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News > Haiti

Multiple Crises Converge Into Humanitarian Tragedy in Haiti

  • Demonstrators in front of the Antoine Simon airport, Les Cayes, Haiti, March, 2022.

    Demonstrators in front of the Antoine Simon airport, Les Cayes, Haiti, March, 2022. | Photo: Twitter/ @vantbefinfo

Published 27 September 2022

Currently, basic rights are being catastrophically undermined, and access to social and health services repeatedly cut.

Over the past several weeks, the three crises have begun to intersect in altogether new and frightening ways in Haiti, Helen La Lime, the UN Secretary-General's Special Representative and head of the UN Integrated Office in Haiti, told the Security Council in a briefing.


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A gang crisis continues to violently disrupt daily life, driving more than 20,000 people from their homes. An economic crisis has the country in a stranglehold, with Haitians facing soaring food prices, and fuel often available only on the black market.

And as these trials play out and the Haitian people engage in legitimate protests, political stakeholders are still struggling to find common ground and define a path to elections, she said.

As ever, it is those already most vulnerable who suffer the most. The UN system in Haiti estimates at least 1.5 million people have been directly impacted by recent gang violence, with gender-based violence being used systematically. 

The present generalized insecurity has also severely curtailed humanitarian access. Before the current bout of civil unrest, some 4.9 million Haitians were in a state of humanitarian need.

In the last two weeks alone, attacks on the World Food Programme have resulted in the loss of some 2,000 tons of food aid valued at close to US$5 million, which would have collectively supported up to 200,000 of the most vulnerable Haitians over the next month, she said.

It is self-evident that under such conditions, basic rights -- from freedom of movement to education -- are being catastrophically undermined, and access to basic social and health services repeatedly cut. Prisons have not received food, medicine, or water for days, she said.

La Lime said she maintained her good offices efforts with all sectors of the Haitian society and encouraged all to engage in a broad, open and constructive dialogue.

While so far inconclusive efforts have led to a perceived stalemate, national stakeholders have begun to re-engage with a renewed sense of urgency. In the past weeks, government representatives, political groups, and civil society organizations launched new consultations on ways to forge a wider consensus on a path toward elections, she said. "But we are not there yet."

It is also encouraging to see private-sector leaders starting to come together pledging to meet their respective fiscal and legal responsibilities. Sustained increases in revenues will be the clearest sign that this commitment is being met by all sides, she said.

"We must not lose hope, but rather combine our efforts to find a pathway to a better tomorrow. A Haitian-led political solution is the first necessary step to address the current crisis. To support Haitians in their effort toward a better future, this council must take urgent action," she said.


Helen La Lime
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