August 2023 | Thousands of people are displaced from Port-au-Prince district
Around 5,000 people have been displaced from the Carrefour-Feuilles district of Port-au-Prince, according to the UN. The displacement is reportedly a result of gangs taking control over the area and the consequent violence. While police had initially responded and dispersed some gang members, violence continued after they withdrew. Some residents have organized in self-defence and vigilante groups that have, on occasion, engaged in violence themselves. As international pressure has grown for a multinational force to help contain violence, Kenya has offered to send 1,000 police officials for capacity-building and security purposes. This, however, has raised concern among human rights groups that have recorded rights violations and abuse from Kenyan police.
July 2023 | CARICOM talks fail to produce breakthrough
In a bid to resolve Haiti's ongoing political crisis, a meeting facilitated by the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) was held in Jamaica from 11 to 13 June. Although Haitian politicians and civil society leaders attended, the High Transitional Council (HTC) did not. Significant proposals were discussed, including Prime Minister Henry’s plans to expand the HTC and establish a government of national unity. The opposition parties expressed concerns about the Prime Minister's extensive powers and proposed the formation of a presidential college in conjunction with the Prime Minister's role.
Subsequently, a CARICOM delegation met with Haitian stakeholders in Port-au-Prince from 12 to 15 July, continuing the facilitation of inter-Haitian dialogue. Although no definitive agreement was reached, progress was reported on 18 July, with a reduced number of parties involved and a future negotiation agenda. This development aims to facilitate credible elections and establish a constitution-based government.
April 2023 | Suspected gang members lynched amid intensifying violence
Haiti’s police confirmed on 24 April that at least a dozen suspected gang members had been killed by a group of residents in the capital, Port-au-Prince. The violence was sparked after gang members stormed and looted homes in residential sections of the city, attacking inhabitants. Although the alleged gang members had been arrested, citizens pulled the suspects from police custody, beating and lynching them with gasoline-soaked tires. The violence highlights increasing public anger over the security situation in Haiti. According to the UN, more civilians have died in Haiti during the first quarter of 2023, ‘than in many of the bloodiest conflicts still ongoing in the rest of the world’. OHCHR issued a statement on 9 May saying that at least 164 mob killings and lynchings of alleged gang members were documented and more than 600 people killed in Haiti during the month of April.
March 2023 | Surging gang violence highlights worsening crisis
The crisis in Haiti deepens as rising gang violence has spread to new areas around the country. New clashes between armed groups erupted in Port-au-Prince at the end of February and escalated in the following weeks, resulting in 208 people killed, 101 kidnapped and over 160 injured during the first two weeks of March.
The international NGO, Doctors Without Borders was forced to temporarily close its facilities in the Cité Soleil area of the capital, citing ‘intolerable risks’ due to the violence. The UN office in Haiti reports violence has spread to every part of the capital as fighting between gangs has become more frequent and violent. Since the beginning of the crisis, at least 160,000 Haitians have been displaced, starvation worsened, and sexual violence against girls and women has been consistently used by gangs to instill terror. Between January and March 2023, Haiti’s gang violence has left more than 300 people injured, 530 killed and 277 kidnapped in gang related incidents.