Today, MADRE staff members begin a three-day fact-finding mission to Haiti, gathering evidence on post-disaster violations of women's human rights to present before international and Haitian government officials. During this fact-finding mission, Human Rights Advocacy Director Lisa Davis and Media Coordinator Diana Duarte will meet with MADRE sister organization KOFAVIV, a community-based women's group that has been responding to the rampant levels of sexual violence in the camps since the January 12 earthquake.
MADRE is working with KOFAVIV to rebuild KOFAVIV's long-term capacity and to solidify services for women, such as rape counseling, legal aid and shelter provision. This week, MADRE staff will also document conditions in camps for internally displaced people and assess the security situation of women in the camps.
This fact-finding mission marks the release of a report sponsored by the Lawyers Earthquake Response Network (LERN) and co-authored by MADRE. This report tracks the high incidence of rape in the camps, the lack of an adequate government or international response, and the courageous work done by women's groups like KOFAVIV to address these threats. In collaboration with the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti (IJDH), the findings from this trip and from this report will be presented to the UN, US Congressional members and Haitian government officials.
Lisa Davis, MADRE Human Rights Advocacy Director, said today, "Our partners in Haiti have been tirelessly working, not only to provide urgent care for women who have been raped in the camps, but to forcefully demand that addressing this threat be a priority in disaster response policies. Together, our international human rights advocacy has kept this issue from being swept away and ignored."
Diana Duarte, MADRE Media Coordinator, said today, "In all of the media coverage and official reports of this disaster, we have not heard enough of the stories of the threats women are facing daily and of their courage and determination in demanding solutions. Our fact-finding mission will work to shine a spotlight on these stories."
This fact-finding mission will continue until the morning of Friday, July 30.