Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti

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UN Secretary-General Asks Member State Cholera Commitments by March 6

February 26, 2017 - 14:19

On December 1, 2016, the United Nations launched a new $400 million approach to cholera in Haiti. The plan includes two track: Track One entails better efforts to reduce cholera, improve access to care and treatment, and address the water and sanitation systems. Track Two is material assistance and support to Haitians affected by cholera, including consultations with cholera victims and their communities. Unfortunately, the plan is only 2% funded so far. Secretary-General António Guterres sent a letter to all UN member states asking them to express their intention to make a voluntary contribution (or not) by March 6.

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

Haiti – Cholera : Funding Failure for the $400M UN Funds


February 26, 2017

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres has asked Member States to inform him by 6 March if they intend to make voluntary financial contributions to the implementation of the new UN plan to counter cholera in Haiti, his spokesman said today.

“Earlier this week the Secretary-General sent a letter to all Member States,” in that regard, the Spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric told reporters at the regular daily briefing at UN Headquarters in New York.

“As you are aware, under the new approach , the UN is intensifying support to the Haitian government in building sound water, sanitation and health systems – the best long-term defence against cholera and other water-borne diseases – and also developing a support package to provide material assistance and support to Haitians most directly affected by cholera.”


Click HERE for the full text.

Political Leaders Urge Extension of TPS for Haitians

February 26, 2017 - 09:28

New York City Council Member Dr. Eugene, along with a Haitian community organization, have launched a petition to extend Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Haitians. Originally granted in 2010 after the earthquake, TPS for Haitians is now set to expire July 22, 2017. Since last year, legislators like Congresswoman Yvette Clarke and Congressman Alcee Hastings have been urging a halt to deportations of undocumented Haitians and extension of TPS. If this new petition receives 100,000 signatures, it will require an official response from the White House.

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

Haitian legislator, US group urge Trump to renew TPS for Haitians

Jamaica Observer

February 26, 2017

NEW YORK (CMC) — A Haitian legislator and a community-based group have launched a petition urging United States President Donald Trump and the US Department of Homeland Security to extend Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Haitians living illegally in the United States

In the petition released on Saturday, New York City Council Member Dr. Mathieu Eugene, who represents the 40th Council District in Brooklyn, and the Brooklyn-based Haitian-American Council for Unity and Empowerment (HACUE) outlined the challenges facing Haiti including the cholera outbreak, the devastation from multiple natural disasters and efforts to stabilize government institutions.

“We, the undersigned, request that the President of the United States and the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, hereby extend the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Haiti as a humanitarian gesture that will alleviate the country’s socioeconomic burden and ease its recovery,” the petition noted.


Click HERE for the full text.

Survival, Perseverance and Hope: the Five-Year-Old Who Survived the Earthquake

February 23, 2017 - 08:22

Monley Elysee was thrust into the world spotlight after the 2010 earthquake in Haiti. The five-year-old boy survived, alone, for eight days amidst the rubble and destruction of the earthquake that killed 10 of his family members. With support from Worldwide Orphans, Monley has since been able to attend school and dreams of becoming a doctor. The earthquake, the cholera epidemic and Hurricane Matthew have orphaned many children in Haiti, and, according to UNICEF, 25% of children live separately from their parents. However, Monley’s story shows that hope and progress is possible, and recovery continues every day in Haiti.

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

He survived eight days in the Haitian rubble. But what happened to Monley?


February 23, 2017

Haiti’s colossal earthquake of 2010 leveled entire neighborhoods, and the capital Port au Prince was a reeling. Rescue arrived too late for many and medical resources were scarce for the survivors. An estimated 200,000 were dead.

And yet, nearly eight days after the earth shook, a young boy emerged, gasping from the rubble. Lungs filled with dust and exhausted, five-year-old Monley Elysee was alive against all odds. Both his parents had perished in the quake, his mother lay dead meters away, but Elysee had survived, huddled under a metal table — a treacherous crawl space bent and buckled by the weight of concrete above it.

It was up to his uncle Gary to bring Elysee to the hospital in downtown Port au Prince for urgent attention. At the entrance the duo encountered CNN’s Anderson Cooper and crew, reporting on the aftermath of the earthquake.

Click HERE for the original article.

How will Trump administration handle international aid?

