Deaf murdered three women in Haiti

Human rights NGOs, United Nations Caricom, where are they? I also respond if this happened past or on the side of the RD truth and the guns were shooting at us, Ramfis Báez, New York.

David Mcfadden

Photo: In this the April 17, 2016 picture, Micheler Castor, who is deaf, holding a photograph in which he appears with his wife Jesula Gelin, also deaf, with their children at home Leveque, a community to which he moved a group of deaf people after the 2010 earthquake in Cabaret, Haiti. Castor’s wife was beaten, stabbed and burned along with two other deaf friends when returning home from the capital. (AP Photo / Dieu Nalio Chery)

The three friends had spent the day buying food in the Haitian capital as they made their way back to their village, a distance of 20 miles on foot because the minibuses did not work after the collapse of a bridge.

Their bodies were found the next morning in a ditch of the road. They had been beaten, stabbed and burned, and relatives who identified at the morgue said they had cut their tongues in an apparent act of barbaric ritual.

Family and friends suspect that women were attacked because they were deaf, in a country where experts say there remains a stigma on people with disabilities as deafness, which can cause terrible cruelties due to superstition. Women and girls with disabilities are particularly vulnerable.

Because cultural biases and a weak justice system, other crimes against disabled citizens were largely ignored. But the murders of Jesula Gelin, Vanessa and Monique Vincent Previl have joined the disabled Haitians and caused few regular protests his advocacy groups.

Indignation is especially strong in the town of Leveque, where the victims lived in a community of 168 homes for deaf people displaced by the earthquake in 2010, established by religious organizations. Gelin’s husband, Micheler Castor, now struggling to raise her six children only.

“I can not understand,” said Castor sign language, also deaf, about the murder of his wife of 29 years. “She served the Lord and was a good wife and mother.”

Advocates for the disabled in Haiti say they hope that what happened will help overcome obstacles to justice and social inclusion faced by these vulnerable citizens especially poorest country in the Western Hemisphere.

Worldwide, the treatment of the disabled varies from country to country, but discrimination and barriers to inclusion are common. These problems are especially acute in the developing world, where 80% of disabled lives, according to estimates by the World Health Organization.

“This case is very important. The disabled have made progress in Haiti, but there is still much too stigma and impunity,” said Michel Pean, a blind activist who was the first Secretary of State in Haiti for the integration of the disabled.

Pressured by the government agency, police have arrested three members of a family suspected of murdering three women. Researchers say they have arrested two women and a man, and say keep looking for two men who are prime suspects.

“We will not rest until all of them,” said Joel Jentullon, police commander in Cabaret, where the victims were killed in a house beside the road.

Joel said one of the suspects told investigators that her husband had killed the three women because the family feared they were creatures called “lougawou”, similar to werewolves, and that its losses were the result of a curse.

Nicole Phillips, human rights lawyer representing the families of the victims, said the three would have felt safe as he approached the house in Cabaret at nightfall because one of them was apparently a distant relative of a person who lived there.

Researchers are studying other possible reason related to superstitions. Some diviners claim they can magically increase the odds of winning bets in the Haitian popular lotteries if they carry body parts such as tongues of fresh corpses.

Whatever the reason, the killings have caused great shock and embarrassment in Haiti, where activists estimate that around 10% of the population, or one million people, suffer some kind of disability.

Although life has never been easy for the disabled in Haiti, the 2010 earthquake that collapsed buildings throughout Port au Prince and surrounding increased awareness and empathy for amputees, as a large number of people lost limbs in the earthquake. There has been some progress in making official buildings more accessible and improving rehabilitation therapy.

But some Haitians believe that other disabilities are contagious or caused by curses. Deaf, blind or mentally handicapped or development continue to be marginalized and face neglect and abuse.

On paper, Haiti has legal protections for disabled, but the laws do not apply either. Disabled Haitians have few opportunities to work and many young people languish at home out of sight instead of going to school. Some poor parents abandon their disabled children to state institutions or send them as domestic servants of others.

Leveque deaf neighbors now feel so vulnerable that many arise from their homes. Now they sleep with machetes by the bed.

“I’m afraid that what happened to them can happen to me,” said Fedeline Saint Previl, who has hearing problems, next to a church on the hill where other deaf neighbors prayed in almost complete silence.


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