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CrisisWatch is our global conflict tracker, a tool designed to help decision-makers prevent deadly violence by keeping them up-to-date with developments in over 70 conflicts and crises, identifying trends and alerting them to risks of escalation and opportunities to advance peace.

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January 2023

Latin America & Caribbean

Haiti

Police officers demonstrated against targeted attacks on national police, and authorities unveiled details of new political accord amid calls for continued dialogue.

Police officers mutinied amid repeated gang attacks on their officers. Gangs 10-25 Jan carried out over five attacks on national police in different cities, leaving at least 14 officers dead, two wounded and two missing. Notably, Grand Grif gang members 25 Jan killed six policemen in Liancourt commune. Armed police next day launched violent demonstrations in several cities, notably capital Port-au-Prince, where they attacked interim PM Henry’s residence and airport. Meanwhile, month saw overall increase in kidnappings in capital. Notably, unknown assailants 18 Jan kidnapped 29 bus passengers in Croix-des-Bouquets, outskirts of Port-au-Prince.

Authorities published details of new political accord. Authorities 11 Jan made public text of “21 December accord” between Henry and some members of opposition forces. Document called for creation of High Council of Transition, established 17 Jan, and Body of Oversight of Government Action to sit alongside Henry during transitional period until Feb 2024 when newly elected govt assumes power. Though document received support from some international actors, including European Union and UN, members of civil society platform Montana Accord continued to disregard it. U.S. Assistant Sec State Brian Nichols 5 Jan called for “broader consensus and greater flexibility among leaders from all sectors” to address political crisis. Meanwhile, institutional crisis 9 Jan peaked when terms of ten remaining senators ended, leaving Haiti with no elected officials.

Discussions on multinational security mission continued. PM Henry 1 Jan declared that request for national police support was not request for occupation or military intervention. UN Sec-Gen António Guterres 17 Jan reiterated “urgent need” for “international specialised armed force”. Canadian PM Justin Trudeau 10 Jan said Canada is working with U.S., Mexico and Caribbean partners to ensure “we will have options” if situation deteriorates, reiterating importance of Haitian-led solution to security crisis. Canadian Ambassador to UN Bob Rae 18 Jan said foreign military intervention would have little sustainable impact.

December 2022

Latin America & Caribbean

Haiti

Security and humanitarian crisis persisted, govt signed political agreement pledging elections in late 2023, and talks on international military intervention yielded no significant outcomes.

Dire security and humanitarian situation persisted. Gang violence continued unabated. Notably, at northern exit of capital Port-au-Prince, heavily armed bandits 26 Dec opened fire on highway in Bon Repos district, killing bus driver and injuring passengers before setting fire to two gas stations, supermarket and over a dozen vehicles. Violence continued to aggravate humanitarian crisis: UN Children’s Fund 16 Dec said gang’s blockades of ports and main roads continued to severely hamper transport of medical supplies. Meanwhile, cholera outbreak spread further, with 20,320 suspected cases and 377 registered deaths as of 29 Dec. Pan American Health Organization 12 Dec announced arrival of first shipment of 1.17mn doses of cholera vaccine; vaccinations began 18 Dec.

New political accord failed to win support of key political actors. PM Henry 21 Dec announced agreement with civil society groups, political parties and private sector to organise elections before end of 2023; accord establishes Henry’s premiership until 7 Feb 2024. By end of month, over 600 organisations had endorsed agreement. However, number of major political actors, including leaders of civil society platform Montana Accord, had yet to sign it by 31 Dec.

Discussions on international intervention continued. During Canada’s second fact-finding mission in Haiti 7-9 Dec, Canada’s Ambassador to UN Bob Rae met with high-level political figures, including Henry and members of Montana Accord, who continued to insist on Henry’s resignation. Although Montana Accord remains firmly opposed to military intervention, representatives 8 Dec told Rae that transitional govt would accept internationally backed “rapid police support” to help police subdue gangs. Rae 21 Dec said broad political consensus is precondition for security mission.

Foreign govts imposed further sanctions on Haitian political and economic elites. U.S. Treasury Department 2 Dec froze U.S. assets of two politicians for alleged drug trafficking and gang financing; U.S. State Department 9 Dec announced sanctions on former head of Haitian customs and Senator Rony Célestine. Canada 5 Dec sanctioned three of Haiti’s most powerful businessmen for financing gangs, 20 Dec sanctioned two former govt officials.

November 2022

Latin America & Caribbean

Haiti

Police regained control of oil terminal amid rising levels of gang violence, humanitarian crisis deepened, and international partners imposed sanctions on gang sponsors.

Police unblocked main oil terminal, but gang violence continued to spread. Govt 3 Nov announced National Police had regained control of Varreux oil terminal, blocked since 12 Sept by G9 gang coalition. Clashes between police and gangs however continued nearby for several days, preventing employees from returning to terminal until 7 Nov. Fuel 12 Nov reached petrol stations, but gangs’ control of key roads leading out of capital Port-au-Prince hindered supply to much of country. Meanwhile, violence continued at high levels. Notably, in Petite-Rivière de l’Artibonite commune – controlled by three allied gangs – unknown assailants 9 Nov killed 15 residents with machetes for their alleged complicity with gangs; suspected 400 Mawozo gang members 14 Nov attacked convoy of commercial vehicles, U.S. embassy vehicles and police in Croix-des-Bouquets commune.

Humanitarian crisis persisted. Gang violence continued to restrict flow of essential goods, intensifying humanitarian crisis. Notably, amid impact of fuel shortages on access to clean water and other basic services, ministry of health 27 Nov reported 1,003 confirmed cases of cholera, 11,889 suspected cases, and 223 deaths as of 26 Nov.

Foreign partners imposed new sanctions, continued discussions on military intervention. In bid to help authorities tackle rising insecurity, U.S. and Canada 4 Nov imposed sanctions on Senate President Joseph Lambert and former Senate President and leader of Ayiti An Aksyon political party Youri Latortue. Justice Minister Berto Dorcé and Interior Minsiter Liszt Quitel 11 Nov resigned, allegedly after their American visas were revoked. Canada 20 Nov announced sanctions against former President Michel Martelly and two former prime ministers, Laurent Lamothe and Jean-Henry Céant. Meanwhile, U.S. State Dept 8 Nov insisted on need for foreign troops to combat “long-term challenges”; Canadian PM Justin Trudeau 20 Nov said Canada is considering possible role in mission, but stressed need for “consensus across political parties in Haiti” before taking “more significant steps”. Ambassador to U.S. Bocchit Edmond 28 Nov reiterated need for “an international presence to help confront the gangs”.

October 2022

Latin America & Caribbean

Haiti

Political crisis deepened as anti-govt protests continued and gangs extended their control across major cities.

Gangs continued to extend their power, targeting security forces and economic assets. Members of “Vitelhomme” gang attacked security personnel during month, 1 Oct killing National Palace security officer, 18 Oct killing Croix-des-Bouquets chief police commissioner, both in Tabarre commune, eastern part of capital Port-au-Prince. Meanwhile, members of “5 Seconds” gang 8 Oct attacked country’s largest flour mill, and G9 gang alliance members continued to blockade Varreux oil terminal, disrupting fuel deliveries and exacerbating humanitarian crisis. PM Henry and 18 cabinet members 7 Oct formally asked international community for “specialised armed force” to unblock Varreux and secure fuel flow; group of senators 9 Oct demanded Henry defer “illegal” request. In special session held 17 Oct, UN Security Council discussed possible sanctions against gang leaders and their sponsors, unanimously approved 21 Oct; also proposed “non-UN international security assistance mission”, but as of 28 Oct resolution draft had not been shared with member states. Meanwhile, U.S. Sec State Blinken 12 Oct announced security assistance and visa restrictions targeting Haitian officials and others involved in gang activity.

