Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti

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After Half-Apology for Cholera, UN Still Has Much to Do Towards Justice

March 13, 2017 - 17:33

Mennonite Central Committee, one of IJDH’s partners in the fight for cholera justice, describes some of the steps that led to then-Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s apology to the Haitian people on December 1, 2016. Although such an admission was unprecedented in UN history, it still only represented a half-apology, as Ban failed to mention the UN’s responsibility for bringing the cholera epidemic to Haiti in 2010. The UN also has yet to make good on the new cholera plan that Ban announced the same day as the apology. As Ban himself said that day, “words cannot replace action and material support.”

Part of the article is below. Click HERE for the full text.

U.N. Witness: Half an apology

Kati Garrison, Mennonite World Review

March 13, 2017

On Dec. 1, the staff of the Mennonite Central Committee United Nations Office awaited the commencement of Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s address to the people of Haiti. After more than six years of advocacy efforts, we eagerly anticipated an apology for bringing cholera to the region.

In October 2010, only nine months after an earthquake devastated the capitol area of Haiti, a cholera outbreak hit the country. Since then, this disease, which formerly had no record in Haiti, has killed more than 9,300 Haitians and sickened more than 753,000.

A panel of experts reported that cholera emerged from bacterial contamination of the Meye Tributary System near the base of U.N. peacekeepers who “routinely disposed of untreated fecal waste in unprotected, open air pits . . . that caused a serious risk of overflow.”

Over the past six years, the MCC U.N. office has called for justice for Haiti’s cholera victims. Direct communication with MCC staff in Haiti guided these endeavors. Through collaboration with strong partners, such as the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti, we have pursued multiple avenues to a comprehensive response.

Click HERE for the full text.

12 Congresspeople Urge Trump Administration to Keep Haiti State Department Office

March 13, 2017 - 15:25

A bipartisan group of 12 lawmakers wrote to President Trump urging the administration to keep the State Department office dedicated to providing assistance to Haiti. This office has overseen $4.6 billion in humanitarian relief since it was created in 2010. The letter was spurred by the Trump administration’s current consideration of budget cuts to the State Department.

Lawmakers urge Trump administration to keep Haiti office

Kevin Freking, The Washington Post

March 13, 2017

WASHINGTON — A bipartisan group of lawmakers asked the Trump administration on Monday to maintain an independent State Department office dedicated to assisting poverty-stricken Haiti even as it weighs major budget cuts for the department.

The letter from a dozen lawmakers noted that Haiti has been struck by several natural and man-made disasters in recent years. A 2010 earthquake displaced more than 1 million Haitians and killed many thousands. A cholera epidemic ensued. Also, Hurricane Mathew killed about 1,000 Haitians last year and caused more than $1 billion in property damage.

“These events have created unique challenges that require designated State Department staff to coordinate relief to the Western Hemisphere’s most distressed economy,” said the lawmakers’ letter, which was spearheaded by Rep. Yvette Clarke, D-N.Y. The letter was signed by 10 Democrats and two Republicans, including Rep. Mia Love, R-Utah, a daughter of Haitian immigrants.

The lawmakers noted that the Haiti-focused office has overseen $4.6 billion in humanitarian relief since it was created following the 2010 earthquake. That aid has allowed for significant economic progress, they said, and is important to “maintain this progress and institutional knowledge at this critical juncture.”

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Click HERE for the original article.

Migrants Face Impending Humanitarian Crisis Along Mexican Border

March 13, 2017 - 08:13

The situation along the northern border of Mexico is approaching a humanitarian crisis, experts say. Thousands of migrants lack shelter, food or any source of income, as uncertainty looms surrounding the possibility of asylum. Many individuals and civil associations are taking the initiative to launch pilot programs to help the dislocated migrants meet their basic needs.

Part of the article is shown below. Click HERE for the original article.

Thousands Of Deported Haitians And Africans Wait To Cross The Border In Tijuana

Aída Chávez, Konbini

March 13, 2017

In recent years the number of deportees living in El Bordo zone that forms part of the drainage system from the Tijuana River located at the border with San Diego has escalated to catastrophic levels. According to the National Institute of Migration, this community of deported migrants is formed mainly of Haitian and African refugees, and between 2016 and 2017 reached almost 3,700 people – all stranded in Tijuana and hoping for re-entrance to the US.

