Testifying for Haitian Women's Human Rights
Posted on: Monday, June 7, 2010
This week, MADRE and our partners are in Geneva at the 14th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council.
Malya Villard-Appolon, a Haitian women’s rights activist and MADRE partner who has lived in the camps for displaced people since the earthquake destroyed her home in January, testified Monday before representatives from the Human Rights Council in Geneva.
Malya, a leader of KOFAVIV, a MADRE's sister organization in Haiti, testified about the skyrocketing incidence of rape in the camps. She identifies herself as a rape survivor and described measures that governments need to take to prevent sexual violence in Haiti.
Testifying before the Human Rights Council, which is comprised of 47 national delegates, is a way to talk directly to governments about conditions that Haitian women are facing in the camps for internally displaced persons. Getting Malya's testimony on the record is part of MADRE's campaign to press governments, particularly the major financers of Haiti's reconstruction, to act to reduce gender-based violence in the camps.
In the short-term, we want governments to enact preventative measures like lighting in the camps and secure latrines. In the longer-term, we want Haitian women's rights to be upheld at all stages of reconstruction and for women's human rights to be integrated into disaster response and rebuilding, not just in Haiti, but around the world.
Having Malya come from the camps to tell her story to the governments of the world is a first step towards achieving these goals.
We will provide more updates during the next week.