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Was the drug arrest of elected Senator Guy Philippe legal?

January 11, 2017 - 08:41

Four days before he would be sworn in as a Senator in Haiti and thus gain immunity, 2004 coup leader Guy Philippe was extradited to the U.S. on drug charges. As Philippe is a Haitian national, this move appears to be illegal based on Haiti’s Constitution. This article outlines the corresponding articles of the Constitution and a few treaties relevant to this matter.

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

Haiti – FLASH : Guy Philippe was extradited on what legal basis ?

HaitiLibre

January 11, 2017

Many wondered about the legality of the extradition of Senator Guy Philippe on Thursday January 5th, great is the confusion in the minds of many including our parliamentarians, what say the texts of laws in Haiti ?

First of all, many speak of the agreement signed on 17 October 1997 between US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and President René Préval, which would have served as a legal basis for the extradition. To be precise, none of the articles of this agreement makes mention of extradition, even when interpreting it in the broad sense…

There is indeed an extradition treaty between Haiti and the United States, but it is dated August 9, 1904, and it is stipulated in its article 4 “None of the contracting parties will be bound to deliver its own citizens.”

The amended Haitian Constitution, currently in force, is very clear :

Article 8.1 “The Territory of the Republic of Haiti is nviolable and may not be alienated either in whole or in part by any Treaty or Convention. ”

Click HERE for the full article.

Human Rights Lawyers Call Haitian Electoral Court’s Verification a Lost Opportunity (Français inclus)

January 10, 2017 - 13:21

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact :

Mario Joseph, Av., Bureau des Avocats Internationaux, Mario@ijdh.org + 509-3701-9878 (French, Kreyol)

Nicole Phillips, Esq., Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti, Nicole@ijdh.org + 001-510-715-2855 (English, French)

Human Rights Lawyers Call Haitian Electoral Court’s Verification a Lost Opportunity

(PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, January 10, 2017) – The Bureau des Avocats Internationaux (BAI) and the Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti (IJDH) are disappointed in the incomplete verification conducted by Haiti’s electoral authorities, which fell far short of the comprehensive inquiry ordered by the National Electoral Challenges Bureau (BCEN).  The verification panel’s January 3rd decision ignored legitimate demands of the process raised by political parties and observer groups, putting at risk the credibility of the recently-announced presidential results.

On December 20, the BCEN ordered a review of 12 percent of the tally sheets (1,560 total) from the Vote Tabulation Center, in response to a challenge of the results by three presidential candidates. However, the verification panel, composed of CEP members, lawyers and judges, did not examine if the tally sheets were signed by the poll workers or verify the national identify numbers with the liste d’émargement (the electoral list that voters sign or fingerprint next to their national identity number and photo), which were supposed to be reviewed per an order of the BCEN.

“The verification process was a genuine fiasco,” said Mario Joseph, managing lawyer of the BAI. “When observers and contesting parties objected, the panel illegally changed the review procedures to prevent them from officially registering their concerns, in violation of the BCEN order, rendering their participation futile.” One of the human rights organizations that withdrew from the observation denounced the BCEN verification panel’s lack of transparency and called the process “a veritable theatre.”  The panel concluded on January 3rd that there was no evidence of massive fraud, but only irregularities that could not decisively affect the electoral process.

This verdict is unconvincing, according to IJDH Staff Attorney Nicole Phillips. “It is hard to have confidence in these results when 40 percent of national identity cards (CIN) are unaccounted for,” said Phillips. Prior to the election, the head of the National Identification Office (ONI) admitted that 2.4 million activated but undistributed cards had gone missing, out of a total of six million national identity cards in circulation. “In such a situation, it is imperative that they check the identity of the voters against the official registry of the ONI, but the panel refused to do so,” Phillips argues.

In addition, problems with electoral lists prepared by the ONI prevented many would-be voters from casting a ballot on November 20. Phillips added, “The ONI is dysfunctional, which reflects badly on the international community.” The ONI was established in 2005 through a partnership of the Haitian government and the Organization of American States, funded by Canada and other foreign governments.

The commission that investigated the October 2015 elections warned that the “sale and purchase of electoral cards” was becoming a common practice in Haitian elections, and pointed to the risk that undistributed cards could be used by individuals who “would pay for the luxury of voting more than once.” In the October presidential election, 16.2 percent of traceable votes had been cast using false CIN numbers, the commission found.

Haitians questioned the integrity of the August and October 2015 elections, despite assurances from the Provisional Electoral Council and international community that the elections were free and fair. After two independent commissions found massive fraud, the government finally admitted the fraud and scheduled new elections. Joseph calls for a transparent and accountable verification to dispel the suspicions that hang over these results. “The BCEN makes it clear that fraud and/or irregularities do not change election results, a reliable audit is needed to correct the electoral process for Haiti’s next upcoming elections.”

The verification process’ problems compelled the three main opposition parties to boycott the process, and all three have announced they refuse to accept the Presidential results.  The CEP has the last word, so neither the candidate nor the voters have any legal recourse, but opposition parties have vowed to continue to protest. The spoiled verification undermines the credibility of the electoral process and the legitimacy of the incoming President.

