Humanitarian Parole for Haitian Women
NOTES FROM 28 SEPTEMBER MEETING RE: THE HUMANITARIAN PAROLE FOR HAITIAN WOMEN PROJECT
I attended a meeting at the law firm of Morrison & Foerster on September 28, to get an update and to discuss The Humanitarian Parole for Haitian Women (the Haiti Project). Among the attendees were lawyers from Morrison & Foerster, O'Melveny Myers, and Hogan Lovells, as well as Rose Pierre-Louis, Ninaj Raoul and Patricia Beauvais. The lawyers gave us an update of their private meeting with New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly who went to Haiti to discuss security and crime-fighting issues with the Haitian government. They reported that the Commissioner seemed very sensitive to the issue of lack of safety for women in the encampments and was open to the idea of urgent humanitarian parole applications for Haitian women who have been raped while living in the encampments.
Humanitarian parole is an immigration status that allows foreign nationals temporary admittance into the U.S. for “urgent humanitarian reasons.” The Haiti Project is a response to the security crisis in some post-earthquake encampments in Port-au-Prince. Its goal is to gain safety and treatment for women who have been the victims of sexual violence in the encampments, where a lack of security places them at continuous risk of repeat attacks.
The lawyers from the above-mentioned firms are tirelessly working on a pro bono basis to move forward with applications for these women and their dependent children, so they can get the urgent medical and psychological care they need for their severe trauma.
Right now, we are looking for sponsors and want to identify extensive and culturally-sensitive medical and psychological care for these women and their children. Preliminary conversations with individuals and hospitals, such as Bellevue Hospital/ NYU Program for Survivors of Torture and others seem promising. We are also trying to identify Haitian-American doctors and other health professionals. The Haiti Project will also require political support at the highest levels, on which we are working.
The Haitian Roundtable organized an event on September 29 where the attached flyer was distributed. Interest in trying to help The Haiti Project is high, but there remains a lot still to be done.
As a follow-up to this and the May 4, 2010 event on Women and the Reconstruction of Haiti, another roundtable discussion will be held again at The New York Women’s Foundation penthouse on November 3 to discuss further The Haiti Project and how to generate more interest, and more importantly, identify sponsors to provide housing and services to these women and their children. An invitation will follow.