Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti

Monthly Review: February 2011

Help Us Bring Baby Doc to Justice!

Your Monthly Update: February 1, 2011

Dear Friend,The return of Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier to Haiti provides a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for justice. But we need your help to make sure that Duvalier’s victims obtain the day in court they deserve.Jean-Claude Duvalier was one of the last century’s most notorious despots. For fifteen years, from 1971-1986, he terrorized Haiti. His army and the dreaded Tonton Macoutes death squad systematically beat, imprisoned, tortured and killed Duvalier’s political opponents and anyone who challenged his thugs’ authority. He looted hundreds of millions of dollars while the Haitian people starved.The Haitian justice system is trying hard to prosecute Duvalier, but it needs help. The Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti (IJDH) and our Haitian partner, the Bureau des Avocats Internationaux (BAI) will provide this help. 

We know how to do these cases. For fifteen years BAI and IJDH have represented victims of large scale human rights violations in Haitian courts. Our most successful case, the Raboteau Massacre case, used the command responsibility principles that apply to Jean-Claude Duvalier to convict the top leaders of the 1991-1994 de facto dictatorship. We obtained the deportation of a Major-General, still the highest ranked officer ever deported from the U.S. on human rights grounds, and over $400,000 in compensation for the victims.


We know this case. Ira Kurzban, IJDH’s Board Chair, won a $500 million verdict against Duvalier from a U.S. Court in 1988, and BAI and IJDH lawyers have worked on cases against Duvalier over the past 15 years.


But we need your help! We have been working hard, and successfully, on our gender-based violenceIDP camp evictionsimmigration advocacyelection rights, and prisons projects. In order to maintain this vital work while we take on Jean-Claude Duvalier, we need to expand our legal staff.


We are already working. The day after Jean-Claude Duvalier returned to Haiti, the BAI’s Mario Joseph promised that the office would file complaints on behalf of any Duvalier victims who needed our help. Mario did this knowing it would stretch our capacity, but trusting that our supporters would help us meet the challenge.


Please help us ensure justice for victims of Jean-Claude Duvalier’s terror. Donate today to keep BAI and IJDH on the front lines!


Donate Now to Bring

Baby Doc to Justice


Duvalier in the News


IJDH-BAI press release landed our voice on CNN, CBC, Washington Post, Miami Herald, Al Jazeera, IPS, Christian Science Monitor, Seattle Post-Inteligencer, Prensa Latina, CTV, Havana Times, and more.


Help Us Get to $30,000!!


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IJDH Board

– Brian Concannon Jr., Esq.

– Paul Farmer, MD, PhD

– Laura Flynn, MFA

– Ira Kurzban, Esq.

– Bryan Stevenson, Esq.

– Irwin Stotzky, Esq.

Staff and Office Update


strong Boston office translates into direct benefits for our poor clients in Haiti. We will move out of Still Harbor’s conference room to an office of our own by early next month.


IJDH Boston staff and volunteers hard at work.


The future IJDH Boston office.


IJDH and BAI lead the fight against Haiti’s fraudulent November 28 elections and international support for them.
IJDH-BAI staff continue to provide legal analysis of Haiti’s November 28 elections to international media, including appearances on CBC Radio, Radio Canada International, and Al Jazeera TV. We also published several op-ed articles, including Hold new, open, fair elections in the Miami Herald Tribune; Haiti must have fair, democratic new elections — and the ravaged nation can’t wait in the New York Daily News; and US will pay for Haitian fraud vote in the Boston Globe. Along with the Center for Constitutional Rights, IJDH obtained over 3,100 signatures to a petition to State Department Chief of Staff Cheryl Mills to demand that the U.S. Listen to the Haitian People and Support New Elections.

Women’s Rights
IACHR granted IJDH-BAI petition for precautionary measures to protect women and girls against gender-based violence.
The RAPP project continues to advance protection for women at risk of rape. Our petition for precautionary measures to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights filed along with key partner MADRE on behalf of women and girls living in 22 Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps was granted on December 22, 2010. The Commission directed the Haitian Government to provide security and lighting in IDP camps, provide emergency medical services to rape victims, and train additional law enforcement officers and prosecutors in gender-based violence, among other recommendations. On January 12, 2011, we issued, “Our Bodies Are Still Trembling”: Haitian Women Continue to Fight Against Rape, a report documenting the ineffective response of the government of Haiti and the international community to gender-based violence against Haitian women and girls living in the sprawling network of IDP blanketing Haiti’s capital, Port-au-Prince that continues one year after the earthquake.

Universal Periodic Review
UN Human Rights Council will assess how well Haiti upholds human rights.
Haiti is scheduled to undergo Universal Periodic Review in October 2011. The UN Human Rights Council will assess Haiti’s compliance with its human rights law obligations. IJDH-BAI is helping coordinate Haitian grassroots groups to participate in the process and submit shadow reports on various human rights issues, including gender-based violence, housing, education, prison conditions, and fair elections. In collaboration with the US Human Rights Network, the BAI hosted a training for 60 grassroots leaders on how they can make their voices heard in the UPR process.

Housing Rights
IJDH-BAI and its partners analyzed IDP camp conditions and published results as the one-year anniversary of the earthquake passes.
Along with partner Lamp for Haiti, IJDH/BAI completed its third survey in an analysis of conditions in Haiti’s IDP camps, focusing on access to clean water, food, and medical care — elements that are essential to the prevention and treatment of cholera. The resulting report, One year after the earthquake: Haitians still living in crisis, was released in January. We provided commentary on aid accountability and housing rights around the January 12 anniversary by publishing One Year after the Quake: A Million Homeless and Displaced in Counterpunch, by issuing a press release calling attention to forced evictions and through appearances on FranceTV, CTV News, Al Jazeera TV, KPFA Radio, and PRI Radio. Cholera Accountability: BAI has been investigating and documenting the impact of the cholera outbreak in prisons in the Artibonite Region, and are seeking accountability for the conditions that have resulted in unacceptable and preventable human rights violations in the prisons.

IJDH Decries Double Standard Excluding Haitians and Renewed Deportations Which Have Already Claimed One Death Apparently from Cholera.

IJDH wrote a strong editorial in the Sun Sentinel, urging President Obama to allow thousands of Department of Homeland Security (DHS) approved Haitians wait in the United States for green cards, just like approved Cubans may do in a recently-renewed program. IJDH coordinated with Haitian-Americans who pushed this at a January 6th White House meeting and are spurring relevant grassroots efforts in Boston, New York, and Miami.  IJDH decried planned US deportations of “criminal” Haitians because it risks their death from cholera in unhygienic police station holding cells. Previously-healthy, Wildrick Guerrier, after he was detained and deported to Haiti on January 20th along with 26 others, died, apparently from cholera. IJDH continues documenting and leading the outcry to stop the deportations.

For more information about the Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti (IJDH), the Bureau des Avocats Internationaux (BAI) or human rights in Haiti, see our website, To receive Half-Hour for Haiti Action Alerts (monthly),subscribe here. To keep us fighting on the front lines for justice in Haiti, donate here

IJDH is an approved 501(c)(3) charitable organization and all donations are tax deductible to the full extent of the law.666 Dorchester Avenue | South Boston, MA 02127 | (617) 652-0876 | |  

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Institute for Justice & Democracy In Haiti
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Boston, MA 02116

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