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New State Department Report on Haiti Aid Lacks Transparency, Accountability

December 20, 2016 - 12:04
US Haiti Aid Reports to Congress Include “Incomplete Data,” Fail to “Link Projects and Outcomes,” New Review Finds

State Department Reports Also Fail to Adequately Identify Mistakes and Lessons Learned

December 20, 2016

Contact: Dan Beeton, (202) 239-1460

Washington, DC – A new paper from the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) and the Haiti Advocacy Working Group (HAWG) reviews reports released by the US State Department on contracts for Haiti aid and finds significant omissions and deficiencies, including incomplete data, a failure to link projects and outcomes, and a failure to adequately identify mistakes and lessons learned. The State Department reports are intended to comply with the Assessing Progress in Haiti Act, which was signed into law in August 2014. CEPR and HAWG incorporated Haitian civil society feedback in their review of these reports.

“The Assessing Progress in Haiti Act represents a significant, bipartisan effort by the US Congress to shed light on how effectively US taxpayer dollars are being used to assist Haiti with its ongoing rebuilding efforts years after its devastating 2010 earthquake,” CEPR analyst and report coauthor Alexander Main said. “Unfortunately, while State is releasing some information, there is still a great need for additional clarity and detail to obtain the transparency and accountability that people in both the US and Haiti deserve.”

“Nearly seven years after the earthquake, much of the Haitian population still struggles to meet basic needs; there has been improvement in some sectors, but key national indicators such as food security and economic growth have actually worsened,” Jasmine Huggins, paper coauthor and Senior Policy and Advocacy Officer for Church World Service, said. “As Haiti addresses future development challenges in the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew, it is critically important that we all understand how past US aid was spent, who benefitted and what lessons we have learnt from projects implemented.”

Among the shortfalls that CEPR and HAWG identify:

•    Incomplete information: There is a significant quantity of missing data at the subprime level, equivalent to 34 percent of the $300 million awarded to subprime partners.
•    No clear links between projects and outcomes: The report fails to provide information about what benchmarks and goals have and have not been met at the project level.
•    No clear picture of who the beneficiaries of US assistance are.
•    Scant information on US coordination with Haitian and international entities.
•    No information on nongovernmental capacity building.
•    A failure to identify mistakes and lessons learned.

CEPR and HAWG also noted:

Haitian [civil society] groups are largely unaware of the APHA reports, suggesting that USAID and the State Department have done little to familiarize groups with the reports. In addition, no part of the report has been translated into French or Kreyòl, rendering them inaccessible to the vast majority of Haitians.

“As organizations that partner with local Haitian civil society, we continually push the U.S. government to more and better consultation with Haitians to make international aid more accountable to the people it is intended to reach,” noted coauthor Charissa Zehr of the Mennonite Central Committee US Washington Office.

The paper’s authors attempted to remedy this by sharing selections of the State Department reports with Haitian civil society organizations, and included their feedback and questions in the CEPR/HAWG review.

The Assessing Progress in Haiti Act’s key actionable component is its reporting requirement instructing the US State Department to produce four annual reports with detailed information on the status of US aid programs in Haiti. CEPR and HAWG reviewed the 2014 and 2015 reports released by the State Department.

The Haiti Advocacy Working Group is comprised of international development, faith-based, human rights, and social justice organizations advocating on issues related to US-Haiti policy.

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Click HERE for the original press release.

Quelques difficultés dans la vérification des élections en Haïti

December 20, 2016 - 09:29

Le BCEN, qui s’occupe directement de la vérification au Centre de tabulation des votes, a commencé le processus de vérification des 12% des procès-verbaux pour les élections du 20 novembre. Le BCEN a rencontré, cepandant, quelques difficultés et le processus doit être complété bientôt: Le CEP doit publier les resultats définitifs le 29 décembre.

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

Au Centre de tabulation des votes (CTV), la vérification se fait difficilement

Robenson Geffrard, Le Nouvelliste

20 decembre 2016

National – Le processus de vérification des procès-verbaux est lancé, hier mardi, au Centre de tabulation des votes (CTV) comme l’avait ordonné le BCEN. Cependant, trouver la méthodologie pour vérifier les 1 560 procès-verbaux, soit 12% et l’appliquer a été l’une des choses les plus difficiles pour les juges électoraux qui ont dû souvent élever la voix et taper sur la table pour avoir le contrôle de la situation et calmer les avocats de LAPEH, Pitit Dessalines et Fanmi Lavalas et du PHTK.

C’est le BCEN qui s’occupe directement de la vérification au Centre de tabulation des votes. Autour d’une grande table, juges électoraux, avocats contestataires et avocats de la partie défenderesse tentent de se faire comprendre et trouver la meilleure façon de vérifier les 12% des procès-verbaux (PV). Entre des « je demande la parole… je propose, je ne suis pas d’accord… », des avocats contestataires et de ceux de la partie défenderesse et les « mettez-vous, cher maître, vous n’avez pas la parole, nous ne sommes pas au tribunal, on doit avancer… » des juges électoraux au BCEN, la confusion règne et les acteurs font du surplace.

 

Cliquez ICI pour le texte complet.

Untold Damage to Haiti from Hurricane Matthew

December 16, 2016 - 15:40

Haitian towns and cities hit by Hurricane Matthew in October continue to suffer and the authors of this article say that “The story of Matthew’s actual disaster will take decades to unfold.” Besides the obvious structural damage caused by Matthew, many important crops and trees were destroyed and will take much time to recover. In the meantime, people will be hungry and the economy will be depressed. Matthew also revealed (or perhaps reminded) of severe deficiencies in building materials and practices that made many structures so vulnerable to the winds and torrential rain. While Haitians are doing their best to recover on their own, they still need help.

