UN chief insists on special armed forces as Haiti spirals

Jan 23, 2023, 12:12 AM | Updated: 2:48 pm
A bullet's impact is seen on an armored police car in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Saturday, Jan. 21, 202...

A bullet's impact is seen on an armored police car in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Saturday, Jan. 21, 2023. One of Haiti's gangs stormed a key part of the capital, Port-Au-Prince, and battled with police throughout the day, leaving at least three officers dead and another missing. (AP Photo/Megan Janetsky)

(AP Photo/Megan Janetsky)

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — U.N. Secretary General António Guterres on Monday insisted on the deployment of an international specialized armed force to Haiti and called on governments to consider halting deportations as the country’s situation spirals.

The recommendations were issued as part of a report on the U.N. Integrated Office in Haiti, with Guterres noting that gang-related violence and human rights violations have reached a critical level.

“The people of Haiti are suffering the worst human rights and humanitarian emergency in decades,” he wrote.

Guterres noted that while last year’s gang-led siege at a main fuel terminal has ended, a special force is still needed to ensure that key infrastructure remains unobstructed and that people are able to safely vote in a general election whose date has not been set.

The number of reported killings soared by 35% last year compared with the previous year, with more than 2,100 slain. In addition, kidnappings more than doubled last year, with more than 1,350 victims.

Meanwhile, Haiti’s National Police is underfunded and under-resourced, with only some 9,700 active-duty officers in a country of more than 11 million people.

“There are also allegations that a significant number of national police…may be associated with gangs,” Guterres said.

In recent months, countries including Canada and the U.S. have offered training and resources including armored vehicles, but police remain largely outmatched by gangs whose power and territorial control have expanded since President Jovenel Moïse was slain at his private residence in July 2021.

Haiti also is struggling with a deadly cholera outbreak worsened by gang violence and a spike in the number of people who are starving as countries including the U.S. and the Dominican Republic have deported tens of thousands of Haitians in the past year.

The report was released a day before the U.N. Security Council is scheduled to meet and talk about Haiti.

Late last year, the council imposed sanctions on individuals and groups that threatened peace in Haiti, including a powerful gang leader, but it did not vote on the deployment of armed forces as requested by Haiti’s top officials in October.

With no democratically elected institutions left in Haiti after the terms of the remaining 10 senators expired on Jan. 9, Prime Minister Ariel Henry has pledged that he is working to hold general elections as soon as possible.

Last week, Henry’s administration published a decree with the names of the three members appointed to the High Transition Council, which will be responsible for choosing the provisional electoral council, the first step in preparing for elections. The decree stated that the council also will push economic and human rights reforms, create and execute a public security plan and establish milestones and deadlines for the transition period.

“We will move forward with all those who wish to do so,” Henry said earlier this month.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

FILE - Bryan Kohberger, who is accused of killing four University of Idaho students in Nov. 2022, a...
Associated Press

News groups ask Idaho Supreme Court to reject University slayer gag order

Thirty news organizations have asked the Idaho Supreme Court to overturn a gag order in a case against a man accused of stabbing four students to death.
13 hours ago
Nathan Chasing Horse stands in court. Monday, Feb. 6, 2023, in North Las Vegas, Nev. Nathan Chasing...
Associated Press

‘Dances With Wolves’ actor charged in 2018 rape in PNW

Canadian police confirmed Tuesday they are pursuing a criminal case against a former "Dances With Wolves" actor who was arrested last week and charged in Nevada with sexually abusing and trafficking Indigenous women and girls.
13 hours ago
FILE - North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein speaks in front of the Supreme Court in Washingto...
Associated Press

Appeals court backs North Carolina AG Stein on libel law

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — A federal appeals court sided again with North Carolina’s attorney general on Wednesday, saying a 1931 libel law is most likely unconstitutional. Josh Stein has sought to block a fellow Democrat from using the law to prosecute him over a 2020 campaign commercial. In a unanimous result, the three-judge panel of […]
2 days ago
This photo provided by the Indiana State Police shows Fred Bandy Jr., 67, of Goshen, Ind. He and an...
Associated Press

2 Indiana men could face life in prison in teen’s 1975 death

ALBION, Ind. (AP) — A judge told two Indiana men Wednesday that they could face life in prison if they’re convicted in the slaying of a 17-year-old girl who was found dead in a river nearly a half-century ago. Fred Bandy Jr., 67, of Goshen and John Wayne Lehman, 67, of Auburn were arrested Monday […]
2 days ago
A high altitude balloon floats over Billings, Mont., on Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2023. The huge, high-alt...
Associated Press

Pentagon: China’s conducted spy balloon program for years

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Chinese balloon shot down off the South Carolina coast was part of a large surveillance program that China has been conducting for “several years,” the Pentagon said Wednesday. When similar balloons passed over U.S. territory on four occasions during the Trump and Biden administrations, the U.S. did not immediately identify them […]
2 days ago
A high altitude balloon floats over Billings, Mont., on Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2023. The huge, high-alt...
Associated Press

Pentagon: China’s conducted spy balloon program for years

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Chinese balloon shot down off the South Carolina coast was part of a large surveillance program that China has been conducting for “several years,” the Pentagon said Wednesday. When similar balloons passed over U.S. territory on four occasions during the Trump and Biden administrations, the U.S. did not immediately identify them […]
2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

safety from crime...

As crime increases, our safety measures must too

It's easy to be accused of fearmongering regarding crime, but Seattle residents might have good reason to be concerned for their safety.
Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.
SHIBA WA...

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
UN chief insists on special armed forces as Haiti spirals