UNITED NATIONS — The United Nations is launching a campaign to combat the rape of Haitian earthquake victims living in camps for the homeless, the UN's top official in the country said Monday.
Edmund Mulet, who heads the U.N. stabilization mission in the country, told the 15-member Security Council that police and soldiers in the UN's peacekeeping force are being trained how to handle rape and other sexual violence at the camps, and to ensure medical care for victims. He said a public relations campaign is under way to teach people how to prevent and respond to rape and other sexual attacks.
"I remain concerned by the situation in the camps where vulnerable groups, particularly women and children, are at risk of sexual and gender-based violence," Mulet said, describing actions taken since Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon wrote a report on Haiti last month.
Mulet said that a 200-member UN police force keeps a permanent presence in six especially high-risk camps housing 135,000 people, but that it's impossible to regularly patrol all the camps.
More than 1.3 million Haitians were displaced by the January quake, and many remain homeless, living in camps where women and children are vulnerable to attack.