Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti

UN Poisoning of Roma in Kosovo Mirrors Haiti Cholera

When Roma families moved onto land contaminated with lead, health experts warned the United Nations that the land was toxic and the families should be relocated. Even so, the residents were left there for years accumulating health problems, especially among expecting mothers, children and the elderly, because of the toxic soil and dust in the region. For perhaps a decade, victims of this poisoning and their advocates have been seeking an apology and compensation from the UN but their efforts have been frustrated just like the efforts of cholera victims and their advocates: If the UN goes too far in acknowledging its responsibility, it may be legally bound to actually pay for its negligence. Part of the article is below. Read the full text here. Roma Sickened in U.N. Camps Are Still Waiting for Redress Rick Gladstone, The New York Times April 18, […]

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 […]

Haitian Seeking Justice Against Criminal Ex-Mayor Dies Suddenly

One of the three plaintiffs in the case against a former Haitian mayor who engaged in political repression and murder has died suddenly in Haiti. The plaintiff, Nissage Martyr, had had a leg amputated after Viliena (the former Mayor)’s gang beat at and shot at him for his involvement in a community radio station. Martyr received repeated threats from Viliena’s associates but, unable to find justice in the Haitian legal system, he and the other plaintiffs were able to begin the legal process in Massachusetts where Viliena was hiding. Now, Martyr’s lawyers are calling for an investigation into his sudden death. Plaintiff in Boston Lawsuit Against Former Haitian Mayor Dies Reuters, The New York Times March 25, 2017 (Reuters) – One of three Haitian men who recently sued the former mayor of their village accusing him in Boston federal court of […]

Secretary-General Guterres Must Ensure the UN’s Moral Debt to Haiti is Paid

In December 2016, after six years of trying to avoid blame for the cholera epidemic it brought to Haiti in 2010, the United Nations apologized for its role and announced a $00 million New Approach to dealing with cholera. Months later, the fund has only raised about $2 million – from voluntary contributions from South Korea, France Chile, India and Liechtenstein. It is now up to a new Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, to make sure the New Approach continues.  He “needs to use every bit of skill and good will to compel and cajole member nations and philanthropies to make the cholera campaign succeed — and with it, to settle the United Nations’ moral debt to Haiti.” Part of the editorial is below. Click HERE for the full text. U.N. Accepts Blame but Dodges the Bill in Haiti Editorial Board, The […]

UN Falls Short of Promises to Cholera Victims

The apology from former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and announcement of the “New Approach” to combat cholera in Haiti raised hopes that justice would be done in response to the horrific outbreak, which was brought to the country by Nepalese peacekeepers. However, the reality sends quite a different message; the UN has raised only a fraction of the promised, and necessary, funds. Current political contexts deemphasizing foreign aid, uncertainty over effective UN policies and donor fatigue have contributed to the fundraising failure. However, the time is past for excuses, and those affected by the deadly outbreak deserve more than empty promises from the UN. Part of the article is shown below. Click HERE for the original article. Click HERE to read IJDH and BAI’s letter to the UN Secretary-General. After Bringing Cholera to Haiti, U.N. Can’t Raise Money to Fight It Rick Gladstone, New York Times March 19, 2017 […]

Overwhelmed shelters in Mexico house thousands of Haitian migrants

Mexico’s border towns are struggling under an influx of immigrants, who no longer view the United States as an option to seek refugee status. Most Haitians have had to find shelter and food in the unknown territory, relying on more than 30 shelters providing for Haitians in Mexico. However, none of these shelters are government-run, and civil society groups and individuals face significant obstacles in meeting the refugees’ basic needs. The article is shown below in its entirety. Click HERE for the original article. As Migrants Strain Border Towns, Pressure Builds on Mexico to Act Kerk Semple, New York Times January 27, 2017   Even before President Trump decided to build the wall, this Mexican border city was already overwhelmed. So many Haitian migrants, traveling across the Americas, began arriving here last year with hopes of crossing into the United States that churches, community […]

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