A recent UN study issues a warning about gang violence and “grave human rights abuses” in Haiti

Date:

A recent UN study issues a warning about gang violence and "grave human rights abuses" in Haiti.

  • News by AUN News correspondent
  • Sunday, February 12, 2023
  • AUN News – ISSN: 2949-8090

Summary:

  • Rape and abductions, according to the new research, gang violence caused 263 killings in the Brooklyn neighbourhood of Cité Soleil, a poor, densely populated commune close to the capital Port-au-Prince, between 8 July and 31 December 2022.

  • It kept track of abductions, sexual abuse, and at least 57 gang rapes of women and girls.

  • On only one day, July 8, included six children, one of whom was just two years old.

  • Three heavily armed, masked men forced their way into Rose’s Cité Soleil home and brutally battered and raped her in front of her kids.

  • Members of the same gang shot Rose’s husband earlier in the day.

Volker Türk, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, said this week during a trip to Haiti, “The findings of this report are appalling.” It shows how criminal groups have been harassing and terrorizing people for months, and the government hasn’t been able to stop it. It can only be described as a nightmare come true.

Rape and abductions

According to the new research, gang violence caused 263 killings in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Cité Soleil, a poor, densely populated commune close to the capital Port-au-Prince, between July 8 and  December 31, 2022. It kept track of abductions, sexual abuse, and at least 57 gang rapes of women and girls.

On only one day, July 8, gang members murdered 95 individuals, including six children, one of whom was just two years old.

Increased sniper attacks

According to the Human Rights Service of the UN Integrated Office in Haiti (BINUH) study, the situation in Brooklyn is similar to that of hundreds of thousands of other people in Haiti who live in regions governed by heavily armed gangs.

The study says that the G-9 gang has spread fear by using snipers who shoot anyone who gets in their line of sight. The report also stated that snipers kill an average of six people per week.

The gang restricted access to the neighborhood, preventing the admission of basics like food and medical care. Infectious diseases like cholera have increased due to the worsening of unhygienic circumstances.

Horrible specifics

The story of Rose, a four-times pregnant woman, was detailed in the report. Three heavily armed, masked men forced their way into Rose’s Cité Soleil home and brutally battered and raped her in front of her kids. Members of the same gang shot Rose’s husband earlier in the day. The gunmen shot at her house before fleeing.

According to Mr. Türk, “The case of Cité Soleil is not an isolated one, and regrettably, many Haitians are going through similar ordeals.” “The suffering must stop, and it’s time for the rest of the world to help the Haitian government get back in charge.”

Demand for support force

The head of human rights for the UN asked for the legal system and security system to be improved. According to him, all criminals and those who assist and financially support the gangs must be charged and convicted by the law, and all victims must be recognized and have their rights to the truth, justice, and compensation met.

At a press conference on Friday in Haiti, the UN human rights chief told reporters, “I also call on the international community to urgently consider the deployment of a time-bound specialized support force under conditions that conform with international human rights laws and norms, with a comprehensive and precise action plan.”

Establish a gang-free zone

He said this needs to be done in conjunction with the quick and long-lasting restoration of state institutions in gang-free areas. The judicial and penal systems also require extensive reform.

The sanctions regime, he argued, is a crucial first step. “The prosecution of offenders in Haiti must support it.”

Due to recent political and humanitarian problems, nearly five million Haitians, or half of the country’s population, are very hungry. A fight over territory between a group of gangs has only worsened things.

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