Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti

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TIME May 9, 2013 Egypt NGO Law — The U.N. human rights chief, Navi Pillay, has warned that Egypt’s new civil society law betrays the ideals of the 2011 revolution and risks turning the country into an authoritarian state, notes Reuters. The draft law, supported by the Muslim Brotherhood‘s Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), imposes funding restrictions on non-governmental organizations and requires advance permission for many activities, which critics see as a threat to freedom of assembly. “This current draft law… risks placing civil society under the thumb of security ministries which have a history of abusing human rights and an interest in minimizing scrutiny,” said Pillay. The FJP has said “the bill is still under discussion and that it will give NGOs freedom and meet the needs of society,” according to Reuters. Cholera Epidemic — Haiti’s cholera victims have threatened to sue the U.N. after accusing […]

U.N. Says it Will Not Pay Compensation for Haiti’s Cholera Victims

Sorcha Pollak, TIME Feb 22, 2013 The Secretary-General of the United Nations Ban Ki-moon has released a statement saying the U.N. will not pay compensation for the victims of the 2010 cholera outbreak in Haiti. Citing section 29 of the 1946 convention, the U.N. will use its legal immunity to avoid claims that it is responsible for the spread of a disease that killed around 7,750 Haitians. The Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti (IJDH), a group based in Boston, brought the call for compensation to the U.N. in November 2011, writes the Guardian. The group argued that the cholera infection arrived in Haiti in the form of U.N. peacekeepers from Nepal and spread following the country’s epochal 2010 earthquake and humanitarian disaster. A report from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) revealed in mid-2011 that “there was an exact correlation in time and places […]

Haiti Papers Over the Past: The Re-Branding of Baby Doc Duvalier

By Susana Ferreira, Time World February 8, 2012 On Jan. 30, more than a year after former “President for Life” Jean-Claude Duvalier returned to Haiti, a Port-au-Prince judge concluded his lengthy investigation into the ex-dictator’s brutal, 1971-86 rule. Supreme Court Magistrate Carvès Jean had at his disposal reams of documents, human rights complaints, testimony from torture victims, copies of checks, international bank transfers and diary entries from former political prisoners at the notorious Fort Dimanche prison. Yet while Jean ruled that Duvalier should be tried on financial corruption charges — for the hundreds of millions of dollars allegedly plundered from Haiti’s national coffers — he decided the statute of limitations on Duvalier’s crimes against humanity had expired. The U.K.-based Amnesty International spoke for most human rights groups worldwide when it called Jean’s dismissal of the torture and murder charges against […]

Cholera Fallout: Can Haitians Sue the U.N. for the Epidemic? (Times)

By: Susana Ferreira /Times A woman holds her sick child as he receives treatment for cholera at a Doctors Without Borders, MSF, cholera clinic in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Oct. 19, 2011. Ramon Espinosa / AP Cholera hit Laurent Jacnel on a Sunday night last June. He was at home, in a Port-au-Prince tent camp for Haitians displaced by the February 2010 catastrophic earthquake, with abdominal pain so severe he refused the dinner his wife cooked and went straight to bed. By 6 a.m. the next morning he was being rushed to the hospital with acute vomiting and diarrhea. Jacnel, 23, a mason, recovered after eight days of treatment, but he says, “I haven’t felt normal since. I became weak. There were heavy jobs I could do before, but now I’m not able to.” His wife, a street merchant, struggles to bring […]

Getting Haiti’s Earthquake Homeless to Move

By Jessica Desvarieux , Time Magazine April 13, 2010 Wrapped in a pearly white faux-satin sheet, Keylyne Zephir, 25, hauls the belongings of her two small children through the mud. Carefully trying not to dirty their Sunday best, she and her kids trek through the rain-drenched trails of a tent city that was once the Pétionville golf and country club. They are hurrying to catch a bus to Corail — and perhaps a better life than the one they have led since the earthquake. About 12 miles north of the capital Port-au-Prince, Corail is the first temporary settlement where aid agencies have set up shelters, water-distribution points, sanitation, a clinic and a primary school. The new camp is set up to shelter the homeless and protect them from the flash floods and mudslides that often afflict Haiti during the rainy […]

Haiti: A Visit from Two American Presidents

By Jessica Desvarieux, Time Magazine Haiti’s earthquake-shattered Presidential Palace seemed a fitting, if not historically poignant, backdrop for former U.S. Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton’s first joint visit to Haiti. Both men played pivotal roles in the Caribbean nation’s crumbling politics and economy. Clinton returned democratically elected Jean-Bertrand Aristide to power in 1994 after a military coup had ousted him; a decade later, the Bush Administration flew Aristide out of Haiti and into exile. (See pictures from Haiti’s devastating earthquake.) Still, homeless earthquake survivor Joanne St. Leger, 30, is happy to see both Clinton and Bush in Haiti and trusts they will help make a difference. “We wouldn’t find anything if it wasn’t for foreigners,” says St. Leger. “We’ve been here for three months outside this Presidential Palace, and [Haitian President René] Préval has never come to see […]

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