In Haiti, Gang violence continues unchecked. Hôpital Albert Schweitzer in Deschapelles, which serves more than 700,000 people in the Artibonite Valley and Central Plateau regions, has suspended operations for all but emergency cases. In Port-au-Prince, gangs are taking control of more neighborhoods and operating with total impunity. Residents of Cite Soleil are essentially captive – unable to access food, medical care, and other essential services. A New Humanitarian article about the worsening situation in Cite-Soleil by Evens Mary and Paula Depraz-Dobias follows.
The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child issued a brief but stark warning about the threat posed to Haitian children by gang violence, cholera, and malnutrition. The situation in Haiti is difficult, but especially so for children. Emboldened gangs, a growing cholera epidemic, and worsening malnutrition are negatively impacting the well-being of Haitian children. The government is weak, the gangs are in many cases better armed than the police, and core development issues like agriculture, education, infrastructure, and human rights have once again taken a back seat to insecurity. Restoring security won't solve Haiti's problems but it is at least a prequisite.
Haiti is a religious country and social movements, when they take off, often have the participation of its faith communities. The Catholic Church has closed its institutions for three days to demand the release of kidnapped priests and nuns. Regardless of religious affiliation, nobody is safe until the present political crisis is resolved, the country has a government that actually governs, and security can be restored. It is time for the faith communities to work together in making that happen. The full article on the strike by AP journalist Evens Sanon follows.