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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.

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

HaitiLibre

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 http://www.haitilibre.com/en/news-19550-haiti-politics-un-adopts-new-strategy-against-cholera-in-haiti.html , 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?

CNN

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.

WHAT TRUMP MEANS FOR THE WORLD’S POOREST PEOPLE

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 steveforester@aol.com. 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.

RESPONSIBILITIES

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
activities;
 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.