The deportees, waiting to pass into the United States without documentation, are living in impoverished conditions where drugs (especially heroin) are only too easy to come by due to the presence of organized crime at the border.  

Click HERE for the original article.

UN Fundraising for Cholera Victims at 2% of Necessary Funds

March 12, 2017 - 11:15

After admitting the role of UN peacekeepers in causing Haiti’s deadly cholera outbreak, the UN is far behind in its goals to remedy the crisis. The ambitious $400 million plan would provide reparations to cholera victims, decrease the number of yearly cholera cases and invest in development projects to provide more clean drinking water and toilets. However, voluntary contributions to the campaign have constituted a mere 2% of necessary funds, sending a clear red flag that cholera victims may continue to wait for their promised reparations, or not receive them at all.

An excerpt is shown below. Click HERE for the full story.

UN Fund to Fight Cholera in Haiti at 2 Percent of Goal

Voice of America Learning English

March 12, 2017

Late last year, the United Nations promised to strengthen its fight against the spread of the deadly cholera disease. U.N. peacekeeping troops unknowingly brought the disease to Haiti seven years ago.

But, so far, the U.N. has raised just a small amount of the estimated $400 million it needs over the next two years to fight the disease.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres wrote that the voluntary funding received so far makes up only 2 percent of its goal. It has received around $8 million in funding.

The letter said that, as of February 8, Chile, France, India, Liechtenstein and South Korea together had promised almost $2 million. Outside of that fund, Japan has promised $2.6 million and Canada has committed about $6 million.

Guterres asked all member states to notify him by March 6 of their plans to help finance the campaign.

Click HERE for the full story.

UN Secretary-General Promises to Combat Sex Abuse and Exploitation

March 9, 2017 - 13:56

Haiti hosts a peacekeeping mission with one of the largest numbers of reported sexual exploitation and abuse. The UN Secretary-General is urging MINUSTAH to appoint a victims’ rights advocate to address the increase in reported cases. In a new report, he puts forth a four-part strategy to address policy changes regarding, among others, fraternization of peacekeepers, investigations into sexual abuse and victims’ rights.

Part of the article is shown below. Click HERE for the original article.

UN will put sex abuse victims first, urge action on abusers

Edith Lederer, Associated Press

March 9, 2017

Secretary-General Antonio Guterres announced new measures Thursday to tackle the increase in sexual abuse and exploitation by U.N. peacekeepers and staff, calling for a new focus on victims and bans on alcohol and fraternization for troops.

The report released Thursday also calls on the General Assembly to back the U.N. chief’s call for financial penalties for the failure to investigate allegations and conclude the probe “in a timely manner” — and to put that money into the Trust Fund already established for victims. But it didn’t specify who would have to pay.

“I fully recognize that no magic wand exists to end the problem of sexual exploitation and abuse,” Guterres said. “Nevertheless, I believe that we can dramatically improve how the United Nations addresses this scourge.”

Click HERE to read the full article.

Controversial UN Peacekeeping Mission to Leave Haiti

March 9, 2017 - 08:10

The UN peacekeeping mission in Haiti, which is known by its French acronym MINUSTAH, is likely to significantly downsize its presence in Haiti in the near future. Over 2,000 soldiers from 19 contributing countries will be sent home, although the plans for foreign police officers and civilian staff remain uncertain. Some suggest that civilian staff will remain in Haiti alongside the UN police, an unprecedented move in UN peacekeeping history.

Part of the article is shown below. Click HERE for the original article.

After lengthy mission, UN peacekeeper pullout looms in Haiti

David McFadden, Associated Press

March 9, 2017

A few dozen Brazilian troops wearing the blue helmets of the U.N. military force stroll through a dense warren of shacks in Haiti’s most notorious slum, facing no greater threat than a few barking dogs along some of the same streets where pitched gunbattles between gangs and peacekeepers used to be a daily occurrence.

Years of easygoing patrols like the one on this recent afternoon in the steamy seaside district of Cite Soleil is a clear sign to many both in Haiti and around the world that it’s time to wrap up a U.N. force that has been cycling through this Caribbean country since a 2004 rebellion engulfed Haiti in violence.

