The Spotlight Initiative targets domestic violence in Haiti

Photo: UNDP Haiti/Molière Solon
October 29, 2020

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti - On Thursday, 29 October 2020, the Government of the Republic of Haiti, the United Nations and the European Union launched the Spotlight Initiative in Haiti.

The Spotlight Initiative is a global, multi-year partnership between the European Union and the United Nations that aims to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls by 2030. 

Haiti is one of six country programmes in the Caribbean region. Others include Belize, Jamaica, Grenada, Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago. A total of US$59 million has been invested in the Carribbean region, with US$14 million going to implementation in Haiti between 2020 and 2022.  This Initiative represents an unprecedented global effort to invest in gender equality as a prerequisite and driver for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.

The Spotlight Initiative in Haiti will focus on ending domestic violence, rape, incest, sexual harassment, physical and psychological violence, as well as other restrictions on the freedoms and rights of women and girls. It also aims to provide holistic care to women and girls who are survivors of violence.

In Haiti, more than one in three women reports having suffered violence from their partner or husband. Almost 30 per cent of women of childbearing age have suffered physical violence - in 45 per cent of cases, from their intimate partner. Thirty-four per cent of women in couples are survivors of domestic violence, and in 37 per cent of cases, this violence has caused serious injury. Twelve per cent of Haitian women have already suffered sexual violence, a quarter of them are girls aged 15 to 17. On top of this, 31 per cent of women also suffer or are exposed to several types of violence and controlling behaviours, including excessive jealousy, limiting contact with the outside world or their family, and strict control of movement.

The Spotlight Initiative seeks to improve legislation and policy, promote social norms and values ​​that protect women and girls from violence, facilitate access to holistic and equitable care for survivors, strengthen statistical data on violence, and increase the capacity of the women's movement to influence policy and social change.

"In order to reduce family violence for all women and girls without discrimination, the programme will be implemented in Haiti with respect for the cardinal principles of the Spotlight Initiative, namely accountability, inclusion, and the principles of 'leaving no one behind' and 'delivering as one,' which is a foundation of the reform of the United Nations system,” said Resident Coordinator of the United Nations Bruno Lemarquis. Ambassador of the European Union Sylvie Tabesse, said that "the Spotlight Initiative in Haiti is of particular importance in a difficult context where violence against women and girls must be combated in every way and in all its forms. The success of this initiative is based on the commitment of all Haitian society."

The Spotlight Initiative aims to create a society that is conducive to respect for the rights and dignity of women. A comprehensive strategy on prevention will be developed in collaboration with the Government and civil society at the national, departmental and municipal levels. Community members will be involved at every stage of the implementation of Spotlight Initiative activities, fostering ownership and increasing sustainability.

The Spotlight Initiative programme in Haiti is implemented by four United Nations agencies, namely UNFPA, UNICEF, UN Women and UNDP, in partnerships with the Ministry of Planning and External Cooperation, the Ministry of Status of Women and Women's Rights as well as many civil society organizations. It will benefit more than 1,225,000 women, men, girls and boys in four departments including West, Grande'Anse, South and Northeast.

Joint statement from the Ministry of Planning and External Cooperation, the European Union and the United Nations in Haiti.

For more information, please contact:

Jonathan Boulet-Groulx, Spotlight Initiative Communication Officer

Marvens Sénèque, Consultant at the MPCE Cabinet

Noela Bonhomme, Communications Officer for the Delegation of the European Union in Haiti 


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