Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti

Why Earthquake Aid Should’ve Gone Through Haiti’s Government

After the devastating earthquake in Haiti in 2010, many were excited at the prospect of seeing Haiti “build back better.” Five years later, not much has changed. This article discusses how aid organizations’ failure to funnel aid through the Haitian government played a major role in this squandered opportunity. Click HERE for the original article. A march around the institutions In future disasters the West should not treat the victims or the government like bystanders The Economist January 17, 2015 FEW countries have suffered an earthquake so devastating, or have been less prepared for such a calamity. The quake that struck Haiti on January 12th 2010 killed perhaps 200,000 people—no one is sure how many—left 1.5m homeless and caused economic damage equivalent to 120% of the country’s GDP. A cholera epidemic compounded the misery. These disasters called forth the biggest-ever […]

Gallón’s Cholera Accountability Demands Reveal Debate Within UN

UN Human Rights Expert Gustavo Gallón surprised many when he stood up for cholera victims in a report on Haiti. The otherwise-ordinary report called for compensation of victims and punishment of those responsible. These statements are the strongest so far in a time of increasing support from current and former UN officials. Immune Response R.R.L., The Economist March 4, 2014 LAST month the United Nations’ Independent Expert on Human Rights in Haiti delivered his annual assessment (French version here) of the state of the poorest country in the Americas. Gustavo Gallon, a respected Colombian jurist, wrote of many troubling—and familiar–problems. They included prolonged pre-trial detention for 80% of all prisoners in Haitian jails; institutional “brittleness” on account of long-delayed elections to the Senate and local bodies; rising homicide rates; and a depressing predilection for public lynching, which indicates little confidence in […]

Cholera in Haiti : The UN Strain

The Economist July 15th, 2013 ON JULY 5th the United Nations refused, again, to countenance the claims of 5,000 cholera-affected Haitians against it. The Haitians contend that grossly inadequate sanitation at a UN peacekeeping base introduced and spread the disease through the country’s waterways. The great weight of scientific evidence is on their side. The claimants seek millions of dollars in damages, installation of a sanitation network, and an apology. In a letter to members of the United States Congress who had urged the UN to take responsibility for the cholera outbreak, Ban Ki Moon, the UN’s secretary-general, reiterated that the UN’s legal office has decided the claims are “not receivable” because of the UN’s privileges and immunities. The UN has offered little insight into its reasoning, except that consideration of the claims would involve a review of “political and policy matters”. That […]

Justice in Haiti: Double standards

By, The Economist March 1st, 2013 The UN condemns Baby Doc, but exonerates itself IN THE span of a few hours on February 21st, the United Nations issued statements on the legitimacy of two separate human-rights claims in Haiti. In the first case, in which several dozen people are seeking justice against Jean-Claude Duvalier, the country’s dictator from 1971 to 1986, the UN urged action in the courts. “Such systematic violations of rights must not remain unaddressed,” urged the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay. She urged the judicial authorities “to act on their responsibilities”. Her statement was a rebuke to the Haitian state. When Mr Duvalier unexpectedly returned to the country in 2011, he was indicted for financial and human-rights crimes. But last year a court ruled that too much time had elapsed for him to be tried […]

The UN in Haiti: First, Do No Harm (By The Economist)

Published By The Economist April 26, 2012 Foreign peacekeepers have worn out their welcome. How can they be held accountable for their actions? HAITIANS have good reason to be suspicious of foreigners claiming to act in their interests. In the 19th century France, the former imperial power, kindly offered to have Parisian banks finance the reparations it demanded in exchange for recognising the country’s independence. The resulting debt drained Haiti’s treasury for decades. A century later the United States generously built up the country’s infrastructure—using virtual slave labour during a brutal military occupation. Today’s foreign do-gooders in Haiti are the 9,000 members of Minustah, the UN’s peacekeeping force. They are surely better-meaning than the interlopers of the past. But the Haitian government has little more influence over them than it did over America’s marines. And in recent years the force […]

Haiti’s Judiciary: Just What The Doc Ordered

By P.B, The Economist February 4, 2012 MAKING the rounds in Haiti this week is a cartoon that depicts Jean-Claude Duvalier (pictured) behind the wheel of a blood-stained Mercedes brimming with human skulls. A policeman writes a ticket, exclaiming, “I’m arresting you for stealing a car, Mr Duvalier!” Such is the state of justice in Haiti, where on January 30th Carvès Jean, an investigative magistrate, dismissed charges of grave human-rights crimes against Mr Duvalier, including torture and political assassination, because a ten-year statute of limitations had expired. Mr Duvalier ruled the country from 1971 to 1986, when he fled to France and spent 25 years living off the millions of dollars he is frequently accused of having siphoned from the public treasury. Mr Jean ruled that a trial for misappropriation of government funds could go forward, though it will be […]

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