Outstanding voices from Haiti to be featured at public forum and conference in Toronto, Oct 29 and 30

Haiti’s most respected human rights attorney and editor of Haiti Liberté weekly to speak in Toronto on politics and human rights in post-earthquake Haiti

OCTOBER 17, 2010
For Immediate Release

Mario Joseph, Haiti’s most respected human rights attorney will speak at a public forum on October 29 in Toronto. Joining Mr. Joseph will be Berthony Dupont, editor of Haitian newspaper Haiti Liberté.
Mr. Joseph is managing attorney of Bureau Des Avocats Internationaux (BAI) and director with the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti (IJDH). He and Mr. Dupont will speak on the human rights and political situation in post-earthquake Haiti.
Recent studies by the IJDH, Refugees International, City University of New York anthropologist Mark Schuller and others have documented the deplorable conditions in which the people of Haiti are living nine months after the earthquake. Some 1.5 million homeless struggles to survive in 1,300 makeshift tent camps in and around Port-au-Prince. For many, the conditions of health and safety are growing worse, not better. In addition, an estimated twenty percent of these Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) have been forcibly evicted with nowhere to go.
The BAI along with the IJDH are helping grassroots IDP groups to mobilize for housing rights. “The failure of the state to protect IDP Haitian citizens in this post-disaster climate constitutes a grave human rights violation,” said Joseph recently. “…it (the state) must halt forced expulsions and negotiate with so-called land owners.”
Despite the billions pledged by the international community and its organizations for disaster relief and reconstruction, shockingly little has arrived. Estimates by news agencies and human rights organizations show only some 10% of promised aid having materialized.
Millions of dollars of funding from Canada, the U.S. and the United Nations is being disbursed to hold controversial elections in Haiti on November 28. The election was scheduled, “without consulting the Haitian people,” Berthony Dupont stated in an August 11 editorial in Haiti Liberté. “Huge sums of money have been freed up for the elections, while victims of the earthquake are still housed under makeshift tents and tarps with little or no protection against heavy rains, not to mention hurricanes … They (the international community) chose November 28, 2010 as the date to hold an election, their election.”
Mario Joseph and Berthony Dupont will be the featured speakers at a public forum at Ryerson University Student Campus Centre (Room SCC115), 55 Gould Street on Friday, October 29 starting at 7:30 pm.
For more information or to arrange an interview with the speakers contact Niraj Joshi of the Toronto Haiti Action Committee at 416-731-2325, torontohaitiaction@gmail.com , www.thac.ca, www.canadahaitiaction.ca.

Mario Joseph and Berthony Dupont will also be featured speakers at the 9th Annual New College Conference on Racism & National Consciousness at the University of Toronto on October 30. For more information on that event, click here.