Haiti Needs Intervention; Violence Getting From Bad to Worse

The Caribbean nation of Haiti has been plagued with over two years of violent turmoil. As rampant murder and sexual violence continue to spread, Human Rights Watch (HRW) has declared that international intervention may be the only way forward for the war-torn country.

Following the assassination of Haitian president Jovenel Moïse in 2021, human rights abuses have soared as opposing gangs grapple for dominance, primarily in the capital Port-au-Prince.

Approximately 150 gangs, virtually unchecked by the police and the government, have led the violence in the country.

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According to HRW, the gangs’ grip on the country is partially due to their affiliations with members of the police and government. Reports from the UN have attributed at least 2,000 deaths and over 1,000 kidnappings within the country in the first half of the year to criminal groups.

The HRW’s findings have been compiled in their recently released report, Living a Nightmare, in which 67 recent murders, including those of 12 women and 11 children, have been recorded. According to the HRW, the gangs have utilised sexual violence as a weapon, and over 20 cases of rape have been verified.

With the police unable to control the criminal forces by themselves, some citizens have turned to vigilante groups for protection. With disease on the rise and millions of people experiencing a shortage of food amid the violence, the HRW has said Haiti’s only chance of restoring order may be the intervention of international security forces.

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