Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti

Human Rights is Not Just Charity in Haiti

JURIST Special Guest Columnist Monika Kalra Varma of the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Center for Human Rights says that on International Human Rights Day we need to expand our understanding of rights to include working through – as opposed to around or against – government because in places like Haiti, the old way of thinking is only enabling abuses… Human Rights Day is not only a day to commemorate the UN�s Universal Declaration of Human Rights, but a day to look towards what challenges lie ahead for realizing human rights in even the world�s most difficult of situations. There is perhaps no greater challenge in the Western Hemisphere than Haiti, nor a greater opportunity. Haiti as a country has a tremendous commitment to human rights, one that we in the United States have a difficult time even recognizing. This includes […]

By Sarah Fort PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti � Dieula sits in a circle of women on the tiled floor of a dimly lit room here, discussing the sexual violence that makes HIV infection an ever-present danger for Haitian women. “The woman in Haiti doesn’t have rights,” she says. “Only men have rights to decide.” The rest of the women in the group agree. She adds, quietly: “Our misery increases every day.” The women, all of them rape survivors, belong to the Commission of Women Victims for Victims, or KOFAVIV, a community rape-crisis organization trying to call attention to the plight that too many Haitian women face. In September 2006, 150 members of the group marched through the streets of the Haitian capital, black masks representing the silencing they feel and the anonymity of their masked attackers. Since KOFAVIV began in 2004, the […]

Fewer kidnappings, improved security – but life remains harsh on the streets of Haiti, The Independent,

By Andrew Buncombe in Port-au-Prince Sheltering from the sun beneath a tattered piece of plastic in the crowded streets of Salamoun market, Jacqueline Charles shrugged when asked whether life had improved under the government of the man she voted for. “We are thinking life will be better. Maybe one day,” said the 60-year-old, who was selling rice. “[So far] there has been no real change. Only God knows. I voted for change but things cannot change right away.” Anyone looking for signs of improvement in Haiti has a frustrating and arduous task and this teeming market in the centre of the capital, Port-au-Prince, where some of the city’s most beleaguered residents try to scrape out a living, may not be best place to start. But six months after Ren� Pr�val was sworn in as president of the poorest country in […]

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