This month is the time to talk about human rights in Haiti!

March 9, 2010

The earthquake in Haiti was incredibly devastating, but now, as Haitian and other world leaders are discussing aid administration and how to best rebuild Haiti, I really hope that they incorporate a human rights framework into the plan that they finalize.

Haitian President Rene Preval is heading to Washington today, to discuss what is needed to rebuild his country the day after International Violence Against Women Day, so what perfect timing to advocate the need to ensure that women’s and girls’ rights, as are the rights of all other vulnerable populations, are included in the discussions with other top policy makers. This week he is meeting with Secretary of State Clinton, Attorney General Eric Holder, and the head of USAID.

Violence against women and girls is pervasive and widespread in Haiti, and certainly isn’t a new issue post-earthquake. There was a growing women’s rights movement in Haiti prior to the earthquake, and it is important that the steps that had been taken and the progress that had been made before the earthquake are not forgotten.

In light of President Preval visiting DC today, and in light of the international donor’s conference on March 31 in NYC where Haiti will be presenting a vision of their future and how the international community can assist, now is the opportunity for the Haitian government, various civil society organizations, and the international donor community to address human rights issues in Haiti, including how to protect the rights of women and girls (and other vulnerable populations) in Haiti.

More in-depth information about these two important meetings will posted soon, so please stay tuned.