Disability Law in Haiti

 Tweeted that the “Murders of 3 deaf women highlights vulnerability of disabled in Haiti, where stigma & superstition isolates many.”

 

 

Haiti’s first Secretary of State for the Integration of Persons with Disabilities was created in 2012,  following the earthquake.

Secretary Oriol, who himself has overcome muscular dystrophy, was graduated Cum Laude from the University of Florida, completed a Master of Liberal Arts degree with a concentration in Sustainability and Environmental Management from Harvard University, and ran for congress in Haiti in 2006. He is the personification of rising above one’s physical limitations. Drawing on his own experiences, the Secretary is looking to implement initiatives to provide education, employment opportunities and the necessary assistance services to ensure that this group of Haitians is not left behind. Working with his team as well as the Ministries of Labor, Education, Health, and Public Works, the Secretary will institute a diverse set of programs, including collaborating with:

  • The Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor to develop access to employment, as well as directly with the private sector in Haiti;
  • The Ministry of Education to advocate for better access for persons with disabilities to specialized facilities and to mainstream schools;
  • The Ministry of Public Health to ensure that individuals whose disability requires care have access to needed services;
  • The Ministry of Public Works to ensure that accessibility is a priority during the reconstruction period;

 

Haiti has had the “Loi sur les invalides” or “Law of the disabled,” since the 26th of April 1808.

The ministry recently made a joint venture for funding from Digicel:

“Le Bureau du Secrétaire d’Etat à l’Intégration des Personnes Handicapées vient de signer un Protocole d’Accord avec la Fondation Digicel pour le financement d’un ou de plusieurs projets à hauteur de 30 000 dollars américains.”

” The Secretary of State for the Integration of Handicapped Persons has signed an accord with the Foundation Digicel for 30,000 american dollars in financing.”

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Further information on the killings is available at the link below (David McFadden’s Article). David McFadden is a “Caribbean reporter and editor, among other things. News tips on region, particularly Haiti, are welcome.” You can email David at dmcfadden@ap.org

http://bigstory.ap.org/article/5c6a12a592dc426fa56ba89da0f23e54/slaying-3-deaf-women-haiti-highlights-vulnerability

Digicel Initiative

http://www.seiph.gouv.ht/protocole-daccord-entre-la-fondation-digicel-et-le-bseiph-au-profit-des-personnes-handicapees/

Interview with Honorable Secretary Oriol:

http://caribjournal.com/2012/11/07/moving-forward-on-disability-in-haiti/#

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Linguistics and the Law

Robert Rodman’s thesis entitled Linguistics and the Law draws from the conviction of a Haitian-born American sentenced to 12 years for dealing cocaine.

“The verdict was based in part on a surreptitious recording of the drug deal. Although the drug dealer on the tape spoke a dialect of American Black English, and the defendant speaks English with a Creole accent, the State persuaded the jury that the Haitian disguised his voice by purposefully dropping his accent. His ability to perform this feat was attributed in testimony to the fact that he had been an interpreter for the United States Army in Haiti, and was therefore a linguist, and therefore understood ‘sound change’, and therefore could disguise his voice by dropping his foreign accent. This absurd chain of non sequiturs, and the resulting miscarriage of justice, is the result of linguistic naivety and would not have occurred if the court knew that an interpreter is not necessarily a linguist, and that sound change refers to the historical development of languages.”

“Language and the law, once a subfield of sociolinguistics, is now a robust, independent area of study, where lawyers and linguists collaborate to deepen their knowledge. It has spawned associations such as the IAFL that sponsor conferences such as the one for which this paper is written. International journals such as Forensic Linguistics, The International Journal of Speech, Language, and the Law have arisen in which an ever-growing body of scholarship explores the multifaceted effect of language on legal matters.

Most of the work in this field approaches the topic from the point of view of the use of language. For example, trial lawyers learn to avoid language usage that introduces unwarranted assumptions, such as “When did you stop beating your wife?” They do not learn about presuppositions and the logical structure of language. That’s linguistics: the science that describes and explains language.”

http://ljp.utk.edu/linguistics-and-the-law/

 

Garden of Eden

 

 

“Community, school and employer-sponsored gardens play an important role in improving health and reducing obesity.  Gardens increase access to fresh vegetables, provide opportunities for physical activity, teach both adults and children about the origins of their food, and promote healthier eating behaviors.  As gardening opportunities increase, advocates must often address legal and policy issues that affect the development and maintenance of gardens.  These issues include access to water, composting efforts, land use planning and zoning considerations, liability issues, and the organizational structure of the gardens.

Haiti has it own community garden.

Daniel Tillias, co-founded SAKALA in 2002 with 9 other young people in an effort to promote peace, reconciliation, tolerance and truth for a new Haiti.

