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Violence on increase in Haiti camps

Sexual, domestic and gang violence is rife in more than 70% of Haiti’s refugee camps, campaigners have said.

Researchers from US-based advocacy group Refugees International said little progress has been made in the 1,300 camps they studied, home to an estimated 1.3M earthquake victims.

The group found that the majority of camps they surveyed did not have the appropriate officials in place to offer sufficient help and protection to the victims, leaving them at increased risk of sexual and gang violence, hunger and forced eviction.

It said the people of Haiti are still living in a “state of emergency” with a “paralysed” humanitarian response nine months after the 12 January earthquake, which killed up to 300,000 people and left millions homeless.

The Refugees International report said: “Gang leaders or land owners are intimidating the displaced. Sexual, domestic and gang violence in and around the camps is rising. Action is urgently needed to protect the basic human rights of people displaced by the earthquake.”

The report criticised the International Organisation for Migration, which is responsible for co-ordination and management of the camps in Haiti and the United Nations operations in the country for not giving priority to actions to protect quake victims.

A recent investigation revealed that £0.7bn promised to Haiti from the US had not yet been received by the earthquake-hit country and was one of the reasons why more than a million victims still remain homeless.

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