The UN chief calls for

“Now is not the time to forget Haiti,” said the UN Secretary General, António Guterres, upon his arrival in Port-au-Prince yesterday Saturday to demonstrate his “solidarity” with a population trapped in a “tragic cycle” of violence, misery and health disasters.

“I am in Port-au-Prince to express my solidarity with the Haitian people and to call on the international community to continue to support Haiti, including with an international force that can back up the national police,” Guterres said in a tweet minutes after begin his first visit to the country as Secretary General.

“Now is not the time to forget Haiti,” he added, while his spokesman’s service recalled the “tragic cycle of security, political and humanitarian crises” Haitians are experiencing.

meeting with ariel henry

During this visit, which was kept secret until he landed in the capital, Guterres will meet with the country’s Prime Minister, Ariel Henry, and political leaders, as well as members of civil society and United Nations staff.

The secretary-general “will reaffirm the UN’s support for Haiti, his strong call to the international community to support Haiti and its humanitarian needs, as well as his call for the immediate deployment of an international force to assist the national police,” he says. the notice.

In October, echoing a request from Henry, he had already called on the Security Council to send troops to support the Haitian police, overwhelmed by gang violence.

Although some countries have said they are ready to participate in a force like the one claimed, none has offered to lead an operation of this type in a country scalded by multiple foreign interventions.

Since that call, the UN has continued to describe the nightmare experienced by Haitians, with snipers on the roofs, kidnappings, attacks on schools, rape used as a weapon…

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never worse than today

This Thursday, after returning from a visit to Haiti, UNICEF’s executive secretary, Catherine Russell, said that the situation in the country is critical.

“Haitians on our country team have told me that the situation has never been as bad as it is now: unprecedented hunger and malnutrition, economic paralysis, a resurgence of cholera and widespread insecurity creating a spiral of violence.”

Russell relayed testimony from one of the many gang victims, an 11-year-old girl. She “she told me in her sweet voice that five men caught her in the street. Three of her raped her. When we spoke she was eight months pregnant and gave birth a few days later.”

Some residents have taken to the streets to respond on their own to the violence. In April, a group of civilians captured several gang members in police custody, beat them to death, and burned their bodies in the street.

Foreign Cooperation Minister Ricard Pierre warned in June of the high risk of a “civil war” if there is no foreign intervention.

Nearly half the population, some 5.2 million people, also needs humanitarian aid, including some 3 million children.

In Port-au-Prince, Guterres will highlight “the need for an inclusive Haitian-led political process towards elections and a return to constitutional order.”

Since 2016, no elections have been held in the country. Henry, appointed prime minister just 48 hours before the last president, Jovenel Moise, was assassinated in July 2021, faces questions about his legitimacy.

After Haiti, the UN chief will fly to Trinidad and Tobago, where he will participate in the Caribbean Community (Caricom) summit. The Secretary of State of the United States, Antony Blinken, will also be present at the meeting and will address the Haitian case.

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