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World News | UN warns of gangs consuming Haiti despite police help

The LATAM Airlines plane hit the vehicle on the runway (Image: Twitter / @AirCrash_)

SAN JUAN, March 16 (AP) — The United Nations envoy for Haiti warned Wednesday that the ongoing training and resources the international community is providing to Haiti’s national police force will not be enough to fight increasingly violent gangs.

The head of the United Nations Integrated Office in Haiti, Helen Lalem, who made a surprise appearance at the OAS meeting in Washington, D.C., said it was time to consider a new partnership and reiterated her call for the deployment of a dedicated foreign force.

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“We didn’t get the job done,” she said. “We need to start building this country.”

Powerful gangs have been infiltrating once-peaceful neighborhoods in the Haitian capital and beyond, and experts estimate they now control about 60 percent of Port-au-Prince. They pillaged neighborhoods, raped adults and children, and kidnapped hundreds of victims, from American missionaries to hot dog street vendors, in order to control more territories since July 2021Jovenel Moïse The violence has intensified since the president’s assassination.

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“The OAS urgently needs to understand that the deteriorating security situation on the ground has reached its peak, with armed gangs now roaming the country unchecked,” said Haitian Foreign Minister Victor Généus.

Senior Haitian officials, including Généus and Prime Minister Ariel Henry, have repeatedly sought international boots on the ground, a request first made in October that the U.N. Security Council ignored and imposed sanctions instead, as did the United States and Canada.

On Wednesday, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told reporters that the sanctions were targeting “elite families in Haiti who are responsible not only for funding gangs but for destabilizing Haiti’s political world and economy, for which the Haitian people have paid the price.” Terrible price.”

Canada also continued to help Haiti’s national police force and other institutions, he said, noting that previous outside interventions had failed to create long-term stability for Haiti.

“What’s clear is that there needs to be a new approach to Haiti that puts the Haitian people in charge and creates strong opportunity and a strong democracy for them,” Trudeau said.

But senior Haitian officials disagree.

“Haiti cannot solve this crisis alone,” Geneus told the OAS meeting.

The Haitian National Police has just 9,000 active duty officers in the country of more than 11 million people, and officials say the service remains underresourced and understaffed despite international help.

“It’s not enough to have arms. It’s not enough to strengthen the national police and army,” said Leon Charles, Haiti’s permanent representative to the Organization of American States and the country’s former police chief.

According to human rights activists, at least 78 police officers have been killed by gangs that took control of police departments in some areas and torched others.

The surge in violence has also left tens of thousands of Haitians homeless and prompted mass exodus to the United States and other Caribbean islands, where more and more people died en route on rickety boats. Meanwhile, officials in countries including the Dominican Republic, the Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands have cracked down on immigrants and complained about the strain they put on government services.

“Security in Haiti poses a threat to the entire region,” Geneus said.

The Organization of American States convened a meeting to analyze what aid is needed and where to help Haiti finally hold its long-awaited elections.

Before OAS members resumed discussions behind closed doors, Lalem said Haiti desperately needed a safer environment ahead of elections.

“Unless the situation on the ground … changes, nothing will happen,” she said. “Without more security assistance … they won’t be successful.”

The meeting came as a delegation of United Nations officials visited Port-au-Prince on Wednesday to meet with Prime Minister Ariel Henry to observe what they called “the scale and gravity of the humanitarian crisis” and provide support for humanitarian action.

Tareq Talahma of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said they were seeking $700 million to help at least 3 million of the 5 million Haitians in need of humanitarian aid.

Funding commitments so far have fallen short of expectations, he said, “and that’s why we’re here,” he said.

“The people of Haiti are very dignified people and humanitarian assistance is not the only thing they are waiting for. This community is looking for peace, safety and protection, and this is important and should be a priority,” Tallahema said. (Associated Press)

(This is an unedited and auto-generated story from a Syndicated News feed, the body of content may not have been modified or edited by LatestLY staff)

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