonie GELIN, Vanessa PREVIL et Monique VINCENT. Puis, Leo RENEL, Ti Menmwen ainsi connu, avec l’aide d’autres personnes non identifiées, ont aidé Isemelord MORANCY  à transporter les cadavres via une brouette pour les jeter au bord de la route.

Dénoncée par l’opinion publique, la justice Haïtienne a été contrainte de se saisir de ce dossier afin de prononcer le mot du droit y relatif. Du coup, les proches des victimes et leurs avocats du Bureau des Avocats Internationaux (BAI), Maitre Mario Joseph et ses collègues, ont  pris le soin de respecter les procédures pouvant déterminer les conditions dans lesquelles les victimes ont été lâchement assassinées. Ainsi, ils ont pu obtenir le constat d’un juge et  une autopsie, en dépit des difficultés rencontrées, tout en s’assurant que le dossier soit acheminé au niveau du cabinet d’instruction. Malheureusement, près d’un an après cet assassinat odieux, le juge d’instruction chargé de ce dossier  tarde encore à rendre son Ordonnance de clôture, alors que le juge aurait dû remettre son rapport dans trois (3) mois d’après la loi haïtienne. Une situation très  préoccupante pour le KOMITE JISTIS POU 3 FANM SOUD KABARE YO, quand on sait les problèmes de discrimination liés à la condition des personnes handicapées en Haïti et dans ce cas très précis, qui sont également des femmes, dans une société foncièrement sexiste.

En ce sens, le KOMITE JISTIS POU 3 FANM SOUD KABARE YO  ne comprend pas le silence du Ministère à la Condition Féminine et aux Droits de la Femme, qui  se donne pour tâche de promouvoir l’équité de genre et le respect du droit de la femme haïtienne.

le KOMITE JISTIS POU 3 FANM SOUD KABARE YO attire l’attention de l’opinion publique sur le fait que le policier Nixon ALTENOR qui habite une maison derrière celle où les faits se sont produits et avait conseillé aux agresseurs d’aller jeter les cadavres des victimes, n’a pas été invité voire auditionné par le juge instructeur, ainsi que Madame Rosemarie EXAYUS qui était dans la maison lors de l’assassinat. A noter également, Ismelord MORENCY, denoncé par la clameur publique et sa conjointe, Guerlande JEAN, au Cabinet d’Instruction ; et Leo RENEL, dénoncé  aussi par sa conjointe, Djouly JOSEPH, au Cabinet d’Instruction et TI MENMWEN ainsi connu  qui ont tous aidé Ismelord MORENCY  à transporter les cadavres des victimes, n’ont été ni recherchés ni auditionnés par le Juge instructeur.

Enfin, le KOMITE JISTIS POU 3 FANM SOUD KABARE YO, tout en exigeant justice et réparation, tient à exprimer d’abord ses indignations quant à la manière de proceder par le Juge Instructeur, laissant  présager une instruction bâclée et d’ailleurs qui ne respecte pas le délai imparti pour rendre son Ordonnance de clôture et ensuite, ses sympathies aux proches des victimes, principalement aux six (6) enfants de Sophonie GELIN qui sont aujourd’hui orphelins de leur mère, et qui font face à toutes sortes de difficultés à caractère socio-économiques ; et à la communauté des personnes handicapées en général.

Unissons – nous pour que justice soit faite aux trois victimes et à leurs parents !

Pour le KOMITE JISTIS POU 3 FANM SOUD KABARE YO :

Gary VINCENT, Représentant des parents des victimes  Tél : 3666 9308

Jonas CADET, Pésident de la Fédération Nationale des Sourds d’Haïti Tél : 4931 7954

Mario JOSEPH,  Avocat  et Responsable du Bureau des Avocats Internationaux (BAI) Tél : 3701 9879

CC :        -Madame Florence ELIE, Office du Protecteur du Citoyen (OPC)
-Madame Marie Denise CLAUDE, Ministère à la condition Féminine et aux Droits de la Femme    (MCFDF)
-Maitre Camille Junior EDOUARD, Ministère de la Justice et de la Sécurité Publique (MJSP)
-Monsieur Gustavo GALLON, Expert indépendant des Nations Unies sur la Situation des Droits  Humains    en Haïti
-Jose de Jesus Orozca Hernandez, Rapporteur Spécial de la Commission Interaméricaine des Droits  Humains (CIDH)