Political crisis deepened amid ongoing anti-govt protests. Protests demanding Henry’s resignation continued, leaving unknown number dead amid security forces’ heavy-handed response. Pitit Dessalines party leader Moïse Jean Charles 17 Oct called on demonstrators to target govt officials’ homes and “buy machetes to lead the revolution”. Assistant U.S. Sec State Nichols 12 Oct flew to Port-au-Prince for separate meetings with Henry, civil society platform Montana Accord Monitoring Office and Fritz Jean – selected by Montana Accord to lead transitional govt but whose relations with platform have since deteriorated – to resolve political crisis. Nichols urged all three to reach agreement, but political paralysis persisted.

Fuel shortages continued to exacerbate humanitarian crisis. Amid impact of fuel shortages on access to clean water and other basic services, health ministry 2 Oct reported new cholera outbreak, with 2,200 suspected cases and at least 55 confirmed deaths as of 22 Oct.

September 2022

Latin America & Caribbean

Haiti

Protests demanding PM Ariel Henry’s resignation escalated and turned violent amid fuel price hike, forcing services to close; gangs exploited unrest and seized control of major oil terminal.

Anti-govt protests turned violent, forcing public and private services to close down. Protests that started late Aug demanding Henry’s resignation intensified: after govt 14 Sept announced drastic reduction of gasoline subsidies, which prompted sharp rise in prices, anti-govt demonstrations same day broke out and expanded across capital Port-au-Prince and other towns and cities, growing increasingly violent as protesters set fire to vehicles, blocked roads and burned barricades. Businesses, banks, transportation networks and other public services were forced to shut down, while many embassies, including Mexico’s and Dominican Republic’s, 14 Sept shut their borders. Police responded with force, with clashes (which involved gang members among protesters) leaving over ten civilians dead and many more injured. As leaders called for calm, businesses 21 Sept began opening their doors. However, protests and blockades 26 Sept resumed, again paralysing commercial and public activities across major cities. Civil society platform Montana Accord (who have proposed two-year transitional plan that includes five-member presidential college and new PM) 16 Sept said protests were legitimate and urged Haitians to continue taking to streets until formation of legitimate transitional govt.

Gangs exploited unrest, aggravating violence and blocking fuel supplies. G9 gang alliance, of which members 11 Sept murdered two journalists reporting on escalating gang violence in Cité Soleil district of Port-au-Prince, exacerbated unrest. Notably, G9 leader Jimmy “Barbecue” Chérizier was filmed 15 Sept leading protest and demanding Henry’s resignation. Meanwhile, G9 gang members 17 Sept dug trenches around Varreux oil terminal, blocking access to operators, employees and trucks and taking control of 188,000 barrels of fuel; petrol stations across country same day closed and had yet to reopen by end of month.

Fuel blockade further strained country’s public services, notably health sector. Caracol Industrial Park – which employs 13,000 workers – 25 Sept ceased operations due to lack of fuel, affecting electricity services. UN children agency UNICEF 26 Sept said fuel blockade was preventing deliveries needed to power hospitals and risked bringing country’s health services to “a standstill”.

August 2022

Latin America & Caribbean

Haiti

Civil society platform Montana Accord called off negotiations with PM Ariel Henry while protestors demanded his resignation, and EU called for end to gang violence as clashes reignited. Political negotiations suffered setback as Monitoring Office of so-called Montana Accord (who have proposed two-year transitional plan that includes five-member presidential college and prime minister) 2 Aug announced end to discussions with interim govt of PM Henry, accusing him of refusing to advance dialogue on rebuilding institutional capacity and organising free and fair elections. Meanwhile, thousands of protestors 22, 29 Aug took to streets across Haiti, demanding Henry’s resignation, whom they blame for widespread poverty and violence. Following violent escalation of security crisis in July that left hundreds dead, EU 1 Aug called for immediate end to gang violence and emergency care for victims. Gang alliances G9 and G-Pep 12 Aug clashed in Cité Soleil district of Port-au-Prince, killing 50. UN office in Haiti 10 Aug condemned prison conditions that have caused 97 deaths since beginning of year, including occupancy at over four times maximum capacity in country’s four main prisons; urged authorities to provide prison administration with financial, human and material supplies, and accelerate judicial proceedings. Organization of American States General Secretariat 8 Aug condemned international community for poor management of Haiti’s crises, saying “this failure has to do with 20 years of erratic political strategy by an international community that was not capable of facilitating the construction of a single institution with the capacity to address the problems facing Haitians”; called on foreign partners to embrace new approach with financial and technical support to strengthen dialogue process, curb violence and help restore democracy. Over 400 Haitians 6-8 Aug arrived at Florida coast on sailboats; U.S. authorities took majority into custody, 9 Aug repatriated 186. Dominican Republic authorities 9 Aug arrested 492 irregular Haitian migrants and immediately deported them.

July 2022

Latin America & Caribbean

Haiti

Fighting between rival gangs killed hundreds in capital Port-au-Prince, worsening already dire humanitarian situation; fuel shortages exacerbated by violence triggered protests. Security crisis in capital Port-au-Prince escalated as gunfights 7 July erupted between G-9 and G-pep gangs in Cité Soleil commune. UN 25 July said over 471 people were killed, injured or went missing 7-17 July as gangs battled for control of territory, and reported serious incidents of sexual violence against women and girls as well as recruitment of boys into gangs. Fighting exacerbated country’s grave humanitarian crisis. Notably, humanitarian organisation Médecins Sans Frontières 13 July reported that thousands of civilians were trapped in Brooklyn neighbourhood of Cité Soleil without adequate food, water or medical care, while UN 25 July said 3,000 people had been forced to flee their homes. Bahamian PM Philip Davis 24 July said 17 Haitian refugees had died and many more were still missing after boat capsized off coast of Bahamas. Violence 27 July flared once more between G-9 and G-Pep gangs in Port-au-Prince’s Bel Air neighbourhood, leaving city’s cathedral in flames. National Network for Defence of Human Rights Executive Director Pierre Espérance 11 July accused PM Henry’s govt of inaction, 18 July said gangs attacked “with the complicity of the government”. Turf war from 11 July paralysed Varreux oil terminal, exacerbating existing fuel shortage and triggering further unrest despite activities resuming 14 July. Motorcycle taxi drivers 13 July organised protests against fuel shortage, burning tire barricades to block intersections in downtown Port-au-Prince. Further protests 15 July erupted in Cap-Haitien city (north), paralysing commerce and public transport. Meanwhile, as of 27 July, gang members retained control of Court of First Instance of Port-au-Prince – largest court in country – following seizure of building one month prior. Haitian National Association of Court Clerks president 11 July accused Henry of not “even [trying] to regain control”. Ahead of 15 July expiration of UN mission to Haiti (BINUH), local activists 14 July protested in front of BINUH office in Port-au-Prince, opposing mandate’s renewal due to perceived ineffectiveness. UN Security Council 15 July voted to extend BINUH mandate until 15 July 2023.

June 2022

Latin America & Caribbean

Haiti

Amid political stalemate, gang violence continued to run high, notably with group seizing control of country’s highest court. Negotiations between so-called Montana Accord (who have proposed two-year transitional plan that includes five-member presidential college and prime minister) and acting PM Ariel Henry had yet to start by end of month, as both parties during month fell short of agreeing on terms and agenda of discussions. Amid ongoing political impasse, hundreds of former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide’s supporters 26 June marched to his residence in capital Port-au-Prince, calling for his return to power. Gang violence continued to disrupt security. Members of “5 Segonn” gang 10 June attacked Court of First Instance in Port-au-Prince, country’s highest court, in fourth such attack since May, storming and seizing control of building; gang 14 June reportedly set fire to court files and removed safes, furniture, computers and vehicles. Police had not been able to regain control of building by end of month. 400 Mawozo gang members 7 June released three of eight Turkish missionaries kidnapped 8 May during bus hijacking in Croix-des-Bouquets neighbourhood, Port-au-Prince; 15 June released five remaining hostages. Police 26 June arrested alleged “Baz Pilat” gang leader Ezekiel Alexander; supporters 27-28 June staged protests in Carrefour-Feuilles, Port-au-Prince, demanding his release. 1 June marked anniversary of gangs taking control of National Route 2 section in Martissant neighbourhood, Port-au-Prince. U.S.-based National Human Rights Defense Network 10 June reported armed individuals murdered 44 police officers between 17 June 2021 and 6 June 2022. UN Sec Gen António Guterres 16 June reported gang violence killed at least 782 Haitians and saw 540 kidnapped 1 Jan-31 May 2022. Haitian chancellor Jean Victor Généus same day affirmed police commitment to combatting gangs and called for international assistance toward operations, said “free democratic elections” were “not conceivable” in current environment.

