Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti

On International Day of UN Peacekeepers, BAI & IJDH Demand Answers to the UN’s Application of Functional Immunity for Victims of SEA

1 day 12 hours ago
PDF Version French Version 29 May 2020 Dear Assistant Secretary-General Connors, Today, on the International Day of UN Peacekeepers, we, the Bureau des Avocats Internationaux (BAI) and the Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti (IJDH), write to express our concerns with the often overlooked human rights impacts of UN Peacekeeping missions, seen through the lived experience of people represented by BAI in Haiti. As lawyers representing the mothers of children fathered and abandoned by UN peacekeepers, in Haitian court proceedings for child support, we write to express our concerns that almost three years after these cases were filed, the UN’s failure(a) to certify the non-applicability of functional immunity directly to Haitian courts pursuant to Article 52 of the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) and (b) to recognize that these cases involve legal rights, processes, and obligations, is impeding access […]
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Reps. Waters, Levin Urge DHS to Detain Haitian Death Squad Leader Toto Constant in the U.S. until the Haitian Government Provides a Plan to Prosecute Him under Haitian Law

2 weeks 3 days ago
Original letter submitted by Reps. Water and Levin here French PDF FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE May 13, 2020 Contact: Rykia.Dorsey@mail.house.gov WASHINGTON – Congresswoman Maxine Waters (CA-43), the Chair of the House Financial Services Committee, and Congressman Andy Levin (MI-9), a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, sent a joint letter yesterday to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf to urge that the Department of Homeland Security detain Haitian death squad leader Emmanuel “Toto” Constant and not deport him until the Government of Haiti provides a plan to ensure the safety of the victims of Mr. Constant’s crimes in Haiti, and his effective prosecution under Haitian law. “There is substantial reason to believe that the Haitian government will not be willing to protect its citizens from Mr. Constant. Jean-Robert Gabriel, who was likewise convicted in absentia for the Raboteau massacre, was named to […]
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BAI sends letter to the Haitian Ministry of Justice calling on it to arrest and bring to justice any fugitives convicted in the Raboteau Massacre trial who are deported to or otherwise present in Haiti

2 weeks 5 days ago
Original letter in French can be found here. The following letter was submitted by the BAI to the Haitian Ministry for Justice and Public Security in response to news that the U.S. might deport notorious death squad leader Emmanuel “Toto” Constant to Haiti. Constant, along with 36 others, was convicted in absentia and sentenced to a lifetime in prison in the Raboteau Massacre Trial. That conviction still stands, although those tried in absentia may request new proceedings. Port-au-Prince, 06 May 2020 Mr. Lucmane DELILE De facto Minister of Justice and of Public Security In his offices. –   Mr. de facto Minister, The Bureau des Avocats Internationaux (BAI), in its primary mission to defend the rights of the most disadvantaged – those rights of the human person that are inalienable, imprescriptible, and inherent, such as the rights to health and education, in particular […]
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General comment No. 37 by the United Nations Human Rights Committee on the Right to Freedom of Peaceful Assembly

1 month 3 weeks ago
Original submission can be found here xxx This submission is in response to a call for comments on the Revised Draft General Comment No. 37 on Article 21 (Right of Peaceful Assembly) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. These comments were submitted by a group of Latin American human rights organizations including: Alianza Regional por la Libre Expresión e Información, Article 19 – Oficina para México y Centroamérica, Blogueiras Negras (Brasil), Casa da Cultura Digital Porto Alegre (Brasil), Centro de Estudios de Derecho, Justicia y Sociedad – DeJusticia (Colombia), Centro de Estudios Legales y Sociales – CELS (Argentina), Centro por la Justicia y el Derecho Internacional – CEJIL, Derechos Digitales (América Latina), Fundación Construir (Bolivia), Fundación Internet (Bolivia), Greenpeace USA (Estados Unidos), InternetLab – Pesquisa emDireito e Tecnología (Brasil), National Lawyers Guild (Estados Unidos), POJOAJU Asociación de […]
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Covid-19: ‘we won’t get back to normal because normal was the problem’

1 month 3 weeks ago
Originally published in ODI by Sara Pantuliano Discussions about the world that will emerge from the coronavirus pandemic have already started apace. Many commentators are wondering whether the crisis offers the opportunity to set the world on a more sustainable and equal path. The Covid-19 recovery offers an opportunity to create a different type of ‘normal’ – one that can help restore trust in the state and reaffirm crucial economic and social rights. The crisis is set to generate a loss of at least 1.5% or $1 trillion worldwide, which would technically mean a global recession with all major regions affected and a devastating impact on the poorest countries. Plans for recovery are already being discussed, with a focus on the financial stimulus needed to help economies recover. But what is needed is a systemic change that goes far beyond […]
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Rep. Frederica Wilson Leads Letter to DHS Urging a Halt to Haiti Deportations