The lawyers are also concerned by multiple reports of Haitian National Police (PNH) using excessive force against journalists and protestors, despite lawful permits to protest. Although the police have the obligation to purse criminal acts by political actors, they must also guarantee the right to legal protests. In addition, President-elect Jovenel Moise endorsed an unconstitutional “municipal police force” created by the mayor of Les Cayes to work “next to” PNH. Joseph calls on the Minister of Justice and Public Security and PNH “to respect the Constitution, which prohibits any armed force outside of the PNH, and which guarantees the freedom of expression of protestors.” (See, Haitian Constitution, articles 31 and 263-1).

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POUR DIFFUSION IMMÉDIATE

Contact :

Mario Joseph, Av., Bureau des Avocats Internationaux, mario@ijdh.org +509-3701-9879 (français, kreyòl)

Nicole Phillips, Esq., Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti, nicole@ijdh.org +001-510-715-2855 (anglais, français)

Des avocats de Droits Humains appellent les conclusions du BCEN une occasion perdue

(PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haïti, le 10 janvier 2017) – Le Bureau des Avocats Internationaux (BAI) et l’Institut pour la Justice et la Démocratie  en Haïti (IJDH ) déplorent la vérification incomplète effectuée par les autorités électorales d’Haïti, qui sont bien en deçà de la vérification indiquée dans « l’Avant Dire Droit »  du Bureau du Contentieux Electoral National (BCEN). La décision du BCEN du 03  janvier 2017 ignore les demandes légitimes des partis politiques et des groupes d’observation et met en péril la crédibilité des résultats des élections présidentielles récemment annoncés.

Le 20 décembre 2016, le BCEN a ordonné, par un avant dire droit, l’examen de 12 % des procès-verbaux (1 560 au total) depuis le Centre de Tabulation des Votes (CTV), en réponse à la contestation des résultats par trois candidats à la présidence. Toutefois, le BCEN, composé des membres du CEP et des avocats et des juges, ont vérifié les procès-verbaux sans prendre le soin d’examiner s’ils sont signés par des membres des bureaux de votes ni si les CIN sont conformés avec la liste d’émargement, qui devaient être examinés suivant l’ordonnance du BCEN.

« Le processus de vérification était un véritable fiasco, » a déclaré Maître Mario Joseph du BAI. « Lorsque les observateurs et les partis contestataires s’y sont opposés, le tribunal électoral a changé la procédure de vérification  afin de les réduire au silence et de rendre leur participation futile en violation de l’ordonnance du BCEN. » Marie Yolène Gilles du RNDDH, qui s’est retirée de l’observation, a dénoncé le manque de transparence du BCEN et a qualifie le processus « un véritable théâtre. » Le BCEN a déclaré  le 03 janvier, « il ne relève aucune fraude massive mais des irrégularités qui ne peuvent affecter le processus électoral. »

Cette décision n’est pas convaincante, selon Maître Nicole Phillips de l’IJDH. « Il est difficile d’avoir confiance dans ces résultats, lorsque 40 % des Cartes d’identifications nationales (CIN) se sont disparues, » a déclaré Maître Phillips. Avant l’élection, le chef de l’Office National d’Identification (ONI) a admis la disparition de 2,4 millions de cartes qui ont été activées mais pas distribuées, sur 6 millions CINs en circulation. « Dans cette situation, il est impératif que le BCEN vérifie l’identité des électeurs dans le  registre officiel de l’ONI, mais le tribunal a refusé de le faire, » affirme Phillips.

En outre, des problèmes avec les listes électorales préparées par l’ONI ont empêché plusieurs électeurs potentiels de voter le 20 novembre. Phillips a ajouté, « L’ONI est une débâcle, qui reflète mal la communauté internationale ». Car l’ONI a été créée en 2005 en partenariat avec le gouvernement haïtien et l’Organisation des États américains, et financé par le Canada et d’autres gouvernements étrangers.

Le Commission Indépendante d’Evaluation et de Vérification Electorale (CIEVE) qui  a étudié les élections d’octobre 2015 a prédit un « commerce de cartes électorales » qui allait devenir chose courante à la veille des joutes électorales et a souligné le risque que les cartes non distribuées puissent être utilisées par des individus qui « se paieront le luxe de voter plus d’une fois. » À l’élection présidentielle du 25 octobre  2016, 16,2 % des votes traçables ont été précipités à l’aide des faux CIN, a constaté la CIEVE.

Le peuple haïtien a mis en doute l’intégrité des élections d’août et d’octobre 2015, malgré les assurances données par le Conseil électoral provisoire et la communauté internationale que les élections ont été libres et équitables. Deux commissions indépendantes ont découvert des fraudes massives, le gouvernement a été forcé d’admettre les fraudes. Maître Joseph réclame une vérification transparente et responsable pour dissiper les soupçons qui décrédibilisent  ces résultats. « Le BCEN laisse comprendre  que les fraudes et / ou les irrégularités ne changent pas les résultats des élections, une vérification fiable est nécessaire pour corriger le processus électoral pour les prochaines élections en Haïti. »

Les problèmes du processus de vérification ont contraint les partis contestataires à boycotter le processus et à refuser d’accepter les résultats de la présidence. Le CEP a le dernier mot, donc ni les candidats ni les électeurs n’ont aucun recours légal, mais les partis contestataires ont juré de continuer à protester. La vérification gâchée mine la crédibilité du processus électoral et la légitimité du nouveau président.

