Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti

President Obama Should Support Haitian Family Reunification

A major article describes the efforts to create a Haitian Family Reunification Parole Program (HFRPP), which would expedite the entry into the US of persons DHS has already approved but who remain on years-long wait lists. The White House has taken no action despite overwhelming support. Such a program, similar to an ongoing program for Cubans, would save lives and generate remittances to help Haiti recover. Part of the article is below. Click HERE for the full text. Advocates, Florida delegation push immigration program to help rebuild Haiti Chris Adams, McClatchy DC September 16, 2014 WASHINGTON — A bipartisan group of members of the House of Representatives – including those from South Florida – is pushing the Obama administration to create an immigration program for Haitians that would accelerate the flow of immigrants from that country and help it recover from a devastating 2010 earthquake. […]

Sex trafficking of Haitian kids exploding

By Gerardo Reyes and Jacqueline Charles, McClatchy Newspapers BOCA CHICA, Dominican Republic – After several days of going hungry, Maria said she surrendered to sexual propositions made by several men in the park where she begged in this resort town in the south of the Dominican Republic. Maria, 12, said she had sex with “many” of those men, sometimes for a dollar, while her cousins, 13 and 10, begged European and American tourists for coins. “I was hungry, I lost everything; we didn’t know what to do,” said Maria, explaining her decision to sell her body on the streets of Boca Chica, Dominican Republic. The three children told reporters from El Nuevo Herald and The Miami Herald that they left Port-au-Prince, Haiti, with the help of a smuggler after the January earthquake devastated the city. Today, the children sell boiled […]

In Haiti’s tent cities, return to normalcy is unimaginable

By Fred Grimm, McClatchy News Signs of permanence are taking hold in impromptu camps Port-Au-Prince, Haiti — The concept of temporary, amid Haiti’s teeming refugee camps, has morphed into a dismal variation of forever. A deluge of earthquake victims, shocked and terrified, spilled out of the city’s ruins after the disaster and found refuge in parks, school yards, soccer pitches, garden patches, almost any private or public space they could find in their tumbled down city. Their flimsy tents, fabricated from bed sheets, tattered plastic, sticks and strings, reinforced the assumption that these impromptu settlements, 1,300 of them, would surely vanish before the summer rains could wash them away. Six months later, the dispossessed remain, in transition to nowhere, with nowhere to go. With a million or so (no one really knows) still occupying what had been the city’s open […]

Sen. John Kerry: Haiti rebuilding efforts have stalled

By Jacqueline Charles, McClatchy Newspapers PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — More than five months after a devastating earthquake, there are worrisome signs that the massive rebuilding efforts have stalled, a strongly worded report by the chairman of the powerful U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee says. Sen. John F. Kerry, D-Mass., is calling on Haitian President Rene Preval to show greater leadership in Haiti’s post-quake reconstruction and for international donors, including the United States, to improve coordination and speak with one voice. ”Key decisions remain in flux and critical humanitarian issues related to shelter and resettlement are not resolved,” the report said. The report, to be released Tuesday, also notes that fragmentation and lack of coordination among donors “are undercutting recovery and rebuilding.” Haitian Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive, who co-chairs the Interim Haiti Reconstruction Commission, defended the government’s handling of the crisis, saying […]

Haiti Unprepared for Hurricanes

By Jacqueline Charles, McClatchy Newspapers PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti | Behind the once-exclusive gates of this quake-ravaged nation’s only golf course, thousands of sandbags cut a path up and down steep hills, while a new road now doubles as an emergency evacuation route. But for every location where gravel and sandbags have been laid to save lives in case of dangerous flooding, there are dozens of camps like Marassa 14, where nothing has been done to prepare for hurricane season. Hundreds of blue and white tarp-covered shacks crowd a low-lying, flood-prone ravine. “They want us to leave, but we will not leave here,” said Adrienne Francois, 60, among the 3,000 residents of the camp near Croix-des-Bouquets, just outside the capital. “We are at the mercy of God. We can leave, and still end up under tarps.” Tuesday was the official start of […]

Haitian president seeks U.N. help in forming commission on prisoner shootings

By JACQUELINE CHARLES – McClatchy Newspapers PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti Haitian President Rene Preval has asked the United Nations for help in forming an independent commission to investigate allegations that dozens of prisoners were shot by Haitian police during a jail riot in the southern city of Les Cayes a week after the Jan. 12 earthquake. The allegations of the shootings surfaced over the weekend in a story by The New York Times, which said there were indications Haitian officials were covering up the suspected shootings. “It will be a joint U.N.-Haiti independent commission,” Edmond Mulet, the U.N. special representative of the secretary-general, told McClatchy Newspapers on Tuesday. The independent commission, he said, was Preval’s idea. Mulet said the findings of the human rights section of the U.N. Stabilization Mission, along with what the Haitian National Police, ministry of justice and special […]

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