Taking Action at the IACHR to Address Catastrophic Violence Against Women and Girls in Haiti

An update from IJDH Senior Staff Attorney Filippova

While we feel called to respond to the current crisis, we also know that gender issues are too often pushed aside during a crisis, and that longer-term work establishing equality for women and girls is essential. So today I am writing to provide updates on the work of BAI and IJDH to address catastrophic violence against women and girls in Haiti.

Amidst escalating conflict and gang violence in Haiti, Haitian women and girls face ongoing threats to their safety and well-being. With armed groups employing gang rape and other forms of sexual violence as a tool for terror, Haitian women and girls face one of the most urgent human rights crises in the Western Hemisphere. The attacks are grotesque, carried out with impunity, and have been met with an inadequate government response.

BAI and IJDH are leading an advocacy collaboration that goes beyond just denouncing the horrors inflicted on girls and women in Haiti: we are targeting those responsible for the conditions that generate the violence.

IJDH-Led Joint Submission to the IACHR on Violence Against Haitian Women and Girls
Last March, the IJDH team worked with the BAI,  UC San Francisco’s Center for Gender and Refugee Studies, and several Haitian and solidarity human rights organizations to bring attention to widespread sexual violence directed at Haitian women and girls. Together we participated in a dedicated thematic hearing at our region’s top human rights body: the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), where we asked for an urgent response. 

When the Commission failed to take action as Haiti’s human rights catastrophe worsened, IJDH and BAI led the preparation of an updated report that renewed our requests.

Our February 2024 updated report: 

  • Explains the nature of Haiti’s governance crisis, which enables and exacerbates human rights violations against Haitian women and girls;
  • Emphasizes the need to address that governance crisis to prevent and confront such harms; 
  • Provides updates on the grave and pervasive sexual violence and related gendered harms (such as impacts on public life, livelihoods, health, and challenges linked to displacement); and
  • Exposes inadequate support for survivors and persistent impunity.

IJDH In-Person Advocacy with IACHR President

Alongside our submission of this updated report, I had the privilege of meeting with IACHR President Roberta Clarke, who recently assumed the rapporteurships on Haiti, women, and the United States, together with Pascale Solages of Haitian feminist organization Nègès Mawon. Pascale and I stressed that both the de facto government of Haiti and the international community have failed Haitian women and girls. We urged the Commission to use its moral authority to demand policy changes. Echoing repeated calls from Haitian human rights and feminist organizations, we emphasized that OAS members, and the U.S. government in particular, must stop propping up unconstitutional governments in Haiti and allow Haitians to reclaim their country’s democracy. This is necessary for protecting and advancing the human rights of Haitian women and girls. IACHR officials expressed a commitment to taking action, and we look forward to working with them towards these goals.


Brian Concannon on CBC News Network 
March 14, 2024

US Involvement in Haiti – IJDH on The Hill
March 12, 2024

What’s Happening in Haiti – IJDH on Majority Report
March 12, 2024

The U.S. Should Let Haiti Reclaim its Democracy 
Brian Concannon, Responsible Statecraft
March 8, 2024

From Coup to Chaos: 20 Years After the US Ousted Haiti’s President
Brian Concannon, Sasha Filippova, Kristina Fried, Responsible Statecraft
March 1, 2024