News / Americas

UNICEF, NGO's: Haitian Children at Risk

Case of 33 children allegedly abducted by a group of Americans illustrates the plight of children separated from parents

Multimedia

Audio
Mike O'Sullivan

Aid workers in Haiti say hundreds of thousands of children are at risk in the aftermath of the January 12 earthquake. The case of 33 children allegedly abducted by a group of Americans illustrates the plight of children separated from parents, and those whose families are living in desperate conditions.

The circumstances remain murky surrounding the 33 children allegedly being smuggled out of the country by a group of American church members.  Aid officials say all were supposed orphans, but at least 20 were known to have living family members, in some cases parents.

The Americans have been charged and the children have found refuge at a center run by the Austrian-based charity SOS Children's Villages International.  Charity official Georg Willeit says one infant was dangerously dehydrated, but all of the children are well now. "At least, they have here a safe haven.  They are sure of their daily meals.  They have friends to play with because they are integrated into our family houses," he said.

While the children are here, they will join several hundred others, both orphans and displaced children, in day-to-day activities, including helping with chores and studying.

Those separated from relatives will later be reunited with their families.

The United Nations' children's organization UNICEF says one and a half million children were affected by the earthquake. UNICEF Haiti spokesman Kent Page says the disaster has created a children's emergency. "Separated children, unaccompanied children, can be vulnerable to people who would exploit them, whether for the child sex trade, whether for domestic servitude, whether just violence or abuse, and whether for illegal trafficking," he said.

For children separated from families and lucky enough to find safe haven at a center like this, international and Haitian authorities plan to conduct a search for living relatives. "It's very important that these children be registered, identified, and brought into a family tracing and family reunification process as quickly as possible because we need these children to be in a safe, protective environment with their immediate or their extended family," he said.

He says Haiti's children also need schools rebuilt and basic social services.  Georg Welleit says the process of rebuilding will take time. "Here in Haiti, everything is out of order at the moment.  And it's still a chaotic situation, and it will last for years and years.   And it will be really necessary that there is a close cooperation between all NGOs which are based here, between the UN and the US, to really rebuild this country, and to involve the local people," he said.

He says it is essential to help the children, the most vulnerable of the people of Haiti.

You May Like

UN Fears Rights Violations in China-backed Projects

UNHCHR investigates link between financing development and ignoring safeguards for human rights More

Boko Haram Violence Tests Nigerians’ Faith in Buhari

New president has promised to stem insurgency; he’s scheduled to meet with President Obama at White House July 20 More

Social Media Network Wants Privacy in User’s Hands

Encryption's popularity in messaging is exploding; now it's the foundation of a new social network More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugeesi
X
Carolyn Weaver
July 06, 2015 6:47 PM
In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugees

In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video Rice Farmers Frustrated As Drought Grips Thailand

A severe drought in Thailand is limiting the growing season of the country’s important rice crop. Farmers are blaming the government for not doing more to protect a key export. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Video

Video 'From This Day Forward' Reveals Difficult Journey of Transgender Parent

In her documentary, "From This Day Forward", filmmaker Sharon Shattuck reveals the personal journey of her transgender father, as he told his family that he always felt he was a woman inside and decided to live as one. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Floodwaters Threaten Iconic American Home

The Farnsworth House in the Midwest State of Illinois is one of the most iconic homes in America. Thousands of tourists visit the site every year. Its location near a river inspired the design of the house, but, as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, that very location is now threatening the existence of this National Historic Landmark.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.

VOA Blogs

More Americas News

Pope Francis to Celebrate Mass in Ecuador's Capital

The pope will leave Wednesday for Bolivia, then heads to Paraguay on Friday
More

Venezuela Recalls Ambassador to Guyana Amid Territory Dispute

OPEC nation in June demanded Guyana halt exploration off coast of region known as the Essequibo, weeks after ExxonMobil said it had found oil
More

CONCACAF Details Rebuilding Plans After FIFA Scandal

North and Central American and Caribbean soccer body publishes anti-corruption proposals Monday after its two of its officials were implicated in racketeering
More

Thousands Camp Out for Pope's First Mass in Ecuador

Pilgrims converge on coastal city of Guayaquil; after Ecuador, pope heads to Bolivia and Paraguay
More

Pope Begins South America Tour With Ecuador Mass

Thousands of worshipers camped out overnight in Ecuador awaiting Pope Francis, who began tour with open-air service in southwestern city of Guayaquil
More

Pope Starts 8-Day Trip to South America

Francis says he wants to emphasize plight of impoverished people in three countries - Ecuador, Bolivia and Paraguay - he is visiting
More