Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti

Monthly Review: October – November 2011

Special Two Month Edition:
October – November 2011

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At the Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti (IJDH), we fight for the human rights of Haiti’s poor in court, on the streets, and wherever decisions about Haitians’ rights are made. We represent victims of injustice, including earthquake victims, victims of gender-based violence, and the unjustly imprisoned. Together with our Haitian affiliate, the Bureau des Avocats Internationaux (BAI), we have sixteen years of demonstrated success enforcing Haitians’ human rights in Haiti and abroad. Visit haitijustice.org. Follow @IJDH on Twitter.
 
 

IJDH Helps Over 5,000 Haitian Cholera Victims Sue the UN!

On November 3rd, IJDH and our Haitian affiliate, the BAI, filedcomplaints on behalf of 5,000 victims of the cholera that the United Nations’ own report concedes was introduced to Haiti by UN troops.
Our complaints seek compensation for the victims, but more importantly, they seek action from the UN. So far, the UN has not stepped up to either accept responsibility or provide the medical treatment, clean water and sanitation necessary to control the epidemic, which at its current pace may kill 20,000 people or more.

The response to the complaints has been overwhelming. Haitians in Haiti and from all over the world are calling and emailing the BAI and IJDH to express their solidarity with the victims of the UN cholera epidemic and say how much they appreciate IJDH-BAI stepping up to the UN.

The press response has been overwhelming, too: there are now over 380 articles related to IJDH-BAI’s cholera case on Google. The APAFPCNN, and BBC, have all issued stories on the lawsuit, along with hundreds of other outlets throughout the world. To see more of the media coverage IJDH-BAI’s cholera case has received, click here.

Above photo: IJDH Director, Brian Concannon, speaks to a reporter about the case during a press conference in New York City.

 

Listen to IJDH Attorney Nicole Phillips discuss on NPR local affiliate WBEZ how cholera and forced evictions have affected earthquake recovery efforts in Haiti.

 

Watch IJDH Director Brian Concannon’s interview about the case with Democracy Now!

 

Donate today to help fight cholera alongside the BAI, IJDH and 500,000 victims of cholera (to date) in Haiti.

 

Haitian Family Reunification Parole Program (HFRPP):

On October 25th, Massachusetts Senators John Kerryand Scott Brown wrote to Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano in support of a Haitian Family Reunification Program, along with U.S. Representatives Michael Capuano, Barney Frank, Stephen Lynch, James McGovern, and John Olver.

Shortly thereafter, on November 2nd, all nine members of the Massachusetts’ State Black and Latino Legislative Caucus also wrote to Secretary Napolitano in favor of a reunification program. This increasing support from U.S. Senators and Representatives helped lead to exciting advancements in IJDH’s immigration advocacy efforts throughout the month of November:

  • On November 3rd, a resolution in favor of a reunification program was introduced before New York’s City Council;
  • On November 15th, a Capitol Hill briefing was held on the importance of a Haitian reunification program; and
  • Two congressional sign-on letters have continued to win endorsements among members of the U.S. House and Senate.

Above Photo: Copy of the letter DHS Secretary Napolitano received from U.S. Senators and Representatives on October 25th, calling for the formation of a Haitian Family Reunification Program.

 

To read the letter to DHS Secretary Napolitano from Massachusetts’ U.S. Senators and Representatives, click here.

 

To read the letter from the Massachusetts’ State Black and Latino Legislative Caucaus, click here.

 

 Click here to learn more about our Immigration Advocacy Efforts.

 

Housing Rights Advocacy Project (HRAP):

On October 26, the BAI and IJDH, along with the Center for Constitutional RightsTransAfrica Forum and Bri Kouri Nouvèl Gaye, participated in a hearing at the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) to request stronger measures to pressure the Government of Haiti to end unlawful, forced evictions in IDP camps and provide safe alternative housing to earthquake victims.
 
IJDH also partnered with the Center for Law and Global Justice at the University of San Francisco School of Law in October to release a report on the progress of President Michel Martelly’s 100-day plan to close six Internally Displaced Persons Camps across Haiti.
 