1 month 3 weeks ago
Read the original letter here April 7, 2020 The Honorable Chad F. Wolf Acting Secretary U.S. Department of Homeland Security Washington, DC 20528   Dear Acting Secretary Wolf: We write to express our deep concern about reports of your department’s planned deportation ofHaitian migrants amid the rapidly spreading and deadly COVID-19 pandemic and to urge you to immediately halt deportations for the duration of this global health crisis. Like many of the countries to which migrants are being deported, Haiti lacks the public health infrastructure to prevent the spread of the virus or to treat a large number of infected people. Haiti has struggled to rebuild in the aftermath of the devastating 2010 earthquake and other disasters, including a cholera epidemic. Many citizens still lack access to the most basic medical care, potable water, and soap for handwashing. It is […]
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Paul Farmer: We know how to confront the coronavirus pandemic — expert mercy

1 month 3 weeks ago
Originally published in the Boston Globe by Dr. Paul Farmer Expert mercy stems from an alchemy that mixes compassionate fellow feeling with interventions that save the sick and slow down spread. The novel coronavirus epidemic first recognized in Wuhan, China, has stirred reactions ranging from unstinting generosity to playing the blame game, and on to overt discrimination. One of the more palpable responses has been anxiety and fear. Such negative social responses have mounted in recent weeks, in part because this particular epidemic has been sparked by a previously unknown pathogen, SARS-CoV-2, which causes COVID-19. But if we’ve just met this virus, the human responses to it are mostly old acquaintances. The most important response? Expert mercy. It stems from an alchemy that mixes compassionate fellow feeling with interventions that save the sick and slow down the spread. For three […]
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COVID-19 an Ayiti – Repons ak Obstak

1 month 3 weeks ago
Pibliye pa Sant pou Policy Ekonomik ak Rechèch pa Jake Johnston & Kira Paulemon Jou ki te 19 Mas la, prezidan ayisyen Jovenel Moïse te konfime 2 premye ka Kowonaviris nan peyi a. Depi lè a, nimewo a ogmante a 8. Pou li reponn a sitiyasyon an, prezidan an deklare yon eta dijans sou peyi a; li mande pou tout lekòl, faktori, legliz, peristil, ak lòt espas relijye yo fèmen; li mete entèdiksyon pou moun soti ant 8è nan aswè ak 5è nan maten, epi li fèmen fwontyè peyi a. Gouvènman anonse demach sa yo apre li te finn kanpe tout vòl kap soti nan plizyè peyi. Premye ka ki te repòte yo te soti nan de moun ki te vwayaje nan lòt peyi. Li enpòtan pou nou note ke leta pa gen anpil kapasite pou li fè tès yo. […]
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COVID-19 in Haiti — The Current Response and Challenges

1 month 3 weeks ago
Originally published by the Center for Economic Policy and Research by Jake Johnston & Kira Paulemon On March 19, Haitian president Jovenel Moïse confirmed the first two cases of the novel coronavirus in Haiti. The number has since increased to eight. In response, the president has declared a state of emergency and ordered schools, factories, and religious entities to close; established a curfew; and closed the country’s borders. The government announced the new policies after previously suspending air travel from most countries. The initial reported cases both related to individuals who had traveled internationally. There has, however, only been limited local testing. As of March 25, 58 tests had been administered nationwide, according to the latest epidemiological update. The Ministry of Health has outlined a plan to combat the pandemic in Haiti, estimating a budget of $37.2 million. Already, international […]
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Haitians Seeking National ID Cards Say Government Is Violating Its Own COVID-19 Directives

1 month 3 weeks ago
Originally published in VOA News by Sandra Lemaire and Matiado Vilme WASHINGTON/PORT-AU-PRINCE – Not far from the National Palace in Port-au-Prince, Haiti’s National Identification Office (Office Nationale d’Identification) is packed with hundreds of people seeking national ID cards this week, despite the government’s directive to stay home and avoid gatherings of more than 10 people. The office is noisy, it’s chaotic, the room is not big enough for all the people lined up. Water and snack merchants holding rectangular-shaped plastic containers on their heads stroll around the room, looking for customers. Outside, a coronavirus alert is posted on a digital billboard. “Wash your hands often, stand at least two meters apart,” it advises, to prevent the spread of COVID-19. A woman standing in the long line is frustrated. “They’ve asked churches, schools to shutter – but how many people are […]
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‘It became part of life’: How Haiti Curbed Cholera

2 months 1 week ago
Originally published in The Guardian Jacob Kushner March 16, 2020 Excerpt below: In 2011, the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti (IJDH), a US-based legal advocacy organisation, filed a claim against the UN on behalf of 5,000 Haitian victims. The UN rejected the claim as “not receivable” and has refused to establish a standing claims commission to hear the dispute, although its peacekeeping agreement with Haiti requires it to do so. Nor has the UN created commissions to consider any of the other claims against UN peacekeepers in Haiti, including wrongful killings and child abuse. In 2013, IJDH sued the UN in the US federal court, which dismissed the case citing legal immunity. Some in Haiti say the UN’s actions during the cholera outbreak go beyond negligence, amounting to a deliberate cover-up that may have unnecessarily endangered lives. “Even […]
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Candidates must be honest about harmful U.S. role in fueling refugee crises

