Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti

Marking 20 Years Since the Raboteau Massacre Convictions

2 weeks 2 days ago
“Down with impunity” Twenty years ago today (on November 16, 2000), a Haitian court convicted 37 men for their roles in the 1994 Raboteau massacre – a violent attack by government forces on a civilian neighborhood associated with political opposition to the governing regime – in absentia. Yet, none of these men have served time pursuant to their sentences. None have contributed to the award issued by the court in favor of the Raboteau massacre victims who intervened as civil parties to the case.  Haitian law requires that any individuals convicted in absentia be arrested upon returning to Haiti and either accept the conviction issued against them or request and participate in renewed proceedings. In a positive step, the government has been detaining former death squad leader Emmanuel “Toto” Constant – the founder and head of a paramilitary group complicit […]
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Human Rights and Rule of Law in Haiti: Key Recent Developments

2 weeks 2 days ago
PDF Version Here Human Rights and Rule of Law in Haiti: March to October 2020 Introduction Widespread insecurity has gripped Haiti[i] since our February 2020 Human Rights and Rule of Law in Haiti update.[ii] Local human rights organizations investigating the rise in violence have documented the involvement of police officers and state officials in numerous attacks against marginalized communities and raised credible concerns that gang violence is being deployed as a tool of political repression.[iii] At minimum, the government has failed to control violence that affects some of Haiti’s most marginalized communities.[iv] In addition, there are numerous reported incidents of government violence against protesters and the press;[v] impunity for these and other human rights violations, due at least in part to the politicization of the judiciary, is pervasive.[vi] Such impunity leaves victims without recourse and is emboldening perpetrators.[vii] In spite […]
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IJDH/BAI Open Letter to the UN Victims’ Rights Advocate and Response

3 weeks 5 days ago
In May 2020, IJDH and BAI sent an open letter to UN Victims’ Rights Advocate (VRA), Jane Connors. Attorneys Mario Joseph and Sandra Wisner wrote, “As lawyers representing the mothers of children fathered and abandoned by UN peacekeepers, in Haitian court proceedings for child support, we write to express our concerns that almost three years after these cases were filed, the UN’s failure (a) to certify the non-applicability of functional immunity directly to Haitian courts pursuant to Article 52 of the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) and (b) to recognize that these cases involve legal rights, processes, and obligations, is impeding access to justice for our clients.” “We, therefore, call on the VRA in its mandate to secure access to remedies for victims of sexual exploitation and abuse to ensure that, in accordance with Article 52 of the SOFA, UN […]
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IJDH/BAI Submission to the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of Human Rights Defenders

4 weeks ago
IJDH and BAI made a submission (informal translation to French here, along with Attachment 1 and Attachment 2) to the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders in response to her call for input to a report on killings of human rights defenders. The submission highlights in particular an assassination attempt and death threat directed at BAI attorney Job Gene in connection with his work as a human rights defender. It further explains that Haiti’s human rights defenders are facing immense risks in the current environment in Haiti: there have been a number of documented killings and attacks directed at human rights defenders, the government has been violently suppressing peaceful protests, and has been implicated by local human rights organizations in violence directed against civilians. BAI’s managing attorney, Mario Joseph, has been repeatedly cautioned regarding his safety given his work on behalf of […]
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Now Hiring: Operations Manager

1 month 1 week ago
PDF Version Here Position Title: Operations Manager Date: October 20, 2020 Start Date: Immediate Location: Boston, MA or New York, NY Reports to: Executive Director About Us Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti (IJDH) is a U.S.-based human rights non-profit organization. Since 2004, IJDH has worked to advance recognition and accountability for human rights in Haiti. In partnership with our Haiti-based sister organization Bureau des Avocats Internationaux (BAI), IJDH advocates, litigates, builds constituencies, and nurtures networks to create systemic pathways to justice for marginalized communities. Our work combines traditional legal strategies with organizing, public advocacy, and legal training. Over the past 15 years, IJDH and BAI have advocated and litigated to advance the full realization of human rights in Haiti, including landmark cases for transnational justice and cholera accountability. Position Description IJDH seeks an experienced Operations Manager to: Oversee […]
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Senator Markey and Representative Wilson Urge the State Department to Support Free and Fair Elections in Haiti

1 month 2 weeks ago
Senator Markey and Rep. Wilson Lead Colleagues in Urging U.S. Support for Free and Fair Elections in Haiti PRESS RELEASE: Washington (October 15, 2020) – Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) and Representative Frederica S. Wilson (FL-24), along with 24 Senate and House colleagues, today wrote to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo urging the State Department to support free and fair elections in Haiti and to stop State Department officials from making public statements that appear to push for elections outside of Haiti’s constitutional process. Haitian President Jovenel Moïse has been ruling by decree since January of this year, when the terms of most members of Parliament expired without passage of an electoral law necessary for holding legislative elections. This summer, the nine members of the provisional electoral council resigned, citing the need for the government to engage in a real […]
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82 FL-Based Leaders’ October 13 Letter to VP Biden and Senator Harris on Ten Haitian American Community Policy Priorities

1 month 2 weeks ago
82 FL-Based Leaders’ October 13 Letter to VP Biden and Senator Harris on Ten Haitian American Community Policy Priorities October 13, 2020 The Honorable Joseph R. Biden                                                                                                                                          Democratic Candidate for President of the United States The Honorable Kamala D. Harris                                                                  […]
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Now Hiring: Development & Communications Coordinator

