Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti

Cholera as Both a Health and Political Issue

The UN is still not doing enough to stop the cholera epidemic in Haiti.  Some say it’s due to this being a complex political issue. UN sued for cholera, refuses to talk about it Saeed Shabazz, The Final Call November 4, 2013 UNITED NATIONS ( – Haitian activist organizations remained true to their word by filing an early October class action complaint on behalf of five Haitian families who have suffered because a cholera outbreak in the country tied to UN peacekeepers. The suit was filed in the United States District Court Southern District of New York. The defendants in the suit are the United Nations, the UN peacekeeping mission in Haiti and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon. The UN and the secretary-general are charged with complicity in bringing cholera to the Caribbean nation in 2010. The Boston-based Institute for Justice and […]

U.S. lawmakers unhappy with UN response to Haiti cholera epidemic

By Saeed Shabazz, The Final Call Jun 18, 2013 UNITED NATIONS ( – This world body continues to deny any liability for illness and deaths caused by the 2011 spread of cholera experts say UN peacekeepers brought to Haiti and has yet to respond to a letter from 19 members of the U.S. Congress demanding an acknowledgement of its responsibility. “As congressional friends of the people of Haiti, we are deeply concerned about the lack of progress by the United Nations, given its likely role in the introduction of cholera into Haiti,” states the letter to the secretary-general authored by California Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D) and co-signed by Black Democratic House members, including Barbara Lee (California), Yvette Clarke (New York), and Charles Rangel (New York), Frederica S. Wilson (Florida), Alcee L. Hastings (Florida), Bobby L. Rush (Illinois), Keith Ellison (Minnesota) and Donald M. […]

Former Haitian Dictator Denies Abuses at Historic Hearing

Jane Regan and Milo Milfort, The Final Call March 19, 2013 PORT-AU-PRINCE (IPS)—For the first time ever, Haiti’s former dictator recently faced his accusers, answering questions about corruption and human rights abuses during his brutal 15-year regime (1971-1986). The court of appeals hearing was part of a process that will determine if he is to be indicted on rights abuses. “We think that this is a wonderful day for justice in Haiti,” rights attorney Nicole Phillips of the Washington-based Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti (IJDH), told IPS. “For the first time…and despite the efforts of his attorneys, Jean-Claude Duvalier came to court.” The ex-dictator showed up on Feb. 28 only after first disregarding three previous orders. The sweltering courtroom was packed with over a dozen victims of the regime and with local and foreign journalists, lawyers and representatives of […]

Death, Water And UN Action In Haiti

United Nations, Final Call February 14, 2013 The Center for Economic and Policy Research argued in a recent position paper that “cholera is arguably Haiti’s most urgent humanitarian crisis killing more people every day.”  The Caribbean nation, home to nearly 10 million people, had not seen the dreaded disease for a least a century, but 10-months after the January 2010 earthquake, cholera struck in the central highlands near a camp for UN peacekeepers. However, to date the world body has yet to accept responsibility for its role in spreading cholera, a condition that can quickly lead to severe hydration and death. Last December UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon announced a new $2.2 billion initiative to be invested over a 10-year period for cholera prevention, treatment and education. “It will take a holistic approach to tackle the cholera challenge,” the two-term secretary-general said. […]

Red Cross must do more with aid dollars, Haitian-Americans, coalition demand

CHICAGO ( – A coalition of Haitian and Haitian-American activists are questioning the American Red Cross’s strategy is dispersing millions of dollars in relief aid to earthquake ravaged Haiti. Seven months after the seven magnitude quake struck the island nation, the Red Cross has spent only one-third of the half a billion dollars it collected in donated aid. That penny-pinching, the coalition claims, has forced Haiti’s one million homeless to linger in unsafe, unsanitary makeshift tent cities. The coalition criticized the lack of permanent housing for earthquake victims. “When it rains and the hurricane comes, these families are sitting in mud,” said Lionel Jean-Baptiste, of the Haitian Congress to Fortify Haiti. “For there to still be 1.5 million folks under tents made of tarps and cloths, is a reflection that the urgency is not being addressed.” Of the $468 million […]

TransAfrica: ‘Overwhelming need’ still exists in Haiti

Nisa Islam Muhammad, The Final Call April 9, 2010 TransAfrica says conditions in Haiti remain dire and having food to eat remains a problem. The Black lobbying group also says aid is “trickling” into the country, despite an “overwhelming need” for help. Photo: Richard B. Muhammad WASHINGTON  – There is the Haiti that President Obama recently described: “The situation on the ground remains dire and people should be under no illusions that the crisis is over,” he said following a meeting with Haitian President René Preval. With spring rains coming, the president noted, “The challenge is now to prevent a second disaster.” Then there’s this Haiti: “The situation on the ground in terms of the medical situation has improved,” according to José Ruiz, a civilian spokesman for the United States Southern Command. “Demand for medical care is not exceeding […]

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