Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti

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Fundraiser for Summer Fun in L’Asile Haiti

June 9, 2017 - 13:50

Join Haiti Global Youth Partnership for their 2nd annual fundraising dinner to support their activities in L’Asile, Haiti, on Saturday June 17  from 6:30-10pm at Sant Belvi, 6 Frontenac Street, Mattapan, MA. Donation: $40 for adults, $15 for students.

Thank you for your support!

Save TPS: Immigration Advocates, Faith-Based and Humanitarian Groups Vow to Stay Mobilized

June 9, 2017 - 07:00

On May 22, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS)  Secretary John Kelly extended Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Haitian nationals for only six months instead of the usual 18 months. This was a disappointing decision and U.S. lawmakers, Haitian American community, immigration advocates and faith-based groups were dissatisfied and vowed to stay mobilized. DHS’ decision reflects poorly Haiti’s current conditions. It also fails to take into account the Haitian government’s direct request  to redesignate “TPS for at least 18 months” for Haiti. While the DHS’ decision is not a total victory, it does reflect the power of the advocacy groups such as Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti (IJDH) whose work on that front has broadened support for TPS extension.
Visit our immigration page for more information about TPS extension.
Read the full article HERE

How Mobilization Won a Partial Victory on Haiti TPS

By Steven Forester, Center of Constitutional Rights (CCR)
June 7, 2017
Secretary John Kelly’s May 22 announcement that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will extend Haiti’s Temporary Protected Status (TPS) designation for only six months rather than the usual 18, and may not extend it again, ignored the facts.  But that he didn’t kill it altogether, as anti-immigrant zealots around him were urging, is testament to a continuing advocacy campaign.
Haiti is a textbook case for TPS, which was granted in 18-month increments after the massive 2010 earthquake, which killed 250,000.  Quake recovery remains incomplete: tens of thousands remain homeless.  An unchecked cholera epidemic introduced by U.N. peacekeepers in October, 2010 has killed 9,700 Haitians and sickened over 800,000 to date.  Hurricane Matthew last October killed 1,000 Haitians and affected two million more, caused Haiti nearly $2 billion in damage, destroyed crops and animals and inundated broad regions, left hundreds of thousands without safe water, exacerbated the cholera epidemic, and has caused a widespread food insecurity crisis.[1]
DHS’s U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) concluded in a detailed December assessment that conditions persist warranting Haiti TPS’s extension beyond its scheduled July 22, 2017 expiration date, and then-Secretary of State Kerry recommended its extension.
Donald Trump’s victory upended such expectations, galvanizing into action by early March an ad hoc coalition of Haiti activists and others worried about the imminent threat to Central Americans and others with TPS.  DHS’s Haiti decision would be a first test; it was due by May 23, 60 days before the July 22 expiration date.
Consisting of religious, humanitarian, labor, immigration, and rights groups including SEIU, the Center for American Progress, and the Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti, to unjustly name only a few, the coalition contacted editorial writers and congressional staffers and drafted resolutions and national action alerts, amid a range of activities coordinated by weekly conference calls and daily email exchanges.  Coalition members hosted telephonic media briefings with Haiti experts, organized advocacy letters, fed journalists compelling human interest stories, gave TV and radio interviews, wrote op-eds and press releases, shared reports on the dire economic consequences of ending TPS, organized rallies, and encouraged outreach to U.S. officials by Haiti’s government.
The array of powerful support materials they proactively solicited, generated, and publicized included ten New York Times, Washington Post, BostonGlobe, Miami Herald, New YorkDaily News, Sun Sentinel, Palm Beach Post and Orlando Sentinel editorials and support expressed in letters, op-eds, and one-on-one meetings.  Urging Secretary Kelly to extend Haiti’s TPS designation were Republican Governors Rick Scott of Florida and Charlie Baker of Massachusetts; 100 members of Congress including 18 senators, e.g. 10 members of Florida’s congressional delegation including both senators and four Republicans; the entire Massachusetts congressional delegation and at least 14 members of New York’s, including House Homeland Security Emergency Preparedness Subcommittee Chairperson Dan Donovan; Congressional Progressive Caucus leaders and the Congressional Black Caucus; as well as 14 big city mayors, 550 U.S. physicians, 416 faith leaders, national Catholic leaders, 35 humanitarian organizations working in Haiti, and 330 organizations, leaders, and activists.
Read the full article HERE

Advocacy Works: IJDH and BAI Keep Pushing for Cholera Justice

June 8, 2017 - 09:26

On December 1, 2016—World AIDS Day—then UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon made a landmark announcement; Ban apologized for the UN’s role in causing Haiti’s cholera outbreak. Former IJDH legal fellow Adam Houston explains how the IJDH and BAI’s advocacy and legal efforts pushed the cholera UN to apologize publicly for causing the epidemic after years of denial. 

