Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti

Lack of Accountability Allows Peacekeeper Sexual Abuse to Continue Running Rampant

While the United Nations peacekeepers were purportedly sent to Haiti to protect the people there, Haitians are not so sure. UN peacekeepers brought cholera to Haiti in 2010, for the first time recorded in the country’s history. UN peacekeepers have also been perpetrators of sexual abuse and exploitation of both women and children in Haiti and other countries around the world. The vast majority of the time, justice is not served for these abuses because it is left up to the home countries to prosecute the perpetrators. Rather than revealing these scandals and shaming the home countries into acting justly, the UN has kept the abuses under wraps, helping the culture of impunity to continue. U.S. ambassadors are now demanding that all nations who supply peacekeepers hold abusers accountable, or risk losing their agreements with the UN (and thus, their compensation). […]

Will impunity for violent Haitian mayor continue?

Last month, three plaintiffs sued former Haitian mayor Jean Morose Viliena for human rights violations in Haiti, including an attack on a radio station that caused one of them, Nissage Martyr, to have a leg amputated. Viliena was appointed mayor of Les Irois by ex-president Michel Martelly despite an open case against him in Haitian courts. Now that a case has been opened against Viliena in U.S. courts, and an investigation is underway for the mysterious death of Martyr after the suit was filed, many are looking to see whether the new Haitian president will continue this pattern of impunity. Part of the article is below. Click HERE for the full text. Haiti’s Violent Politics Are Taken to Court. In Boston Frances Robles, The New York Times April 1, 2017 A mysterious death, a decade-old murder and a human rights lawsuit in federal […]

Will victims of former Haitian mayor find justice?

The former mayor of Les Irois in Haiti led murderous mobs against political dissidents.  Seven years after he fled to Malden to avoid charges against him there, three plaintiffs were able to sue the ex-mayor, Viliena, under the Torture Victim Protection Act. The day after the suit was made public, one of the plaintiffs died suddenly, so his death is now under investigation as well. IJDH’s Nicole Phillips and Center for Justice and Accountability’s Scott Gilmore comment on this case that they are leading against Viliena. Part of the article is below. Click HERE for the full text. Accused in Haiti, Malden man is latest to face lawsuit here Nestor Ramos, The Boston Globe March 31, 2017 As the mayor of a remote Haitian coastal town, Jean-Morose Viliena was above the law, according to those who say they suffered his wrath. He incited mobs […]

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 […]

Report: Troubling Weaknesses in Electoral System Overshadow Return of Constitutional Rule in Haiti [Français Inclus]

     FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact:  Nicole Phillips, Esq., Staff Attorney, Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti (IJDH), Nicole@ijdh.org, +001 510 715 2855 (in U.S., speaks English and French) Report: Troubling Weaknesses in Electoral System Overshadow Return of Constitutional Rule in Haiti (PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, February 6, 2017) – On the eve of President-elect Jovenel Moïse’s inauguration, a new report by international legal observers argues that Haiti’s democratic institutions are suffering a profound crisis of confidence. Low turnout, voter disenfranchisement and lingering concerns about fraud raise troubling questions about the breadth of the incoming president’s mandate, according to the report, entitled Haiti’s Unrepresentative Democracy: Disenfranchisement and Disillusionment in the November 20 Elections. The report notes that despite many improvements in security and electoral administration over the 2015 elections, the 21 percent voter turnout represents the lowest participation rate for a […]

Vigilante Justice Used to Bypass a Broken System in Haiti

Vigilante justice is a problem in Haiti but the average citizen often seems either indifferent or approving of these types of lynchings, viewing them as necessity for justice due to the broken justice system. Nicole Phillips, an IJDH Staff Attorney, explains that if the government prioritizes improving the justice system, and if Haitians know how to use the justice system to enforce their rights, this will not be such a problem. UN mission says vigilantes have impunity in Haiti David McFadden, Associated Press, Yahoo! News January 17, 2017 PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — A report issued Tuesday by the U.N. stabilization mission in Haiti rebukes local authorities for a losing battle against vigilante violence and displaying passivity or even tolerating mobs taking the law into their own hands. The human rights section of the U.N. mission, known by its French acronym Minustah, said […]

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Institute for Justice & Democracy In Haiti
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