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OAS Reaffirms its Commitment to Women in Haiti

  February 26, 2010

The Organization of American States (OAS) and the Inter-American Commission of Women (CIM) today held a special session in the framework of the Inter-American Year of Women at OAS headquarters in Washington, DC, to welcome Marjorie Michel, Haiti’s Minister of Women's Affairs.

During the meeting, the goal of which was to publicize the needs of women and girls in Haiti, the minister submitted a detailed report on the situation of women, emphasizing that after the earthquake “the living conditions have deteriorated significantly and it is women and girls who daily care for the injured and sick.”

According to information from the Haitian government, violence against women has grown in the camps, there has been a rise in rapes, and prostitution is often the sole means of obtaining food.

For his part the Secretary General of the OAS, José Miguel Insulza, said that “we want to make real the idea that gender issues should be a priority in our organization, and Haiti is a real opportunity to show it, not only with words but with actions.”

“Gender must be taken into account in all emergencies, what happens to women and girls cannot be left to chance. We must care for the most vulnerable and keep them in safe places,” Insulza said.

CIM President Wanda Jones thanked the Secretary General for his quick response after the January 12 earthquake, “committing the OAS, taking its resources and working with other organizations for the reconstruction of Haiti.”

“Our success at CIM has been in large part in your hands over the last couple of years and your presence here represents the commitment of the OAS to collaborate in the reconstruction of Haiti,” she said.

It is worth noting that at the beginning of the meeting the President of the Permanent Council and Representative of Costa Rica to the OAS, Ambassador José Enrique Castillo, asked for a minute of silence in memory of women and girls who did not survive the earthquake and added that “we have the responsibility of making sure that our efforts of support and cooperation respond to the rights, needs and demands of the women of Haiti.”

Information about the initiatives of various agencies in the reconstruction of Haiti was also presented during the meeting, including those of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) and the Pan American Development Foundation (PADF).

For more information on the CIM, click here.

For other information related to OAS activities, please visit the OAS Website at

Reference: E-056/10