Défenseurs Plus raises alarm for the protection of the civilian population in Haiti: the authorities of the de facto government are facing history.
Défenseurs Plus is concerned about the ongoing violence in the country. In recent weeks, these violent incidents have resulted in loss of human lives and property. According to gathered data, over 200 people were killed in the locality of Source Matelas, 93 others in the commune of Cité Soleil in clashes between rival gangs, while nearly 25 people lost their lives in attacks on the Debussy area and its surroundings. Around 15 people were killed by armed men in the afternoon of April 24 2023, in the locality of Fort-Jacques. In areas attacked by armed groups, dozens of houses have been looted and set on fire, and thousands of people have been displaced. The security forces have been slow to rescue people in danger, and some have died from their injuries due to lack of medical care. All of this is happening in a country without electricity, portable water, or any basic government services.
This situation, has gone on for too long, where members of the population are being brutally massacred, and others are fleeing their homes without a safe place to shelter. A large part of the country is controlled by armed gangs, and all areas of the metropolitan region are facing violence fueled by individuals intent on destroying lives. Desperate cries are heard in several areas, including Sous-Matelas, Meyotte, Route-de-Frère, Debussy, Laboule, Thomassin, Cité Soleil, Solino, among others. The same pattern is visible in areas of the Artibonite department, particularly in Carrefour Peigne, Lestère, Petite-Rivière-de-l’Artibonite. In the attacked areas, people are stoned, chopped, burned, and shot to death; women and girls are raped; the elderly, pregnant women, and children are not spared from these criminal actions.
Défenseurs Plus notes that the de facto government is unable to provide a solution to the various socio-political crises facing the country, including armed violence and food insecurity. Haitians dream of fleeing the national territory, which is controlled by armed gangs. The national security forces are struggling to cope, and some influential people prefer to strengthen armed gangs with materials purchased from other countries rather than supporting the national police. Weapons and ammunition continue to be imported, and young people and children are recruited to strengthen armed groups. The right to life and human security are constantly threatened and cannot be guaranteed by the current authorities.
Furthermore, human rights are not only to be protected by the state of a country but also by international human rights protection agencies. The Organization of American States (OAS) aims, among other things, to defend democracy and human rights and to strengthen the security of the territories of member countries. Nothing is being done in the case of Haiti, which has been in agony for some time now. Additionally, the United Nations, which promotes human rights protection in countries, does not seem to be concerned about the current situation. Thus, Haiti, as a country in great insecurity and without legitimate state powers, begs the question of why the population remains left to fend for itself without the assistance of the international community.
Défenseurs Plus urges the de facto government to stop using the country’s money for its personal privileges, as no results have been observed. Défenseurs Plus emphasizes to the members of the OAS and the UN that the Haitian people have the right to protection, including security and the right to life. The legal instruments for the protection of human rights, at the regional and international levels, place humans equally regardless of their race and the country in which they live.
Défenseurs Plus is calling on the Haitian population to organize in order to confront the threat posed by armed groups tolerated by government and judicial authorities. It is urgent to take our destiny, as a people, into our own hands in order to build a democratic and secure society and contribute to the social and economic progress of the country.
Done in Port-au-Prince, April 24, 2023.