Haitian human rights activist honoured at Haiti Ball

Business | Sat 25 Jan | Author – Business & Finance
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Pictured at the 2014 Haiti Ball were: Leslie Buckley, Boby Duval and Paul O’Connell.

Haven ambassador and Irish rugby captain, Paul O’Connell, presented the William Jefferson Clinton Goodwill for Haiti Award to human rights activist Boby Duval at Haven’s Haiti Ball last night at the Four Seasons Hotel, Dublin.

Duval is a native Haitian who was imprisoned without charge at Fort Dimanche — a notorious prison, where hundreds of opponents of Jean-Claude ‘Baby Doc’ Duvalier were forcibly disappeared. Starved and tortured for 17 months, Boby was on the brink of death when Amnesty International and US President Jimmy Carter secured his release in 1977.

Since then, Boby has been a tireless advocate for accountability. In 2011, he led a group of victims to file charges in a Haitian national court against Jean-Claude Duvalier for crimes against humanity. He is now a lead witness in the case. Since 1995, Boby has helped more than 10,000 at-risk youths in Haiti, providing sport programmes, schooling, and meals through the non-profit, L’Athletique D’Haiti.

The Haiti Ball, now in its third year is an annual event for Irish charity Haven. Haven was established in 2009 by Leslie Buckley and his wife Carmel and works solely in Haiti to help rebuild communities after the devastating earthquake that shuck the county to its core leaving 1.5 million people homeless in less than 40 seconds. Haven’s work focuses on water and sanitation, shelter and training and education.

Guest at the 2014 Haiti Ball included Minister Joe Costello, Minister Alex White, Emer Costello MEP, Haven Ambassador Clodagh McKenna, RTE Broadcaster Sean O’Rourke and Irish entrepreneur Denis O’Brien. Master of ceremonies for the evening was radio broadcaster Matt Cooper.

Paul O’Connell said on the night: “It is an honour for me to be presenting this award to Boby Duval tonight. It is inspirational to hear how a person who has been through so much can still fight for justice in Haiti.”

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Haven co-founders and staff marking the fifth anniversary of Haven at the Haiti Ball.