For Immediate Release
New Report on Sexual Violence in Haiti One Year After the Earthquake
NEW YORK - Today, MADRE, the Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti (IJDH),
the Bureau des Avocats Internationaux (BAI) and the IWHR Clinic of CUNY
School of Law released a report on sexual violence in Haiti one year
after the earthquake, entitled Our Bodies Are Still Trembling: Haitian Women Continue to Fight Against Rape.
The catastrophic January 12, 2010 earthquake took the lives of some
200,000 people and left approximately 1.5 million Haitians homeless.
Forced to live in overcrowded displacement camps without adequate
lighting or security, women and girls have faced an epidemic of sexual
violence. Despite tireless efforts by Haitian women in the camps,
incidents of rape continue to rise. Over the year, deteriorating
conditions in the camps, a deadly cholera outbreak, political upheaval
and persistent impunity for rape have actually increased insecurity and
the risk of sexual violence for women. Moreover, the Haitian
government's recently issued plan for transitional housing may take
years to implement. Quite simply, there is no end in sight for the
dangerous conditions in which Haitian women and girls live.
On December 22, 2010, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights
(IACHR) granted a legal request submitted by a group of advocates and
attorneys, including the authors of the report, requesting that the
Haitian government and the international community take immediate
measures to prevent violence against women and girls in Haiti. This
decision is legally binding, and represents a firm step towards ensuring
the safety and security of women and girls in Haiti.
Lisa Davis, MADRE's Human Rights Advocacy Director and co-author of the
report, said today, "Unfortunately, the only difference between six
months ago and today is that sexual violence in displacement camps is
only now being recognized as an issue, but still not much is being done.
Grassroots women's organizations in Haiti remain committed to bringing
this issue to light, and they have been working relentlessly to combat
the epidemic of sexual violence. It is time for the international
community to join with these women to find a solution to the women's
rights crisis in Haiti."
"One year after the earthquake in Haiti, sexual violence against women
and girls continues to occur at shocking levels," said Annie Gell, the
BAI's Rape Accountability and Prevention Project Coordinator. "Haitian
grassroots groups and their partners have been working tirelessly and at
great personal risk to protect and empower women and girls. However,
the international community has largely failed to do its part despite
its vast resources. We call on all actors in Haiti to work together to
end gender-based violence in the country."
Erica Richards, an attorney with Morrison & Foerster LLP, said
today, "The recent and very gratifying decision issued by the
Inter-American Commission on Human Rights recognizes that sexual
violence occurring in post-earthquake Haiti continues to pose imminent
danger to women and children. It also serves as a reminder to the
international community that much remains to be done to protect and
assist Haiti's most vulnerable populations."
To read the full report, click here.
Available for interviews:
Lisa Davis, Esq. (MADRE and the International Women's Human
Rights Clinic at CUNY School of Law) was a co-author of the report and
currently serves as the Coordinator for the Lawyers' Earthquake Response
Network (LERN) Gender Working Group. She is a member of the New York
City Bar Association's International Human Rights Committee and the
National Lawyers' Guild Haiti Subcommittee. Lisa is an Adjunct Professor
of Law for the International Women's Human Rights Clinic at CUNY Law
(Contact: Stephanie Küng 212-627-0444)
Annie Gell, Esq. (Legal Fellow at the Bureau des Avocats
Internationaux) is a human rights attorney and the Rape Accountability
and Prevention Project (RAPP) coordinator at the BAI in Port-au-Prince,
(Contact: Annie Gell +509-3610-2882, firstname.lastname@example.org)
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MADRE is an international women's human rights organization that works in partnership with community-based women's organizations worldwide to address issues of health and reproductive rights, economic development, education, and other human rights. MADRE provides resources, training, and support to enable our sister organizations to meet concrete needs in their communities while working to shift the balance of power to promote long-term development and social justice. Since we began in 1983, MADRE has delivered nearly 25 million dollars worth of support to community-based women's organizations in Latin America, the Caribbean, the Middle East, Africa, Asia, the Balkans, and the United States. For more information about MADRE, visit our website at www.madre.org.