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Thursday, January 13, 2011

Constant threat of rape in Haiti camps

Risk of rape has increased dramatically over the past year for women and girls displaced by Haiti's earthquake
"We can be raped at any moment. We are forced to live in misery." - Dina, rape survivor, Haiti
Can you donate to help Amnesty stop the onslaught of sexual violence against girls and women in Haiti?
Dear Dwijendra,

Over the past year, the risk of rape has increased dramatically for women and girls displaced by Haiti's earthquake.

Myriam was raped when she was 11.
Suzie was gang-raped in front of her children.
Guerline's rapists said they would shoot her if she went to the police.

A year after a devastating earthquake killed 230,000 people and injured 300,000, more than one million people still live in squalid, unsafe tent cities in the capital Port-au-Prince and in the south of Haiti.

Most of those displaced by the quake are women and girls.

This dire situation has made girls and women – already struggling to come to terms with losing loved ones, homes and livelihoods in the earthquake – easy targets for violent sexual attack.

Armed men and youth gangs prowl the poorly lit camps at night, slicing through tents and raping at will. Women and girls are completely exposed - their makeshift shelters providing no protection against attackers.

Makeshift tents in Haiti
A complete breakdown of law and order in the camps where Haiti's earthquake survivors live has made girls and women easy targets of sexual violence. Your gift today will help Amnesty fight for their protection and human rights.
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There's simply no security for the women and girls in the camps.

Amnesty is calling on the new Haitian government to protect girls and women in the camps and stop the sexual violence now.

Help protect at-risk girls and women in Haiti from sexual violence. Make a contribution to Amnesty International today.

Sexual violence was widespread in Haiti before January 2010, but the destruction and displacement caused by the earthquake made women and girls even more vulnerable to abuse - separating them from family and community networks and shattering protection mechanisms.

According to the Amnesty International report, Aftershocks: Women speak out against sexual violence in Haiti's camps, more than 250 cases of rape – in just several camps – were reported in the first 5 months after January’s earthquake.

Victims say few rapes are reported, either because they fear retribution or because they don’t know where to turn. Women who do report rape to the authorities are turned away or asked to pay the police for inquiries.

Women and girls in the camps have a right to safety. The government has an obligation to protect them. With your help, we can convince the new government to make ending violence against women a priority.

We can't let this stand, and we must not let it spread. Donate today to help Amnesty defend human rights in Haiti.

  In peace,

Larry Cox
Executive Director
Amnesty International USA

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