Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti

Half-Hour for Haiti: All Updates

December 19, 2007

Update: There’s so much to update that this alert’s action is to read the updates, and click on as many links as you have time for. Most of these updates have actions that you can still take to make a difference for human rights in Haiti. So if you have not made your contribution to these important issues, now is the time to act!

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Good news first: Grassroots activist Rene Civil, who has been in jail since August 2006, was released yesterday, pursuant to a court order issued last Thursday. His case had been scheduled for trial last week, but it is now back before the appeals court.

IJDH has received $13,000 in response to its end-of-the-year fundraiser. Thank you for your generosity. But we need to raise $17,000 more to meet the $30,000 match challenge by IJDH’s Board of Directors, led by Paul Farmer, Ira Kurzban and Laura Flynn, and to keep our programs running. Our original cutoff for the match was December 15, but we’ve heard from many of you that that period was too short. So the Board agreed to extend the donation match deadline to the end of the year. To contribute, send a tax-deductible check to IJDH, PO Box 745, Joseph, OR, 97846, or contribute online by clicking the – click to contribute online – button on the top right-hand corner of our website.

clip_image002Our Washington D.C.-based friends working on the Haiti Debt Cancellation Resolution, H.Res. 241, led by the Jubilee USA Network, met with staff of the House Financial Services Committee. They were told there’s a good chance that the bill could come up for a vote early next year. But we need to demonstrate more support through more co-sponsors, especially Financial Services Committee Members, especially Republican members. Click for the list of current co-sponsors, and the list of Financial Services Committee members. Congress is in recess, and your legislators are in their districts. Now is a great time to contact them.

A good example of local action comes from a group of South Florida activists, led by Haitian Women of Miami, who met with Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen last week. Rep. Ros-Lehtinen did not commit to co-sponsoring, but did agree to seriously consider it. The group’s Executive Director, Marlene Bastien, wrote an excellent Op-Ed for the Miami Herald, To Help Haiti Recover, Cancel Its Debt. If you need more information before contacting your Representative, let us know. One valuable resource that just came out is a report by the Center for Economic Policy and Research, titled Debt Cancellation for Haiti: No Reason for Further Delays.

No news: the Court of Appeals has not issued its decision in the case of Fr. Gerard Jean-Juste, heard three weeks ago. For more information, read IJDH’s Op-Eds: Baseless Detention Continue in the South Florida Sun-Sentinel and Disturbing the Peace in Haiti and New Orleans on CommonDreams.org.

The New York State Court postponed Emmanuel Constant‘s sentencing until January 9. Thanks to everyone who contacted Judge Gerges in response to our November 29 alert. If you have not done so, there is still time to let Judge Gergesclip_image004 know what you think.

Human rights activist Lovinsky Pierre-Antoine, abducted on August 12, is still missing, but the fight for his safe return continues. Yesterday, Amnesty International issued an urgent action on behalf of Lovinsky and his collaborator at the September 30th Foundation, Wilson Mesilien (who has received death threats). If you have not contacted the Haitian authorities, please respond to the urgent action from Amnesty, or IJDH’s alert or the Petition to Save Lovinsky.

Damning the Flood: Our apologies to everyone who struggled with our system for ordering Peter Hallward’s Damming the Flood: Haiti and the Politics of Containment. Despite those problems, we sold out our stock. Another shipment is in the mail, so if you have placed an order and not received the book, we ask you for more patience- we should have all orders out by the end of the week. If you want to place an order, click here for prices and ordering information. You cclip_image005an pay by sending us a check, made out to IJDH, PO Box 745, Joseph, OR, 97846, or pay online by clicking the – click to contribute online – button on the top right-hand corner of our website. That’s our ordinary donations page- if it is a book order we can tell from the amount, but to make sure we don’t miss it, send us an email at info@ijdh.org to let us know you’ve purchased books (we don’t treat book purchases as charitable contributions). If you have any problems, call us at 541-432-0597. For more on the book, see http://www.HaitiJustice.org, or see the WBAI Interview with Peter Hallward. The book will not be available in bookstores in North America until April, but is available now from IJDH.

We wish you a happy, healthy and peaceful holiday season!

Contact IJDH

Institute for Justice & Democracy In Haiti
15 Newbury St
Boston, MA

Telephone: (617) 652-0876
General Inquiries: info@ijdh.org
Media Inquiries: media@ijdh.org