Bold action needed now to address Haiti’s “catastrophic” situation — a global issue

Corruption, impunity and poor governance, combined with rising levels of gang violence, have eroded the rule of law and brought state institutions to the brink of collapse in this Caribbean country.

The impact of general insecurity on the population is dire and worsening, with serious implications for human rights.

prevent further suffering

“Addressing security insecurity must be a top priority to protect the public and prevent further human suffering. It is equally important to protect institutions essential to the rule of law that are being attacked to their core.,” Said United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Türk.

of report Covering the period from September 25, 2023 to February 29, 2024, the Human Rights Division of the United Nations Special Political Mission in Haiti; Binuand William O’Neill, the High Commissioner’s designated domestic human rights expert.

murder and sexual violence

In 2023, the number of casualties from gang violence increased significantly, with 4,451 people killed and 1,668 injured. The number of victims skyrocketed in the first three months of this year. By March 22nd, 1,554 people had died and 826 were injured..

Gangs continued to use sexual violence to brutalize, punish, and control Ladies and gentlemen, this is revealed in the report. Women were gang attacked in their neighborhoods, often raped after watching their husbands killed in front of their eyes.

Some women are forced into exploitative sexual relationships with gang members. Furthermore, rape of hostages continues to be used to intimidate families into paying ransoms. Sexual violence remains grossly underreported and largely unpunished.

gang recruits kids

Gangs continue to recruit and abuse children, both male and female, who are unable to leave their group for fear of retaliation. In some cases, young gang members have been killed while trying to escape. Daily life has also been disrupted by restrictions imposed by gangs on the movement of people, goods, and services.

Gang violence is intensifying and the national police are unable to combat it, the so-calledSelf-Defense Force BrigadeForces continue to emerge and take justice into their own hands, the report said. At least 528 lynching incidents were reported in 2023, and 59 more lynching incidents were reported this year.

Furthermore, despite the arms embargo, gangs have a reliable supply of arms and ammunition. Coming through a porous borderas a result, the group often has superior firepower than the police.

Development of multinational missions

The report calls for stronger domestic and international controls to prevent the trafficking of arms and ammunition into Haiti, and reiterates the need for the urgent deployment of a Multinational Security Support (MSS) mission to support the police. claims.

united nations security councilauthorized The mission is scheduled to be deployed in October 2023, and Kenya has offered to lead it.

“It is essential that missions effectively integrate human rights into the conduct of their operations and establish compliance mechanisms to mitigate and minimize harm,” said Mr. Türk.

demand accountability

However, the report says strengthening security alone will not provide long-term solutions and calls for policies aimed at restoring the rule of law and preventing violence.

Widespread corruption and a dysfunctional judicial system contribute significantly to widespread impunity. There are serious human rights violations that need to be addressed urgently,” Türk said.

“Accountability is paramount to restoring public trust in the rule of law and state institutions,” he added.

children at risk

Separately, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) warned This week it became clear that armed violence is exacerbating the nutritional crisis among Haiti’s youngest citizens.

Recent findings from Integrated Food Security Classification (IPC) analysis reveal something alarming. The number of children estimated to suffer from severe acute malnutrition increases by 19 percent.

Additionally, 1.64 million people face acute levels of food insecurity, putting children at particularly high risk of wasting and malnutrition in eight regions of the country.

education is criticized

UNICEF on Monday strongly condemned the arson attacks by armed groups on schools in the capital, Port-au-Prince. Schools were set on fire and more than 1,000 children were deprived of their right to education.

The number of schools forced to close due to violence and the deteriorating security situation has increased in recent months, said Bruno Maes, UNICEF representative in Haiti. Said In a statement the next day.

As of the end of January, a total of 900 schools had been temporarily closed, affecting approximately 200,000 children. Threats to school safety are particularly acute in the northern part of the Port-au-Prince metropolitan area and the nearby Artibonite department.

“In a country facing increasingly complex conflict and instability, education can never be considered just an option. it must be recognized as necessaryis a matter of survival and the key to social stability,” he said.

UN support continues

UNICEF and other agencies continue lifesaving operations in Haiti.

United Nations Office for Humanitarian Affairs; tea, report More than 2 million liters of water have been distributed to displaced people over the past month, and more than 263,000 hot meals have been served since the end of February.

United Nations Sexual and Reproductive Health Organization; UNFPAcontinues to offer integrated services through mobile clinics. for example, The mobile clinic held on Tuesday served 230 people, including 130 women..

UNFPA has completed a needs assessment of targeted health facilities in Ouest and Artibonite regions.

plans are underway Medical equipment to be deployed to 14 medical facilities next weekultrasound scanners, electrosurgical units, anesthesia machines, delivery tables, etc.

Both states will also receive emergency reproductive health kits covering post-rape treatment, midwifery supplies, reusable equipment, cervical and vaginal laceration repair, among other things, in future deployments. .

A $624 million humanitarian appeal for Haiti announced last month is only about 7% funded.

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