Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti

Statement Submitted to the UN Commission on the Status of Women for the 56th Session Concerning the Empowerment of Rural Women and Their Role in Poverty and Hunger Eradication, Development and Current Challenges in Haiti (BAI, MADRE, KOFAVIV, CGRS, SOFA Bureau of Abricots, ESCDROJ, IGLHRC)

Statement submitted to the UN Commission on the Status of Women for the 56th Session (February 29 – March 9, 2012) Concerning the Empowerment of Rural Women and Their Role in Poverty and Hunger Eradication, Development and Current Challenges in Haiti. 1.   Violence against women in Haiti presents the greatest challenge to the empowerment and participation of women in society. Entrenched social norms both perpetuate and justify discrimination and violence against women and deprive women of a multitude of legal rights that men enjoy. Violence occurs in both rural and urban environments, and in many forms including physical, sexual, and psychological. In particular, domestic and sexual violence occur with alarming frequency. Haiti’s complete ban on abortion has also resulted in physical and emotional hardship for women who have become pregnant as a result of sexual violence. Moreover, human rights defenders are targeted for violence, including rape and extortion, for their work defending victims and promoting women’s rights. 2.   Empowerment of women is central to the Government of Haiti’s obligation to eliminate violence against women. Economic empowerment will allow women to overcome patriarchal hierarchies that facilitate and encourage violence. Moreover, legal empowerment will increase access to justice to combat impunity, which has reinforced aggressors’ perception that they can inflict violence without punishment. As stressed by the UN Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women, the broader agenda for women’s empowerment must integrate and prioritize efforts to combat violence against women. See Original Statement:http://ijdh.org/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/CSW-Statement-11_21_2011-1.pdf

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Institute for Justice & Democracy In Haiti
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