UN experts: gangs in Haiti use sexual violence to intimidate the population

Эксперты ООН: банды на Гаити используют сексуальное насилие для устрашения населения

Downtown Port-au-Prince remains extremely dangerous due to gang violence. UN experts: gangs in Haiti use sexual violence to intimidate the population Women

Widespread violations of the rights of women and girls in Haiti go largely unpunished, UN experts warned on Monday. The country, they say, is experiencing an unprecedented outbreak of violence that threatens the safety of hundreds of thousands of people.

“Women and girls continue to suffer disproportionately from the crisis ravaging the country,” experts said. “Inequality and gender discrimination further exacerbate the current situation.”

The outbreak of violence in Haiti has led to loss of livelihoods and food shortages, large-scale population displacement, and destruction of education systems and medical care, the experts said in a statement. Access to justice is extremely limited due to fear of reprisals and lack of economic opportunities.

Experts have expressed grave concern that criminal gangs continue to use sexual violence against women and girls as a primary tactic to instill fear, extort money, and intimidate local communities.

Women and girls who have fled their homes and live in unsafe places and inadequate conditions are particularly vulnerable to sexual violence, experts said, warning of a growing number of cases of trafficking of women and girls for sexual exploitation and sexual slavery.

Experts have expressed alarm at the authorities’ continued failure to protect the rights of women and girls during the current crisis. “No one should be forced to choose between their safety and their ability to provide for themselves and their families, attend school, receive health care and receive essential services, including sexual and reproductive services,” they said.

“Haiti must return to democratic constitutional government based on the principles of respect for human rights, transparency and accountability,” the statement said. “We call on the authorities to take all measures to ensure the full and equal participation of women in the peacebuilding process in accordance with Security Council Resolution 1325.”

Independent UN experts work on a voluntary basis. They are appointed by the UN Human Rights Council, they are not employees of the Organization and do not receive a salary for their work. 

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