Haiti has been in the news in the last week or so.
The big news is that Haitis next president is Michel Sweet Mickey Martelly, a 50-year-old entertainer, who apparently defeated former Senator Mirlande Manigat.
Receiving much less coverage was a hearing in Washington, DC at the Inter-American Commision on Human Rights, which is part of the Organization of American States. But the next president of Haiti must address the issues raised in that room. Haitian grass roots women activists, including members of KOFAVIV, appeared for a second time before the Commission. They were there to press the Haitian government to end the epidemic of violence against women and girls that exists in the camps. These women had appeared before the Commission last fall; as a result, the Commission demanded urgent action by Haiti to protect women and girls from violence. But, as the New York Times op-ed on the topic concludes:
The Haitian government, beset by political and other crises, has failed to do its job [to protect women and girls]. But others, including the United Nations, the United States and other international donors and aid agencies, can and must do more. This months meeting of Haitis recovery commission and the selection of a new president may begin to put the recovery back on track. Women and girls in Haitis camps must not be forced to live in constant fear.
I could not agree more. I was at the second hearing. The womens testimony was riveting and the response by the Haitian government officials was confusing at best. Haitian women deserve action to end this violence, not only by their government, but by all of the relevant actors working in Haiti.