Les avocats sont aussi concernés par les multiples rapports de la Police nationale Haïti (PNH) à une force excessive contre les journalistes et les manifestants, malgré les notifications  légitimes pour protester. En outre,  le Président soi-disant élu, Monsieur Jovenel Moise, a endossé la « polis kominal »  inconstitutionnelle créé par Monsieur Gabriel Fortuné, le maire de la ville des Cayes, à travailler « a kote » de la PNH. Maitre Joseph appelle le Ministre de la Justice et de la sécurité publique (MJSP) et le Commandement de la PNH « à respecter les articles 31 et 263 – 1 de la Constitution haïtienne, qui interdit toute force armée en dehors de la PNH, et qui garantit la liberté d’expression des manifestants ».

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Le Canada promet 6 millions pour lutter contre le choléra

January 10, 2017 - 12:33

Le 1 décembre, l’ONU a annoncé un plan de 400 million de dollars pour combattre le choléra en Haïti.  Le problème est que les États membres de l’ONU doivent avancer ces millions et jusqu’aujourd’hui, seulement la France et la Corée du Sud avaient promis chacune 1 million. Le Canada a maintenant annoncé sa contribution de 6 millions sur deux ans. Comme un leader en matière d’aide humanitaire pour Haïti, le Canada espère donner un bon exemple aux autres membres de l’ONU a l’égard de ce plan.

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

Haïti: Ottawa versera 6 millions pour lutter contre le choléra

Gabrielle Duchaine, La Presse

10 janvier 2017

À deux jours du septième anniversaire du tremblement de terre en Haïti, le Canada promet 6 millions sur deux ans pour lutter contre l’épidémie de choléra qui a fauché 10 000 vies depuis que des Casques bleus ont introduit la maladie dans le pays, en 2010. L’ambassadeur du Canada à l’Organisation des Nations unies (ONU) invite les États membres à emboîter rapidement le pas pour corriger «une situation exceptionnelle qui exige une réponse exceptionnelle».

L’annonce coïncide avec la publication dans La Presse la semaine dernière d’un grand dossier sur l’épidémie de choléra, pour laquelle l’ONU a reconnu en décembre, près de sept ans après les premières victimes, une responsabilité morale et offert ses excuses au peuple haïtien, promettant du même coup 400 millions pour éradiquer la maladie.

Ces 400 millions, ce sont les gouvernements des pays membres qui doivent les avancer, et cela, sur une base volontaire.

Cliquez ICI pour le texte complet.

Un-Vaccinated UN Troops Risk Exacerbating Haiti Cholera

January 10, 2017 - 09:10

Though cholera vaccines are now mandatory for all UN troops and peacekeepers, a unit deployed to Haiti from India, where cholera is endemic, was not vaccinated. This is alarming because cholera was first brought to Haiti by UN peacekeepers in 2010 and has since sickened at least 800,000 and killed at least 9,500. Though a UN spokesperson said that responsibility for peacekeeper vaccinations is placed on member states, it should be up to the UN to enforce the rule and make sure that it doesn’t cause another cholera epidemic elsewhere.

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

UN Police Unit Deploys to Haiti Without Cholera Vaccinations

Associated Press, VOA News

January 10, 2016

PORT-AU-PRINCE, HAITI — The U.N. stabilization mission in Haiti is administering cholera vaccines to a police unit from India months after it arrived in the impoverished Caribbean nation without the required protection, officials said Tuesday.

The failure to ensure that U.N. police personnel from a cholera-endemic country were vaccinated comes after the waterborne disease was introduced to Haiti’s largest river in October 2010 by sewage from a base of U.N. peacekeepers from Nepal, one of the units that have rotated in and out of a multinational force here since 2004.

Over six years later, Haiti continues to wrestle with the globe’s worst outbreak of the preventable disease in recent history. Cholera has sickened roughly 800,000 Haitians and killed at least 9,500.

Vaccination for cholera is now mandatory for all U.N. troops and police deploying to peacekeeping operations. The U.N. puts responsibility for peacekeeper vaccinations on member states, according to Ariane Quentier, spokeswoman for the U.N. mission in Haiti.

 

Click HERE for the full text.

Does validation of Haiti’s election allow optimism for cholera aid?

January 7, 2017 - 07:41

David Nabarro, who is heading up the United Nations’ cholera response in Haiti, has high hopes for funding the plan now that Jovenel Moise has been confirmed as Haiti’s new president. Though contributions from UN member states besides France and South Korea have been slow, Nabarro hopes that funding will pick up now that there is an established government for the funds to go into. The World Economic Forum will take place later this month and Nabarro plans to use that opportunity to convince potential donors to invest in a long-term plan for Haiti.

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

UN hopes Haiti election will open door for cholera aid

World Bulletin

January 7, 2017

The United Nations is struggling to get pledged aid for Haiti’s cholera epidemic victims but hopes nascent political stability will inspire confidence in donors and investors.

In early December, the United Nations for the first time apologized to Haitians for its role in the epidemic. It announced a plan to help the victims’ families and bolster the fight against the disease, hoping to mobilize $400 million over two years.

But donations have only trickled in, said David Nabarro, a British doctor who is special adviser to the UN on the organization’s sustainable development agenda.

“Money remains a serious problem,” he said Thursday. “I have never found it so hard to raise money for an issue as I am finding it to raise money for this.”

Click HERE for the full article.