[1] Réseau National de Défense des Droits Humains (RNDDH), Assassinat de trois sourdes-muettes par des proches d’une des victimes: Le RNDDH exige le jugement des coupables, Rapport/A16/No02,  26 avril 2016

 

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Port-au Prince, March 8, 2017

OPEN LLETTER TO THE HAITIAN NATION AND TO THE WORLD

As March 18 of 2017 approaching, the date will mark the first anniversary of the murder of three deaf women in Cabaret (Sophonie GELIN, Vanessa PREVIL and Monique VINCENT) on 18 March 2016. The KOMITE JISTIS POU 3 FANM SOUD KABARE YO expresses his indignation at the discriminatory and lax treatment of the judicial authorities and at the disquieting disregard for the bodies entrusted with the task of defending the rights of women in Haiti, in particular the Ministry for the Status of Women and Human Rights. Woman, with regard to this case.

According to facts reported by the National Network for the Defense of Human Rights (RNDDH), in its report published on April 26 2016, in the afternoon of March 18 2016, Sophonie GELIN, Vanessa PREVIL and Monique VINCENT had difficulties returning to their home in Cabaret, because the road was blocked following the collapse of the Duvivier bridge, at the level of route nine. As a result, the driver of the pickup truck carrying them could not keep going on the road, and they were obliged to do the rest of the road walking. On the way, given that it was very late, Vanessa PREVIL invited her friends (Sophonie GELIN and Monique VINCENT) to go sleep over her niece, Alexandre FLEURANVIL, who lives with her extended family in Haut Damier. It was around midnight when Vanessa PREVIL and her friends arrived in front of the house where her niece lives and began to knock at the barrier, throw stones in the direction of the house to be heard because they could not respond to the request of Guerlande JEAN who asks them to identify themselves. Thinking it was werewolves, Guerlande Jean, the sister of Vanessa GELIN’s niece’s husband, called her companion Isemelord MORANCY who was not in the house at that time. Thus, the latter, accompanied by other aggressors, assassinated with an ax and stones Sophonie GELIN, Vanessa PREVIL and Monique VINCENT. Then, Leo RENEL, Ti Menmwen as well known, with the help of other unidentified persons, helped Isemelord MORANCY to transport the corpses via a wheelbarrow to throw them by the roadside.

Denounced by public opinion, Haitian justice was obliged to seize this case in order to pronounce the word of the right relating to it. As a result, the relatives of the victims and their lawyers from the International Lawyers’ Office (BAI), Mario Joseph and his colleagues, were careful to respect the procedures that can determine the conditions under which the victims were cowardly murdered. Thus, they were able to obtain a judge’s report and an autopsy, despite the difficulties encountered, while ensuring that the case was forwarded to the investigative office. Unfortunately, almost one year after this odious assassination, the investigating judge in charge of this case still delays in making his Closing Order, whereas the judge should have submitted his report within three (3) months according to the Haitian law. A very worrying situation for the KOMITE JISTIS POU 3 FANM SOUD KABARE YO, when we know the problems of discrimination related to the condition of disabled people in Haiti and in this very specific case, who are also women, in a fundamentally sexist society.

In this sense, the KOMITE JISTIS POU 3 FANM SOUD KABARE YO does not understand the silence of the Ministry of Feminine Condition and Women Rights, whose task is to promote gender equity and respect for the right of the Haitian woman.

KOMITE JISTIS POU 3 FANM SOUD KABARE YO draws the public’s attention to the fact that policeman Nixon ALTENOR, who lives in a house behind the one where the incident occurred, advised the attackers to go and throw the corpses victims, was not invited or even heard by the investigating judge, as well as Mrs Rosemarie EXAYUS who was in the house during the assassination. Note also Ismelord MORENCY, denounced by the public clamor and his spouse, Guerlande JEAN, to the Cabinet of Instruction; And Leo RENEL, also denounced by his spouse, Djouly JOSEPH, to the Investigative Office and TI MENMWEN as known who all helped Ismelord MORENCY transport the corpses of the victims, were neither sought nor heard by the Judge instructor.

