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Haiti: “Cataclysmic” situation demands immediate and bold action – UN report

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GENEVA (28 March 2024) – A UN Human Rights Office report published today calls for immediate and bold action to tackle the “cataclysmic” situation in Haiti.

 

“Corruption, impunity and poor governance, compounded by increasing levels of gang violence, have eroded the rule of law and brought State institutions… close to collapse. The impact of generalised insecurity on the population is dire and deteriorating…and the population is severely deprived of enjoying its human rights,” says the report.

 

“Tackling insecurity must be a top priority to protect the population and prevent further human suffering. It is equally important to protect institutions essential to the rule of law, which have been attacked to their very core,” said UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Türk.

 

The report covers the period from 25 September 2023 to 29 February 2024 and includes information provided by the Human Rights Service of the UN Integrated Office in Haiti (BINUH), as well as information gathered by William O’Neill, Designated Expert of the High Commissioner on the situation of Human Rights in Haiti.

 

The number of people killed and injured due to gang violence significantly increased in 2023 – 4,451 killed and 1,668 injured. The number of victims skyrocketed in the first three months of 2024 – 1,554 killed and 826 injured up to 22 March.

 

Gangs continued to use sexual violence to brutalise, punish and control people. Women have been raped during gang attacks on neighbourhoods, in many cases after seeing their husbands killed in front of them.

According to the report, some women are forced into exploitative sexual relations with gang members. In addition, the rape of hostages continues to be used to coerce families into paying ransoms. Sexual violence remains severely underreported and largely unpunished.

 

Gangs continue to recruit and abuse children – boys and girls – who are unable to leave gangs’ ranks for fear of retaliation, which, in some instances, has led to young gang members being killed for trying to escape. Daily life is also disrupted by restrictions imposed by gangs on the movement of people, goods and services.

 

“All these practices are outrageous and must stop at once,” said the High Commissioner.

 

In parallel to the intensification of gang violence and the inability of the police to counter it, so-called “self-defence brigades” have continued to emerge and take justice into their own hands, the report says. At least 528 cases of lynching were reported in 2023, and a further 59 in 2024.

 

The report also highlights how, despite an arms embargo, there is a reliable supply of weapons and ammunition for the gangs coming through porous borders, resulting in the gangs often having superior firepower to the Haitian National Police.

 

The report calls for tighter national and international controls to stem trafficking of weapons and ammunition to Haiti.

 

“It is shocking that despite the horrific situation on the ground, arms keep still pouring in. I appeal for a more effective implementation of the arms embargo,” Türk said.

 

The report reiterates the need for an urgent deployment of a Multinational Security Support mission to help the National Police to stop violence, effectively protect the population and restore the rule of law in the country.

 

“It is essential that the mission effectively integrates human rights into the conduct of its operations and establishes a compliance mechanism to mitigate and minimize harm,” said the UN Human Rights Chief.

 

The report stresses that enhancing security alone will not bring long-lasting solutions and calls for policies aiming at the restoration of the rule of law and the prevention of violence to be pursued.

 

“Widespread corruption and dysfunction of the justice system greatly contribute to the pervasive impunity for grave human rights violations, and they need to be addressed urgently,” said Türk.

 

“Accountability is paramount to restore public trust in the rule of law and the state institutions,” he added.

 

The High Commissioner also called on all national stakeholders to engage constructively in dialogue to facilitate a political agreement that allows a democratic transition leading to free and fair legislative and presidential elections.

 

To read the full report, please click here

 

To watch the video, please go to https://vimeo.com/928008184/814945aaf9?share=copy

 

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Caribbean News

Yellow Fever Outbreak in Region and Beyond, Travellers Warned

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Rashaed Esson

Staff Writer 

 

#YellowFever#Caribbean, April 10, 2024 – Reports say there is an outbreak of Yellow fever in the Caribbean according to the Department of Health and official government advice website, Travel Health Pro, and travelers are being warned to be vigilant. The authorities say the outbreak is also in parts of Africa, and Central and South America.

Guyana and Peru so far have seen two cases. Brazil reports the disease in monkeys, an indication that it is spreading across the ccounty. Colombia has seen 3 cases.

In South America, between January 1 and March 18 2024, there have been seven confirmed cases, four fatal.

Yellow fever is spread by mosquitoes, Aedes aegypti (Linnaeus) and can cause potentially fatal hemorrhagic illness. Fortunately, it can be prevented with vaccination and so the World Health Organisation (WHO) is advising people ages nine months and older, traveling to the affected areas, to get vaccinated.

 

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Caribbean News

Four Year Old Beheaded Trinidad 

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Rashaed Esson

Staff Writer 

#Homicide#FourYearOld#TrinidadandTobago, April 9, 2024 – Trinidad was left in shock and sorrow with the beheading of a four year old girl, reportedly by her stepfather, early Tuesday April 9, at her home in Arouca, a town in the East-West Corridor of Trinidad and Tobago. The Police informed that when they arrived on the scene, the head of the little girl, identified as Amarah Lallitte, was in one room and her body in another.  

 

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Caribbean News

CariSECURE 2.0 Equipping Youth to Take Charge Against Crime

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Bridgetown, 9 April, 2024 – Amidst rising concerns over citizen security in the Caribbean, a deliberate effort is being made to empower the region’s youth to step into leadership roles and drive change from within. Through a free, online course by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in partnership with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), youth will be equipped with the skills and knowledge needed to tackle pressing security challenges head-on.

The “Youth on the way to Peace and Security” course is being launched regionally as part of CariSECURE 2.0 (CS2.0), which works to reduce youth involvement in crime and trafficking in persons (TIP) in the region. It will run from 16 April – 3 May, with support from InfoSegura.

This course comes at a crucial time when security issues like crime and violence are on the rise in the Caribbean. By the end of the course, participants will have improved understanding of regional security challenges, enhanced leadership skills, and greater opportunity to network with peers and experts around the region, empowering them to take leadership roles in regional conversations and citizen security activities.

Maia Hibben, Project Manager for CariSECURE 2.0, underscored the significance of engaging young people in matters of citizen security.  ” Throughout the life of our project, input from young people has been invaluable,” she said. “Whether it be helping to craft national workplans to reduce crime, developing a roadmap for youth empowerment in the Caribbean, or creating digital solutions to improve crime reporting as planned for this year, youth have proven that their perspectives are indispensable. This course is just another way for youth to strengthen their skills to address regional security challenges.”

By building capacity of young leaders to address security challenges and promote social cohesion, the course contributes directly to Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) 16, towards Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions.

The course will offer lessons in the current mechanisms that impact youth decision making, insight into youth citizen security challenges in the Caribbean, and give practical guidance on the positive roles participants can play in conflict resolution, with complementary webinars, podcasts and practical resources tailored to the English-speaking Caribbean. It is free of charge and open to participants from all backgrounds, regardless of age, nationality, or level of experience. A certificate will be awarded upon completion.

Register for the course by 15 April: escuelavirtualpnud.org/login/index.php?lang=en

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