The Community Centre for Peace Alternatives (Kreyol acronym is SAKALA) leads the Garden of Hope. The produce from the garden is used by the locals and the rest is sold at market.

Mr. Tillias worked as a law trainee in one of the most prominent law firms in Haiti (that represented the victims of the 1991 coup in Haiti) and attended a University of Pittsburg legal exchange program.  Daniel left law school amidst violent uprisings in Cite Soleil, to focus on building his organization.  He created a program to promote peacebuilding and to benefit the less fortunate, especially children and youth. While a director at Pax Christi Ayiti, Daniel introduced sports as a means of peacebuilding, through the SAKALA youth empowerment program, which now incorporates athletics, agronomy, and educational activities for 250 youth from different neighborhoods in Cite Soleil.  Daniel is a well-respected community leader and the recipient of several awards for his peace efforts.

Read an interview of Mr. Tillias at augustadwyer.com

Photo: http://www.cnn.com/2013/07/08/world/americas/urban-oasis-offers-hope-haiti/

 

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

 

THE WOMEN QUOTA

As mentioned in the post “Who is Haitian,” there were many recent amendments to the Haitian Constitution. One of those changes is the requirement that at least 30% of representatives in public life and elected posts of the Government be women. Article 17.1, 31.1.1. There is not much information on this change and its effect in Haitian politics. According to a recent Miami Herald article written by Jacqueline Charles, the government has yet to achieve the 30% quota but is allegedly trying to. What are the legal consequences if they are unable to reach that quota? If the quota is a constitutional requirement for the Government to operate, can it function without it? The constitution leaves those questions unanswered.

For more information about the Miami Herald article, please click here. 

 

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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.

Read more about Valerie on our members page

Valerie on LinkedIn

Low Income Developing Country (LIDC)

MACROECONOMIC DEVELOPMENTS IN LIDCS: 2014 REPORT by the International Monetary Fund examining 11 States, including Haiti.

 

Box 1. Falling Behind

While most LIDCs have recorded sustained growth since 2000, there is a sizeable group of countries (almost one-fifth of the total) that did not record any increase in output per capita over the period.

 

The weak performance occurred across several macro and structural indicators. Over 2000–13, these 11 countries have been less successful in reducing inflation, attracting FDI, developing the financial markets, and improving social indicators, such as the level of educational attainment.

 

A common feature to all countries in the group is that they are fragile states—countries either with very weak institutions or significantly affected by conflict over the period. The role of fragility in hampering growth is easy to understand in countries affected by sustained internal conflict and political instability over an extended period (such as Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea-Bissau, Comoros, and Yemen). Natural disasters, such as the massive 2010 earthquake in Haiti, result in loss of life, can account for sizeable shocks to output, and have persistent effects. Over the long-term, however, weak institutions and recurrent political instability play a key role in explaining Haiti’s weak performance as the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. But a review of the country listing shows that bad policy choices, unlinked to fragility, can also produce income contraction over time, as in Zimbabwe (which experienced hyperinflation) and Eritrea (a tightly regulated/controlled economy).

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1 In terms of total GDP growth, all 11 countries had average growth rates in the bottom quartile of the LIDC group (less than 3.5 percent).

The Time to Act is Now: Drone Delivery Systems in Haiti and Lessons from the Developing World

In light of recent discussions over the cholera epidemic and a pending class action law suit against the U.N. for “bringing cholera to Haiti,” this necessitates a discussion of preventative measures. More specifically, the use of drones in healthcare, and how they could have helped to lessen the blow dealt to the people of Haiti, almost 10,000 – but likely more – that have died due to the cholera epidemic since 2010.

According to the BBC, drones, also known as unmanned aerial vehicles (“UAVs”), are often “used in situations where manned flight is considered too risky or difficult.” More generally, these agents have been used more frequently in combat offensives, often to target specific individuals with deadly fire or for the purpose of gaining intelligence on opposition forces. Commercially, drones have also caught the eye of companies like Amazon and Uber that have shown interest in using drone technology.

In the healthcare context, drones might be considered an untapped resource. This, however, is being addressed by the United Nations Children’s Fund (“UNICEF”) and the Malawi government to help streamline the often slow wait times and lack of medical supplies necessary to conduct HIV testing. Similarly, another African nation, Rwanda, has a similar program meant to remedy the issues with getting medical supplies to remote areas where infrastructure is not fully developed. Furthermore, the costs associated with drone delivery are relatively low; “[t]he UN agency is spending up to $1.5-million (U.S.) annually on the delivery of HIV blood samples in Malawi. The drones, by contrast, cost only a few thousand dollars each, and operating costs are low because they are battery-powered.”

