CCHR Launches Joint Project on Health and Human Rights in Haiti

Author: Susan Good

Jean Marc Brissau The Center for Civil and Human Rights (CCHR) has joined the Notre Dame Haiti Program to launch a joint project on health and human rights in Haiti. The yearlong project is headed by Haitian lawyer Jean-Marc Brissau, a graduate of the CCHR’s LL.M. program in international human rights law.

The joint project will build on the strengths and records of achievement of two Notre Dame programs recognized as leaders in their respective fields. The Haiti Program, part of the Eck Family Center for Global Health, is a world leader in the fight for higher standards of health in Haiti. The CCHR, celebrating its 35th Anniversary in 2008, is the oldest center for the study of human rights associated with an American law school.

The Haiti Program and its partners are steadily moving toward the creation of a model for worldwide elimination of lymphatic filariasis, a debilitating and preventable disease that has infected more than 26% of Haitians. The joint project will allow the CCHR to infuse this new model with a human rights perspective, analyzing the endemic filariasis situation in terms of Haiti’s domestic and international legal obligations. The project will also address the fact that Haiti is one of the few remaining countries on the planet that fails to iodize its domestic salt supply.

“After identifying the legal obligations of the Haitian government in the field of health, our project will gather partners and resources for a coordinated medical and legal response,” says Brissau.

CCHR assistant director Sean O’Brien hopes that the project will advance the University’s Catholic mission. O’Brien observes, “Brissau is applying his Notre Dame legal training to advance the common good of his fellow Haitians. It is a privilege to join the Haiti Program as ‘learning becomes service to justice.’”