Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti

CounterPunch Recommends How Human Rights Can Build Haiti

These authors give a glowing review of Fran Quigley’s latest book, How Human Rights Can Build Haiti. While applauding BAI’s and IJDH’s fight for justice and accountability, they also give an overview of Haiti’s history to put the “fight” in context. This book is a must-read for anyone interested in human rights, not just in Haiti but in any country where those rights are often ignored. Part of the article is below.

Click HERE for the full text.

From the Bottom Up Democracy Works in Haiti

Daniel Raventos and Julie Wark, CounterPunch
November 17, 2014

“Democracy works in Haiti.” Brian Concannon (who made the statement, p. 157), Mario Joseph, Fran Quigley, the author of How Human Rights Can Build Haiti: Activists, Lawyers and the Grassroots Campaign, and other supporters of the Bureau des Avocats Internationaux (BAI) and the Boston-based Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti (IJDH) are in no doubt about it: democracy, the kind the mainstream media ignores, belittles or calls “utopian”, works from the bottom up. This extraordinary book is about an extraordinary struggle for justice and dignity in an extraordinarily castigated country, the only one in the world where a slave revolt led to the founding of a state. Haiti’s successful rebellion flew in the face of the order of empires built on slavery, colonisation, subjugation and dispossession. This at least partially explains why Haiti has been so maltreated, in a kind of historical vengeance. Brian Concannon (p. 149) sums it up: “[…] Haiti is a bad example of the gap between what we practice and what we preach. In 1804, the problem was that Haiti was really free… We [the US] weren’t so we could not accept a country that was actually carrying out those ideals.”

A basic income of, say, $5 per day for every inhabitant would be the economic equivalent of Concannon’s legal “jumpstart”, making it possible for Haiti’s resourceful people to build the economy from the base with small businesses, and for those who have jobs to free themselves from the yoke of foreign-owned sweatshops where many workers earn just $1.3 per day. It would cost about $19 billion a year, approximately 0.63% of theestimated $3 trillion spent by the United States on the Iraq War. The “international community” could thus start to make amends for all the wrongs done to the country since 1492. But the obstacles to such a nod to justice are huge and more political than economic. This is why Mario Joseph, Brian Concannon, Fran Quigley and the people of Haiti, who are striving to make legal systems uphold the rights of ordinary people, are so important. For anyone who wants to defend justice, anywhere in the world, this book is a first-class vade mecum.

Click HERE for the full text.

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