National Coalition for Haitian Rights

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The National Coalition for Haitian Rights (NCHR) "was born in New York City in February 1982 as the National Emergency Coalition for Haitian Refugees. Its founders were religious, labor, civil rights, human rights and Haitian leaders who took up the cause of Haitian refugees after the US government set aside international norms and domestic legal protections in order to deny Haitian asylum-seekers the protection they sought from the US after fleeing the Jean-Claude Duvalier dictatorship. Leaders of the NCHR at the time included:

  • Father Antoine Adrien, leader of the Haitian Fathers, a group of priests exiled by the Duvaliers in 1969 who were ministering to the Haitian community in NY.
  • Anthony Cardinal Bevilacqua, at the time Bishop of the Brooklyn Archdiocese and Chairman of the US Catholic Conference Bishops’ Committee on Migration
  • Bayard Rustin, a key aide to the Rev. Martin Luther King and widely acknowledged as a master strategist of the civil rights movement.
  • Ira Gollobin, a renowned civil rights and immigration lawyer
  • Michael Posner, Executive Director of the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights (now known as Human Rights First)
  • Vernon Jordan, then Executive Director of the National Urban League
  • Rev. Benjamin Hooks, then President of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP),
  • Rep. Shirley Chisholm
  • Bishop Paul Moore of the Episcopal Church in NY
  • Lane Kirkland, President of the AFL-CIO

Within six months, they rechristened NCHR the National Coalition for Haitian Refugees, and hired Michael S. Hooper as Executive Director." [1]

In March 2005, Antony Fenton said that "Documents recently obtained from the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) show that, with exclusivity, organizations that are ideologically opposed to Aristide and Lavalas are receiving Canadian government funding. The list includes the likes of ENFOFANM, SOFA, Kay Fanm, GARR, CRESFED, PAJ, POHDH/SAKS, and the Haiti branch of the National Coalition for Haitian Rights (NCHR)." [2]

Writing in June 2005, Kevin Skerrett noted that "the National Coalition for Haitian Rights-Haiti (NCHR-Haiti), a group that enjoys significant financial support from the Canadian and US governments." [3]

Writing in 2004 for Counterpunch Tom Reeves observes that:

"Although they were the only human rights group in the country adequately funded and having trained monitors throughout Haiti, the NCHR became completely partisan: anti--Lavalas, anti--Aristide. This is simply not proper for a group calling itself a "Haitian Rights" organization. During the final month before the coup, they abandoned any pretext of impartiality, joining calls for the ouster of Aristide, without reference to the means. After Feb. 29, they continue to site abuses by "chimere," whom they call simply "Aristide gangs," without documenting the connections. Though they told our group they had "heard about" violence against unarmed Lavalas, including the possible complicity of U.S. marines in the Bel Air incident, the NCHR said they "lacked access" to the pro--Lavalas shanty--towns. Of course they lacked access: they lacked any shred of credibility as a human rights monitor...
"International human rights organizations, especially Human Rights Watch and Journalists Without Borders, and to a lesser extent Amnesty International, have taken the NCHR reports uncritically and failed to develop other impartial human rights contacts in Haiti. Progressive funders like Grassroots International and NGOs in Canada, the US and Europe also listened uncritically to their "partners" and funded groups in Haiti like PAPDA, SOFA, Batay Ouvriye and MPP." [1]

Staff

Source

Board of Directors

Accessed August 2007: [2]

Contact

Website: http://www.nchr.org

Articles and resources

Related SourceWatch articles

References

  1. Tom Reeves, "The American Learning Zone: Return to Haiti", Counterpunch, April 14, 2004.
  2. Board of Directors, National Coalition for Haitian Rights, accessed August 24, 2007.

External resources

External articles