UN: Human rights situation is “dramatic”

The United Nations independent expert on the situation of human rights in Haiti, William O’Neill, described Wednesday as “dramatic” the situation of fundamental freedoms in this country, an issue on which “much remains to be done.”

“Unfortunately, I found a country marked by violence, misery, fear and suffering. The human rights situation is dramatic, with all rights trampled on,” O’Neill told reporters after a ten-day mission. days in Haiti, where he met with authorities, members of civil society and intellectuals and visited the National Penitentiary and the Cap Haitien civil prison.

Before journalists, O’Neill denounced the violence of the gangs that continue to sow terror, especially in more than half of Port-au-Prince, which has become a lawless area.

He referred to the rapes of women and girls, often collectively, by members of these armed groups as a way of reaffirming their control over the population.

In his opinion, to stop gang violence, the arms embargo, mainly from the United States, established by the United Nations Security Council, must be applied immediately.

“There are many problems and much remains to be done for human rights in Haiti,” said the expert, who pointed out that in this context of insecurity the Haitian authorities face great challenges.

INTERNATIONAL SUPPORT

In his opinion, the magnitude of the crisis is such that adequate and coordinated support from the international community will be essential to accompany the path towards better governance.

According to O’Neill, “the deployment of a specialized international force together with the Haitian National Police (PNH) is essential to restore the freedom of movement of the population.”

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This force, he added, must be “in close collaboration with the Police so that its capabilities can be strengthened in the long term, with all the guarantees of due diligence in the area of ​​human rights.”

The transfer of technology and knowledge will also be essential, especially in the areas of intelligence and the fight against urban violence.

JUSTICE FIGHTER

Regarding justice, the expert stressed that “an effective judicial system is essential to combat corruption and impunity, which feed the cycle of violence and have paralyzed the country for decades.”

The lack of supervision, accountability and sanctions for judicial officials creates fertile ground for corruption and impunity, argued the man who in 1995 helped create the Haitian National Police and the Judicial Training School and who lived and worked in this country. during years.

According to O’Neill, the UN sanctions regime is also an important step in the fight against corruption and impunity in Haiti, which must be accompanied by measures to bring those responsible to justice.

In order to fight corruption, he stressed the importance of the transparency of information, including public accounts.

“Haiti is at a crucial moment in its history. It is urgent to act. The survival of an entire nation depends on it. The country has the option to recover, demonstrating its determination to overcome the crisis and move towards a better future, or to resign itself and plunge further into chaos,” warned the expert.

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