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

A Close-Up Look at Southwestern Haiti, Post-Hurricane Matthew

Andrew Kennedy and Tracy Kijewski-Correa, WunderBlog

December 16, 2o16

Today’s guest post is by Dr. Andrew Kennedy and Dr. Tracy Kijewski-Correa, associate professors in the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering & Earth Sciences at the University of Notre Dame. From November 17 to 25, a reconnaissance team led by Kijewski-Correa visited the most-affected regions and evaluated Matthew’s effects on buildings, infrastructure, and the people of Haiti. Below, Dr. Kennedy and Dr. Kijewski-Correa give us a preliminary account of their trip, which took them to areas seen by relatively few outside observers since the hurricane. We’ll be back on Monday with a new post. –Jeff Masters and Bob Henson

On October 4, 2016, Hurricane Matthew made landfall near the town of Les Anglais, Haiti, as a strong Category 4 storm with estimated sustained winds of 145 mph (65 m/s) (Fig. 1). The landfall region in the western Tiburon Peninsula, more than 150 miles west of the capital of Port-au-Prince, sustained extreme damage to buildings and vegetation. The Haitian government reported 546 fatalities from Matthew, while other sources reported at least 1600 unconfirmed deaths. Rainfall in the peninsula was extreme, estimated by NASA to be 10-20 inches over the course of the storm.

Some background
Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, with a per-capita GDP of US$846 in 2014. Haiti has many poor people, a few very wealthy families, and a small, weak middle class. Even in the best of times, life is difficult here for most citizens, and these are not the best of times. Except for a few paved national roads that link large cities, many roads are unpaved and often impassable, intercepted by land/rock slides and rivers, and eroded by flash flooding. Four-wheel drive vehicles are necessary in many areas.

Haiti has a largely agricultural economy, historically focused on producing coffee and sugarcane but more recently on exporting oils used in perfumes, bananas, and cocoa. A large portion of the population, particularly in rural areas, survives on subsistence farming, so any interruption to agriculture has immediate impacts on nutrition. Overall, Haiti has little internal resilience to natural disasters and relies on outside aid not just for recovery, but for many of the basic services its citizens require.

 

Click HERE for the full text.

Letter to UN Independent Expert on Haiti Post-Matthew

December 16, 2016 - 14:25

BAI, IJDH and five other human rights groups wrote a letter to United Nations Independent Expert Gustavo Gallón on the situation in Haiti after Hurricane Matthew. Gallón will report to the UN Human Rights Council at the end of this month. The hope is that he includes language in his report that alerts the international community to the dire situation in post-Matthew Haiti and the need for humanitarian and reconstruction assistance. We also hope that he encourages the Haitian government and international community to use a rights-based approach guided by human rights norms in their assistance to strengthen the country’s infrastructure and reduce their vulnerability to natural disasters.

A rights-based approach to Hurricane Matthew assistance (1) prioritizes capacity-building of the Haitian government and civil society; (2) ensures participation of communities affected by Matthew in the design and execution of assistance programs, with an emphasis on civil society organizations; (3) practices transparency by making information about the intervention accessible to the community; (4) ensures accountability to the target communities and Haitian government by providing monitoring, evaluation and complaint procedures; and, (5) insists on ensuring that the assistance does not discriminate against marginalized groups, with particular attention to women, children and elderly, disabled and LGBTI individuals.

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

December 16, 2016

Dear Mr. Gustavo Gallón, Independent Expert on the Situation of Human Rights in Haiti,
We congratulate you for your press statement issued on October 24, 2016, in particular, your recommendation that efforts to address the needs of Haitians affected by Hurricane Matthew be redoubled.1 We also commend your commitment in prior reports to addressing human rights violations in Haiti that result from natural disasters.2
We would like to provide more information on the economic and social rights situation in Haiti following Hurricane Matthew and the human rights implications of international assistance. The destruction of homes, livelihood, livestock and crops is on a scale similar to the damage from the January 12, 2010, earthquake. Haitians call Matthew “ti 12 janvye” or “little 12 January”. But unfortunately the international community has not stepped up to help Haitian communities impacted by the hurricane. We ask for your help in alerting the international community to the dire situation in post-Matthew Haiti and the need for humanitarian and reconstruction assistance.

 

Click HERE for the full letter.

Time is Running Out for Obama Administration to Treat Haitians Fairly

December 16, 2016 - 12:49

Even before Hurricane Matthew, Haiti was in no state to accept refugees deported from the United States. After the Hurricane, with the south all but destroyed, spikes in cholera and a precarious political situation, it makes even less sense to deport Haitians but the Department of Homeland Security has announced that it will begin again. Elected officials in Florida, as well as advocates, urge the Obama administration not only to stop these deportations; but also to extend Temporary Status for Haitians and expand the Haitian Family Reunification Program. The latter has allowed only 1,952 Haitians who are approved for visas into the US, due to its arbitrary restrictions.

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

Haitian-American Elected Officials Ask President Obama to Expand Family Reunification

South Florida Caribbean News

December 16, 2016

MIAMI – City of North Miami Mayor Smith Joseph and State Senator Daphne Campbell will be joined by North Miami Vice-Mayor Alix Desulme, Councilman Philippe Bien-Aime, North Miami Beach Councilman Frantz Pierre and others to ask President Obama to free 6,000 Haitian refugees, redesignate Haiti for Temporary Protected Status based on Hurricane Matthew and expand the arbitrarily limited Haitian Family Reunification Parole Program.

