The United Nations (UN) Secretary General Antonio Guterres says Haitians are trapped in a living nightmare with predatory gangs using kidnapping and sexual violence as weapons to terrorise entire communities. Guterres was speaking in New York, after visiting the island nation over the weekend. He again called on the international community to stem the violence and instability in Haiti and urged them not to forget Haiti.
The Haitian people are trapped in a living nightmare. Humanitarian conditions are beyond appalling. Brutal gangs have a stranglehold on the people of Haiti. Port-au-Prince is encircled by armed groups that are blocking roads, controlling access to food and health care, and undermining humanitarian support. Predatory gangs are using kidnappings and sexual violence as weapons to terrorise entire communities. I have heard appalling accounts of women and girls being gang-raped, and of people being burned alive. The world must act now to stem the violence and instability.
Guterres called for action in three essential areas, addressing the humanitarian deficit in Haiti, the need to fully fund the $720 million humanitarian response plan which remains only 23% funded, social and political actors to accelerate efforts to towards a sustainable political solution and for Haiti’s security needs to be addressed.
Guterres says the Security Council must act to create the conditions for the deployment of a multinational force to assist the Haitian National Police.
“The Haitian government requested this all the way back in October. And those appeals were echoed by many Haitians I met during my visit. I repeat: We are not calling for a military or political mission of the United Nations. We are calling for a robust security force deployed by Member States to work hand-in-hand with the Haitian National Police to defeat and dismantle the gangs and restore security across the country. The police also need financing, training, and equipment. All of this is critical to restoring the authority of the State and the delivery of vital services.
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