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:

https://www.law.upenn.edu/live/news/1943-transnational-legal-clinic-in-haiti-documenting#.WL2TqxIrK8U

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.

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.

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

Scholarships

 

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!

NoName

 

 

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.”

 

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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

http://www.dw.com/en/how-poverty-exacerbates-haitis-environmental-problems/av-18502534

Read more . . .

Pollution in Haiti

 

Poverty is exacerbating Haiti’s environment.

Many Haitians rely on the use of organic matter such as wood, manure and food waste for fuel. These materials are burned indoors and produce a large amount of smoke, which results in indoor air pollution. The smoke often contains harmful compounds such as carbon monoxide and certain carcinogens.

Worldwide, indoor air pollution kills 1.5 million people annually, and it has shortened the average life expectancy of Haitians by approximately six years. Even when fires are outdoors, the close and cramped living conditions in Haiti allow smoke to quickly contaminate large areas.

Women and children are at high risk for smoke-related illness because they spend a significant portion of the day cooking and maintaining smoke-filled residences. They often have not been properly informed of the dangers that constant smoke brings to the home.

There are organizations fighting for Haiti’s environment.

In a country plagued by extreme poverty and political instability, Jean Wiener led community efforts to establish the nation’s first Marine Protected Areas by empowering Haitians to see the long-term value in sustainably managing fisheries and mangrove forests.

Wiener’s parents had plans for him to become a doctor and sent him to pursue a medical education in the United States. During his studies, he reconnected with his childhood love for the ocean and ended up with a degree in marine biology instead.

He returned to Haiti in 1989 and began working in the science department at a local school. While Wiener had seen signs of the damaged marine wildlife during his visits home, he now fully realized the serious extent of the toll the ecosystem had taken from unchecked exploitation. He frequently heard stories from local fishermen of how much harder it was to find fish. “We used to be able to fish for a half day and feed our family for two weeks,” they said. “Now we fish for two weeks and feed our family for a half day.”

Determined to restore the marine wildlife of his childhood and bring sustainable economic opportunities for the people of Haiti, Wiener started the Foundation for the Protection of Marine Biodiversity (FoProBiM)in 1992.

Wiener was the recipient of the GoldMan prize in 2015 for his faithful efforts towards protecting Haiti’s environment. 

The Goldman Environmental Prize honors grassroots environmental heroes from the world’s six inhabited continental regions: Africa, Asia, Europe, Islands & Island Nations, North America, and South & Central America. The Prize recognizes individuals for sustained and significant efforts to protect and enhance the natural environment, often at great personal risk. The Goldman Prize views “grassroots” leaders as those involved in local efforts, where positive change is created through community or citizen participation in the issues that affect them. Through recognizing these individual leaders, the Prize seeks to inspire other ordinary people to take extraordinary actions to protect the natural world.

http://www.foprobim.org/

http://www.goldmanprize.org/recipient/jean-wiener/

https://www.usaid.gov/haiti/environment

http://www.unep.org/disastersandconflicts/CountryOperations/Haiti/tabid/104691/Default.aspx

 

Hilary and Haiti

Clinton’s Long Shadow

“Hillary Clinton may never be called to account for her role in Haiti’s ongoing political crisis.” by

Excerpt from the article:

Throughout her term as secretary of state, Clinton made Haiti one of her top foreign-policy priorities. She and her chief of staff Cheryl Mills closely managed the internationally financed effort to rebuild Haiti after the quake. Bill Clinton pitched in as co-chair of a commission tasked with approving reconstruction projects.

As Clinton wrote in her memoir Hard Choices, rebuilding Haiti was “an opportunity . . . to road-test new approaches to development that could be applied more broadly around the world.”

Wielding an unparalleled level of influence over massive flows of public, private, and philanthropic capital, the Clintons set out to turn their slogan — Haiti “built back better” — into reality.

As Katz told the Washington Post: “There’s nowhere Clinton had more influence or respect when she became Secretary of State than in Haiti, and it was clear that she planned to use that to make Haiti the proving ground for her vision of American power.”

In retrospect, the Clintons’ bold, new vision for Haiti looks more like a mirage. The “new” approach was the same old “sweatshop model of development,” pursued by the United States since the Duvalier days, in a slick new package, and it had the same disastrous results.

A multi-million dollar industrial park the Clintons promoted as Haiti’s economic salvation was a flop on its own capitalist terms, generating only one-tenth of the promised sixty thousand jobs.

Meanwhile, mammoth new slum areas have sprung up north of Port-au-Prince, a testament to the mind-boggling decision to prioritize building luxury hotels for foreign tourists, NGO workers and businesspeople over permanent housing for the over one million Haitians made homeless by the quake.

 

Nikolas Barry-Shaw is a Montreal-based Haiti solidarity activist. He is the voting rights associate for the Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti and co-author ofPaved with Good Intentions: Canada’s Development NGOs from Idealism to Imperialism.