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[16days_discussion] Precautionary Measures Request to Address Sexual Violence in Haiti Granted

Lisa D ldavis at
Tue Jan 4 15:38:32 EST 2011

Inter-American Human Rights Commission Sets Unprecedented Recommendations
for Haitian Government to Address Wave of Sexual Violence in Displacement

January 4, 2011, New York, NY** —* Issuing unprecedented recommendations to
the Haitian government, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights
(IACHR) has granted a legal request submitted in October by a group of
advocates and attorneys for displaced Haitian women including MADRE, the
Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti (IJDH), the Bureau des Avocats
Internationaux (BAI), the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), Women’s
Link Worldwide, and CUNY School of Law. The IACHR’s groundbreaking
recommendations request that the Haitian government take immediate measures
to prevent sexual violence against women and girls in displacement camps.

“Con di tions in the dis place ment camps, fol low ing the Jan u ary 12
earth quake, have exac er bated women’s vul ner a bil ity to rape,” said
Malya Villard-Apollon, a founding member of the women’s grassroots advocacy
organization KOFAVIV (Commission of Women Victims for Victims). “Women and
girls live in con stant fear for their safety.”

Said Lisa Davis, MADRE’s Human Rights Advocacy Director and CUNY Law
Professor, “The IACHR set an important precedent in taking decisive steps to
set concrete recommendations before the Haitian government: increase
security patrols, improve lighting in the camps, provide medical care and
ensure legal accountability. These measures have become more urgent than

In addition to calling for increased security and lighting, the IACHR’s
sweeping recommendations advise the Haitian government to provide medical
care, including emergency contraception, for rape survivors in displacement
camps. In response to the request, the IACHR has also recommended that the
Haitian government ensure the full participation and leadership of
grassroots women’s groups in anti-violence policies and practices in the

“The IACHR ruling is an important and powerful tool in the fight against
gender-based violence in Haiti,” said Annie Gell, the BAI’s Rape
Accountability and Prevention Project Coordinator. “The Haitian government
and non-governmental organizations must heed the IACHR’s concrete and
practical recommendations to protect and empower Haitian women and girls who
continue to suffer shocking levels of violence and terror.”

“The IACHR decision is a big much needed step towards providing safety for
all women,” said CCR Legal Director Bill Quigley.  “It is time for the US,
the UN and the international community to support the courageous women of
Haiti who are providing for families in the most trying conditions.  Talk is
fine, but only a tiny percentage of the money promised by the US for the
rebuilding effort has made it to Haiti.  It is time for action.”

Erica Richards, an attorney with Morrison & Foerster LLP, said, “We commend
the IACHR for listening to the calls of displaced Haitian women whose lives
are daily jeopardized by the abject lack of security in the camps.  Nearly
one year has passed since the earthquake, and these recommendations arrive
not a moment too soon.  They must now be brought to life.”

Meanwhile, evidence has mounted that recent political instability has
drastically undermined women’s safety in the camps. KOFAVIV reports that
women lined up at its women’s center for days after the November
presidential election.  They recounted incidents of rapes and beatings,
including cases in which armed men entered some of the camps and shot people
at random.

As part of international advocacy efforts demanding accountability and
security for women living in the camps, the petitioners to the IACHR
denounce the continuing and escalating threat of rape and calls for
immediate security measures to be implemented to end the violence.

To read the request, click here:




*Measures that were granted*:

1. Ensure medical and psychological care is provided in locations available
to victims of sexual abuse of 22 camps for those internally
displaced. This precautionary measure decision, in particular, ensures that
there be:

a. privacy during examinations;

b. availability of female medical staff members, with a cultural
sensitivity and experience with victims of violence sexual;

c. issuance of medical certificates;

d. HIV prophylaxis, and;

e. emergency contraception.

2. Implement effective security measures in the 22 camps, in
particular, provide street lighting, an adequate patrolling in and
around the camps, and a greater number of security
forces patrolling in women and in police around the camps;

3. Ensure that public officials responsible
for responding to incidents of sexual violence receive training enabling
them to respond adequately to complaints of sexual violence and
to adopt safety measures;

4. Establish special units within the police and the Ministry Public
investigating cases of rape
and other forms of violence against women and girls, and;

5. Ensure that grassroots women's groups have full participation
and leadership in planning and implementing policies and practices
to combat and prevention of sexual violence and other forms of violence
in the camps.
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