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IACHR concerned about Haiti’s resurgence of violence

February 22, 2024

WASHINGTON, CMC – The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) has voiced concern about the intensification of violence in Haiti at the hands of organised criminal groups.

The human rights organisation has called on the state and the international community to seek comprehensive and sustainable to overcome the humanitarian, political, social and security crisis that the country has been experiencing for decades.

In a statement on Wednesday, the Commission said it remains “alarmed by the violence perpetrated by armed groups, who commit murders, kidnappings and rapes, among others, particularly in the capital, Port-au-Prince. The above has a specific impact on women and girls.”

According to the most recent data released by the United Nations Integrated Office in Haiti (BINUH), during the year 2023, more than 8,400 people were victims of gang violence, including people killed, injured and kidnapped.

This represents an increase of 122% compared to 2022.

Specifically, Port-au-Prince accounted for 83% of recorded homicides and injuries.

In the south of the capital, gangs have carried out large-scale attacks to control certain areas and continue to use systematic practices of sexual violence in areas under their control, exposing women and girls to danger.

In particular, according to a report by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), there is an increase in reports of elderly people, women and girls being brutally raped, tortured and kidnapped by gangs.

The report also states that sexual violence against women and girls is used as a weapon of war, intimidation, territorial control and domination in areas controlled by gangs.

In this context, a total of 3,056 cases of rape were reported between January and August 2023, representing an increase of 49% compared to 2022.

In light of these challenges, the IACHR reiterates its call to the international community, in particular to the States of the region and the agencies of the regional system – and universally while respecting the sovereignty and self-determination of Haiti:-

  • To seek mechanisms most effective and participatory measures to adopt measures capable of putting into practice the principles of:
  • solidarity and cooperation at all stages of the identification development and implementation of development and assistance actions, including increased food and humanitarian aid, working hand in hand with the country.

These mechanisms should also focus on building, supporting and strengthening institutional capacities, civil society networks and public policies, which are essential for raising protection standards in the Haitian state.

The IACHR is a principal, autonomous organ of the Organisation of American States (OAS), whose mandate emanates from the OAS Charter and the American Convention on Human Rights.

The Inter-American Commission’s mandate is to promote respect for and defence of human rights and to serve, in this area, as an advisory body to the OAS.

The IACHR is composed of seven independent members, elected in a personal capacity by the OAS General Assembly and does not represent their country of origin or residence.

Photo: RICHARD PIERRIN/AFP via Getty Images

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