“We have a secure and stable environment,” Col. Luis Antonio Ferreira Marques Ramos, deputy commander of the Brazilian peacekeeper contingent, told The Associated Press. “The important thing is to leave in a good way.”

Click HERE for the original article.

UN Expert Condemns Severe Overcrowding in Haiti’s Prisons

March 9, 2017 - 06:59

Current prison conditions in Haiti compromise the basic human rights and health of approximately 10,500 incarcerated individuals. Haitian prisons are overcrowded by 644%, according to the UN expert on human rights, and many inmates barely have space to stand in Port-au-Prince’s prisons. The horrific sanitary conditions and severe overcrowding will likely lead to unnecessary deaths in the coming months.

Part of the article is shown below. Click HERE for the original article.

UN expert flags ‘daily violations’ in Haiti prisons

Jamaica Observer

March 9, 2017

Inmates in Haiti are subjected to “daily violations” of their fundamental rights, mostly stemming from egregious prison overcrowding resulting from the overuse of lengthy preventive detentions, a UN official said Thursday.

Gustavo Gallon, a UN expert focusing on human rights, said the impoverished Caribbean nation often flouts UN incarceration standards of 4.5 metres (14.8 feet) of prison area per inmate.

By those norms, Haiti’s prisons are overcrowded by some 644 per cent, Gallon said at a press conference in Port-au-Prince on his eighth visit to the divided Caribbean island shared with the Dominican Republic.

Click HERE for the original article.

Komite Jistis pou Twa (3) Fanm Soud nan Kabare yo / Justice Committee for the Three (3) Deaf Women in Cabaret

March 8, 2017 - 12:46

Port-au Prince, le 08 Mars 2017


A l’approche de 18 mars 2017, date qui marquera le premier anniversaire de l’assassinat des trois (3) femmes sourdes à Cabaret (Sophonie GELIN, Vanessa PREVIL et Monique VINCENT),  le 18 mars 2016. Le KOMITE JISTIS POU 3 FANM SOUD KABARE YO tient à exprimer son indignation face au traitement discriminatoire et laxiste des autorités judiciaires, et au mépris inquiétant des instances se donnant pour tâche  de défendre les droits des femmes en Haïti, en particulier le Ministère à la Condition Féminine et aux Droits de la Femme, à l’égard de ce dossier.

En effet, selon les faits rapportés par le  Réseau National de Défense des Droits Humains (RNDDH) , dans son rapport publié le 26 Avril 2016[1], dans l’après-midi du 18 mars 2016  Sophonie GELIN, Vanessa PREVIL et Monique VINCENT ont eu des difficultés à  rentrer chez elles à Cabaret, en raison du fait que la route a été bloquée suite à l’effondrement du pont Duvivier, au niveau de la Route neuf. Par conséquent, le chauffeur de la camionnette qui les transportait n’a pas pu continuer le chemin, et elles étaient obligées de faire le reste du trajet à pied. Au cours de route, étant donné qu’il se faisait très tard, Vanessa PREVIL a invité ses amies (Sophonie GELIN et Monique VINCENT) à aller dormir chez sa nièce, Alexandre FLEURANVIL, qui vit avec sa famille élargie à Haut Damier. Il était aux environs de minuit quand Vanessa PREVIL et ses amies  sont arrivées devant la maison où habite sa nièce et se mettaient à frapper à la barrière, jusqu’à lancer des pierres en direction de la maison pour se faire entendre car elles ne pouvaient pas répondre à l’appel de Guerlande JEAN qui leur demande de s’identifier. Pensant qu’il s’agissait de loups garous, Guerlande Jean, la sœur du mari de la nièce de Vanessa GELIN, a appelé son compagnon Isemelord MORANCY qui n’était pas dans la maison à ce moment. C’est ainsi que ce dernier, accompagné d’autres agresseurs, ont assassiné  avec une hache et des pierres Sophonie GELIN, Vanessa PREVIL et Monique VINCENT. Puis, Leo RENEL, Ti Menmwen ainsi connu, avec l’aide d’autres personnes non identifiées, ont aidé Isemelord MORANCY  à transporter les cadavres via une brouette pour les jeter au bord de la route.

