Many Voices: Combining International Human Rights Advocacy and Grassroots Activism to End Sexual Violence in Haiti
Posted on: Wednesday, February 29, 2012
On January 12, 2010, less than one minute of violent shaking took over 200,000 lives in Haiti and rendered more than one million more homeless. The reverberations of the earthquake are still being felt. Haitian women have remained at the epicenter of a corollary disaster: an epidemic of sexual violence in the displacement camps of Port-au-Prince.
Since the earthquake, MADRE, an international women’s human rights organization, has worked with our local partner organization, KOFAVIV, a Haitian grassroots women’s group founded by and for rape survivors. The two organizations have implemented community-based anti-violence strategies in the camps and worked to meet the most urgent needs of rape survivors. This short-term action has been coupled with an international human rights advocacy strategy to create lasting change that protects the lives and rights of women living in hazardous conditions in the camps.
This paper will chronicle the advocacy approach behind the broader human rights “Campaign to End the Epidemic of Rape in Haiti.” The campaign has succeeded in opening political and policymaking spaces previously closed to Haitian grassroots women activists and generated a landmark legal decision. These advances reflect a model in which the expertise of an international women’s human rights organization is mobilized in the service of a community- based women’s group. The approach enables international human rights mechanisms that are far removed from the local context to be activated in a manner responsive to the self-identified needs and political demands of women who are themselves the survivors of gross human rights violations. While legal advocacy for human rights is often most effectively undertaken in the international arena, human rights violations are necessarily local events. Crafting a legal strategy that is an organic extension of a broader grassroots political mobilization serves to bridge the gap between the local and international arenas of advocacy, strengthening the work of each.
By Yifat Susskind, MADRE Executive Director
To read the full report, click here.
Archives"Press Releases" Home June 2014 March 2014 February 2014 January 2014 September 2013 August 2013 June 2013 March 2013 February 2013 September 2012 July 2012 June 2012 May 2012 April 2012 March 2012 February 2012 January 2012 November 2011 October 2011 September 2011 August 2011 June 2011 May 2011 April 2011 March 2011 February 2011 January 2011 November 2010 October 2010 July 2010 June 2010 May 2010 April 2010 March 2010 February 2010 January 2010 December 2009 September 2009 July 2009 June 2009 May 2009 April 2009 March 2009 January 2009 October 2008 September 2008 July 2008 June 2008 May 2008 February 2008 January 2008 November 2007 October 2007 September 2007 August 2007 March 2007 February 2007 December 2006 October 2006 July 2006 June 2006 September 2005 January 2004 August 2001
MADRE & Our Partners Make News
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)
Under Isis, Iraqi women again face an old nightmare: violence and repression (The Guardian, July 3, 2014)