Haiti: 'Triple threat' of cholera, malnutrition and violence puts young lives at risk – UN News

Immediate action is needed to save young lives in Haiti amid the “triple threat” of cholera, malnutrition and violence, the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) said on Tuesday. 
CRC members urged the international community to support authorities in the Caribbean country in guaranteeing the rights of millions of boys and girls to live, grow, learn, and thrive. 
Last month, the UN Security Council unanimously approved a sanctions regime for Haiti, targeting gang leaders and those who finance them, in a bid to ease months of violence and lawlessness that have fuelled a humanitarian crisis. 
Gangs have been blocking access to the main fuel terminal in the capital, Port-au-Prince, which has affected delivery of healthcare and other critical services, at a time when Haiti is confronting a growing cholera epidemic. 
The country also continues to face political and economic meltdown. 
Amid the surge in violence, children’s rights to life, education, safe water, sanitation, health and nutrition are under threat, the UN Committee said.  Escalating insecurity has meant that most have not gone to school since the start of the academic year on 3 October. 
UN children’s agency UNICEF has projected that nearly 100,000 under-fives face severe acute malnutrition, an alarming situation as malnourished children are at even greater risk of cholera. 
Many of the poorest Haitian families have no safe drinking water, soap for handwashing, and basic sanitation, thus increasing cholera risk.  Additionally, hospitals are only able to offer limited services due to fuel shortages and insecurity.
The Committee reported on other threats, as many Haitian children live in fear of being recruited, kidnapped, injured, or killed by gangs.   
Children as young as 10, mainly girls, also have been subjected to hours of gang rape in front of their parents.  A quarter of girls, and one fifth of boys in the capital have been sexually abused. 
“The Committee urges Haiti to comply with its international human rights obligations under the Convention on the Rights of the Child and its Optional Protocols on the involvement of children in armed conflict and on the sale of children, child prostitution, and child pornography,” the statement said. 
Haitian government authorities and non-State actors have also been urged to protect the rights of all children, and to facilitate humanitarian access to the most vulnerable families. 
The 18 independent experts who sit on the Child Rights Committee were appointed by the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva. 
The Committee meets in the Swiss city, and normally holds three sessions each year. 
Members are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. 
Haitians are coming together to tackle the recent outbreak of cholera in the country, says the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in the country. Ulrika Richardson, the most senior UN humanitarian official in Haiti, visited a number of cholera treatment centres in the country’s capital, Port-au-Prince, where she met medical staff treating patients with the disease.
The UN Security Council on Friday unanimously approved a sanctions regime for Haiti, targeting gang leaders and those who finance them, in the hope of easing months of violence and lawlessness which has fuelled a major humanitarian crisis.


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