Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti

Give Emmanuel Constant A Fair Trial; Give Death-Squad Leader Victims Justice

1 week 1 day ago
Op-ed originally published in Miami Herald and authored by Brian Concannon and Mario Joseph. French Version A Haitian prosecutor’s order on Wednesday to jail death squad leader Emmanuel Constant is a promising first step toward long-delayed justice for Constant’s victims. But actually achieving justice will require many more steps by both Haiti’s President Jovenel Moïse and President Trump, and their administrations. Our 25 years of experience pursuing cases against Constant and other human-rights violators leads to deep concerns about whether either government will take those steps. In 2000, Haiti’s government demonstrated that justice was possible despite the challenges during the trial of Constant and others for the April 1994 Raboteau Massacre. The United Nations lauded the that trial as “a landmark for justice in Haiti.” Haitian judges, prosecutors and other officials led the prosecution, receiving important technical, security, financial and […]
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Seeking Overdue Reparations for UN-caused devastation in Haiti

1 week 1 day ago
Originally published in Harvard Law Today. In Q&A, Beatrice Lindstrom calls for international human rights organization to deliver remedies to cholera victims In 2010, United Nations (U.N.) peacekeepers caused a devastating cholera outbreak in Haiti. Nearly a decade later and with COVID-19 threatening an already fragile situation, affected communities are still waiting for access to remedy. Beatrice Lindstrom, clinical instructor and supervising attorney in Harvard Law School’s International Human Rights Clinic, has been working for nearly a decade on pathbreaking advocacy to secure accountability from the U.N. for the destruction it caused. Lindstrom was lead counsel in Georges v. United Nations, a class action lawsuit on behalf of those injured by cholera. Prior to joining Harvard Law School, Lindstrom was the legal director of the Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti. Harvard Law Today: How and why did the […]
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The World Economy Needs a Stimulus: IMF Special Drawing Rights Are Critical to Containing the Pandemic and Boosting the World Economy

1 week 1 day ago
Originally published by the Center for Economic Policy and Research and authored by Alexander Main, Mark Weisbrot, and Didier Jacobs. PDF Version Introduction IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva has asked G20 governments for their backing to “boost global liquidity through a sizable SDR allocation, as we successfully did during the 2009 global crisis.”1 African and European heads of state have called on the IMF to “decide immediately on the allocation of special drawing rights.”2 Former UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown and former US Treasury Secretary Larry Summers recently wrote that “if ever there was a moment for an expansion of the international money known as Special Drawing Rights, it is now.”3 Special Drawing Rights, or SDRs, are not well known to the general public, but economists and development experts believe they could provide crucial support to countries facing economic and […]
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Moratorium on Deportations to Haiti during COVID-19 Pandemic (Sign-on Letter)

1 week 1 day ago
The letter to Secretary Pompeo, Ambassador Sison, and Acting Secretary Wolf was originally published here. The Honorable Mike Pompeo U.S. Secretary of State 2201 C Street NW Washington, DC 20037   The Honorable Michele J. Sison U.S. Ambassador to Haiti Tabarre 41 Route de Tabarre Port-au-Prince, Haiti   The Honorable Chad Wolf Acting Secretary U.S. Department of Homeland Security 301 7th Street SW Washington, DC 20024   June 19, 2020   Re: Moratorium on Deportations to Haiti during the COVID-19 Pandemic Dear Secretary Pompeo, Ambassador Sison and Acting Secretary Wolf: We write to express our gravest concern regarding U.S. deportations to Haiti during the coronavirus pandemic. Deportations export COVID-19 throughout the region and put countless lives at risk. The current COVID-19 reported incidence is spiraling out of control, and the true infection numbers are far higher, creating a situation where […]
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Intervention de Me. Jacques LETANG devant la Conseil de Sécurité

