Police powerless against gangs: UN calls for international intervention force for Haiti

Police powerless against gangs: UN calls for international intervention force for Haiti
Police powerless against gangs: UN calls for international intervention force for Haiti

Police powerless against gangs
UN call for international intervention force for Haiti


1/25/2023 1:33 am

Since the assassination of President Moïse a year and a half ago, Haiti has slipped deeper and deeper into chaos. Rival gangs fight for control of the island nation and terrorize civilians. The UN is sounding the alarm: the country can no longer get the situation under control on its own.

With the situation in Haiti spiraling out of control, UN special envoy Helen La Lime has again urged the deployment of an international intervention force. The violence of criminal gangs has “reached a level not seen in decades”, but the government and security forces are unable to get the situation under control, La Lime told the UN Security Council.

Murders and kidnappings have increased for the fourth year in a row, said the special envoy when presenting the latest report by UN Secretary-General António Guterres on the situation in the Caribbean country. In 2022, 2183 murders were counted, a third more than the year before. During the same period, the number of kidnappings doubled to 1,359, an average of four per day. With their violence, the gangs pursued a “clear strategy aimed at subjugating the population and expanding territorial control,” La Lime said.

On behalf of the gangs, snipers would target men, women and children from rooftops. Women and children, some as young as 10, are being raped to spread fear and “destroy the social fabric of communities controlled by rival gangs.”

Police completely overwhelmed

The UN Secretary-General’s report goes on to say that Haiti’s police are now equipped with armored vehicles donated by Canada. Nevertheless, she continues to be “overwhelmed, understaffed and inadequately equipped” and unable to stop the increase in gang violence.

Guterres also reiterated the need for an international intervention force. Haiti’s head of government, Ariel Henry, asked the UN Security Council to send such a force back in October, to no avail. Although some countries agreed to participate, no one wanted to take the lead.

Since the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse in July 2021, which has not yet been clarified, Haiti has had no head of state and since January there has also been no parliament, as there have been no elections since 2016 and the term of office of all MPs has expired. Many also do not recognize the legitimacy of Prime Minister Henry, whom Moïse had nominated just 48 hours before his assassination. The chronic political crisis and rampant gang crime have in turn led to the worst “humanitarian emergency in decades,” the report said. According to this, food prices alone have risen by 63 percent since 2021. According to the report, almost five million people suffer from acute food shortages and 58 percent of the people in Haiti live below the poverty line.

The article is in German

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