February 22, 2017 - 15:44

So far, it is not yet clear how the new administration will approach aid to foreign countries, given Donald Trump’s nationalist tendencies and conflicting views within the Republican party: Some Republicans, like George W. Bush with the President’s Emergency Plan for aids Relief, believe in extensive assistance to the poor around the world while others want to cut foreign aid budgets. So far, remarks related to international aid haven’t been promising. In Haiti, issues like the still-ongoing recovery from Hurricane Matthew and the continuing cholera epidemic remind us of the crucial role of assistance from the U.S.

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


Steve Coll, The New Yorker

February 22, 2017

Last November, soon after the election of Donald Trump, President Barack Obama mentioned Haiti while commenting on the humanitarian aspects of American foreign policy. “Russia is a very significant military power, but they’re not worrying right now about how to rebuild after a hurricane in Haiti,” Obama noted. “We are. . . . That’s a burden we should carry proudly.”

It’s not evident that we will, at least for as long as Trump is in the White House. “America First” may be a basis from which to attempt Great Power strategies and realpolitik bargaining, but it is not a slogan that offers hope to countries languishing at the bottom of world poverty tables. (Haiti ranks a hundred and sixty-third out of a hundred and eighty-eight countries in the United Nations Human Development Index, which considers income, life expectancy, educational attainment, and health measures.)

Last week, on a visit to Haiti, when I asked human-rights activists, filmmakers, and writers about Trump’s election, they sounded as disoriented as many Americans seem to be. This is so even though Haitians have been schooled in cynicism about Washington. United States Marines carried out an oppressive occupation of the country from 1915 to 1934. During the Cold War, with a few exceptions, American Presidents accommodated successive, murderous Duvalier regimes, until Jean-Claude (Baby Doc) Duvalier was overthrown, in 1986. More recently, following the earthquake of 2010, which killed more than two hundred thousand people and left a million and a half homeless, an outpouring of American aid provided critical resources for recovery, but the effort failed to deliver on many fronts and seems to have left the country’s political economy even more riddled with corruption than it was before.

Click HERE for the full article.

BAI works directly with cholera victims to ensure justice from the UN

February 22, 2017 - 13:34

After publicly apologizing for the UN’s role in the cholera epidemic in Haiti, actions must now be taken to remedy the injustice. The UN has promised a total of $400 million over two years: $200 million in reparations to the families and communities affected by the deadly outbreak, and $200 million to improve water distribution and sanitation. Bureau des Avocats Internationaux (BAI) is committed to seeing the reparations reach their intended beneficiaries. BAI is working directly with victims to provide them with training and organizational skills, so that they understand their options and receive the reparations that they deserve.

Part of the article is shown below. Click HERE for the original article, and read an English translation HERE.

Les victimes du choléra se préparent à recevoir l’indemnisation promise par les Nations unies

Le Nouvelliste

February 22, 2017

Après les excuses publiques de l’ancien secrétaire général des Nations unies Ban Ki-moon, la réparation pour les victimes semble être l’ultime étape à franchir. 800 000 est le nombre fatidique de personnes infectées de choléra entre octobre 2010 et 2016, à côté des 10 000 morts. De « nouvelles séries d’actions significatives en réponse à cette crise » sont envisagées par l’ONU après avoir reconnu pour la première fois depuis le début de l’épidémie de choléra avoir occasionné cette contamination.

Click here for the full article in French and English.

President Moise selects Dr. Lafontant as his pick for prime minister

February 22, 2017 - 13:00

Dr. Jack Guy Lafontant has confirmed that he is President Moise’s pick for prime minister of Haiti. Lafontant is not well-known in Haitian politics, but is a close friend and supporter of the new president. The selection comes as a surprise to many, and the doctor now awaits official confirmation from parliament.

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

Obscure doctor tapped to lead Haiti as prime minister

Jacqueline Charles, Miami Herald

February 22, 2017

An obscure physician who heads the Petionville Rotary Club has been designated as Haiti’s next prime minister by President Jovenel Moïse.

Dr. Jack Guy Lafontant, a gastroenterologist and member of the American College of Physicians, confirmed to the Miami Herald that he had been tapped and was “awaiting official confirmation.” Cholzer Chancy, the president of the Lower Chamber of Deputies, also confirmed he had been informed by Moïse that his choice was Lafontant.

The choice of Lafontant comes as a surprise, and after an hours-long meeting Wednesday between Moïse and about 40 lawmakers at the presidential palace. Moïse had hoped to find a consensus for his No. 2, and at one point offered up the name of insurance company owner Olivier Barrau. Barrau, however, was rejected by lawmakers, sources say.

