The UN warns of the violence in Haiti which left 531 dead in 2023

The violence is not abating in Haiti. “In the first two weeks of March alone, clashes between gangs left at least 208 dead, 164 injured and 101 people abducted. Most of the victims were killed or injured by snipers who allegedly fired randomly at people in their homes or on the street,” the spokeswoman for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights told reporters on Tuesday. of man, Marta Hurtado.

From early January to mid-March, a total of 531 people were killed, 300 injured and 277 kidnapped in gang-related incidents, mostly in the capital, Port-au-Prince, according to information collected by the Human Rights Service. of the United Nations Integrated Office in Haiti (BINUH).

Increasingly violent clashes

“We ask the international community to urgently consider the deployment of a specialized support force (…), with a complete and precise action plan”, underlined Marta Hurtado. According to the UN, gangs also use sexual violence as a weapon to terrorize, subjugate and punish the population, as well as to extort ransoms from the families of victims.

“We are gravely concerned that extreme violence continues to spiral out of control in Haiti. Clashes between gangs are becoming more violent and more frequent as they try to expand their territorial control in the capital and other areas by targeting people who live in areas controlled by their rivals,” lamented Marta Hurtado.

At least 160,000 displaced people

She said students and their teachers are sometimes hit by stray bullets in clashes between gangs, while increasing numbers of students and their parents are abducted near schools. As a result, more and more schools are closing, leaving young people at the mercy of gangs who forcibly recruit them, the OHCHR spokeswoman said.

This violence pushes the inhabitants to flee their homes. The UN estimates that in mid-March, at least 160,000 people were thus displaced inside the country and were in a precarious situation, hosted by friends or relatives. A quarter of the displaced people live in makeshift camps, with very limited access to basic services such as drinking water and sanitation.

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