Looking back to Haiti and the cholera epidemic, seemingly the moment to act is now. A program that uses drone technology to diagnose and ship medical supplies to the ill will be no doubt a large improvement to the status quo. Many areas of Haiti still are considered remote. More specifically, many roads leading out of the capital are not developed, making travel to a medical facility often an arduous task. For example, some healthcare practitioners state that:

Drones are likely to enhance healthcare delivery in developing countries and remote or impoverished areas of the U.S. While drones may not drop packages at the entrances of Chicago high-rises, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) have delivered supplies to earthquake victims in Haiti and to places like Papua New Guinea.  Mayo Clinic predicts increased use of drones to transport blood products and drugs in response to mass casualty incidents and critical access hospital needs. Consider the benefits of drone-delivered defibrillators, organs, medications and medical supplies.

Thus, though the use of drones might bring up issues in the future regarding patient privacy, in the short-term,  there is hope that drone delivery systems could be instrumental in saving lives.

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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!

Haitian Lawyer Association’s 18th Annual GALA

The Haitian Lawyer Association, Florida Chapter, hosted its 18th Annual Scholarship GALA on March 12th, 2016. The event was inclusive, in attendance were various local and national attorneys, judges and professionals of diverse ethnic backgrounds. Among those in attendance was Garcelle Beauvais, the keynote speaker, a renowned Haitian-American actress who has been featured in various movies and sitcoms. During Ms. Beauvais speech, she analogized the work ethic that it takes to be successful  as an actress and an attorney. She mentioned that both professions require a lot of sacrifice in order to hone the necessary skills to succeed, and to be persistent when repeatedly faced with rejection.To cap off the night, the well known Haitian band T-VICE played several of its famous compositions as the crowd danced the night away.

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Samuel Rony is a second-year law student at St. Thomas University School of Law. He was born and raised in Haiti.

 

Did you know?:Who is Ban Ki-moon?

Ban Ki-moon is the eighth Secretary-General of the United Nations.

Mr. Ban took office in January of 2007. His major initiatives since that time have been the  2007 Climate Change Summi and the creation of  UN Women.

“The Secretary-General was born in the Republic of Korea on 13 June 1944. He received a bachelor’s degree in international relations from Seoul National University in 1970. In 1985, he earned a master’s degree in public administration from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

At the time of his election as Secretary-General, Mr. Ban was his country’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade. His 37 years of service with the Ministry included postings in New Delhi, Washington D.C. and Vienna, and responsibility for a variety of portfolios, including Foreign Policy Adviser to the President, Chief National Security Adviser to the President, Deputy Minister for Policy Planning and Director-General of American Affairs.

Mr. Ban’s ties to the United Nations date back to 1975, when he worked for the Foreign Ministry’s United Nations Division. That work expanded over the years, with assignments that included service as Chairman of the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Organization and Chef de Cabinet during the Republic of Korea’s 2001-2002 presidency of the UN General Assembly. Mr. Ban has also been actively involved in issues relating to inter-Korean relations.

The Secretary-General speaks English, French and Korean. He and his wife, Madam Yoo (Ban) Soon-taek, whom he met in high school in 1962, have one son, two daughters and four grandchildren. Since 2007, Mrs. Ban has devoted her attention to women’s and children’s health, including autism, the elimination of violence against women, and the campaign to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV/AIDS.”

“The Secretary-General has sought to strengthen UN peace efforts, including through the New Horizons peacekeeping initiative, the Global Field Support Strategy and the Civilian Capacity Review, a package of steps to improve the impact of the 120,000 United Nations “blue helmets” operating in the world’s conflict zones. A mediation support unit, along with new capacity to carry out the Secretary-General’s good offices, have been set up to help prevent, manage and resolve tensions, conflicts and crises. Accountability for violations of human rights has received high-level attention through inquiries related to Gaza, Guinea, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, legal processes in Lebanon and Cambodia, and advocacy for the “responsibility to protect,” the new United Nations norm aimed at prevent and halt genocide and other grave crimes. He has also sought to strengthen humanitarian response in the aftermath of mega-disasters in Myanmar (2008), Haiti (2010) and Pakistan (2010), and mobilized UN support for the democratic transitions in North Africa and the Middle East.”

Haiti Wages

Someone got paid about 4 dollars a day in Haiti to make your Gildan shirt.
Haiti is one of many countries to establish a minimum wage that varies across employment sectors, with different daily rates established for domestic workers, electricians, bank employees, and other professions.
“As opposed to the bulk of Gildan’s operations, which are vertically integrated, sewing operations in Haiti are subcontracted by Gildan to third parties. Therefore, to address the concerns which were raised regarding the issue of minimum wages in Haiti, Gildan made a commitment in November 2013 to require its third party contractors in the country to comply with the payment of 300 gourdes per day in an eight hour work day to their piece rate workers, based on the expectation that they continue to operate at a reasonable efficiency rate.”