IJDH Participates in Webinar on Sexual Violence Against Women & Girls in Haiti

On October 26, 2023, IJDH Senior Staff Attorney Sasha Filippova spoke on a panel for a webinar focused on widespread violence directed against women and girls in Haiti, as well as the crisis more broadly. Other speakers on the panel were feminist activist Pascale Solages, co-director of Haitian women’s rights organization Nègès Mawon; Rosy Auguste Ducena, Program Manager with the National Network for the Defense of Human Rights (RNDDH); lawyer and policy analyst Dr. Ronnie R. F. Yearwood; and Cristobal Dupouy, Special Representative of the Secretary General for the Organization of American States in Haiti. The webinar, entitled “The Haitian Humanitarian Crisis: Gang Sexual Violence Against Women & Girls” was hosted by the Paris office of law firm White & Case.

Watch the full video here!

Sasha shared: “With our partner BAI, IJDH has been at the forefront of working to advocate for women’s equality, protection from violence, and appropriate recourse and services. For example, BAI founded its Rape Accountability and Prevention Project more than a decade ago. That project serves to obtain justice for women and girls who experience sexual assault within Haiti’s justice system, alongside educating and mobilizing communities to better protect and promote related rights. In another example, as violence by gangs escalated, we brought urgent attention to the rising and progressively more grotesque sexual violence being directed at women and girls by those gangs in a joint submission to the [Inter-American Commission on Human Rights -] IACHR last year. We followed on to many of those findings with a hearing dedicated to widespread sexual violence against women and girls in Haiti that we obtained from the Commission together with several Haitian organizations – including Pascale’s and Rosy’s. That hearing took place on International Women’s Rights Day this year. I want to note that consistently in this work we have found that Haitian women and the advocates who work with them have connected the violence and lack of resources that Haiti’s women and girls are facing to corrupt and repressive governments that have been propped up and enabled by international actors over the past twelve or so years. Those international actors include my own U.S. government, but also I’m sorry to say the government of France and the UN. For that reason, our advocacy on behalf of women is also closely connected not only to our work to combat impunity in Haiti . . . but also to what Haitian human rights and civil society organizations consistently identify as the first step to solving Haiti’s crisis, namely for international actors to stop propping up Haiti’s de facto regime.