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International hearing on rape epidemic in Haiti

Date: 25 March 2011
MADRE press release

Today, petitioners MADRE, the Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti (IJDH), the Bureau des Avocats Internationaux (BAI), the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), CUNY School of Law and Women's Link Worldwide are testifying before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) in Washington, DC on the crisis of sexual violence in Haiti.

In October, the aforementioned group of advocates and attorneys submitted a legal petition to the IACHR, calling for immediate action to address the epidemic of rape in Haiti's displacement camps. In response, the IACHR issued a call for urgent "precautionary measures" to protect women and girls in the camps.

As an IACHR member state, the Haitian government is legally obligated to uphold this ruling. These measures include the installation of lighting, the provision of security and the inclusion of grassroots women's voices in policy-making spaces.

At the hearing, the petitioners will underscore the constant threat of sexual violence faced by women and girls in Haiti's displacement camps and the need for immediate implementation of the IACHR's recommendations. They will highlight the need for the international community to support the capacity of the Haitian government to meet its human rights obligations. Representatives of KOFAVIV, a grassroots Haitian women's organisation founded by and for rape survivors, will participate in this hearing.

To read the legal petition submitted to the IACHR in full, click here