This report received wide attention from several policy analysts and news organizations, such as Truthout and the Center for Economic Policy and Research, and was the basis for Staff Attorney Nicole Phillips’ presentation at a Congressional Briefing attended by RepresentativesJohn Conyers and Yvette Clark on October 26. The BAI continues to meet with camp residents and committee members to assess progress of the government housing plan, as well as UN and non-governmental agencies assisting in program implementation. An article written by Phillips on the Martelly housing plan appeared last month in the Boston Haitian Reporter.
Know-Your-Rights Seminars in the Camps:
 
Throughout October, BAI staff worked with Bri Kouri Nouvèl Gaye, a Haitian grassroots organization, to improve trainings to camp residents threatened with forced evictions about the right to housing. The BAI and Bri Kouri are reworking their Know-Your-Rights curriculum with the goal to better train and empower camp residents to teach one another. The BAI and Bri Kouri continue to train camp leadership to work alongside the BAI, spreading information about the right to housing that the Haitian Constitution guarantees. The Know-Your-Rights program encourages collaboration across different camps to create one voice of resistance against forced evictions and a united demand for fundamental human rights.
IACHR Action to Stop Forced Evictions in Haiti:
 
Last November, the IACHR granted a request filed by the BAI, IJDH, the Center for Constitutional Rights, the International Human Rights Law Clinic at American University’s Washington College of Law, and You.Me.We. on behalf of five displacement camps to halt the illegal evictions. BAI is defending one of the petitioner camps protected by the Commission’s precautionary measures, Palais de l’Arte, against eviction in a court action brought by the landowner. BAI defended another of petitioner camps, Barbancourt II, since July 2010, but unfortunately the camp was evicted this summer.
Above photo: Representative Yvette Clark listens to IJDH Staff Attorney, Nicole Phillips, discuss forced evictions during the October 25th Congressional Briefing. 
 
 
 
 
 

Rape Accountability & Prevention Project (RAPP):

 BAI Grassroots Coordinator, Rose Getchine Lima, meets with members of the BAI's Women's Network

On October 20th, in collaboration with IJDH-BAI, grassroots women’s group Zafe Fanm pou yon Lot Ayiti (ZAFALA) and other RAPP grassroots partners organized a press conference commemorating the 1-year anniversary of the introduction of cholera in Haiti.

 

*For more information about Haiti’s cholera outbreak, click here.

  • In October, four more of the BAI’s sexual assault cases were referred to criminal court, moving past the investigation stage that is normally the slowest part of the criminal process in Haiti. There are now a total of five cases that will be scheduled for trial in the next term, which presents an exciting opportunity for RAPP staff to shape case law on rape and deter future rapes by demonstrating that rapists will be punished;
  • On October 8th, RAPP staff held the first of what will become a monthly meeting with the victims of sexual assault that the BAI currently represents. These meetings will help build the BAI’s rapport with victims, while also providing a support group environment where women can hold various workshops and develop different skills. The RAPP team aims to include a yoga session at the next monthly meeting as well; and
  • Throughout October and November, RAPP has continued work with the Women’s Network — a group comprised of five of our Haitian grassroots partners — to plan and organize events for the upcoming International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, scheduled for next Friday, November 25th.
 
Above photo: BAI Grassroots Coordinator, Rose Getchine Lima, meets with members of the BAI’s Women’s Network.

Jean-Claude Duvalier Prosecution:

IJDH and the BAI remain engaged in advocating for the full and impartial investigation and prosecution of Jean-Claude Duvalier for his financial and political violence crimes.

In October, IJDH prepared a congressional sign-on letter to encourage United States support for the Duvalier prosecution. This came after IJDH Director Brian Concannon’s September 22nd presentation on Haiti before the Congressional Black Caucus, which in part focused on the importance of the prosecution. The BAI’s Managing Attorney, Mario Joseph, also used a recent trip to Washington D.C. as an important opportunity to advocate for international support for the prosecution, meeting not only with U.S. government officials, but also international dignitaries.

Such advocacy efforts are particularly important following the October 18th appointment of a new cabinet under Haiti’s President Michel Martelly — including Minister of Justice, Josue Pierre-Louis. With the appointment of the government, as well as with the support of key international partners, Haiti has a critical opportunity to reignite the prosecution of Duvalier.

For a comprehensive update of the Duvalier prosecution, click here.

 

Health and Human Rights in Prisons Project (HHRPP):

BAI on-site criminal defense lawyers, Met Bazelais Thévenot and Met Dyliet Jean-Baptiste, have begun to employ a new case management system to better serve individuals in St. Marc and Mirebalais prisons.

Iringo Hockley, the former coordinator of the Prisons Project, in collaboration with BAI Haitian lawyers, developed the new system, which aims to improve the quality of individual client representation, as well as IJDH-BAI advocacy efforts.

