UN / HAITI

26-Apr-2023 00:05:06
The Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Haiti said that a path for Haitians to engage in dialogue toward restoring democratic institutions in the country has been charted; however, “it will be difficult to move forward without effectively addressing rampant insecurity.” UNIFEED
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STORY: UN / HAITI
TRT: 05:06
SOURCE: UNIFEED
RESTRICTIONS: NONE
LANGUAGE: ENGLISH / FRENCH / NATS

DATELINE: 26 APRIL 2023, NEW YORK CITY / RECENT
SHOTLIST
RECENT - NEW YORK CITY

1. Wide shot, exterior United Nations

26 APRIL 2023, NEW YORK CITY

2. Wide shot, Security Council
3. SOUNDBITE (English) Maria Isabel Salvador, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Haiti / Head, United Nations Integrated Office in Haiti (BINUH):
“A path for Haitians to engage in dialogue towards restoring democratic institutions in the country has been charted. However, the general sentiment is that it will be difficult to move forward without effectively addressing rampant insecurity.”
4. Med shot, Security Council
5. SOUNDBITE (English) Maria Isabel Salvador, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Haiti / Head, United Nations Integrated Office in Haiti (BINUH):
“Gang violence is expanding at an alarming rate in areas previously considered relatively safe in Port-au-Prince and outside the capital. The horrific violence in gang-ridden areas, including sexual violence, particularly against women and girls, is emblematic of the terror afflicting much of Haiti’s population.”
6. Med shot, Maria Isabel Salvador at her seat
7. SOUNDBITE (English) Maria Isabel Salvador, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Haiti / Head, United Nations Integrated Office in Haiti (BINUH):
“We need to find innovative ways to define the force to support the Haitian National Police. Haiti requires immediate assistance to counter increasing armed gang violence and to develop its police. The rapidly deteriorating security situation demands that the country remains at the center of international attention and action. Further delay in addressing the unprecedented insecurity in Haiti could also lead to a spill-over of insecurity in the region.”
8. Med shot, Security Council
9. SOUNDBITE (French) Maria Isabel Salvador, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Haiti / Head, United Nations Integrated Office in Haiti (BINUH):
“Almost half of the population – 5.2 million people – needs humanitarian aid. The number of internal displacements has increased by 50 percent in Port-au-Prince since November 2022. Some 39,000 suspected cases of cholera have been reported since the reappearance of the epidemic last October. The United Nations and its humanitarian partners remain on the ground and provide essential services.”
10. Med shot, delegates
11. SOUNDBITE (English) Ghada Fathi Waly, Executive Director, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC):
“Increasingly sophisticated and high-caliber firearms and ammunition are being trafficked into Haiti, with most new firearms and ammunition entering the country illegally by land, air, and, most frequently, sea. Severe limitations in maritime control capacities, personnel, and equipment, as well as a lack of border surveillance and patrol infrastructure, have curtailed efforts to stop the influx, which is enabling gang-related violence to reach unprecedented levels.”
12. Wide shot, Security Council
13. SOUNDBITE (English) Ghada Fathi Waly, Executive Director, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC):
“Haiti is leading its security response the best it can, but this comes at a great human cost. Homicide rates are skyrocketing, while more and more police officers are being targeted and killed in the line of duty by gangs. Meanwhile, Haiti’s law enforcement and border control challenges make it an attractive hub for drug traffickers. Haiti acts as a trans-shipment country for drugs, primarily cocaine and cannabis, arriving through public, private, and informal ports as well as clandestine runways, and mostly being shipped onwards to the United States, the Dominican Republic, and Western Europe.”
14. Med shot, Security Council
15. SOUNDBITE (English) Ghada Fathi Waly, Executive Director, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC):
“Sustained, comprehensive assistance is needed, complementing any operational support provided to Haiti’s police with a long-term vision to restore criminal justice, border control, and customs institutions. It is through these fundamentals that we can protect Haiti’s people from violence in the long-term, return normalcy and security to their daily lives, and pave the way for more effective efforts to meet basic human needs.”
16. Med shot, Geneus at his seat
17. SOUNDBITE (French) Jean Victor Geneus, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Haiti:
“The government is counting on robust international assistance been provide to the National Police. The deployment of an international force remains vital to end violence and human rights violations, restore the rule of law, and create conducive conditions for holding credible elections.”
18. Med shot, Security Council
19. Pan left, Maria Isabel Salvador walking to stakeout
20. SOUNDBITE (English) Maria Isabel Salvador, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Haiti / Head, United Nations Integrated Office in Haiti (BINUH):
“We believe that an international force is of utmost importance to help Haiti, to curb the violence and the human rights abuses, and also help to restore the rule of law and the democratic institutions. We believe that the Haitian people require urgent support, and unfortunately, if these decisions are not taken, unprecedented crises in the region may arise.”
21. Close up, cameraman
21. SOUNDBITE (English) Maria Isabel Salvador, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Haiti / Head, United Nations Integrated Office in Haiti (BINUH):
“The issue is here that thinking takes time, and Haitian people cannot wait.”
22. Pan right, end of stakeout
STORYLINE
The Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Haiti said that a path for Haitians to engage in dialogue toward restoring democratic institutions in the country has been charted; however, “it will be difficult to move forward without effectively addressing rampant insecurity.”

