16 days of activism against GBV, human rights organizations in Haiti speak out

CTN News

This is a joint statement made public this Friday, November 25, 2022, by several feminist, human rights and LGBTQIA2S+ organizations who are taking a stand against what they call systematic violations of the rights of women and transgender people.

This positioning is part of the movement called 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence (GBV), from November 25 to December 10, 2022, during which these organizations intend to renew their commitment to fight this phenomenon.

Organizations such as MARIJÀN, NÈGÈS MAWON, Arc-en-ciel d’Haiti (ORAH), Rezo Fanm Radyo Kominatè Ayisyen (REFRAKA), Réseau National de Défense des Droits Humains (RNDDH), Action Communautaire pour l’Intégration des Femmes Vulnérables en Haiti (ACIVH), Trans d’Haiti, Òganizasyon Feminis Dantò, Zantray Fanm Kreyòl, Initiative pour un Développement Equitable en Haiti (IDE) and KOURAJ, all agree in the name of respect for the rights of women and minority groups, and on the occasion of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women this November 25, to express their concern about the multidimensional crisis that has been raging in the country for several years now, without the state authorities intervening to curb it, reads the joint statement.

The high cost of living, the gang war, crimes of all kinds, as well as the mass rapes of which many women are victims, do not leave the signatory organizations indifferent, and they denounce what they call an impunity that has been established as a system in favor of the bandits. Such a climate has become increasingly dark with the announcement of the increase in the price of petroleum products by the government of Prime Minister Ariel Henry, reports the press note.

Faced with this macabre picture, the general living conditions of the population have worsened, the signatories complain, denouncing at the same time a clear increase this year in the systemic violation of human rights, including the rights of women, girls, women with reduced mobility, those living in marginalized neighborhoods: the rights of transgender women and the entire LGBTQIA2S+ community and women prisoners.

The note also denounces the lack of respect for the right to education of girls. Indeed, because of the situation, the schools are closed, until now, it emphasizes. It continues that young girls of school age are forced to confine themselves to high-risk neighborhoods where they are constantly exposed to rape, incestuous assault, sexual touching and early pregnancy.

The finger is also put on the situation of the “Madan Sara”, considered as the real spearhead of the informal sector, not being able to properly go about their daily activities while they are, for the most part, in charge of the well-being of their families.

Faced with this rather alarming situation, the document emphasizes the commitment of feminist organizations and human rights organizations to focus their intervention on the most vulnerable groups, at their own risk, by the way. The Haitian Feminist, Human Rights and LGBTQIA2S+ organizations signatories of the declaration also rigorously qualify as incompetent the de facto government of Ariel Henry who, according to them, is complicit in the terror that the Haitian people are living, especially its impact on women and girls.

The organizations say they are aware of the multiple violence and violations inflicted on women and girls in Haiti by foreign forces in the past, and therefore opt for a Haitian solution to the crisis in the country, while opposing any foreign intervention as initiated by the government.

The signatory organizations conclude by “reiterating their commitment to fight for a Haitian society that is more just, more equitable, more inclusive, more respectful of human rights, in particular the rights of women, girls, people living in informal settlements and disadvantaged areas, individuals with disabilities, prisoners, the LGBTQIA2S+ community and all minority groups.

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