1 week 1 day ago
Jacques Letang is the President of the Haitian Bar Association. 19 juin 2020 | Filed under: Non classé Me Jacques LETANG a été invité à intervenir durant la réunion du Conseil de Sécurité sur la situation en Haïti et lemandat du Bureau Intégré des Nations-Unies (BINUH) tenue le vendredi 19 juin 2020 Madame la Présidente, honorables représentants des Etats Membres du Conseil de Sécurité, C’est avec plaisir que je prends la parole pour vous apporter un éclairage sur la situation haïtienne en ma double qualité de Président de la Fédération des Barreaux d’Haïti (FBH) et de membre du Bureau des Droits Humains en Haïti (BDHH). L’épidémie du coronavirus a profondément marqué le monde. Haïti n’est pas épargnée par cette vague, mêlant risque sanitaire, mise à l’épreuve des institutions et crise économique. Les services publics sont quasiment défaillants. Les droits les plus élémentaires […]
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IJDH & BAI Send an Open Letter to UN Secretary-General Calling for UN to Accept Legal Responsibility for the Cholera Epidemic & Provide Meaningful Recourse to Cholera Survivors

1 week 1 day ago
PDF Version June 17, 2020 Open Letter Re: UN Obligations to Haitian Victims of UN-Caused Cholera Epidemic Mr. Secretary-General: This October will mark ten years since United Nations (UN) Peacekeepers introduced cholera to Haiti, sparking an epidemic that is estimated to have killed over 9,700 and sickened more than 819,000.(1) The real numbers are likely far higher. As documented in a briefing paper recently published by the Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti (IJDH) and Bureau des Avocats Internationaux (BAI) (“Briefing Paper”),(2) that decade has seen the UN compound its original negligence with repeated failures to take full responsibility for its conduct; to offer meaningful remedies for the loss of human life, illness, and corresponding material outlays; and to adopt effective measures for ensuring that similar harms do not happen again. On April 30, fourteen human rights experts entrusted […]
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IJDH & BAI Send an Open Letter to UN Secretary-General Calling for UN to Accept Legal Responsibility for the Cholera Epidemic & Provide Meaningful Recourse to Cholera Survivors

3 weeks 1 day ago
PDF Version June 17, 2020 Open Letter Re: UN Obligations to Haitian Victims of UN-Caused Cholera Epidemic Mr. Secretary-General: This October will mark ten years since United Nations (UN) Peacekeepers introduced cholera to Haiti, sparking an epidemic that is estimated to have killed over 9,700 and sickened more than 819,000.(1) The real numbers are likely far higher. As documented in a briefing paper recently published by the Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti (IJDH) and Bureau des Avocats Internationaux (BAI) (“Briefing Paper”),(2) that decade has seen the UN compound its original negligence with repeated failures to take full responsibility for its conduct; to offer meaningful remedies for the loss of human life, illness, and corresponding material outlays; and to adopt effective measures for ensuring that similar harms do not happen again. On April 30, fourteen human rights experts entrusted […]
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Cholera 9 Years On… A “New Approach”?

1 month ago
PDF Version The latest report from IJDH and BAI brings to light the challenges that cholera survivors still face, and provides background on: the United Nations’ legal obligations to cholera survivors, the decade-long movement for justice calling for the UN to fulfill the rights it claims to protect internationally, and the ongoing violation of victims’ right to effective remedy. Introduction: In October 2010, the United Nations (UN) introduced cholera to Haiti, sparking one of the world’s worst modern cholera epidemics. The epidemic resulted in more than 2,500 deaths within the first three months;[1] and to date has killed over 9,700 people and infected more than 819,000.[2] For six years, the UN denied responsibility for the outbreak in the face of overwhelming evidence. Investigations consistently pointed to the UN base in Meye, that was staffed by a contingent deployed from Nepal […]
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The US Has Been Exporting COVID-19 to Haiti; Now, It Is Returning a Death Squad Leader

1 month ago
Originally published by Jake Johnston, CEPR, May 05, 2020 Please see additional coverage in IJDH Raboteau Portal for more information on Raboteau Massacre Accountability, along with the Boston Globe, Senators Menendez and Durbin, Medecins Sans Frontieres, Representative Frederica S. Wilson, Jake Johnston, Cate Oswald, The New Yorker, Edwidge Danticat, Miami Herald (1, 2), The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Hill, and the Washington Post. [Editor’s Note: The day after publication, the Miami Herald reported that Emmanuel Constant had been removed from the deportation flight. An updated version of the article, in Haitian Kreyòl, was published by Ayibopost.] As the COVID-19 pandemic has shut down borders and airports across the world, planes chartered by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) continue to fly. Every two or three weeks, a deportation flight operated by Swift Air, LLC has landed at the Port-au-Prince airport. After one such flight in early April, […]
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UN Inaction Denies Justice for Haiti Cholera Victims, Say UN Experts