“Haiti on October 4 was devastated by Hurricane Matthew, which killed over 1,000 Haitians and nearly destroyed the entire southern peninsula, spiking cholera cases and affected two million people even as the political situation worsened. Deportations to Haiti were and are unsafe,” said Mayor Smith Joseph.

We ask President Obama and Secretary Johnson to release our brothers and sisters, and let them spend Christmas with loved ones,” added Vice-Mayor Alix Desulme.

 

Click HERE for the full text.

TODAY: Contact White House & Congress & Urge Others to Help

December 16, 2016 - 09:25

Please online-message and spread the word TODAY!

Today, Monday December 19, contact the White House, DHS, and Congress to stop Haiti deportations, redesignate Haiti for TPS due to Hurricane Matthew, expand the Haitian Family Reunification Program (HFRP), and fund UN cholera eradication and justice efforts!  

ASK PRESIDENT OBAMA TO DO THESE THINGS NOW!

President Obama Needs to Hear From the Haitian Diaspora And Its Supporters!  REDESIGNATE TPS, EXPAND HFRP, HALT DEPORTATIONS, ERADICATE CHOLERA!

 
TPS was designed for disasters like Matthew rendering deportations unsafe! And only 1,952 Haitians have succeeded under HFRP (compared to over 100,000 under the Cuban program)! Like deportations to a nation reeling from Matthew, inaction on TPS and HFRP makes no sense; and the UN’s cholera eradication plans need US funding. PRESIDENT OBAMA SHOULD ACT NOW!

CALL TO ACTION: Contact the White House, your Representative in Congress and the Department of Homeland Security on Monday, December 19!

WHITE HOUSE:

Submit your message online at https://www.whitehouse.gov/contact for President OBAMA (only, not his successor please)! (The comment phone number has just closed; and our presidential target is Obama only – writing his successor could be counterproductive.)

Here’s what you can write: “Mr. President, please urgently redesignate Haiti for Temporary Protected Status due to Hurricane Matthew’s massive destruction in October; expand the much-too-limited Haitian Family Reunification Program, under which fewer than 2000 people have succeeded, defeating its purpose to create an orderly outflow mechanism and help Haiti recover by generating remittances; and stop the unsafe deportations to Haiti which DHS resumed in November! Haiti is reeling from Matthew and can’t safely reintegrate deportees! And the US must do its full part to fund the UN’s cholera eradication and justice plans! Thank you, Mr. President!”

CONGRESS:

1. Dial the Capitol Switchboard – 202-225-3121. Ask to be connected with your Representative’s office. (Click here to find your Representative by zip-code; Click here to find your Senator by name or zip-code.)

2. You will be connected with Your Representative’s receptionist. Ask to speak to the staff person who handles immigration policy or international issues. (If the receptionist can’t connect you with the aide who handles Haiti, you can just ask the receptionist to take down your message and relay it to both the staff person and to your Representative.)

3. Whether you speak to the staffer in person or just leave a message on his/her voicemail, here’s what you can say:
 
“My name is ___________ and I am a constituent from __(your city)___.  I am calling to ask that Representative ___________ please immediately urge President Obama to redesignate Haiti for Temporary Protected Status due to Hurricane Matthew’s massive destruction in October; expand the much-too-limited Haitian Family Reunification Program, under which fewer than 2000 people have succeeded, defeating its purpose to create an orderly outflow mechanism and help Haiti recover by generating remittances; and stop the unsafe deportations to Haiti which DHS resumed in November! Haiti is reeling from Matthew and can’t safely reintegrate deportees! And the US must do its full part to fund the UN’s cholera eradication and justice plans! Thank you!

DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY:

If time permits, Secretary Jeh Johnson: Comment Line 202-282-8495 and simply amend the message to Obama (above) by replacing “Mr. President” with “Mr. Secretary”
 
You can use your own words if you prefer, but remember to keep it brief. Do not worry that you are not prepared for a long discussion. The staff member will just take your message without asking for more details.

 

Be sure on your calls to thank everyone for their time!
 
Please write and call today, Monday, December 19! And tell your friends and family to write and call too, and share this with others. Let’s show how powerful our united voices can be! Thank you for taking a minute and making this important contact.
 
In solidarity,
 
Marleine Bastien, Executive Director, Fanm Ayisyen nan Miami (FANM), Haitian Women of Miami, Inc.

Jean Robert Lafortune, Chairperson, Haitian American Grassroots Coalition (HAGC)

Jimy Mertune, Representative, Collective in Solidarity With the Victims of Cholera (Collective Solidarité Avec Les Victimes de Cholera), Orlando, FL

Be Part of the Solution for Haiti

December 14, 2016 - 13:41

Dear Friend,

As the holiday celebrations approach, please join the Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti (IJDH) and the Bureau des Avocats Internationaux (BAI) in celebrating a year of victories for justice in Haiti. Along with our collaborators in Haiti and abroad, we have made historic and sustainable impact in 2016, including:

•A series of reports from UN Human Rights experts urging the UN to respect the cholera victims’ human right to compensation;

•Letters from 160 Members of the U.S. Congress—Democrats and Republicans—calling on the U.S. State Department to seek a just resolution of the cholera crisis;

•Editorial Boards from the New York Times (twice), the Washington Post, Boston Globe (twice), Miami Herald, The Lancet and many other outlets supported the victims’ fight for justice. Hundreds of articles appeared in audio and print, in dozens of countries on every inhabited continent.

