Gang violence in Haiti reaches levels not seen in decades
According to António Guterres, Secretary General of the United Nations (UN), gang-related violence in Haiti has reached “levels not seen in decades,” according to a report presented to the UN Security Council. “The armed gangs sought to extend their influence to neighborhoods of the Port-au-Prince metropolitan area that were considered relatively safe until recently,” Guterres revealed in a follow-up document on the situation, which describes a deterioration scenario in Haiti. According to the UN Secretary-General, gang-related violence has hampered the functioning of the justice system, the Executive Power, children’s attendance at school, and even the international organization’s efforts to combat illicit arms trafficking in the United States.
Last Tuesday, the United Nations Security Council met to learn about the long-described crisis in Haiti, but without deciding whether to authorize the deployment of a multinational force to assist the National Police in combating gangs. During the meeting, Helen La Lime, the UN Secretary General’s special representative in Haiti, reiterated her calls for the deployment of a specialized international force, but without first describing the security and development setbacks that Haiti is experiencing. The Haitian government requested the force in October, but it has yet to arrive. “Haitians want this help so they can go about their daily lives in peace,” La Lime said.
In a December briefing to the Security Council, La Lime stated that, despite the government’s investment, the Haitian National Police “continues to be under-resourced and under-equipped to tackle the enormity of the task.”