Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti

Unanimous Vote Brings End to MINUSTAH

Today, the UN Security Council voted to end the MINUSTAH peacekeeping mission after a 13-year presence in Haiti. But, the end of this mission does not mean the end of the UN’s influence in the country. The vote determined that MINUSTAH will be replaced by a smaller police mission, which is intended to promote the rule of law and human rights. MINUSTAH has been plagued by controversy since it began its mission, and, despite what may happen with the future mission, many in Haiti are happy to see it go. Part of the article is shown below. Click HERE for the original article. UN to Close Haiti Peacekeeping Mission in October Margaret Besheer, Voice of America News April 13, 2017 The United Nations Security Council took action Thursday to begin shutting down its 13-year-old peacekeeping mission in Haiti. The current 5,000-strong mission will begin drawing down its […]

U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley Presses for UN Accountability

U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley addressed the UN Security Council (UNSC) Thursday after the UNSC voted to withdraw MINUSTAH in October and replace it with a much smaller police force. UN peacekeepers have been getting away with sexual abuse because it is up to their home countries to prosecute them for their crimes. This is even true for the 134 Sri Lankan troops who ran a sex ring in Haiti with nine children as young as 12: Not one was jailed and Sri Lanka continued sending peacekeepers to Haiti. As professor Mark Schuller says: “The U.N. is not accountable to the Haitian government or people. That creates a culture of implied immunity.” U.S. Envoy Says U.N. Peacekeepers Must Be Punished for Sexual Abuse Edith M. Lederer and Paisley Dodd, TIME April 13, 2017 (UNITED NATIONS) — U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley on Thursday […]

AP Investigation Highlights UN’s Inability to Bring Justice for Sex Abuse Victims

Trish Wilson is the international investigators editor who oversaw a recent Associated Press investigation into UN sex abuse in Haiti. AP uncovered a sex ring involving at least 134 Sri Lankan peacekeepers, who exploited and abused 9 Haitian children over a period of three years. The UN had conducted an internal investigation into this ring; UN officials interviewed the children and confirmed their allegations of horrific abuse. However, the UN lacks jurisdiction to prosecute or punish its peacekeepers, and responsibility falls on perpetrators’ home countries. Thus, despite corroboration of the victims’ experiences, the peacekeepers faced few repercussions and were largely held unaccountable for the crimes, continuing a culture of impunity within the UN. Part of the interview is shown below. Click HERE for the original interview. UN peacekeepers accused of thousands of cases of abuse, AP finds PBS NewsHour April 12, 2017 JUDY […]

Hundreds of United Nations Peacekeepers Get Away with Sexual Exploitation

While the United Nations would say its peacekeepers went to Haiti in 2004 to protect the people, many Haitians would disagree. That is especially true for the children and women who were sexually abused and exploited by UN peacekeepers from that first year, all the way to now, 12 years later. UN peacekeepers have been involved in gang rapes, exchanging food for sex and more with children as young as 9 and often for a few years in a row. Women have been left pregnant by peacekeepers to raise fatherless children on budgets that can’t support the family. According to UN data and interviews, the peacekeepers have been from Bangladesh, Brazil, Jordan, Nigeria, Uruguay and Sri Lanka; and there were likely more countries involved even before the report was compiled. Victims of peacekeepers often don’t report these incidents because they […]

Amnesty International Demands Protection for Plaintiffs in U.S. Federal Lawsuit

The recent lawsuit against former Haitian mayor Jean Morose Viliena originally included three plaintiffs, who sought justice in the U.S. court system for human rights abuses perpetrated during Viliena’s term in office. However, just one day after filing the lawsuit, plaintiff Nissan Martyr became suddenly ill and died. While authorities have authorized an autopsy, there has been no investigation into the cause of death. His family and lawyers continue to demand a full investigation. The remaining plaintiffs’ lives are at risk. They report death threats and fear they will be killed before getting the opportunity to testify against Viliena. Haitian authorities must immediately provide protection for the plaintiffs and their families and initiate an investigation into Martyr’s death. Part of the report is shown below. Click HERE for the original Urgent Action report. URGENT ACTION – Haiti: Human Rights Defenders’ Lives at Risk Amnesty International […]

UN Lacks Credibility After Years of Failed Promises & Impunity

The UN Security Council is set to vote today on the future of the UN in Haiti and what, if anything, should replace the current peacekeeping mission. However, as the decision looms near, the UN continues its controversial legacy of injustice, exploitation and impunity in the struggling country. MINUSTAH has been heavily criticized for widespread sexual exploitation and abuse of vulnerable Haitians, which calls into question the UN’s immunity laws, its response to allegations and system for redress. Additionally, after 6 years of denying responsibility for the cholera outbreak that has killed over 10,000, the UN finally acknowledged its role in bringing the deadly disease to Haiti, but now struggles to fund its program to end cholera and compensate victims. Whatever the future might hold for the UN mission, though, one thing is certain; the UN must first right its wrongs in Haiti, or its lack […]

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