Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti

Quarterly Newsletter: Spring 2010


IJDH Quarterly Newsletter

March 2010

Responding to Haiti’s Devastation:

Advocating for the Human Rights of Earthquake Victims


Keeping Our Supporters Informed

Welcome to IJDH’s first quarterly newsletter!


Several of our supporters and collaborators expressed a desire to hear from us more frequently. We hope that these newsletters, and other communication improvements, will allow you to better connect with our work and find information about human rights in Haiti. Check out our new website and, if you haven’t done so already, sign up for our mailing list to receive our Half-Hour for Haiti Action Alerts and other correspondence. As always, we welcome your comments and suggestions.

Updates from Haiti

Advocating on Behalf of Earthquake Victims

The BAI’s network of grassroots organizations has permitted us to play a productive role in disaster response to the earthquake.

The BAI has helped connect medical providers with equipment, supplies and facilities, and distributed assistance directly to victims. The BAI’s Mario Joseph trained grassroots women leaders to conduct a census of over 4,000 earthquake victims to facilitate BAI’s aid distribution and provide data to international organizations. The office also hosted a medical team from New York, which used the BAI office as a clinic and living quarters, and is currently hosting a legal/medical team from San Francisco, which is using the office to assist earthquake victims fill out applications for temporary entry into the U.S. to join their families or obtain necessary medical care. BAI lawyers have advocated on behalf of voudou practitioners persecuted in the aftermath of the disaster.

We will continue to look for concrete ways to enforce the basic rights of earthquake victims and, more importantly, to empower communities to advocate for themselves.

Lawyers’ Earthquake Response Network

Calling for a Human Rights Based Approach

On January 17, 2010, IJDH and BAI launched the Lawyers’ Earthquake Response Network (LERN) – now coordinating over 320 lawyers, law professors and law students – to implement a legal response to the earthquake in Haiti. LERN employs a human rights-based approach to advocate for the victims of the earthquake and reduce Haiti’s vulnerability to future natural, political and economic stresses.

LERN lawyers are busy preparing to testify before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) in Washington, DC on March 23 outlining donor states’ human rights obligations when providing assistance to Haiti. Click here to read more about this and other projects including advocating for the rights of internally displaced people and urging for more generous humanitarian parole in the U.S.

Program Updates

Despite Setbacks Our Work Moves Forward

Health & Human Rights in Prisons Project (HHRPP)

Decreased prison capacity in the capital coupled with the court system’s current inability to process detainees’ cases, will force prisoners into the already overcrowded remaining prisons, including the HHRPP prisons in Hinche, St. Marc and Mirebalais. It will therefore be more important than ever for HHRPP to provide medical services in the prisons and reduce the prison population through effective legal representation and public advocacy.

Although project participants are currently conducting less work on HHRPP, all are committed to keeping this project moving. Since the earthquake, BAI Attorney Ouvens Jean Louis has assisted several unjustly held prisoners obtain release in Hinche and return to their families, which have undoubtedly grown as a result of the urban exodus after the earthquake.

Read more about the HHRPP here.

Human Right to Education Project (HREP)
With all of the schools in Port-au-Prince still closed due to earthquake damage, tens of thousands of children are left without access to education, not including the 50 percent of Haitian children excluded from the system before the catastrophe. The Palais de Justice, which housed the trial and appellate courts in the capital, was completely destroyed delaying the filing of our complaint on behalf of these children. As Haiti develops its plan for rebuilding, we will work to ensure that the right to education, especially for the internally displaced, is respected.

You can follow the HREP here.

Haiti Asylum Information Project (HAIP)

IJDH’s new website, launched last month, will allow us to continue to update and expand our web-based resources for asylum applicants and their advocates. Since the earthquake, we have worked with law students from UC Hastings and Georgetown to update our Haiti Asylum Law Spreadsheet and Country Conditions Information pages.

Find resources and conduct research here.

