Haiti’s Universal Periodic Review

The Universal Periodic Review (UPR) is a unique process which involves a periodic review of the human rights records of all UN Member States.  It provides an opportunity for States to declare what actions they have taken to improve the human rights situations in their countries and to overcome challenges to the enjoyment of human rights.

Hait’s most recent periodic review occurred in 2011. The National Report document the prominent legal framework in Haiti and their application. A right to food, freedom of expression and further human rights concerns are reviewed.

Below is an excerpt:

Corruption 69. The use of public office for personal gain has existed on a worrying scale in Haiti for several years and has contributed significantly to the lack of respect for the rights of Haitians as a result of the misappropriation of certain resources. Aware of this situation, the Haitian authorities reacted by establishing, in 2004, an anti-corruption unit and by ratifying the United Nations and Inter-American conventions against corruption. This led to the arrest and indictment of two directors-general of autonomous public institutions in 2008 and 2011. H. The housing problem 70. The question of housing, already a serious problem, particularly in large towns, has loomed larger since the earthquake of 12 January 2010. Political instability, lack of urban planning and rural exodus have led to an increasing proliferation of shanty towns in the capital and main provincial cities. Established in the 1980s, the Public Enterprise for the Promotion of Social Housing (EPPLS) has built low-rent housing blocks in several communes, but in insufficient quantity because of its limited resources.

The housing problem 70. The question of housing, already a serious problem, particularly in large towns, has loomed larger since the earthquake of 12 January 2010. Political instability, lack of urban planning and rural exodus have led to an increasing proliferation of shanty towns in the capital and main provincial cities. Established in the 1980s, the Public Enterprise for the Promotion of Social Housing (EPPLS) has built low-rent housing blocks in several communes, but in insufficient quantity because of its limited resources.


Read about the Transnational Legal Clinic who took responsibility for drafting a report on labor rights to be used in Haiti’s UPR:


Haiti, an “Island Luminous”

Black History month has passed but there is no time like the present to learn about the first black independent country through a successful revolution, Haiti.

Since 2004, the Digital Library of the Caribbean (DLOC) has worked with archives and libraries in Haiti to scan and preserve rare books and manuscripts.

DLOC is the creator of “An Island Luminous,” a site to help readers learn about Haiti’s history available to explore in English, French, and Kreyol. Created by historian Adam M. Silvia and hosted online by Digital Library of the Caribbean, An Island Luminous combines rare books, manuscripts, and photos scanned by archives and libraries in Haiti and the United States with commentary by over one hundred (100) authors from universities around the world.

Work on An Island Luminous started in 2009. Initially titled “Endepandan Ankò,” the site only covered the years 1934 to 1946. In 2010, the site expanded to include all of Haiti’s history.  It also took its new name, “An Island Luminous,” from a poem, “Calme,” by Haitian intellectual Jacques Roumain. Since 2010, we have invited over 100 authors to write commentary on various historical texts and photos.

You can start the tour of Haitian history at http://islandluminous.fiu.edu/learn.html. which will walk you through an engaging series of photos and corresponding facts as pictured below. It is a short tour but packed with great information for beginners and experts alike.

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Visit http://islandluminous.fiu.edu/ to learn more. Information taken from the “About” section of the site.

A Step Forward: Technology Resurgence in Haiti

Haiti may be an untapped into tech haven. For example, Maarten Boute, Chairman of Digicel (a large telecom provider in the Caribbean) has tried to help make Haiti a more tech-friendly country. This is in part, in response to the fallacy that Haiti has low internet connectivity and a no sizable English-speaking population. Digicel however, has invested in increasing internet connectivity by building fiber networks that would allow for better connectivity in major cities. This push may bring about a “call center surge” in Haiti, particularly in Port-Au-Prince, where many able bodies await work.

Internally, tech startups are also becoming increasingly important in Haiti. Chairman Maarten founded two tech startups, Surtab and Re-Volt. Both these startups have social justice oriented goals. For example, Surtab aims to better the educational system in Haiti by making the classroom experience mobile, while Re-Volt is aimed at providing affordable electricity to the Haitian people.

Clearly, programs demonstrate steps forward, as opposed to backward, in Haiti’s continuing efforts to rebuild and stabilize.

Read the full story here.




Magdala is a second-year law student at the University of Illinois College of Law. She is the first generation of her family to be born in the United States!

Tackling the Climate Crisis

Children in Haiti hold up signs urging the international community to take action on climate change.

Pictured: Children in Haiti hold up signs urging the international community to take action on climate change.

Formally released in September of 2014 at the United Nations Climate Summit, Tackling the Challenge of Climate Change: A Near-Term Actionable Mitigation Agenda was commissioned by the Republic of Nauru, Chair of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) and written by 30 leading climate and energy experts from around the world.


“. . .the path to the global low-carbon transformation needed to tackle the climate crisis is within reach, but requiresdecisive political action from leaders around the world, now. This paper is unabashedly prescriptive on the need for action, but recognizes that there are multiple approaches and models from around the world that can be scaled up and adapted to national circumstances. Cost-effective technologies for a low-carbon economy are being implemented throughout the world, but at nowhere the scale and speed necessary. Emissions continue to rise. With every year of delay, human suffering, biodiversity loss, and the costs of mitigation and adaptation increase. We are running out of time.”


PHOTO COURTESY OF 350.ORG for EarthJustice.org.

In a career shift?

The National Alliance for the Advancement of Haitian Professionals released a very helpful article titled “7 Habits of Highly Ineffective Job Seekers.” Click here to access it. Hope this makes your job search a little easier. Good luck!




Author- Valerie 

Valerie is a second-year law student at Brooklyn Law School with a concentration in Business law and was raised in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. We look forward to her first post!

