Without international aid, Haitians are going after gangs themselves, warns the UN

Before the Security Council, the UN representative for Haiti expressed concern Thursday about the spiral of violence in this poor Caribbean country, where the State has lost control of entire areas, delivered to gangs and groups. of self-defense.

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It’s been a failed state for decades, so the people decide to take the law into their own hands. Vigilante groups have killed at least 264 suspected gang members in Haiti since April, the UN said Thursday, July 6, as calls to send an international force to support Haitian police remain. dead letter.

The poor Caribbean country is facing a real humanitarian, political and security crisis, with gangs controlling a majority of the territory of the capital, terrorizing the population by multiplying assassinations, kidnappings and rapes. And “the appearance of groups of self-proclaimed vigilantes adds a new level of complexity”, worried Thursday the representative of the UN for Haiti María Isabel Salvador before the Security Council.

“Since April, the Binuh (United Nations Integrated Office in Haiti) has counted at least 264 alleged gang members killed by self-proclaimed vigilante groups,” she said. In one of the first notable episodes in April, a group of civilians grabbed several gang members from police custody, beat them to death and burned their bodies in the street.

A few weeks later, the Haitian Minister for External Cooperation Ricard Pierre had warned of a high risk of “civil war” without foreign intervention. “Perpetual insecurity not only prevents access to health, education and other basic goods and services. alarming surge of violence,” Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness said Thursday, speaking by video to the Security Council on behalf of the community of Caribbean countries (Caricom).

Calls to create an international intervention force

“While we all express our solidarity, it is meaningless without urgent action to help our brothers and sisters in Haiti achieve the peace, stability, and prosperity they deserve,” he added. UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres relayed in October the Haitian government’s call for an international intervention force.

“I repeat: we are not calling for a UN military or political mission. We are calling for a robust security force deployed by Member States to work hand in hand with the Haitian National Police to defeat and dismantle gangs and restore security across the country,” he insisted Thursday, on his return from a trip to Haiti and a Caricom summit.

Asked about the composition of this force, he felt that 1,000 or 2,000 men would be “not an exaggeration”. The United States said on Thursday it was “very actively engaged” in the creation of such an international force, with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken referring to “very active talks with countries in the region and elsewhere”.

But if a few countries have indicated that they are ready to participate, none have volunteered to lead such an operation in a country scalded by multiple foreign interventions. And Thursday’s Council meeting showed no signs of changing that situation.

“Waking Nightmare”

“No country has made a concrete announcement, so it seems that at present, further study is needed before a viable and concrete proposal can be developed,” Chinese Ambassador Zhang commented. Jun, calling in these circumstances on the Council to focus on the fight against arms trafficking.

“If a large stream of weapons continues to flow into the hands of Haitian gangs, it would be futile for the international community to try to help the Haitian police any further,” he noted, as China has since pleaded long for a broad arms embargo.

But Haiti “is committed to its renewed request for robust international assistance to support the efforts of the police”, replied the Haitian Minister of Foreign Affairs Jean Victor Généus, saying he was “flexible and open to all options” that may be considered by the Council. “The United Nations, through the Security Council, has the moral responsibility to prevent the sinking of Haiti,” he pleaded, calling for “decisive action” to allow “the great suffering and silent majority to hope for a better tomorrow”.

“We cannot forget the Haitian people”, who are “trapped in a waking nightmare”, hammered Antonio Guterres. In addition to the violence, nearly half of the population, or 5.2 million people, needs humanitarian assistance, including nearly 3 million children.

With AFP.

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