Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti

Haiti Faces Political Crisis and Opportunity

Haiti avoided a political disaster by postponing elections that were wildly unpopular due to fraud and other concerns about their legitimacy. Now, the situation is still troubling but Haiti has an opportunity to have more fair, democratic elections in the future. What will happen next? Haiti’s leadership is in limbo as political crisis looms Ann M. Simmons, Los Angeles Times January 27, 2016 With Haiti’s presidential elections postponed again and just over a week left until the current leader’s term expires, various political factions are negotiating to avert a constitutional crisis that could leave the Western hemisphere’s poorest nation with nobody clearly in charge. The vote was supposed to occur last Sunday, but election authorities last week postponed it indefinitely due to security concerns, including attacks that had occurred on election offices. It was the third time the vote — a […]

DR Government Shuns Junot Diaz for Opposing Deportations

In summer 2015, international attention was again on the Dominican Republic as deportations of Dominicans of Haitian descent and Haitian migrants loomed. Dominican author Junot Díaz joined the chorus of voices speaking out against this human rights violation and now, a Dominican consul has spoken out against him. The consul, Eduardo Selman, has called Díaz “antidominicano” and DR has also stripped Díaz of the Order of Merit it awarded him in 2009. This is part of a broader campaign by the DR government to dissuade activists speaking up for human rights. Part of the article is below. Click HERE for the full text. Author Junot Diaz stripped of honor after speaking out against the Dominican Republic Carolyn Kellogg, Los Angeles Times October 23, 2015 He may be the toast of the literary world, but Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Junot Díaz is in trouble with his […]

Remember Haiti? Its people are still exposed to storm dangers

Sandra Hernandez, The Los Angeles Times August 30, 2012 Isaac could have been worse, but more than 350,000 Haitians left homeless by the 2010 quake still live in tents. Haitians living in a tent camp wait out Tropical Storm Isaac as it barrels through Port-Au-Prince. (Thony Belizaire / AFP / Getty Images / August 25, 2012) On its way to disrupting the Republican National Convention in Florida and several days before it made landfall in Louisiana, Hurricane Isaac narrowly missed delivering another catastrophic blow to Haiti, still recovering from the January 2010 earthquake that left thousands dead and briefly — too briefly — focused international attention on that country’s many troubles. Isaac did not claim thousands of lives, as feared, and it quickly moved on to more newsworthy locales. But for those of us who were in Haiti, it offered a stark reminder […]

Haiti’s Duvalier must be brought to justice

The ruling that he should not stand trial for human rights abuses is wrong. There can be no statute of limitations when it comes to crimes against humanity. Published By  Los Angeles Times Last week, a Haitian judge ruled that former dictator Jean-Claude Duvalier should not stand trial for human rights abuses — not for lack of evidence but because the statute of limitations had expired. That decision must be overruled. Of course Duvalier should be prosecuted for atrocities committed during his brutal 15-year rule. There are plenty of victims willing to recount the beatings, arbitrary arrests and prolonged detentions they suffered. There is a trove of evidence detailing how Duvalier’s army and shadowy secret police force, the Tontons Macoutes, killed and tortured untold numbers of civilians. And the fact is that there are international conventions — to which Haiti is a signatory […]

Haiti: Why an Accurate Count of Civilian Deaths Matters (LA Times)

By Robert Muggah and Athena Kolbe, LA Times July 12, 2011 July 12, 2011- Since the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, there have been at least 60,000 civilian deaths that wouldn’t otherwise have occurred. Or maybe that number is closer to 650,000. Between 1998 and 2004, 5.4 million people died in a war and its aftermath in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Or was it one-fifth that number? In Haiti, fewer than 46,000 people were killed in the January 2010 earthquake. Or perhaps the death toll was more than 300,000. The science of measuring mortality and morbidity is controversial. There are bitter disputes among groups of researchers who study death tolls in the world’s hot spots. Many governments would also prefer to discreetly avoid any discussion of the civilian costs of war. Yet the numbers matter. They can influence political responses to […]

Cholera epidemic leaves Haiti on brink of disaster once more

By Joe Mozingo, Los Angeles Times Hundreds have succumbed to the disease in a nation all too familiar with death and ill-equipped to deal with disaster. Reporting from Gonaives, Haiti — A mother cradled her limp 2-year-old boy, gently bouncing him on her knee as though she would lose him if she stopped. Her lap was soaked. The boy’s eyes were half-open and his face was ashen. His sister rubbed his withered feet. Rosemane Saintelone could not let her youngest son die now. When they arrived at this hospital in the seaside slum of Raboteau on Monday afternoon, he was still alert , looking around, moving a little. Only an hour later, he was unconscious. His chest rose and fell faintly. The hospital was filling up as a surge in Haiti’s cholera epidemic hit this city and the villages to the […]

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