Haiti must remain “at the forefront” of the international agenda, according to the Security Council |

She called for increased support for the Caribbean nation, as the prolonged insecurity and protracted political uncertainty, together with the dire economic situation and growing humanitarian needs, are seriously hampering development and undermining peacebuilding efforts. .

“It is essential that Haiti remains at the forefront of the international community‘s agenda and that national authorities receive the assistance they need to address these interrelated challenges. Nevertheless, only Haitians hold the key to unlocking lasting solutions to the country’s protracted crisis,” she said.

Gang control expands

Ms. La Lime, who also heads the United Nations Integrated Office in Haiti (BINUH), reported growing gang control over large areas of the capital, Port-au-Prince.

Kidnappings and homicides are also on the rise. Last month alone, 201 people were killed and 198 abducted, which represents an average for each of almost seven cases per day.

The violence has kept people trapped in their homes or neighborhoods and forced the closure of dozens of schools, medical centers, businesses and markets. Some 17,000 people have been displaced.

Support the national police

The growing sense of insecurity is exacerbated by the “apparent inability” of the Haitian National Police (PNH) to deal with both the situation and impunity.

“More than ever, Haiti needs immediate assistance to develop its national police and combat growing crime and violence,” said Ms. La Lime.

She called for increased support for the force, which currently lacks the human, material and financial resources to effectively fulfill its mandate.

Much of the instability is due to what the UN envoy described as the “prolonged institutional vacuum” in Haiti.

Elections “highly unlikely”

The country has been without a functioning parliament for more than two years, the justice sector is almost completely paralyzed and it has been a year since the assassination of its president, Jovenel Moïse.

Initiatives on the way forward have so far yielded few concrete results, she said, and BINUH is engaging with the parties in efforts to build consensus on the path to elections, although it is “highly unlikely” that they will take place this year.

“The stalled investigation into the assassination of the late President Moïse – to which a fifth judge in 11 months was recently assigned – illustrates the deep-rooted problems plaguing the Haitian justice system, a branch crippled by limited financial and material resources. , frequent strikes by judicial personnel, and the deterioration of the security situation,” she said.

“Resolute efforts are needed not only to enable the courts to process and adjudicate a myriad of pending cases, but also to ensure that prolonged levels of pretrial detention are sustainably reduced.

In addition, the Government and the judicial institutions concerned must urgently find a consensus on the appointment of the judges of the Supreme Court so that its activities can resume.

Action on the reform of the penal code, to align the framework with international norms and standards, is also necessary.

Humanitarian needs are increasing

Ms. La Lime also briefed the Council on the economic situation in Haiti, saying it remains a serious source of concern as gross domestic product contracted by 1.8% last year and government revenue declined.

Meanwhile, humanitarian needs continue to increase, particularly following the devastating earthquake of August 2021.

An estimated 4.9 million people will need humanitarian assistance this year, she said, and at least 4.5 million are expected to need emergency food aid.

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