Soaring crime prompts urgent UN call for Kenya-led multinational police force in Haiti

(Xinhua) 09:24, November 29, 2023

UNITED NATIONS, Nov. 28 (Xinhua) -- A UN report on Tuesday called for the urgent deployment of Kenya-led multinational police force to help Haiti combat a "cataclysmic" rise in gang violence.

The UN Human Rights Office and the UN Integrated Office in Haiti (BINUH) report seeks deployment of the Multinational Security Support mission authorized by the UN Security Council in October. However, a legal tangle in Kenya has delayed the dispatch of the force.

"Across Haiti, at least 3,960 people have been killed, 1,432 injured and 2,951 kidnapped in gang-related violence this year alone," said UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Turk. "The situation in Haiti is cataclysmic. We are continuing to receive reports of killings, sexual violence, displacement and other violence, including in hospitals."

The commissioner said that in and around the capital, Port-au-Prince, terrible violence against the population is expanding, and the police can't stop it. "The much-needed Multinational Security Support mission needs to be deployed to Haiti as soon as possible."

The report said the deployment meets international human rights norms and standards. Turk said the mission must include internal oversight mechanisms and other safeguards to ensure its compliance with international standards.

"Increased efforts will need to be deployed to strengthen Haiti's rule of law institutions, in particular the police, the judiciary, and the prison system," said the report, focusing on the Bas-Artibonite district, about 100 Km from Port-au-Prince, in Central Haiti, which has suffered a significant rise in gang violence in the last two years. Between January 2022 and last month, at least 1,694 people were killed, injured, or kidnapped in Bas-Artibonite alone.

The report said that kidnapping for ransom by criminal groups has become a constant fear for users of public transport across Bas-Artibonite. It documents criminal groups rampaging through "rival" villages, executing local people and using sexual violence against women and even very young children.

It said the rampaging groups loot farmers' property, damage crops, injure livestock and destroy irrigation canals, contributing to the displacement of more than 22,000 people from their villages, significantly reducing the amount of cultivated land and heightening food insecurity. In September, more than 45 percent of the population of Bas-Artibonite was in acute food insecurity. Gang violence has also left many farming families unable to repay their debts or access basic services.

The report also called on the Security Council to update the list of individuals and entities subject to UN sanctions for supporting, preparing, ordering, or committing acts contrary to international human rights law.

"There needs to be continued emphasis on the implementation of the arms embargo and sanctions targeting those behind this untenable situation," the high commissioner said, referring to a Security Council resolution to block arms entering Haiti. "I also call on the Haitian authorities to fulfil their international human rights obligations and to put in place robust measures to strengthen the country's institutions and improve governance, including by tackling corruption and addressing impunity."

(Web editor: Zhang Kaiwei, Xian Jiangnan)


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