The system standardizes the documents required for all stages of representation. This standardization will help BAI lawyers streamline client intake, better organize information about clients and cases, and ensure rigorous treatment of Haitian and international law in obtaining justice for clients. One important goal is to improve the speed at which clients move through the legal process. This benefits the clients themselves and the prison environment. BAI on-site lawyers are enthusiastic about the new case management system and see it as an important step to building their capacity to more effectively fight for prisoners’ rights.

Listen to IJDH Director Brian Concannon on Free Speech Radio News: A Test for Haiti’s Prisons as Trial Opens in 2010 Killing of Inmates.

 

To learn more about IJDH-BAI’s prison reform efforts, click here.

 

Staff and Volunteer Update:

In October, IJDH’s Haitian affiliate, the BAI, welcomed three new volunteers to assist with administration and communications work at the BAI office: Arianna Kandell, Nick Stratton, and Vincent Reybet-Degat.
 

Mario Joseph, Managing Attorney of the BAI, appeared before American audiences twice in October and November to discuss the status of human rights in Haiti. Just last week, on November 16th, Mario spoke at the University of Pennsylvania School of Law as part of the Honorable A. Leon Higginbotham, Jr. Memorial Lecture series. Mario also spoke at an exciting event here in Boston on October 27th, sponsored by one of IJDH-BAI’s key supporters and partners, the Haiti Fund at the Boston Foundation. IJDH would like to give special thanks to Karen Ansara, Pierre Noel, Kate Guedj and Laura McConaghy for their hard work organizing the event, as well as for their overall support and partnership!

IJDH was excited to welcome Mario to the new Boston-based office while he was in the New England area, and our interns were thrilled to finally meet Mario after seeing all of the incredible work he has done fighting for human rights in Haiti!

To watch Mario’s speech at the Haiti Fund at the Boston Foundation, click here.

 

IJDH needs a Development and Communications Manager!

Bon voyage, Andrea!

 

We are sad to announce that Andrea Jamison, who leads IJDH’s Development and Communications programs, is leaving us to pursue her dream of moving back to live in Costa Rica. We will miss Andrea, but are grateful for all she has done to build our fundraising and communications infrastructure. IJDH is now counting on its community of friends and supporters to help us find another talented, passionate person to join our team. Please consider applying for the position if you think you qualify, and please forward this announcement on to anyone in your network who might be interested.

To find out more, or to apply for the Development and Communications Manager position, click here.

To download a printable version of this job opening announcement, click here.

IJDH is now looking for excited, hard-working interns! To see a list of our current internship openings, click here

 

Podcast Series Continues

Don’t forget to check out the 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. You can find the podcasts on our website under the section Messages from Haiti.

 

IJDH in the News:

News Articles and Press Releases

Standing Against Militarism and Violence: From Haiti to Fort Benning (CommonDreams.org) http://www.commondreams.org/view/2011/11/18-8

The UN in Haiti: Damned if You Do (Economist) http://www.economist.com/blogs/americasview/2011/11/un-haiti

Cholera Victims in Haiti are Suing the UN (Canada Haiti Action Network) http://canadahaitiaction.ca/content/cholera-victims-haiti-are-suing-united-nations

Haitian Cholera Victims Seek Reparations from the UN (CommonDreams.org) http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2011/11/09-3

UN Hit with Cash Demand over Haiti Cholera Outbreak (Reuters) http://uk.reuters.com/article/2011/11/09/health-us-haiti-un-cholera-idUKTRE7A807F20111109

Report: UN Peacekeepers Caused Cholera Epidemic in Haiti (ABC News) http://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/report-caused-cholera-haiti/story?id=14904474#.Trq7ofEWVJT

Haiti Rights Group Demands UN Pay for Cholera Outbreak, Citing Negligence (WashingtonPost) http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/americas/haiti-rights-group-demands-un-pay-for-cholera-outbreak-citing-negligence/2011/11/08/gIQAoFDZ0M_story.html

Haiti’s Earthquake Survivors Revictimized by State-Sanctioned Forced Evictions (Truthout) http://www.truth-out.org/haitis-earthquake-survivors-re-victimized-state-sanctioned-forced-evictions/1319040448

Lack of Adequate Housing Plan “Most Glaring Failure of the Past Year” (CEPR) http://www.cepr.net/index.php/blogs/relief-and-reconstruction-watch/lack-of-adequate-housing-plan-most-glaring-failure-of-the-past-year

“We Are Tired of Living Under Tents” (OtherWorlds) http://www.otherworldsarepossible.org/another-haiti-possible/“we-are-tired-living-under-tents”

