In 1992, as a response to the human rights violations committed under the military dictatorship that served as a primary cause of the massive Haitian exodus to the United States, the National Coalition for Haitian Refugees (NCHR)—established in 1982 in New York—opened an affiliate organization in Haiti to attack the problem at its root source. The diverse range of activities led to the organization’s renaming in 1995 to the National Coalition of Haitian Rights.
The NCHR office in Haiti began to grow rapidly in both capacity and credibility to develop into the leading human rights organization that it is in Haiti today. Since 1996, NCHR-Haiti developed its own programs, secured its own funding, and carried out its own activities without the input and/or funds from NCHR-NY. As NCHR-Haiti continued to advance, it became clear that some changes needed to be made—that here in Haiti, the organization needed Haitian leadership and direction as well as a Haitian name.
Additionally, several human rights networks had already been established in a number of the country’s departments, composed of RNDDH’s training program beneficiaries. Given these developments, a name including the phrase “National Network” seemed to better reflect the organization’s objectives. Discussions started in 2002 on how to go about making these changes and the official process began in 2004. On 11 May 2005, the Réseau National de Défense des Droits Humains (RNDDH) became the official new name of NCHR-Haiti, constituting the final stage in making the organization a truly Haitian one, striving to promote, protect and defend the fundamental human rights of all Haitians. RNDDH’s goals, objectives, and activities will remain unchanged, fueled by the same motivation, dedication and passion of the same solid and committed NCHR-Haiti team.