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Immediate Action Needed To Save Children’s Lives In Haiti Amid Triple Threat Of Cholera, Malnutrition And Violence

Immediate action needed to save children’s lives in Haiti amid triple threat of cholera, malnutrition and violence, UN child rights committee warns

GENEVA (1 November 2022) - The Committee on the Rights of the Child is deeply concerned about the severe violations of children’s rights in Haiti. Amid a surge in violence, the rights of children to life, education, safe water, sanitation, health, and nutrition are under threat.

Given the escalating insecurity, the majority of children have not gone to school since the academic year started on 3 October. More recently, and after three years without a reported case, cholera is back, threatening the health, well-being, and even lives of the 1.2 million children living in areas where cholera cases have been reported.

According to projections by UNICEF, nearly 100,000 children under five face severe acute malnutrition. The situation is alarming as malnourished children are even more at risk from the unfolding cholera outbreak.

Amid the rising violence, insecurity and economic hardship, many of the poorest Haitian families have no access to safe drinking water, soap to wash their hands and other basic sanitation, increasing the risk of catching cholera. In addition, hospitals are only able to offer limited functions as a result of both fuel shortages and insecurity.

Many Haitian children live in fear of being recruited, kidnapped, injured or killed by armed gangs. Children as young as 10, the vast majority of whom are girls, have been subjected to collective rape for hours in front of their parents amid the explosion of gang violence. One in four girls and one in five boys have been sexually abused in Haiti’s capital.

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The international community needs to act immediately to support the national authorities in guaranteeing the rights of millions of Haitian children to live, grow, learn, and thrive in a climate free from violence.

The Committee urges Haiti to comply with its international human rights obligations under the Convention on the Rights of the Child and its Optional Protocols on the involvement of children in armed conflict and on the sale of children, child prostitution, and child pornography.

In particular, the Committee urges all government authorities and non-State actors to protect the rights of all Haitian children and facilitate access to humanitarian assistance for the most vulnerable families.

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