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

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

Adam Houston, Health and Human Rights Journal

June 6, 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.


Click HERE to read the full article.

Join Our Team: An Opportunity to Make a Difference

June 8, 2017 - 07:02

 Communications and Development Assistant

About Us:

The Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti (IJDH) has successfully helped Haitians enforce their human rights since 2004. IJDH partners with the Haiti-based Bureau des Avocats Internationaux (BAI) to support grassroots struggles for justice in Haiti and in the powerful countries abroad where decisions about Haitians’ rights are often made. IJDH and BAI combine tradition l legal strategies with organizing, emerging technology and public advocacy to address the root causes of injustice and build stability and prosperity in Haiti.

We pride ourselves on utilizing excellent legal and communications work, but also creativity, humility, inspiration, humor and a supportive work culture to affect change. We bring about broad social change with modest resources by nurturing large advocacy networks. Current work includes securing United Nations accountability for cholera in Haiti, fighting for renewal of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Haitians in the U.S., working for justice in cases of gender-based violence, keeping Haitian activists safe and training human rights advocates.

Position Description:

IJDH seeks a Communications and Development Assistant to join our innovative 8-person team, to manage donor systems and provide communications, development and operations support for the office in Boston. We seek a dynamic, detail-oriented individual with strong communication skills, a passion for justice and an appreciation for the power of the advocacy.

Click HERE for the full description of the position.

This Is Why DHS Should Extend TPS for at Least 18 Months for Haitian Nationals

June 4, 2017 - 07:36

First, Haiti is far from recovering from a series of natural disasters like the Jan. 2010 earthquake, Hurricane Matthew, as well as the preventable and curable cholera outbreak.  Hundreds of thousands were killed during the Jan. 2010 earthquake, thousands more wounded, and seven years after thousands of Haitians are still living in the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPS) camp and calling makeshift tents and shellers their home. Last Oct., Hurricane Matthew devastated the most southern part of the country killed several hundreds, destroyed houses and the peasants’ livelihoods. Finally, but not least, the cholera outbreak  introduced by the United Nations peacekeeping soldiers has already killed over 10,000 Haitians and sickened thousands  more, and it has  not been put under control.

For more information on TPS extension, please visit our website.

Read the entire letter HERE.

Protected Status for Haitians

The New York Times

June 4, 2017

To the Editor:

Re “59,000 Haitians Displaced by Earthquake Get Six Months More in U.S.” (news article, May 23):

The refusal of John F. Kelly, the secretary of homeland security, to extend temporary protected status beyond six months for displaced Haitians reflects this administration’s anti-immigrant agenda.

Haiti is a textbook case for generous extension. Secretary Kelly’s statement ignored Hurricane Matthew’s vast destruction last October and the cholera epidemic, which has killed 9,700 and sickened at least 800,000 so far. Thousands of quake victims remain displaced; Haiti’s government requested at least 18 months.

A campaign that included bipartisan support from the Republican governors of Florida and Massachusetts and 100 members of Congress avoided termination of temporary protected status altogether, but the announcement bodes ill for Honduran, Salvadoran and other holders of that status.

Campaigning last September in Miami, Donald Trump called Haitian-Americans hard-working, creative and industrious and promised to be their “greatest champion.” Preparing to separate parents from their American-born children makes a mockery of that promise.


The writer is immigration policy coordinator at the Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti.

Save TPS: Haitian Activists and Immigration Lawyers Say the Fight Goes on

June 2, 2017 - 11:25

Haitian Americans and Immigration lawyers vow to continue to fight to save Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Haitian nationals. The DHS-six-month TPS extension has done nothing than to terrify Haitian TPS-holders. They are worried about what is going to happen to them and their family after Jan. 22, 2018. They are living under fear. Fear of being deported to a land that is unsafe and unsuitable for them and their families. Marleine Bastien, the director of Fanm Ayisyen nan Miyami (Haitian Women of Miami) gave them hope. At a town hall meeting attended by IJDH’s Immigration Policy Coordinator Steve Forester in Little Haiti–Miami, FL, Bastien encouraged his fellow Haitians to be hopeful. She reminds them that Haitians have fought for every little gain since they arrived in this country. She told them that the fight for TPS is not over.  “Since we’ve been here in the ’70s, early ’80s, every little gain, policy-wise, has been a long-term fight. Nothing has been offered to us on a silver platter,” Bastien said.

