Haiti

Port-au-Prince.- In the midst of an unprecedented sociopolitical crisis and major insecurity, Haitian children are paying a high price. They are murdered, kidnapped, raped and massacred. State protection is a chimera in the most impoverished country in America.

“Today, talking about respect for children’s rights is extremely difficult. For children it is an unfortunate situation. This is true at all levels,” Joseph Richard Fortuné, head of communication for the Zanmi Timoun Foundationabout the celebration of International Children’s Day.

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The director of the entity that defends the rights of children in Haiti considered that the authorities do not protect them and, rather, “continue violating” their rights.

INCLUSION OF ALL CHILDREN, A DREAM

In Haiti there is a set of laws that protect children against all forms of abuse, maltreatment and violence, recalled Fédorah Pierre-Louis, director of public engagement for World Vision International Haiti, while acknowledging that the situation of these is increasingly “more fragile”

“When we look at the reality of children in the country, we still cannot talk about inclusion,” he told EFE before adding, “for inclusion to be effective and efficient, children must be able to live without violence, have the same opportunities, access to technology, there must be justice adapted to the age of children and the rights of children must be respected in crisis and emergency situations”.

Inclusion of all children is the theme of this year’s Children’s Day celebration, which finds Haiti in the midst of an acute humanitarian crisis.

For Pierre-Louis it is important that all the plans and strategies developed by the State reduce the “anxiety” and “insecurity” suffered by children.

FOOD AND HEALTH, LUXURY FOR HAITIAN CHILDREN

“As for the right to food, it continues to be catastrophic. In the neighborhoods, the situation is unfortunate,” said Fortuné, citing the largest shantytown in the capital, Cité Soleil – plagued by insecurity – as an example, where children live in “inhumane” and “degrading” conditions.

Unicef ​​figures on nutrition are alarming. The UN office says that 66% of children in Haiti suffer from anemia, while 22% suffer from chronic malnutrition and 4% from malnutrition, in a country where, out of a population of 11 million, 4 .7 million suffer a high level of food insecurity.

Pierre-Louis agreed with these data and says that for his organization there is “a lot of concern” for the health of children in the country.

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Only 40% of children have access to health care due to difficulties such as the remoteness of these centers, their operation, the availability of health professionals and the fact that many parents do not have the ability to pay for these services.

The high rates of infant mortality, children suffering from diarrhea, malnutrition, respiratory infections, tuberculosis and HIV are situations that question the right to health of Haitian children.

“The issue of access to water, nutrition and health is becoming more and more complicated, and children are greatly affected,” said Fédorah Pierre-Louis.

VIOLATION OF THE RIGHT TO LIFE AND SECURITY

Hundreds of children are forced to leave their neighborhoods due to insecurity and gang warfare in Port-au-Prince, which is at least 60% controlled by gangs. Children have been orphaned by insecurity. Some have seen their parents killed or raped before their eyes.

“Children are prey to the bandits who use them. Given that children do not consent, they are subjected to all kinds of abuse. There are many children kidnapped, raped and murdered,” said Joseph Richard Fortuné.

For Fortuné, in Haiti the judicial system is almost non-existent. “In general, we live in a society in which we are all abandoned. Everyone is trying to save themselves”, he added, criticizing the State for not doing anything to respond to the needs and demands of children.

IT IS URGENT TO RESOLVE THE CRISIS

The safety of people and the safety of each child is an extremely important element in the question of sustainable development of a society based on true human rights, Pierre-Louis assured.

“It is a prerequisite for the establishment of peace in the country. It is urgent to find a solution to the multiple forms of crises we are experiencing. The children can’t wait any longer. There are many thousands of children who suffer. They represent a large part of the population responsible for the future of the country, ”she explained.

Pierre-Louis said that World Vision is sounding the alarm not only to call for action, but also to demand the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child in the country.

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