No matter how bad insecurity ever has been, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has always maintained an important presence in Haiti. With approximately eighty percent of Port-au-Prince being under gang control, the ICRC must maintain constant communication with many of the 300 gangs and manage their ever-shifting alliances in order to provide assistance to the most vulnerable. In response to Haiti's worsening situation, ICRC intends to increase its humanitarian efforts including by expanding training for emergency health staff, ambulance services, and support to over-burdened health care facilities in insecure neighborhoods. The full BBC article by Vanessa Buschschlüter is linked and follows.
Unchecked violence continues to spread like a cancer in Haiti, with over 10,000 displaced from their homes in the north. Suspected gang members attacked a police station in Saut-d'Eau and the Zanmi Lasante (Partners in Health) Facility in Mirebalais has also been attacked. The Kenyan-led peacekeeping force is still more idea than reality and despite the violence, the United States continues to deport Haitians. The peacekeepers will face a much worse security situation than any previous peacekeeping force. More information follows in the Reuters article below.
Kenya's Foreign Ministry said his country is ready to lead a multinational force into Haiti, which is experiencing a surge in violence between police and gangs. During a time when so few countries are willing to get involved in Haiti's increasingly desperate situation, it is refreshing to see a country, and one that is not even remotely close to Haiti geographically, offer to take a leadership role. The proposed 1,000 police officers would help train and assist the Haitian National Police in restoring security. The deployment would still require a U.N Security Council mandate and formal approvals in Kenya. The brief article is linked and follows, updates will be posted in comments.
The U.S State Department recently released its 2023 Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report. There was very limited progress addressing TIP including domestic servitude (restavek). This is hardly surprising given insecurity, weak governance, natural disasters, inflation and increased food insecurity. Haiti was not downgraded to Level 3 because it developed a written plan that could at least provide a foundation for future efforts.
As the situation in Haiti continues to deteriorate, 5.2 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance. According to UNICEF, this includes almost 3 million children, the highest on record. Gang violence, food insecurity made worse by climate change, natural disasters, a lack of basic services, and disease outbreaks such as cholera together present major security, humanitarian, and development challenges for Haiti and the international community. Meetings have been called by the United Nations, CARICOM, and partner countries to urge increased support, without which it could yet become much worse. The full article by Miami Herald journalist Jacqueline Charles follows.
French President Emmanuel Macron recently visited the French prison where revolutionary leader, Touissant Louverture died, having been kidnapped during what were supposed to be negotiations. Louverture had wanted equal rights for Haitians which the French would not accept. Jean-Jacques Dessalines subsequently determined the French could not be trusted and must be defeated militarily, which they were. This is the first time a French leader has paid tribute to Louverture. It is just the first step on what would be a long road to reconciliation and justice. The full New York Times article follows.
As the situation further deteriorates in Haiti, new UN appointees are being cycled in. María Isabel Salvador last month became the new UN Special Representative for Haiti and the head of the UN Integrated Office in Haiti (BINUH). She will play a role in short and longer term solutions that may be negotiated with the Haitian government, other governments, and regional organisations. The Haitian government clearly cannot restore security on its own. The full article by Miami Herald journalist Jacqueline Charles is linked and follows.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights has appointed William O’Neill as an independent expert on human rights in Haiti He will monitor the human-rights situation in Haiti and provide advice and technical assistance to the Haitian government, national human rights institutions and civil society organisations. Promoting respect for human rights should be an important aspect of re-establishing security, and one hopes, longer term development in Haiti. The full article by Jacqueline Charles of the Miami Herald is linked and follows.
The United Nations emphasizes that Haiti is in a dire situation and now is not the time to deport Haitians. The majority of deportations take place from the Dominican Republic with neither due process nor advance notice to the Haitian authorities responsible for receiving them. The International Organization for Migration (IOM) reports 154,333 Haitians were expelled by the Dominican Republic last year - about 87% of all deportations to Haiti in 2022. It is true that insecurity in Haiti affect the Dominican Republic as well - but conducting mass deportations only makes a bad situation worse - politically, economically, and for human rights. The full article by Jacqueline Charles of the Miami Herald follows.
Doctors Without Borders (Médecins Sans Frontières) works in difficult and insecure environments around the world, including Port-au-Prince. Over half the city is controlled by gangs and fighting amongst them has caused MSF to temporarily close its maternity hospital. Many health care facilities throughout Haiti have been negatively impacted by insecurity - to the detriment of their patients who need their services more than ever. The full Al Jazeera article follows.