Read the full article HERE.

Immigration activists and lawyers offer Haitians hope, vowing TPS fight is not over

By Jacqueline Charles, Miami Herald

June 2, 2017

For 29 years, Evette Prosper has called the United States home. It’s where she attended school, got married and gave birth to two children, now 8 and 7.

An only child, Prosper doesn’t know where her father is. And both her Haitian mother, and her grandmother — who migrated with her from Haiti when she was just a year old — are dead.

But her husband of 11 years is a U.S. citizen. That should place her squarely in the category of Temporary Protected Status, or TPS, holders that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security referred to when, announcing a six-month TPS extension last week for Haitians, it said many of the 58,700 recipients could adjust their status to remain and work legally in the United States on a permanent basis.

But Prosper, who was born in the Bahamas, which doesn’t automatically grant citizenship, has neither a Bahamian nor a Haitian passport. And with no proof that she ever entered the U.S., adjusting her immigration status is almost impossible unless she can leave and reenter the country. She is, as one immigration lawyer put it, stateless. Her case exemplifies the challenges some TPS recipients face as they seek to move from temporary to permanent U.S. residency.

“It’s very overwhelming on your future,” Prosper, 30, said. “You don’t know if you should seek future plans. I’ve never been to jail, never been in a cop’s car before. It’s kind of scary not knowing what the future holds.”

On Thursday, Prosper was among dozens of Haitians who poured into the Little Haiti Cultural Complex in Miami hoping to find answers from a panel of immigration lawyers. The town hall-style discussion, one of several that will be offered in coming months, was organized by Fanm Ayisyen Nan Miyami/Haitian Women of Miami and other immigration rights groups.

Prosper, like many others, is fearful of possible deportation and what that could do to her family, especially after DHS advised Haitian TPS recipients to get their affairs in order.

“What will they do with people who have kids?” she asked the lawyers at the meeting.

“That’s a very good question,” said Adonia Simpson, supervising attorney for Americans for Immigrant Justice’s Children’s Legal Programs, which represents unaccompanied immigrant children.

“You need to think hard about potentially what you want to happen to your children,” Simpson advised. “Make sure your children have passports, documents.”

Sensing the panic among some in the room, Catholic Charities Legal Services attorney Georges Francis said: “Don’t freak out. Be calm.”

“TPS has not ended yet,” Francis said. “It’s been extended for six months.”

Last week, after months of advocacy, letters and protests, DHS Secretary John Kelly announced that the immigration benefit, provided by the Obama administration to Haiti in the days after its devastating Jan. 12, 2010, earthquake, would be extended an additional six months. Instead of expiring on July 22, TPS for Haiti will now expire on Jan. 22.

Read the full article HERE.

The U.N. Should Stop Ignoring Victims of Sexual Assault and Children Fathered by Peacekeepers

June 2, 2017 - 08:02

In less than five months the United Nations will wrap up its 13-year controversial peacekeeping mission in Haiti known as MINUSTAH, but failure to take necessary step to remedy the victims of cholera and sexual abuse in Haiti, U.N. can risk tarnishing its global image.

The U.N. mission has been marred by a series of scandals. A mission the was supposed to protect human rights in the countries is now responsible for spreading a deadly but preventable disease in the country which is responsible for the death of nearly 10,000 Haitians, and sickened many more thousands. Additionally, its peacekeeping soldiers have sexually abused women, men and children. All those victims from cholera outbreak to sexual abuse and child support.

Read  the full article HERE.

Haitian women press for recognition from U.N. peacekeeper fathers 

Makini Brice, Reuters

Jun 1, 2017

For Roseleine Duperval, the United Nations mission to stabilize Haiti will always remind her of one thing – her 8-year-old daughter, who she says was fathered by a Uruguayan peacekeeper.

Duperval is among a group of Haitian women who embarked on a long and largely fruitless journey to try to force peacekeepers who they say fathered their children to contribute to their upbringing. While some have succeeded with their paternity claims, barely any have secured any form of child support.

“Since I became pregnant, he never sent money,” said Duperval, who still has identity documents she says her daughter Sasha Francesca’s father left behind, apparently because he wanted to be legally recognized as the father. “I have to call friends all the time to help me support my (child).”