Click HERE for the original article.

Japan Joins Cholera Efforts with a $2.6 Million Grant

February 22, 2017 - 07:15

Japan has pledged a $2.6 million grant to the United Nations Children’s Fund to support its program to reduce cholera-related deaths in Haiti. The grant will be used to further spread awareness about hygiene and cholera prevention, conduct surveys, and improve case management and rapid response teams on the island. Although coordinated efforts have helped reduce suspected cholera cases by 90%, 41,000 suspected cases were reported in 2016. The epidemic in Haiti has affected an estimated 788,000 people and continues to be the largest in the western hemisphere.

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

Haiti: New grant to help UNICEF strengthen efforts to tackle cholera

UN News Centre

February 22, 2017

A new grant from the Government of Japan will allow the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) to help reduce cholera-related morbidity and mortality in Haiti in 2017 and 2018, the UN agency said in a news release.

“With this gift from the Japanese people, we will strengthen the axes of the fight against cholera in the protection of the Haitian population, especially children,” said Marc Vincent, UNICEF Representative in Haiti, welcoming the contribution.

“Japan is a key partner and we thank the Japanese people for their continued support,” he added.

Haiti has been dealing with a cholera outbreak since October 2010, some nine months after it suffered a devastating earthquake. The outbreak has affected an estimated 788,000 people and claimed the lives of more than 9,000. Concerted national and international efforts, backed by the United Nations, have resulted in a 90 per cent reduction in the number of suspected cases.

Click HERE for the original article.

Mass Funeral for Haitians Who Died from Deplorable Prison Conditions

February 21, 2017 - 13:29

This article describes the scene at and context for a mass funeral the Port-au-Prince chief prosecutor put on for people who died at the National Penitentiary. Already known for the worst overcrowding in the world, Haiti’s prisons are facing even more of a hunger and malnutrition crisis lately. The majority of the prisoners have never been seen by a judge, including most of the ones in the mass funeral. Haiti’s government has a responsibility to offer basic services to its prisoners, and the problem of pre-trial detention urgently needs to be addressed.

Mass funeral held for 20 Haitians who died in dismal prison

David McFadden, ABC News

February 21, 2017

Relatives wailed in grief or stared stoically as flowers were placed on 20 caskets at a mass funeral for the latest group of inmates who died miserably in Haiti’s largest prison, most without ever having been convicted of any crime.

Marie Lumane Laurore broke into piercing screams as she collapsed in a church pew before the coffin of her son, Eddy. The 30-year-old inmate fell ill with tuberculosis and severe anemia while he was jailed in Haiti’s filthy and overcrowded National Penitentiary on a rape charge.

“Jesus, give me back my son! He was my only boy,” she sobbed, banging her fists against a wooden pew in a Catholic church in downtown Port-au-Prince.

Emotions that had been dammed up, in some cases for years, over their loved ones’ lengthy detentions broke in a crescendo of grief as a priest called out the names of the dead.

It was the third funeral service for National Penitentiary inmates organized by Port-au-Prince chief prosecutor Danton Leger since April. It came a day after The Associated Press published an exclusive report on overcrowding, malnutrition and infectious disease inside Haiti’s lockups.

Recurrent shortages of food and medicine as well as infectious diseases that flourish in packed Haitian lockups have led to an upsurge in malnutrition-related illnesses and other preventable diseases.

U.N. Special Representative Sandra Honore said in a statement that 42 detainee deaths so far this year are linked to “the worsening of cruel, inhuman and degrading” conditions. She called on Haitian authorities to urgently improve the situation, saying it was “the responsibility of the state to ensure respect for the rights of detainees and access to basic services.”

Similar calls have gone unheeded for years and dismal prison conditions worsened over the last year as a caretaker government was in power.

Ludjy Belizaire said she visited her incarcerated 25-year-old brother Etzer as often as she could over the last year, especially when he started complaining that he was weak with hunger and getting sick. He began shedding weight rapidly.

“He got skinnier and skinnier. After a while, he didn’t even look like himself anymore,” she said, adding that her brother was jailed for six years on illegal gun charges without ever going before a judge.

The 22-year-old woman said that even if her older brother had broken the law he didn’t deserve to be jailed for years without a conviction in unsanitary, desperate conditions.