May 2022

Latin America & Caribbean

Haiti

Gang violence continued to run high across Port-au-Prince, notably in Croix-des-Bouquets neighbourhood, while negotiations on political transition resumed. Turf war between gangs Chen Mechan and 400 Mawozo that began 24 April continued until 5 May. Acting PM Ariel Henry did not comment on armed clashes, sparking widespread outrage at ineffective police response. Also in Croix-des-Bouquets, 400 Mawozo 8 May hijacked bus, kidnapping 12 passengers including Dominican driver and eight Turkish missionaries; 400 Mawozo 14 May released driver, all other hostages remained in captivity as of 24 May. Armed bandits 30 May attacked bus in Port-au-Prince’s Martissant neighbourhood, killing one and injuring two passengers. Dominican Republic FM Roberto Álvarez 4 May announced release of Dominican diplomat Carlos Guillén Tatis, kidnapped 29 April by gang 400 Mawozo in Croix-des-Bouquets. UN 17 May reported at least 92 people unaffiliated with gangs and some 96 alleged gang members killed in Port-au-Prince 24 April-16 May. International humanitarian organisation Doctors Without Borders 22 May expressed concern over continued closure of its hospitals amid “unacceptable situation of insecurity”. Authorities 3 May extradited 400 Mawozo leader Germine Joly aka “Yonyon” to U.S., incarcerated since 2018; U.S. federal grand jury 10 May indicted Joly for role in armed kidnapping of 16 U.S. Christian missionaries in Haiti in Oct 2021. Following months of stalled negotiations between PM Henry and members of so-called Montana Accord (who have proposed two-year transitional plan that includes five-member presidential college and prime minister), Henry 11 and 15 May met with Montana Accord member and former culture minister to establish rules for engaging in formal negotiations. Henry made counter-proposal, which Montana Accord 21 May objected to because agenda did not include governance arrangements; 29 May sent new agenda including stipulations for “sufficient consensus” to enact constitutional changes and “transparent and credible structures” for holding elections. Meanwhile, Court of First Instance 30 May appointed Judge Walter Wesser Voltaire to oversee investigation into late President Moïse’s assassination.

April 2022

Latin America & Caribbean

Haiti

Stalemate over political transition continued, while ongoing gang violence triggered health centre closure. Amid ongoing political tensions, U.S. diplomat Barbara Feinstein 6 April met members of so-called Montana Accord (who have proposed two-year transitional plan that includes five-member presidential college and prime minister) in capital Port-au-Prince; members said govt mediation commission, appointed 31 March to seek agreement between PM Henry and Montana Accord members, was formed unilaterally, rendering it illegitimate. Representatives of two political organisations 11 April withdrew backing for PM Henry, held meeting with members of Montana Accord to seek agreement on proposed transitional govt. Gang violence persisted through month. International humanitarian organisation Doctors Without Borders 1 April temporarily suspended operations at emergency health centre in Port-au-Prince’s impoverished commune Cité Soleil due to violence. Authorities 5 April arrested prison director, police officer and court clerk for allegedly releasing imprisoned gang leader Ti Samy in exchange for bribes in northern coastal city of Fort-Liberté. Police 16 April killed two members of “5 Secondes” gang in firefight in Port-au-Prince’s Martissant neighbourhood; police next day arrested two more gang members. Gang 400 Mawozo 24-26 April clashed with rival gang Chen Mechan in turf war over six neighbourhoods in and around Croix-des-Missions, Port-au-Prince; Haitian Civil Protection Agency 27 April reported clashes left at least 20 civilians killed, with nearly two dozen wounded and thousands displaced. Meanwhile, former Colombian soldier Mario Antonio Palacios, extradited from Panama to U.S. in Jan, 4 April pleaded not guilty to charges of conspiring to kill or kidnap late President Moïse; mandate of Judge Merlan Belabre, who was overseeing investigation into Moïse’s assassination since 4 March, expired 25 April; no judge in Haiti overseeing investigation into Moïse’s assassination by month’s end.

March 2022

Latin America & Caribbean

Haiti

Political transitional arrangements remained precarious, gang-related violence persisted, and protesters denounced insecurity. U.S. Assistant Sec State for Conflict and Stabilization Operations Anne Witowsky 7-9 March met interim PM Ariel Henry (who remained in office despite 7 Feb expiration of his term) and members of so-called Montana Accord (who have proposed two-year transitional plan that includes five-member presidential college and a prime minister); visit to country yielded no major progress. Haitian Senate President Joseph Lambert increasingly sought to reach agreement between key political actors: 10 March met with Montana Accord members and 14 March met with representatives of National Agreement Protocol (collective of political parties and civil society in alliance with Montana Accord since Jan); Henry declined three offers during month to meet with Lambert. Meanwhile, armed men in police uniforms 2 March kidnapped and later released two doctors; Haitian Medical Association 14-16 March held strike to protest gang violence. Protesters 9 March demonstrated in capital Port-au-Prince to denounce police brutality against journalists following 23 Feb police shooting of journalist Maxihen Lazzare. Gang members 14 March stole seven buses and robbed their passengers on gang-controlled main road in capital’s Martissant neighbourhood; in response, Haitian Drivers and Owners Association 17 March went on strike and along with more than 50 organisations called for demonstrations 29 March to protest insecurity. Civil society members 28 March petitioned Henry to protest “hostage-taking of the entire population”, outlining roadmap to address insecurity; Henry same day chaired meeting with Superior Council of National Police and petitioners. Demonstrators 29 March torched plane owned by U.S. missionary group at Les Cayes airport during protest against insecurity; Henry same day condemned incident as “subversive”. Protesters 29 March also set alight plane in Jacmel airport to denounce insecurity in Martissant. Dominican authorities 2 March deported former Haitian police officer Tanis Philome to Haiti over alleged link to assassination of President Moïse. Judge Merlan Belabre 4 March became fourth official to oversee investigation. Belabre 12 March accused govt and judiciary of inadequate security for himself and his family since taking on case.

February 2022

Latin America & Caribbean

Haiti

Interim PM Henry held on to power despite mandate expiration; political negotiations with civil society proposing transitional govt failed, fuelling political instability amid gang insecurity. Interim PM Henry 7 Feb rejected critics’ argument that his term had expired on 7 Feb (date when former President Moïse’s term would have ended) and stated elections were only solution to political impasse. Representatives from Montana Accord (who have proposed two-year transitional plan that includes five-member presidential college and a prime minister) 11 Feb met Henry behind closed doors; follow-up meeting due to be held 14 Feb however did not take place, Montana Accord Monitoring Office same day said negotiations would resume if several preconditions are in place including suspension of new Provisional Electoral Council and Henry’s collaboration in Moïse’s assassination investigation. Local media 4 Feb said Judge Chavannes Étienne now in charge of overseeing investigation, follows Judge Garry Orélien’s resignation in Jan. U.S.-based TV channel CNN 8 Feb revealed Orélien had said in Autumn 2021 recording that Henry is “connected” with mastermind of Moïse’s killing. FM Jean Victor Généus 10 Feb rejected allegations of Henry’s involvement in assassination; Étienne same day withdrew from case, citing concerns for his life. Meanwhile, gang violence continued. Notably, unknown assailants 4-6 Feb killed at least ten people and gangs kidnapped at least 20 others in capital Port-au-Prince and in Croix-des-Bouquets, including University rector and former Education Minister Gérard Dorcély, who was held in captivity for more than two weeks. Henry 14 Feb said he is committed to taking back control of Port-au-Prince’s Martissant neighbourhood including through clearing gang-controlled section of main road connecting capital to southern peninsula; police 21 Feb arrested five members of “400 Mawozo” gang. Amid rising inflation, factory workers primarily in the garment sector mid-month demonstrated to call for increased salaries; govt 21 Feb announced hikes in minimum wage; police 23 Feb reportedly opened fire on demonstrators in Port-au-Prince calling for higher minimum wage, leaving one journalist dead. Meanwhile, Dominican govt 20 Feb began building wall at its border with Haiti to stop irregular migration and smuggling.

