On April 3, Loune Viaud of Zanmi Lasante became the first Haitian woman to address the UN Security Council. She discussed the situation women and girls confront in Haiti, highlighting progress since the 2010 earthquake, while also detailing significant gaps in the implementation of the Women, Peace and Security agenda. She called on the UN, which promised support and change in 2014, four years after Haiti’s cholera outbreak began, to hold itself to its promises.
Loune spoke about the work of Zanmi Lasante to fill the gaps in services to women and girls, like providing crucial maternity care and cancer care to women and addressing the healthcare needs of survivors of sexual and gender-based violence. She highlighted three key challenges for the UN Security Council to prioritize:
- women’s access to healthcare
- sexual and gender-based violence
- women's political participation
For example, since 2012 the Haitian Senate has been poised to pass the draft Penal Code, a bill that could make tremendous progress to uphold fundamental rights and freedoms of the Haitian people– yet the bill remains pending in Parliament. The draft Penal Code would amend the definition of sexual assault to ensure that it is based on consent and reflects international legal standards to ensure justice for survivors of sexual and gender-based violence.