  • •Deeply flawed Presidential elections were stopped in January and irregularities were investigated. This victory provided Haitian voters a second chance to choose their government, and established the precedent that Haitian voters and civil society, supported by allies abroad, can overcome election manipulation by Haitian and foreign governments. Although the rescheduled elections held in November were an improvement, there are claims of widespread fraud and voter disenfranchisement. We are pushing for a full investigation into these problems.
  • •Several BAI rape clients—all poor women and girls—had their day in court, while children abandoned by UN Peacekeeper fathers launched an unprecedented campaign for child support.
  • •BAI continued to provide legal representation, meeting space and advice to Haitian activists and grassroots groups standing up against injustice, and to train the next generation of Haitian human rights lawyers.
  • •IJDH continued to amplify and support BAI’s work, bringing Haitian voices abroad where decisions about Haitian rights are routinely made.

All this progress was only possible because of our generous donors. We are reaching out to ask you to make more victories possible through financial support of our work.

When you give the gift of justice to Haiti, you strengthen the foundations of stability and prosperity for Haitian generations to come.

With hope and gratitude,

Brian

P. S. BAI and IJDH depend on private funds to support all of our work.

What’s Next with the UN’s New Cholera Plan?

December 14, 2016 - 13:37

Partners in Health, which has been treating Haiti’s cholera victims since the epidemic began in 2010, sat down with its senior health and policy advisor to answer some key questions after Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s apology and promise of further action. Dr. Ivers answers questions like: “What does the UN mean by material assistance?” and “How much did public pressure play a role in forcing the U.N.’s hand?”

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

Dr. Louise Ivers on U.N.‘s Apology for Role in Cholera Epidemic

Partners in Health

December 14, 2016

One month before leaving office, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon apologized publicly for the United Nations’ role in the cholera outbreak that has killed 10,000 and sickened 800,000 in Haiti since 2010. Most important to Haitians and their allies, he also promised to right its past wrongs.

“On behalf of the United Nations, I want to say very clearly: we apologize to the Haitian people,” Ban read from a prepared statement, translated into French and Haitian Creole. “We simply did not do enough with regard to the cholera outbreak and its spread in Haiti. We are profoundly sorry for our role.”

“We have a moral responsibility to act,” he continued. “And we have a collective responsibility to deliver.”

Click HERE for the full text.

New UN Approach to Cholera in Haiti

December 12, 2016 - 16:03

The United Nations has issued a General Assembly resolution on its new approach to fighting the cholera epidemic in Haiti.

December 12, 2016

Argentina, Bahamas, Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Croatia, Dominican Republic, France, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Ireland, Jamaica, Mali, Malta, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Spain, Switzerland, Trinidad and Tobago, United States of America, Uruguay and Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of): draft resolution

The new United Nations approach to cholera in Haiti

The General Assembly,

Recalling its resolutions 65/135 and 65/136 of 15 December 2010,

Expressing concern at the recurrent outbreaks of cholera in Haiti, which have affected nearly 800,000 people and caused over 9,000 deaths to date,

Deeply concerned that there has been an increase in the number of persons affected by cases of cholera and other diarrhoeal diseases as a result of Hurricane Matthew, which struck Haiti on 4 October 2016, and about the continued vulnerability of Haitians as a result thereof,

Recognizing the considerable national, regional and international efforts deployed in the fight against cholera in Haiti since 2010, and acknowledging that, while important progress has been made in combating cholera, Haiti continues to face significant challenges,

Underscoring the need to address this prolonged public health crisis owing to its grave humanitarian, economic and social consequences, and stressing the importance of strengthening the Haitian national health institutions,

 

Click HERE for the full text.

Editorial: What Comes Next for UN & Haiti Cholera

December 12, 2016 - 13:44

Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s apology to the Haitian people for the UN’s involvement in the spread of cholera has been long awaited and was long overdue.  Now that he has apologized, a long road lies ahead for the UN to truly help end the epidemic in Haiti.

The United Nations comes clean(ish) on cholera in Haiti

The Editorial Board, The Washington Post

December 12, 2016

MORE THAN six years after a brigade of U.N. peacekeepers from Nepal introduced cholera in Haiti, triggering an epidemic that has killed at least 10,000 and sickened many more, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has finally uttered the word “sorry.” Mr. Ban’s tortuously worded apology, delivered recently in a speech to the U.N. General Assembly, must be the beginning, not the end, of official contrition and accountability by the United Nations in Haiti.

The glacial rate at which the United Nations grasped its moral responsibility for having wreaked a public-health disaster in the Western Hemisphere’s most impoverished nation has tarnished the institution. Cowed by its lawyers, jealously guarding its prestige, the United Nations averted its gaze from the victims, ignored incontrovertible scientific evidence and trembled at its potential legal liability.

Only when it became clear that its credibility was in tatters, and its authority to insist that member states adhere to international norms was in jeopardy, did the United Nations finally come to terms publicly with its culpability in the cholera outbreak. “We simply didn’t do enough with regard to the cholera outbreak and its spread in Haiti,” Mr. Ban said. “We are profoundly sorry about our role.”

