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United Nations: humanitarian aid in Haiti must respect Human Rights

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported that under the leadership of the Government, national and international humanitarian partners are scaling up multi sectoral response efforts in all quake-affected areas. According to the UN, the calamity struck more than 2 million people, while more than 2,000 died and over 12,000 got injured. The number of critically injured people continues to grow, stretching the already limited health system’s capacity.

Many of the survivors have been left homeless, without access to sanitation and drinking water, while the risk of violence, especially gender-based violence, increases. Despite negotiations for a humanitarian corridor, access constraints and insecurity remain key challenges.

The NGO Human Rights Watch (HRW) calls attention to the need for a Humanitarian response that respects Human Rights principles and standards ensuring transparency, accountability, participation and non-discrimination, given the precedents. HRC recalled their researches in 2010 and 2011, which showed that the humanitarian response to the 2010 earthquake did not include adequate health and safety measures to reduce risks to women and girls. On the contrary, their needs and rights were not respected: the lack of food and sexual violence highlighted the inadequacy of humanitarian intervention. Amanda Klasing, the co-director for Human Rights Watch of the section on women's rights, said that it would be intolerable to make the same mistakes and ignore human rights in the response to this emergency.

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