‘Rape has become a weapon’ for Haiti gangs, says UN Published duration 15 July 2013
media caption Children are treated for gang rape after a UN peacekeeping operation ended in Haiti in March
A report from the UN chief has said the use of rape as a weapon of war is increasing in Haiti and the Caribbean region.
It says many victims are forced back into their communities with no support, with many becoming victims of domestic violence.
On Wednesday, Haiti’s government announced it would set up a commission to examine the causes and effects of the crimes.
The report issued on Thursday by former UN secretary-general Kofi Annan said: “The vast majority of rape victims in Haiti are not allowed out to seek medical care.
“Many are forced back to their villages where they are subjected to abuse and violence.”
In August there was at least one mass rape among about 250 pupils on the first day of their secondary school in the mountainous town of Carcassonne in Haiti’s north and some of their teachers and parents were also arrested, police said.
A UN official said he suspected another mass rape would be “an attack inside the school where everyone goes and everyone knows exactly where the perpetrator will be.”
There have also been reports of gang rapes and violent sex crimes in some of Haiti’s other larger towns, he said.
media caption UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon: “A rape in a school or any other place and it could be the start of a very, very horrible situation.”
The report said there was “little evidence that rape and other forms of sexual violence” are being stopped in Haiti because of the presence of international peacekeepers.
One of the peacekeepers is thought to have been assaulted at a UN base in Santo Domingo on Tuesday morning.
The spokesman for Haiti’s UN mission in the capital said the incident had been referred to the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.