Take Action Now to Stop Gender-Based Violence in Haiti
Posted on: Monday, April 26, 2010
Targeting: Major General Gerardo Christian Chaumont (UN Pol, MINUSTAH), Edmond Mulet (UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General), Yukio Takasu (President UN Security Council), Force Commander Major General Luiz Paul Cruz (MINUSTAH), Rashida Manjoo (UN Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women) and Michel Forst (UN Independent Expert on Human Rights in Haiti)
Started by: Institute for Justice And Democracy in Haiti
Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti; Digital Democracy; Human Rights Clinic at University of Minnesota Law School; MADRE; New-Media Advocacy Project; Partners in Health; University of Virginia School of Law Human Rights Program
As Haiti’s earthquake toppled buildings, it also toppled social structures that provided Haitian women some protection against sexual violence. Rape was widespread before January 12, but the hundreds of thousands of women now living on the streets or in camps, often without their family and neighborhood networks, are more vulnerable than ever. As of March 21, grassroots outreach workers had tracked 230 cases of rape in 15 camps, over 15 incidents per camp, in a partial survey. There has been no comprehensive survey and, sadly, UNIFEM’s database for collecting data on sexual violence was destroyed in the earthquake. But, with over 500 camps in Port-au-Prince alone, it is clear that sexual violence is widespread.
There have been some efforts by Haitian officials and the international community to provide protection and post-rape services, but these efforts have fallen short. This is unacceptable. Numerous international standards and guidelines warn of heightened levels of gender-based violence in the wake of disaster and provide recommendations for ensuring women’s safety, care and legal recourse. Contrary to the recommendations, Haitian women have been systematically excluded or underrepresented in earthquake response decisions. Women’s repeated requests for inclusion in the Post-Disaster Needs Assessment (PDNA) process and the UN Donor meetings on March 31 went unanswered. By leaving Haitian women themselves out of the discussion, so too were their needs.
On her visit to Haiti last weekend, UN Deputy Secretary-General Asha Rose Migiro listened to women’s fears of being sexually assaulted or beaten. She also noted the critical conditions people are living in (see a video on conditions in the camps and sign a petition demanding improved aid distribution). The UN Independent Expert on Human Rights in Haiti, Michel Forst is in Haiti this week where he too will reportedly listen to women and other at-risk populations.
The UN has taken the first step by listening to women. Action must follow. To call on the UN, and more specifically the Security Council, MINUSTAH, UN Member states and the Government of Haiti, to take the next step, sign the petition.
Take Strong Actions Now to Stop Gender-Based Violence in Haiti
I sign this petition to express my concern about the inadequate response to the rampant sexual violence Haitian women and girls face daily. I applaud the three-day visit of UN Deputy Secretary-General Asha Rose Migiro to listen to the people of Haiti in this time of crisis and her attention given to these issues. More can and should be done. Independent Expert Michel Forst should build on the work of Deputy Migiro. When the Security Council meets on April 28, 2010, to discuss implementation of MINUTSAH’s mandate, gender-based violence issues should be at the top of the agenda.
The UN, tasked with security and protection, must provide for the protection and promotion of women’s human rights in Haiti immediately. At the same time, the UN must be looking towards long-term solutions outlined in the reconstruction plan for Haiti, including incorporating women’s voices and assuring justice for victims of sexual violence. A women’s perspective is critical to avoid recovery policies that inadvertently reproduce discrimination against women and leave them vulnerable to gender-based violence. Such actions would comply with the principles outlined in key humanitarian documents, including the UN Guiding Principles on Internally Displaced Persons and the UN Gender in Humanitarian Response Working Group’s Guidelines on Gender Mainstreaming.
I urgently request that the UN and more specifically the Security Council, MINUSTAH and UN Member states respond more efficiently and effectively to Haiti’s earthquake. This includes measures aimed at prevention, protection and participation:
• Strengthen security in displacement camps, with specific attention to protecting women from gender-based violence. To this end, secure safe spaces for women to meet and organize and encourage, duplicate and finance initiatives of women’s groups, such as citizen camp surveillance committees.
• Consult with and include Haitian political, non-governmental and grassroots women leaders in needs assessment, and in the design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of relief and reconstruction programs.
• Urge police-contributing Member States to answer the call of the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) to deploy to Haiti more female UN police officers trained as sexual and gender-based violence specialists.
• Work with the Bangladesh Government to dispatch, in a timely fashion, the promised all-women Formed Police Unit (FPU).
• Provide the means for victims to report incidents of sexual violence, and emergency health and mental health services.
• Ensure the effective collection of evidence for accountability and prosecution.
• At the Security Council meeting on April 28, urge members to take strong measures and actions to address the situation of gender-based violence, especially in the Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps in Haiti.
• Urge the Government of Haiti to draft a National Plan of Action to implement UN Security Council Resolutions 1325 (2000), 1612 (2005), 1820 (2008), 1882 (2009), 1888 (2009), and 1889 (2009) with an appropriate timeframe and budget.
Archives"Press Room" Home September 2014 August 2014 July 2014 June 2014 May 2014 April 2014 March 2014 February 2014 January 2014 December 2013 November 2013 October 2013 September 2013 August 2013 July 2013 June 2013 May 2013 April 2013 March 2013 February 2013 January 2013 December 2012 November 2012 October 2012 September 2012 August 2012 July 2012 June 2012 May 2012 April 2012 March 2012 February 2012 January 2012 December 2011 November 2011 October 2011 September 2011 August 2011 July 2011 June 2011 May 2011 April 2011 March 2011 February 2011 January 2011 December 2010 November 2010 October 2010 September 2010 August 2010 July 2010 June 2010 May 2010 April 2010 March 2010 February 2010 January 2010 December 2009 November 2009 October 2009 September 2009 August 2009 July 2009 June 2009 May 2009 April 2009 March 2009 February 2009 January 2009 December 2008 November 2008 October 2008 September 2008 August 2008 July 2008 June 2008 May 2008 April 2008 March 2008 February 2008 January 2008 December 2007 November 2007 October 2007 September 2007 August 2007 June 2007 May 2007 April 2007 March 2007 February 2007 January 2007 December 2006 November 2006 October 2006 September 2006 July 2006 June 2006 April 2006 March 2006 January 2006 December 2005 November 2005 September 2005 August 2005 July 2005 April 2005 March 2005 November 2004 October 2004 April 2004 March 2004 January 2004 December 2003 October 2003 September 2003 June 2003 April 2003 January 2003 September 2002 June 2002 January 2002 November 2001 October 2001 September 2001 August 2001 January 2001
MADRE & Our Partners Make News
Peru TV slammed by UN as racial stereotypes paraded for cheap laughs (The Guardian, September 3, 2014)
In Iraq, women 'are the battlefield' (Women Under Siege , August 12, 2014)
Haitian woman faces death threats for speaking out about violence against women (WBEZ Worldview, July 16, 2014)
Media Spotlight Turns Away from Iraq, as Concerns Mount Over Human Rights and Political Stalemate (Uprising Radio, July 11, 2014)
Iraq: The women left behind (Aljazeera, July 3, 2014)