Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henry
U.S. Sanctions Haitian Leaders For Drug Trafficking And Human Rights Abuses Photo by: AFP/Richard Pierrin

United Nations Secretary General António Guterres on Monday stressed on the need to deploy an international specialized armed force in Haiti.

He also called on various governments to consider halting deportations as the country’s situation spirals, reported the Associated Press. The two recommendations were part of a report on the U.N. Integrated Office in Haiti. Guterres noted that human rights violations and gang-related violence have reached a critical level in Haiti. He wrote that the people of Haiti are suffering the "worst human rights and humanitarian emergency in decades."

He said that while last year’s gang-led siege at a main fuel terminal has come to an end, a special force is still needed. This is to ensure that key infrastructure remains unobstructed and that people are able to safely vote in a general election. The date of election has not been set till now.

News Channel 12 3 11 reported that the number of reported killings in Haiti shot up by 35% in 2022 compared with the previous year. More than 2,100 were killed last year. Also, incidents of kidnappings more than doubled in 2022. There were more than 1,350 victims.

As for Haiti’s National Police, it is underfunded and under-resourced. About 9,700 are active-duty officers in the country that has more than 11 million people. Guterres said that there are also allegations that a "significant number of national police…may be associated with gangs."

In the last few months, countries including the U.S. and Canada have offered training and resources including armored vehicles. But police in Haiti remain mostly outmatched by gangs whose power and territorial control have expanded since President Jovenel Moïse was killed in July 2021. The country is also struggling with a deadly cholera outbreak that is worsened by gang violence. There is also 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 2022.

Haiti Prime Minister Ariel Henry said that he is working to hold general elections as soon as possible. Last week, his administration published a decree with the names of the three members who have been appointed to the High Transition Council. It will be responsible for choosing the provisional electoral council. It is the first step in preparing for elections.

Haiti Immigration Situation Rep. Pic
As U.S. President Joe Biden and Canadian President Justin Trudeau discuss potential intervention in the Haitian crisis, Haitians flock to the country's sole immigration office in Port-au-Prince to take advantage of the U.S.'s new immigration policy. This is a representational image. Kerwin Elias/Unsplash.

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