January 2022

Latin America & Caribbean

Haiti

Gang-related insecurity persisted, and U.S. detained several key suspects in President Moïse’s assassination; end of PM Henry’s mandate on 7 Feb could spark violence and further turmoil. Suspected gang attacks continued unabated. Notably, unidentified gunmen 1 Jan fired shots outside cathedral in Gonaives city hosting Haitian 218th independence anniversary celebrations attended by PM Henry in possible assassination attempt, killing civilian and wounding two; police 3 Jan cited attackers as “armed groups”. Suspected gang members 6 Jan opened fire on reporters in capital Port-au-Prince, killing two journalists. Armed attackers 13 Jan kidnapped Cuban doctor, demanding $100,000 ransom. Skeletal Senate (with ten out of 30 seats filled) 10 Jan reconvened for first time in a year; outgoing Senate President Joseph Lambert same day committed to leading sessions despite expiring term, affirming “2022 will be an election year”. Organisations supporting major civil society initiative known as “Montana Agreement”, created Aug 2021 with view to helping resolve political crisis, 14 Jan met for five days in Louisiana state (U.S.); 30 Jan announced plan for political transition helmed by Fritz Jean, well-known economist and former central bank governor, as interim president and Steven Benoit as interim PM. Rejecting political appointments, Lavalas, party of former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, 29 Jan withdrew from Montana Agreement. While investigation into July killing of President Moïse stalled in Haiti, neighbouring authorities detained key suspects. Notably, Colombian military officer Mario Palacios was captured 3 Jan in Panama as he tried to return to Colombia, and then extradited to Miami city (U.S.), where U.S. 4 Jan charged him with conspiracy to kill Moïse. Following U.S. request, Dominican authorities 7 Jan captured second key suspect Rodolphe Jarr and 20 Jan extradited him to Miami, while Jamaican authorities 15 Jan detained former opposition Senator and suspect John Joel Joseph. Meanwhile, U.S. govt and others inside and outside Haiti raised concerns throughout month that expiry of PM Henry’s mandate on 7 Feb (date when Moïse’s term would have ended) could bring violence and further instability.

December 2021

Latin America & Caribbean

Haiti

Amid persistent food insecurity and gang violence, political transition remained fragile. Gang violence persisted as clashes between G9-affiliated Ti Bwa gang and Village de Dieu gang 1 Dec killed five civilians and wounded 12 in Martissant neighbourhood of capital Port-au-Prince. Also in Martissant, unidentified gunmen 24 Dec killed transport union coordinator Guy Polinice and two others, and 29 Dec shot at public buses, killing four and wounding four. Prisoners 31 Dec attempted escape at Croix-des-Bouquets prison, killing ten inmates and injuring four police officers. In small improvement, 400 Mawozo gang 5 Dec released three missionaries abducted 16 Oct, 16 Dec released all remaining hostages; police 9 Dec arrested gang leader Clerny Jonas alias “Ti Jonas”, operating in Jalousie, south of Port-au-Prince, 14 Dec arrested Cathel Jones, alleged leader of G9-linked gang Terre Noire, and 26 Dec arrested gang leader Johnny Charles alias “Gato”. PM Henry 7 Dec announced fuel price hike; protesters 10 Dec took to streets upon its entry into force. Education Minister Nesmy Manigat 23 Dec said insecurity directly impacting nearly 200 schools in Port-au-Prince. Monitoring Office of 30 Aug Montana Accord tasked to support transitional arrangement 12 Dec created National Transitional Council, comprising 52 members from civil society organisations, political parties and independent political groups, set to elect provisional president and PM. International news outlet New York Times same day reported President Moïse had been compiling list of political elites and businesspeople linked to Haitian drug trade in months prior to his July assassination. U.S. Rep Andy Levin 7 Dec called on U.S. to support civil society coalition Commission for a Haitian-led solution to the crisis. Following UN report which said nearly half of Haiti’s population undernourished in 2018-2020, UN humanitarian agency 6 Dec requested $373.5 mn in humanitarian aid for Haiti in 2022. In Cap-Haitien port city, north, a fuel tanker 14 Dec crashed and exploded, killing at least 90 civilians.

November 2021

Latin America & Caribbean

Haiti

Gangs continued to assert power through violence and control over access to fuel. Grand Ravine gang and G9 gang coalition-affiliated Ti Bwa gang early Nov clashed for control of Martissant neighbourhood in capital Port-au-Prince; turf war reportedly left several killed including at least one civilian. UN Children’s Fund 2 Nov said at least seven schools in and around capital Port-au-Prince forced to pay gangs in exchange for security since early Sept. Police 8-9 Nov clashed with G9 members near Varreux fuel terminal in attempt to lift weeks-long blockade on fuel shipments. G9 leader Jimmy “Barbecue” Chérizier 12 Nov lifted blockade of Varreux fuel terminal for one week, warned blockade would resume if PM Ariel Henry did not resign in that period, but fuel deliveries still ongoing late-Nov. U.S. authorities 11 Nov arrested two Haitian nationals in Florida for allegedly supplying weapons to 400 Mawozo gang, which kidnapped 17 foreign missionaries in Oct; two abductees reportedly released mid-Nov. Amid increase in kidnappings for ransom late Nov, heavily armed individuals 23 Nov ambushed bus on road in Artibonite department in north, reportedly kidnapping 15 passengers; 400 Mawozo gang 26 Nov abducted four schoolchildren in Croix-des-Bouquets commune near Port-au-Prince. National Human Rights Defence Network early Nov denounced PM Ariel Henry’s late-Oct decision to appoint Frantz Elbe as new police chief due to poor human rights record including suspected role in disappearance of anti-govt activists in early 2000s. Following weeks of political impasse, Henry 24 Nov swore in new cabinet; major civil society initiative known as “Montana Agreement”, which was created in Aug with view to helping resolve political crisis, 30 Nov said it had identified four potential candidates for president and PM positions. Amid escalating security crisis, U.S. early Nov urged its nationals to leave country. Neighbouring Dominican Republic President Abinader 3 Nov said border security strengthened by over 3,500 men, with Interior Minister Jesús Vásquez 8 Nov describing Haiti as “main threat” for Santo Domingo.

October 2021

Latin America & Caribbean

Haiti

Gang violence and kidnappings spiked in and around capital Port-au-Prince, sparking mass protests amid severe fuel shortages. Gangs blocked delivery of fuel across country, notably seizing at least five petrol tankers in Cité Soleil commune week of 4-9 Oct. Suspected members of 400 Mawozo gang 16 Oct abducted 17 Christian missionaries including 16 U.S. nationals and one Canadian on outskirts of Port-au-Prince; authorities few days later said gang was demanding $1mn ransom for each hostage, and Mawozo gang 21 Oct threatened to kill hostages. Several strikes and protests held throughout month to denounce escalating insecurity and fuel shortages. Notably, shops and schools in Port-au-Prince shuttered 18 Oct as part of nationwide strike. Haitian NGO Center for Analysis and Research in Human Rights 20 Oct said gangs kidnapped at least 119 people across country in first half of Oct, marking significant surge as entire month of Sept recorded 117 kidnappings; also said 90% of kidnappings committed in capital region. As fuel shortages threatened operations of medical facilities, G9 gang coalition leader Jimmy “Barbecue” Chérizier 25 Oct said he would ensure access to fuel terminals if PM Ariel Henry resigned. Meanwhile, repatriations of thousands of Haitians notably from U.S. and Mexico continued early Oct despite four UN agencies’ warning late Sept that “dire” conditions in Haiti were “not conducive to forced returns”. Former first lady Martine Moïse 7 Oct filed complaint against Henry and other officials for alleged involvement in assassination of President Moïse in July. Head of ombudsman-like govt agency Office of Citizen Protection Renan Hédouville 6 Oct claimed Henry was “major obstacle” in assassination investigation, called on UN Special Investigation Commission “to support judge…in charge of the case”. UN Security Council 15 Oct extended mandate of Integrated Office in Haiti (BINUH), tasked to support political stability and governance, until July 2022.

