Haiti loses feminist leaders

Three women's rights activists are among the earthquake's casualties


Tracy Clark-Flory
January 21, 2010 6:01PM (UTC)

Three leading women's rights activists can be added to the tragically long list of those confirmed dead from last week's Haitian earthquake. Magalie Marcelin, Anne Marie Coriolan and Myriam Merlet all made tremendous strides in combating rape and domestic violence in the country -- and they all died under the rubble, CNN's reports.

Marcelin a lawyer and actress in her 50s, founded the women's rights organization Kay Fanm, which supports victims of domestic violence. The similarly-minded Myriam Merlet helped start domestic violence shelters in Port-au-Prince and campaigned to get Eve Ensler to bring "The Vagina Monologues" to Haiti. The 53-year-old was also a top adviser for the country's Ministry for Gender and the Rights of Women and a founder of the feminist organization Enfofamn. Coriolan, a 53-year-old sociologist, was also a top adviser for the gender ministry and founded the group Solidarity with Haitian Women. She fought fiercely for courts to take rape seriously as a tool of war and not a "crime of passion," as it had been.

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These would be tragic losses under normal circumstances, but they are even more so considering the vulnerable state of Haiti's women in the wake of this catastrophe; they could use these activists' help like never before. In memory of this admirable humanitarian trio, I'll leave you with a video clip of Democracy Now's tribute to Merlet.


Tracy Clark-Flory

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