Childhood in Haiti
The basic needs of children include health, education, spiritual and emotional development, nutrition, clothing, medical and dental care, safe living conditions, leisure, protection from all forms of exploitation. and violence, identity.
Most of these needs and rights are not met for a large majority of children.
Children experience many forms of abuse and neglect.
Children, because of their age and vulnerability, deserve special protection. The child protection situation in Haiti is worrying.
Those under 18 represent more than 40% of the Haitian population and those aged 0 to 14 almost 31%.
Haiti is one of the least developed countries and one of the poorest in the world; 70% of the Haitian population lives below the poverty line . Four in ten children live in absolute poverty.
Right to health:
The general population has little access to health care, health centers are often very far away, have few materials, and care, materials and drugs are chargeable.
Many are reluctant to consult because they are unable to buy the drugs or pay for the examinations prescribed by the doctor. Only 40% of children have access to health care.
Infant mortality is extremely high in Haiti, especially due to illnesses, such as diarrhea, respiratory infections, malaria, tuberculosis and HIV.
Malnutrition, affecting a large majority of Haitian children, plays an important role in their health and often causes significant problems on the development of the child.
The lack of access to safe drinking water and the poor sanitation system are cause for concern. Many children, especially in rural areas, do not have drinking water , which puts their health at risk. It is also one of the major causes of death in children under 5. (52 ‰)
Right to education:
Education is supposed to be free, but the literacy rate of children remains in the order of 80% in a calm situation but decreased in the event of disturbances.
92% of schools are private and paying, often leaving the family unable to pay school fees. In addition, uniforms, books and other school materials are, in many cases, very expensive. School dropout is significant.
The quality of Haitian education also leaves something to be desired, since 80% of teachers do not have a teaching qualification.
Some children in rural areas walk 15 kilometers to school.
Less than 1% of young people arrive at university.
The literacy rate is 81% among young people against 61% among adults.
Right to protection:
Domestic work : The phenomenon of " Restaveks " or child domestic workers has existed since colonization. Social inequalities and poverty have led the poorest families, most often from rural areas, to offer their children to families supposed to be better off in the hope of improving their living conditions. But a large part of these children live as slaves, having no social rights and are subjected to all kinds of violence.
Over 200,000 children find themselves in unacceptable domestic work situations. Three quarters are girls and 10% of them are between 7 and 10 years old.
Nearly 21% of Haitian children between 5 and 14 years old work
Violence : 85% of children aged 1 to 14 have experienced some form of violence that includes psychological or sexual assault and corporal punishment. Sexual violence is a serious problem in Haiti. More than a third of Haitian women have suffered sexual violence before the age of 15. Unintended pregnancies are numerous, especially in disadvantaged neighborhoods among adolescents. 30% of adolescents aged 15 to 19 have already lived in union.
Child trafficking networks are very active in Haiti and the 2010 earthquake only led to an upturn in their activities.
Almost 80 percent of children held in prisons in Haiti have not been tried or sentenced.
Many adolescents are recruited into armed gangs.
Right to identity:
1 in 6 children are not registered at birth, which deprives them of their first right to identity and exposes them to the risk of being denied access to basic social services.
22 percent of children do not live with their biological parents.
More than 25,800 children are placed in institutions, 80% of which are not orphans.
Street children : Children often very young are forced to abandon the family home, for lack of care, to take refuge in the streets and squares where they indulge in begging, prostitution or drugs. These children represent a well-prepared reservoir for delinquency and the breeding ground for armed gangs.