Inmates at the National Penitentiary?and other lockups are crammed shoulder-to-shoulder in cellblocks so overcrowded they have to sleep in makeshift hammocks suspended from the ceiling or squeeze into shared bunks. New arrivals jostle for space on filthy floors where inmates on lockdown 22 hours a day are forced to defecate into plastic bags in the absence of latrines.

Prison authorities say they try their best to meet inmates’ needs, but receive insufficient funds from the state to buy food and cooking fuel, leading to deadly cases of malnutrition-related ailments such as thiamine deficiency and anemia.

Haiti’s penal system is by far the globe’s most congested, with a staggering 454 percent occupancy level, according to the most recent ranking by the University of London’s Institute for Criminal Policy Research.

The large majority of Haiti’s 11,000 inmates have not been sentenced and are awaiting trial.

Laurore’s grief exploded into anger at Haitian politicians after two lower-house lawmakers who attended the mass funeral promised parliamentary investigations into precisely how the men died.

“This is a country without justice!” she yelled, as a few relatives threw their arms around her.


Click HERE for the original article.

Action Alert: Join the Haiti Deportations Response Network

February 21, 2017 - 11:02

February 21, 2017

Dear Friend,

Hundreds of detained Haitian asylum-seekers and migrants, including women and children, are being deported weekly from detention centers across the United States in violation of their rights. They need your help urgently.

The Department of Homeland Security is currently holding about 4,000 detainees in facilities throughout the US. More than 2500 Haitian detainees have already been deported, and around 270 more are being deported each week. Lawyers, community activists and detainees’ relatives have reported a range of prejudicial procedural problems in their asylum processing, including no lawyers, weak or non-existent interpretation and the use of apparently fabricated statements. Most of the detainees are held in remote facilities far from family, community and legal support; and some would have viable asylum claims if they had effective representation. Find more details here.

The Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti is creating the Haiti Deportations Response Network (HDRN) to address the detainees’ legal needs and issues, fill in gaps where possible and coordinate advocacy for better policies and practices. Network membership is open to everyone, but we are particularly interested in hearing right now from:

a) Attorneys, accredited representatives, and law students who are interested in representing Haitians in deportation proceedings, especially but not only those willing to travel to remote facilities;

b) Attorneys, accredited representatives, and service providers near a detention facility who are in need of legal, interpretation, or other help and interpreters so they can assist the detained Haitians;

c) Attorneys and accredited representatives who are already providing representation and can share their experiences and evidence of potential abuses;

d) Interpreters fluent in Haitian Creole and English. Ability to travel to the facilities is preferred but not essential, as telephonic interpretation is often needed;

e) People interested in investigating the possibility of class-action litigation against the abuses;

f) People interested in a coordinating role, for example with interpreters and/or volunteer attorneys.

The HDRN will start as a Google Group list-serve. To join, please fill out this form. If any questions, please email And please forward this to others in your network who might be interested!

Thank you,

Steve Forester, Immigration Policy Coordinator

Ira Kurzban, Board Chair

Brian Concannon, Executive Director

P.S. Lawyers seeking information to boost asylum claims should visit our Haiti Asylum Information Project.

Center for Gender & Refugee Studies Now Hiring

February 20, 2017 - 19:08

CGRS is looking for a highly motivated development professional who wants to channel their activism and energy toward supporting refugee rights. Please send the job posting to anyone you know who is passionate about the art of creative fundraising. This newly restructured position will lead their team in efforts to expand and diversify their funding base during these critical times.


Typical duties and responsibilities consist of, but are not limited to, the following:

 Develop and execute CGRS’s annual and long-term fundraising plan to meet organizational
and programmatic goals;
 Explore and pursue new funding opportunities from a broad range of sources that include
institutional prospects as well as individual donors;
 Coordinate strategic participation of key staff and board members in all development
 Steward existing donors, develop and implement a major gifts campaign;
Coordinate with communications staff to generate content for CGRS website, newsletters,
and other public forums, executing a messaging and communications strategy for building a
sustained base of annual individual donors;
 Take the lead in drafting letters of inquiry, grant proposals, and other solicitation materials;
work with staff to prepare reports to funders and other donor appreciation communications;
 Manage the law firm giving campaign;
 Develop and implement a corporate funding/partnership initiative;
 Ensure systems and infrastructure readiness; direct the upgrade and maintenance of
existing development databases;
 Oversee and assist with the preparation of budgets and financial reports.

