OHCHR / HAITI HUMAN RIGHTS ENGLISH VERSION

03-Nov-2022 00:01:55
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Volker Türk, warned that unremitting armed violence had precipitated Haiti’s descent into the worst human rights and humanitarian situation in decades. OHCHR
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STORY: OHCHR / HAITI HUMAN RIGHTS ENGLISH VERSION
TRT: 01:55
SOURCE: OHCHR
RESTRICTIONS: PLEASE CREDIT OHCHR ON SCREEN
LANGUAGE: FRENCH / NATS
DATELINE: 03 NOVEMBER 2022 GENEVA, SWITZERLAND
SHOTLIST
1. Various shots, exterior, Palais Wilson
2. SOUNDBITE (French) Elizabeth Throssell, Spokesperson, Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR):
"The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Türk today warned that unremitting armed violence has precipitated Haiti’s descent into the worst human rights and humanitarian situation in decades. Urgent solutions to this ‘protracted, multifaceted crisis’ must be found."
3. Med shot, exterior, Palais Wilson
4. SOUNDBITE (French) Elizabeth Throssell, Spokesperson, Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR):
"People are being killed by firearms, they are dying because they do not have access to safe drinking water, food, healthcare, women are being gang raped with impunity. The levels of insecurity and the dire humanitarian situation have been devastating for the people of Haiti.”
5. Med shot, exterior, Palais Wilson
6. SOUNDBITE (French) Elizabeth Throssell, Spokesperson, Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR):
“Kidnappings and sexual violence by gang members are being used as weapons to inflict severe pain and instill fear among the population.”
7. Med shot, exterior, Palais Wilson
8. SOUNDBITE (French) Elizabeth Throssell, Spokesperson, Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR):
“There is a desperate need to tackle the root causes of inequality and violence, including systematic corruption and rampant impunity that have crippled the country’s development for decades.”
9. Med shot, exterior, Palais Wilson
10. SOUNDBITE (French) Elizabeth Throssell, Spokesperson, Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR):
“Haiti is on the verge of an abyss. We cannot repeat the mistakes of the past. While urgently tackling violence is a priority, Haiti’s future and sustainable recovery require urgent and sustained action to tackle the root causes of this multifaceted crisis and the Government’s firm commitment to accountability and the rule of law.”
11. Wide shot, exterior, Palais Wilson
STORYLINE
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Volker Türk, today (3 Nov) warned that unremitting armed violence had precipitated Haiti’s descent into the worst human rights and humanitarian situation in decades.

He stressed that urgent solutions to this “protracted, multifaceted crisis” must be found.

“People are being killed by firearms, they are dying because they do not have access to safe drinking water, food, healthcare, women are being gang raped with impunity. The levels of insecurity and the dire humanitarian situation have been devastating for the people of Haiti,” Türk said.

For the last two months, heavily armed gangs have been blockading the country’s main fuel terminal and seaports, severely hampering access to drinking water, food, and medicine.

Food insecurity is rising, with a record 4.7 million – nearly half of the population – facing acute hunger.

Poor sanitation and a lack of safe water supplies have led to a cholera outbreak.

To date, 2,600 suspected cases of cholera have been reported, half of them children, and claimed dozens of lives.

Gang violence continues to expand across the capital and other regions of the country. In just over a week in mid-October, more than 71 people were killed, a dozen women were raped, and hundreds of residents were forced to flee their homes, as a result of turf wars between rival gangs in Croix-des-Bouquets, one of the main communes of the metropolitan area of Port-au-Prince, according to the Human Rights Service of the UN Integrated Office in Haiti (BINUH).

“Kidnappings and sexual violence by gang members are being used as weapons to inflict severe pain and instill fear among the population,” the High Commissioner said.

“There is a desperate need to tackle the root causes of inequality and violence, including systematic corruption and rampant impunity that have crippled the country’s development for decades.”

The latest Security Council resolution 2653 (2022), establishing a sanctions regime targeting individuals and entities engaging in or supporting criminal activity and violence and imposing a targeted arms embargo, is an important step.

Hundreds of thousands of people have been demonstrating since late August to protest against Government policies, the rising cost of living, and the increasing insecurity.

According to information received, at least 54 people were killed during protests, most of which allegedly because of disproportionate use of force by police officers.

Political violence has also been documented with the killing of prominent political leaders and journalists.

“Police must respect the principles of precaution, necessity, and proportionality at all times when using force,” the UN Human Rights Chief said.

“Prompt, thorough, and effective investigations need to be established, and those responsible for unnecessary or disproportionate use of force must be held accountable.”

Türk called on the Government to commit firmly to strengthening the judicial sector and other accountability mechanisms, including establishing specialized judicial divisions to address financial and gang-related crimes.

“In this context, it is clear that the systematic violations of rights in Haiti do not currently allow for the safe, dignified, and sustainable return of Haitians to the country,” warned the UN Human Rights Chief.

International human rights law prohibits refoulement and collective expulsions without an individual assessment of all protection needs prior to return, Türk pointed out, calling for solidarity to ensure all those who wish to seek asylum have access to fair and efficient asylum procedures, regardless of their reasons for leaving their country.

“I also encourage Governments across the region to ensure that all Haitians have access to legal status, protection, and support services regardless of their reasons for leaving their country,” he said.

“Haiti is on the verge of an abyss. We cannot repeat the mistakes of the past. While urgently tackling violence is a priority, Haiti’s future and sustainable recovery require urgent and sustained action to tackle the root causes of this multifaceted crisis and the Government’s firm commitment to accountability and the rule of law,” High Commissioner Türk stressed.
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