LatinNews Daily - 24 January 2023

HAITI: UN chief highlights ‘urgent need’ for foreign security mission

On 23 January United Nations (UN) Secretary-General António Guterres reiterated the “urgent need” for the deployment of an international armed force to Haiti.


Guterres’ call which was made in his latest report on Haiti, followed a similar call in October 2022 in response to Haiti’s spiralling security and humanitarian crisis, as gangs exploit the vacuum left by the July 2021 assassination of president Jovenel Moïse (2017-2021). While the international community has taken some steps to address the crisis, such as an October 2022 resolution by the UN Security Council (UNSC) that establishes a sanctions regime targeting gang leaders and their backers, the UN Secretary General’s latest report on the dire security and humanitarian situation will likely revive discussion of the proposal regarding an international security mission which remains controversial.

  • The report highlights a “steady increase in major crime trends and gang-related incidents” over the past several months. It notes a 35.2% rise in reported homicides in 2022 compared with 2021, with 2,183 victims reported. Victims included former presidential candidate Eric Jean Baptiste, on 28 October, and national police (PNd’H) academy director Harington Rigaud, on 25 November.
  • Kidnappings continued to rise, with 1,359 victims recorded in 2022, up 104.7% on 2021. There was an increase in civil unrest in 2022, with the UN documenting at least 1,490 demonstrations, roadblocks and barricades, up 35.5% on 2021.
  • The report highlights that PNd’H strength continued to shrink, with high rates of attrition due to “deaths, dismissals and resignations”. As of 31 December, the PNd’H comprised 14,861 officers. There are also allegations that a significant number of PNd’H personnel may be associated with gangs in the capital.
  • The UN Secretary-General’s report underlines other worrisome developments such as the continued spread of cholera – with 1,576 confirmed cases as of January 2023 following the first reported case on 2 October 2022, and a 48% rise in the number of food-insecure people, citing October 2022 figures that 4.7m people are acutely food-insecure.
  • The report also urges countries to consider halting the deportation of Haitians “until the human rights and humanitarian crises have been adequately addressed”. It highlights condemnation by Haitian authorities of “the inhuman and degrading treatment” inflicted on Haitian migrants by authorities in neighbouring Dominican Republic.

Looking Ahead: The UNSC is due to hold a meeting today (24 January) to discuss the situation in Haiti.

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