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Haiti’s Gang Violence: Thousands Flee in Port-au-Prince District

Haiti has been wrestling with disturbance since the death of President Jovenel Moïse in 2021. In the power vacuum that followed, armed gangs have held onto control of vast swathes of the nation, participating in ridiculous turf wars and committing frightening human rights abuses.

HRW’s report, named “Living a Nightmare,” reveals insight into the horrid real faced by Haitians as they fight with brutal criminal groups.

The situation has raised so much that HRW investigators reported a stunning 67 orecent killings by these armed gangs, including the frightening murders of 11 children and 12 women.

This report likewise confirmed more than 20 cases of rape, a terrifying tactic employed by these gangs to instill fear and terror among the population. These demonstrations of violence have left Haitians living in constant fear, hunger, and desperation.

Haiti's Gang Violence: Thousands Flee in Port-au-Prince District

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The Haitian government’s reaction to this emergency has been portrayed by its incapability and alleged affiliations with criminal elements. HRW’s report highlights the government’s failure to protect its citizens, citing weak-to-nonexistent actions to counteract the violence.

This lack of action is, to some extent, because of the alleged affiliations between the police, government officials, and these criminal organizations.

The report likewise exposes a disturbing source of help for these gangs: a consistent progression of arms and ammo from the state of Florida. This influx of weaponry has enabled the gangs to maintain their stranglehold on power and has further compromised the security and well-being of the Haitian people.

The violence executed by these gangs has had expansive outcomes past the prompt death toll. over 2,000 individuals have been killed and in more than 1,000 kidnapped in the first half of 2023, according to the United Nations.

This surge in violence has resulted in the displacement of around 130,000 people, adding to the already dire humanitarian crisis that Haiti faces.

Past the actual risk, almost 5.2 million Haitians are currently needing humanitarian assistance, a stunning 20% increase from the earlier year.

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Gang-controlled territories have hindered access to crucial resources, including food and medical aid, leaving millions in a state of vulnerability and desperation.

The explosion of violence can be attributed to around 150 distinct gangs going after control of Haiti’s capital, Port-au-Prince. These gangs are essentially lined up with either the G-Pèp federation or the rival G9 alliance, both of which have engaged in brutal conflicts for supremacy.

The report highlights the rivalry between these factions, citing a recent push by the G9, led by the notorious warlord “Barbecue,” into the G-Pep stronghold of Brooklyn in Cité Soleil, resulting in a flare-up of violence.

Efforts to negotiate a truce between these rival groups have yielded limited success, as the ceasefire remains fragile and both sides continue to exploit and terrorize local populations.

The absence of effective law enforcement has driven many Haitians to seek protection from vigilante groups, further contributing to the cycle of violence.

As the circumstance in Haiti decays, the global community is being called upon to make a quick move. The United Nations Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, has accentuated the requirement for a quick and strong reaction to counter the rampant gang violence.

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Guterres proposed the deployment of a specialized multinational police force supported by military assets to collaborate with the national police and restore security.

Kenya has stepped forward as a possible head of this multinational force, with support from countries such as the United States and Canada. However, concerns have been raised about the human rights record of Kenyan police.

Regardless of these worries, civil society representatives and experts agree that international intervention is now a necessity to counteract the prevailing chaos.

The emergency in Haiti rises above the prompt difficulties presented by gang violence. Political instability, economic fragility, and historical injustices have all contributed to the country’s current state of turmoil.

The death of President Jovenel Moïse further exacerbated these issues, leaving a void of leadership and plunging the nation into deeper uncertainty.

Civil society groups and HRW are calling for the creation of a transitional government to steer Haiti through these troubled times.

They also stress the importance of acknowledging historical responsibilities, particularly by countries like France and the United States, to address the lasting impact of past harms and abuses on the Haitian people.

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Top Sources Related to Haiti’s Gang Violence (For R&D)

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