His statement, coming just a month before his term as the United Nations’ eighth secretary general expires, painstakingly avoided an overt admission of what is already known: that the outbreak began when Nepalese peacekeepers, failing to use basic protocols of sanitation at their base when they arrived in 2010, contaminated a nearby river that provided drinking water for Haitians. Cholera was rampant in Nepal at the time; it had been unknown in Haiti for decades.

What is critical now, as U.N. officials have acknowledged, is that the organization take concrete steps to make amends, namely by leading a public health blitzkrieg to eradicate the disease in Haiti and by making reparations, to victims’ families, their communities or both.

Legal accountability is not the point; a federal appeals panel ruled this summer that the United Nations enjoys diplomatic immunity from the victims’ claims. But moral accountability demands a sustained effort to wipe out a disease that has caused so much suffering in that country.

It won’t be easy. U.N. officials say they have nearly raised the $200 million they sought to overhaul water and sanitation infrastructure in Haiti, and to treat cholera’s steady flow of fresh patients there. That’s a first step toward what is likely to be a long struggle for eradication. Unfortunately, they have made little progress in raising from member states what they hope will be an identical amount of money to provide payouts, scholarships and other benefits to the relatives and communities of the dead.

Under Mr. Ban’s successor, former Portuguese prime minister Antonio Guterres, who takes office Jan. 1, the United Nations has every incentive to press ahead both to heal Haiti to the extent possible and to restore its own moral standing.

Click HERE for the original article.

As Haitians observe International Human Rights Day, lawyers concerned that low turnout and voter exclusion indicate threats to Haitians’ right to vote

December 10, 2016 - 10:31

 

For Immediate Release

Contact:

Mario Joseph, Av., Bureau des Avocats Internationaux (in Haïti), mario@ijdh.org +509-3701-9879 (French, Kreyol)

Nicole Phillips, Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti (in US), nicole@ijdh.org +1-510-715-2855 (English, French, Kreyol)

As Haitians observe International Human Rights Day, lawyers concerned that low turnout and voter exclusion indicate threats to Haitians’ right to vote

(Port-au-Prince, December 10, 2016) – Following the November 28 announcement of preliminary results for Haiti’s presidential elections, human rights lawyers are concerned by the extremely low turnout, and the potentially massive exclusion of voters and allegations of fraud during the vote tabulation process. “Many Haitians faced serious obstacles to voting on November 20,” said Mario Joseph, managing attorney of the Port-au-Prince-based Bureau des Avocats Internationaux (BAI). “Fixing problems that excluded voters from casting their ballots is crucial for the integrity of Haiti’s electoral system,” Joseph said.

On election day, many voters could not find their names on the electoral list of their voting center, while others discovered that they had been assigned to voting centers far away from their place of residence. Problems with the electoral list were compounded by difficulties Haitians had obtaining their Carte d’identification nationale (CIN) from the Office Nationale de l’Indentification (ONI). In hurricane-affected areas of the south-west, Haitians who lost their CIN cards were unable to vote, even if they had an attestation form issued by the ONI.

International and national observers indicate that voter exclusion was a common problem on election day. According to the Provisional Electoral Council (CEP)’s preliminary results, only 21 percent of registered voters cast a ballot in the election, though the turnout declines to 17.3 percent in counting only the valid votes. Unfortunately, election workers did not document the number of voters turned away due to errors in the electoral list or unavailability of identification.

“Voter exclusion has been a problem in every election I’ve observed since 2010, as voter turnout continues to plummet. More efforts need to be made by the Haitian government and the international community to update voter registration lists and issue national identity cards so that everyone can vote,” said Nicole Phillips, a lawyer with the Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti who observed the elections. “The failure to do so violates Haitians’ fundamental human right to vote under Haitian and international law.” The scope of voter exclusion must be investigated and the electoral lists corrected before the next round of elections in 2017, Phillips added.

Election observers with a delegation from the U.S.-based National Lawyers Guild witnessed encouraging improvements to Haiti’s electoral system on November 20, in particular the professionalism of polling station workers. Election day was calmer and had reduced instances of fraud, due to the pre-registration of political party monitors (mandataires), the usage of indelible ink and better-trained security agents at polling places. Voting booths were larger and better designed, providing voters with greater secrecy when filling out their ballots. The CEP also released its procedures manual for the vote tabulation process, a demand of Haitian civil society.

Despite these advances, three challenges were filed by presidential candidates and 27 challenges were filed by legislative candidates objecting to the integrity of operations at the Vote Tabulation Center, which resulted in a high proportion (10.4 percent) of polling stations’ vote tallies being excluded due to irregularities. Decisions on the challenges are expected any day. Three members of the CEP did not sign the council’s declaration of the preliminary results, citing concerns over how irregularities were dealt with.

The CEP must investigate the allegations, clarify its decisions and address other serious incidents, such as reports of bags of discarded ballots found in the Nord Department, the BAI’s Joseph insisted, before finalizing the results. “These elections will not produce a legitimate government unless the challenges are fully investigated and publicly explained.”

Whether due to exclusion or discouragement or both, November 20’s low voter turnout is a worrying sign for Haiti’s fragile democracy. In the presidential race, PHTK candidate Jovenel Moïse finished first with 595,430 votes. If the preliminary results stand, Jovenel Moïse will have won presidency with the support of less than 10 percent of Haiti’s 6.2 million registered voters. Voter turnout has declined steadily since 2000, when the winning candidate won over twice as many votes (2.63 million) as the top four finishers in the 2016 official results combined (1.02 million).

