The UN denounces a sharp increase in gang violence in Haiti

The UN denounced this Friday a sharp increase in the activity of criminal gangs in Haiti and assured that these groups are turning the country’s cities into places marked by violence and anarchy.

"Criminal armed groups have a strong control over the economic and social lives of millions of children, women and men"lamented the United Nations special representative for the country, Helen La Lime, in an appearance before the Security Council.

"Their indiscriminate use of kidnapping, murder, and sexual and gender-based violence as a method of terrorizing local populations in the struggle to expand their territorial control is particularly horrendous."he stressed.

La Lime highlighted the efforts of the Haitian Police to try to stop this "endless wave of violent crime" through a balanced approach between prevention and repression.

"However, an overworked, understaffed and underresourced police force alone cannot reduce the alarming rise in gang insecurity"warning.

For this reason, he defended the importance of new initiatives launched by the international community to help reinforce the security forces, which include a new fund fed by donors.

La Lime stressed in any case that the problem of gangs cannot be tackled only with police strategies, but rather requires, for example, "a new approach" that includes more control of illegal arms flows and socio-economic and integration projects that offer employment and income in the most affected neighborhoods.

After closing its peacekeeping operations in Haiti, the current UN mission in the country (BINUH) is political in nature and focuses primarily on supporting institutions, especially in the area of ​​the rule of law.

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La Lime also considered it necessary to respond to the problem of "impunity" in Haiti and gave as an example the fact that there has been no progress in the cases of several notorious murders and massacres, including the assassination last year of President Jovenel Moise.

"The national investigation into this murder has stalled, a situation that fuels rumors and exacerbates both suspicion and distrust in the country."he pointed.

Haiti is going through a deep economic crisis, combined with strong political instability that worsened with Moise’s assassination in July of last year.

The country has chained three consecutive years of recession and many economic activities have been affected by the violence of armed gangs, constant protests and political instability.

Natural disasters, such as the earthquake that caused great destruction throughout the south of the country last August, have contributed to worsening the economic situation of the population.

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