Haiti – FLASH : Gangs in Haiti are increasingly targeting children
According to UNICEF between September 2020 and February 2021 (6 months), the number of children and women, victims of armed attacks in Haiti, attributed to gangs increased considerably by 62%, from 45 to 73 cases compared to to the 6 month preceding September 2020.
“Children and women in Haiti are no longer simply the victims of criminal gangs, they are increasingly becoming their targets“, warns Jean Gough, UNICEF Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean. Adding, “Whether it’s kidnappings, rapes or even murder, more and more violent gang incidents have involved children and women in recent weeks and months. This recent upsurge is fueling insecurity in this poor country.”
According to the Brigade de Protection des Mineurs (BPM), at least 31 children were abducted in Haiti between 2020 and 2021.
Just days ago, a group of armed men broke into an orphanage and raped two girls, aged 13 and 14, and a woman, 27, in the Haitian capital, Port-au-Prince. https://www.haitilibre.com/en/news-33484-haiti-flash-armed-men-rape-two-children-and-an-adult-in-an-orphanage.html This incident left 36 girls and traumatized boys.
Insecurity in Haiti is increasingly disrupting the delivery of education and other basic services for children. During the 2019-2020 school year, approximately 60% of all Haitian schools were closed for 60 days due to violent social unrest. This year, growing gang violence and insecurity have prevented many children from attending school in several urban areas of Port-au-Prince and surrounding areas.
“Violence in communities is unacceptable,” said Jean Gough. “We must end gang violence. Week after week in Haiti, criminal gangs are spreading terror and fear on more families and communities. Child safety should be the main priority of the new Haitian Government https://www.haitilibre.com/en/news-33483-haiti-politic-jovenel-moise-wants-to-quickly-install-a-government-of-national-unity.html “
UNICEF urges all concerned to refrain from targeting children and women and urges the new Haitian government to take action to limit gang violence against children.