September 2021

Latin America & Caribbean

Haiti

Political crisis deepened as chief public prosecutor sought to charge PM Ariel Henry for potential role in President Moïse’s killing and authorities postponed elections indefinitely. Chief Public Prosecutor Bedford Claude 10 Sept asked Henry to testify in Moïse’s assassination case after fresh information revealed Henry had called key suspect Joseph Badio twice on day of killing. Ombudsman-like govt agency Office of Citizen Protection next day requested Henry’s resignation over possible links to assassination. Claude 14 Sept requested judge investigating Moïse’s murder to charge Henry with alleged involvement in case, asked migration authorities to prohibit Henry from leaving country. Henry later same day fired Claude alleging “serious administrative offence”, appointed Frantz Louis Juste as new chief prosecutor. Henry 15 Sept replaced Justice Minister Rockfeller Vincent with Interior Minister Liszt Quitel; Council of Ministers Sec Gen Renald Luberice same day resigned, stating he could not serve someone who “does not intend to cooperate with justice.” Independent Advisory Committee tasked with writing new constitution 8 Sept presented new draft constitution to Henry; Provisional Electoral Council (CEP) president same day said 108 political parties registered to participate in legislative elections set for Nov. Henry 27 Sept dismissed CEP, promised to form new, non-partisan CEP; next day postponed elections indefinitely, said he planned to hold constitutional referendum before Feb 2022 and presidential and legislative elections in following months. Gang violence continued, resulting in many gas stations in and around capital Port-au-Prince being closed 1-10 Sept; G9 gang alliance leader Jimmy Chérizier 9 Sept announced truce to allow flow of fuel. Henry and National Police chief Léon Charles 6 Sept pledged to counter spike in gang violence after attack previous day killed several people in Port-au-Prince. After U.S. administration 19 Sept began deporting Haitian migrants from Texas state to Port-au-Prince, U.S. Special Envoy to Haiti Daniel Foote 22 Sept resigned in protest, citing “inhumane, counterproductive decision”.

August 2021

Latin America & Caribbean

Haiti

Concerns rose over judiciary’s ability to investigate President Moïse’s killing, and gang violence disrupted earthquake relief. Ombudsman-like govt agency Office of Citizen Protection 1 Aug warned Moïse’s assassination could go unpunished, said Haitian judicial system “is held hostage by certain sectors”. In letter to UN Sec-Gen Guterres, govt 3 Aug called for “international commission of inquiry” to probe president’s killing. Judicial clerk assigned to investigation, Ernst Lafortune, found dead 11 Aug, days after Magistrate Bernard Saint-Vil said some judicial officials had been pressured to revise names and other details in enquiry reports on Moïse’s death. National Association of Haitian Legal Clerks 12 Aug said Lafortune had “heated dispute” with judge overseeing case, who resigned next day. Lawyers representing owner of firm that hired former Colombian soldiers allegedly involved in Moïse’s assassination 6 Aug claimed plot sought to change govt, not kill Moïse; Dominican and Colombian news channels 18 Aug broadcast testimonies of detained Colombian suspects who said plan was to kill president. Meanwhile, electoral council 11 Aug postponed constitutional referendum and first round of legislative and presidential elections, originally scheduled for 26 Sept, to 7 Nov; second round due 23 Jan 2022. After 7.2 magnitude earthquake 14 Aug hit country’s south-western peninsula, leaving at least 2,200 dead, UN Children’s Fund representative in Haiti next day called for “humanitarian corridor” in gang-held areas to ensure aid can reach affected regions; in following days, gangs reportedly did not follow suit, instead hijacking aid trucks and ambulances; leader of G9 gang alliance Jimmy Cherizier 22 Aug said G9 would change course, now assist in relief efforts; news channel Al Jazeera 25 Aug reported aid was flowing through gang-controlled Martissant neighbourhood west of Port-au-Prince.

July 2021

Latin America & Caribbean

Haiti

Assassination of President Moïse plunged country into political turmoil. Acting PM Claude Joseph 7 July said well-trained commando broke into Moïse’s residence in capital Port-au-Prince overnight, killing him and wounding his wife. Police 7-8 July reportedly confronted suspects in Port-au-Prince, killing three Colombian nationals and detaining 20 other individuals, most of them former Colombian military officers. Joseph 7 July claimed he was “in charge” of country, declared state of emergency and closed Port-au-Prince airport; also requested U.S. and UN to send troops to help protect key infrastructures; U.S. President Biden 15 July turned down request and UN official mid-month said UN Security Council did not intend to discuss request. Ariel Henry, who had been appointed by Moïse as new PM early July but not formally sworn in, 8 July claimed he was rightful PM and asked Joseph to return to his post as FM. Police 11 July arrested Florida-based Haitian Doctor Christian Sanon – who had returned to Haiti in June – on accusations of masterminding Moïse’s assassination; authorities 13 July issued arrest warrants for several other individuals suspected of masterminding attack, including one former senator, and police chief 14 July said precautionary measures had been put in place against 24 police officers assigned to presidential security; police 26 July arrested head of Moïse’s security team and issued arrest warrant for former Supreme Court judge. Core Group, comprising representatives from UN Sec-Gen office, U.S., EU, France, Germany, Canada, Brazil, Spain and Organization of American States, 17 July urged Henry to form “consensual and inclusive” govt. Joseph 19 July announced he would step down as PM; Henry next day sworn in as PM and acting president. Violent protests 23 July marred Moïse’s funeral in northern city of Cap-Haïtien, with police firing tear gas to disperse hundreds of protesters demanding justice for Moïse. Henry 28 July vowed to hold presidential and legislative elections, slated for Sept, “as quickly as possible”. Meanwhile, Haitians by month’s end made up majority of over 10,000 U.S.-bound migrants stranded in Colombia’s Necocli municipality following reopening of South American borders.

June 2021

Latin America & Caribbean

Haiti

Authorities postponed controversial constitutional referendum, while gang violence displaced thousands in capital Port-au-Prince. Authorities 7 June postponed 27 June constitutional referendum, citing logistical impediment due to COVID-19 pandemic; move came after several international partners in recent weeks withdrew support for controversial vote. President Moïse 16 June issued decree giving Independent Advisory Committee 45 extra days to finalise new draft of constitution, and authorities late June scheduled referendum, presidential and legislative elections for 26 Sept. Organization of American States (OAS) mission 8 June arrived in Haiti for three-day visit to facilitate political dialogue with view to holding free and fair elections; mission officials same day met with Moïse and in following days with more than 50 politicians and civil society representatives; opposition party Democratic and Popular Sector declined to speak to mission, denouncing OAS for allegedly “supporting” Moïse. Meanwhile, members of G9 gang alliance 3-6 June raided several police stations in search of weapons in southern neighbourhoods of Port-au-Prince, killing several police officers. UN humanitarian office 22 June reported 13,600 displaced since 1 June due to increasing levels of violence in several Port-au-Prince neighbourhoods. At border with Dominican Republic, Haitian police officer 7 June shot one civilian dead and wounded another while attempting to stop them from entering Dominican territory. Meanwhile, Haiti as of 8 June had yet to receive COVID-19 vaccines amid surge in cases. Three Port-au-Prince hospitals 2 June announced COVID-19 wards are full; fourth hospital 16 June followed suit.