1 month ago
Originally published on United Nations Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights site, April 30, 2020 Please see additional coverage in The Guardian, The Washington Post Editorial Board, Miami Herald, and an op-ed in Al Jazeera by IJDH Senior Staff Attorney Sandra Wisner and Harvard Law School Clinical Instructor Beatrice Lindstrom. French Version GENEVA (30 April 2020) – A group of independent UN rights experts today called on Secretary-General António Guterres to urgently step up efforts to fulfill a United Nations pledge to help victims of a cholera epidemic in Haiti that killed over 10,000 victims. “The importance of relief is even more urgent in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, which could deal a double blow to victims of the cholera outbreak and their families,” the experts said. “We recognise the immense challenges all actors face in responding to […]
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In-House ‘Lawyering’ in International Organizations: The Case of Haiti

1 month ago
Originally published by Priya Pillai, OpinioJuris, May 8, 2020 On 4 February 2020, Foreign Policy published an article, “U.N. Chief Faces Internal Criticism over Human Rights”. While the article categorizes failures on the part of the UN relating to the human rights mandate of the organization, I was struck by the allegations relating to the role of the UN’s lawyers, in particular regarding Haiti. On 30 April 2020, the UN Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, in his last day in that post, issued a statement with a number of other special rapporteurs highlighting the need to put this issue back on the agenda. In light of the Covid-19 pandemic, the statement emphasized the piecemeal approach of the UN in community assistance projects as inadequate, and addressed the need for effective remedies and reparations. These failures regarding Haiti were also […]
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BAI and IJDH Pen an Open Letter Calling for the UN to Honor Legal Rights of Victims of Sexual Exploitation and Abuse in Haiti

1 month 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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‘They Were Going to the Beach, Acting like Tourists, Drinking, Chasing Girls’: A Mixed-Methods Study on Community Perceptions of Sexual Exploitation and Abuse by UN Peacekeepers in Haiti

1 month ago
Originally published by Carla King, Sabine Lee, and Susan A. Bartels in Stability: International Journal of Security and Development, May 21, 2020 PDF Version Introduction While UN peace support operations (PSO) have proven successful in facilitating long-lasting peace (Fortna 2008; Hultman, Kathman, and Shannon 2013, 2014, 2016; Quinn, Mason, and Gurses 2007), they have also been tarnished by persistent reports of sexual exploitation and abuse (SEA) of vulnerable and innocent civilians (Karim and Beardsley 2016). Since the first reports of the early 1990s, almost all PSO have been associated with sexual misconduct to some degree of magnitude and severity (Lee 2017). Different missions have raised different concerns, and recent academic scholarship has led to some understanding of the factors underlying SEA within the context of peacekeeping economies around bases (Jennings and Bøås 2015; Jennings 2015; Rodriguez and Kinne 2019) including the economic power differentials between members […]
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COVID-19 Is Not the Biggest Threat to UN Peacekeeping

1 month ago
Originally published by Jasmine Westendorf, The Interpreter, May 18, 2020 Last year, the UN estimated that 168 million people depended on humanitarian relief as a result of conflict, violence, and disasters, and peacekeepers were deployed to 13 countries to help conflict-affected societies navigate the often-bumpy road from violence towards peace. Covid-19 has already exacerbated global humanitarian needs, and will have particularly dire consequences in displaced populations and refugee camps, and in conflict and post-conflict zones, where health systems and essential services are weak, if they exist at all. Moreover, the pandemic may lead to the escalation of violent conflict: although Covid-19 has pushed some armed groups towards ceasefires, in other places violence has intensified, or threatens to, as the pandemic draws the world’s attention. This trend is likely to continue as countries turn inward to deal with the virus’ effects on their own populations and economies. Thus, at […]
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BAI and IJDH pen an open letter calling for the UN to honor legal rights of victims of sexual exploitation and abuse in Haiti

1 month 1 week 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

1 month 3 weeks 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

1 month 4 weeks 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

3 months 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’

3 months 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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