Loune Viaud

Loune Viaud, Director of Operations and Strategic Planning at Zanmi Lasante (Partners in Health—Haiti), has worked with Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights since 2002, when she received the RFK Human Rights Award. Loune was recognized for her innovative human rights-based approach to establishing health care systems in Haiti. Loune was honored, not only for her groundbreaking work in effective, rights-based HIV/AIDS treatment, but for advocating health, access to medicine, and clean water as fundamental human rights, and working with the local government and citizens to build the government’s capacity to respond to those rights.

In collaboration with RFK Human Rights, Loune has worked to transform the international community’s interventions in Haiti, many of which undermine human rights, including the rights to health, water and food. Loune’s primary concern has been the interrupted flow of international donor assistance and loan funds into Haiti that have undermined the Haitian government’s ability to fulfill its human rights obligations. Although the Haitian Constitution guarantees the right to health and education, ineffective and poorly coordinated international assistance meant that the government of Haiti lacked the resources to deliver basic services such as education and health care. Accordingly, the advocacy of Loune and RFK Human Rights focuses on promoting accountability for the human rights obligations of international interveners in Haiti.

Loune’s ongoing work in Haiti took on even greater urgency when Haiti was hit by a devastating earthquake in January 2010. Loune has since been working to provide health care to the most vulnerable populations and to strengthen the health care sector. Loune also worked with the government and other organizations to help establish a children’s shelter for orphaned and abandoned children, many of whom are disabled. She has testified before the U.S. Congress on the urgent need to strengthen the capacity of the government of Haiti following the earthquake and to effectively include Haitians in the reconstruction.