Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Alfred-Georges Hoen, 1925, magazine cover portrait of my Irish grandmother

Large portrait of my Irish grandmother, Marie Nichols, by
Alfred-Georges Hoen, 1925
This portrait was on the cover of a magazine. My mother had the magazine cover but it is now lost and I cannot recall the name of the magazine. I believe this was part of the cover girl series. This is a flapper portrait from the Roaring Twenties period. If you know the name of the magazine or want to correspond about this painting or artist, please write me at Michelle.Karshan@gmail.com  Thanks

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

President Jean-Bertrand Aristide Statement, January 19, 2011

Dr Jean-Bertrand Aristide

Former President of Haiti

19 January 2011

I would like to thank the government and the people of South Africa for the historic hospitality, deeply rooted in Ubuntu, extended to my family and I.

Since my forced arrival in the Mother Continent six and a half years ago, the people of Haiti have never stopped calling for my return to Haiti . Despite the enormous challenges that they face in the aftermath of the deadly January 12, 2010 earthquake, their determination to make the return happen has increased.

As far as I am concerned, I am ready. Once again I express my readiness to leave today, tomorrow, at any time. The purpose is very clear: To contribute to serving my Haitian sisters and brothers as a simple citizen in the field of education.

The return is indispensable, too, for medical reasons: It is strongly recommended that I not spend the coming winter in South Africa ’s because in 6 years I have undergone 6 eye surgeries. The surgeons are excellent and very well skilled, but the unbearable pain experienced in the winter must be avoided in order to reduce any risk of further complications and blindness.

So, to all those asking me to return home, I reiterate my willingness to leave today, tomorrow, at any time. Let us hope that the Haitian and South African governments will enter into communication in order to make that happen in the next coming days.

United to the Haitian people, once again my family and I express our sincere gratitude to the government and the people of South Africa .

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Rights Groups File Emergency Human Rights Petition to Stop Imminent Deportations to Haiti


January 6, 2011

CONTACT: Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR)

Rights Groups File Emergency Human Rights Petition to Stop Imminent Deportations to Haiti
Earthquake, Cholera And Violence Is Death Sentence
MIAMI AND WASHINGTON - January 6 - Today six civil and human rights groups filed an emergency petition with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), to halt the roundups, detention, and imminent deportations of hundreds of Haitian nationals by the United States government. The petition, submitted by the University of Miami School of Law Human Rights and Immigration Clinics, the Florida Immigrant Advocacy Center, the Center for Constitutional Rights, Alternative Chance and the Loyola Law Clinic and Center for Social Justice, argues that deporting people at this moment to Haiti, which is still reeling from the devastating January 2010 earthquake and is burdened with a massive cholera epidemic, political unrest, and rampant street violence, will result in serious human rights violations, including deprivations of the rights to life, family, and due process, and freedom from cruel or unusual punishment.

Deportations from the U.S. to Haiti have been stayed on humanitarian grounds since the January 12, 2010 earthquake devastated Haiti. Advocates and community members were shocked when, on December 9, 2010, the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) unexpectedly announced that it was lifting the ban on deportations to Haiti for individuals with criminal convictions and that it would resume deportations in January 2011, the one-year anniversary of the earthquake.

"The U.S. Government is violating important human rights obligations," said Caroline Bettinger-Lopez, Director of the Human Rights Clinic at University of Miami School of Law. "These deportations will compound a catastrophic public health and humanitarian crisis in the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. It is simply unconscionable to resume deportations to Haiti on the one-year anniversary of one of the most devastating natural disasters in world history, especially as a cholera epidemic rages across the country."

"The upshot of this abrupt change in policy," said Sunita Patel, Staff Attorney with the Center for Constitutional Rights, "is that the Obama administration plans to deport Haitian nationals, many living and working in the community here with their families, to a country in the midst of a cholera epidemic. Since 2006, Haiti has detained people like the petitioners in overcrowded police holding cells without toilets, sinks or access to safe drinking water. The government's actions will only put more people at risk of death."

The petition asks the IACHR to order the U.S. to adopt precautionary measures to prevent irreparable harm to the Haitians subject to imminent deportation. Specifically, the petition asks the U.S. to continue its stay of deportations, release the petitioners and grant "deferred action" status to all people facing removal. In addition, the petition asks that the U.S. government publicly release information about its decision to resume deportations to Haiti, and that the government publicly engage with the Haitian-American community before instituting policy changes that will dramatically affect community members.

The petition relies on information gathered from interviews by the Loyola Law Clinic & Center for Social Justice and Florida Immigrant Advocacy Center with Haitians detained in Louisiana. It also includes declarations from Michelle Karshan, the Director of Alternative Chance, and two doctors with extensive practice in Haiti, Dr. John May and Dr. Arthur Fournier. Together, these declarations paint a distressing picture of the disastrous consequences of these planned deportations.