Details on Drug-Related Arrest of Elected Haitian Senator

January 6, 2017 - 11:46

Four days before he would officially become a Haitian Senator, 2004 coup leader Guy Philippe was arrested on drug charges from 2005. He was arrested by Haitian National Police after appearing on a radio show, and brought to Miami by U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency agents. His arrest apparently comes at a time when Philippe was vulnerable – between immunity from being a political candidate and immunity that would have come from being a Senator. This article provides more details on what allowed this arrest to happen, and some reactions from a US attorney.

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

Haiti’s Philippe dropped his guard before his capture by U.S. agents

Jacqueline Charles and Jay Weaver, Miami Herald

January 6, 2017

Four days before his arrest, ex-rebel leader and newly elected Haitian Senator Guy Philippe swaggered through Haiti’s capital on a VIP tour.

Traveling with armed bodyguards, including Haiti National Police officers, he visited the chic Best Western and El Rancho hotels in Petionville, partied at Hotel Ibo Lele and dined on goat meat at a private home in the La Boule suburb.

Former Haiti coup leader Guy Philippe at his appearance Friday in U.S. federal court in Miami. Handout

Cocky and confident, Philippe, 48, even swung by a newly opened restaurant run by a close friend of interim President Jocelerme Privert. Afterward, thumbing his nose at the head of state, Philippe posed for a photo with heavily armed men in pink and white T-shirts. The photo would later explode on social media.

Philippe’s fate would be sealed when the Ninja-like figure, who always had a network of informants and seemed to be one step ahead of the feds, forgot the first rule of his military training: Always check your surroundings.

Click HERE for the full text.

Seoul Daily Paper Criticizes Ban Ki-moon, Especially for Cholera

January 6, 2017 - 10:28

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon recently stated that he would “burn his own body” if it would help Korea but his indecisive record at the United Nations makes many people doubt that. With the cholera epidemic in Haiti especially, Ban received major criticism for apologizing six years after the UN caused the epidemic. This, despite a UN expert panel establishing the UN fault in 2011 and everyone from cholera victims to UN experts criticizing the lack of UN response for several years. With Ban’s eye now on the Korean presidency, as his UN term has ended, many believe that the belated apology was really just an attempt to erase the cholera stain from Ban Ki-moon’s UN legacy.

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

[Correspondent’s column] Is Ban Ki-moon really willing to burn his own body?

Yi Yong-in, The Hankyoreh

January 6, 2017

“If it would contribute to the development of the Republic of Korea, I would be willing to burn my own body if need be.”

Former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon made the comment during a meeting with South Korean correspondents that was held at the UN Headquarters in New York on Dec. 20. Ban’s phrase about burning his own body implied that he intends to move ahead despite the risk and regardless of the cost. It is a remark fit for the declaration of a presidential campaign.

Presuming that Ban has prepared the remark in advance, one can guess what his intentions were. His choice of strong words was probably deliberate, since he is aware of criticism that he is not very charismatic or decisive. The unprecedented intensity of Ban’s remarks in recent months suggest that Ban is attempting to move beyond his reputation as a slippery eel.

But strangely enough, I could hardly sense any dedication or gravity in his words, his facial expression or his eyes during the meeting with reporters. I replayed a recording of the occasion several times, but I couldn’t shake that feeling.

 

Click HERE for the original article.

Alleged Drug Trafficker Arrested Before Becoming Haiti Senator

January 5, 2017 - 15:31

Guy Philippe, who helped orchestrated the 2004 coup against then-President Aristide, has been wanted by the US DEA since 2005 but somehow managed to elude the DEA. Finally, just four days before he was set to be sworn in as a Senator in Haiti, he was arrested by the Haitian National Police and handed over to the DEA. Many say this is a last-minute effort to prevent Philippe from gaining the immunity from arrest or prosecution that lawmakers enjoy. There are mixed reactions in Haiti but one activist who approves of the arrest only laments that more criminals who were voted into office haven’t also been arrested.

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

Former Haiti coup leader Guy Philippe arrested

Jacqueline Charles and Jay Weaver, Miami Herald

January 5, 2017

Former Haiti coup leader Guy Philippe, who has been wanted for more than a decade on drug charges in the United States, was arrested Thursday in Haiti and federal agents were bringing him to Miami.

Philippe, 48, was arrested after he left a Haitian radio station, local media reported. Police fired several shots during the 10 minutes it took to take him into custody outside Scoop FM in Petionville. Late Thursday, he was transferred to the custody of U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agents.

The ex-rebel leader, charged with drug trafficking by the DEA under a 2005 sealed indictment, had just been elected to a six-year term in the Haitian parliament as a senator from the Grand’Anse area of Haiti. Earlier in the day, before the radio interview, he had picked up his legislative certificate.

…Click HERE for the full text.

