HAITI: Haiti PM Seeks Legislation to Protect Privacy of Rape Victims

Wednesday, September 18, 2013
The Sentinel
PeaceWomen Consolidated Themes: 
Sexual and Gender-Based Violence

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (sentinel.ht) - On Tuesday, Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe said he would be supporting the drafting of laws to protect the identity of victims of rape in Haiti. Currently in Haiti, no laws are in place to compel law enforcement to keep undisclosed the identity of persons who bring complaints of sexual violence.

Rape victims can sometimes fear coming forward in cases of sexual assault which when made public could lead to a life of stigmatization. For this reason, the Head of the Haitian Government said he had already passed directions to the Chief of the National Police of Haiti to begin providing anonymity to rape victims.

These declarations by the Haitian Premier came days after news of another United Nations peacekeeper raping a Haitian citizen became know. In this case, an 18-year old woman was assaulted and sodomized on Saturday September 14.

PM Lamothe told The Sentinel that he was briefed on the situation and investigations on the part of the authorities in Leogane, where the crime took place, were continuing. But what was of immediate concern to Laurent Lamothe was the identity of the alleged rape victim being disseminated to the press by law enforcement.

Indeed, Leogane Police Chief Wilson Hyppolite held a press conference on Sunday where he provided explicit details of the rape, the victim's first name, last name, place of birth, and exact date of birth, to the press. This, said Lamothe, who heads the Supreme Council of the National Police (CSPN), “is not in keeping with our number one goal which is to protect citizens.”

At the time of our interview with Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe, he said he had already spoken to the Chief of the Haitian National Police (PNH), Godson Orelus, to pass orders to police departments across the nation to take all dispositions necessary to provide for the anonymity of rape victims.

The Haitian Head of Government said he would seek an executive order to be made public on this new provision and will work with the Ministry of the Condition of Women and Parliament to draft comprehensive laws to protect women and victims of sexual violence.