Gang warfare and humanitarian crisis: Defenseurs Plus urges the authorities to ensure the safety of the population and issues a plea for humanitarian assistance for the displaced people of Thomazeau
The gang violence that has been plaguing the Croix-des-Bouquets district has now spread comfortably to Thomazeau for several months. Indeed, over the past week, the population of Thomazeau has once again been targeted in several armed attacks, leading to their displacement to neighboring territories including the towns of Cornillon and Mirebalais. Among the displaced individuals are women (including pregnant women), children, elderly people, and individuals with reduced mobility. They are in an extremely vulnerable situation as no adequate structures seem to be in place to accommodate them.
According to information gathered by Defenseurs Plus, the criminals first stormed the police station located in downtown Thomazeau on Wednesday, October 4, 2023. This forced the law enforcement officials to flee the area. They then targeted the residents of the Town sections of Grande Plaine 2 and Trou-d’Eau during the night of October 6th to 7th. This unprecedented gang violence has forced the population to seek refuge in the aforementioned towns. It should be noted that in September 2023, during a raid by the same gang, Rodney Avril, nephew of Prospere Avril, was brutally murdered, and his body was horrifically incinerated inside his vehicle.
Meanwhile, the town of Cornillon, which serves as a refuge for the displaced people, is facing numerous challenges in terms of basic infrastructure and essential social services, such as a shortage of clean water, inadequate transportation routes, lack of access to healthcare, and more. These problems particularly affect the localities of Kay Elie and Ma Pintade. Additionally, the town is facing a major climate challenge in the form of drought, which is paralyzing agricultural activities. The displaced individuals, who in many cases are not even originally from the area, are the most affected by this crisis as they have no host families. Consequently, national schools and churches are serving as temporary shelters for these displaced individuals.
This chaotic situation of the population in Thomazeau constitutes a systematic violation of human rights. On one hand, it violates the economic and social rights guaranteed by the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, ratified by Haiti, such as the right to security, the right to food, the right to housing, and more. On the other hand, it violates the provisions of the 1987 constitution that guarantee these aforementioned rights.
As a result, the collective defending human rights, Defenseurs Plus, demands that the competent authorities curb the gang violence so that the populations in Thomazeau area can regain their peace of mind and return to their homes. Additionally, Defenseurs Plus calls for humanitarian assistance to be provided to these displaced individuals who are deprived of everything as soon as possible.
Done in Port-au-Prince, on October 16, 2023.
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