May 2021

Latin America & Caribbean

Haiti

Authorities confirmed intention to proceed with controversial constitutional referendum in late June despite dwindling international support; vote could worsen political crisis and fuel violent unrest. Interim PM Claude Joseph 4 May confirmed govt’s intention to hold constitutional referendum 27 June. EU Ambassador to Haiti Sylvie Tabesse 6 May said EU would not send electoral observer mission, deeming process insufficiently transparent and democratic; move follows late April withdrawal of support for referendum by Core Group – composed of representatives from UN Sec-Gen office, U.S., EU, France, Germany, Canada, Brazil, Spain and Organization of American States (OAS). After Joseph late April said govt was ready to host OAS mission to facilitate inclusive dialogue on political crisis, U.S. 12 May urged OAS to swiftly stipulate mission’s provisions, and OAS Permanent Council 26 May approved terms of reference for three-day mission to be deployed “no later than mid-June”. Protesters 3 and 7 May burned tyres and erected road blocks in several areas of capital Port-au-Prince to protest recent kidnappings of two residents by suspected gang members. Local media 11 May reported authorities had paid gangs in Port-au-Prince to stop or reduce kidnappings; govt immediately denied claim. Meanwhile, health authorities 14 May confirmed presence of two COVID-19 variants in country; World Health Organization 19 May said govt had accepted 130,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine in reversal of previous position, and govt 22 May declared state of emergency for eight days to curb rise in infections. UN Children agency late May warned number of children suffering from severe acute malnutrition could double this year due to impacts of COVID-19 and rising violence. Dominican Republic mid-May reported completion of first 23km of fence aimed at stemming illegal migration and smuggling along Dominican-Haitian border.

April 2021

Latin America & Caribbean

Haiti

PM Joseph Jouthe resigned amid mounting public anger over govt’s failure to address rising gang violence and kidnappings. Armed gang 1 April attacked Bel Air neighbourhood of capital Port-au-Prince, reportedly killing six people and injuring four others, with a further five kidnapped; several residents described raid as attempt to take over neighbourhood. Unidentified gunmen same day kidnapped pastor and three others in Port-au-Prince; all released 4 April after ransom payment. Hundreds of women 3 April protested in Port-au-Prince against insecurity, citing high toll on women. Suspected gang members 11 April abducted seven clergy members, including two French nationals, and three other people in Croix-des-Bouquets commune near Port-au-Prince, and demanded $1mn ransom; all ten released by late April. Archbishop of Port-au-Prince Max Leroy Mésidor 12 April described rising gang violence as “descent into hell”. Unidentified gunmen 13 April reportedly sexually assaulted three people including two minors and killed security guard at orphanage in Croix-des-Bouquets. Organization of American States same day expressed concern about “resurgence of kidnappings and killings”, including of clergy members. PM Joseph Jouthe 14 April resigned; President Moïse same day appointed FM Claude Joseph as PM, sixth to assume position under Moïse’s presidency. Catholic Church 15 April declared national strike to protest violence and targeting of clergy members; heads of seven business associations endorsed closures, saying rising violence had brought them to “a saturation point”. Harvard Law School 22 April released report alleging “high-level govt involvement in the planning, execution and cover-up” of three gang attacks that killed at least 240 civilians between 2018 and 2020, echoing rights activists’ allegations of collusion between gangs and govt officials. Joseph immediately denied accusation, claiming “anti-democratic forces” are “fomenting the gangs” to destabilise Moïse’s govt ahead of presidential and legislative elections scheduled for Sept.

March 2021

Latin America & Caribbean

Haiti

Death of police officers in anti-gang operation triggered violent unrest and President Moïse sought international support to combat mounting insecurity. Anti-gang operation in Village de Dieu neighbourhood of capital Port-au-Prince 12 March turned violent, leaving at least four special police unit officers dead and eight others wounded. After video showing gang members beating police circulated online, harsh criticism of botched operation and widespread insecurity emerged on social media under #FreeHaiti hashtag, and several days of unrest roiled Port-au-Prince and surroundings, with demonstrators 15 March erecting barricades on city’s main roads. Members of outlawed Fantom 509, group of disgruntled police officers, 17 March protested to demand return of officers’ bodies still held by gang members, also set Delmas police station on fire and freed four jailed comrades accused of participating in 7 Feb alleged coup attempt against President Moïse; next day broke into Croix-des-Bouquets police station, freeing one officer reportedly imprisoned for shooting gang member. Moïse 15 March asked Organization of American States (OAS) Sec Gen Luis Almagro for assistance to deal with security crisis and next day requested UN technical and logistical support for police forces. Govt 18 March declared state of emergency in several areas where gangs exert control. Meanwhile, thousands 7 March demonstrated in Port-au-Prince in massive pro-democracy protest, denounced surge in abductions and called on Moïse to resign. On anniversary of Haitian constitution, thousands 28-29 March took to streets in Port-au-Prince to protest constitutional referendum scheduled for 27 June; Moïse 29 March reiterated need for constitutional reform. OAS 17 March passed resolution welcoming Moïse’s invitation to send Electoral Observation Mission to monitor upcoming constitutional referendum and general elections. Meanwhile, Dominican Republic govt 2 March detailed plan, first announced 27 Feb, to build fence along border with Haiti to curb irregular migration and illicit trade.

February 2021

Latin America & Caribbean

Haiti

Political crisis turned deadly as dispute over presidential term reached stalemate. Tensions ran high as opposition continued to claim throughout month that President Moïse’s mandate expired 7 Feb, while Moïse insisted he had another year in office. On 7 Feb, govt said authorities had foiled coup plot and murder attempt against Moïse and arrested 23 alleged coup plotters, including Supreme Court Justice Yvickel Dieujuste Dabresil; opposition had previously approached Dabresil and two other Supreme Court justices as possible interim president to take over from Moïse until presidential election. Govt 8 Feb issued decree ordering retirement of all three; U.S. embassy in Haiti next day expressed concern “about any actions that risk damaging Haiti’s democratic institutions”. Dabresil released 10 Feb. Meanwhile, opposition 8 Feb created parallel govt, appointing Supreme Court Justice Joseph Mécène Jean-Louis as interim president. UN same day validated electoral calendar put forward by govt, and Organization of American States next day confirmed Moïse’s term ends in 2022. Amid constitutional crisis, security forces cracked down on anti-Moïse protesters: police 7, 8 and 10 Feb violently cleared demonstrations in capital Port-au-Prince, using tear gas and rubber bullets and reportedly wounding several journalists. NGO Committee to Protect Journalists 9 Feb called for investigation into previous day shooting of two journalists covering protest, and regional bloc Caribbean Community 11 Feb expressed anguish over security situation, urged “all stakeholders to be guided by the Constitution, respect for the rule of law and the electoral process”. Thousands of anti-Moïse protesters 14 and 21 Feb took to streets in Port-au-Prince, Cap-Haitien, Les Cayes and Mirebalais; police 14 Feb fired rubber bullets to disperse demonstrators who erected barricades in Port-au-Prince, leaving at least one dead and several injured. Thousands 28 Feb marched again in Port-au-Prince in peaceful protest. In country’s biggest prison break in ten years, gang leader and former most wanted fugitive Arnel Joseph 25 Feb escaped Croix-des-Bouquets prison on outskirts of capital with over 400 inmates; authorities 25-26 Feb reportedly killed 25, including Joseph. Hardline police organisation Fantom 509 and elite police unit early Feb clashed in Port-au-Prince, reportedly leaving five dead.

