|The Bureau des Avocats Internationaux (BAI) launched Haiti’s first legal observation program to observe demonstrations on May 1 st known as Obsèvatwa Libète Piblik. The program was developed in partnership with the U.S. National Lawyers Guild, deploys trained lawyers and observers to monitor and report on violations of protestors’ constitutional rights to free speech and free assembly.The BAI launched the program in response to rising reports of illegal activity by police at protests, including illegal arrests of demonstrators and violence. “Public freedoms such as expression and assembly are the base of democracy. The police routinely use unjustified force against peaceful protestors to quell Haitians’ voices,” said Mario Joseph, BAI’s Managing Attorney.The Bureau expects more protests in the coming weeks due to announced price increases for gasoline and electricity. The legal observation program, combined with BAI’s legal support for organizations and arrested activists, helps Haitian civil society demand the government policies needed for the majority of Haitians to live lives of dignity.Haitian Victims of UN Sexual Abuse Meet with UN’s Victims’ Rights Advocate|
Late last month, the BAI hosted a meeting between Haitian victims of sexual exploitation and abuse (SEA) and Jane Connors, the United Nations’ Victims’ Rights Advocate. BAI represents 11 mothers of 14 children abandoned by their fathers who were former UN peacekeepers in Haiti.
Our efforts seek to enforce the children’s right to child support, but also to force the UN to establish a system that guarantees support for peacekeeper’s children in all the vulnerable countries that host missions. “We stressed the need for the UN to adopt a rights-based approach rather than one based on charity, as well as the UN’s obligation of cooperation in cases of paternity and child support, which Ms. Connors [agreed] with,” said Joseph.
Ms. Connors met individually with each victim represented by the BAI to hear directly from them about their living situations and claims. She promised to maintain the dialogue with the BAI and pointed out that “Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is committed to making real changes in the UN’s response to sexual exploitation and abuse.”
Stand Up for Haiti Event Success
Thanks to our New York friends who came to a near-sellout, fun-filled Stand Up for Justice event last month. Audience members, the comedians and IJDH staff all agreed we should do it again, so stay tuned…
Trump is telling those who fled Haiti earthquake to leave the U.S. What will they go back to?, by Hal Bernton, Seattle Times, May 28, 2018
Twice granted asylum, Haitian refugee still locked up for over 18 months, by Thomas Jewell, Cleveland.com, May 23, 2018 May 04, 2018
Stephen Lewis: The UN’s Broken Promises in Haiti, AIDS-Free World, May 04, 2018