Lastly, the KOMITE JISTIS POU 3 FANM SOUD KABARE YO, while demanding justice and reparation, wishes to express his indignation at first as to the manner of proceeding by the Judge Instructor, suggesting a sloppy and, Not the deadline for issuing its Closing Order and secondly, its sympathies to the relatives of the victims, mainly to the six (6) children of Sophonie GELIN who are now orphaned by their mother and who face all sorts of socio-economic difficulties; and at the general disability community.

Let us unite for justice to be done to the three victims and their parents!

For the KOMITE JISTIS POU 3 FANM SOUD KABARE YO:

Gary VINCENT, Representative of the parents of the victims Tel: 3666 9308

Jonas CADET, President of the National Federation of the Deaf of Haiti Tel: 4931 7954

Mario JOSEPH, Lawyer and Head of the Office of International Lawyers (BAI) Tel: 3701 9879

 

CC: -Mrs. Florence ELIE, Office of the Protector of Citizen (OPC)
-Madame Marie Denise CLAUDE, Ministry for the Status of Women and Women’s Rights (MCFDF)
-Maitre Camille Junior EDOUARD, Ministry of Justice and Public Security (MJSP)
-Mr. Gustavo Gallon, United Nations Independent Expert on the Situation of Human Rights in Haiti
-Jose de Jesus Orozca Hernandez, Special Rapporteur of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR)

Food Insecurity Plagues Haiti in Hurricane Matthew Aftermath

March 7, 2017 - 10:32

In the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Matthew, over 800,000 Haitians were left without food, and approximately 280,000 are still highly food insecure. The storm destroyed agriculture, livestock and homes; many Haitians lost their entire livelihoods to the massive storm. Its effects will also continue to plague the country in years to come; 2/3 of jobs in Haiti are based in agriculture, and the country is dependent upon subsistence farming to generate food for its citizens. However, droughts leading up to the hurricane caused food production to already fall behind necessary levels, and Haiti is ranked the 7th most vulnerable country to climate change. Significant policy changes must address Haiti’s chronic food insecurity and vulnerability to natural disasters in order to alleviate the food shortages facing the country.

Part of the report is shown below. Click HERE for the original report.

Special Report: Failed policies in Haiti fuel a post-hurricane food crisis

Helena Carpio and Magnus Boding Hansen, IRIN

March 7, 2017

The church’s roof peeled off an hour before dawn, killing three of the villagers sheltering under it and forcing the rest into a flooded field where they sat hand-in-hand waiting for the hurricane to pass. The next morning, they took stock. Most people had lost their homes, livestock and all their crops.

Hurricane Matthew, which made landfall on the southwestern tip of Haiti on 4 October last year, was the strongest storm to hit the country in 52 years. It killed some 1,332 people, according to local officials, and, in the immediate aftermath, left 800,000 more without food.

Five months later, the UN estimates that 280,000 people are “highly food insecure”, and hard-hit coastal villages like Côteaux still resemble bomb craters full of washed-up garbage, rubble and felled coconut trees.

“Our politicians have failed,” says 51-year-old farmer Serdé Ranodio, after a service held at a small cement-block house, built behind the ruins of the village church.

Although Ranodio’s family now sleeps on the bare ground of a hastily erected tin shack, his daughters attended the service in polished patent leather shoes and with red bows in their hair. Ranodio helped clear the main road in the days after the hurricane to allow aid to come in, but other than some chaotic food and tarp distributions, not much help arrived.

Click HERE to read the full report.

Hurricane Matthew Cost Haiti 32% of GDP, $2.7 Billion

March 6, 2017 - 09:19

A new report highlights the devastating effects of Hurricane Matthew in Haiti, and the critical need for support to improve disaster risk management in the country. As a direct result of the hurricane, Haiti lost $2.7 billion dollars, a crippling 32% of its GDP. The UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Disaster Risk Reduction now urges support for a 3-year recovery plan that would total $2.72 billion.