Staff Update

Expansions Increase Our Effectiveness

We are excited to welcome the newest member of our staff, Communications Associate Lily Friedman. Thanks to our generous supporters, we have been able to increase our staff in Haiti and the U.S., which has already shown dividends. We are also thrilled to welcome Legal Intern Sarah Dougherty who will be with us full-time until May.

Thank You to Our Supporters

Your Generosity Keeps Us Fighting for Justice

We would like extend a special thank you to all of our supporters andvolunteers. Your generosity has allowed us to expand our staff in Haiti and the US increasing our effectiveness, provide direct assistance and supplies to earthquake victims easing suffering, support fact-finding delegations investigating human rights violations to support international advocacy, and upgrade our website improving our communication. Simply put, our work would not be possible without you.

*IJDH Volunteers 2010

Dawn Aberg
Audrey Bethel
Adriana Camarena
Samantha Diamond
Cheryl Edson
Alex Goodell
Kara Grant
Stephanie Haas
Colleen McLaughlin
Max Monclair
Regine Monde
Laura Raymond
Ian Umeda
Nancy Young

Everyone who has joined the Lawyers’ Earthquake Response Network – too many to name here!

*IJDH Donors (December 2009 – March 2010)
Alexander and Margaret Albertine
Tjeerd Andringa
Katie B. Annand
Michael Avery
Nathaniel Barksdale
Daniel Barron
Donna Barry
James Barry
Elizabeth Baskerville
S. Sidney and Jessica Walker Beaumont
Ruth E. Beeton
Thomas and Emily Benner
Ann Benson
Royal Berg
Richard and Cathleen Bernard
Karen Bischoff
Fraser Blakely
Gloria Bletter
Alan and Doris Blum
Conor K. Bohan
Rick Bombaci
Jordan Bookey and Felix Brandon Lloyd
Paula Bronstein
Ann E. Browder
Edgar Cahn
Veronica Lizeth Canton
Lisa Carvalho
William Cavanaugh
Sarah L Cave
Susan Kaplan and Leonard Cavise
Margaret Charles
Catherine Clare and Howard Fifer
G.M. Clerihew
Peter Graham Cohn
Lillian Sandra Coliver
Marie de Paul Combo
Hope and John Comerford
Rose Anne Concannon
Herb and Sharon Cooper
Benjamin D’Harlingue
Ophelia Dahl
Stanlynn Daugherty
Joan Dayan
Suzanne J. Decopain
Elizabeth F. Defeis
Brandon DeHart
Raymond and Lynn DeSutter
Diana Cumming
Jeron Donalds
Matthew Donlan
Anthony Draye
Barbara Dudley
Moira Duvernay
John Egan and Martha Lewin
Chris Ellis
M. Gloria Espinoza
Louis Facchino
Jean Falbo
Leslie Fleming
Laura Flynn
Russell and Lee Flynn
Doug Ford
Mary B. Fort
George Friemoth and Dale Sorenson
Neil R. Froemming and Sara Satterthwaite
David Furbush
Chris and Christina Dulin Geyer
Tom Glaisyer
Steven Goldberg and Linda Boise
Thomas Griffin
Lucas Guttentag and Deborah Smith
Sky Hall
Peter Hallward
Claire A. Hass
Terence N. Hawley
Louis and Marguerite Hiken
Ginger Holman
Briana Holmes
Philip and Audrey Huffman
John J. and Maureen Hurley
Philip Hwang
Pramila Jayapal
Ollie Jefferson
James O. Kelly
Kevin B. Kelly and Rosanne Lufrano
Nancy Kelly
Dan Kesselbrenner
Frederick Kessler
Ed Kinane and Ann A. Tiffany
Barbara Kohnen and Jim Adriance
William J. and Deborah Kopacz
Joanne Koslofsky
Ira J. Kurzban
Serge Lafontant and Julie Hoover
Therese Lambert
Marilyn Langlois
Christopher Larson
Ruth Larson
Gloria Lastres
Karen L. Leach
Thomas R. and Linda W. Lebach
Michael Levy
Donald Libbey and Sara Flynn
Amy Lifson-Leu
Richard and Rita Lipsitz
Karen Elliott Lovekamp
Jean Lovely
Nick and Angie Lunde
Allison MacQueen
Jesse Marsden
James C. Martin
Stewart Mathison
Eugene G. McCarthy
Paul E. McCarthy and Lien McCarthy
Anthony McElfresh
Colleen McLaughlin
John Morgan
Karen Musalo
Jocelyn Nassar
Ann Nathan
Peter J. and Solveig I. Nilsen-Goodin
John O’Brien
Lucy Oh
Roberval Oliveira and Elizabeth Chace
Brian L. and Elizabeth H. Oliver
Thomas Palmer and Ellen Lebowitz
Pamela Merchant and Kirby Sack
Jocelyne Papacharalanbous
Glenda J. and Stuart F. Pawsey
Sidney and Louise Peck
E Barbara Phillips
Nicole Phillips
Shirley Quement
Fran Quigley
Paul and Theresa Raymond
Christopher J. and Judith C. Reilly
Regan P. Remillard
Jason Ricci
Anne Richter
Mark and Michelle Riley
Jim and Liz Robinson
Jonathan Rombach
Margaret Rosenthal
Elizabeth Ross
Robert Rubin
Margaret Satterthwaite
Camilla Schneider
Mark Schultz
Brad Seligman and Sara T. Campos
Kevin Shambrook
Duane F. Sigelko
Mary M. Siska Canizzaro
Joshua N. Sondheimer
Carolyn Sonfield
Lauren Spahn
Elissa Steglich
Bradford A. and Anne C. Stephens
Peter Stoel
Roger Stoll
Muriel Strand
Robert and Carol Strazer
Shirley and Harold Strom
Ann Sutherland
Maura Tobias
Stacy Tolchin
Maria M. Truskier
Richard and Elizabeth K. Vanden Heuvel
Victoria Wake
Dodi Walker Gross
Judy Wandschneider
Sonja S. Weissman
Monna L. Wejrowski
Nicholas M. Wellington
Karen White
Shannan Wilber
Martha J. Willi
Fred Williams
Greg Wolfe
Rosanna Wong
Susan Zeiger

