Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti

Reports Sent to UN Human Rights Committee

October 7-10, 2014, the Government of Haiti will be reviewed by the UN Human Rights Committee in Geneva, a body of independent experts that monitors implementation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). Haiti acceded to the ICCPR on February 6, 1991. Under the Haitian Constitution, international treaties, once ratified, become a part of the legislation of Haiti and abrogate any pre-existing, conflicting laws. Haiti, like all States parties, must submit regular reports to the Committee on how the rights are being implemented. States must report initially one year after acceding to the Covenant and then generally every four years. The Committee examines each report and addresses its concerns and recommendations to the State party in the form of “concluding observations”. This is Haiti’s first review. Haiti submitted its first report in 2013. The BAI and IJDH […]

The Struggles of Sugarcane Workers in DR

This article paints a dismal picture of the life of Haitian sugarcane workers. This material has also been evaluated by the US Department of Labour in order to issue a public report about new forms of slavery. Part of the article is below. Click HERE for the full article. Prisoners of Sugar Raùl Zecca Castel, University of Milan May 2014 To be born in Haiti, in 80 percent of cases, means being destined to live under the line of extreme poverty. And in the best of cases, evidently not for very long. Life expectancy is barely above 60 years and the infant mortality rate is ranked as one of the highest in the world. The unemployment sits at around 40 percent and four years after the earthquake, which caused more than 300 thousand deaths and left one million children orphaned, Haiti […]

Slight Raise in Haitian Minimum Wage

A slight raise in the Haitian minimum wage was signed into law Thursday, May 1. The new minimum wage is still far below what protesting workers have demanded, and not what workers should be receiving. Garment factories are also known to pay less than minimum wage and not to comply with labor laws. Haiti raises minimum wage for apparel workers Trenton Daniel, AP May 5, 2014 PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) – Haiti raised slightly its minimum wage for the estimated 29,000 workers who sew together T-shirts and other clothing in the country’s apparel factories. President Michel Martelly, his prime minister and a Cabinet member who oversees labor conditions signed the 12.5 percent increase into law. It took effect Thursday, and The Associated Press obtained a copy of the decree from the office of the national gazette on Monday, the first day it […]

Statelessness and Alleged Racism in Dominican Republic

The September 23 High Court ruling in Dominican Republic led to panic as many Dominicans of Haitian descent began to be stripped of their national ID cards and other citizenship-related documents. Many who can speak out against this injustice are afraid to do so in fear of losing their own documents, while those with money do their best to keep themselves from the same fate. Meanwhile, the DR government does its best to refute arguments of the racist nature of the ruling. Part of the article is below. Click HERE for the full article. Stateless in the Caribbean Eve Hayes de Kalaf, The Haiti Support Group April 2014   In the wake of the catastrophic earthquake of 12 January, 2010, something exceptional happened on the island of Hispaniola. Despite its long, fractured and often difficult relationship with Haiti, the Dominican Republic (DR) was the first nation to come to the assistance […]

Garment Workers Need a Living Wage

A recent study found that Haitian garment workers earn less than the minimum wage, which is itself much less than what a family needs to survive. Paying for transportation to work alone takes up most of a worker’s salary. Workers are fighting to raise the minimum wage to more than just scraping a living. Garment Exports Rise but Haitian Workers Paid Starvation Wages Solidarity Center April 17, 2014 Despite a 45 percent increase in apparel exports since the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, the women and men who sew T-shirts and jeans primarily destined for the U.S. market barely earn enough to pay for their lunch and transportation to work, a new Solidarity Center survey finds.   Despite rising exports, Haitian garment workers are paid so little they can barely afford food. Photo: Lauren Stewart The average cost of living for an export […]

Haitian labor movement struggles as workers face increased anti-union persecution and wage suppression

Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti April 16, 2014 This report released by Bureau des Avocats Internationaux (BAI) and Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti (IJDH) describes persecution against union activists, wage suppression and worker exploitation in Haiti’s public sector and apparel industry four years after the January 12, 2010 earthquake.[i] The report summarizes troubling trends the BAI, a Port-au-Prince-based law office, observes from its clients fighting for the right to organize and a living wage. The report also proposes a series of recommendations for the Haitian government, employers, and foreign investors like the United States government, as well as international partners wanting to support Haiti’s labor movement.  Dozens of union leaders and activists have recently been terminated from their jobs. At least 36 employees in the apparel industry have been terminated in response to their protest in […]

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