The position is open until filled.


Find the full job posting here.

Pretrial Detention and Malnutrition in Haiti’s Prisons

February 20, 2017 - 07:10

Haiti’s prisons are the most crowded in the world, with 454% occupancy. This leads to many kinds of preventable diseases, as well as malnutrition from the strain on resources at the prisons. Malnutrition has become even more of a problem recently, as Haiti faces a food shortage. Many of the inmates have not been before a judge yet: Pretrial detention is a rampant problem in Haiti’s justice system. As IJDH Director Brian Concannon describes, there is not much incentive for this to change because even the families of innocent inmates are roped into paying bribes to get their loved ones out of prison.

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

AP Exclusive” Malnutrition killing inmates in Haiti jails

David McFadden, The Washington Post

February 20, 2017

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — Dozens of emaciated men with sunken cheeks and protruding ribs lie silently in an infirmary at Haiti’s largest prison, most too weak to stand. The corpse of an inmate who died miserably of malnutrition is shrouded beneath a plastic tarp.

Elsewhere, prisoners are crammed shoulder-to-shoulder in cellblocks so overcrowded they have to sleep in makeshift hammocks suspended from the ceiling or squeeze four to a bunk. New arrivals at Haiti’s National Penitentiary jostle for space on filthy floors where inmates on lockdown 22 hours a day are forced to defecate into plastic bags in the absence of latrines.

“Straight up: This is hell. Getting locked up in Haiti will drive you crazy if it doesn’t kill you first,” said Vangeliste Bazile, a homicide suspect who is among the about 80 percent of those incarcerated who have not been convicted of a crime but are held in prolonged pretrial detention waiting for their chance to see a judge.

Click HERE for the full article.

Advocacy helped win cholera justice, but more needs to be done

February 18, 2017 - 20:54

This article outlines the cholera epidemic in Haiti in terms of the advocacy around justice for the victims and our accompanying lawsuit in U.S. courts. After years of downplaying its responsibility for causing the epidemic and dodging accountability, then-Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon finally apologized to Haitians on December 1, 2016. The UN also promised a new $400 million plan to address the epidemic and provide material assistance to the victims but more remains to be done: The money needs to truly be made available while consultations with the victims occur to ensure that their needs are finally met. The UN must take better precautions to ensure that something similar doesn’t happen again in the future. And the UN must accept legal responsibility for the epidemic, as a means to ensure that justice will finally be served.

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

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

Adam Houston, Health and Human Rights Journal

February 18, 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.

Haitians devastated by cholera—through their own illness or the deaths of breadwinners and loved ones—first petitioned the UN for remedies in November 2011, a year after the epidemic began. The obligation to provide remedies for “personal injury, illness or death arising from or directly attributed to MINUSTAH” is explicitly contemplated in the Status of Forces Agreement between the UN and the government of Haiti, itself rooted in the Convention on Privileges and Immunities of the United Nations (CPIUN), which makes the mandatory settlement of claims a reciprocal duty in exchange for broad immunity from suit in court.2 Nonetheless, the UN did not dignify the request with a response until 15 months had gone by, at which point the request was tersely dismissed on the grounds that it was “not receivable” since “consideration of these claims would necessarily include a review of political and policy matters.”3 No explanation was given as to how negligent sanitation was a political or policy matter, or how the injuries suffered by Haitians differed from others the UN has compensated as a matter of course in the past.


Read the full article here.

Procedural abuses and increased deportations affect thousands of Haitians

February 17, 2017 - 20:22

Haitians continue to be deported at a rapid rate from the country at which they arrived seeking refuge and safety. From November through the end of January, ICE deported 2,186 people to Haiti. Only about 9% of these individuals had criminal records. The deportations pose many problems; detained Haitians lack access to legal counsel and Creole translators, creating miscommunications and limited opportunity for individuals to claim their rights. Additionally, Haiti is still extremely unstable in the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew, a cholera epidemic and a devastating 2010 earthquake. The number of Haitians crossing the Mexican border is increasing daily, subjecting even more vulnerable individuals to detention, procedural abuses and unstable futures.

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

U.S. accelerates deportation of Haitian migrants

Daniel González, The Arizona Republic

February 17, 2017

A detention officer handed Lemoine Denera a cardboard lunch tray. The 32-year-old migrant from Haiti took a look at the food and slid the tray away.

