On the occasion of the 16-day international campaign of activism against gender-based violence, the world body's agencies and women's organizations recalled that this phenomenon not only causes unimaginable suffering and trauma to far too many women and girls, but also represents a definitive breakdown for sustainable development and society's progress.
The theme of the campaign in Haiti is 'Prevention and education are tools in the fight against violence against women and girls,' and it is scheduled to conclude on December 10 with the celebration of the 75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Ulrika Richardson, UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator, mourned the pain of the victims and noted the need to act now and with determination.
Gangs are increasingly using sexual & gender-based violence to instil fear amongst the population in Haiti.
I spoke with Ms. Sofia Loréus, Minister of Women's Affairs, discussing the pressing need to intensify efforts on all fronts to urgently tackle such dire issues faced by… pic.twitter.com/2xPAGpTwc5
She also renewed her full commitment to continue supporting efforts to combat this scourge, under the leadership of the Ministry for the Status and Rights of Women, and with the collaboration of Haitian civil society, in particular women's organizations.
The campaign is taking place at a time of increased cases of violence against women and girls amid the territorial expansion of armed groups, which use this tool as a form of control.
The Organization of Citizens for a New Haiti denounced that from June to November more than 300 cases of sexual violence were registered throughout the country, among them a three-year-old girl.
"We note with concern cases of sexual violence, such as rape and assaults perpetrated by gangs, which are being used to sow fear in communities and undermine human rights. This must stop. We refuse to tolerate violence against women in all its forms," said Maria Isabel Salvador, head of the UN Integrated Office in Haiti.
She also urged the authorities to work to implement a policy and concrete measures to strengthen the protection of the rights of this segment of the population.
During the campaign days, awareness-raising activities will be carried out in IDP camps, universities, schools and colleges.
The initiative aims to provide an opportunity and a framework to promote women's rights in order to combat all forms of violence in the Caribbean country.