33 years since the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the “Zanmi Timoun” Foundation deplores the situation of Haitian children
November 20 is the date chosen to celebrate International Child Rights Day, created by the United Nations General Assembly in 1989, and marking the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. The theme chosen for 2022 is “inclusion, for every child”. However, children’s rights fail in Haitian society which claims to be characterized by the affirmation of human rights. Despite the ratification of the convention since 1994 by the Haitian state, children still struggle to fully enjoy their rights in this society constantly in crisis. As a result, the “Zanmi Timoun” Foundation, an organization for the defense and promotion of children’s rights, advocates for a society where every child, without any discrimination, will be the subject of an inclusive public policy.
For more than a decade, the country’s socio-political, economic, cultural and security circumstances have been destroying the dignity and hope of children and young people, particularly those living in working-class neighborhoods and communal sections. Their fundamental rights are violated on a daily basis: lack of basic medical care; failing education system; deprivation of space for young people; undernourishment; abuse; lack of decent housing; lack of security and lack of protection for people illegally deported. According to a Needs Overview (HMO) report in 2021, approximately 21,700 Haitian children were subject to acute malnutrition compared to 134,000 during the same period of the previous year. Also last year, in a report published by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) on the occasion of International Children’s Day, two (2) children out of ten (10), aged 6 to 10 years old, did not attend primary school. Today, the situation has gotten worse and could give rise to serious reflections. In addition, Haitian leaders remain passive in the face of the repatriation of migrants on the Haitian-Dominican border, in particular unaccompanied children, imprisoned, quite often beaten, locked in trucks without ventilation, in dehumanizing conditions, and thrown on the border.
Furthermore, the violence of armed gangs has caused the displacement of thousands of families who survive without any housing. During gang wars, children are often the prey of bandits. They are also not spared from acts of kidnapping, rape, and assassination. The confirmed absence of the judicial system and the weakness of law enforcement in particular, largely favor the emergence of criminal structures and the systematic violation of human rights, particularly those of children. Therefore, the “Zanmi Timoun” Foundation recalls that despite the signing and ratification of the Convention on the Rights of the Child on December 23, 1994, the rights of children in Haiti undoubtedly remain in danger and their future mortgaged.
In this sense, the “Zanmi Timoun” Foundation, a Haitian collective defending the rights of children, urgently recommends to the current leaders of the State that measures be taken for the protection of Haitian children. Furthermore, that the best interests of the Child are truly at the center of all decisions and actions.
Done in Port-au-Prince, November 19, 2022
Joseph Richard FORTUNÉ
Communications and Advocacy Manager
Tel: (509) 31 87 7363 / 3387 06 88