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I was wrong when I said yesterday that a tour of downtown Port Au Prince would provide a taste of Cite Soleil. I could not have been more wrong. Home to nearly half a million people crammed into a space only roughly three square miles, if that, Cite Soleil is a teeming rubbish dump where the population has to live with pigs and vermin in utter filth. As the area is so dangerous - second only to Iraq for kidnappings - we gained access through an American priest called Father Tom Hagan who has been working in the community with the charity Hands Together since 1995. He has gained the respect of the armed gang leaders who control the area so we have safe passage. The situation here is appalling. This afternoon we visited a school in an area called Brooklyn then were given a tour of the locality by a gang leader called Zorro. The scene was apocalyptic. People here have no electricty, no running water and no sanitation. The children run about barefoot in raw sewage and huge black pigs roam everywhere. It is quite incomprehensible that people are forced to live like this...i really can't believe this is reality...

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Our blogs are written by Amnesty International staff, volunteers and other interested individuals, to encourage debate around human rights issues. They do not necessarily represent the views of Amnesty International.
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