The earthquake that struck Haiti in January 2010 had a devastating effect on the country, causing an estimate of 222,750 deaths and up to 1.6 million people homeless and displaced. The natural disaster had a massive impact on public institutions which deepened the government's weaknesses to protect and promote human rights, a situation that has persisted years after the natural disaster. Human rights defenders in the country frequently face threats and harassment and are at times subject to detention and killings.
Journalists have been specially targeted as a result of their profession. Since 2000 at least eight journalists have been assassinated while a number of others have been harassed and detained. The level of impunity remains very high since only one out of the eight cases of killings, the perpetrators have been tried and convicted. Furthermore, HRDs defending victims of rape have been subject to violence and extortion as a consequence of their work.