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 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..
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.