UN Experts Alarmed Over Sexual Violence In Haiti – St. Lucia Times

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UN independent human rights experts on Monday issued a stark warning about the ongoing severe violations of women and girls’ rights in Haiti, highlighting the near total impunity of armed gangs amid the ongoing crisis there.

The experts detailed the far-reaching impacts of the violence and lawlessness that has led to chaos across the capital, Port-au=Prince, and other areas under gang control this year.

“The outbreak of violence in Haiti has resulted in loss of livelihoods and food insecurity, widespread and multiple displacement, the collapse of education, breakdown of healthcare and other essential services,” they said.

The Human Rights Council-appointed experts also pointed to the near total lack of access to justice due to fear of reprisals and the collapse of the economy.

‘Tactic to instil fear’

Particularly alarming is the use of sexual violence by criminal gangs, which is employed as a tactic to instil fear, control territories, extort money and punish communities.

“Internally displaced women and girls who live in inadequate and precarious displacement sites are particularly vulnerable to sexual violence,” they said, warning of a sharp rise in trafficking them for purposes of sexual exploitation and sexual slavery.

They also voiced concern over the Haitian authorities’ failure to protect vulnerable populations as well as being “actively complicit” in gang activities.

“Haiti must return to democratic and constitutional governance based on the principles of respect for human rights, transparency and accountability,” the experts urged.

The experts, who serve in their individual capacity independent of the UN or any national government, called on the criminal gangs to put an immediate end to all forms of gender-based violence.