Human rights lawyers to denounce and investigate death threaths against Pierre Esperance

January 3, 2017 - 14:08

POUR DIFFUSION IMMÉDIATE

Contact:
Mario Joseph, Av., Bureau des Avocats Internationaux, mario@ijdh.org +509-3701-9878 (français, kreyol)
Nicole Phillips, Esq., Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti, nicole@ijdh.org +001-510-715-2855 (anglais, français)

Des avocats de Droits Humains exhortent le Gouvernement haïtien à dénoncer et à enquêter sur les menaces de mort proférées à l’encontre de Monsieur Pierre ESPERANCE, défenseur des droits humains en Haïti

(PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haïti, le 3 janvier 2017) – Le Bureau des Avocats Internationaux (BAI) et l’Institute pour la Justice et la Démocratie  en Haïti (IJDH ) exhortent le Gouvernement Haïtien à prendre très au serieux les menaces de mort proférées à l’encontre Monsieur Pierre ESPERANCE, éminent défenseur des Droits Humains et directeur exécutif du Réseau National de Défense des Droits humains (RNDDH). Selon Maitre Mario JOSEPH du Bureau des Avocats Internationaux,  « le Gouvernement a l’obligation de veiller à ce que Monsieur ESPERANCE comme défenseur des droits humains puisse mener ses activités sans crainte de représailles, conformément à la Déclaration des Nations unies de 1998 sur les défenseurs des droits de l’homme.. »

Le 28 décembre 2016, Monsieur ESPERANCE a reçu une enveloppe du groupe « Baz dlo nan je » contenant une lettre et une balle au siège de son organisation.  La lettre menace Monsieur ESPERANCE et sa famille à cause du travail du RNDDH en connexion avec la vérification des résultats préliminaires des élections : « Nou gen kontwòl lakay ou, travay ou, fanmi w ak deplasman w… Si nou panse nou ka anpeche vrè rezilta pase. Jou nou konte. Pa twò lontan n ap jwenn repons apwopriye pa rapò ak zak nou ». La Direction Centrale de la Police Judiciaire (DCPJ) a été mise au courant de la réception de cette correspondance et la balle, et une plainte a été déposée auprès du Maitre Danton LEGER, Commissaire du Gouvernement près le Tribunal de Première Instance de Port-au-Prince.

Monsieur ESPERANCE avait reçu une lettre et une balle de la même manière le 2 avril 2014, ce qui avait conduit la Commission Interaméricaine des Droits de l’Homme (CIDH), dans la Résolution 17/2014, d’ordonner au Gouvernement Haïtien de prendre « les mesures nécessaires pour garantir la vie et l’intégrité personnelle de M. Pierre Espérance » et les autres membres du RNDDH.  Selon cette ordonnance, le Gouvernement devrait également « faire un rapport sur les mesures prises pour enquêter sur les événements  qui ont conduit à l’adoption de ces mesures conservatoires et ainsi éviter leur répétition », ce qui n’a  jamais été fait selon Monsieur ESPERANCE. En 1999, il a failli être tué par des tirs d’hommes armés.

Maître JOSEPH, «Je suis très préoccupé par la vulnérabilité des défenseurs des Droits Humains en Haïti, qui luttent pour la liberté et les droits du peuple haïtien, mais qui ne sont  protégés ni par les institutions ni par les dirigeants de l’Etat haïtien. Il faut que la DCPJ et Maitre Danton LEGER s’engagent à diligenter, sans délai, une enquête indépendante sur les menaces proférées contre Monsieur ESPERANCE et à traduire les responsables  en justice.»

 

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact :
Mario Joseph, Av., Bureau des Avocats Internationaux, Mario@ijdh.org + 509-3701-9878 (French, Kreyol)
Nicole Phillips, Esq., Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti, Nicole@ijdh.org + 001-510-715-2855 (English, French)

Human rights lawyers urge the Haitian Government to denounce and investigate death threats against human rights defender Pierre Espérance

(PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, January 3, 2017) – The Bureau des Avocats Internationaux (BAI) and the Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti (IJDH) urge the Haitian Government to take seriously the threats made against prominent human rights advocate Pierre Espérance, Executive Director of the National Network of Defense of Human Rights (RNDDH). According to Mario Joseph, managing lawyer of the BAI, “the Government has the obligation to ensure that Espérance is free to conduct his activities as a human rights defender without fear of reprisals, pursuant to the UN Declaration of 1998 on Human Rights Defenders. »

On December 28, 2016, Espérance received an envelope at the RNDDH office from the group “Baz dlo nan je” containing a letter with a bullet. The letter threatens Espérance and his family because of the work of RNDDH in connection with the verification of the preliminary results of the November 20 elections: “We have to control of your home, your job, your family and your trips … If you think you can prevent the real [election] results.  Your days are limited.  Soon we will find the appropriate response in relation to your actions.” The Central Directorate of the Judicial Police (DCPJ) was made aware of this correspondence and the bullet, and a complaint has been filed with Danton Leger, Prosecutor for the Court of First Instance of Port-au-Prince.

Espérance received a similar letter and a bullet on April 2, 2014, which led to Resolution 17/2014 from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) ordering the Haitian Government to take “the necessary measures to guarantee the life and personal integrity of Mr. Pierre Espérance” and the other members of the RNDDH. According to this order, the Government should also “report on the measures taken to investigate the events that led to the adoption of these measures and avoid their repetition”, which has never been done according to Espérance. In 1999, armed men almost killed Espérance by gunfire.

Joseph added, “I am very concerned about the vulnerability of human rights defenders in Haiti, who fight for freedom and the rights of the Haitian people, but who are not protected by the Haitian government’s institutions or leaders. The DCPJ and Prosecutor Leger must immediately conduct an independent investigation into the threats made against Espérance and bring those responsible to justice.”

 

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UN Cholera Apology’s a First Step But Much More Needs to Be Done

January 2, 2017 - 12:48

On December 1 before the General Assembly, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon apologized for the cholera epidemic and detailed a $400 million plan to fight the disease. While the apology is a necessary first step towards justice and something that cholera victims have been demanding for years, the UN was very careful not to imply legal responsibility in the apology. Even the description of the plan was “solidarity” rather than accountability or responsibility. This may be contributing to the trouble the UN is having with getting member states to contribute to the plan. The UN must also make sure to fully consider compensating victims and find strategies to do so.

