Taxing the Diaspora

Many countries tax their citizens living abroad. The U.S., for example, generally taxes income the same regardless of where a person resides internationally. Ironically, the Diaspora who seek a revolt against the tax would probably have to pay income tax no matter the country of their citizenship.

One of the issues is Diaspora do not feel confident in where their tax dollars will be spent. They also feel that the average quality of life in Haiti does not support such a high yearly tax. What is “high?”

“10,000 gourdes or $159 annually, depending on the exchange rate — the reaction has been no less vehement. For some 2 million Haitians living abroad, who already contribute $2 billion a year in remittances, essentially doubling the country’s annual budget, the insult is clear.” – Miami Herald

 

 

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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

 

Alternative Dispute Resolution

People are opting to employ alternative avenues of justice such as the Gacacafor used following the Rwandan Genocide. In Haiti, there is the Chamber of Conciliation and Arbitration of Haiti.

In Dallas, Texas, The Islamic Tribunal aims to resolve conflicts and disputes according to the principles of Islamic Law in a manner that is reasonable and cost effective, taking on serious family problems, divorces,  and business disputes among some of the cases.  Options such as this are rare in the United States, but they are growing in access. The Tribunal seeks to support and guidance from consultants and counselors to its attorneys to ensure that local, state and federal law are strictly conformed to, and decisions that originate from the Tribunal are by said laws. IT offers free legal consultations.

And similar alternatives are available and have been for a long time, for other faith-based dispute resolutions such as Christian mediation.

The following links are taken from CLS.net  lead to the Institute for Christian Conciliation (ICC), a division of Peacemaker® Ministries, to explain Christian conciliation and court-tested conciliation clauses in more detail:

 

Questions arise concerning the legality of these methods, and whether an impartial application of justice is being applied. Are women being treated subjectively, as is usually assumed of religious teachings?  Would children be submitted to reasoning of parents? What about cases of rape, incest, or child molestation? Are the perpetrators and victims receiving justice? Can criminal charges legally be addressed in these alternative methods?

Answers to these questions vary but ADR for criminal matters is growing in demand with a majority of programs  “identifying themselves as victim-offender mediation programs.”

Carryn Wolfe in her article for Fordham Law Review shares the following:

It is undeniable that ADR is often faster and cheaper than litigation. Congress in 1925 passed the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA), establishing that a written agreement of arbitration “shall be valid, irrevocable, and enforceable, save upon such grounds as exist at law or in equity for the revocation of any contract.” Then the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws drafted the Uniform Arbitration Act (UAA) in 1955, and the Revised Uniform Arbitration Act (RUAA) in 2000 which are currently in place.

Persons may feel obligated to use faith-based alternative dispute resolutions out of conviction. For example, according to “halakhah”, followers of Judaism may hold that they are not allowed to turn to secular courts. The decision to not use secular courts is also found in Christian and Islamic faith. Turning to religious ADR may lead to the preservation of minority cultures and community values but could come at the cost of what modern society has come to understand as justice. This begs the question of whether justice is to be sought for the victim or for the victim and society at large.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Caryn Litt Wolfe, Faith-Based Arbitration: Friend or Foe? An Evaluation of Religious Arbitration Systems and Their Interaction with Secular Courts, 75 Fordham L. Rev. 427 (2006). Available at: http://ir.lawnet.fordham.edu/flr/vol75/iss1/11

http://islp.org/content/promoting-alternative-dispute-resolution

 

 

Hemp Holds Highest Hopes for Helping Haiti Rebuild Economy and Environment?

“Haiti has an opportunity to supply a growing demand for hemp and ultimately medical marijuana. “

Help Build a New and Improved Haiti...

As Haiti rebuilds its rural areas, value-added agriculture must play the central role.  There is a great need for sustainable and socially acceptable agricultural systems.  The foundation could include a the most versatile and useful crops known to humanity – namely industrial hemp and closely related  medical marijuana.  Compared to any alternative, these will provide much higher value per acre, while rebuilding the land and rural economy.

