Organizing for Haitian Women's Human Rights
Posted on: Friday, April 2, 2010
On Wednesday, March 31, governments gathered at UN headquarters in New York for a major conference on reconstruction in Haiti. On the same day, MADRE organized a press conference as part of a coalition of Haitian and international women's organizations to demand a human-rights based approach to reconstruction.
Edwidge Danticat, a Haitian writer and long-time friend of MADRE, and Marie Saint Cyr, a Haitian human rights advocate who is a member of our Board, spoke about the need for women's voices in the process of reconstruction.
As Danticat said, "If we stay silent, as concerned women, along with our sisters, too many voices will be left out of this conversation. There can be no real reconstruction without inclusion of the poorest of the poor, the majority of them are women; without inclusion of grassroots voices, Haitian-led voices, rural voices and, certainly, female voices."
Marie St. Cyr told a moving story about her recent trip to Haiti, sharing her grief at the loss of family members and at seeing the grim horrors of day-to-day existence in camps around the country.
The panel also included representatives from three different UN agencies: Kathy Magones from UNIFEM-Haiti, Nigel Fisher President of UNICEF-Canada and Winnie Byanyima of the UN Deveopment Program Gender Team.
Read "The Gender Shadow Report," a response to the Post-Disaster Needs Assessment (PDNA) in Haiti.
Watch a video from the event: