Haiti: Women Reveal Patterns of Rape and Gender-Based Violence in Displaced Persons Camps
Tuesday, March 29, 2011 2:10 PM

An alarming number of women occupying Haiti’s displaced persons camps, overcrowded in the long wake of the 2010 earthquake, are experiencing continuous victimization by rape and other forms of gender-based violence (GBV).  The increasing number of women reporting such incidents has led activists to question the effectiveness of MINUSTAH, United Nations Stabilisation Mission in Haiti, and the local police force.
Last Friday, advocates from MADRE, the Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti, the Bureau des Avocats Internationaux, the Center for Constitutional Rights, CUNY School of Law and Women’s Link Worldwide testified before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) in Washington, D.C. regarding Haiti’s crisis of GBV. In October, the same group of advocates submitted a legal petition to the IACHR drawing attention to the patterns of victimization and calling for urgent action.
While there are many grassroots organizations attempting to deal with GBV in the area, they are concerned that they are being left out of planning sessions by UN forces. With the government of Haiti weakened by the disaster, it is important that it receive support from both women’s organizations and UN agencies to effectively address issues of GBV.