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Haiti - Security : Mitigated evolution of security conditions
06/09/2016 09:19:11

Haiti - Security : Mitigated evolution of security conditions
The United Nations Security Council just published
the Secretary-General's report, on the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (Minustah). This report covers major developments for the period from March 8 to 31 August 2016. It describes in particular the evolution of the security conditions in Haiti. A situation quite far of what say the president of Facto Privert, who tries to persuade and convince people, every time he has the opportunity, that he brought stability and social peace in the country...

Extract from the report:

Evolution of security conditions in Haiti :

"The security situation during the reporting period remained relatively calm but fragile, because of the prevailing political uncertainty. Overall, crime levels and gang activities were lower compared to the two previous reporting periods. However, the number of demonstrations, sit-ins and strikes has increased since April, most of them triggered by socioeconomic grievances. A number of cases of politically motivated violence in May and June generated public anxiety.

Crime statistics for the period from 1 March to 10 August 2016, collected by the national police and Minustah, indicated 438 reported homicides, as compared to 567 homicides from 1 September 2015 to 28 February 2016, and 486 from 1 March to 31 August 2015. Of the 438 homicides, 75 per cent occurred in the metropolitan area of Port-au-Prince. In total, 27 kidnappings were recorded, as compared to 44 from 1 September 2015 to 28 February 2016 and 29 from 1 March to 31 August 2015. Reported cases of rape totalled 229, indicating an increase as compared to the 218 cases reported from 1 September 2015 to 28 February 2016 and the 223 cases reported from 1 March to 31 August 2015.

A total of 438 public protests were recorded, of which 134 reportedly had elements of violence ranging from the use of road barricades, destruction of property and stone-throwing to assaults against police officers and shootings. The number of public protests therefore decreased considerably compared to the period from 1 September 2015 to 28 February 2016 when 689 protests were recorded (of which 275 were violent), but increased slightly compared to the period from 1 March to 31 August 2015 when 399 protests were recorded (of which 151 were violent). The West Department remained the most affected by public protests, with 62 per cent (274) of the protests occurring there, followed by the North Department with 8 per cent and the Nippes Department with 5 per cent. Protests were generally small in scale, an estimated 87 per cent (381 protests) involving fewer than 300 people, 9 per cent (40) involving between 300 and 1,000 people, and 4 per cent (17) involving more than 1,000 protesters. A total of 146 protests (33 per cent) were political and election related, while 226 (51 per cent) were triggered by socioeconomic grievances and the remaining 26 per cent were associated with labour-related issues. Five low-level protests targeted the UNDP office and the temporary storage area of the Provisional Electoral Council on Minustah premises, both of which are located in Port-au-Prince; the protestors were demanding payment of salary arrears from the electoral council.

In the first of a series of high-profile security-related incidents, on 16 May unidentified armed elements in military-like uniforms attacked the Haitian National Police regional headquarters in Les Cayes (South Department). The attack resulted in one police officer being killed and three others seriously wounded, as well as weapons being stolen. On 2 June, political rivalry over election results led to the arson of several residences in Borgne (North Department), followed by the City Hall on 30 June and an attack against the Departmental Vice-Delegate on 5 July. On 8 June, in Port-au-Prince, six gasoline stations and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs building were targeted by acts of vandalism and random shootings. On 10 June, the Superior Council of the National Police decided to suspend all existing permits for firearms across the country, a measure lifted on 15 June. On 13 June, a newly created political grouping, the Entente démocratique, announced that it would stage a peaceful demonstration to call for the removal of the provisional President on 14 June, to coincide with the expiration of his 120-day term as stipulated by the agreement of 5 February. In the night of 14 June, the Superior Council of the National Police imposed a curfew throughout the country, thereby preventing the planned demonstration and triggering negative reactions from some political actors who denounced the measure as illegal and authoritarian.

On 21 June, on the sidelines of a National Assembly session to vote on provisional governance arrangements, acts of violence inside Parliament led to the suspension of the session. The incident was condemned by actors from across the political spectrum as well as by my Special Representative. In response, the national police adopted measures to prevent the recurrence of such incidents, such as reinforced deployment of security forces around the Parliament and government buildings during National Assembly sessions.

On 24 June, unidentified armed elements on motorcycles opened fire on the offices of several prominent international and domestic companies in Port-au-Prince, including one hotel. A Swedish national and a former Director-General of the National Press were killed by unidentified individuals on motorcycles, in Pétionville on 28 June and 8 July, respectively. Investigations launched by the national police are ongoing.

The national police conducted various security operations during the reporting period, resulting in a decline in the number of homicides, improved response to kidnappings and effective management of all public demonstrations, largely without support from Minustah, which was not called upon to use its pre-positioned quick-reaction force.

The police component of Minustah assisted the national police in crime reduction operations by jointly operating 2,268 checkpoints as well as conducting 3,086 foot patrols, 14,876 vehicle patrols and 43 joint operations, including 35 in the metropolitan area of Port-au-Prince. Military peacekeepers conducted 5,169 operations, 620 of which were joint patrols with national police and Minustah police. The Mission’s military component also conducted 20 platoon-sized quick-reaction force deployments to 14 different communes in seven departments, using Minustah aviation assets. In two major incidents, Minustah formed police units and military troops were deployed to provide operational support to the national police, specifically in Les Cayes on 16 May, and in Borgne on 30 June."

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