He hasn’t felt like eating since being locked up in a federal immigration detention center in the desert near Eloy, an hour’s drive south of Phoenix.

Because of his stomach problems, medial staff have placed him on a low-sodium, low-fat, high-fiber diet, which Denera finds unappetizing. That day he was served a slice of ham and American cheese between a hamburger bun, along with green beans, apple sauce and coleslaw.

Click HERE for the original article.

San Francisco Lawyers Guild Denounces Haiti Election Process, Voter Repression

February 15, 2017 - 12:49

The San Francisco branch of the National Lawyers Guild is speaking out against the voter repression and attacks on the right to assemble seen during Haiti’s most recent round of elections. Though Haiti’s new president was sworn in early this month, these lawyers  call on the U.S. government (which makes many decisions in Haiti), the United Nations and the Organization of American States to end their support for this new administration..

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

National Lawyers Guild of San Francisco Stands in Solidarity With Haitian Grassroots MovementWe Say No! To Stolen Elections

National Lawyers Guild – San Francisco

February 2017

For well over a month, tens of thousands of Haitians have been demonstrating daily to protest yet another stolen election and another denial of their right to determine their own destinies. Despite this popular outcry and numerous reports of large-scale fraud and voter suppression the Electoral Council in Haiti, backed by the U.S. State Department, the Organization of American States, and the United Nations occupying forces (MINUSTAH), has just officially anointed Jovenel Moise as the next president of Haiti. Moise is a protégé of right-wing former President Michel Martelly, whose regime was marked by corruption, wholesale repression of political opposition, and the selling of Haiti’s land and resources to foreign corporations.

As Haitians demonstrate courageously to resist the imposition of an undemocratically selected regime, they have been met with repression from Haitian police and UN soldiers. In one incident, police attacked the community of La Saline, a stronghold of Fanmi Lavalas, for decades the party of the poor majority in Haiti. The police fired round upon round of tear gas and killed three infants. In another instance, police attacked a non-violent march using water hoses, tear gas, and a skin irritant that caused severe burns.

Click HERE for the full text.

Political “Stability” Over True Democracy in Haiti

February 13, 2017 - 17:24

Haiti just elected a new president, Jovenel Moïse, after over a year of delays and even a rerun of the elections that originally placed Moïse as the front-runner. Unfortunately, and to the concern of many, Moïse was chosen by less than 10% of the electorate with only 20% of voters even participating at all. The complicated reasons for this lack of voter participation have been decades in the making, including consolidation of power on the right; coups against a popular Haitian leader; and interference by the international community. As IJDH Director Brian Concannon describes, much of the weaknesses and limitations on the left “can be explained by the undermining and overthrowing of the Lavalas governments, which prevented them from demonstrating how democracy can work, and the killing, jailing, and exiling of important leaders.” Frustrated with all this, most Haitians cannot picture their votes resulting in positive changes in their country. How do we restore faith in Haiti’s broken democratic process?

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

Haiti’s Eroding Democracy

Jake Johnston, Jacobin

February 13, 2017

After more than a year of delays, Haiti finally elected a new president this past November. Jovenel Moïse — nicknamed the Banana Man — scored a first-round victory in a sprawling field of twenty-seven candidates, taking over 55 percent of the vote. The banana exporter, who has never held public office, was inaugurated on February 7.

The previous president, Michel “Sweet Micky” Martelly, seemingly plucked Moïse out of nowhere last year, making him the new face of the Haitian Bald-Headed Party (PHTK). Moïse’s win is an extraordinary achievement for a political neophyte, but it has one glaring problem: only 20 percent of Haiti’s voters showed up on election day. Moïse became president with less than 10 percent of registered voters ― only about 600,000 votes — supporting him.

Haiti stands as a stark reminder of the fragility of electoral democracy amid rising inequality and exclusion. After the fall of the Duvalier dictatorship in 1986, Haiti’s poor majority turned out en masse for general elections, but that cycle appears to be broken. Today, Haiti ranks among the lowest worldwide in terms of voter participation.

Click HERE for the full text.

Thousands of detained Haitians unsure of future in the U.S. or Haiti

February 12, 2017 - 10:46

Resumed deportations of Haitians pose immeasurable challenges for individuals who made the perilous journey to seek refuge in the United States. Between October 2016 and mid-January 2017, the U.S. deported 1,513 Haitians and thousands more remain in detention awaiting an uncertain future.

