Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti

Land Exploitation and the Resistance to It in Haiti

As an impoverished nation so close to U.S. shores, Haiti is at particular risk of becoming a target for business and extraction interests that may not align with respect for Haitian rights, especially land rights. This article outlines the ways businesses may take advantage of Haitians, and what is being done to resist these efforts. It is part of a new series on land rights and food sovereignty in Haiti. Part of the article is below. Click HERE for the full text. “The Struggle for Land Justice Knows No Borders”: Corporate Pillaging in Haiti Natalie Miller, Other Worlds December 22, 2015 Since the earthquake of January, 2010, Haiti has increasingly become a target of extraction and private business development by Haitian and foreign investors. Income and trade – if the wages are livable and the trade is fair – would, of course, be helpful […]

Unsafe Situation for Human Rights Defenders in Haiti

In Haiti, those who stand up for the marginalized are often harassed and become victims themselves. This article features an interview with one such human rights defender, who has been threatened and harassed for his work on housing rights. In the interview, he chronicles many recent cases of human rights defenders being threatened, arrested, or even killed for their work. The more we speak out about these cases, the more we can prevent. Part of the article is below. Click HERE for the full text. The Attack on Human Rights Defenders in Haiti An Interview with Jackson Doliscar, Part II Beverly Bell, Other Worlds January 28, 2015 Community organizer and rights defender Jackson Doliscar speaks to efforts of the Haitian government to silence advocates of human rights and land and housing rights, (See part I of Doliscar’s interview.) The attacks are part of the […]

Land Disputes Cause Major Problems in Haiti

Land disputes in Haiti have not only economic, but also human rights implications. Due to factors starting during the colonial period, land ownership is unclear in much of Haiti. After the 2010 earthquake, this caused many problems for groups hoping to build developments for the displaced. Now, it’s causing problems for residents of Ile-a-Vache, whose land is being taken by the government in hopes of bringing tourists to the island off Haiti’s coast. Part of the article is below. Click HERE for the full text. Who Owns What in Haiti? Jacob Kushner, The New Yorker January 18, 2015 The island of La Tortue, off the northern coast of Haiti, has become best known as a place where Haitians facing hard times set sail for lot bo dlo—the other side of the water. When President Jean-Bertrand Aristide was first ousted, in 1991, […]

Haitian Government Vision for Development Excludes Haitians

While land disputes have long been a problem in Haiti, particularly when they hampered rebuilding efforts, they have become increasingly worse on the island of Ile-a-Vache. In hopes of drawing tourists to the country and improving its poor economy, the Haitian government has been destroying Ile-a-Vache residents’ livelihoods to make room for tourist attractions and an airport. The residents are angry and demand their rights but the current political crisis means that President Martelly may become the sole decider of those rights. Part of the article is below. Click HERE for the full text. Five years after the earthquake, Haiti remains on unsteady ground Jacob Kushner, Global Post January 12, 2015 ILE-A-VACHE, Haiti — One day in October, 81-year-old Mascary Mesura was working in his garden of corn and coconut trees when the mayor of this small island off the southern […]

Has Inequality Created Two Different Haitis Post-Quake?

Nearly five years after the catastrophic 2010 earthquake, there are many new buildings and construction projects in Haiti. On the other hand, tens of thousands are still living in internally displaced persons camps erected after the earthquake. The construction projects proclaim that “Haiti is moving forward” (Haiti ap vanse) but which part of Haiti will that be? Part of the article is below. Click HERE for the full text. Five years after the earthquake, reconstruction still a distant dream for many Haitians Nathalie Baptiste, Latin Correspondent December 18, 2014 When the 2010 earthquake struck the Port-au-Prince area, the international community rallied and raised billions of dollars for the reconstruction and development of Haiti. In the first few months after the earthquake, celebrities flew to Haiti on their private jets, major financial institutions pledged copious amounts of money and world leaders routinely pledged […]

Does a Better Haiti Start with Justice or Tourism?

This is a great story that sheds light on the incredible work (and life story) of BAI Managing Attorney Mario Joseph and makes clear why there is no way around justice for cholera victims. It not only portrays Mario’s struggle to bring justice Haitians but also contrasts it with the current Tourism Minister’s opposing view that attracting tourists will create a better future for Haiti. A Damned Paradise: Does Haiti Need Tourism? Or Does It Need Justice? Samiha Shafy, Der Spiegel July 18, 2014 Human rights attorney Mario Joseph and Tourism Minister Stéphanie Villedrouin are both trying to improve Haiti, but they are following radically different paths. The one wants justice, the other wants tourism. The attorney stares at a hut next to the grave. It’s made of wood and mud, and is covered with a plastic tarp. “I used to […]

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