Haitians work in Port-au-Prince on Oct 29, 2022. (RICHARD PIERRIN / AFP)
GENEVA – Continued armed violence has pushed Haiti into the worst human rights and humanitarian situation it has seen in decades, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Turk said on Thursday.
Urgent solutions to this "protracted, multifaceted crisis" must be found, Turk underlined.
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"People are being killed by firearms, they are dying because they do not have access to safe drinking water, food, healthcare, women are being gang raped with impunity. The levels of insecurity and the dire humanitarian situation have been devastating for the people of Haiti," the High Commissioner explained.
While urgently tackling violence is a priority, Haiti's future and sustainable recovery requires urgent and sustained action to tackle the root causes of this multifaceted crisis, and the government's firm commitment to accountability and the rule of law
Volker Turk, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights
According to the UN human rights office, for the last two months heavily armed gangs have been blockading access to the country's main fuel terminal and seaports, severely hampering access to drinking water, food and medicine. As a result, food insecurity in the country is on the rise, with a record 4.7 million people — nearly half of the population — facing acute hunger.
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With gang violence continuing to expand across the country, the UN office in Haiti reported that in just over a week in mid-October, more than 71 people were killed. A dozen women were also raped, and hundreds of residents were forced to flee their homes as a result of turf wars between rival gangs in the commune of Croix-des-Bouquets in Port-au-Prince.
Turk called on Haiti's government to make a firm commitment to strengthening the judicial sector, and other accountability mechanisms. This would include establishing specialized judicial divisions to address financial and gang-related crimes.
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"Haiti is on the verge of an abyss. We cannot repeat the mistakes of the past. While urgently tackling violence is a priority, Haiti's future and sustainable recovery requires urgent and sustained action to tackle the root causes of this multifaceted crisis, and the government's firm commitment to accountability and the rule of law," Turk concluded.