An elderly woman, who was shot in the foot, lies
Amnesty International condemns the "almost absolute" impunity for violence in Haiti Clarens Siffroy/AFP

There is "a widespread situation of hunger and lack of basic goods and services" in Haiti, a scenario compounded by gang violence and a general state of collapse, while countries such as the United States and the Dominican Republic have provided "limited access" to international protection measures, a report by Amnesty International concluded.

The report, titled 'The Situation of Human Rights in the World', documented concerns of this nature in 155 countries throughout 2023, linking issues at the global and regional levels and analyzing their implications for the future.

Regarding Haiti, Amnesty outlined the difficult conditions the country is currently enduring. "Despite the slight decrease in hunger levels reported by the government and UN agencies, millions of people still lacked sufficient food, the production of which had been affected by environmental changes and climate disruptions," highlighted the organization.

It's key to clarify that the report didn't cover the latest spike in violence, which erupted at the end of February and has immersed Haiti in a state of near-total collapse, as gangs control 80% of the capital, Port-au-Prince, and tens of thousands fled due to the lack of security and access to basic goods.

The report also criticizes that, in July, the World Food Programme announced it would have to reduce food assistance due to budget cuts to the country "even though half of the population—4.9 million people—could not access food every day."

Economic limitations, combined with violence, hindered humanitarian operations, resulted in insufficient health services, the report added. Cholera experienced a resurgence in June amid an epidemic that had recorded nearly 70,000 suspected cases since October 2022.

The escalation of violence is another central concern for Amnesty International. The report informs that in 2023, criminal groups were present throughout the country and had a considerable influence in the country's main cities.

Residents flee their homes as gang violence escalates in Port-au-Prince,
Residents flee their homes as gang violence escalates in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, on March 9, 2024. Clarens Siffroy/AFP

"In October, the UN Security Council approved the deployment of a multilateral security support mission in Haiti, a measure that had been requested by the country's government. The mission was to be led by the Kenyan police, which had a history of excessive and unnecessary use of force, including lethal means," the report details.

The force has not been deployed due to different roadblocks, especially in Kenya, and situation has only deteriorated since.

In March, Prime Minister Ariel Henry resigned following weeks of mounting pressure and increasing violence in the impoverished country. A transitional council tasked with addressing the situation was established recently, but has to yet begin operating.

Amnesty International is concerned not only that "The impunity for widespread violence throughout the country remained nearly absolute," but also about the cruel practices and gender crimes among gangs.

Sexual violence was common, including the rape of women and girls to instill fear, acquire and demonstrate control, or as punishment, according to Human Rights Watch.

The report also highlighted the persecution of journalists, judges, and protesters. According to the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, at least three journalists were killed in 2023; they were Paul Jean Marie from Radio Lumière, Ricot Jean from Radio-Télé Évolution Inter, and Dumesky Kersaint from Radio Télé Inurep.

Additionally, "dozens of journalists fled their homes in a context of harassment, kidnappings, shootings, and attacks against media facilities," the report added.

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