Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti

Urgent Action: Women’s Rights Defender Threatened with Death



Sanièce Petit Phat, a Haitian woman, and girls’ rights defender, has reported receiving death threats because of her work on behalf of victims of domestic and sexual violence in the community of Canaan, Haiti.

Sanièce Petit Phat is the coordinator of the women’s rights organization Mouvman Fanm Lakay an Aksyon (Women’s Movement in Action, MOFALAK), which operates in the Canaan area on the northern outskirts of Port-au-Prince, a vast land transformed into a new urban settlement following the 2010 earthquake that devastated most of the Haitian capital. The organization is known for denouncing violence against women and girls.

In July 2016, Sanièce Petit Phat reported becoming the target of intimidation, including by receiving death threats against her and her family (in particular threatening to kill her two young children), from a neighbour. He is accused of acts of domestic violence against his wife and feared that MOFALAK could report his actions to the authorities. Sanièce Petit Phat told Amnesty International that the man felt threatened by the organization’s work in the area.

On 11 October 2017, the neighbour attacked Raymond Charité, Sanièce Petit Phat’s nephew who also lives with her, with a sharp object at Raymond Charité’s workplace. He was later brought to a hospital to receive treatment for wounds sustained from the attack. Raymond Charité reported that his attacker said he would continue to act violently until Sanièce Petit Phat and her family leave the area.

Sanièce Petit Phat lodged a complaint against the neighbour for the attack on her nephew and he was later arrested by the police on 17 October. However, on 26 October the Public Prosecutor’s Office in Croix-des-Bouquets released him. The reasons for the release are unclear and Sanièce Petit Phat fears for her life and the life of her family, leading her to stay hidden all day and moving houses by night.

Please write immediately in French or your own language:

Urging the authorities to provide immediate protection to Sanièce Petit Phat and other members of MOFALAK, in consultation with them and in accordance with their wishes;

Demanding thorough and impartial investigations into the attack against Raymond Charité, the acts of intimidation and death threats received by Sanièce Petit Phat, and the accusation of domestic violence, for the results to be made public and those responsible brought to justice;

Demanding further security measures to be put in place in the Canaan area, in particular for groups and individuals most at risk like women and girls;

Calling on them to publicly recognize the legitimate work that human rights defenders do, and in particular the right to carry out their activities without any restrictions or fear of reprisals, as set out in the 1998 UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders.


Minister of Justice and Public Security

Maître Heidi Fortuné

Ministre de la Justice et de la Sécurité Publique

18, Avenue Charles Summer

Port-au-Prince, Haiti

Salutation: Dear Minister/ Monsieur le Ministre

General Director of National Police
Michel-Ange Gédeon

Directeur Général de la PNH

Police Nationale d’Haïti

20, Angle des rues Darguin et Gregoire

Pétion-Ville, Ouest, Haïti

Twitter: @DG_PNH

Salutation: Dear Director General/ Monsieur le Directeur Général

And copies to:

First Lady of Haiti

Madame Martine Moïse

Twitter: @martinejmoise

 Also, send copies to diplomatic representatives accredited to your country. Please insert local diplomatic addresses below:

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Contact IJDH

Institute for Justice & Democracy In Haiti
867 Boylston Street, 5th Floor
Boston, MA 02116

Telephone: (857)-201-0991
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