Founded in 1995, the Bureau des Avocats Internationaux (BAI) is the only public interest law firm in Haiti. With the support of the Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti (IJDH), the BAI uses litigation, advocacy, documentation and grassroots empowerment to advance the rule of law and challenge the unjust structures that violate the human rights of Haiti’s poor majority. Visit ijdh.org. Follow @IJDH on Twitter.
Housing Rights Advocacy Project (HRAP):
With a wave of more illegal forced evictions, IJDH-BAI needs immediate assistance to keep fighting on the ground!
Ever since a local mayor of the Port-au-Prince suburb began his campaign of unlawful, violent evictions in May, IJDH-BAI has continued to protect 3,200 families facing threats of eviction. Our human rights monitors have documented how President Michel Martelly’s campaign to close the 6 “most visible” displacement camps within his first 100 days of office, without transparency and participation by the displaced population, has only exacerbated an already grave situation.
Photo on the right: A group of residents from Camp Django facing violent threats of eviction by the local mayor, alongside residents from four other camps, protesting on the middle of a busy road, stopping traffic, to demand that the national government pays attention to their plight. Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Monday, Aug. 1, 2011. The protest was the result of IJDH-BAI’s grassroots organizing efforts.
However, we need urgent funding to continue to defend the rights of homeless earthquake survivors and advocate for adequate alternative housing alternatives. While we were seeing 1-2 camps facing eviction each month, we are now getting requests from 1-2 camps every week needing our assistance.
To Watch Video Detailing the Camp Django Eviction, click here.
Health and Human Rights in Prisons Project (HHRPP):
IJDH’s Haitian affiliate the Bureau des Avocats Internationaux (BAI) and Partners in Health’s sister organization in Haiti, Zanmi Lansante, continue to make progress in prison surveys.
This month, the BAI and Zanmi Lasante Public Health Intern, Katie LaMonaca, carried out prisoner’s health surveys in Hinche and Mirebalais prisons that were previously completed in June at the Saint Marc prison. Results of this survey document some of the worst prison conditions in the world, and will likewise help with our advocacy and litigation efforts with the Haitian government for broad-based prison reform.
Rape Accountability & Prevention Project (RAPP):
In mid-July, RAPP personnel and partners participated in a workshop to critique and improve the proposed law on violence against women with the Haitian Ministry on the Status of Women and Women’s Rights. The law is expected to go through a second round of revisions in mid-September.
The BAI continues to grow our partnership and network with grassroots women’s groups, building these women’s skills in legal advocacy and organizing:
Universal Periodic Review (UPR):
IJDH-BAI Legal Fellows went to New York City to lobby UN representatives on Haiti’s need to comply with international human rights obligations.
IJDH-BAI attorneys traveled to New York City as part of a delegation of international lawyers and advocates to meet with Permanent Missions to the United Nations and begin lobbying on the Universal Periodic Review (UPR).
The UPR is a process through which the United Nations Human Rights Council can assess members’ compliance with human rights law obligations. As Haiti’s turn at the UPR is in October of this year, IJDH-BAI are working hard to make sure Haitian civil society’s voices are adequately included in UPR hearings. In New York, IJDH Legal Fellows met with close to 15 countries and shared with them the reports and recommendations in our coalition’s UPR reports to the UN Human Rights Council.
Haitian Family Reunification Parole Program (HFRPP):
IJDH volunteers attended town hall meeting with Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick on Haitian Family Reunification Parole Program.
From its home base of Boston, IJDH kicked off an advocacy effort with new state-wide coalition partners, to encourage Massachusetts politicians, including the congressional delegation and governor, to urge Obama to create a Haitian Family Reunification Parole Program (HFRPP).
In July, IJDH volunteer attorney, Wadner Oge, brought the advocacy to a new level at a public town hall meeting with Governor Deval Patrick by directly calling on the Governor to be accountable to his constituency who deeply care about Haitian community members facing years-long waits to be reunited with their families. Members of the audience were there in support of this call, and as a result of the event, Oge will meet directly with the Governor about how his office can encourage Obama to create this important program.
Jean-Claude Duvalier Prosecution:
IJDH continues to support the fair and efficient prosecution of Jean-Claude Duvalier by the Haitian government.
