Immediate action is needed to save children in Haiti amid the “triple threat” of cholera, malnutrition and violence, the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) said on Tuesday.
CRC members urged the international community to support authorities in the Caribbean country in guaranteeing the rights of millions of children to live, grow, learn, and thrive.
Last month, the UN Security Council unanimously approved a sanctions regime for Haiti, targeting gang leaders and those who finance them, in a bid to ease months of violence and lawlessness that have fueled a humanitarian crisis
Gangs have been blocking access to the main fuel terminal in the capital, Port-au-Prince, which has affected the delivery of healthcare and other critical services, at a time when Haiti is confronting a growing cholera epidemic.
The country also continues to face political and economic meltdowns.
Amid the surge in violence, children’s rights to life, education, safe water, sanitation, health and nutrition are under threat, the UN Committee said in a statement. It added that escalating insecurity has meant that most have not gone to school since the start of the academic year on October 3.
Many of the poorest Haitian families have no safe drinking water, soap for handwashing, and basic sanitation, thus increasing cholera risk. Additionally, hospitals are only able to offer limited services due to fuel shortages and insecurity.
The Committee reported on other threats, as many Haitian children live in fear of being recruited, kidnapped, injured, or killed by gangs.
Children as young as ten, mainly girls, also have been subjected to hours of gang rape in front of their parents. A quarter of girls and one-fifth of boys in the capital have been sexually abused.
“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,” the statement said.
Haitian government authorities and non-State actors have also been urged to protect the rights of all children and to facilitate humanitarian access to the most vulnerable families.