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Haiti - FLASH : Haiti a «living nightmare» according to Volker Türk (Report + speech)
11/02/2023 08:01:43

Haiti - FLASH : Haiti a «living nightmare» according to Volker Türk (Report + speech)
Extreme violence and gross human rights violations, including mass murders, gang rapes and sniper attacks, have risen sharply in Cité Soleil, a suburb of the Haitian capital, according to a report by the Service rights of the United Nations Integrated Office (BINUH in Haiti) published Friday.

"The findings of this report are horrifying : they paint a picture of how people are harassed and terrorized by criminal gangs for months without the State being able to stop it. It can only be described as a living nightmare," said Volker Türk, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.

The report says that from July 8 to December 31, 2022, gang violence resulted in 263 murders in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Cité Soleil, a poor and densely populated commune near the capital Port-au-Prince. The report documented at least 57 gang rapes of women and girls, as well as kidnappings and cases of sexual exploitation.

In a single day, July 8, 2022, gang members murdered 95 people, including six children, one of whom was two years old.

The situation in Brooklyn mirrors the plight of hundreds of thousands of other people in Haiti who reside in areas under the control of heavily armed gangs, says the report by the Human Rights Branch of the United Nations Integrated Office (BINUH in Haiti).

The gangs have spread terror by using snipers, who indiscriminately kill anyone who enters their line of sight, the report said, adding that an average of six people are killed by snipers each week.

These gangs blocked access to the neighborhood, controlling the entry of basic necessities such as food and health services. Unsanitary conditions have been exacerbated, leading to the spread of infectious diseases such as cholera.

The report details the case of Rose, a mother of four and five months pregnant, who was severely beaten and raped in the presence of her children by three masked and heavily armed men who forced their way into her home in Cité Soleil. Earlier today, Rose's husband was shot dead by members of the same gang. Before leaving, the armed men set fire to his house.

"The case of Cité Soleil is not isolated, and unfortunately, many Haitians are going through similar ordeals," said Türk. "It is time for the international community to help the Haitian authorities regain full control, in order to put an end to this suffering."

The UN human rights chief called for a strengthening of the security forces, as well as the judicial system. "All perpetrators, as well as those who support and finance gangs, must be prosecuted and tried in accordance with the rule of law, and all victims must be recognized and their rights to truth, justice and reparations respected."

Download the full report : https://www.haitilibre.com/docs/Investigative-report-on-human-rights-abuses-committed-by-gangs-in-the-zone-of-Brooklyn-from-July-to-December-2022.pdf

Download Volker Turk's end-of-mission speech (in French) : https://www.haitilibre.com/docs/Volker-Turk's-end-of-mission-speech.pdf

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