Woman of Courage Haiti 2014 awarded to Colette Lespinasse

Haiti's Woman of Courage for 2014 is Ms. Colette Lespinasse. In her role as the Support Group for Returnees and Refugees' (GARR) coordinator, Ms. Lespinasse advocates the rights of Haitians living in the Dominican Republic who have been suffering from various injustices including the recent ruling that stripped many of their citizenship. Lespinasse officially received the honor at a ceremony held on Friday, March 21, 2014 at the United States Embassy in Port-au-Prince.


She received the award this year as the successor to 2013's recipient Marie Jossie Étienne. Étienne received the award for her contributions to the role of women in policy in the country as well as her work for decentralization. Lespinasse's honor deals more with the aspect of Haitian migration, certainly a hot topic with the current atmosphere. Both women, and other recipients of the award, are acknowledged not only for the work they do in the present, but for the impact it will have on the future. With GARR, Lespinasse is laying down the groundwork that will form the political and social life of women in the country going forward.

Though the GARR is a Haitian outfit, the acknowledgement validates Lespinasse's attempts on an international level. The honor of "Woman of Courage" has been active for four years now. The recipients prior to Lespinasse and Deputy Étienne include Head of the Office of Citizen Protection Mrs. Florence Élie in 2011, and Head of Programmes at National Network Defense of Human Rights Yolène Marie Gilles in 2012.

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