2 months 1 week ago
Originally published in the Miami Herald Paul Mondesir and S.G. Sarmiento March 13, 2020 Excerpt below: The Democratic candidates for president have an opportunity this week to address an issue that Floridians know well, but both national political parties willfully ignore: Bipartisan U.S. policies regularly force people to leave their homes in Latin America and the Caribbean and head to the United States. If we are to challenge rising bigotry and dehumanizing anti-immigrant policies at home, it’s time that we also have an honest conversation about the U.S. role abroad as well. After he left office, President Bill Clinton famously admitted to making a “devil’s bargain” in which he forced Haiti to lower tariffs on rice imports. He noted that while the move was “good for some of my farmers in Arkansas,” it forced Haitian rice farmers out of business […]
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Amnesty International: Americas 2019 Report

2 months 1 week ago
Originally published by Amnesty International March 13, 2020 Excerpt below: PROTESTS, REPRESSION AND MILITARIZATION 2019 was marked by mass protests across the region. In many countries – such as Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Haiti, Honduras, Nicaragua and Venezuela – the main protagonists of these mobilizations were young people, people from low income homes and women. With a few exceptions, the protests were overwhelmingly peaceful. However, the year was also marked by states’ inability to channel people’s discontent and demands for their rights. Instead, they resorted to repression; excessive use of force, including intentionally lethal force; and other human rights violations. Main drivers of mass demonstrations During the year, predominantly young and diverse mass demonstrations across the region demanded action on women’s rights, the climate crisis and equal rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people. Mass anti-government protests […]
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The U.N.’s Inadequate Response to the Haiti Cholera Outbreak

2 months 1 week ago
Originally published in Harvard Political Review Andre Ferreira March 6, 2020 Excerpt below: In 1945, much of Europe, Asia, and parts of Africa, lay in ruins. Countries faced severe economic strife in an attempt to rebuild what was lost. The war led to the deaths of over 80 million people, a staggering toll of military and civilian lives. In the midst of all this suffering, the end of World War II would signify the beginning of an era towards maintaining international security and peace through international cooperation. Thus, 51 nations gathered to sign a Charter that would become the founding document of the United Nations, a multinational organization intended to give humanitarian assistance and promote global development. The U.N. strives to build a better world “guided by the purposes and principles contained in its founding Charter” by promoting democracy and […]
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As Haiti installs new prime minister without Parliament, U.S. lawmakers express frustrations

2 months 1 week ago
Originally published in the Miami Herald Jacqueline Charles March 4, 2020 Excerpt Below: As Haitian President Jovenel Moïse used his one-man rule Wednesday to install his fifth prime minister in three years, hundreds of miles away on Capitol Hill U.S. lawmakers were trying to figure out how to help Haiti while receiving an earful on the president’s poor human-rights and governance record. “President Moïse by decree appointed a prime minister,” Ellie Happel, an attorney and Haiti project director at New York University’s Global Justice Clinic, told the bipartisan Tom Lantos Commission on Human Rights as the swearing-in of Joseph Jouthe and his 21-member government unfolded in Port-au-Prince. “This is quite concerning in the sense that he had been encouraged … to have a prime minister of consensus. Instead, he unilaterally appointed an individual and there is real discontent at what […]
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CARICOM’s role as Haitian crisis worsens

2 months 1 week ago
Originally published in MENAFN Sir Ronald Sanders February 28, 2020 (MENAFN – Caribbean News Global) Sir Ronald Sanders is Ambassador of Antigua and Barbuda to the United States and the Organisation of American States. He is also a Senior Fellow at the Institute of Commonwealth Studies at the University of London and at Massey College in the University of Toronto.   On February 20, the UN Security Council received a grim report of deteriorating human rights and collapsing rule of law in Haiti. The troubling situation includes widening malnutrition, kidnappings for ransom, rapes and gang violence. And, while all of this is happening, the courts in the Capital, Port-au-Prince, have been closed since September 2019; president Jovenel Moïse, unable to secure Senate approval for a government, has been ruling by decree. For every country in the world, apart from the […]
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Human rights and Rule of Law in Haiti: Key Recent Developments

3 months ago
PDF Version Human Rights and Rule of Law in Haiti: Key Recent Developments February 2020 Haiti faces an increasingly challenging human rights, security and rule of law context. In the five months since the operationalization of the United Nations Integrated Office in Haiti (BINUH) in October 2019, the population has been threatened by acts of repression and private violence committed with apparent impunity.[1] Threats to the independence and functioning of the justice system are undermining the impartial application and consistent enforcement of laws. Civil liberties have been under risk from acts of violence and repression against protesters by the Haitian National Police (HNP). Amnesty International issued an advisory report on verified evidence of excessive use of force by the HNP against civilians in October 2019,[2] and the Committee to Protect Journalists and Reporters Without Borders issued a November 2019 open […]
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2 hours 41 minutes ago
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