Haiti Justice and International Accountability

The Global Justice Clinic (GJC) has a long history of solidarity with Haitian social justice and civil society organizations.  Our most recent collaboration—focused on rights threatened by Haiti’s nascent gold mining industry—started in 2013.  The GJC began collaborating with Kolektif Jistis Min (Justice in Mining Collective, KJM), a platform of Haitian social movement organizations, to build the power of communities affected by mining and to hold international actors who are promoting the industry to account.  GJC continues to work with KJM member organizations to support rural community members to know their rights, access information, collect relevant evidence, and to monitor human rights violations.

Our work in Haiti is about rejecting extractivism—in foreign policy, in development, and, importantly, in research methods.  In the past few years the GJC has increasingly done public-facing (for example, this letter) and closed-door political solidarity work to support the movement for democracy and justice in Haiti.  Through long-term partnerships, the Global Justice Clinic aims to support communities, social movements, and Haitian organizations in their pursuits of self-determination.

International Actor Accountability

American and Canadian companies hold mining permits in Haiti, and international financial institutions (IFIs) have encouraged the development of the mining sector. The GJC works in solidarity with communities in Haiti who are resisting—and saying NO to mining.  At the end of 2015, the GJC published a report, Byen Konte, Mal Kalkile: Human Rights and Environmental Risks of Gold Mining in Haiti, that presents communities’ experiences with gold exploration, and rights violations to date.  In partnership with communities that sit within mining permits, the GJC filed a complaint before the Inspection Panel of the World Bank about the Bank’s effort to pass new mining legislation in Haiti.  The GJC has also engaged UN mechanisms and held a hearing on the right to information before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.  Currently, the GJC is building a campaign website to discourage investment into Haiti’s mining industry.

Community-Owned Data

GJC, KJM, and community organizations collect evidence and generate data to promote community interests.  With the support of scientists, GJC conducted a participatory baseline study on the right to water in communities that sit within a mining permit in the North of Haiti.  To our knowledge, this is the first time that community members have held baseline data on water conditions prior to the construction of a mine anywhere in the world.  The GJC is working with community members to use the data in advocacy to resist the construction of a mine in the area.  In addition, GJC is working with a coalition of organizations fighting land grabs to explore how community map-making may support their right to land. 

Popular Education and Legal Empowerment

GJC collaborates with partners in Haiti to create popular education and legal empowerment materials about the potential impacts of gold mining and the human rights protections relevant to those risks.  The campaign website that GJC is building will be home to popular education materials, and a resource for organizers and community members in Haiti. The GJC has also helped to facilitate a number of exchanges with other mining-affected communities in the Global South.

Solidarity with Human Rights Defenders

GJC partners have been targeted for their activism as human rights defenders.  The GJC works closely with Haitian colleagues to bring international attention to their cases—when colleagues believe that such attention operates to protect them—and to accompany them in seeking financial support that will enable them to better protect themselves.  GJC engages with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and the United Nations in efforts to demand that the Government of Haiti protects human rights defenders.

Political Solidarity

The Global Justice Clinic amplifies messages from human rights and social justice organizations in Haiti, and demands the U.S. government, United Nations, and other international actors to listen to Haitian civil society.  To encourage more just and informed policies towards Haiti, GJC staff testify before Congress, participate in high level political meetings, speak on the radio, conduct trainings, and release statements of solidarity (examples below).

Haitian Immigrant Rights

The Global Justice Clinic works, too, to advance the rights of Haitians outside of Haiti: Haitian immigrants.  Impacted by anti-Black racism, xenophobia and language barriers, Haitian immigrants are marginalized in destination countries throughout the Western Hemisphere. GJC partners with immigrant rights’ organizations supporting Haitians to expose injustices and combat marginalization. In 2017, GJC published a report arguing for an extension of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Haiti.  GJC staff have contributed to the legal efforts to preserve TPS for Haiti, participated in the successful advocacy effort to encourage the Biden administration to redesignate Haiti for TPS, and conducted trainings for attorneys to better serve members of the Haitian community as they apply and reapply for TPS.

In 2020, GJC partnered with Haitian Bridge Alliance, the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti, and Fried Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP, to prepare FOIA requests to divulge records related to continued U.S. deportations to Haiti during the COVID-19 pandemic. GJC is committed to shedding light on state-sanctioned abuses and mistreatment of Haitian immigrants in the United States and throughout the hemisphere.

In the News
Ellie Happel
Adjunct Professor, Global Justice Clinic
Co-Director, Haiti Justice and International Accountability
Co-Director, Caribbean Climate Justice Initiative
Gabrielle Apollon
Co-Director, Haiti Justice & International Accountability Project
Supervising Attorney, Torture, Rendition, and Disappearances Project
Case Documents
Haitian Communities v. World Bank Mining Sector Technical Assistance Project

World Bank Inspection Panel

Hearing and Briefing Documents
United Nations

2016 Universal Periodic Review of Haiti

  • At UN Peer Review, Haiti Urged to Ensure Respect for Human Rights in Development of Mining  [English]  [Français]  (November 2016, press release)
  • Human Rights Impacts of Gold Mining in Haiti  [English]  [Français]  (November 2016)
Inter-American Commission on Human Rights

Thematic Hearing on Access to Information in Haiti



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Related Pages

Indigenous Land Rights and Earth Defense
Human Rights Methodology Lab

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