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

The UN’s Apology Won’t Heal Disease, But It’s A First Step to Justice

Beatrice Lindstrom, Opinio Juris

January 2, 2017

When the outgoing Secretary-General issued his long-overdue apology for the UN’s role in Haiti’s cholera epidemic, he turned a corner on six years of silence and stonewalling. At the Bureau des Avocats Internationaux—the Haitian public interest law office that has led the charge against the UN for introducing the disease to Haiti—about 100 victims and activists were gathered to watch a live-stream of the statement in Port-au-Prince. They broke into spontaneous cheers and applause when the apology was delivered.

“This was a victory for us today. It wasn’t easy. We sent thousands of letters and took to the streets to get this victory, for them to say today that they were responsible. They said that, and we thank them…” said Desir Jean-Clair, a cholera survivor who has been organizing for justice, in a statement following the apology.

A public apology has been a central demand of the victims, along with cholera eradication and compensation for families who have suffered. While the disease has caused thousands of deaths and massive suffering since UN peacekeepers contaminated Haiti’s largest river with cholera-laden sewage in 2010, the UN’s failure to own up to its actions has itself been an affront to victims’ dignity. By continuously denying responsibility in the face of overwhelming scientific evidence to the contrary, and by hiding behind immunity to avoid an independent hearing on the merits of victims’ claims, the UN turned its back on Haitians and on its own human rights principles. Against this background, an apology from the Organization’s top leadership is a fundamental component of a just UN response.

 

Click HERE for the full text.

Celebrate Haitian Resilience and Honor Our Elders

December 31, 2016 - 21:40

Join Youth and Family Enrichment Services for a celebration and commemoration as the seventh anniversary of Haiti’s devastating earthquake approaches. The suggested donation to keep the program going is $15.

WHERE:

25 Gile Road
Milton, MA 02189

WHEN:

Sunday, January 8, 2017
5:30pm

For more information, call 617-364-0370 or email youthprograms@yofes.org

Can apology without admitting fault clear Ban Ki-moon’s legacy?

December 28, 2016 - 18:11

On December 1,before the United Nations General Assembly, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon finally apologized for the UN’s role in the cholera epidemic in Haiti. It was a major moment and much-needed in an effort to salvage Ban’s legacy before he (likely) goes on to run for president of his home South Korea. But the carefully-worded apology didn’t include an acknowledgment of the UN’s fault in the epidemic. A current and a former UN official say that without that, it will be very difficult for the UN to raise funds to support cholera elimination and Ban’s legacy may not be saved after all.

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

With an Eye on South Korea’s Presidency, Ban Ki-moon Seeks to Burnish his U.N. Legacy

Colum Lynch, Foreign Policy

December 28, 2016

On Jan. 15, 2016, Australian lawyer Philip Alston paid a visit  to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on his 38th-floor office at U.N. headquarters. Alston, the U.N. special rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, was preparing a report that would castigate the United Nations for skirting responsibility for introducing cholera into Haiti more than five years earlier. If Ban hoped to salvage the world body’s good name, as well as his legacy, he had better move fast to right a historical wrong.

“It would be a great pity to go out on this note,” Alston said he later told Ban in what amounted to a thinly veiled warning.

For a man weighing a likely run for the South Korean presidency, the hint of a potential scandal proved persuasive. Ban, 72, subsequently ordered a review of the U.N.’s response to Haiti’s cholera epidemic, which has killed more than 9,000 Haitians.

And so on Dec. 1, after months of deliberation, Ban offered an extraordinary apology to Haitians on behalf of the U.N., ending years of denials about the organization’s complicity in the cholera epidemic. In a carefully crafted statement that acknowledged the U.N.’s moral, if not legal, responsibility, Ban said he was “profoundly sorry” and pressed U.N. member states to cough up as much as $400 million to treat and cure Haiti’s cholera victims.

 

Click HERE for the full text.

“Kenbe Fèm” with BAI and IJDH

December 26, 2016 - 12:30


Dear [[Short_Salutation]],

I know that many of you in the U.S. and elsewhere are concerned about the future. We are concerned in Haiti too—the 21st Century has already brought us a coup d’état, manipulated elections, intense political oppression, an earthquake, a cholera epidemic and several deadly hurricanes.

Haitians often say “kenbe fem”- “hang in there”, “stand firm”. We use it casually, when friends take leave to face the daily challenges of life here. We use it more seriously, too, to encourage each other to stay strong in the face of particularly weighty challenges.

We not only hang in there, but we resist, mobilize and fight back. We successfully reversed the 2004 coup, stopped manipulated elections last January, survived the earthquake and hurricanes, and earlier this month, forced the UN to respond justly to its cholera epidemic. 

Our secret to success is “men anpil, chay pa lou”- “many hands make the load light”. Haitians have been working together to defeat injustice since we kicked out Napoleon and abolished slavery in 1804. We inspired and assisted independence movements in South America, Africa and beyond over the subsequent two centuries and fought off occupations and dictatorships at home. We hope that our example, courage, strategy, persistence and collaboration can inspire and support your efforts to preserve justice in your countries over the coming months and years.

