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Haiti warned over rape in camps
Port-au-Prince, Jan 6 (Agencies):
Published on 6 Jan. 2011 11:59 PM IST
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Hundred of women and girls have been sexually assaulted in Haiti in the chaos following last year’s devastating earthquake, a human rights group has said.
A report by Amnesty International says armed gangs prowl the makeshift camps set up after the earthquake, preying on vulnerable women.
It says the camps lack security and that the police response is inadequate.
It has called on the government to do more to reduce the threat to women.
Amnesty International spoke to 50 survivors of sexual violence including a 14-year-old girl in the capital, Port-au-Prince, who was punched and then raped.
Another women said she and a friend were bound and gagged and sexually assaulted in front of their children.
One young woman told the BBC’s Mike Thomson in Haiti that she was raped in a camp soon after giving birth.
“I cried, I yelled, but nobody came, there was nobody,” she said. “After they finished, they beat me. They beat me so much that you can see scars on my skin and my knee.” Afterwards, she said she did not feel she could nurse her daughter. “It felt like the milk inside had been poisoned,” she said, “so I stopped breastfeeding. And each night was torture for me.” Kofaviv, a group that has been helping Amnesty International with its research, says it has reports of attacks on children as young as four or five.
In the first six months after the earthquake, at least 250 cases of rape were reported; a year on and serious sexual assault is still taking place.
Amnesty is calling on the new Haitian government to take a number of steps to reduce the threat to women and girls who are forced to live in the camps until Port-au-Prince has been re-built.

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