Stability and security in Haiti remain shaky following the disastrous 2010 earthquake. Democratic institutions are weak and government largely unaccountable, leaving citizens sceptical of participatory politics. Income and wealth gaps are yawning. For several years Crisis Group’s Haiti Project advocated for national consensus and international donor patience to begin addressing the systemic socio-political problems underlying the country’s humanitarian plight. We ended this Project in 2013 but continue to closely monitor events in Haiti through the Crisis Watch conflict tracker.
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 Montferrier Dorcal, 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.
Without an inclusive national pact on critical priorities, President Michel Martelly faces the spectre of a failed presidency, and Haiti risks international abandonment.
The UN Stabilisation Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) needs a gradual reconfiguration of its operations prior to a withdrawal, to avoid a security vacuum and give Haiti the chance for sustainable development.
A dysfunctional justice system continues to pose significant obstacles to the democratic process in a post-earthquake Haiti where security and stability remain fragile.
Kidnapping, urban gangs and unresolved killings form a trifecta of challenges to citizen safety that the four month-old Martelly administation must confront by speedily completing reforms to professionalise the Haitian National Police(HNP).
A year and a half after a deadly earthquake devastated its capital, 650,000 victims still wait for permanent housing in more than 1,000 unstable emergency camps across Haiti as a new hurricane season arrives.
Haitian authorities and the international community need to ensure that the first post-quake elections meet acceptable standards of credibility and produce the legitimate government needed to carry through massive institutional and infrastructure reconstruction.
Originally published in Huffington Post
Presentation by Mark L. Schneider, Senior Vice President, International Crisis Group on “Is it time for MINUSTAH to leave Haiti?” at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), Washington, DC, 25 July 2013.
Originally published in Reforma
Originally published in Miami Herald
Delayed elections, mistrust and public protests against Haitian President Michel Martelly threaten the country’s chance to end decades of political conflict and to recover from the 2010 earthquake. Without a national accord, the country risks ongoing crises. Javier Ciurlizza, Crisis Group Program Director for Latin America and the Caribbean, tells us more on the current challenges Haiti is facing.