PanaTimes

Saturday, Jan 28, 2023

UN: Haiti police need immediate help amid surge in violence

UN: Haiti police need immediate help amid surge in violence

A U.N. special envoy warned Thursday that Haiti’s police force needs immediate help to fight crime and violence, noting that gangs have grown so powerful they recently seized control of a local courthouse.
Helen La Lime, the top U.N. official in Haiti, said insecurity is rapidly deteriorating in the country of more than 11 million people, with an average of almost seven kidnappings reported a day.

In May alone, she said more than 200 killings and 198 abductions were reported. Those kidnappings included two busloads of children and three U.N. personnel and their dependents, with one local staff member killed in a crossfire between gangs, according to a U.N. Security Council report.

“The pervasive and deepening sense of insecurity, exacerbated by the (Haitian National Police’s) seeming inability to address the situation and the manifest impunity with which criminal acts are being committed, is dangerously fraying the rule of law,” said La Lime, who spoke at a U.N. Security Council meeting on Thursday.

The warning comes just days after a gang targeted the Court of First Instance in the capital of Port-au-Prince, looting and burning case files and pieces of evidence, she said. Authorities have identified the gang as “5 Seconds,” which supposedly represents the amount of time it takes them to commit a crime. They control the Village de Dieu slum located in front of the courthouse they targeted.

Government Commissioner Jacques Lafontant told The Associated Press that he is still waiting for Haiti’s National Police to go to the courthouse to assess the damage and ongoing situation.

“For now, it’s clear that the place is under the control of the gang,” he said.

Lafontant added that while services at the Court of First Instance were interrupted after the gang burst into the courthouse on Friday, they have temporarily resumed at another government building in the capital.

Meanwhile, Aine Martin, who oversees Haiti’s association of court clerks, told the AP that the gang destroyed documents and barred lawyers and judges from reaching their offices. He said authorities are still trying to remove a huge safe from the courthouse that contains important documents and evidence including guns and money. He declined to provide details about the case files, including whether any are related to the investigation into the July 7 assassination of President Jovenel Moïse that remains stalled.

“These groups are being guided by an invisible hand to destroy sensitive documents,” he said, declining to identify who he thinks might be giving orders to gangs.

Fondasyon Je Klere, a human rights group based in Haiti, said employees, lawyers, defendants and others were able to save themselves by climbing walls and receiving help from police the day the gang attacked the courthouse.

The organization added that one person was injured by a bullet as gangs stole seven cars and equipment including computers, chairs and air conditioners.

Three days later, the furniture was seen on display along a nearby street for sale, the rights group said.

It noted that the court takeover occurred days after criminals took over the nearby building of the Center for Planning Techniques and Applied Economics.

Before the gang burst into the courthouse, lawyer unions and others had been protesting what they said was a lack of security as they demanded more protection. Meanwhile, court clerks launched a countrywide strike in mid-April that lasted more than a month.

U.N. officials note that Haitian police have arrested hundreds of suspected gang members and killed more than 120 others, as well as seized several hundred firearms and increased checkpoints and patrols. They added that while various countries including the U.S. have provided training and equipment, the department remains understaffed and under resourced, with only 12,800 active police officers for a country of more than 11 million people.

La Lime, the U.N. official, said gangs are creating a “state of terror” in Haiti and blamed the ongoing instability on what she called a “prolonged institutional vacuum.”

Haiti has not had a functioning Parliament for more than two years, and it has yet to organize general elections after its president was killed at his private home. La Lime also warned that proposals to move the country forward are crumbling, and that the United Nations Integrated Office in Haiti known as BINUH is trying to revive dialogue between all parties.

“It is highly unlikely that elections which would usher a return to democratic governance will take place this year,” she said, adding that the creation of a new Provisional Electoral Council is “frustratingly still a distant prospect.”

Thousands continue to flee Haiti as the country’s economy erodes and violence spikes, with gang wars displacing at least 17,000 people.