January 2021

Latin America & Caribbean

Haiti

Political crisis and widespread insecurity persisted, and violence could escalate when deadline set by opposition for President Moïse to step down expires in Feb. In open letter to Organization of American States (OAS) Sec Gen Luis Almagro, group of opposition leaders 2 Jan accused Moïse of having “deliberately refused to organise legislative elections” in late 2019 to start ruling by decree, and denounced “return to dictatorship”; Almagro 6 Jan reiterated OAS support for govt’s plan to organise electoral process this year. Provisional Electoral Council 8 Jan scheduled constitutional referendum for 25 April, first round of presidential and legislative elections for 19 Sept, and run-offs for 21 Nov, along with municipal and local elections. Hundreds 15 Jan demonstrated across country, rejecting electoral calendar and calling for Moïse to step down by 7 Feb, pursuant to argument that Moïse’s five-year mandate started in 2016 (Moïse maintains his term began when he took office in 2017); brief clashes between protesters and police reported in capital Port-au-Prince. Hundreds 20 Jan again marched through Port-au-Prince to demand Moïse’s resignation, clashed with police, leaving several injured. Gang and criminal violence remained high. Police 2 Jan carried out operation against alleged “heavily armed bandits in military uniforms” in Cannan suburb on outskirts of Port-au-Prince, reportedly killing at least three and arresting seven. Unidentified gunmen 3-7 Jan kidnapped three police officers and killed another in Port-au-Prince metropolitan area. UN human rights chief Michelle Bachelet 19 Jan expressed concern that “persistent insecurity, poverty and structural inequalities in Haiti coupled with increasing political tensions may lead to a pattern of public discontent followed by violent police repression and other human rights violations”. In rare move, Moïse 25 Jan acknowledged surge in kidnappings for ransom, urged citizens to assist police to quell gang violence.

December 2020

Latin America & Caribbean

Haiti

Gang violence continued while authorities pursued efforts to reform constitution despite criticism. Suspected G9 coalition of gangs 3 Dec attacked police patrols in capital Port-au-Prince’s Village de Dieu, Grand Ravine and Delmas areas; no casualties reported. Unidentified gunmen next day shot dead three men in Port-au-Prince’s Pétion-Ville commune. Clashes between rival gangs in Croix-des-Bouquets commune outside capital 17 Dec killed four. General Police Inspectorate 8 Dec questioned 70 police officers suspected of being part of Fantom 509 gang. Anti-govt demonstrations continued throughout month: thousands 10 Dec protested against spike in kidnappings in Gonaïves commune, Artibonite department (north), and Port-au-Prince, where they clashed with security forces. Meanwhile, govt pursued efforts to reform constitution despite widespread criticism from opposition, which views move as illegal: committee in charge of drafting new constitution early Dec said preliminary draft would be ready by 26 Feb and constitutional referendum would take place in March. Core Group for Haiti, which includes U.S., UN, Organization of American States and EU, 12 Dec expressed concern about broad powers conferred by two presidential decrees; Core Group said Nov decree creating National Agency of Intelligence (ANI) confers “quasi-judicial immunity [to ANI agents], thus opening the possibility of abuse”, and another extends qualification of “terrorist act” to wide range of offences. Special adviser to President Moïse 16 Dec announced amendments to ANI decree. U.S. Treasury 10 Dec sanctioned two former govt officials and one former police officer for their alleged involvement in gang-led attack which killed 71 in Port-au-Prince’s La Saline neighbourhood in Nov 2018. U.S. 7 Dec extended Temporary Protected Status for Haitian nationals, which allows them to live and work in U.S., until Oct 2021.

November 2020

Latin America & Caribbean

Haiti

Insecurity remained high and political tensions increased over govt’s plan to reform constitution. Thousands 5 Nov demonstrated in capital Port-au-Prince against insecurity after rape and murder of female student, whose body was found 1 Nov in Delmas commune near Port-au-Prince; police used tear gas to disperse crowd. Police 9 Nov said three men had confessed to murder, including one whom G9 coalition of gangs had handed over to police 4 Nov. UN Integrated Office in Haiti 4 Nov said it was “very concerned about worsening security situation” including attacks by “armed gangs against the population”. Meanwhile, opposition party CPHREN 11 Nov rejected govt’s attempts to reform constitution before legislative elections, citing lack of cross-party agreement; move followed President Jovenel Moïse’s 30 Oct appointment of advisory committee to draft new constitution, which would then be submitted to referendum by March 2021. Several hundred anti-govt protesters under leadership of opposition party Pitit Desalin’s chairman Jean-Charles Moïse 18 Nov gathered in Tabarre commune near Port-au-Prince, calling for president to resign and U.S. to withdraw its support; police cracked down on protesters, reportedly killing one and injuring two others. Govt 11 Nov declared “red alert” amid rise in COVID-19 cases.

October 2020

Latin America & Caribbean

Haiti

High levels of gang violence and social unrest persisted. Death of student, reportedly shot in back by security guard during unemployment-related protest in capital Port-au-Prince 2 Oct, sparked days of social unrest. Protesters burned cars and blocked roads in several of capital’s neighbourhoods; in response, security forces fired tear gas and live ammunition to disperse crowds, reportedly killing demonstrator 5 Oct. Meanwhile, gang violence remained high. Notably, gunmen on motorcycle 6 Oct shot dead police inspector on road to Port-au-Prince; assailants allegedly belonging to G9 coalition of gangs same day set houses alight and fired gunshots in Port-au-Prince’s Bel Air neighbourhood, toll unknown. In statement to UN Security Council, UN Special Representative Helen La Lime 5 Oct said late Aug murder of prominent lawyer and govt critic Monferrier Dorval “epitomizes for many the weak state of rule of law in the country” and expressed concern that unrest “has become increasingly prevalent” in past few months; Security Council 15 Oct extended mandate of UN Integrated Office in Haiti (BINUH), tasked to support political stability and governance, until Oct 2021. Election officials 2 Oct reiterated legislative, presidential and municipal elections would take place “in the next months”; move follows Sept and early Oct protests in Port-au-Prince against President Moïse’s appointment of electoral council by decree. Amid economic, political and security crisis, Haitians continued to seek refuge abroad. Turks and Caicos Islands authorities 9 Oct intercepted boat carrying 206 Haitian migrants in Caribbean Sea. Dominican Republic 15 Oct deployed about 10,000 soldiers to border with Haiti to prevent undocumented migrants from crossing.

September 2020

Latin America & Caribbean

Haiti

Series of protests erupted throughout month amid persistently high levels of criminal violence. Police remained on “high alert” across country following late Aug murder of twelve people in capital Port-au-Prince by suspected gang members led by Jimmy Chérisier, alias Barbecue. Police 2 Sept arrested suspected leader of G9 coalition of gangs Albert Stevenson, alias Djouma; after G9’s 7 Sept ultimatum for his release expired, dozens 9 Sept protested near Port-au-Prince airport to demand his release. Anti-govt protesters 8 Sept clashed with security forces in Port-au-Prince and reportedly burned several govt vehicles; demonstrators accused President Moïse of orchestrating late Aug murder of prominent lawyer and govt critic Monferrier Dorval, which Moïse denied. Hundreds of armed police officers from hardline police organisation Fantom 509 and their supporters 15 Sept blocked roads and set cars on fire in Port-au-Prince, demanding higher salaries plus release of police officer jailed since May on murder and arson charges, and accusing interim director of national police Normil Rameau, who launched six-month anti-gang operation in Aug, of failing to defend their interests; authorities 25 Sept released officer. National Food Security Coordination 9 Sept said 4mn people are food insecure in Haiti, up from 3.7mn in Sept 2019, as border with Dominican Republic remained closed amid COVID-19 pandemic.

August 2020

Latin America & Caribbean

Haiti

President Moïse announced elections for 2021, while gang-related violence remained high. After seven months of ruling by decree, Moïse 16 Aug said legislative elections, which have been delayed since 2019, would be held in 2021 alongside presidential and municipal elections. More than 300 opposition parties and civil society groups 21 Aug ruled out participating in elections. Insecurity remained high. Gunmen 3 Aug attacked minibus in Ganthier city, killing two including baby; PM Jouthe next day criticised police for being unable to protect citizens. Gunmen 28 Aug killed prominent lawyer in capital Port-au-Prince hours after he addressed political and security crisis in radio interview. Three individuals including policeman night of 5-6 Aug stormed hospital in Port-au-Prince, damaging vehicles and ransacking parts of building. NGO National Network for the Defence of Human Rights 13 Aug said in new report at least 111 people were killed, 20 others wounded and 48 went missing in Port-au-Prince’s Cité Soleil 1 June-28 July. Amid media reports that govt has been downplaying number of COVID-19 cases, schools reopened 10 Aug following end of state of health emergency in July. Famine Early Warning Systems Network late Aug warned against rising prices for food staples after flagging risk of crisis levels of food insecurity in several regions in July.

