I am the president of an organization that needs financial support (see http://transafrica.org/), but today I am asking you to support the Bureau des Avocats Internationaux (BAI) and the Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti (IJDH). This may be putting my institutional interests second, but that is exactly what BAI and IJDH do every day—they do what is necessary to enforce rights in Haiti, regardless of whether they get any credit.
TransAfrica is among the dozens of non-Haitian human rights organizations whose work is enhanced by the work of BAI and IJDH. Their legal advice and analysis, connections to Haitian grassroots leaders, credible information, and policy tools are unparalleled.
Our partners in Haiti are equipped to fight for justice in court, on the streets, and in the Internally Displaced Persons camps because of BAI/IJDH’s support. BAI goes to court to fight evictions, defend protestor’s rights and get illegally-arrested leaders out of jail.
IJDH and BAI are not just supporting and leading the movement for human rights in Haiti, they are staffing it. I got my start in human rights through a fellowship at BAI twelve years ago. Here in Washington, any meeting of people committed to progressive, sustainable change for Haiti will include other BAI/IJDH alumni. In Haiti, the BAI alumni are staffing NGOs, prosecutor’s offices and judges’ benches.
We don’t often give BAI and IJDH enough credit. They have just always been there, for almost 20 years now. But thinking about what would happen if BAI and IJDH were not there is just plain scary! That is why I’m asking you to make an investment toward a new Haiti, with human rights and justice for all. Let’s keep this vital network strong.
President, TransAfrica Forum
P.S. This 3-minute video features my friend, Brian Concannon, explaining BAI/IJDH’s impact on justice in Haiti.