From Andrew Square to Port-au-Prince, Brian Concannon Fights For Haiti’s Causes (Boston Irish Reporter)http://www.bostonirish.com/node/15495

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
http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/americas/haitian-prisons-get-overhaul-as-rest-of-reconstruction-effort-lags/2011/07/21/gIQA4xyWSI_story.html

IJDH’s Actions aiding Children’s Rights (IJDH-BAI)

Press Release: Football over Families: Human Rights Groups Denounce Haitian Government’s Unlawful Eviction of Homeless Earthquake Survivors from Stadium (IJDH-BAI)

Press Release: Human Rights Lawyers File Petition Against President Martelly’s Pick for Prime Minister (IJDH-BAI)

Press Release: Human Rights Groups Welcome Calls for Truth Commission to Support the Prosecution of Jean-Claude Duvalier (IJDH-BAI)

Press Release: Statement by the United Nations Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights, Kyung-wha Kang at the end of her mission to Haiti (UNCHR/UN)

Haiti in the News:

Crimes, Conflict and Cholera: MINUSTAH – Stabilising the Status Quo (Haiti Briefing Support Group)
http://ijdh.org/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/haiti_68_English_3rd.pdf

Standing Against Militarism and Violence: From Haiti to Fort Benning (CommonDreams.org) http://www.commondreams.org/view/2011/11/18-8

The UN in Haiti: Damned if You Do (Economist) http://www.economist.com/blogs/americasview/2011/11/un-haiti

Cholera Victims in Haiti are Suing the UN (Canada Haiti Action Network) http://canadahaitiaction.ca/content/cholera-victims-haiti-are-suing-united-nations

Haitian Cholera Victims Seek Reparations from the UN (CommonDreams.org) http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2011/11/09-3

UN Hit with Cash Demand over Haiti Cholera Outbreak (Reuters) http://uk.reuters.com/article/2011/11/09/health-us-haiti-un-cholera-idUKTRE7A807F20111109

Report: UN Peacekeepers Caused Cholera Epidemic in Haiti (ABC News) http://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/report-caused-cholera-haiti/story?id=14904474#.Trq7ofEWVJT

Haiti Rights Group Demands UN Pay for Cholera Outbreak, Citing Negligence (WashingtonPost) http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/americas/haiti-rights-group-demands-un-pay-for-cholera-outbreak-citing-negligence/2011/11/08/gIQAoFDZ0M_story.html

Haiti’s Earthquake Survivors Revictimized by State-Sanctioned Forced Evictions (Truthout) http://www.truth-out.org/haitis-earthquake-survivors-re-victimized-state-sanctioned-forced-evictions/1319040448

Lack of Adequate Housing Plan “Most Glaring Failure of the Past Year” (CEPR) http://www.cepr.net/index.php/blogs/relief-and-reconstruction-watch/lack-of-adequate-housing-plan-most-glaring-failure-of-the-past-year

“We Are Tired of Living Under Tents” (OtherWorlds) http://www.otherworldsarepossible.org/another-haiti-possible/“we-are-tired-living-under-tents”

U.S. Deportees to Haiti, Jailed Without Cause, Face Severe Health Risks (Florida Center for Investigative Reporting) http://fcir.org/2011/11/13/u-s-deportees-to-haiti-jailed-without-cause-face-severe-health-risks/

Sao Paulo, Brazil: International Conference Launches Campaign to End Military Occupation in Haiti (Haiti Liberte) http://www.haiti-liberte.com/archives/volume5-17/Sao%20Paulo,%20Brazil.asp

How the world failed Haiti (Rolling Stones)
http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/how-the-world-failed-haiti-20110804

Overwhelming majority of Haitians living in displacement camps want to leave but have nowhere to go (Relief Web)
http://reliefweb.int/node/439158

Peacekeeping and impunity in Hati ( Counter Intelligence)
http://www.currentintelligence.net/features/2011/8/5/peacekeeping-and-impunity-in-haiti.html

For more information about the Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti (IJDH), the Bureau des Avocats Internationaux(BAI) or human rights in Haiti, see our website, http://ijdh.org. To receive Half-Hour for Haiti Action Alerts (monthly),subscribe here. To keep us fighting on the front lines for justice in Haiti, donate here

IJDH is an approved 501(c)(3) charitable organization and all donations are tax deductible to the full extent of the law.666 Dorchester Avenue | South Boston, MA 02127 | (617) 652-0876 | http://ijdh.org | info@ijdh.org  

Contact IJDH

Institute for Justice & Democracy In Haiti
15 Newbury Street
Boston, MA 02116

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

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