“The U.S. and its allies in the international community bear some of the blame for Haitians’ political disengagement,” said Brian Concannon Jr., executive director of IJDH.  “After more than a decade of foreign-backed coups d’état, military occupation and interference by outside powers, Haitians have well-founded concerns about whether their votes will be respected or their elections can truly change anything.” UN troops have occupied Haiti since 2004, after a U.S.-backed regime change overthrew the elected government.

For more information, see the National Lawyers Guild and International Association of Democratic Lawyers’ November 2015 report calling for an independent investigation to address widespread allegations of fraud in Haiti’s October 25 elections and their September 2016 report calling on neutrality and independence of international electoral observers in Haiti.

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Questions of Fraud in Haiti’s November 20 Elections

December 9, 2016 - 14:21

Reports of problems on Haiti’s election fay continue to surface, calling into question the legitimacy of the preliminary results that named Jovenel Moise, protégé of former president Martelly, as the new president. The problems include many voters not finding their names on the lists, voters being told to go even 147 miles from their homes to vote, ballots for other candidates found in the streets, and a nationwide blackout after the polls closed. Thousands of Haitians have been protesting in the streets and the three candidates named second, third and fourth have officially contested the preliminary election results. Three members of the 9-member Electoral Council also refused to sign off on the preliminary results.

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

Human Rights and Alternative Media Delegation Report on Haiti’s Elections

Pierre Labossiere and Margaret Prescod, Counterpunch

December 9, 2016

Lead Up to Election Day

Friday, November 18th was the last day of campaigning for Haiti’s Presidential and Parliamentary elections which were to be held on Sunday, November 20th.  On Friday we visited Delmas 2 where we met with activists on the ground including women and men.  Preparations were underway for the get-out-the vote campaign.  In Delmas 2 there were banners and other materials for the Lavalas Presidential candidate Dr. Maryse Narcisse.  Several people expressed to us the widespread concern that the election maybe stolen, nevertheless the people we spoke to felt it was nevertheless important to vote.

Later on Friday, we visited Cite Soleil where a massive march was taking place.  The March preceded and followed a motorcade with former Haitian President Jean Bertrand Aristide and Dr. Maryse Narcisse.  Tens of thousands took part in the march.  The atmosphere was festive with music and dancing. The mood in the crowd was determined, although some we spoke to also expressed concerns about a stolen election, people generally seemed enthusiastic about voting.  A popular song poking fun at Jovenal Moise the candidate endorsed by former President Michel Martelly entitled “Banann” was often played and all seemed to know the words and sang along.

Early that evening there was a massive Lavalas rally at the old airfield in Delmas 2.  The crowd grew to tens of thousands. There was a notable lack of western media present at that rally.  The mood was joyful and enthusiastic, many there said, including some of the speakers, that if the election was not fraudulent, Dr. Narcisse would win on the first round.

 

Click HERE for the full text.

Center for Economic & Policy Research Seeks a Research Assistant

December 9, 2016 - 10:50

CENTER FOR ECONOMIC AND POLICY RESEARCH

The Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) was established in 1999 to promote democratic debate on the most important economic and social issues that affect people’s lives. CEPR conducts both professional research and public education so that the public is better prepared to choose among the various policy options. The professional research is oriented towards filling important gaps in the understanding of particular economic and social problems, or the impact of specific policies, both domestically and globally. The public education portion of CEPR’s mission is to present the findings of professional research, both by CEPR and others, in a manner that allows broad segments of the public to know exactly what is at stake in major policy debates. As part of its public education initiative, CEPR utilizes research findings and analysis to challenge the myths, assumptions, policies and institutions that perpetuate economic and social inequality.

RESPONSIBILITIES

CEPR has an immediate opening for a full-time Research Assistant (International). The focus of this work will be international economic policy issues. Responsibilities include collection and analysis of data, preparation of charts and graphs, research literature and summarization of relevant background material. This position will include original research with original data sources and writing or cowriting research papers. This position has designated funding for two years, after which point it may be extended.

Successful candidates will possess a B.A. or B.S. in economics or related field, with working knowledge of statistics and international economics; several months of experience as a research assistant or performing similar work; knowledge of Microsoft Office, spreadsheets, and graphics software. Spanish language skills are not required but would be very useful.

HIRING PROCESS

January 9, 2017. In rare, extenuating circumstances, the application period may be extended or curtailed. In the event that the application period is curtailed, CEPR will update this posting to notify candidates that they have 7 days to apply. Send application packet to jobscepr2016[at]cepr.net and include: Cover letter with salary requirement, Resume, Recent writing sample showing your analytic and research skills.

No telephone calls or faxes please.

 

 

Click HERE for the full job posting.

Ban Ki-moon’s “half apology” to Haiti

December 8, 2016 - 12:49

Following the UN Secretary General’s apology to Haiti on December 1st, there have been many critiques of what is being dubbed Ban Ki-moon’s “incomplete apology.” Many condemn the UN’s continued refusal to admit legal responsibility for the introduction of cholera into Haiti, and many more are openly challenging the UN to show its commitment to Haiti by quickly and effectively raising the necessary money for Ban’s plan.

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

The UN’s Incomplete Apology To Haiti

Kim Ives, Haiti Liberte

December 8, 2016

The United Nations General Assembly Hall in New York City. (Photo from original article)

 

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, who will step down at the end of this month, made his most explicit apology yet for the UN’s role and responsibility in Haiti’s cholera epidemic, the world’s worst.

