February 23, 2010
In the context of discussions on the situation in Haiti, Council members must ensure there is a focus on the violations of human rights, including women’s rights, in the context of state violence perpetrated against protestors as well as alleged state involvement in attacks against civilians allegedly perpetrated by gangs (BINUH, Miami Herald). Briefings by senior UN officials and statements delivered by Council members should focus on BINUH’s implementation of the full scope of its WPS mandate and include details on ways that the mission is addressing gender-based violence and SEA by UN peacekeepers and personnel. Survivors of gender-based violence, including women, girls and gender-nonconforming people, continue to face barriers to justice, exacerbated by political instability and the national lockdown, resulting from weak legal protections and limited institutional support structures and services (Pass Blue, OutRight Action Intl., Miami Herald). Importantly, the penal code reforms, which include better legal protection against gender-based violence by criminalizing marital rape, sexual harassment, and hate crimes based on sexual orientation, represent long overdue improvements in addressing gender-based violence. However, the process through which the reforms were implemented was opaque and has been referred to as unconstitutional; thus, it remains a challenge to ensure that gender-based violence prevention and protection is integrated into a procedurally clear and accepted law before and after the reforms come into effect in two years.