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MADRE Calls for International Solidarity with Haitian Women's Human Rights Defenders under Threat
Posted on: Monday, November 4, 2013
A man, who witnesses indicate was armed, stationed himself outside the KOFAVIV Center. He accosted a KOFAVIV activist on her way in, demanding that Malya Villard Appolon, the General Coordinator of KOFAVIV, appear before him. On that same day, workers at the KOFAVIV Call Center received a threatening phone call.
MADRE was able to maintain constant contact with Malya over Skype during the hours that she and her staff were unable to leave the KOFAVIV Center. We reached out to our allies on the ground in Haiti and internationally to provide support and protection. The man escaped before the police were able to detain him. Fortunately, he was never able to enter the KOFAVIV Center.
This incident reveals a clear escalation in a pattern of intimidation and harassment against the leadership and staff of KOFAVIV, targeted as prominent voices calling for women’s human rights protections in Haiti.
These threats and acts of violence follow a wave of recent violent attacks.
- On August 23, armed men arrived at Malya’s home. They fired several rounds of bullets into her front gate.
- On September 4, three other KOFAVIV staff members were held at gunpoint near the KOFAVIV Center. The assailants sped away with the staff members’ wallets, cell phones, and the keys to the KOFAVIV car which the organization uses to transport rape survivors to the hospitals and to the courts.
- On September 15, Malya came back to her house to find that both of her dogs had been poisoned.