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Montevideo, November 26th 2022 - 22:52 UTC

 

 

UN mission in Haiti cut down to “only essential” staff

Wednesday, September 28th 2022 - 10:00 UTC
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Violence erupted once again as the price of fuels and food went up Violence erupted once again as the price of fuels and food went up

The United Nations mission in Haiti has been cut down to a minimum after all non-essential workers were instructed to evacuate the violence-torn Caribbean nation. The announcement came two months after the UN Security Council voted to extend the mission's presence for at least another year.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres condemned the latest expressions of violence and urged all parties to seek to de-escalate hostilities.

The UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) said that “support for law enforcement and criminal justice services in #Haiti must be one of the priorities to help the population and prevent any regional destabilization.”

UN officials have also described the situation in the country as a “humanitarian catastrophe” that has reached “a new level of desperation” after two weeks of violence and looting.

“The economic crisis, the gang crisis, and the political crisis have combined to create a humanitarian catastrophe,” explained UN envoy to Haiti Helen La Lime.

In the last two weeks, attacks on World Food Program (WFP) warehouses “have resulted in the loss of 2,000 tons of food aid worth US$ 5 million, destined for the 200,000 most vulnerable in the next month,” La Lime explained.

Meanwhile, the Varreux oil terminal, the largest in the country, has been “under siege” by gangs for more than a week, and fuel shortages are impacting the country's economy. “Instead of the progress hoped and dreamed for, today the situation in Haiti has reached a new level of desperation,” according to WFP's Deputy Executive Director Valerie Guarnieri.

“We expect food security to deteriorate further this year, surpassing the record 4.5 million people in crisis, including 1.3 million in a state of emergency,” she added.

La Lime also urged the Security Council to adopt urgent measures to find a way out of the convergence between “an economic crisis, a gang crisis, and a political crisis.”

In La Lime's view, the top priority lies in “a political solution led by Haiti” regarding its government, institutions, and people, 1.5 million of whom have been affected by recent protests and riots after Prime Minister Ariel Henry's administration announced it would not continue to subsidize fuels and raised the price of gasoline, diesel, and kerosene, which was followed by another increase in food prices.

Mexico's Ambassador to the Security Council, Juan Ramón de la Fuente, described the situation of violence in Haiti as alarming and said that it is necessary to focus first on security.

But Haitian Foreign Minister Jean Victor Geneus argued that “except for isolated cases, the situation is generally under control and calm has returned to several parts of the country.”

Earlier this week, 145 Haitian female prisoners escaped from a local facility housing 230 inmates. A law enforcement officer died during the incidents. Authorities also explained that 3 had been recaptured but one of them had died due to breathing difficulties resulting from her asthma condition.

Categories: Economy, Politics, International.

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