Half-Hour for Haiti: Support the Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti
Thank you to everyone who wrote to the Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression of the Inter-American Human Rights Commission, Eduardo Bertoni. Thank you as well to Mr. Bertoni, who promptly issued a press release condemning the October 3 beatings of journalists and several other attacks against the press in Haiti this year.
This week we are asking for your financial support for the Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti. In addition to sending Action Alerts every week and hosting a website, IJDH provides most of the financial support for the Bureau des Avocats Internationaux (BAI) in Haiti. The BAI, led by Haitian lawyer Mario Joseph, represents dozens of political prisoners- including Fr. Jean-Juste and Annette Auguste (“So Anne”)- and the families of people killed by police, including journalist Jimmy Charles and the Grande Ravine massacre victims. BAI lawyers are the only lawyers who will take many cases.
IJDH and the BAI help keep Haiti’s human rights violations on the world’s radar screens. We brief members of Congress, and journalists, we prepare human rights reports and commentaries, we file complaints with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and the United Nations. Perhaps most importantly, we help dozens of other organizations’ advocacy initiatives, with information, legal analysis and strategic advice.
IJDH and BAI try to keep expenses very low, but supporting a Haiti office with three lawyers and a U.S. office with one, as well as a website, court fees, travel and other programs costs about $15,000 a month. We received two foundation grants earlier in the year, but most of our support still comes from individuals and church and solidarity groups. We do not receive funding from any government or political party. Our financial situation is never comfortable- right now we do not have funds to cover all our September expenses, and do not expect to receive any major grants the rest of this year.
We all work long hours, and the lawyers in Haiti run great risks. Mario has received death threats, and a bullet passed through the length of the BAI’s office one workday. We will find ways to keep standing up for the victims of human rights violations in Haiti, but we need your help to do so.
For more information about our work and our finances, see the just-finished IJDH Annual Report for our first year.Please consider donating to IJDH. We understand that there are many claims on your generosity at this time, but would suggest that the Haitian people’s suffering is as acute as any others’, and of longer standing. IJDH and BAI seek the long-term, structural changes necessary for a sustainable reduction of Haiti’s instability and misery.
Donations to IJDH can be made with a credit card or Paypal account on our website, www.ijdh.org. Checks may be sent to IJDH, Box 745, Joseph, OR 97846. IJDH is a charitable organization under section 501c3 of the Internal Revenue Code of the United States, all donations are tax deductible to the full extent of the law.
For more information about the Half-Hour For Haiti Program, the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti or human rights in Haiti, see www.ijdh.org.