A student, with the Haitian Education and Leadership Program, surveys a family living in a tent encampment in Port-au-Prince as part of a longitudinal study coordinated by the Lawyers’ Earthquake Response Network (LERN) that tracks aid distribution.
Mario Joseph conducts a training with grassroots groups at the BAI in survey administration to conduct a needs assessment and then use the data to advocate for assistance.

Doctor with NY Medics treats earthquake victim in BAI courtyard.

Take Action

You Can Make a Difference

Consider making a donation to IJDH.We will work to make sure your generosity is turned into tangilbe justice for Haiti’s poor, the hardest hit victims of the recent earthquake. Read what they’re saying about us on Philanthropedia.

Sign up for our Half Hour for Haiti Action Alerts and spend 30 minutes a month writing to your representative, signing meaningful petitions or reading a thought provoking article.

Volunteer on a project: Forward this to a friend, post about our work on social networking sites, attend or even host an event, learn more about our work byclicking here!

Upcoming Events

IJDH and BAI Come to a City Near You, Will You Join us?

San Francisco, CA

Washington, DC

Brooklyn, NY
Middlebury, VT

*See our website here for additional details as they become available.

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 (about 1-2 per month), subscribe here. To keep us fighting on the front lines for justice in Haiti, donatehere.

Contact IJDH

Institute for Justice & Democracy In Haiti
867 Boylston Street, 5th Floor
Boston, MA 02116

Telephone: (857)-201-0991
General Inquiries:
Media Inquiries: