IACHR: The State of Haiti and the International Community must find comprehensive solutions to worsening security situation in Haiti

July 20, 2022

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Washington, D.C. – The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) condemns the increasingly acute situation of structural insecurity in Haiti, especially conflicts and armed violence in poorer neighborhoods in the country's capital, Port-au-Prince. The IACHR also notes the adoption of United Nations Security Council Resolution S/RES/2645(2022), to extend the mandate of the United Nations Integrated Office in Haiti (BINUH), and urges Member States of the Organization of American States (OAS) to take coordinated action to comprehensively protect the human rights of all Haitians.

The IACHR is concerned about clashes among armed groups in the Cité Soleil area of Port-au-Prince, which have left 99 people dead and 135 injured and led to the displacement of more than 2,500 people over the period July 7–14, according to a report issued by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). The actions of armed groups brought this area with more than 300,000 residents to a standstill, preventing access to public services, emergency assistance, and essential activities in the neighborhood, and even affecting the operations of the Varreux port facility, the point of entry into Haiti for humanitarian assistance and other goods.

During the first half of the year, 934 people were killed, 680 were kidnapped, and 684 were injured in actions perpetrated by criminal gangs, according to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).

In this context, the IACHR notes the UN Security Council session held on July 15, 2022, which extended BINUH's mandate by one year, as well as strengthening that mandate. The Commission welcomes Resolution S/RES/2645(2022), which also demands an immediate end to the violence and other criminal activities of armed gangs and calls on the State to regulate access to small arms and ammunition in Haiti and to identify and try non-State actors who engage in or support violence, criminal activities, or human rights violations in the country.

The IACHR urges the State and the international community to adopt solutions based on comprehensively protecting human rights and strengthening democratic institutions and the institutions in charge of preserving law and order, as interdependent priorities. The Commission also stresses the major social and economic challenges at hand and highlights its Resolution 2/2021, Protection of Haitians in human mobility. The IACHR notes that, to address the historical and current asymmetries that disproportionately affect Haitians, States need to take sustainable action—whether preventive, structural, or emergency action—based on solidarity, cooperation, and shared responsibility principles.

In this frame, the IACHR urges the international community to implement coordinated actions to prevent the illegal introduction of weapons and ammunition into the country, as well as their supply to armed groups. The IACHR also calls on the State to consider solutions that will reduce the levels of violence, and to promote the disarmament and reintegration of members of criminal groups under a comprehensive view of citizen security. This, considering the State's obligation to elucidate, investigate and punish human rights violations.

Finally, it is essential that all mechanisms adopted in response to the key challenges of citizen security in Haiti involve the participation of the individuals, groups, and communities directly affected by them, without discrimination and ensuring transparency and accountability.

A principal, autonomous body of the Organization of American States (OAS), the IACHR derives its mandate from the OAS Charter and the American Convention on Human Rights. The Inter-American Commission has a mandate to promote respect for and to defend human rights in the region and acts as a consultative body to the OAS in this area. The Commission is composed of seven independent members who are elected in an individual capacity by the OAS General Assembly and who do not represent their countries of origin or residence.

No. 164/22

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