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Haitian Women's Rights Activists Demand an End to Sexual Violence

Posted on: Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Keywords: Haiti, Latin American and Caribbean, Combating Violence Against Women, Human Rights Avocacy, UN

CONTACT: New York - Stephanie Küng, MADRE (212) 627-0444,
Geneva - Lisa Davis, MADRE & CUNY,

Haitian Women’s Rights Activists Demand an End to Sexual Violence

Wednesday, October 12 (Geneva) – Today, the demand of Haitian women’s rights activists for an end to violations of their human rights will be heard at the United Nations in Geneva. As the Haitian government faces the first review of its human rights record by the UN Human Rights Council, MADRE joins with our partners of the Haitian grassroots women’s organization KOFAVIV to call for renewed focus to protect women and girls against violence.

Since the earthquake, Haitian women and girls in the displacement camps have faced an epidemic of rape. They have lived without adequate security, lighting, shelter or privacy. MADRE’s sister organization KOFAVIV supports rape survivors with urgent care and connects them to medical and legal services.

Earlier this year, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), a regional human rights body, granted a series of “precautionary measures.” This decision followed a legal request submitted one year ago on behalf of displaced Haitian women. These measures legally bind the Haitian government to ensure adequate medical and psychological care for rape survivors, effective security, participation of grassroots women in policy-making and more.

Lisa Davis, MADRE Human Rights Advocacy Director and Clinical Professor of Law for the International Women’s Human Rights Clinic at CUNY School of Law, said today, “The review of the human rights record of the Haitian government is an invaluable opportunity to mobilize governments to stand up for Haitian women’s rights. The decision of the IACHR gave us the blueprint we need. Now the donor states present at the UN must provide the funding to enable the Haitian government to implement these steps.”

The legal request to the IACHR was submitted by a group of advocates and attorneys, including MADRE, the Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti (IJDH), the Bureau des Avocats Internationaux (BAI), the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) and CUNY School of Law.

Available for Comment:

In Geneva:
Lisa Davis, MADRE Human Rights Advocacy Director and Clinical Professor of Law for the International Women’s Human Rights Clinic at CUNY School of Law

In Port-au-Prince:
Malya Villard-Appollon, KOFAVIV General Coordinator
Eramithe Delva, KOFAVIV Executive Secretary
Jocie Philistin, KOFAVIV Project Coordinator

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