Dénoncée par l’opinion publique, la justice Haïtienne a été contrainte de se saisir de ce dossier afin de prononcer le mot du droit y relatif. Du coup, les proches des victimes et leurs avocats du Bureau des Avocats Internationaux (BAI), Maitre Mario Joseph et ses collègues, ont  pris le soin de respecter les procédures pouvant déterminer les conditions dans lesquelles les victimes ont été lâchement assassinées. Ainsi, ils ont pu obtenir le constat d’un juge et  une autopsie, en dépit des difficultés rencontrées, tout en s’assurant que le dossier soit acheminé au niveau du cabinet d’instruction. Malheureusement, près d’un an après cet assassinat odieux, le juge d’instruction chargé de ce dossier  tarde encore à rendre son Ordonnance de clôture, alors que le juge aurait dû remettre son rapport dans trois (3) mois d’après la loi haïtienne. Une situation très  préoccupante pour le KOMITE JISTIS POU 3 FANM SOUD KABARE YO, quand on sait les problèmes de discrimination liés à la condition des personnes handicapées en Haïti et dans ce cas très précis, qui sont également des femmes, dans une société foncièrement sexiste.

En ce sens, le KOMITE JISTIS POU 3 FANM SOUD KABARE YO  ne comprend pas le silence du Ministère à la Condition Féminine et aux Droits de la Femme, qui  se donne pour tâche de promouvoir l’équité de genre et le respect du droit de la femme haïtienne.

le KOMITE JISTIS POU 3 FANM SOUD KABARE YO attire l’attention de l’opinion publique sur le fait que le policier Nixon ALTENOR qui habite une maison derrière celle où les faits se sont produits et avait conseillé aux agresseurs d’aller jeter les cadavres des victimes, n’a pas été invité voire auditionné par le juge instructeur, ainsi que Madame Rosemarie EXAYUS qui était dans la maison lors de l’assassinat. A noter également, Ismelord MORENCY, denoncé par la clameur publique et sa conjointe, Guerlande JEAN, au Cabinet d’Instruction ; et Leo RENEL, dénoncé  aussi par sa conjointe, Djouly JOSEPH, au Cabinet d’Instruction et TI MENMWEN ainsi connu  qui ont tous aidé Ismelord MORENCY  à transporter les cadavres des victimes, n’ont été ni recherchés ni auditionnés par le Juge instructeur.

Enfin, le KOMITE JISTIS POU 3 FANM SOUD KABARE YO, tout en exigeant justice et réparation, tient à exprimer d’abord ses indignations quant à la manière de proceder par le Juge Instructeur, laissant  présager une instruction bâclée et d’ailleurs qui ne respecte pas le délai imparti pour rendre son Ordonnance de clôture et ensuite, ses sympathies aux proches des victimes, principalement aux six (6) enfants de Sophonie GELIN qui sont aujourd’hui orphelins de leur mère, et qui font face à toutes sortes de difficultés à caractère socio-économiques ; et à la communauté des personnes handicapées en général.

Unissons – nous pour que justice soit faite aux trois victimes et à leurs parents !


Gary VINCENT, Représentant des parents des victimes  Tél : 3666 9308

Jonas CADET, Pésident de la Fédération Nationale des Sourds d’Haïti Tél : 4931 7954

Mario JOSEPH,  Avocat  et Responsable du Bureau des Avocats Internationaux (BAI) Tél : 3701 9879

CC :        -Madame Florence ELIE, Office du Protecteur du Citoyen (OPC)
-Madame Marie Denise CLAUDE, Ministère à la condition Féminine et aux Droits de la Femme    (MCFDF)
-Maitre Camille Junior EDOUARD, Ministère de la Justice et de la Sécurité Publique (MJSP)
-Monsieur Gustavo GALLON, Expert indépendant des Nations Unies sur la Situation des Droits  Humains    en Haïti
-Jose de Jesus Orozca Hernandez, Rapporteur Spécial de la Commission Interaméricaine des Droits  Humains (CIDH)

[1] Réseau National de Défense des Droits Humains (RNDDH), Assassinat de trois sourdes-muettes par des proches d’une des victimes: Le RNDDH exige le jugement des coupables, Rapport/A16/No02,  26 avril 2016



Port-au Prince, March 8, 2017


As March 18 of 2017 approaching, the date will mark the first anniversary of the murder of three deaf women in Cabaret (Sophonie GELIN, Vanessa PREVIL and Monique VINCENT) on 18 March 2016. The KOMITE JISTIS POU 3 FANM SOUD KABARE YO expresses his indignation at the discriminatory and lax treatment of the judicial authorities and at the disquieting disregard for the bodies entrusted with the task of defending the rights of women in Haiti, in particular the Ministry for the Status of Women and Human Rights. Woman, with regard to this case.

