Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti

Haitian Government Seeks to Rebuild National Military

In the wake of the UN’s decision to withdraw its military peacekeepers from Haiti, the Haitian government is now faced with questions about what, if any, military force should replace them to avoid a security vacuum. Haiti’s national army has been disbanded for 22 years, and, for many Haitians, the thought of reconstituting an army brings back memories of the political repression and destabilization associated with the prior military regime. Thus, while many Haitians do support the idea, others fear it will quickly become politicized and thwart Haiti’s democratic progress. Part of the article is shown below. Click HERE for the original article. With End of UN Mission Ahead, Haiti Seeks to Revive Its Military Voice of America (Associated Press) April 19, 2017 GRESSIER, HAITI — Their heads held high and chests puffed out, nearly 100 Haitian men in camouflage fatigues do jumping jacks or march around […]

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 […]

After Death of a Loved One, Haitians Must Choose: Lifetime of Debt or a Funeral?

Imagine coping with the death of a loved one, and being told that you must pay more money than your annual income to ‘properly’ bury the deceased. This is the reality for many impoverished Haitians when they are at their most vulnerable and grief-stricken; they are charged exorbitant fees solely for the profit of those in the burial business, who exploit the family members’ unawareness of cheaper options and their desires to pay respect to the deceased. 2/3 of Haitians live on less than $2 per day, and funeral fees will put them into debt for years to come. This issue continues to be of critical importance as the death toll from cholera, food shortages and natural disasters continues to rise daily. Part of the article is shown below. Click HERE for the original article. Grieving Haitians go into lifetime of debt to fund funerals David McFadden, Associated Press April […]

Lawyers Urge Investigation to Determine Cause of Plaintiff’s ‘Suspicious’ Death

Nissage Martyr, one of three plaintiffs in the federal lawsuit against the former Haitian mayor Jean Morose Viliena, died one day after filing the lawsuit. The plaintiffs’ lawyers describe the death as “suspicious,” given the timing and Martyr’s apparent health. Martyr suddenly collapsed while watching a football game in Les Irois, Haiti, but little else is known as to the cause. His lawyers urge the Haitian government to immediately investigate and complete an autopsy to determine the cause of Martyr’s death. Additionally, they urge the protection of Martyr’s family and the two remaining plaintiffs in the case. Part of the article is shown below. Click HERE for the original article. Lawyers: Death of Haiti plaintiff in US suit ‘suspicious’ David McFadden, Associated Press March 31, 2017 Lawyers in a U.S. lawsuit against the former mayor of a remote Haitian town called Friday for a full investigation into the […]

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