February 23, 2010
As the Council considers the multiple related crises facing Haiti, it’s critical that all discussions are informed by gender-sensitive conflict analysis and a rights-based lens. The situation is characterized by widespread violence against civilians, lack of access to food, water, shelter or healthcare, and displacement, with particular impacts on diverse women and girls, who already face pre-existing inequality and discrimination. Human rights defenders, including women human rights defenders, are facing serious risks as a result of their work. Gender-based violence, including sexual violence, which was already widespread and is exacerbated by the widespread trafficking of firearms and ammunition, is currently utilized by armed individuals and groups in order to “terrorize, subjugate and punish” the civilian population, including girls who have been abducted as a form of coercion.
Discussions within the Council, as well as any adopted outcomes, must reinforce the importance of any response being grounded in international humanitarian and human rights law, and express unambiguous support for human rights defenders and peacebuilders, who should be allowed to operate freely and without fear of threat or reprisal. Finally, all peace and political efforts must ensure the full, equal, meaningful and safe participation and leadership of diverse women.