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Haiti | disaster: 1,554 killed and dozens of people lynched in three months

  • March 28, 2024
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The situation in Haiti is “cataclysmic”, with 1,554 killed and dozens of people lynched during the first three months of 2024, the UN warned on Thursday, deploring the supply of gangs with weapons and ammunition.

In a new report, the United Nations Human Rights Office explained how “corruption, impunity and poor governance, compounded by increased gang violence, have eroded the rule of law and “The impact of widespread insecurity on the population is terrible and deteriorating…and the population is seriously deprived of the enjoyment of their human rights,” says the report. This situation left Haiti in a “cataclysmic situation”.

More than 4,400 deaths including more than 1,500 in 2024Haiti has been shaken by a wave of clashes since the end of February. The devastating gang war has intensified in recent weeks, with heavily armed rivals unleashing new waves of violence, including raids on police stations and the international airport. Prime Minister Ariel Henry announced his resignation on 11 March.

The UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) estimates that gang violence left 4,451 dead and 1,668 injured last year. And in the first three months of 2024 alone, until March 22, 1,554 people were killed and 826 injured. The report also points the finger at the “self-defense brigades” created to counter the intensification of violence gangs, warning that they continue to take the law into their own hands. In this context, at least 528 cases of lynching were reported in 2023, and 59 more in 2024.

Cases of rape and recruitment of children by gangs On another level, the document describes sexual violence, including women forced to have sexual relations with gang members, rape of hostages and women who saw their husband being killed before their eyes. “Women have been raped by gang members during neighborhood attacks, often after seeing their partner being murdered before their eyes,” the report details.

The document also highlighted the recruitment and mistreatment of children – boys and girls – who are unable to leave gang ranks for fear of reprisals. “All these practices are scandalous and must stop immediately,” criticized Volker Türk, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, in a press release.

The report also highlights that despite the arms embargo, gangs benefit from a reliable supply of weapons and ammunition through “porous borders”, meaning they often have powerful fire superior to that of the Haitian national police.

The report therefore calls for a strengthening of national and international controls in order to stem the trafficking of arms and ammunition to Haiti. The weapons continue to flow “It is shocking to note that despite the horror of the situation on the ground, weapons continue to flow in,” argued Mr. Türk, calling for “a more effective implementation of the arms embargo.”

Faced with this “cataclysmic” situation, OHCHR reiterated the need to urgently deploy a multinational security support mission to help the national police end the violence, effectively protect the population and restore the State of law in the country. The report highlights that strengthening security alone will not provide lasting solutions, and calls for simultaneous policies to restore the rule of law and prevent violence.

The High Commissioner also calls on all national stakeholders to engage constructively in dialogue in order to facilitate a political agreement that enables a democratic transition leading to free and fair legislative and presidential elections.