We hope that you can help us too. Friends from abroad have lent their hands to our previous victories, especially our recent ones. We will need you to fight with us now, to kenbe fem by our side, contacting your leaders, writing letters, taking to the streets and educating your media.

And we need your financial support. Year-end donations from allies like you are crucial for BAI and IJDH to keep fighting on the front lines, to keep winning victories against injustice. Together, united, all hands in, we are unstoppable.

Are you with us?

Kenbe Fem,

Mario Joseph

Managing Attorney

Bureau des Avocats Internationaux

Why Re-Designating Temporary Protected Status for Haiti is Much-Needed

December 25, 2016 - 13:40

Temporary Protected Status (TPS) was first designated for Haitians who were in the United States on or before the devastating earthquake of 2010. Now, after Hurricane Matthew has worsened Haiti’s already-poor infrastructure and cholera epidemic, TPS should be redesignated. Haiti cannot currently support people who were deported, and redesignation would also help much-needed remittances be sent back to help Haiti recover. In this article, IJDH’s Steven Forester and FANM’s Marleine Bastien explain the importance of TPS and urge president Obama to redesignate it while he still has the chance.

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

Here’s why Obama should broaden TPS for Haitians

Marleine Bastien & Steven Forester, Miami Herald

December 25, 2016

Last week, Haitian Americans nationwide contacted the White House and their representatives in Congress urging President Obama to act on three goals within his control and moral purview.

When a natural catastrophe in a country makes it unsafe to deport nationals there, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) can designate it for Temporary Protected Status (TPS). Haiti was so designated after the devastating earthquake on Jan. 12, 2010. Nationals who had arrived in the U.S. on or before that date were protected from deportation and, for a significant fee, allowed to apply for a work permit.

TPS for Haiti needs to be updated — “redesignated.” In early October, Hurricane Matthew devastated Haiti’s southern peninsula. The Category 4 hurricane’s 230-mile-per-hour winds and over 10 inches of rain inundated vast areas, killing, injuring, rendering homeless and displacing hundreds of thousands. It left 1,250,000 Haitians, including 500,000 children, without safe water, and more than 800,000 Haitians living in extreme food insecurity because almost 100 percent crop destruction and half of the livestock destroyed. It caused cases of cholera, the water-borne disease introduced to Haiti by negligent United Nations practices.

 

Click HERE for the full text.

American Public Health Association Urges UN Accountability for Cholera

December 24, 2016 - 08:36

Recognizing the serious consequences of poor water and sanitation in Haiti in regards to the cholera epidemic, the American Public Health Association (APHA) urges the United Nations to make funding for the National Plan against cholera its top priority. Without proper water and sanitation, cholera will continue to infect and kill Haitians endlessly. Given the UN’s responsibility for the epidemic by ignoring common knowledge of Haiti’s poor infrastructure and carelessly dumping its waste in Haiti in 2010, it is up to the UN to oversee the plan and make sure it’s fully funded.

The abstract is below. Click HERE for the full article.

The United Nations’ Accountability for its Role in the Haitian Cholera Epidemic

American Public Health Association

November 1, 2o16

Decades of neglect of water and sanitation infrastructure have left the Haitian population vulnerable to outbreaks of waterborne illness. Despite the vulnerability of the population, United Nations (UN) forces (troops of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti, or MINUSTAH) have failed to take adequate precautions with their sewage, allowing human waste infected with cholera to contaminate the Haitian water supply. Since the cholera outbreak began in Haiti in October 2010, there have been at least 9,229 deaths and 789,242 Haitians infected. Given the role played by UN troops in the Haitian cholera epidemic, APHA urges the UN secretary-general and Department of Peacekeeping Operations to take leadership in guaranteeing that the National Plan for the Elimination of Cholera in Haiti is properly funded. The United Nations’ own special rapporteur released a report in August 2016 urging the secretary-general to take responsibility for the introduction of cholera in Haiti and advising the UN to make financial restitution for this mistake. Following this report, the secretary-general’s spokesperson acknowledged MINUSTAH’s role in causing the cholera epidemic; however, there has been no commitment on the part of the UN to take financial responsibility for the crisis. Without a long-term plan for building a national water and sanitation system, Haiti will remain vulnerable to cholera outbreaks during the rainy season and whenever a natural disaster occurs. Hurricane Matthew, which struck Haiti on October 4, 2016, has already led to a surge in cases, including more than 1,400 new infections in the 2 weeks immediately after the hurricane.

 

Click HERE for the full article.

Spend 3 Minutes Celebrating Justice for Cholera Victims

December 23, 2016 - 15:24

Dear Friend,

1. Press play.

2. Pat yourself on the back.

3. Smile!

 

Sincerely,

Kermshlise Picard

Communications Coordinator

 

NYC Bar Writes Ambassador Power for Cholera Justice

December 23, 2016 - 13:17

The New York City Bar Association wrote to US Ambassador Samantha Power regarding the US support for the United Nations’ new plan to combat cholera in Haiti, which was detailed before the UN General Assembly on December 1. The plan requires funding from UN member states, of which the US is one of the largest contributors.

