UNICEF reports a 9-fold increase in violence against schools — Global issues
“Violence continues” heavy losses on children’s lives in and around Port-au-Prince, and defunct schools,” said Bruno Maes, UN Children’s Fund (UN Children’s Fund)UNICEF) represented in Haiti. “As children reel from the effects of armed violence, the insecurity in Haiti shows no sign of abating.”
‘Major impact’ on children
“The targeting of schools by armed groups is having a huge impact on the safety, well-being and learning ability of children,” said Mr. Maes.
The consequences of these Targeted attacks are beginning to paralyze the country’s education system, said UNICEF. Foundation partners reported seeing a school on fire, killing one student, along with the kidnapping of at least two staff members.
In the first six days of February, escalate Violence in urban areas causes 30 schools to close while more than a quarter of educational institutions have remained closed since October, UNICEF said.
However, the conditions on the ground are still unsafe. UN aid coordination office (OCHA) report that Armed groups control 60% of Port-au-Princethe capital of the country.
Robbery of food and equipment
When armed groups target schools, they often loot school equipment, including desks, benches, boards, laptops, photocopiers, batteries, and solar panels. UNICEF said bags of rice, flour and corn for school meals were also stolen.
The Foundation reports that children lose an average of one and a half days of school each week in January between shootings, robberies and kidnappings. During the first four months of the school year – October to February – 72 schools were reported as targets, compared with 8 in the same period last year.
With social unrest increasing in recent weeks, many school principals have decided to close classrooms to protect children from potential attacks. On January 26, students were forced to evacuate as violent street protests over the killing of 14 policemen spread across the country.
Without urgent action to protect schools from violence, UNICEF predicts that students will be out of school for about 36 days by the end of June.
“A child who is afraid of going to school be more of a child at risk of being recruited by armed groups‘, warned Mr. Maes. “We must act urgently to protect children’s lives and futures.”
‘This must stop’
Once considered a safe haven, schools have recently become “violent target“, he warned.
“In some urban areas of the country, Armed groups see school looting as a lucrative alternative to other forms of blackmail and crime” he say.“This has to stop.”
Despite this grim prospect, Haitian Ministry of Education steps up effortsopen three-quarters of schools in December 2022, compared with less than one-tenth of schools opening in October.
Given the current situation, UNICEF urges all parties to refrain from any action that jeopardizes children’s right to education. The Foundation also calls on the Haitian Government to ensure the safety of schools and to hold groups and individuals responsible for harming or threatening students.
United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) Volker Türk, who arrived in Haiti on Wednesday for a two-day visit, said gangs were “very active” in schools at a time when the nation’s poorest people are most vulnerable and in need of help.
“I just heard from victims and people working in neighborhoods where gangs control territory and population, and that is a living hell” he say. “I have heard about 500,000 children live in this situationnot being able to go to school properly, not being comforted by their parents because their parents are afraid of what will happen in the future.
‘Disaster famine-like conditions’
“I heard that 20,000 people are in dire, famine-like conditions in a country that the world is not paying attention to,” he said.
World food program (WFP), providing assistance to more than one million Haitians by 2022, report that is almost half of the population – almost 4.7 million people – is facing a food crisis.
The United Nations launched in 2019 a special political mission in Haiti, known by its French initials BINUHto, among other things, protect and promote human rights.
Its activities are integrated into the 19 agencies, funds and programs of the United Nations Country Group, which provides humanitarian assistance and implements development programs under the leadership of national authorities. .
Head of Mission and Special Representative of the Secretary-General of the United Nations to Haiti, Helen La Limesummary Security Council the end of last month, said Gang violence has reached levels not seen in decades. More than 2,100 murders and 1,300 kidnappings were reported in 2022 alone.
She speaks The turf war is going on involving two gang alliances — the G9 and the G-Pep — is part of well-defined strategies designed to conquer populations and expand territorial control.