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.
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 and civil society to find political solution; key opposition leaders boycotted talks, demanded change of govt. Insecurity persisted with gangs fighting for control of Cité Soleil neighbourhood in capital Port-au-Prince: gang members 11 Jan killed Judge Antoine Lucius; police 12 Jan reportedly extrajudicially killed individual suspected of having killed policeman 11 Jan.
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.