A growing number of Haitians are embarking on deadly voyages to try and find better lives in nearby Caribbean islands or in the United States. Last month, 11 Haitian women died after a grossly overloaded boat they were on capsized. At least a dozen migrants remain missing and 38 others were rescued — 36 of them Haitian. Also last month, more than 840 Haitians aboard one boat landed in Cuba, the largest such single arrival in recent history.

In addition, U.N. officials said some 40,000 Haitian nationals and those of Haitian descent have been expelled from countries in the Americas region from September 2021 to March 2022, exacerbating humanitarian challenges.
Newsletter

Related Articles

PanaTimes
Close
0:00
0:00
Tesla reported record profits and record revenues for 2022
Germany confirms it will provide Ukraine with Leopard 2 tanks
Prince Andrew and Virginia Giuffre Photo Is Fake: Ghislaine Maxwell
Opinion | Israel’s Supreme Court Claims a Veto on Democracy
Moonwalker Buzz Aldrin Gets Married On His 93rd Birthday
Who’s Threatening Israeli Democracy?
Federal Reserve Probes Goldman’s Consumer Business
China's first population drop in six decades
Microsoft is finalising plans to become the latest technology giant to reduce its workforce during a global economic slowdown
Tesla slashes prices globally by as much as 20 percent
1.4 Million Copies Of Prince Harry's Memoir 'Spare' Sold On 1st Day In UK
After Failing To Pay Office Rent, Twitter May Sell User Names
Lisa Marie Presley, singer and daughter of Elvis, dies aged 54
FIFA president questioned by prosecutors
Britain's Sunak breaks silence and admits using private healthcare
Hype and backlash as Harry's memoir goes on sale. Unnamed royal source says prince 'kidnapped by cult of psychotherapy and Meghan'
Saudi Arabia set to overtake India as fastest-growing major economy this year 
Google and Facebook’s dominance in digital ads challenged by rapid ascent of Amazon and TikTok
FTX fraud investigators are digging deeper into Sam Bankman-Fried's inner circle – and reportedly have ex-engineer Nishad Singh in their sights
TikTok CEO Plans to Meet European Union Regulators
France has banned the online sale of paracetamol until February, citing ongoing supply issues
Japan reportedly to give families 1 million yen per child to move out of Tokyo
Will Canada ever become a real democracy?
Hong Kong property brokerages slash payrolls in choppy market
U.S. Moves to Seize Robinhood Shares, Silvergate Accounts Tied to FTX
Effect of EU sanctions on Moscow is ‘less than zero’ – Belgian MEP
Coinbase to Pay $100 Million in Settlement With New York Regulator
FTX assets worth $3.5bn held by Bahamas securities regulator
A Republican congressman-elect is under investigation in New York after he admitted he lied about his education and work experience.
Brazilian football legend Pele, arguably the greatest player ever, has died at the age of 82.
Hong Kong to scrap almost all its Covid rules
EU calls screening of travellers from China unjustified
US imposes Covid testing for visitors from China
Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy Addresses Joint Session of Congress - FULL SPEECH
Where is Rishi? Chancellor Jeremy Hunt's excuses about the UK's economic challenges just don't make sense
Former FTX CEO Bankman-Fried finally arrested in Bahamas after U.S. files charges
Corruption works: House Financial Services Chair Waters doesn't plan to subpoena her donor, Sam Bankman-Fried, to testify at hearing on FTX collapse
Ronaldo's new contract...
Prince William's godmother resigns honorary royal role after exposing her/their racism
Tax fraud verdict again exposes illusion of Trump the master businessman
Tax fraud verdict again exposes illusion of Trump the master businessman.
Yellen hints at ‘national security’ probe into Twitter purchase
Elon Musk reinstates Donald Trump's Twitter account.
Good news: US moves to shield Saudi crown prince in journalist killing
George W. Bush and Barack Obama will hold back-to-back disinformation conferences
Mission Improbable: Tom Cruise & Queen Elizabeth
Miss Argentina and Miss Puerto Rico are not single anymore
Boris Johnson is about to sign a contract with an American company to get millions for giving speeches. Something he did until very recently for free.
Solar + Powerwall ensures you never lose power, even if the grid goes down
Bavarian Prime Minister Söder: "There is no reason for mask obligations, no lockdowns anymore”
×