Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti

Mario Joseph Honored in Geneva for Human Rights Work

Mario Joseph went to Geneva to receive a Martin Ennals Award for human rights October 8, 2013 at 18:00 (12pm ET).  The video below summarizes his work. Mario Joseph – Haiti – Martin Ennals Award Final Nominee 2013 from Martin Ennals Award on Vimeo. Click HERE to watch the entire award ceremony.   Below is the press release from when we first learned of Mario’s nomination for the Martin Ennals Award.

IJDH Congratulates Partner on Prestigious Human Rights Award Nomination


Mario Joseph, Av., BAI,; +509-3701-9879 Brian Concannon, Jr., Esq., IJDH,; +1-541 263 0029 April 24, 2013, Boston, MA — The jury for the Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders, one of the most prestigious human rights awards in the world, has selected Haitian lawyer Mario Joseph as one of three finalists. The Martin Ennals Award is awarded annually to an individual who has demonstrated an exceptional record of combating human rights violations by courageous and innovative means, and whose exemplary work has put them at great personal risk. As Managing Attorney of the Bureau des Avocats Internationaux, Haiti’s leading public interest law firm, Mr. Joseph has fought bravely and successfully for victims of human rights abuses in a range of politically sensitive cases. Mr. Joseph has pioneered a “victim-centered approach”, combining traditional legal representation with capacity building and political strategies that advance the interests of the clients’ organizations and communities and maximize cases’ positive impact on broader Haitian society. “The Martin Ennals honor not only recognizes Mario’s historic contributions to justice in Haiti, it also validates his insistence that poor people have the right and ability to participate as equals in the fight for justice,” said Paul Farmer, physician and co-founder of Partners In Health, a non-profit healthcare organization dedicated to providing “a preferential option for the poor”, including in Haiti. Mr. Joseph advocates zealously on behalf of political prisoners and dissidents, survivors of sexual violence, victims of former Haitian dictator Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier, and families seeking reparations from the United Nations for causing a deadly cholera epidemic. “Mario is a driving force for justice for the tens of thousands who suffered grave abuses under one of the Americas’ worst dictators. The Martin Ennals recognition signals to Haiti and to the world that the human rights community is watching and supporting Duvalier’s historic prosecution,” said Pamela Merchant, Executive Director of the Center for Justice & Accountability, an international human rights organization dedicated to deterring torture and other severe human rights abuses around the world. “Mario shows us all what true commitment to human rights looks like: a relentless insistence that all people’s rights be respected, no matter the context. Mario’s effort to seek accountability from the UN for bringing cholera to Haiti that has killed 8,000 people exemplifies his commitment,” said Vince Warren, Executive Director of the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), a legal and educational organization dedicated to advancing and defending the rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In his nineteen years as a human rights lawyer, Mr. Joseph has received countless death threats, has witnessed the arrest and murder of many of his friends, colleagues and clients who spoke out against repression, and watched his country crumble in the January 2010 earthquake. In 2012, intimidation and harassment against Mr. Joseph and his work intensified, and Mr. Joseph and the BAI became the target of unwarranted searches, public threats by government agents, and frequent anonymous death threats.  In September 2012, the former Chief Prosecutor of Port-au-Prince reported that he was fired after refusing to carry out an illegal order to arrest Mr. Joseph. “Receiving this prestigious recognition will provide Mario with much-needed protection from threats and harassment, and ensure that he can continue his work,” said Brian Concannon, Jr., Esq., Director of the Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti, BAI’s sister organization in the United States. The Martin Ennals Award is known as “the award of the human rights movement” because its jury consists of representatives of ten of the world’s leading human rights organizations, including Amnesty International, Front Line, German Diakonie, Human Rights First, Human Rights Watch, HURIDOCS, International Commission of Jurists, International Federation for Human Rights, International Service for Human Rights and World Organisation Against Torture. Also nominated for the 2013 award are Mona Seif of Egypt and Joint Mobile Group working in Chechnya, Russia. The award recipient will be selected among the three and announced at an awards ceremony in Geneva in October. Mario Joseph Biography and Nomination Video Mario Joseph Biographie (French Version) Summary of the Martin Ennals Award Summary of the Martin Ennals Award (French Version) Press Announcement of Final Nominees 2013 Press Announcement of Final Nominees 2013 (French Version) Click HERE for more information on the Martin Ennals Award. 

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