Human Rights in Haiti

Shocking Levels of Rape and Sexual Violence Against Girls in Haiti by Armed Gangs, Amnesty International Reports

Amnesty International Press Release Nov. 27, 2008

Human Rights Organization Says Government Is Ignoring Responsibility to Protect Girls

(New York) -- Facing a humanitarian emergency, severe hardships and political turmoil, Haiti is also gripped by shocking levels of sexual violence against girls, according to a new report by Amnesty International, which shows more than half of all rape victims in Haiti are girls under age 18 and the culprits are frequently armed criminal gangs.

In a report issued at a press conference in the Haitian capital, Port-au-Prince, Amnesty International said of 105 rape cases reported so far this year, 55 percent involved girls under age 18. In 2007, 238 rapes were recorded; 140 of these involved girls between 19 months and 18 years old. The cases were recorded by the Haitian Women’s Solidarity Movement -- one of the few organizations in Haiti that reports sexual attacks.

The Amnesty International report said a trend has emerged involving groups of armed men assaulting girls -- the legacy of rape as a political weapon that emerged during the armed rebellion that ousted President Jean-Bertrand Aristide in 2004. Rape became a political weapon by armed insurgents to instill fear and to punish women believed to have supported the democratic government. “Rape has now become a common practice among criminal gangs,” said the report. read more