Monday, March 25, 2013

Death of Privat Precil, An overview of his professional life and achievements

April 11, 1952 – March 17, 2013

Attorney Privat Précil

Overview of his professional life and achievements:
Attorney, Journalist, and Sports and Music Enthusiast!

Port-au-Prince, Haiti – March 25, 2013 – Privat Précil was born in Boucan-Bélier, a rural area of Côtes de Fer but moved to Petit Goave at a young age to live with his mother and attend Catholic school. Following graduation, Mr. Précil entered the theological seminary of the Salesian order in Cap Haitian in a class of twenty-three people including Jean-Bertrand Aristide who later became president of Haiti. Close to the completion of his seminary training, Mr. Précil left for Haiti’s State University, School of Law. He worked as a Customs Inspector while he studied law from 1974 to 1978. Upon completing law school Mr. Précil practiced law in Haiti in the domain of land rights, and other specialties.

Putting his legal career on hold, he moved to New York where he worked from 1981 through 1995 as a newspaper and radio journalist covering legal issues, community affairs, culture and sports for the Haitian community. From 1987 to 1989 Mr. Précil studied political journalism through the Educatel-Cifor School of Journalism in Belgium receiving his diploma. Mr. Précil was a staff writer at Haiti Observateur for many years before creating his own newspaper for a brief period.

Throughout Mr. Précil’s life he had a passion for soccer and became a FIFA certified soccer referee and coach. He coached briefly for a New Jersey college.

In 1995 Mr. Précil moved back to Haiti and was appointed by Haiti’s Prime Minister, Claudette Werleigh, to be the Co-director, and later the Acting Director, of Haiti’s newly created National Office on Migration (ONM). From 1995 until 1997 Mr. Précil oversaw the resettlement of 80,000 Haitian refugees returning from several countries after having fled Haiti during the 1991-1994 coup d’etat period. Mr. Précil secured school scholarships for hundreds of children of returning refugees at the time.  In 1996 Mr. Précil traveled to San Jose, Costa Rica for a one-week training seminar on the resettlement of refugee populations sponsored by the International Organization of Migration (IOM).

From 1995 to present Mr. Précil had a private law practice specializing in civil affairs, electoral challenges, human rights, real property law, and was based in the law offices of the late Minister of Justice, Guy Malary. Mr. Précil was an active member of the Port-au-Prince Bar Association in good standing.

Starting in 1996 to present Mr. Précil served as the pro bono counsel to Alternative Chance/Chans Altenativ, a Haiti-based reintegration program for Criminal Deportees. Mr. Précil authored a May 1999 report for the Panos Institute entitled Criminal Deportees and Returned Teens, a Migration Phenomenon, a Social Problem, that continues to be widely cited in academic and human rights reports and books. In 2006, Mr. Précil was awarded recognition by Alternative Chance for his continuous and courageous work on behalf of the human rights of criminal deportees in Haiti.

In 2001, under President Rene Preval, Mr. Précil worked as a translator in the Office of the Foreign Press Liaison in Haiti’s National Palace.  In 2001, under President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, Mr. Précil served as legal counsel to Haiti’s Parliament drafting laws on environment, children’s rights, and other legislation. Mr. Précil was the main drafter of a historic piece of legislation that was ratified by Parliament in September 2001 prohibiting physical abuse, humiliation and exploitation of children.  

In 2002 Privat was appointed by President Aristide as the Director General of Haiti’s Ministry of Justice, where along with administrative duties he also worked closely with the international community to advance the legal process of several key, controversial matters. From 2002 through 2004, Mr. Précil attended several training seminars given by the international community on judicial reform and in 2003 he traveled to Seoul, South Korea where he took part in Anti-Corruption training sponsored by the UNDP (PNUD).

From 2008 to 2011 Mr. Précil served as legal counsel to Haiti’s Ministry of Education, and from 2006 to 2008 served as legal counsel to Haiti’s Ministry of Sports and Youth.

In 2011, at the request of the U.S. based law offices of Reed Smith, Mr. Précil conducted legal research and wrote Viols et reportages médiatiques and facilitated the Workshop for Haiti Media: Protocols on sexual gender-based violence in Haiti.

Throughout his professional career, Mr. Précil steadfastly and courageously advocated for the rights of children, refugees, criminal deportees, women and was an expert on criminal law, judicial reform and land rights.  No matter his title, or field he was working in, Mr. Précil always stayed true to himself and worked at what he believed in.