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Haiti - UN : «Mounting insecurity» indicates BINUH report on the situation in Haiti
That phenomenon compelled the Haitian authorities to take decisive action regarding escalating gang-related criminality. As part of a shift to a more assertive public safety agenda, for the first time in 13 years, the national police received a significant budget increase in September, affording it more capability to fight crime.
Concurrently, the new Director-General ad interim and new General Inspector in Chief, who were appointed in October, changed the majority of the senior police management team.
The national police adopted a more robust response to public disorder and intensified interdiction measures to curb violent crime in gang-ridden areas, starting in the Port-au-Prince neighbourhood of Village-de-Dieu. With logistical support from the engineering unit of the Haitian military, specialized police units engaged in a pacification drive in that area, as well as in nearby Martissant.
Those operations drove gang members out, they also resulted in an undisclosed number of residential buildings being destroyed. The neighbourhood of Bel-Air in Port-au-Prince and the commune of Croix-des-Bouquets (West Department) witnessed similar police action amid inter-gang violence.
With their activities disrupted in some of their Port-au-Prince strongholds, the gangs became more active on the outskirts of the metropolitan area and in neighbouring departments. This was observed in a few areas of the Artibonite Department, where gangs posed additional security threats to which the national police was responding.
Despite the disruption of activities of armed criminal groups by the national police and the work of the National Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration Commission to negotiate a de-escalation with gangs, 70 abductions were reported between September and December (including of 13 women and 6 minors). In the past 12 months, kidnappings followed a concerning trend as they increased by 200% compared with the previous year (a total of 234 cases, including 59 women and 37 minors, were reported in 2020 compared with 78 in 2019).
Voluntary homicide followed a similar, albeit less pronounced, trend, increasing by 20% (1,380 cases reported by the police) in 2020, with three quarters of the cases recorded in the West Department.
Conversely, with 424 cases (including 182 women, 53 men, 146 girls and 43 boys), instances of gender-based violence recorded by the national health system, which were still underreported, fell 7.3% from September to November compared with the previous quarter, while the police registered a 12% increase in rapes, from 43 to 49, during the same period.