However, in his ballyhooed Dec. 1 address to the UN General Assembly, Ban stopped short of admitting that UN soldiers militarily occupying Haiti since 2004 introduced the deadly bacterial disease into the country in 2010…

 

Click HERE for the full article.

Fluent French Speakers Needed for Victim Empowerment Project

December 7, 2016 - 10:28

Dear Friend,

IJDH is seeking fluent French speakers to contribute to a time sensitive, critical opportunity to empower victims of cholera to assert their right to remedies.

Last week, the UN launched a new response to cholera in Haiti, which includes a commitment to consulting with victims during the elaboration of the new plan. BAI is working rapidly to roll out a series of training sessions with victims groups on the new plan and the right to reparations. These trainings aim to empower victims to engage meaningfully and assert their rights in the forthcoming consultation process.

To prepare for these training sessions, we’d like to share with trainers a report that was prepared by Carla Ferstman at REDRESS and discusses the right to reparation in the context of the cholera epidemic with the colleagues who will be leading the trainings. This report will be a critical tool for the trainers to be able to pass on key information to victims about their rights.

The report is in English, and needs to be translated into French. We are seeking volunteers who can translate 5 pages each of the report by the end of the day Sunday, December 11. Since accuracy will be vitally important in this effort, we kindly seek volunteers who are:

– Fluent French speakers

– Have a legal or human rights background

– Can firmly commit to meeting the deadline of Sunday, December 11.

If you are available to help out with this important project, please contact Beatrice@ijdh.org ASAP.

Please also forward this to anyone in your network who might be able to pitch in.

Sincerely,

Beatrice Lindstrom

 

Staff Attorney

 

Update on Cholera, Hurricane Matthew and Elections from Brian Concannon

December 6, 2016 - 13:29

This comprehensive interview with IJDH Executive Director Brian Concannon covers cholera, Hurricane Matthew and elections in Haiti. Last week, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon finally apologized for the cholera epidemic. Concannon calls this “a very good step in the right direction.” Next, the UN has to make sure that funders really do step up and make the cholera plan happen.

Haiti is also still dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew. The government is doing more than it did after the 2010 earthquake and the UN put out a Flash Appeal for funding but not enough has come in. After two months, there’s a major risk of famine and people are still in tents.

Though a new president for Haiti has finally been named, many issues remain and the results are being contested by other candidates, and people protesting in the streets. On election day, many people were unable to find their names on ballots and afterwards, many ballots were found in places they shouldn’t be. These are just some of the issues.

Watch the interview below.

UN Admits Fault in Cholera Outbreak as Country Faces Prospect of Famine

The Real News

December 6, 2016

Click HERE for the original link.

 

No ordinary triumph for Haiti

December 5, 2016 - 14:59


Dear Friend,

This is no ordinary triumph. This is historic.

This is the moment that the Irish poet Seamus Heaney foretold as the rising up of that “once in a lifetime…longed-for tidal wave of justice,” when “hope and history rhyme.”

When the leader of 193 nations apologized on December 1 from his grand carpeted chamber at the UN to millions of Haitians, many with dirt floors, the poles of power began to shift. The earth shuddered a “great sea-change on the far side of revenge.” 

It didn’t come about without hope. It also didn’t materialize without your unfailing support.

And it would not have been possible without a scrappy band of Haitian and international lawyers, interns, and their allies at the Bureau de Avocats Internationaux (BAI) in Port au Prince and the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti (IJDH) working from a church basement in Boston. (To read in the Miami Herald about their role in the UN’s apology, see here.)

It didn’t happen without IJDH’s careful weaving together of a vast network of victims, human rights organizations and outraged US and UN officials demanding the United Nations fess up and fund up. But the pressure cannot stop now.

We all must be relentless to ensure the UN raises and deploys adequate funds to remedy the epidemic of cholera. After all, their peacekeeping troops introduced the deadly disease to Haiti’s water supply due to gross negligence — and then let it fester due to calculated avoidance.

Honestly, I must admit that I wasn’t sure I would ever see this moment. In 2014 when Al Kaneb and I, both IJDH Advisory Board members, met with the UN official appointed to handle this mess, he told us there was no effective leverage the UN could use over its member states to force them to remedy the situation. There was no bucket of money from which to draw for installing clean water and sanitation systems throughout Haiti, or for compensating the families of dead cholera victims. “No way,” he said.

IJDH – and YOU – have pushed them to find a way. But the remedies won’t be funded without your ongoing support.

When I enter the dusty, windowless basement offices of IJDH, where staff and volunteers toil from donated study carrels, or when I visit the crammed and sweltering office rooms of the BAI in Port au Prince, I am incredulous that these indefatigable advocates have moved leaders in the marbled halls of power. They have made me a believer in the way that Seamus Heaney proclaimed:

“Believe that further shore is reachable from here. Believe in miracle and cures and healing wells.”

With your most generous contribution, we will secure a miracle, disseminate a cure, and build clean water systems for all the people of Haiti. Together, we will make history.

And that means, in Heaney’s words, “That someone is hearing the outcry and the birth-cry of new life at its term.” This is the moment for new life in Haiti.

With gratitude and in awe,

Karen Keating Ansara

 

IJDH Advisory Board Member

P.S. Read Seamus Heaney’s poem in full here.

P.P.S. Help IJDH make history here.

UNSG Ban Ki-moon’s editorial in the Miami Herald

December 5, 2016 - 14:10

In the editorial below, the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, addresses the readers in a similar fashion as in his apology on December 1, 2016. He explains the purpose and possible structure of the UN’s two track initiative in Haiti, and expresses his remorse over the UN’s role in the epidemic.