According to facts reported by the National Network for the Defense of Human Rights (RNDDH), in its report published on April 26 2016, in the afternoon of March 18 2016, Sophonie GELIN, Vanessa PREVIL and Monique VINCENT had difficulties returning to their home in Cabaret, because the road was blocked following the collapse of the Duvivier bridge, at the level of route nine. As a result, the driver of the pickup truck carrying them could not keep going on the road, and they were obliged to do the rest of the road walking. On the way, given that it was very late, Vanessa PREVIL invited her friends (Sophonie GELIN and Monique VINCENT) to go sleep over her niece, Alexandre FLEURANVIL, who lives with her extended family in Haut Damier. It was around midnight when Vanessa PREVIL and her friends arrived in front of the house where her niece lives and began to knock at the barrier, throw stones in the direction of the house to be heard because they could not respond to the request of Guerlande JEAN who asks them to identify themselves. Thinking it was werewolves, Guerlande Jean, the sister of Vanessa GELIN’s niece’s husband, called her companion Isemelord MORANCY who was not in the house at that time. Thus, the latter, accompanied by other aggressors, assassinated with an ax and stones Sophonie GELIN, Vanessa PREVIL and Monique VINCENT. Then, Leo RENEL, Ti Menmwen as well known, with the help of other unidentified persons, helped Isemelord MORANCY to transport the corpses via a wheelbarrow to throw them by the roadside.

Denounced by public opinion, Haitian justice was obliged to seize this case in order to pronounce the word of the right relating to it. As a result, the relatives of the victims and their lawyers from the International Lawyers’ Office (BAI), Mario Joseph and his colleagues, were careful to respect the procedures that can determine the conditions under which the victims were cowardly murdered. Thus, they were able to obtain a judge’s report and an autopsy, despite the difficulties encountered, while ensuring that the case was forwarded to the investigative office. Unfortunately, almost one year after this odious assassination, the investigating judge in charge of this case still delays in making his Closing Order, whereas the judge should have submitted his report within three (3) months according to the Haitian law. A very worrying situation for the KOMITE JISTIS POU 3 FANM SOUD KABARE YO, when we know the problems of discrimination related to the condition of disabled people in Haiti and in this very specific case, who are also women, in a fundamentally sexist society.

In this sense, the KOMITE JISTIS POU 3 FANM SOUD KABARE YO does not understand the silence of the Ministry of Feminine Condition and Women Rights, whose task is to promote gender equity and respect for the right of the Haitian woman.

KOMITE JISTIS POU 3 FANM SOUD KABARE YO draws the public’s attention to the fact that policeman Nixon ALTENOR, who lives in a house behind the one where the incident occurred, advised the attackers to go and throw the corpses victims, was not invited or even heard by the investigating judge, as well as Mrs Rosemarie EXAYUS who was in the house during the assassination. Note also Ismelord MORENCY, denounced by the public clamor and his spouse, Guerlande JEAN, to the Cabinet of Instruction; And Leo RENEL, also denounced by his spouse, Djouly JOSEPH, to the Investigative Office and TI MENMWEN as known who all helped Ismelord MORENCY transport the corpses of the victims, were neither sought nor heard by the Judge instructor.

Lastly, the KOMITE JISTIS POU 3 FANM SOUD KABARE YO, while demanding justice and reparation, wishes to express his indignation at first as to the manner of proceeding by the Judge Instructor, suggesting a sloppy and, Not the deadline for issuing its Closing Order and secondly, its sympathies to the relatives of the victims, mainly to the six (6) children of Sophonie GELIN who are now orphaned by their mother and who face all sorts of socio-economic difficulties; and at the general disability community.