The paternity and child support issue is another awkward legacy of the 13-year U.N. mission, known as MINUSTAH, which is winding up in October after being sent in to stabilize a country riven by political turmoil. The mission introduced a cholera epidemic that killed about 10,000 people and has also been dogged by accusations of sexual assault.

Paternity cases in recent years have confirmed seven children in Haiti as having had U.N. peacekeepers as their fathers, according to figures released on the peacekeeping body’s conduct and discipline website. More than two dozen Haitian women are still pursuing paternity claims, second only to Democratic Republic of Congo in the number of claims against a U.N. mission worldwide since 2010, according to U.N. data.

The cases also highlight a lack of accountability, critics say, since many of the women’s paternity claims are never confirmed either way. Even when paternity is proven, the process rarely delivers any financial support for mothers.

Under the United Nations’ “zero-tolerance policy” against sexual exploitation and abuse, sexual relationships between peacekeepers and residents of countries hosting a U.N. mission are strongly discouraged.

However, the world body says its peacekeeping arm does not take responsibility for financial assistance to children fathered by peacekeepers. It says the peacekeepers’ countries, or the fathers themselves, must organize payment.

In practice, that often means mothers must raise children alone in some of the world’s poorest, most troubled nations.

“If you ignore the problem of paternity long enough, it will go away,” said Sharanya Kanikkannan, from the New York-based advocacy group Code Blue, which aims to end impunity for sexual abuse by U.N. personnel. “Missions move on; children grow up.”


A Reuters reporter interviewed four women in the Haitian seaside town of Port-Salut, who had, along with their children, undergone DNA tests with a view to establishing paternity.

They said U.N. officials tracked them down in 2014 by asking members of the local community who claimed to have given birth to “MINUSTAH babies” to come to the capital, Port-au-Prince, for tests.

Ismini Palla, spokeswoman for U.N. peacekeeping in New York, confirmed the DNA tests took place. She said the United Nations facilitated tests but did not provide them. It was not immediately clear who provided or paid for the tests.

The four women’s samples were sent to Uruguay, the country of origin of the supposed fathers. Uruguayan authorities were tasked with locating the men and conducting their own DNA tests, Palla said.

Of the four Port-Salut women interviewed by Reuters, DNA testing proved two of the Uruguayan peacekeepers were the fathers, Palla said.

However, the other two claims, including Duperval’s, could not be confirmed because the Uruguayan military was unable to locate the alleged fathers, Palla said.

Read  the full article HERE.

Cholera Victims Call on the U.S. and Other Member States to Fund the UN’s New Approach

June 1, 2017 - 14:24

The Trump administration will not commit to a U.N. appeal to contribute to the New Approach plan to compensate the victims of a cholera epidemic that has killed more nearly 10,000 Haitians and sickened  800,000 more. The disease was introduced into Haiti more than six years ago by infected U.N. Nepalese peacekeepers. It took U.N.  nearly six years to apologize to the Haitian people. During the public apology, the then- U.N. Secretary General  Ban Ki-mo0n promised to raise $400 million dollars from member states to provide assistance to the victims of cholera. So far the U.N. has collected only about $2.7 million from 7 of the 193 member states. The Trump administration has not contributed a penny to the fund, arguing that the U.S. should not pay for the U.N. irresponsibility.“What happened in Haiti was a travesty, and yet even after the U.N. belatedly agreed to provide compensation to the victims, the United States and others that share responsibility for the peacekeepers have done nothing,” bemoaned Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont).

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

Trump Won’t Pay a Penny For U.N. Cholera Relief Fund in Haiti

Colum Lynch, Foreign Policy

June 1, 2017

Photo credit: HECTOR RETAMAL/AFP/Getty Images

The Trump administration will rebuff a recent U.N. appeal to contribute millions of dollars to a cash-short trust fund established last year to provide relief to victims of a cholera epidemic that has killed more than 9,000 Haitians and sickened more than 800,000 more, according to U.S. and U.N. officials.

The move will be the latest blow to U.N. efforts to raise $400 million dollars from member states to provide assistance to the Haitian victims of cholera. The disease is widely believed to have been introduced into Haiti more than six years ago by infected U.N. Nepalese peacekeepers. Since the fund was set up in October, the U.N. has collected only a pittance, about $2.7 million, from Britain, Chile, France, India, Liechtenstein, South Korea and Sri Lanka.


Click HERE to read the full article.