The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), Volker Turkurged the international community to “consider urgently the deployment of a time-bound specialized support force” in Haiti during a visit amid escalating violence.
Turk said in a statement that people on the island are being harassed and terrorized by criminal gangs without the State being able to stop it. “It can only be described as a living nightmare,” he added.
He asked the international community not to forget about Haiti and pay attention to it because in this country you live “one of the worst situations of poverty and terror in the world”. He stressed his concern and fear that the situation in Haiti is not receiving the attention it deserves in a context of multiple international crises.
Actions in favor of Haitians
“I am here to warn of the danger of viewing the situation in Haiti as insurmountable and hopeless (…) I am here to call attention to this situation and help drive action on behalf of Haitians. The world needs to hear what I have witnessed and what my colleagues document every day, ”he said at a press conference in Port-au-Prince to take stock of his visit.
In his opinion, “the way out of this multi-crisis situation of human rights must be assumed and led by the Haitian people. But the magnitude of the problem is such that it requires the active attention and support of the international community.
Turk described the situation in Haiti as catastrophic, “where the problems are enormous and overwhelming” and where the armed gangs create a almost permanent climate of terror since last July.
He spoke of a country where armed gangs control access to water, food, health care and fuel in the capital, where kidnappings are common and children are prevented from going to school or recruited to carry out acts of violence or abuses.
The head of Human Rights of the UN, who assured that he listens to the call for help of the most affected communities in Haiti, warned that in this Caribbean country social services are largely absent, one in two people goes hungrylives in extreme poverty and has no access to water, and prisoners die of malnutrition and cholera.
He also recalled that this is a town with a long history of resilience, resistance and determination in the face of all kinds of adverse situations, from natural disasters to man-made crises imposed both from within and without. “This is first and foremost a country born from the struggle for dignity and human rights, against colonialism, slavery and systemic racism,” he said.
The high commissioner arrived in Haiti last Wednesday at the invitation of the Government and, during his stay, met with Prime Minister Ariel Henryand members of his cabinet such as the heads of Justice and Women’s Affairs, as well as representatives of the Ombudsman, senior officials of the National Police, members of civil society and victims of human rights violations.
Now he is leaving Haiti worried about what he has been able to see on the ground of the poorest country in Americawhere the aggravated crisis after the assassination in 2021 of then-president Jovenel Moise added in recent months the reappearance of the angerwhich has already caused hundreds of deaths.
For the moment, the international community has not specified a response to the request made last October by the Government of Haiti regarding the sending of a foreign force.
Following that request, UN Secretary General António Guterres has proposed establishing a “rapid action force” with the military of one or several countries and not under the United Nations flag.
With information from Reuters and EFE
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