Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti

One Day in Port-au-Prince – THE LAWYER: ‘Rape cases have tripled’ since the quake

By Tim Large, AlertNet (A Thomson Reuters Foundation Service) PORT-AU-PRINCE – When the Jan. 12 earthquake sent a shockwave through his office, Mario Joseph thought it was a bomb attack. After all, Haiti’s most prominent human rights lawyer is used to coming under fire. “Someone was shot in my office,” he said. “I receive a lot of threats.” It was only when he ventured outside that he realised what had happened. He saw toppled buildings and people screaming in the street. One women’s head had been crushed by falling rubble. He tried to give first aid. At the Palace of Justice, he helped carry the body of a colleague he knew from court. “It was really terrible to see that,” he recalled. “We had no radio, no TV. The world was really blocked off. The traffic was really bad. And […]

INTERVIEW-Safer shelter needed to avert Haiti disease outbreaks

Written by: Anastasia Moloney Dr Pape in his office. GHESKIO BOGOTA (AlertNet) – A Haitian doctor who runs the country’s leading AIDS treatment centre has warned of typhoid and tuberculosis outbreaks if the government does not move homeless quake survivors from tents into better housing ahead of the looming hurricane season. Jean William Pape, the founder of the Haitian Group for the Study of Kaposi’s Sarcoma and Opportunistic Infections (GHESKIO), also told AlertNet rape has increased amid the insecure conditions in the capital’s camps, with his staff now seeing 50 cases a month, up from 16 before January’s disaster. Pape said the main priority should be safer accommodation for the 1.5 million Haitians who remain camped out on the streets and in tent cities, vulnerable to landslides and severe flooding during the storm season due to start next month. “I […]

Rape blights lives of Haiti’s quake survivors

By: Katherine Baldwin A Haitian woman prays as she attends an open air Catholic Mass next to the ruins of the cathedral in Port-au-Prince in this photo taken on January 17, 2010. REUTERS/Jorge Silva LONDON (AlertNet) – Overcrowding and insecurity in the camps housing Haiti’s quake survivors have put women and girls at increasing risk of rape and much more must be done to police the makeshift villages effectively, human rights activists say. Some 1.2 million Haitians are crammed into 460 camps in Port-au-Prince alone, often separated from their neighbours by little more than a hanging bed sheet, forced to bathe in public or to walk through dark passages at night. Other survivors are living on the streets, after losing their homes and families. Haiti’s police and judicial services were decimated by the quake and more than 4,000 prisoners escaped […]

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