RESOLUTION REGARDING LEGAL AND OTHER SERVICES FOR HAITIAN REFUGEES
WHEREAS, members of the Philadelphia Bar Association over the last several years have done pro bono legal work with Haitian refugees, particularly in the area of political asylum;
WHEREAS, a member of the Philadelphia Bar Association has recently traveled to Haiti in the course of his pro bono representation of Haitian refugees and has also recently traveled to Miami to work with Haitian refugees in that city;
WHEREAS, as a result of these activities, members of the Philadelphia Bar Association have become aware of certain legal issues in this area and that among these issues are:
1. The denial of effective legal counsel to Haitians who wish to apply for political asylum and/or refugee status under the laws of the United States and International Law.
2. Apparent attempts to discourage pro bono counsel from representing Haitians in litigation that seeks to obtain access to counsel and in litigation which seeks to challenge government policy on the treatment of Haitian refugees;
3. The failure of the Haitian military to observe the rule of law, the Haitian Constitution, international law, and the fair results of the free election which installed the first democratically elected government in nearly 200 years, the government of Jean-Bertrand Aristide;
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Philadelphia Bar Association:
1. Calls on the United States government through the Department of Justice and the Immigration and Naturalization Service, to encourage pro bono counsel to represent Haitian refugees and political asylum applicants, to avoid and eliminate obstacles to that representation and to observe U.S. and International Law concerning political asylum and refugees.
2. Calls on the present de facto government of Haiti to follow the rule of law by respecting the Haitian Constitution and International Law and to give effect to the democratic process by respecting the results of free elections.
PHILADELPHIA BAR ASSOCIATION
BOARD OF GOVERNORS
ADOPTED: July 23, 1992