According to ActionAid International-Haiti, the failure of security measures can be traced to the dearth of resources and effort from the nation's transitional government. Meanwhile, local violence is increasing in intensity and scope.
- Kidnappings have increased to upwards
of 6 a day. All civilians, including children and the elderly, have been
identified as targets. A rising surge of victims are reportedly facing
torture during captivity. In one instance, the child of a family too poor
to pay ransom was recently returned home with her eyes gorged out.
- Violent crimes (burglary, murder, rape,
and assaults) are dramatically increasing in the capital of Port-au-Prince.
- Daily gunfire has become routine in
certain areas. As a result, downtown Port-au-Prince is rapidly becoming
evacuated by business owners. Detrimental consequences to the economy are
expected for the long and short term. The area surrounding Haiti's National
Palace is also experiencing a regular barrage of gunfire.
- The US Peace Corps has departed from
Haiti, and other non-essential US residents were requested to evacuate
the nation four weeks ago. As a result, the US embassy is nearly deserted,
reducing functions to a bare minimum. Many countries, including the United
States and Canada, are issuing regular advisories warning their citizens
not to travel to the Caribbean nation.
- On June 23rd, Interim President Boniface
Alexandre enacted what is becoming a routine reshuffle within the nation's
cabinet. Key changes were made in the Interior, Social Affairs, and Justice
- On June 23rd, Haiti's influential "Conseil
des Sages" (Council of the Wise) publicly denounced the manner in
which the cabinet reshuffle was undertaken, citing rampant nepotism. Separately,
several political leaders denounced the recent nomination of a Lavalas
Party member to the government, describing the action as a clear violation
of an April 4th agreement specifically banning political parties from governance.
The nomination was also denounced as a possible reward to Lavalas-affiliated
gang members, whom are accused of holding responsibility for the current
climate of unrest.
- On June 22nd, the UN Security Council
extended its Haitian peacekeeping mandate for another eight months. In
compliance with UN Secretary General Kofi Annan's recommendation, 800 troops
will be added to the nation's existing force of 6,700 peacekeepers. 275
civilian police officers will additionally be recruited to join the current
force of 1,622.
- With an impending election on the horizon, international observers fear that lawlessness in Haiti will nonetheless remain on the uprise.
- to implement an effective and immediate disarmament program
- to work in partnership with civil society on security issues
- to provide training and support programs for the Haitian National Police
To ensure that none of these measures fail due to a lack of resources, ActionAid also calls on donor countries to fulfill their fiscal commitments towards aiding Haiti's reconstruction.
ActionAid International is a nonprofit organization bringing relief to some 13 million individuals in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Caribbean every year. Working hand-in-hand with 2,000 civil society partners, over 90% of ActionAid's employees herald from developing countries. For more information, visit www.actionaid.org
Facts about Haiti: The poorest country within the Americas, Haiti supports a population of 8,121,622-80% of which lives in abject poverty. The island nation is slightly smaller than the US state of Maryland. According to the US CIA, peacekeepers from the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) have been striving to maintain civil order in the nation since the unrest that led to the resignation of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide in 2004. Despite efforts to control illegal migration, Haitians fleeing economic privation and civil unrest continue to cross into Dominican Republic, and to sail to neighboring countries
Jean-Claude Fignolé, ActionAid International-
(509) 245 5227 / (509)512 0216
Sandy Krawitz, Media Officer, ActionAid
202-835-1240 or 202-492-7207 (cell)