Addressing the Security Council today (26 Apr), the newly appointed Special Representative and head of the UN Integrated Office in Haiti (BINUH), María Isabel Salvador, said that gang violence is expanding at an alarming rate in areas previously considered relatively safe in Port-au-Prince and outside the capital.

She also said, “The horrific violence in gang-ridden areas, including sexual violence, particularly against women and girls, is emblematic of the terror afflicting much of Haiti’s population.”

According to data collected by the Haitian National Police and BINUH, in the first quarter of 2022, 692 criminal incidents – defined as homicide, rape, kidnappings, and lynching - were reported.

In the same period in 2023, recorded criminal incidents rose more than double to 1,647.

Last month showed the highest incident rates since 2005.

Faced with increasingly violent armed gangs vying for control of neighborhoods of the capital, with limited or no police presence, some residents have begun to take matters into their own hands.

According to BINUH’s Head, these dynamics lead indefectibly to the breakdown of the social fabric with unpredictable consequences for the entire region.

The Government has continued to invest in the Haitian National Police.

However, the force is severely understaffed and ill-equipped to address the violence and criminality.

María Isabel Salvador reported that deaths, dismissals, and increased resignations among the police had cut its operational strength from 14,772 to about 200 personnel, of whom only approximately 9,000 perform police tasks.

Barely 3,500 police officers are on public safety duty at any given time nationwide.

In the meantime, recruiting new police officers has been halted due to deteriorating security and logistical constraints.

The national police succeed in mounting some effective anti-gang operations but holding these security gains is merely momentary, the Special Representative said.

She continued, “We need to find innovative ways to define the force to support the Haitian National Police. Haiti requires immediate assistance to counter increasing armed gang violence and to develop its police. The rapidly deteriorating security situation demands that the country remains at the center of international attention and action. Further delay in addressing the unprecedented insecurity in Haiti could also lead to a spill-over of insecurity in the region.”

She also noted that beyond the immediate support that the national police require, it is urgent to make progress towards a nationally led solution to the long-standing political impasse.

According to María Isabel Salvador, with increased armed gang violence, Haitians have continued to suffer one of the worst human rights crises in decades.

She also said that the appointment by the High Commissioner for Human Rights of an Independent Expert on Human Rights, following a request from the Haitian Government, is a welcomed development that will strengthen human rights monitoring and protection mechanisms.

On the humanitarian side, she said, “Almost half of the population – 5.2 million people – needs humanitarian aid. The number of internal displacements has increased by 50 percent in Port-au-Prince since November 2022. Some 39,000 suspected cases of cholera have been reported since the reappearance of the epidemic last October. The United Nations and its humanitarian partners remain on the ground and provide essential services.”

Ghada Fathi Waly, Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), was also at the Security Council today and said that increasingly sophisticated and high-caliber firearms and ammunition are being trafficked into Haiti, with most new firearms and ammunition entering the country illegally by land, air, and, most frequently, sea.

She also said that severe limitations in maritime control capacities, personnel, and equipment, as well as a lack of border surveillance and patrol infrastructure, have curtailed efforts to stop the influx, which is enabling gang-related violence to reach unprecedented levels.

“Meanwhile,” she added, “Haiti’s law enforcement and border control challenges make it an attractive hub for drug traffickers. Haiti acts as a trans-shipment country for drugs, primarily cocaine and cannabis, arriving through public, private, and informal ports as well as clandestine runways, and mostly being shipped onwards to the United States, the Dominican Republic, and Western Europe.”

She concluded, “Sustained, comprehensive assistance is needed, complementing any operational support provided to Haiti’s police with a long-term vision to restore criminal justice, border control, and customs institutions. It is through these fundamentals that we can protect Haiti’s people from violence in the long-term, return normalcy and security to their daily lives, and pave the way for more effective efforts to meet basic human needs.”

In light of the country’s deepening crisis, the Haitian government requested an international specialized armed force in October 2022, which was subsequently recommended by the Secretary-General’s special report to the Council, outlining options to enhance security support for Haiti.

Representing his country, Jean-Victor Geneus, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Haiti, said, “The government is counting on robust international assistance to be provided to the National Police. The deployment of an international force remains vital to end violence and human rights violations, restore the rule of law, and create conducive conditions for holding credible elections.”

After the Security Council meeting, the Special Representative for Haiti addressed reporters.

She said, “We believe that an international force is of utmost importance to help Haiti, to curb the violence and the human rights abuses, and also help to restore the rule of law and the democratic institutions. We believe that the Haitian people require urgent support, and unfortunately, if these decisions are not taken, unprecedented crises in the region may arise.”

She concluded, “The issue is here that thinking takes time, and Haitian people cannot wait.”
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