Programs and
Research Centers

Haiti Rule of Law

Law students are invited to apply for Seton Hall’s Spring 2013 Human Rights Trip to Haiti.
The trip will take place during spring break from March 3-7th (exact dates to be determined). The deadline for applications is November 30, 2012.  Learn more about the Human Rights Trip to Haiti here.

Seton Hall initiated its Haiti Rule of Law Project in 2002. Since that time, faculty and students at Seton Hall Law have worked to support L’Ecole Superieure Catholique de Droit de Jérémie (“ESCDROJ”), a small Catholic Law School in the remote city of Jeremie, Haiti. To date, the trips to Jeremie have focused on providing lectures at the ESCDROJ at night and meeting with lawyers, judges, prosecutors, religious leaders and health care workers during the day.

This year, Seton Hall Law strengthened its commitment to supporting the Rule of Law in Haiti by initiating a new Prison Conditions Project in Jeremie. The prisons in Haiti are known to be among the worst in the Western Hemisphere. Approximately 85% of prisoners have not been convicted of a crime, yet they languish in atrocious conditions for years awaiting their day in court. The United States courts have described Haiti’s prison conditions as akin to those that existed on slaveships. In light of the deplorable conditions in Haiti’s prisons, Seton Hall’s Prison Conditions Project will focus on assessing health care needs and legal needs of the prisoners at the Jeremie prison and will complement a larger Health & Human Rights Prison Project (HHRPP) initiated by Paul Farmer’s Partners in Health and the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti. The HHRPP is engaged in assessing health care and legal needs to address human rights issues in three prisons: Hinche and Mirebalais in the Central Plateau and St. Marc in the Artibonite Department. During Seton Hall’s initial stage this year, we will be working in partnership with ESCDROJ to interview prisoners on issues such as the length of time in detention, whether there have been formal charges or court proceedings, the availability of legal counsel, health issues and access to treatment and human rights violations. The goal is to engage in a collaborative project between ESCDROJ and Seton Hall Law to produce a database of information and a report on conditions. During our March 2009 trip to Jeremie, we began seeking input from ESCDROJ students, conducting trainings on interviewing and other skills, and began the interviewing of detainees in the Jeremie prison. Longer term goals include working with ESCDROJ to provide legal representation at the prison as well as collaborating on human rights complaints before the Inter American Commission on Human Rights.

For more information, contact:

Lori Nessel
Director, Seton Hall Law Center for Social Justice
Office 973-642-8708