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

UN calls for support to recovery plan as Haiti loses $2.7 billion in Hurricane Matthew

United Nations News Centre

March 6, 2017

The United Nations office dedicated to disaster risk reduction today called for urgent support to improve disaster risk management in Haiti, following a damage assessment that shows the country lost $2.7 billion, or 32 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP), as a result of Hurricane Matthew six months ago.

“Hurricane Matthew revealed disturbing truths about least developed countries which lack the capacity to respond adequately to climate change and the rising intensity and frequency of weather-related disasters,” said the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Disaster Risk Reduction, Robert Glasser in a press release.

His call came on the eve of the 5th Regional Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction in the Americas, which opens in Montreal, Canada, tomorrow.

Click HERE for the original article.

Update on Hurricane Matthew Aftermath

March 4, 2017 - 08:04

Five months ago, a category-4 hurricane struck Haiti and created a devastating humanitarian emergency, affecting 2.1 million in the country. Emergency response has provided over 1 million people with food assistance, although there remain many critical needs that must still be addressed. Now, emergency response is coming to an end and shifting its focus to promote recovery in all sectors.

Part of the report is shown below. Click HERE for the original report.

Hurricane Matthew – Situation Report No. 35 (04 March 2017)

ReliefWeb

March 4, 2017

Situation Overview: Category-4 Hurricane Matthew violently struck southwestern Haiti on 4 October 2016 bringing heavy rainfall in the south, southeast and the north-west, and creating the largest humanitarian emergency in the country since the 2010 earthquake. It caused considerable damage to housing and agricultural sectors. The Directorate of Civil Protection of Haiti (DPC) reported that over five hundred people lost their lives and hundreds were injured. As of 10 October 2016 an estimated 175,500 people were displaced and scattered in 224 temporary shelters and other buildings. Of the 2.1 million people affected by the hurricane, nearly 1.4 million were considered to be in need of humanitarian assistance, including 800,000 children (UNICEF) and 364,000 women and girls (UNFPA). In close coordination with the Government of Haiti and other partners, the Haiti Humanitarian Country Team launched a Flash Appeal on 10 October 2016 seeking US$139 million in emergency funding to meet the urgent humanitarian needs of 750,000 people, including 315,000 children, for three months.

Almost five months after the hurricane, the emergency response is phasing down. Despite the challenging context, in the first five months after it struck humanitarian partners reached over 1,000,000 people through food and Non-Food Items (NFI) distributions, water and sanitation services, health care, the rehabilitation of schools, and economic revitalization and cash for work activities, among other response efforts.

The response to outstanding needs and early recovery activities has been incorporated into the Haiti 2017-2018 Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) framework launched on 6 February 2017. The HRP seeks US$297.5 million to assist 2.4 million people with critical needs, including 1.4 million people affected by Hurricane Matthew (55% of the HRP budget).

Click HERE for the original report.

Haitian Politician Seeks Political Immunity for U.S. Drug Charges

March 3, 2017 - 07:29

Recently-elected Haitian politician Guy Philippe was arrested only days before he was to officially take office, and Philippe’s attorney argues that he cannot be prosecuted due to his status as a foreign state official. Philippe now seeks political immunity during the six years of his term in the Senate. He has pleaded not guilty to drug smuggling and money laundering conspiracy charges, and he currently awaits trial scheduled for April in the United States.

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

Haitian Politician, Coup Leader Seeks Immunity From US Case

Associated Press

March 3, 2017

A former Haitian coup leader who was recently elected to that country’s Senate is seeking immunity from U.S. prosecution in a drug case.

Court documents recently filed by Guy Philippe’s attorney contend he cannot be prosecuted because he’s a foreign state official due to his Nov. 20 election to the Haitian Senate. Philippe was arrested four days before he was to officially take office on Jan. 9.

Click HERE for the original article.

