The United Nations office in Haiti called for an international force to help restore law and order in the Caribbean nation reeling from an unprecedented outbreak of gang violence.
“We believe that an international force is essential to help Haiti,” María Isabel Salvador, newly appointed head of the United Nations Integrated Office in Haiti (BINUH), told a recent press conference.
Salvador said gangs rule Haiti’s streets, warning that if these actions are not taken, the crisis could have “unpredictable consequences” for the entire region.
— United Nations (@UN) April 27, 2023
According to a report submitted by her office to the UN Security Council, more than 1,600 criminal acts were reported in the first three months of this year alone.
Even more worryingly, the country’s police force is shrinking as crime rates skyrocket. There are only about 9,000 police officers in the country. Thousands of officers have been killed, fired or resigned in the past year.
“The appalling violence in gang-ridden areas, including sexual violence, especially against women and girls, is emblematic of the terror that affects much of Haiti’s population,” she added.
Haiti does not have a functioning government since foreign mercenaries assassinated President Jovenel Moïse in July 2021. With the economy in shambles, gangs are taking advantage of political instability. As many as 300 gangs are said to be operating in the country.
However, reports say that the UN Security Council is less likely to send force, given the failure of previous such missions.