Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti

Haiti’s New Prime Minister Seeks to Unite and Heal Country

After confirmation by the Haitian Senate and Chamber of Deputies, physician Guy Lafontant rose to second-in-command in the Haitian government. As the new Prime Minister, he urged the country to unite and build bridges between polarized, unequal and marginalized communities. Lafontant also stressed the importance of major reforms, and, like President Jovenel Moise, he committed the new administration to prioritizing agricultural investments. Part of the article is shown below. Click HERE for the full article. New prime minister urges Haitians to heal deep divisions David McFadden, Associated Press March 22, 2017 Haiti’s new prime minister on Tuesday urged this deeply polarized country to bridge divisions, and he vowed to bring steady advances even while acknowledging that the struggling nation has no shortage of accelerating problems. Dr. Jack Guy Lafontant, a physician and political outsider approved as Haiti’s No. 2 official after clearing a final parliamentary hurdle […]

UN Secretary-General Promises to Combat Sex Abuse and Exploitation

Haiti hosts a peacekeeping mission with one of the largest numbers of reported sexual exploitation and abuse. The UN Secretary-General is urging MINUSTAH to appoint a victims’ rights advocate to address the increase in reported cases. In a new report, he puts forth a four-part strategy to address policy changes regarding, among others, fraternization of peacekeepers, investigations into sexual abuse and victims’ rights. Part of the article is shown below. Click HERE for the original article. UN will put sex abuse victims first, urge action on abusers Edith Lederer, Associated Press March 9, 2017 Secretary-General Antonio Guterres announced new measures Thursday to tackle the increase in sexual abuse and exploitation by U.N. peacekeepers and staff, calling for a new focus on victims and bans on alcohol and fraternization for troops. The report released Thursday also calls on the General Assembly to back the U.N. chief’s […]

Controversial UN Peacekeeping Mission to Leave Haiti

The UN peacekeeping mission in Haiti, which is known by its French acronym MINUSTAH, is likely to significantly downsize its presence in Haiti in the near future. Over 2,000 soldiers from 19 contributing countries will be sent home, although the plans for foreign police officers and civilian staff remain uncertain. Some suggest that civilian staff will remain in Haiti alongside the UN police, an unprecedented move in UN peacekeeping history. Part of the article is shown below. Click HERE for the original article. After lengthy mission, UN peacekeeper pullout looms in Haiti David McFadden, Associated Press March 9, 2017 A few dozen Brazilian troops wearing the blue helmets of the U.N. military force stroll through a dense warren of shacks in Haiti’s most notorious slum, facing no greater threat than a few barking dogs along some of the same streets where pitched gunbattles […]

Haitian Politician Seeks Political Immunity for U.S. Drug Charges

Recently-elected Haitian politician Guy Philippe was arrested only days before he was to officially take office, and Philippe’s attorney argues that he cannot be prosecuted due to his status as a foreign state official. Philippe now seeks political immunity during the six years of his term in the Senate. He has pleaded not guilty to drug smuggling and money laundering conspiracy charges, and he currently awaits trial scheduled for April in the United States. Part of the article is shown below. Click HERE for the original article. Haitian Politician, Coup Leader Seeks Immunity From US Case Associated Press March 3, 2017 A former Haitian coup leader who was recently elected to that country’s Senate is seeking immunity from U.S. prosecution in a drug case. Court documents recently filed by Guy Philippe’s attorney contend he cannot be prosecuted because he’s a foreign state official due to […]

Mass Funeral for Haitians Who Died from Deplorable Prison Conditions

This article describes the scene at and context for a mass funeral the Port-au-Prince chief prosecutor put on for people who died at the National Penitentiary. Already known for the worst overcrowding in the world, Haiti’s prisons are facing even more of a hunger and malnutrition crisis lately. The majority of the prisoners have never been seen by a judge, including most of the ones in the mass funeral. Haiti’s government has a responsibility to offer basic services to its prisoners, and the problem of pre-trial detention urgently needs to be addressed. Mass funeral held for 20 Haitians who died in dismal prison David McFadden, ABC News February 21, 2017 Relatives wailed in grief or stared stoically as flowers were placed on 20 caskets at a mass funeral for the latest group of inmates who died miserably in Haiti’s largest prison, […]

Pretrial Detention and Malnutrition in Haiti’s Prisons

Haiti’s prisons are the most crowded in the world, with 454% occupancy. This leads to many kinds of preventable diseases, as well as malnutrition from the strain on resources at the prisons. Malnutrition has become even more of a problem recently, as Haiti faces a food shortage. Many of the inmates have not been before a judge yet: Pretrial detention is a rampant problem in Haiti’s justice system. As IJDH Director Brian Concannon describes, there is not much incentive for this to change because even the families of innocent inmates are roped into paying bribes to get their loved ones out of prison. Part of the article is bellow. Click HERE for the full text. AP Exclusive” Malnutrition killing inmates in Haiti jails David McFadden, The Washington Post February 20, 2017 PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — Dozens of emaciated men with sunken […]

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