Several ceremonies commemorated Haiti’s Antoinette Duclair and Diego Charles, who were among 19 killed in a massacre last year.
PORT-AU-PRINCE — The family of activist Antoinette Duclair has launched a memorial foundation to continue her legacy in social work and women’s advocacy one year after she was gunned down along with her colleague journalist Diego Charles. A journalism award has also been created to honor Charles’ memory.
Several commemorative ceremonies were organized on June 29 in Port-au-Prince, while in Les Cayes, where Duclair is from, her family launched “Fondation Antoinette Duclair.” In the family’s home in Chanlatte, a locality near Les Cayes, the family laid the first stone for the construction of what will be known as “Netty’s House for Justice.”
“We want to fulfill Netty’s dream and keep her memory alive,” said Fred Duclair, her brother, using the activist’s nickname. “Our family house, where we all grew up, we decided to put it to use for the community. There will be a conference room, a projection room, and a library. Also, places to accomodate people facing difficulties. The foundation will also focus on children, elderly and farmers.”
Last year, on June 30, heavily armed men gunned down Duclair and Charles during a shooting rampage between the crossroads of Delmas 32 and Acacia Street in Christ Roi, a neighborhood in the capital. According to a report of RNDDH, 19 people died that day.
A year later, since the double murder, there is no information on the police or judicial investigation.
Duclair was a role model for her three sisters and her brother, all of whom had lived together, her brother said.
“She was not a biological mother, but had two children,” her brother said. “We live separately today and we are being careful.”
Today the family is scared to engage in any activity and has left the neighborhood, still unable to understand the motive for her murder, he added.
In Port-au-Prince, mourners held a requiem mass for Diego Charles. Several human rights organizations — including Marijan, National Network for the Defense of Human Rights (RNDDH), Nègès Mawon and Nou Pap Dòmi — also organized a photo exhibit, lit candles and placed wreaths of flowers to commemorate the victims.
“Through this activity today, we want to perpetuate the memory of Diego and Netty, who were savagely torn from life,” Velphyne Pierre, of the Marijan organization said. “We condemn the authorities’ complicit silence, a year after this despicable act. Netty was a woman who advocated for women in the country. My biggest regret is not having known her in her lifetime.”
Antonio Cheramy, the former senator for the West Department and also head of the political party Matris Liberasyon was also present to pay his tribute. Duclair was in charge of communication in the party.
In addition, the Haitian Association of Investigative Journalists, AJHI, launched the Diego Charles Award for Investigative Journalism, a journalism contest to pay tribute to Charles the association’s founding member.