Press note

Otorite Gouvènman an dwe pran responsablite pou timoun ki deplase yo kap kouri anba atak bandi ame yo

Around 300 children of both (2) sexes have been housed at the premises of the Brothers of Christian Instruction (St Louis de Gonzague) located between Delmas 31 and 33, since Sunday July 17, 2022. These children come from the Cité Soleil district and other conflict zones in the metropolitan region had to flee their homes to escape the confrontation of armed gangs. The “Zanmi Timoun” Foundation is concerned about the future of these children who are often marginalized and forgotten by those involved in the Haitian education system. She therefore urges current state authorities to take measures to curb the cycle of violence in the various working-class neighborhoods of the capital.
The Municipality of Cité Soleil (an area known to be difficult to access), is left to its own devices. The climate of insecurity is intensifying, armed men are asserting their power and imposing their law on the civilian population, particularly on the children there. As a result, this declared battle between rival groups for territory is not without consequences on the daily activities of children and the population in general. Several institutions have had to close their doors because of the extreme violence caused by armed gangs, such as schools, churches, shopping centers and several hundred families have had to abandon what remains of their homes, to escape the murderous bullets of the belligerents.
The population is in distress. Children do not benefit from any protection from the authorities who remain passive, either to hide their weakness, or through a blatant lack of will, or through their desire to maintain power in an illegitimate and illegal manner. In a report from the United Nations Office of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA, 2022), several cases of sexual violence are recorded among girls and boys in the area. The population, terrorized by armed groups in conflict, is left to its own devices. The government of the Republic did nothing to help the population.
Heavily armed individuals act with complete impunity. The judicial system is at a standstill in the jurisdictions of Port-au-Prince and Croix-des-Bouquets and no police presence is reported in these risk areas. The children interviewed by agents of the “Zanmi Timoun” Foundation confirm having lost everything and are concerned about the disappearance of certain members of their family and close relatives.
The unpleasant actions of these “outlaws” arrive on the eve of the start of the school year set for September 5, 2022 by the Ministry of National Education and Vocational Training (MENFP). This situation raises more concerns about the future of these minors within the “Zanmi Timoun” Foundation. Armed gangs constitute a real obstacle to the reopening of classes in the current context. Establishments like the Tertullien Guilbaud national school, the Republic of Venezuela national school, the Brothers of Jean Marie Guilloux, the Lycée Pétion and many other institutions in these lawless areas are really affected. Despite the will of MENFP officials who say they are concerned about the education of Haitian children, until now no real arrangements have been made to rehouse the children victims of the escalations of violence in Cité Soleil and to allow them to return to school. School structures are quite often targeted by armed gangs.
Therefore, the “Zanmi Timoun” Foundation, an organization for the defense and promotion of children’s rights, recommends that government authorities take all necessary measures to create a safe climate in the country, particularly in these high-risk areas. insecurity and to allow displaced families, particularly children, to return to their respective environments and resume their usual activities.

Done in Port-au-Prince, August 25, 2022

Joseph Richard FORTUNÉ
Communication manager
Tel: 509 3187 73 63