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.
Deadly unrest and political deadlock continued despite international attempts to facilitate dialogue, with protesters and opposition parties demanding President Moïse’s resignation. Moïse 2 Oct announced creation of presidential dialogue committee in effort to resolve protracted crisis, but four of seven members resigned shortly after, saying negotiations were futile as Moïse is unwilling to leave power. Opposition rejected dialogue and 4 Oct established committee to set up transitional govt; coalition of 107 civil society organisations 11 Oct announced support for transition. Moïse 15 Oct held press conference reiterating openness to negotiations, but said he would only relinquish power through legal process such as elections (scheduled for 2022); opposition rejected overtures and called for more protests. Amid worsening fuel shortages, anti-govt protests and related violence continued including in capital Port-au-Prince, where one person was killed 17 Oct and one shot dead by police 20 Oct. Several hundred police and supporters 27 Oct demonstrated alongside anti-govt protesters in capital, demanding better salaries; two people killed: first reportedly shot by second, who was then beaten to death and burned by demonstrators. International community attempted to facilitate dialogue; Core Group (UN Sec Gen’s representative, ambassadors of U.S., EU, France, Canada, Brazil and Spain and Organization of American States’ representative) held meetings early Oct with opposition and business community; opposition 4 Oct held protests against interference by Core Group. Armed violence continued including murder of journalist Nehemie Joseph, found shot dead in his car in Mirebalais 10 Oct. UN’s Mission for Justice Support in Haiti mandate ended 15 Oct, replaced by political mission focused on political stability and governance.
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.