An October 22 Associated Press report has sparked a discussion in Haiti about the spiralling numbers of sexual assaults. The report quoted human rights lawyer Renan Hedouville reporting that his civil rights organisation CARLI, had received more than 50 calls to its hotline to report rapes in August alone. The perpetrators, Hedouville said, were overwhelmingly former members of the Haitian Army, who spearheaded the February US-backed coup that overthrew President Jean-Paul Aristide. On November 3, a UNICEF team deployed to the city of Gonaives, which is controlled by former army members, reported a "problem of rape of teenage girls". Health centres run by the non-government organisation GHESKIO have also reported a steep increase in sexual assault. According to GHESKIO, 54% of the victims were raped in their homes by military men. Amnesty International has confirmed that there is a "new wave of rapes", but has said further information is unavailable because the victims are in hiding.
From Green Left Weekly, December 1, 2004.
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