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

Haitians’ dreams dashed after costly US voyage

Gulf Times

February 12, 2017

John Stevens Val borrowed 3,000 from friends and family and trekked through 10 countries to make his way to the United States, where he hoped life would be better than in Haiti, his impoverished homeland.

But in the end he landed in a US immigration detention centre and was deported back to Haiti, deep in debt and struggling to integrate, like so many other Haitians.

Val, 28, left home after a devastating 2010 earthquake that wrecked the economy of the Caribbean nation, the poorest in the Western hemisphere.

Click HERE for the original article.

Congresswoman Clarke works to protect Haitian nationals from deportation

February 10, 2017 - 09:21

In the aftermath of recent legislation affecting U.S. immigration policy, many refugees and undocumented immigrants fear for their lives as they face potential deportation to their country of origin. Brooklyn Congresswoman Yvette Clarke is now advocating for new legislation to protect Haitian refugees from returning to a country still rebuilding after Hurricane Matthew. The Haiti Emergency Relief Act of 2017 would apply to Haitian nationals who were in the U.S. before November 4, 2016 and extend Temporary Protected Status to these eligible individuals for 18 months.

Haitians were originally granted TPS after the 2010 earthquake so that they could seek refuge in the United States and also send remittances to Haiti to support family members still there. Clarke believes that the money generated from remittances of TPS grantees would play a major role in helping Haiti recover.

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

Brooklyn Congresswoman Moves to Shield Haitian Refugees From Deportation After Trump Order

Madina Toure, Observer

February 10, 2017

Brooklyn Congresswoman Yvette Clarke—co-chairwoman of the House Caribbean Caucus—has put forward legislation to protect undocumented Haitians from deportation in the aftermath of President Donald Trump‘s executive orders aimed at expelling millions of immigrants.

The Haiti Emergency Relief Act of 2017 would significantly expand the Temporary Protected Status program—which shields refugees from being deported to dangerous homelands—to include all Haitian nationals who were in the United States before November 4, 2016. Clarke pointed to extreme weather events on the island nation as reason to grant 18 months of TPS to every eligible individual.

“Those needs have increased since Haiti suffered extensive damage during Hurricane Matthew last year, when hundreds of people were killed and thousands of families were displaced,” Clarke said. “Congress must act.”

Click HERE to read the original article.

02/24/17: Art-For-Change Black History Conference [EVENT]

February 10, 2017 - 06:53

Black History Month 2017 in United States of America will start on Wednesday February 1 and will end on Tuesday February 28.

To discuss the central role of African Americans in U.S. history, Art-For-Change will host a conference and reception at the Caribbean Art Center. Please join them in participating in this event.

The Caribbean Art Center marks Black History Month 2017 with an exhibit of paintings and photographs focusing on black American leaders.


Caribbean Art Center
155-A Washington Street
Dorchester, Boston, MA


4:00-8:00 p.m. *Note the time change*
Friday, February 24


For more information, contact Jean Sénat Fleury, the Director and Founder, at

02/16/17: Strengthening Haitian – Dominican Relations [EVENT]

February 9, 2017 - 21:38

Join the DC Afro Latino Caucus in discussing historical facts and current affairs to build trust and create solutions between Haitian/Dominican communities.


Mount Pleasant Library

3160 16th St, NW

Washington, DC 20010


6:30 to 9:00pm

Thursday, February 16, 2017


RSVP here.

U.N. may remove MINUSTAH military peacekeepers from Haiti

February 9, 2017 - 14:33

A United Nations official has said that the MINUSTAH peacekeeping operation in Haiti is under review, and this might lead to the removal of military peacekeepers from Haiti. The U.N. mission has been heavily criticized since its arrival in Haiti, from issues involving sexual abuse to the introduction of cholera in Haiti. The U.N. Security Council is expected to make its decision in April.

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

U.N. considering removing military peacekeepers from Haiti: official

Makini Brice, Reuters

February 9, 2017

The United Nations is considering removing military personnel from its peacekeeping mission in Haiti, a U.N. official said on Thursday, indicating a possible scaling back of one of the body’s longest-running and widely-criticized missions.

The U.N. mission in Haiti, often locally called by its French acronym MINUSTAH, has been in the country since 2004, when a rebellion led to the ouster and exile of then-President Jean-Bertrand Aristide.

It is the only U.N. peacekeeping mission in the Americas.


Click HERE for the original article.