UPDATE: Since this blog entry was originally posted, there has been a further escalation in the violent threats targeted against our partners at KOFAVIV. More information here.
In the dark, early hours of August 23, unidentified armed men arrived at the home of Malya Villard Appolon, KOFAVIV’s General Coordinator, and fired several rounds of bullets into her front gate.
Although the police responded quickly, the assailants escaped. On September 4, three other KOFAVIV staff members were held at gunpoint near the KOFAVIV Center. The assailants sped away with the staff members’ wallets, cell phones, and the keys to the KOFAVIV car which the organization uses to transport rape survivors to the hospitals and to the courts. On September 15, Malya came back to her house to find that both of her dogs had been poisoned.
These attacks are the latest in a series of escalating threats against KOFAVIV workers and their families.
Since the shooting, MADRE has maintained daily communication with KOFAVIV, working closely with co-founders Malya and Eramithe Delva to enact a security plan. MADRE alerted members of the media, human rights networks and international partners about these threats. On September 4, MADRE staff traveled to Port-au-Prince to meet with Malya and Eramithe to hone legal and organizational strategies in response to the attacks.
MADRE will continue to support them through this difficult time. We’re thankful to be part of a strong community of organizations working on behalf of women human rights defenders in Haiti and around the world.