Death of Former President Préval Shocks Nation

March 2, 2017 - 22:36

The death of former Haitian President René Préval comes as a shock to many. The political figure served two presidential terms, from 1996-2001 and 2006-2011, and he was the incumbent during the devastating 2010 earthquake. Opinions may vary, but President Préval certainly set precedent for the nation; in 2011, he was the first Haitian president to peacefully transition power to the opposition party, and he is the only president to have served two full terms in office. His death comes at a time when many questions are still left unanswered regarding the future of Haitian politics.

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

Rene Préval, two-time president of Haiti, dead at 74

Jacqueline Charles, Miami Herald

March 3, 2017

The evening before he died, two-time Haitian President René Garcia Préval, who led Haiti during food riots and its worst natural disaster, called his wife, Elisabeth, who was visiting Coral Gables. He had just returned from paying his respects after the passing of a friend, and had discovered a new restaurant, he told her.

Préval, who had come to prefer the quiet of home to public restaurants in his post-presidency years, was excited about his new Italian find, and he couldn’t wait to take his wife there, Elisabeth Delatour Préval said to the Miami Herald.

On Friday, she remembered the conversation: “He asked, when am I coming home?”

Préval died Friday at their home in Laboule, a neighborhood in the hills of Port-au-Prince. He was 74. The cause of death has not been confirmed but friends close to him, many of whom gathered at the hospital where his body lay on a metal gurney, say it was likely the result of a heart attack.

Click HERE for the original article.

UN Struggles to Fund Cholera Plan or Consult Victims

March 1, 2017 - 13:10

In December 2016, when then-Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon apologized to Haitians for the UN cholera epidemic for the first time, he also announced a $400 million plan to reduce cholera and aid cholera victims. So far, the plan is only about 2% funded from voluntary contributions and pledges from UN member states. The new Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, has asked all member states to notify him of their intentions regarding the plan by March 6. IJDH Director Brian Concannon emphasizes that despite funding concerns, the UN must consult with cholera victims and their families as it had originally promised. So far, there has been no word of these consultations beginning.

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

UN Fund to Fight Cholera in Haiti Hovers at 2 Percent of Goal

Carol Guensburg, VOA News

March 1, 2017

Late last year, the United Nations vowed to intensify the fight against a deadly cholera outbreak its peacekeepers inadvertently carried to Haiti.

To date, however, the UN has raised just a small fraction of the estimated $400 million needed over the next two years to wage that campaign, according to a letter from the new secretary-general.

“The voluntary contributions that have been received are not yet sufficient and constitute only 2 percent of the amount,” Antonio Guterres wrote in the letter sent last week to permanent representatives of the international body.

That would mean about $8 million. The letter said that as of February 8, five member states — Chile, France, India, Liechtenstein and South Korea — collectively had pledged almost $2 million to a U.N. multi-partner trust fund. Outside of that fund, Japan has promised $2.6 million and Canada has committed about $6 million.

 

Click HERE for the full text.

Scams at U.S.-Mexico Border Target Haitian Migrants

March 1, 2017 - 07:57

Resumed mass deportations of non-criminal Haitian detainees leave migrants on the U.S.-Mexico with no where to turn; they face deportation in the States, possible persecution in Haiti and limited economic opportunities in the border towns they currently reside. This state of limbo leaves them vulnerable to scammers and human traffickers, who seem to provide a false sense of hope and security. Costly scams leave many migrants even more desperate, often resulting in prostitution, smuggling and other risky behaviors to survive.

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

30,000 Haitian migrants on the Mexican border targeted by scammers

HaitiLibre

March 1, 2017

Ariadna Estevez, a researcher at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), who visited of refugees in Tijuana, Baja California, says that the majority of people trying to enter the United States today are of Haitian origin.

Estevez recalled that the Haitians began arriving in Tijuana in May 2016 and less than a year later, estimated that they are about 30,000, stranded at the border. Many had fled to Brazil after the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, but due to the economic crisis in Brazil, they are now trying to reach the United States.

Estevez warns the Haitians on a flyer in circulation that has attracted her attention. This flyer with the logo of a company called “Clearport” shows photos of people wearing Canadian flags, with the title “If you speak French, we have an option for you […]” and explains “[…] If you want to find a job in Canada, give us a call or send your CV […] Travel costs are paid by the company.”

Click HERE for the original article.