• Front Line

On 23 August 2013, human rights defender Ms Malya Villard Apollon‘s home was attacked by a group of armed men, who fired gunshots at the gate.

Malya Villard Apollon is the co-director of the Commission of Women Victims for Victims (KOFAVIV), a grassroots women’s organisation working in the poorest areas of Port-au-Prince to prevent and redress sexual assault, care for survivors and build a movement for human rights in Haiti.

The attack took place in the early hours of 23 August 2013, at 1.30 am. The armed men fired shots at the gate of Malya Villard Apollon’s home, damaging the gate and the doorbell. The human rights defender called the police who rushed to her home, but by the time they arrived the group had fled the scene.

However, the armed men returned shortly thereafter, and upon seeing the police they opened fire on them. Despite chasing the attackers, the police were unable to apprehend them.

This attack is the latest in a series of escalating threats and acts of intimidation against Malya Villard Apollon and other members of KOFAVIV. While they have received threats for a number of years, threats and acts of intimidation have intensified since Malya Villard Apollon was nominated as one of the CNN Heroes in 2012. Her dog has been poisoned, unknown individuals have visited her home and office inquiring about her whereabouts, and both Malya Villard Apollon’s as well as KOFAVIV co-director Marie Eramithe Delva‘s children have been followed and have been the subject of attempted kidnappings.

Front Line Defenders is deeply concerned about the armed attack against Malya Villard Apollon’s home and the escalating threats against her, and fears for her safety, that of her family and of other KOFAVIV members. The armed attack against her home is of particular concern given that the assailants returned to the scene, which suggests that they may have had the intention of forcefully entering her home and harming her.