To date, IJDH-BAI have filed two complaints from individual victims of Duvalier’s regime. Six more are in process. Previous complaints related to Duvalier’s alleged political and financial crimes are currently under consideration by the Juge d’Instruction in Port-au-Prince. This month, we also helped Haitian victims organize and establish the Citizens’ Collective for Prosecuting Duvalier (KOSIJID), a civil society organization dedicated to public advocacy and educating Haitian youth about the need for prosecution.
Our donor challenge still stands — $6,491.50 until we reach our $40,000 mark –your donation will be matched up to $5,000!
Staff and Volunteer Update:
IJDH Welcomes Rob Broggi to our Board of Directors!
Rob is a hedge fund manager with Raptor Funds. He currently serves on the boards of the ONEXONE Foundation, the Roxbury Latin School, the Sean McDonough Charitable
Foundation. He has been a valued advisor and contributor to IJDH for the last two years, and his enthusiasm and experience are a great asset to IJDH’s Board.
Click here to see current list of Board Members.
BON VOYAGE TO THIS SUMMER’S TALENTED GROUP OF INTERNS!
On many of this summer’s interns last days, IJDH presented its volunteers with personally signed copies of IJDH Board member Paul Farmer’s latest book, “Haiti After the Earthquake.”
(Amber Charles, Ronald Bertrand, Jiyeong Seong, from left to right will stay into the fall; Sonia Weiser, far right, returns to New York University after completing her internship with us; Sophie Greene, Julia Rogers and Jennifer Kirby, not pictured, all return to their respective schools in the fall, and Henry Neuwirth, also not pictured, leaves to study abroad at a monastery in Japan.)
A huge thank you to all of you for what you’ve made possible this summer!
IJDH’s Boston office begins planning for our Office Opening Celebration! If you are in the Boston area, September 14, from 6-8pm, please join us.
RSVPs strongly encouraged — send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org confirming your attendance.
We hope to see you there!
For more information, click here
New Podcast Series Continues
The IJDH Boston Office continued publishing audio clips from IJDH and BAI staff members in Haiti and around the world including from Director Brian Concannon, Managing Attorney Mario Joseph, and legal staff and interns. We hope this new podcast series will keep IJDH-BAI supporters up-to-date with our projects, news and progress. You can find the podcasts on our website under the section Messages from Haiti.
One of the BAI’s Legal Interns this summer, Greger Calhan, made it onto New York University Law School’s website for his and fellow Legal Intern, Jocy Brooks’ podcast on forced evictions in Haiti.
IJDH in the News:
News Articles and Press Releases
Haïti-Logement: L’IJDH et le BAI dénoncent l’éviction des déplacés du stade Sylvio Cator (IAlterPresse, ReliefWeb)
Haitian prisons get overhaul as rest of reconstruction effort lags
IJDH’s Actions aiding Children’s Rights (IJDH-BAI)
The Power of Creole (The Boston Globe)
WikiLeaks show US calling shots in Haiti
Measuring the Way Forward in Haiti: Grounding Disaster Relief in the Legal Framework of Human Rights (Health and Human Rights: An International Journal)
Fanm ayisyen pap kase: Respecting the right to health of Haitian women and girls (Health and Human Rights: An International Journal)
Talks and Radio
Dr. Paul Farmer featured on DemocracyNow
Brian Concannon interviewed about the Duvalier Prosecution
Check out our NEW PODCAST SERIES:
Haiti in the News:
Earthquake aid helps Haiti fix prisons
Haiti law firm files for probe against PM pick
Haitians ask whether voters or big business chose their singing president
Haiti Wikileaks Spark Political Furor and Elite Drama
Hundreds of Displaced Families Face Violence and Threats of Unlawful Eviction in the Carrefour Neighborhood of Port-au-Prince
Hundreds of Haitian families evicted from earthquake camp
Martelly Proposes Gousse: Wikileaked Cables Testify to P.M. Nominee’s Repressive Past
Martelly’s Pick as Haiti Prime Minister Had Rocky Tenure as Top Cop
The Reporter and the Rape Victim
UN human rights officials voice concern at closure of displaced camp in Haitian capital
Witness to Broken Promises in Haiti
Witness to Broken Promises in Haiti
Why Bernard Gousse Shouldn’t Be Haiti’s Next Prime Minister
Why Context Matters: Journalists and Haiti