Secretary-General of the United Nations, António Guterres, on Thursday highlight the ongoing humanitarian and politician situation in Haiti, saying it “remains largely a forgotten crisis despite its severity”.
Guterres told the media that he had just returned to the UN headquarters from a visit to Port-au-Prince and that he also attended the summit of CARICOM Leader in Trinidad and Tobago, where he took part in a special session on Haiti.
He said that the Security Con il will take up his reprint on the situation in Haiti later on Thursday.
“Let me be very clear. The Haitian people are trapped in a living nightmare. Humanitarian conditions are beyond appalling. Brutal gangs have a stranglehold on the people of Haiti,” he said.
Chaos has reigned in Haiti since the July 7, 2021 assassination of Jovenel Moïse at his private residents.
Ariel Henry became prime minister of Haiti shortly after, but since then, he has had to deal with calls for his resignations from opposition legislators.
Further Henry has has to deal with criminal gangs that have severely disrupted life in the country with a spate of kidnappings., murders and rival warfare.
At the CARICOM leaders meeting which ended on Wednesday, Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, Gaston Browne, told the Caribbean Media Corporation that Henry “can become an honest broker” if he publicly indicates that he has no intention of contesting the next election in Haiti.
In his comments on Thursday, Guterres said that Port-au-Prince, the Haitian capital, 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,” he said.
“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.”
He said that during his visit he had the chance to meet with Henry and many sectors of Haitian society.
“Those meetings showed that there are signs of hope and possibility. But it requires action on several fronts – and a recognition of a core truth:
“There can be no sustainable security without a political solution that allows for the restoration of democratic institutions. And there can be no lasting and inclusive political solutions without a drastic improvement of the security situation.”
Guterres appealed for “concurrent action in three essential areas.
“First, the people of Haiti need action to address urgent humanitarian needs,” Guterres said, adding, “The international community must now act to ease the suffering of the Haitian people.”
He said that the UN humanitarian response plan requires $720 million to help more than three million people.
“Yet that plan is only 23% funded,” the UN chief said. “I appeal to the world to extend a lifeline of support and fill that financial gap without delay.”
The second essential area what that the people of Haiti need action to tackle urgent security needs.
“I appeal to members of the Security Council and to all relevant potential contributing countries to act now to create the conditions for the deployment of a multinational force to assist the Haitian National Police,” Guterres said, adding that 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,” Guterres said.
He said the police also need financing, training and equipment, adding that all this is critical to restoring the authority of the State and the delivery of vital services.
Guterres’ third appeal was for all social and political actors to accelerate their efforts toward a desperately needed political solution.
“I also fully support CARICOM’s mediation efforts in this regard.”
He said that in Haiti, he welcomed steps to find Haitian solutions to restore the constitutional order and urged the prime minister, the High Transitional Council, members of civil society and political parties to forge a political entente to end the crisis.
“Taken together, these three vital and simultaneous steps are fundamental to breaking Haiti’s cycle of suffering — by addressing dramatic humanitarian and security challenges – and forging a political pathway out of the crisis,” Guterres said.
“I have seen the situation for myself. Conditions are desperate, but solutions are possible. If we act now. We cannot forget the Haitian people. The world must step up.”