A November 26 United Nations (U.N.) report denounces that the violence that gangs unleashed in Haiti has left more than 3,000 people dead and thousands of others injured and victims of kidnapping. The report calls for speeding up the sending of a multinational force to the island.
“The situation in Haiti is catastrophic. We continue to receive reports of killings, sexual violence, displacement, and other violence, including in hospitals,” said Volker Türk, the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights.
The senior diplomat cited the report, which covers events between January and October 2023, as showing that killings by gang groups have left 3,960 people dead, 1,432 wounded, and another 2,951 who “have been kidnapped in gang-related violence.”
Last October the U.N. Security Council approved the use of a multinational force, commanded by Kenya — without U.N. participation — to assist Haitian police forces in dealing with gangs.
Shortly thereafter, the African nation’s parliament froze the mission, demanding that the training and funding conditions established at the time of announcing the dispatch of the troops be met first.
The November 26 report focuses particularly on the Bas-Artibonite district, located in the center of the Caribbean nation, about 100 kilometers from Port-au-Prince, the capital.
In Bas-Artibonite, the report says, 1,694 people were killed as of October of this year.
Violence in Haiti has reached alarming levels since gunmen assassinated Haitian President Jovenel Moïse at his own residence in Port-au-Prince in July 2021.
Several suspects, of Colombian citizenship, as well as Haitian-Americans are under prosecution or have already been convicted in the U.S. in connection with the assassination.
The gangs have used sexual violence as a method of intimidating the population, the report said, something that U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres himself had already denounced.
Following the report, the U.N. Panel of Experts on Haiti requested that the Security Council update the list of individuals and entities under U.N. sanctions “for supporting, preparing, ordering, or committing acts” that are contrary to international law.