The Bureau des Avocats Internationaux (BAI) and the Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti (IJDH) are a partnership of Haitian and U.S. human rights advocates. They support the Haitian people in their struggle to achieve universal human rights, access to a just legal system, social justice, a society without violence, and the right to participate fully in choosing their government. Using models like the U.S. civil rights movement, they are active in the courts, both in Haiti and internationally, in the streets and in poor neighborhoods. They work in partnership with grassroots movements, to transform the structural injustices that stand in the way of stability and prosperity for the majority of Haitians.
2010–2020: Channel has made annual grants to IJDH to support their work combating, preventing, documenting, monitoring and prosecuting gender-based violence in Haiti through their Rape Accountability and Prevention Project (RAPP), particularly the accompaniment of women seeking justice and solidarity with grassroots women’s groups in Haiti. IJDH and Bureau des Avocats Internationaux (BAI) (IJDH’s Haitian partners) joined with grassroots groups in Haiti and international partners to launch the Haiti Rape Accountability and Prevention Project (RAPP) to respond to the epidemic of rapes against poor women and girls in Haiti in the wake of the January 12, 2010 earthquake. RAPP provides individual victims of sexual assault the legal services they need to obtain justice and compensation, while working with allies in Haiti and abroad to transform the social context that underlies the vulnerability of all poor Haitian women to assault. The Project also aims to deter future rape by punishing the perpetrators and forcing a more effective response by law enforcement and the justice system.
RAPP builds on the BAI’s over 15 years’ experience helping poor women and other marginalized groups enforce their human rights to implement a comprehensive response to the rapes. The BAI and IJDH play a coordinating role and lead the legal activities, but RAPP as a whole is a wide collaboration assembling the respective talents of Haitian grassroots groups, international advocates and health and legal professionals. RAPP includes four closely integrated components: legal advocacy, healthcare, organizing, and public advocacy.
In 2019, IJDH/BAI brought Know your Rights trainings on GBV to schools and churches in Haiti as an additional strategy to tackle and promote cultural shifts in addition to their longstanding legal representation and accompaniment work.
To watch a five-minute video focused on Shirley Christoff, one of many Haitian rape survivors who has received assistance from KOFAVIV, one of the women’s groups with whom IJDH works, and who is rebuilding and working together with other women to create social change in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, check out this film from IRIN, the news agency of the UN Office of the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs: IRIN | Film | Haiti’s Rape Survivors.
IJDH is one of only five nonprofits recommended as doing high-impact work in Haiti by an independent expert on Philanthropedia, a division of Guidestar, the world’s largest source of information on nonprofit organizations.