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Haiti - Social : Violence against women is increasing in the camps
06/01/2011 12:08:31

Haiti - Social : Violence against women is increasing in the camps
In its latest report "Aftershocks : Women speak out against sexual violence in Haiti’s camps", released yesterday, Amnesty International writes that "women, girls and young girls who live in makeshift camps in Haiti, are increasingly facing with the risk of being victims of rape and sexual violence."

A year after the earthquake of January 2010, more than a million people still live in deplorable conditions in camps in Haiti. According to Amnesty International, over 250 cases of rape in several camps were reported during the first 5 months following the earthquake. Sexual violence was widespread in Haiti before January 2010, but this problem has been exacerbated by the conditions of life since the earthquake.

Those responsible for these acts are mostly gunmen lying in the camps at night and act with impunity. "Since the earthquake, the judiciary and police already fragile has collapsed completely in Haiti with women living in overcrowded camps and unsafe" said Gerardo Ducos, a researcher for Amnesty International on Haiti.

For a year, almost every two days, assaulted women, come to the office of a local support group to seek help, says Amnesty International. "Women, who are already struggling to overcome the loss of their loved ones, their homes and their livelihoods after the earthquake, must also cope with the trauma that represents the fact of living under the constant threat of such attacks" said Gerardo Ducos.

"To end the widespread sexual violence, the new government must make of the protection of women and young girls in camps, a priority. This problem has so far been largely ignored in the response to the global humanitarian crisis. " The victims feel that the police response is inadequate. Many of them have reported that when they went asking for help to the police, the police answered that they could not do anything.

Amnesty International invites the new government to take urgent measures to put an end to the violence suffered by women within the framework of a larger plan designed to coordinate humanitarian action. In its report, it noted that women living in camps must be fully involved in developing this plan. Among the immediate actions to take, it is indispensable that the security in the camps be improved, that officers are able to respond effectively and bring to justice those responsible.

HL/ HaitiLibre

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