July 2020

Latin America & Caribbean

Haiti

Political tensions emerged over new penal code, while gang-related violence persisted. After President Moïse late June published decree on new penal code due to come into effect in 2022, conservative opposition throughout month condemned code for lowering age of consent to 15 and legalising abortion, while liberal opposition denounced lack of debate; Senate president 7 July called upon Moïse to form commission to amend code; thousands of Haitians of Protestant faith 26 July protested “immoral” code in capital Port-au-Prince. Meanwhile, insecurity remained high. Following June creation of G9 coalition of gangs in Port-au-Prince, opposition and civil society early July claimed group is involved in pro-govt electoral deals, govt denied accusations; over 50 armed G9 members 7 July protested in Port-au-Prince demanding legal recognition as local authorities in areas they control. Hundreds of civil society activists 6 July staged peaceful sit-in in Port-au-Prince to denounce insecurity, following similar action 29 June; police reportedly used live ammunition to clear crowds; in response, Moïse 9 July replaced justice minister. Episcopal Justice and Peace Commission 11 July said gang violence left 244 people killed in first six months of 2020. Govt 2 July suspended pardons to 415 prisoners, granted by Moïse in June to prevent COVID-19 spread in prisons, after human rights groups criticised govt for freeing inmates convicted of serious offences.

June 2020

Latin America & Caribbean

Haiti

Amid persistent political crisis and insecurity, tensions emerged over electoral calendar. Govt repeatedly argued that President Moïse’s term ends 7 Feb 2022 while opposition claimed term ends a year earlier; divergence caused by differing interpretations of political crisis that followed Oct 2015 presidential election. Organization of American States Sec Gen Almagro 5 June stated Moïse’s term should end in 2022, prompting several human rights groups and opposition parties to accuse regional body of “meddling in Haitian affairs”. Tensions between govt and hardline police organisation Fantom 509 continued. Fantom 509 7 June erected barricades and set tyres alight in capital Port-au-Prince to demand Moïse’s resignation; justice minister 10 June claimed group had “terrorist” intentions. Amid ongoing concerns over insecurity, PM Jouthe 25 June said govt was looking into allegations by human rights organisations that criminal groups were using police armoured vehicles; unidentified gunmen 27 June killed three at meeting of political party Regroupement des Patriotes Responsables in Port-au-Prince’s Delmas commune. Pan American Health Organization 16 June reported “worrying trend” of high COVID-19 transmission in border region between Haiti and Dominican Republic. Deportation of migrants from U.S. continued; deportees included former paramilitary leader Emmanuel Toto Constant, whom authorities arrested upon his arrival 23 June on charges of murder and torture in 1990s.

May 2020

Latin America & Caribbean

Haiti

Police protests resumed and govt extended COVID-19 state of emergency amid growing concerns over food shortages. Following violent incidents late April involving armed police protesters demanding back pay, police 11 May arrested seven members of hard-line police organisation Fantom 509, who were protesting near National Police General Inspectorate in capital Port-au-Prince; justice minister same day threatened to designate Fantom 509 as “terrorist organisation”. Fantom 509 blocked roads in Port-au-Prince 15 May to demand release of group member arrested 8 May on murder charges. Amid widespread concern over risk of food shortages, exacerbated by COVID-19 pandemic, agriculture minister 7 May said govt focus was on rapid production of crops and 14 May pledged to support farmers and regenerate abandoned agricultural land. Govt 20 May extended state of health emergency for two months. In response to COVID-19 concerns, Dominican Republic 8 May deployed additional troops along border with Haiti to prevent Haitians from crossing border into its territory. Deportation of migrants from U.S. continued despite risk of some being infected with coronavirus; 50 Haitian nationals flown home 11 May.

April 2020

Latin America & Caribbean

Haiti

Opposition challenged govt’s handling of COVID-19 crisis, citing criminal groups’ interference in distribution of aid. After govt late March announced cash transfers to large families, distribution of food kits and bonuses for healthcare workers and police amid fears COVID-19 could worsen dire humanitarian situation, opposition denounced govt’s management of aid distribution. Opposition leader André Michel 3 April said police delivered food kits under supervision of local gang leader in Delmas commune near capital Port-au-Prince. Opposition platform Democratic and Popular Sector 7 April said release of emergency funds did not follow proper procedure, and called for audit and investigation by High Court of Auditors. President Moïse 19 April extended state of health emergency until 20 May. Govt attempts to enforce COVID-19 lockdown and curfew met resistance. Notably, police clashed with bus drivers while trying to prevent public transport from operating between Les Cayes and Port-au-Prince 10 April; no casualties reported. Amid ongoing insecurity, including late March abduction of hospital director, defence minister 9 April announced soldiers would secure medical convoys. Deportation of Haitian nationals from U.S. continued despite risk of contagion; 68 Haitians flown home 7 April and 129 others 30 April.

March 2020

Latin America & Caribbean

Haiti

Political crisis continued as President Moïse, ruling by decree since mid-Jan, named new cabinet despite opposition’s objections, while opposition remained insistent on Moïse’s resignation. Moïse 2 March appointed environment minister and acting economy minister Joseph Jouthe as new PM, 4 March swore in new cabinet. Jouthe 4 March called for “truce” with opposition; next day, opposition platform Democratic and Popular Sector rejected truce, and other members of opposition criticised Jouthe’s “unilateral” appointment as discarding previous efforts to find common ground. After months of tensions within police over creation of union, including 9 March protests by policemen setting up roadblocks, forcibly closing public institutions and assaulting judge in Delmas commune near capital Port-au-Prince, govt 12 March allowed police to unionise. Amid local anger at kidnappings, which have spiked since Dec as gangs look for new sources of income, Boucan-Carré residents 1 March stormed police station, seized four suspected kidnappers and burnt them alive. UN 3 March called for $253mn to help 2.1mn vulnerable people. Amid fears COVID-19 outbreak could worsen dire humanitarian situation, govt 15 March closed borders and forbade flights from 66 countries, excluding the U.S..

February 2020

Latin America & Caribbean

Haiti

Political crisis persisted as President Moïse continued to rule by decree and two-thirds of Senate remained empty. Two rounds of dialogue between govt and opposition mediated by church 30 Jan-1 Feb and 14 Feb failed to produce agreement: opposition remained intransigent on demand that Moïse resign and on reducing length of presidential term; Moïse 7 Feb in interview with Associated Press accepted opposition’s latter demand on condition of constitutional reform strengthening presidential powers. After several senators filed lawsuit against Moïse for ending their period in office in Jan, court proceedings began in late Jan but public prosecutor postponed case after finding president was only liable before High Court of Justice. Amid widespread protests against growing insecurity in capital Port-au-Prince, acting PM Lapin 12 Feb announced new police operation there, deploying more traffic police and increasing road controls; police 17 Feb said operation had led to 100 arrests and seizure of 1,500 vehicles; however, protests and concern over violence continued. Tensions rose within police after head of national police blocked creation of police union in early Feb: hundreds of policemen demonstrated 7 and 17 Feb in capital Port-au-Prince, storming Police General Inspectorate and setting fire to public infrastructure; further police protests left three people dead 23 Feb. Govt next day condemned “attempted coup”. Pro-union police delegates and representatives of police leadership met 27 Feb, but failed to reach agreement.

January 2020

Latin America & Caribbean

Haiti

Political instability loomed as President Moïse started to rule by decree and unveiled controversial plan to reform constitution. Following failure to hold parliamentary and municipal elections in Nov, Moïse 13 Jan announced mandates of lower house deputies and most senators had formally expired; security guards next day denied several senators access to parliament building; several senators said they would file lawsuit against Moïse for ending their mandate, while civil society condemned “dictatorial drift”. Moïse 17 Jan announced plan to overhaul constitution and put new draft to referendum to end “cycle of decades of political crises”; opposition denounced move as unconstitutional. Moïse 29 Jan initiated talks with opposition