Romy Lerner, Supervising Attorney at the Florida Immigrant Advocacy Center said, "We are deeply concerned that this policy is tearing apart the Haitian community. Our petition alleges that the United States has violated the human rights of the Haitians who are at risk of imminent deportations by separating them from their families without considering their ties to the United States or the welfare of their U.S. citizen children. In Miami, the community is terrified of what is about to happen."

"While the U.S. has often historically shirked its human rights obligations toward Haitian migrants, we hope our government will come to its senses and halt the planned deportations of the individuals whose stories are represented in this petition," said Rebecca Sharpless, Director of the Immigration Clinic at the University of Miami School of Law.

To read the request for precautionary measures, go to CCR's legal case page.


The Center for Constitutional Rights is dedicated to advancing and protecting the rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Founded in 1966 by attorneys who represented civil rights movements in the South, CCR is a non-profit legal and educational organization committed to the creative use of law as a positive force for social change.


Being Deported to Post-Earthquake Haiti?

Being Deported to Post-Earthquake Haiti?
Life-Threatening, Illegal and Inhuman Detention Conditions will make Newly Deported the Latest Victims of Deadly Cholera Epidemic

December 15, 2010, Port-au-Prince, Haiti – Alternative Chance (Chans Altenativ), a self-help, peer counseling, advocacy program for criminal deportees in Haiti was founded in 1996. For nearly fifteen years, Alternative Chance has been intervening on behalf of Haitian criminal deportees from the United States once they arrive in Haiti and are imprisoned in nightmarish conditions in police station holding cells or prisons. Following the devastating January 12, 2010 earthquake, we welcomed the humanitarian gesture of the U.S. government when it announced it would suspend deportations to Haiti. We are shocked by this week’s pronouncements and actions by the U.S. government to resume these deportations at this juncture.

Earthquake conditions have not significantly changed since the U.S. saw fit to suspend deportations. In fact some conditions have worsened. Today there are more than 1.3 million persons still living in tent and tarp encampments with no transition or permanent housing on the horizon. Haiti was hit by a recent hurricane and flooding and its first cholera epidemic brought on by the arrival of a virulent South Asian strain. And, a week ago Haiti became embroiled in election chaos and violence in its streets. Today Haiti's Ministry of Health announced that since October 2010 there have been 2,405 known deaths from cholera and 109,196 persons have been sickened. Health organizations believe the numbers are at least double this. The World Health Organization predicts 650,000 persons will be sickened over the next year with a large percent to occur within the next few months.

Prior to the earthquake, Alternative Chance observed firsthand criminal deportees held in Haiti’s DCPJ police administrative building and in other police stations or prisons in and around the capital. Not charged with any crimes in Haiti, their detention is illegal under Haitian law and international standards. They are not provided any due process, a release date or an attorney. If they have no acceptable family member living in Haiti to apply for their release, the police enforce the Ministry of Interior policy and hold the criminal deportees indefinitely for months.

While in detention criminal deportees are not provided food, treated drinking water, medical or mental health care, and are not provided any necessary medications. Medical files transferred at the time of their deportation for those who have serious medical conditions are confiscated by the Ministry of Interior and never shared with any healthcare providers or hospitals.

Most of the police station holding cells are grossly overcrowded, are intended for short term detention and have no toilets or sinks. The detainees are forced to urinate in a communal bucket and defecate in paper bags. When there is room to lie down, criminal deportees must lay directly on insect, rat infested cement floors. Their cells usually have no lighting, are over 100 degrees, and the criminal deportees are locked in twenty four hours a day.

In pre-earthquake Haiti, criminal deportees have died while in police station detention or shortly after their release from these harsh conditions. In post-earthquake Haiti detention conditions are even more dire. Most prisons and police stations were damaged or destroyed leaving even less detention space per person.

Cholera, a deadly disease primarily caused by bacteria infected water or exposure to feces, can cause rapid dehydration, shock and death within the first few hours of its first symptom. Cholera is raging through prisons and detention facilities taking lives with it. Persons with cholera must be quickly rehydrated and in most cases placed on an IV drip. They must be attended to round the clock by medical personnel in either Cholera Treatment Centers or hospitals. In Haiti’s national prison, for example, it has been observed that many cholera victims died at night in the absence of medical care.

Humanitarian organizations in Haiti are already strained, have shortage of supplies to prevent and treat cholera and a shortage of medical personnel. Health organizations are currently in debate on treatment protocol as they are losing the battle to prevent cholera and to save lives.

We fear for the lives of those who would be deported to Haiti.

Michelle Karshan, Executive Director
Alternative Chance/Chans Altenativ
70A Greenwich Avenue, #373
New York, New York 10011

Answering service: 212-613-6033
Internet FAX: 1-212-202-3992
In Haiti: 011509-3-871-0400
In US: 347-281-2958
Skype: Michelle.Karshan
Email: altchance@aol.com