Haiti: Inter-American Commission of Human Rights grants cautionary measures in favor of women’s rights defender.
Patricio Trincado Vera
International Justice and Human Rights Researcher
Global Human Rights Defence
In its resolution 43/2022, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights requested the state of Haiti to adopt the necessary precautionary measures with a gender perspective to protect the rights to life and personal integrity of Msr. M.A.C.
Msr. M.A.C. was victim of rape when she was 16 years old in 2008. Her alleged aggressor was the boyfriend of a cousin, who despite her denouncing the crime he committed, moved into the family household in 2010. Allegedly, he would impede her from communicating with other people, and treated her as a “sexual object”, using physical and psychological violence against her. Since 2014, her alleged aggressor allegedly threatened her repeteadly with killing her if she denounced the situation to the authorities for the crimes of rape and death threats.
In 2018, Msr. M.A.C. started to assist to human rights classes where she realised her situation was compatible with gender violence and sexual slavery. In the following years, she denounced the situation to her family, without obtaining any help, as well as initiated a criminal procedure before the prosecutor’s office. However, she continued to received several death threats. The last one happened on the 17th August of 2022, when Msr. M.A.C. found a gunfire projectile and a letter threatening her in her balcony, and a man in a motorcycle told her that she had to withdrawl the complaint against her alleged aggressor before August ends, otherwise not even the Haitian Police would find her body, and that she was too active in educations institutions where she taught girls and women her human rights, which is why she deserved to be tortured and murdered.
Article 25 of the Commissions’ Rules of Procedure states that the Commission can request precautionary measures that concern serious and urgent situations that present a risk of irreparable harm. To determine whether this case fulfils these conditions, the Commission must analyse the available information in light of the prima facie standard. With respect to the seriousness of the situation, the Commission considered that the rights to life and personal integrity of Mrs. M.A.C. are in serious risk. With respect to the urgency requirement, considering that the alleged attacks, death threats, and acts of intimidation against Mrs. M.A.C. are a direct response to her pursuit of justice and her work as a women’s rights defender, there is a risk of subsequent violations to her rights, and therefore a need for the immediate adoption of measures. With respect to the irreparable harm, the Commission considered that the alleged violations, due to their nature, constitute a maximum situation of irreparability.
Sources and Further Reading:
Inter-American Commission of Human Rights (2022, September 2). CIDH otorga medidas cautelares a favor de M.A.C. defensora de derechos de las mujeres, en Haití. Inter-American Commission of Human Rights Press releases. Retrieved September 5, 2022, from http://www.oas.org/es/CIDH/jsForm/?File=/es/cidh/prensa/comunicados/2022/195.asp
Inter-American Commission of Human Rights (2022, August 30). Resolución 43/22. Retrieved September 5, 2022, from http://www.oas.org/es/cidh/decisiones/mc/2022/res_43-22_mc_433-22_ht_es.pdf
Reglamento Comisión Interamericana de Derechos Humanos. Retrieved September 5, 2022, from https://www.oas.org/36ag/espanol/doc_referencia/Reglamento_CIDH.pdf