CHRGJ Survey Suggests Alarming Levels of Sexual Violence in Haiti’s IDP Camps
Preliminary Results Substantiate Calls for Immediate Preventive Measures
(New York) March 16, 2011 — An alarmingly high proportion of households surveyed in Haiti’s camps for the internally displaced (IDP) have been victimized by sexual violence since the earthquake, said the Center for Human Rights and Global Justice (CHRGJ) in a briefing paper <http://www.chrgj.org/projects/docs/Haiti%20Sexual%20Violence%20March%202011.pdf> released today.
The Center—based at NYU School of Law—released the paper just days before Haitians are set to return to the polls to vote in a Presidential run-off. The paper makes public the preliminary findings of its survey on gender-based violence and access to food and water, conducted in January 2011 in several IDP camps in Port-au-Prince. The findings add weight to what human rights groups and victims groups have been saying for several months now: that sexual violence and the fear of sexual violence are common in the camps and that significant changes in security and access to basic resources are required.
“Since the earthquake, women’s groups have been receiving daily reports of sexual assault occurring while women engage in ordinary activities, such as walking to gather water or washing in the morning,” said Margaret Satterthwaite, a Faculty Director at CHRGJ and the Principal Investigator for the survey. “The results of this survey amplify these reports through empirical data and suggest that immediate action is needed to prevent further assaults.”
Close to a million people continue to live in tents or makeshift shelters in IDP camps throughout earthquake-affected zones of the country, the majority concentrated in the densely populated capital city of Port-au-Prince. In January 2011, CHRGJ—along with its Global Justice Clinic—conducted a survey of 365 households in four IDP camps in Port-au-Prince. The survey is one component of a larger CHRGJ study assessing the links between gender-based violence and access to food and water. The project responds to community organizations’ concern with increasing sexual violence in the post-earthquake camps.
The survey’s most significant results are as follows: Read the rest of this entry »