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

Righting a wrong in Haiti

Ban Ki-moon, Miami Herald

December 5, 2016

 

Last week, I addressed the U.N. General Assembly to outline a new approach to tackle cholera in Haiti — a disease that has afflicted nearly 800,000 people and claimed the lives of more than 9,000 Haitians over the last six years.

This tragedy has cast a shadow upon the relationship between the U.N. and the people of Haiti. It is a blemish on the reputation of U.N. peacekeeping and the organization world-wide.

BAN KI-MOON UN (Photo from original article)

I began my speech to the General Assembly with a message to the Haitian people:

The United Nations deeply regrets the loss of life and suffering caused by the cholera outbreak in Haiti. We apologize. The U.N. simply did not do enough with regard to the cholera outbreak and its spread in Haiti. We are profoundly sorry for our role…

 

Click HERE for the full article.

Looking at UN responsibility to repair the damage caused by cholera

December 5, 2016 - 13:58

This editorial discusses the necessary measures the UN must take to once and for all eradicate the disease it introduced into Haiti in 2010. Looking to 2017, António Guterres, the incoming UN Secretary General as of January 1, will have to take immediate and decisive action to build on the momentum now generated from current UNSG, Ban Ki-moon’s apology.

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

Make Haiti whole: The UN’s responsibility to repair the damage it unleashed when it imported cholera to the impoverished country

NY Daily News

December 5, 2016

UN-acceptable (Photo from original article)

 

The United Nations is finally coming to terms with its moral responsibility for suffering and death it imported to Haiti.

Up next, and urgently: a practical reckoning to undo the damage done.

Six years ago, as the impoverished nation struggled to rebuild from a devastating earthquake, UN peacekeepers from Nepal introduced cholera there, by dumping human waste into a waterway…

 

Click HERE for the full article.

Activists Force UN to Apologize for Cholera

December 5, 2016 - 07:32

Activists in Haiti and Boston won a victory when outgoing United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon issued an apology. In Boston, Charlot Lucien and others collected signatures to deliver to the UN, and others demonstrated at UN headquarters.

Executive Director Brian Concannon said BAI’s office in Haiti applauded Ki-moon’s apology, “the sincerity was enough to trump the fact that [the apology] was limited.”

Concannon and Haitian activists will continue to keep the UN accountable for its new water and sanitation initiative, which “needs to be fully funded and well executed.”

The Boston Globe staff writer Adrian Walker advocates compensation for Haitian victims’ families. Read the original article HERE.

Cholera activists force an apology the UN didn’t want to issue

by Adrian Walker, Boston Globe

December 5th, 2016

Charlot Lucien has been trying to get the United Nations to apologize for years.

Like a lot of people in Boston’s Haitian community, and in the vast diaspora beyond it, he believes that the international organization owes Haiti an apology — at the very least — for introducing cholera to the country in the wake of the 2010 earthquake that rocked the island.

Last week, his hopes were partially answered. Outgoing Secretary General Ban Ki-moon issued an apology for the effects of the disaster, and outlined a plan to address the misery it has caused. The UN is committed, he said, to raising funds to improve the water supply and sanitation, and to compensate the families of the deceased. Those actions could cost an estimated $400 million, most of which has yet to be raised.

Cholera was introduced to Haiti by a peacekeeping force from Nepal that was sent there after the quake. It’s been a medical and humanitarian disaster. Officially, the cholera epidemic has claimed close to 10,000 lives, but many knowledgeable observers believe the true toll is far higher than that.

In now acknowledging its role, the UN yielded to four years of constant pressure. It has faced lawsuits, protests, and petitions. The pressure was international, but no small part of it came from Boston, where dedicated human rights lawyers joined forces with local activists to explore novel ways to push the UN into action.

Lucien’s activities included collecting signatures on Blue Hill Avenue during a Haitian Unity parade to deliver to the UN. Other activists here have demonstrated at United Nations headquarters. The Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti, a Boston-based human rights organization, sued the United Nations on behalf of the victims, challenging its sweeping legal immunity. Their suits were vital in bringing the issue to the public’s consciousness.

Ban apologized for the effects of the epidemic but stopped short of admitting that the UN caused it in the first place. That struck some observers as half-hearted, but it was cheered by Haitians themselves as a sincere expression of contrition.

“When we talked to Haitians who went to New York to watch it and talked to our office in Haiti, [they said] the victims spontaneously broke into applause,” said Brian Concannon, the executive director of IJDH, the human rights group. “The Haitians picked up that he really was sorry. And the sincerity was enough to trump the fact that [the apology] was limited.”

Concannon noted that many details in the new water and sanitation initiative are yet to be determined. “It’s an enormous step forward, and an abrupt change of direction,” he said, but noted that promises alone won’t save lives. “It needs to be fully funded and well executed.”

The most obvious issue is simply getting member states to contribute. Concannon said the UN has raised much of the $200 million it says it will contribute to cleaning up the water supply and improving sanitation, to finally arrest the spread of the disease.

But the UN also has to find a way to lend assistance to the families who lost relatives to cholera. It isn’t yet clear whether victims will receive some form of restitution. I think they should.

For now, it’s a victory that sustained public pressure has forced one of the world’s most powerful institutions to own up to a tragic mistake. The advocates who took up the issue were scorned at first. Not only was the UN immune to being sued, it seemed immune to public opinion as well. No more.

 

Click HERE for the original article.