1 month 3 weeks ago
PDF Version Here Position Title: Development & Communications Coordinator Date: October 9, 2020 Start Date: Immediate Location: Boston, MA Reports to: Policy and Advocacy Advisor About Us Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti (IJDH) is a U.S.-based human rights non-profit organization. Since 2004, IJDH has worked to advance recognition and accountability for human rights in Haiti. In partnership with our Haiti-based sister organization Bureau des Avocats Internationaux (BAI), IJDH advocates, litigates, builds constituencies, and nurtures networks to create systemic pathways to justice for marginalized communities. Our work combines traditional legal strategies with organizing, public advocacy, and legal training. Over the past 15 years, IJDH and BAI have advocated and litigated to advance the full realization of human rights in Haiti, including landmark cases for transnational justice and cholera accountability. Position Overview Reporting to the Policy and Advocacy Advisor, the […]
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Haiti Could Face a ‘Perfect Storm’ with the Pandemic

3 months 2 weeks ago
Originally published in Pass Blue and authored by Fiona Shukri, featuring an interview with IJDH’s Sandra Wisner. Introduction As Covid-19 continues to ravage many parts of the world, the effect of the virus in Latin America and the Caribbean region has been particularly devastating. The situation in Haiti, for example, has alarmed international humanitarian groups, as the country lacks sufficient virus-testing ability and has limited health-care infrastructure, among other serious problems. Read the full article here. See also: Haitian mental health needs rise yet again with COVID-19 trauma
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Journalist Setoute Yvens survives shooting attempt, another reporter receives death threats in Haiti

3 months 2 weeks ago
Originally published by the Committee to Protect Journalists. Miami, August 4, 2020 — Haitian authorities should swiftly and thoroughly investigate the shooting attack on journalist Setoute Yvens and the death threats to journalist Pradel Alexandre and identify and prosecute those involved, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. On July 28 around 8:45 p.m. in the Drouillard neighborhood of the Cité-Soleil commune in Port-au-Prince, Yvens, a journalist and camera operator for Radio Télé Mégastar, was returning home from work on a motorcycle when two armed men forced him to pull over, according to news reports and Jacques Desrosiers, secretary general of the Association of Haitian Journalists (AHJ), who spoke with CPJ via messaging app. The two men accused Yvens of having published information about them in his reporting on criminal acts in the area, according to the same sources, which did not provide additional details. Yvens was able […]
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Cholera remains a public health threat in Haiti

3 months 2 weeks ago
Originally published in The Lancet and authored by Jeannot Francis. Because of the significant decrease in the incidence of cholera in Haiti in recent years, there has been a tendency among public health agencies to lower guards and become increasingly complacent about prevention measures. In April, 2019, during an evaluation meeting with technical and financial partners in cholera control, officials at the Ministry of Health in Haiti celebrated the low number of reported cases and fatalities as a victory. However, cholera is still a major public health problem in the country: there are an increasing number of unreported cases due to a poor surveillance system, and there is a risk of disease resurgence. In a modelling study in The Lancet Global Health, Elizabeth Lee and colleagues estimate the health impacts of various cholera vaccination campaign scenarios in Haiti using simulations from […]
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Bachelet: Haiti ‘death squad leader’ must be served justice

3 months 2 weeks ago
Originally published by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. GENEVA (29 July 2020) – The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet said today that former Haitian paramilitary leader Emmanuel “Toto” Constant, who was deported from the United States last month, must be held accountable for the horrendous human rights violations committed during 1990s. In a landmark judgment for justice in Haiti, Constant was convicted in absentia on 16 November 2000 and sentenced to life imprisonment over his involvement in the 1994 Raboteau massacre when military and paramilitary forces attacked the neighbourhood of Raboteau in Gonaïves. The victims were between 10 and 80 years old. The total number of victims remains unknown as bodies were thrown into open sewers. Constant, who fled to the United States in 1994 after President Aristide’s return to power, was deported […]
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BAI and RNDDH joint letter to prosecutor of the Gonaives Tribunal of First Instance concerning the Raboteau Massacre Trial case file

3 months 2 weeks ago
FR Original: LETTRE OUVERTE AU COMMISSAIRE DU GOUVERNEMENT PRES LE TRIBUNAL DE PREMIERE INSTACE DES GONAIVES, Mag Sérard GASIUS, CONCERNANT LE DOSSIER DU PROCES DU MASSACRE DE RABOTEAU EN Translation: OPEN LETTER TO THE PROSECUTOR OF THE GONAIVES TRIBUNAL OF FIRST INSTANCE, Mag Sérard GASIUS, CONCERNING THE RABOTEAU MASSACRE TRIAL CASE FILE
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How ICE helped spread coronavirus

3 months 2 weeks ago
Originally published in the New York Times, by Barbara Marcolini, Emily Kassie, Dmitriy Khavin, and Drew Jordan.  The New York Times, in collaboration with The Marshall Project, investigated how Immigration and Customs Enforcement became a domestic and global spreader of the virus. Watch the full video here.  
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Exclusive: Hundreds of rights leaders demand U.S. end Haiti deportations

3 months 2 weeks ago
Originally published in Newsweek and authored by Chantal Da Silva Introduction Hundreds of human rights and racial justice leaders have signed a letter to the Trump administration demanding that the U.S. immediately halt deportations of Haitians amid the coronavirus pandemic. Signed by more than 300 human rights and racial justice leaders, including Black Live Matter co-founder Opal Tometi, Reverend Jesse Jackson, author Ibram X. Kendi and celebrity activists Danny Glover, Rainn Wilson and Susan Sarandon, the letter warns that the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency’s deportation flights risk wreaking havoc on Haiti’s healthcare system. “Deportations export COVID-19 throughout the region and put countless lives at risk,” states the letter, which was sent on Friday to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Department of Homeland Security Acting Secretary Chad Wolf and U.S. Ambassador to Haiti Michele Sison. Read the full article here. […]
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