Read more about Valerie on our members page

Valerie on LinkedIn

Registration now open for national movement conference on overturning mass incarceration

At a time when 100 million Americans are trying to move on from their criminal records, hundreds (and possibly thousands) of people will gather in Oakland, California to address their common struggle with an oppressive criminal justice system. The Formerly Incarcerated, Convicted People and Families Movement (FICPFM) is made up of the directly impacted families and communities confronting a system of control; a system that has, itself, grown out of control. This two-day conference (Sept. 9-10) is the latest of many historical markers in the Civil Rights movement and represents the courageous individual and collective journeys among every organizer and participant.

Source: Registration now open for national movement conference on overturning mass incarceration



The Flanbwayan tree is  a beautiful tree that grows throughout the island of Haiti. It stands out with its fiery red flowers, for us it is a symbol of strength, patience, and growth.

Flanbwayan Haitian Literacy Project (Flanbwayan) founded in 2005 is a youth membership-based organization serving newcomer and young adult Haitian immigrant students in New York City who are English Language Learners (ELLs) between the ages of 14 to 21. Flanbwayan provides a safety net for Haitian youth who may possibly fall through the cracks of an overwhelming high school placement process as they enter the New York area, providing much-needed services, including individual education assessments and appropriate school placements. In this project student members have found themselves in a safe space where they discussed issues, share experiences, express their views on education issues, develop outreach efforts to their peers and raise awareness on the need for education reform.

Flanbwayan’s multi-level approach to education, advocacy, organizing and cultural activities provides rigorous learning experiences where students acquire critical thinking, analytical and leadership skills that deepen community ties and cultural understanding. Flanbwayan assumes in order for newcomer immigrant youth to grow and develop they need to have a safe space, equal access to resources and opportunities.

Visit Flanbwyan.org for their scholarship listings.

Please share this link with others!




What are the legal ramifications for having no home country? and I don’t mean this in the mystifying way exhibited in Games of Thrones character, Arya Stark.

“More than 40,000 people – including several hundred unaccompanied children — have been deported from the Dominican Republic to Haiti between August 2015 and May 2016, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and Haitian civil society organizations.”


These deportations have left these persons stateless.

A stateless person is someone who, under national laws, does not enjoy citizenship – the legal bond between a government and an individual – in any country. While some people are de jure or legally stateless persons (meaning they are not recognized as citizens under the laws of any state), many people are de facto or effectively stateless persons (meaning they are not recognized as citizens by any state even if they have a claim to citizenship under the laws of one of more states.)


International legal instruments related to statelessness include:

• 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 15


• 1954 Convention Relating to the Status of Stateless Persons

• 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness

• 1966 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Article 24

• 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child, Article 7

• 1997 European Convention on Nationality


The 1954 Convention entered into force on June 6, 1960 provides the definition of a “stateless person” and is the foundation of the international legal framework to address statelessness.

The 1961 Convention is the leading international instrument that sets rules for the conferral and non-withdrawal of citizenship to prevent statelessness.

The Dominican Republic is not a signatory to this treatise and neither is Haiti.

The Documentary: STATELESS IN THE DOMINICAN REPUBLICtells the stories of statelessness in the Dominican Republic and issues along the border of Haiti and the Dominican Republic.

Haiti Elections

Would you like to stay up to date on the elections? Haiti Election Blog has a list of the approved presidential candidates and other resourceful links in their Legal section.

Below is an excerpt from their June 20th article:

The end of interim President Jocelerme Privert’s 120-day term came and went on June 14 without any decision by Haiti’s parliament, leaving confusion in its wake. The disputes over extending Privert’s mandate spilled out into the streets, with some of his opponents hinting at the possibility of his removal by force. The international powers expressed their dismay at the political uncertainty created by this situation. The verification commission’s (CIEVE) report, meanwhile, continued to make waves. The EU withdrew its observers in protest of the decision to rerun the presidential race, while the U.S. also expressed its “regret” over this decision. Another big question for the upcoming elections is where the financing will come from, given the disquiet of the international donors.”



The Haiti Elections Blog is a collaboration of the Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti, the Center for Economic and Policy Research, 1804 Institute, Haiti Support Group, the National Lawyers Guild International Committee, and International Association of Democratic Lawyers. The blog is an indispensable resource for journalists, policy-makers, aid workers and other “Haiti watchers,” providing the latest news, analysis and information on the elections in Haiti and promoting free access to information and accountability with the electoral process. Over the next several months, Haitians are scheduled to vote on virtually every public office in the country; including the President, 119 deputies, 20 senators, and over 5,000 municipal agents.

International Marine Conservation Congress

The International Marine Conservation Congress is the most important international meetings for marine conservation.

Samantha Oester, Society for Conservation BiologyMarine Section president-elect, has studied marine animals and conservation around the globe, as well as freshwater ecology and aquatic microbiology in remote locations. She has also worked in Haiti as a medical volunteer, including after the 2010 earthquake. She has become passionate about helping to reduce poverty and improve public health while also ameliorating habitat for endangered and endemic coastal and marine species.

Research is still in its infancy in Haiti, especially in the Cap-Haïtien region, and Oester’s pilot project is collecting data in the Cap-Haïtien watershed, including marine, freshwater, mangrove and inland riverine wetland data, which will be discussed in her ICCB ECCB 2015 presentation. Working with the Fondation pour la Protection de la Biodiversité Marine, Haiti’s only marine conservation non-governmental organization, Oester’s research will start a large, long-term research and monitoring project in the region to improve life for all in Cap-Haïtien Bay.

Follow Oester on Twitter: @samoester


Read more . . .