Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti

“Kenbe Fèm” with BAI and IJDH

Dear [[Short_Salutation]], I know that many of you in the U.S. and elsewhere are concerned about the future. We are concerned in Haiti too—the 21st Century has already brought us a coup d’état, manipulated elections, intense political oppression, an earthquake, a cholera epidemic and several deadly hurricanes. Haitians often say “kenbe fem”- “hang in there”, “stand firm”. We use it casually, when friends take leave to face the daily challenges of life here. We use it more seriously, too, to encourage each other to stay strong in the face of particularly weighty challenges. We not only hang in there, but we resist, mobilize and fight back. We successfully reversed the 2004 coup, stopped manipulated elections last January, survived the earthquake and hurricanes, and earlier this month, forced the UN to respond justly to its cholera epidemic.  Our secret to success […]

Despite 5 years of hardship, studies show that extreme poverty in Haiti is declining

According to the World Bank, the rate of extreme poverty in Haiti is declining.  Despite this, however, levels of income inequality place Haiti among the most unequal countries in Latin America and in the world. Part of the article is below.  Please click HERE for the full text. Haiti sees drop in poverty rates, but inequality remains Jacqueline Charles, Miami Herald December 11, 2014   Despite back-to-back hurricanes, food riots, devastating floods, and the hemisphere’s worst natural disaster nearly five years ago, the rate of extreme poverty in Haiti is declining, according to a new World Bank report. But with 6.3 million out of 10 million Haitians still unable to meet their basic food needs, and another 2.5 million even worse off because they are living below the extreme poverty line, Haiti still remains among the poorest — and the […]

The Haitian People are Dying: Part 2

Myrtha Désulmé, Trinidad­ex­press Oct 8, 2012 Part2: Conclusion Haiti’s cholera epidemic has killed more than 7,585 Haitians, and infected over 594,198 to date, with a minimum of 200 new cases per day. In August, Tropical Storm Isaac highlighted the urgent need for the clean water and sanitation infrastructure necessary to curtail the epidemic, as floods usually contaminate drinking water sources. Momentum has been building to pressure the UN to respond justly to the nearly 600,000 victims of the cholera epidemic. In January, ABC News published an article entitled: “UN Soldiers Brought Deadly Superbug to Americas”. In March, Bill Clinton, UN Special Envoy for Haiti, publicly affirmed that UN peacekeepers were the “proximate cause”, which brought “the cholera strain into the waterways of Haiti, into the bodies of Haitians”. Hundreds of Haitians marched from the UN’s base to the Haitian parliament, demanding […]

The Haitian People are Dying: Part 1

By Myrtha Désulmé, Trinidadexpress Oct 7, 2012 Part I On August 24, Tropical Storm Isaac pummelled Haiti, resulting in floods, mudslides and storm surges, downed trees and power lines. The storm threatened the lives of millions, particularly the more than 400,000 homeless Haitians, still living in flimsy tents, exposed to the elements like sitting ducks, two and half years after the January 2010 earthquake. Painful images of tent-dwellers bracing against fierce winds, with a background of flying tents containing all of their worldly possessions, were beamed on CNN between news of another US shooting incident and the joys of Australian river rafting. Adding to the crisis was the fear of an ensuing surge of the cholera epidemic introduced into Haiti by the UN forces. The initial death toll from Isaac is reportedly at 24, but this number could spike due to […]

Thinking of Haiti as Isaac Approaches: A letter from Betsey Chace

Dear Friend, As I watch Tropical Storm Isaac bear down on Haiti from IJDH’s Boston office, I feel worried and helpless.  I think back to past deadly hurricane seasons—2004, 2008, 2010—and most of all I think back to January 12, 2010. When the news of Haiti’s devastating earthquake reached me in Brazil, I got to a computer and donated to IJDH.  I had been a supporter of IJDH for years, ever since I heard Brian Concannon speak to Partners In Health staff about long-term solutions and the rights-based approach of IJDH and its Haitian affiliate the Bureaux des Avocats Internationaux (BAI).    Emergency relief is important to save lives immediately following a disaster, but the work of IJDH and BAI prevents disasters from happening.  The work establishing the rule of law and fair treatment of Haiti by the international community […]

In Haiti, Inaction Speaks Louder Than Words: Hurricane Emily’s Near-Miss Too Close for Island’s Displaced Persons Camps (CounterPunch)

By Mark Schuller and Mark Snyder, CounterPunch August 7, 2011 There is a Haitian proverb, se bouch ki manje tout manje, men se pa bouch ki pale tout pawòl, the mouth eats all the food, but not all talk comes from your mouth. In other words, actions count more than words. The events this week in Haiti’s internally displaced people IDP camps – dramatized by Hurricane Emily – highlight the importance of this lesson. Following the eviction of 514 families from the Sylvio Cator stadium in mid-July , high-ranking U.N. officials issued its strongest language yet condemning forced evictions in Haiti as violations of IDPs’ human rights. The IDPs needed not only words but concrete action. On Wednesday, August 3, the last of the 296 families were evicted from Camp Django in the Port-au-Prince suburb of Delmas, the site of a rash […]

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