Haiti has an opportunity to supply a growing demand for hemp and ultimately medical marijuana.  This article explains the history, politics, and uses of hemp.  Hemp can currently be legally grown in every country of the world – except the United States.    Those hoping to help Haiti need to start working with Haitian farmers to implement a widespread hemp growing and processing program.  This will set the country up well for when the US finally ends the global war against…

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Royal Caribbean in Haiti

According to the RCL Blog, Royal Caribbean said in January of 2016:

“Royal Caribbean has not received any guarantees or assurances that there will not be any protests in the future. If a protest takes place while a ship is port, there would be a significant impact on our guests’ ability to enjoy Labadee, or we may have to cancel the visit completely.

“Effective August 14, 2016, the Empress of the Seas, originally named the Nordic Empress, will be sailing 7 day cruises from Havana to Nassau Bahamas, Labadee Haiti, Falmouth Jamaica and Santiago de Cuba, Cuba. In a starting move, the cruise line will be changing the name of the cruise ship to the Cuban Empress.”

Source: Labadee® in Limbo – When Will Royal Caribbean Return to Its Private Resort?

http://www.cruiselawnews.com/tags/haiti/

Caribbean Chamber of Commerce

 

The Caribbean American Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Inc. (CACCI), founded in August 1985, is a statewide membership organization, which has developed expertise in providing business assistance to small and start-up business owners, in areas of business planning, financing, procurement, certification, expansion, and export/import opportunities.

http://www.caribbeantradecenter.com/

Outside observers and the fight against impunity

24301561139_54ce7bf0bf_z NGO representatives and journalists gathered for the Coalition for the ICC Press Briefing on the opening of the Gbagbo- Blé Goudé ICC trial © CICC

As part of our 20th anniversary blog series, When hope and history rhyme, Thomas Verfuss, president of the Association of Journalists at the ICC, writes on the work of “outside observers” of international justice (NGOs and journalists) to end impunity for atrocities.

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The THESS Effect: Technological Platform Seeks to Revolutionize Access to Higher Education in Haiti

A tool is underway that could revolutionize education in Haiti. THESS (Hybrid Technology for Education, Science and Knowledge), is a technology created in Haiti under the supervision of Elisabeth Béton Délègue, the Ambassador of France.

In particular, THESS is a technological platform that helps to facilitate “online education, university governance, educational management, collaborative tools.”Additionally, THESS was created with the hope of improving and growing access to university education in Haiti. The 2016 year will prove useful to figuring out whether the system has true staying power, especially in a country where only 29% of people 25 years of age and above attend a secondary institution.

For the original story and more on THESS click here.

 

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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!

Convention and Statute on the Régime of Navigable Waterways of International Concern

In 1921- Haiti was a signing state to the Convention and Statute on the Régime of Navigable Waterways of International Concern.

Multilateral treaties (such as this one) formerly deposited with the Secretary-General of the League of Nations, by virtue of General Assembly resolution 24 (I) of 12 February 1946, and of a League of Nations Assembly resolution of 18 April 1946 (League of Nations, Official Journal, Special Supplement No. 194, p. 57) were transferred, upon dissolution of the League of Nations, to the custody of the United Nations.

http://www.internationalwaterlaw.org/documents/intldocs/barcelona_conv.html

 

International Environmental Law

“International environmental law is an ever-changing, constantly expanding, and intriguing topic for international legal research.

When decisions and collaborations occur between nations across international boundaries and treaties or agreements are made to cooperate for environmental concerns, disputes inevitably transpire because of trade implications for the respective nations, safety concerns and cleanliness of environmental resources among shared borders, or problems with enforcement mechanisms for liability under agreements or treaty provisions relating to the environment.

The vastness of this area of international law includes the environmental sub-issues of :

(1)population,

(2)biodiversity,

(3)global climate change,

(4)ozone depletion,

(5)preserving the Antarctic regions,

(6)movement of toxic and hazardous substances,

(7)land or vessel-based pollution,

(8)dumping,

(9)conservation of marine living resources,

(10)trans-boundary air and water pollution,

(11)desertification, and

(12) nuclear damage, among others. ”

http://www.nyulawglobal.org/globalex/International_Environmental_Legal_Research.html