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

December 23, 2016

The Honorable Ambassador Samantha Power

U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations

799 United Nations Plaza

New York, New York 10017

 

Dear Ambassador Power:

We write on behalf of the New York City Bar Association to urge the United States to provide support for the United Nations’ new approach to the cholera epidemic in Haiti before you complete your term as the U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations. We applaud Ambassador Isobel Coleman’s December 1, 2016 remarks stating that the United States “recognizes that more must be done” in response to the outbreak and that it “supports the UN’s ongoing efforts.”1 A timely and concrete investment from the United States is essential to ensure that the approach receives full international support and that implementation of the new plan can begin.

The Association is a 145-year-old independent nongovernmental organization of more than 25,000 members in New York City, throughout the United States, and in over fifty other countries. Our membership includes judges, prosecutors, government officials, defense lawyers, and scholars of international and domestic law. The Association has a long history of dedication to promoting human rights and the rule of law, including within the United States. We have long been troubled by the insufficiency of UN efforts to eliminate cholera from Haiti and the lack of any mechanism to hear and resolve claims by cholera victims, and we are encouraged by the UN’s recent progress to develop a just response to the cholera crisis.2

 

Click HERE for the full text.

An honor to collaborate with BAI and IJDH

December 22, 2016 - 08:40

 

Greetings,

It has been an honor to work in collaboration with the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti (IJDH) and the Bureau des Avocats Internationaux (BAI) over the last several years. They have been a strong force fighting for social justice and for human and civil rights in Haiti.

As a State Senator, I have seen firsthand IJDH’s work with the Haitian diaspora and friends of Haiti. The devastating earthquake of 2010 led to my partnership with IJDH and other community organizations, in response to the disaster. Petitioning our government to allow a Haitian Family Reunification Parole (HFRP) Program for people already approved for visas in Haiti was no small feat, yet IJDH was there with us collecting signatures. Before long, President Barack Obama granted HFRP for Haitian families. IJDH led the charge addressing the cholera epidemic by taking the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) to court. IJDH and BAI’s fight was successful when the UN finally recognized and apologized for it.

My parents were born in Haiti and immigrated to the United States, where they began their family. They managed to help extended family and friends, new to America, get on their feet and adapt to American culture. Witnessing the selflessness of my parents led me to pursue a career in public service and so I am able to continue my parent’s legacy of kindness and generosity. As the only elected official of Haitian descent in Massachusetts, it gives me great comfort to see the passion and commitment of IJDH to work and strengthen the people of Haiti with legal support to dismantle barriers to progress and prosperity. I know the impact IJDH and BAI are making and wish to see them continue to accompany the Haitian community.

I have witnessed IJDH’s work with the Haitian community for many years and know how they are influencing policies both here and in Washington, D.C. and making a systemic difference. I am proud to serve as a member of the board and support the work of IJDH, and encourage you to support them by donating today. Thank you.

Wishing you a wonderful Holiday Season,

State Senator Linda Dorcena Forry

 

1st Suffolk District

How UN’s New Cholera Elimination Plan Began with Haitians

December 21, 2016 - 16:25

Although Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s apology for the United Nations’ role in Haiti’s cholera apology is a major improvement in the UN’s response, there are questions about the UN’s new cholera elimination plan. For one, it doesn’t seem much different from the plan the Haitian government had already announced two years before. Even Ban’s op-ed regarding the plan echoes ideas previously proposed by Haitian public health advocates. The advocate who wrote this article emphasizes the importance of remembering where the cholera elimination work began.

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

The Problem with Ban Ki-Moon’s Plan for Cholera in Haiti

Kenny Moise, Woy Magazine

December 21, 2016

Lately, a spotlight has been placed on the United Nations in Haiti. Outgoing Secretary-General, Ban Ki-Moon has delivered pivotal statements at the General Assembly and via the Miami Herald concerning the UN’s response to the cholera epidemic in Haiti. Right now is as good a time as any to remember the critical work that has already been done to eliminate the disease, long before Ban Ki-Moon’s big statement.  Right now is as good a time as any to remember the fact that Haiti’s future lies only in our own hands.

Before 2010, cholera, which mostly affected Asia and Europe centuries ago, did not exist in Haiti. It was imported from Nepal in October 2010 because of the continuous dumping of feces into a river by UN peacekeepers based in Meyes, near Mirebalais, in central Haiti. Weak hygiene and sanitation conditions since the beginning of the last decade, partly due to political instability, facilitated the rapid spread of the disease to the rest of the country. This shows the UN’s direct responsibility in the emergence of the disease in Haiti, a claim which epidemiologists have backed, and which the UN has fiercely denied and hidden over the last few years.

 

Click HERE for the full text.

There is still time for President Obama to pay the US debt to Haiti

December 20, 2016 - 14:09

…or rather, begin repaying the debt, which has been imposed on Haiti almost since the country claimed its independence in 1804. The US has long been involved in Haiti in detrimental ways but by redesignating Temporary Protected Status for Haitians, and expanding the Haitian Family Reunification Program, which is currently too limited, President Obama has a chance to begin to make things right. There is still time before he leaves office. Will he heed the calls for justice?

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

Dear President Obama, while there is time

Nancy Young, Medium

December 20, 2016

Dear President Obama:

I tried to call you yesterday on a matter of great urgency and justice to the people of Haiti and those who love them here in the US.

But the White House comments line was already “closed” for the holidays and I was directed to the website where I could leave a “reflection” for you.

I bristled a little at the term “reflection” because what I wanted to leave was a call to action while you still have the power to take it and make the lives of thousands of people better.

Here is the call to action:

 

Click HERE for the full text.