Let us unite for justice to be done to the three victims and their parents!


Gary VINCENT, Representative of the parents of the victims Tel: 3666 9308

Jonas CADET, President of the National Federation of the Deaf of Haiti Tel: 4931 7954

Mario JOSEPH, Lawyer and Head of the Office of International Lawyers (BAI) Tel: 3701 9879


CC: -Mrs. Florence ELIE, Office of the Protector of Citizen (OPC)
-Madame Marie Denise CLAUDE, Ministry for the Status of Women and Women’s Rights (MCFDF)
-Maitre Camille Junior EDOUARD, Ministry of Justice and Public Security (MJSP)
-Mr. Gustavo Gallon, United Nations Independent Expert on the Situation of Human Rights in Haiti
-Jose de Jesus Orozca Hernandez, Special Rapporteur of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR)

Food Insecurity Plagues Haiti in Hurricane Matthew Aftermath

March 7, 2017 - 10:32

In the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Matthew, over 800,000 Haitians were left without food, and approximately 280,000 are still highly food insecure. The storm destroyed agriculture, livestock and homes; many Haitians lost their entire livelihoods to the massive storm. Its effects will also continue to plague the country in years to come; 2/3 of jobs in Haiti are based in agriculture, and the country is dependent upon subsistence farming to generate food for its citizens. However, droughts leading up to the hurricane caused food production to already fall behind necessary levels, and Haiti is ranked the 7th most vulnerable country to climate change. Significant policy changes must address Haiti’s chronic food insecurity and vulnerability to natural disasters in order to alleviate the food shortages facing the country.

Part of the report is shown below. Click HERE for the original report.

Special Report: Failed policies in Haiti fuel a post-hurricane food crisis

Helena Carpio and Magnus Boding Hansen, IRIN

March 7, 2017

The church’s roof peeled off an hour before dawn, killing three of the villagers sheltering under it and forcing the rest into a flooded field where they sat hand-in-hand waiting for the hurricane to pass. The next morning, they took stock. Most people had lost their homes, livestock and all their crops.

Hurricane Matthew, which made landfall on the southwestern tip of Haiti on 4 October last year, was the strongest storm to hit the country in 52 years. It killed some 1,332 people, according to local officials, and, in the immediate aftermath, left 800,000 more without food.

Five months later, the UN estimates that 280,000 people are “highly food insecure”, and hard-hit coastal villages like Côteaux still resemble bomb craters full of washed-up garbage, rubble and felled coconut trees.

“Our politicians have failed,” says 51-year-old farmer Serdé Ranodio, after a service held at a small cement-block house, built behind the ruins of the village church.

Although Ranodio’s family now sleeps on the bare ground of a hastily erected tin shack, his daughters attended the service in polished patent leather shoes and with red bows in their hair. Ranodio helped clear the main road in the days after the hurricane to allow aid to come in, but other than some chaotic food and tarp distributions, not much help arrived.

Click HERE to read the full report.

Hurricane Matthew Cost Haiti 32% of GDP, $2.7 Billion

March 6, 2017 - 09:19

A new report highlights the devastating effects of Hurricane Matthew in Haiti, and the critical need for support to improve disaster risk management in the country. As a direct result of the hurricane, Haiti lost $2.7 billion dollars, a crippling 32% of its GDP. The UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Disaster Risk Reduction now urges support for a 3-year recovery plan that would total $2.72 billion.

Part of the article is shown below. Click HERE for the original article.

UN calls for support to recovery plan as Haiti loses $2.7 billion in Hurricane Matthew

United Nations News Centre

March 6, 2017

The United Nations office dedicated to disaster risk reduction today called for urgent support to improve disaster risk management in Haiti, following a damage assessment that shows the country lost $2.7 billion, or 32 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP), as a result of Hurricane Matthew six months ago.

“Hurricane Matthew revealed disturbing truths about least developed countries which lack the capacity to respond adequately to climate change and the rising intensity and frequency of weather-related disasters,” said the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Disaster Risk Reduction, Robert Glasser in a press release.

His call came on the eve of the 5th Regional Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction in the Americas, which opens in Montreal, Canada, tomorrow.

Click HERE for the original article.